The Sorcerer-Priest Ptesh Na-Khet raised blood-encrusted arms, lifting up the pulsing heart of the sacrifice. His hands moved slowly in the gestures of the primordial ritual; his voice croaked out the inhuman syllables of the alien chant. As the ritual progressed toward its climax, the Sorcerer-Priest sensed the fabric of the planes unraveling around him. A sense of vast pressure assailed him, as if once the path had opened, only tremendous force would close the portal again.
As his senses twisted and altered, he began to see strange shapes circling around him. The drifting phantasms moved closer and closer, forced into solidity by the implacable power of the Summoning Ritual of Troa. As the call was answered, the Sorcerer began to intone the ritual of binding, twisting shadowy cords of magickal power around the extradimensional forms of the conjured horrors.
The scrolls' archaic pictograms had tersely warned, 'Ye Charnall Rattes yr exceeding horrible, wyth ye formmes as of creatures hangged fromme ye gibbet,' but the reality was much worse. The things he had called from beyond only generally resembled rats, being vaguely shaped as quadrupeds with an anterior head-like appendage. Stiff filaments or tendrils covered the abominations’ mottled flesh and congeries of small eyes protruded bulbously from their heads. As hordes of the foul things emerged into the chamber, they shuddered and leapt spasmodically, spattering russet fluid throughout the entirety of the confining Diagram of Lesh. The apalling creatures exuded the stench of a hundred yawning graves as they scratched frantically at the diagram's boundaries.
As he bound the disgusting creatures within the ancient ritual’s power, the priest wondered whether he should continue his planned summoning. If the lesser creatures were this mind-blasting, what would the horror that devoured them as its preferred meal be like?
The Scrolls of the Sorcerer-Priest
Ptesh Na-Khet, infamous master of the sorcerous priesthood of Shetam Kham, recorded much of his eldritch lore on a series of 46 papyrus scrolls, of which 30 are believed to remain. Ancient and extremely fragile, each scroll holds nearly 22 feet of intricately painted pictograms rolled onto a pair of carven bone rods. Several scrolls have been damaged in the centuries since they were first written, and have missing or illegible areas. Others have loose sheets of vellum tucked into them: Pages of commentary, translation of obscure glyphs, or conjecture about damaged passages.
Most of the text is written in the Sallvian pictograms favored in the early Dhakaean period, but some sections have been copied from primordial rites predating the coming of mankind; these glyphs were inscribed in obscure dialects from the earliest days of the continent. Because of the little-known tongues involved, the few scholars and mages who have studied the rambling texts have generally relied on the translations of such scholars as Agarn the Impulsive (better known for his enchanted items) and the Doran Archpriest Grinling Gullan (whose translation often reflects the infamous prejudices of his sect). The abbreviated translation of Lord Graff d’Aumare was once distributed widely among scholars, despite the condemnation it brought from religious authorities. This translation has since become notorious for its sloppy scholarship.
The Eleventh Scroll: The Call to Those That Hunger Beyonde
The opening chapters of the Papyri's eleventh scroll contain an otherwise-lost legend, the tale of the hero Apanoshti and his battle against monsters called "Fathrankh Dentut", often translated as "Those that Hunger Beyonde". According to the tale, these fierce spirits of chaos and hunger were banished in an age before the coming of man by the goddess Nathnalatek, a spirit of knowledge and wisdom. According to the legend, they return periodically, awaiting a time when the gods that banished them will have weakened enough to be overthrown.
In the tale, the hero Apenosti wields a magical khopesh, a blade with the power to "restore order", given to him by Nathnalatek as a gift after he pledged his love to her. This godly weapon gave him the power to banish the invading spirits, but his mortal frame was unable to long survive weilding its deadly energies. After defeating the chaotic horrors, Nathnalatek took her dying lover into the heavens, where he was healed. Unable to return to mortal lands, his spirit remains at his beloved's side, tempering her wisdom with his passion.
The summoned abomination, a horror of roiling fumes and half-seen tendrils, filled the summoning circle like a vile toxic gas. Glittering polychromatic eyes formed in the mist, bursting randomly as the strange thing within hissed and burbled its wrath at being bound.
As the wizards watched in nauseated shock, they could see the thing's vile, caustic secretions splattering across the binding circle. The chalk marks began to discolor and run as the thing slowly ate away at its prison.
The later portions of this text contain rituals of summoning and directions for crafting protective circles and potent hieroglyphic charms alleged to bind the power of the Fathrankh Dentut. Most scholars who have studied this convoluted ritual believe it to be incomplete and partially effective at best.
Those attempting divination about the wisdom of trying these rituals have produced indeterminate results, at best. Some even believe that such a summoning risks the wrath of the gods. Even more alarming, those who have attemted to contact the Fathrankh Dentut have sometimes encountered He That Waits at ye Portalle instead: This malevolent being is easily able to overcome many of the magical protections relied upon by wizards.
The Songs of ye Many-Legg'd Visittores
The twelfth scroll of the Papyri
This set of unearthly music appears to put the musician's mind into contact with the undersea race known as the "Trench Dwellers". A pattern of clicks and
The Fortieth Scroll: Ye Prayers of Night's Waund'rer
"Bringer of rich meat, mighty Uep-Hawet, bless your Chosen with bountiful meals! Let pestilence strike down those who oppose your people, that the Chosen may eat and grow strong, until all bow before the god of the charnel-house!"
- from the Prayers of Night's Waund'rer, Chapter 11
This disjointed text contains numerous short rituals and prayers dedicated to the Sallvian jackal-god Uep-Hawet, a grim spirit reveling in death and decay. Some of them are clearly intended to appease the death-loving god, while others are apparently rites of the ancient cult that once worshipped him.
The middle chapters include a lengthy dialogue between a young aspirant of the Cult of the jackal-god, and an elder priest, who is tutoring him in the cult's practices. The dialogue details how the human sacrifices demanded by the god are best performed and the prayers that should be completed during each part of the sacrificial ritual. The closing portions of the dialogue describe the rituals needed to bless the cermonial maces often carried by the cult's priests.
Part of this scroll gives detailed instructions for treating ghoulscorch ague, a disease that otherwise destroys the victim's mind before they perish, often rising as a ravening undead abomination. The poultices and medicines described in the text often allow the victim a full recovery from the dread illness.
The One Fortieth Scroll: Stalker's Path
The scroll is - perhaps thankfully - partly scorched and reeks as unhallowed pits used to burn the dead of plague. For the most part the scroll has been charred, but the legible parts detail rituals needed to open a gate. To where it is not clear. Notes of a diviner, written on silk and neatly folded in the casket containing the scroll state:
'I cannot describe the terror that resonates from the papyrus and its magics are beyond my skill and comprehension to control. Yet the wonders I beheld when I cast spells of scrying onto the fragile fragments must be accessible to those who wish to control its powers.
As my profession as a diviner of mystic riddles compels me to, shield I my mind from the terrible, the unknown. And the ruins in which I found the scroll laid portents of doom upon my mind.
The vision that was revealed to me was one of terror: I believe 'twas the time and place when the scroll was burned and still I feel the scorching fires whipping at my face and hands, whenever I dare close my eyes without a draught of Dreamless Wine.
I beheld myself in a room and only with great exertion of power could I discern that I was on a tower high above the desert. It was no room indeed but incantations of secrecy and forgetfulness were scribed on the smooth rock floor to foil divinations. Only my powerful spells and the vast expanses of time that lay between me and my vision allowed me to discern that it was a rooftop of sorts, strewn with charred bones. The lay in a pattern, but the details of that I cannot recall. My vision blurred and I beheld just a gate constructed of bones and alight with hellish file. Black, stinking smoke rose in a great plume and darkened the sky. I - or the one who's eyes I was scrying through - strode forward. The fire burned with hellish rage but I faltered not. I felt words being uttered and the fire seemed to send out hungry tendrils for me - him. Through the portal I - he - strode and only now could I see that the garment we wore. It seemed royal and now I felt the burden of heavy headgear and the endless duties he bore as a monarch. Fleeting thoughts of war and destruction and already a landscape was revealed to my vision that frightened both me and the king. Yet he knew it. He had been here before. As scorching as the fiery gate had been, as cold and dark this place was. The king - and with him I - knelt down on the black stone. Before him rose to great height a skull of stone. The skull seemed human, yet it was bestial and the King shuddered in sight of its hideous fangs. Shadows equally frightening and bestial encircled us. From within the skull a terrible voice rang and even while awake I squeal when I remember it. The king squealed too, for I felt how the voice denied all help. Not a word did I understand, but the terror and thoughts of the king still haunt my dreams. The voice promised to destroy the kings lands and take back whatever had been granted. I - or the king - jumped up and ran back towards the gate, my vision ended with pain of fire and fear of death. Sometimes the kings thoughts come back to haunt me and I feel the life of his folk being devoured by the ancient evil beyond the gate.'
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This is one of my very first additions to the Citadel, please do critic in the harshest way possible! :)