THE RED DAGGER STRIKES: BOOK TWO

Zenith

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PSYCHEDELIC PULP RETURNS IN THE FABULOUS WORLD OF ZENITH-THE RED DAGGER STRIKES II for 99 CENTS!

Chuck Miller, the creator of The Black Centipede and perhaps the father of Psychedelic Pulp, returns readers to The Fabulous World of Zenith, an original Pro Se Single Shot Signature Series that will examine the world of the Black Centipede, Vionna Valis, Mary Kelly and Doctor Unknown Junior from a variety of strange and oblique angles.

The mystery continues in THE RED DAGGER STRIKES: BOOK TWO. Is the Red Dagger a masked demon filling citizens’ hearts with fear? Or a horrific disease spreading through the world like wildfire? Perhaps a brave hero forced to hide her identity due to some secret? Or a top secret government operation intent on dominating humanity? Only Chuck Miller knows, but every reader will learn the truth if the Fabulous World of Zenith when THE RED DAGGER STRIKES! BOOK TWO. Now Available from Pro Se Productions!

Featuring an atmospheric cover and logo design by Jeffrey Hayes and digital formatting by Antonino Lo Iacono and Marzia Marina, THE FABULOUS WORLD OF ZENITH: THE RED DAGGER STRIKES BOOK TWO is available for 99 cents on Amazon. The second chapter in Miller’s tale is also available to Kindle Unlimited members for free.

The first book of THE RED DAGGER STRIKES is also available on Amazon in digital format.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, contact Kristi Morgan, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

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Highjump (excerpt from a work in progress)

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The skiplane landed first needing the room on the snow while the helicopter floated to the surface with a gentle thump. The slow rotation of the Sikorsky’s main rotor the only sound which could be heard either close at hand or in the far off distance. Even my own breath seemed to die as soon as it left my mouth. It was an eerie sort of tranquility. I felt like prey even though no predator could be detected.

Where was the crew? The first noticeable thing was the utter lack of motion from the stricken plane. There was absolute stillness about the scene. The air is so brittle it could snap from our hails as we approached. The radio silence was eerie enough, this lack of human response caused a dread to creep down my spine, as spider carefully leaving a trail of silk.

When we pulled the hatch none of us were prepared for what greeted us. In the dim wintry light of the interior, the crew was utterly still and more than slightly frozen. They could only have been dead for hours. At first glance, the cause isn’t apparent but the chances of them all dying being natural, even in this harsh and unforgiving environment, are remote.

The navigator and radio operator were at their stations. The rest spread along the floor of the cabin, as if in repose. Their still forms perfect in every way.

The mechanics began their inspection of the aircraft, quickly locating the broken line. A repair of this nature under ideal hangar conditions would take three to four hours. This was less than ideal. If the weather held, the crew chief estimated this could easily be a 12-hour job.

We set up under the tent pulled from the stranded crafts emergency stores and unloaded the tools and parts needed for repair. The skiplane is capable of carrying ten passengers. It had carried six, four mechanics and two medics plus tools and supplies to the location of the ill-fated flight. The Norseman would ferry six of the ill-fated crew on its return to Little America. The S-52 would carry the other four. A new crew would return on the Norseman to pilot the aircraft once it was repaired.

The medics performed a cursory exam of the crew as the bodies were evacuated to the skiplane. While evacuating Reeves body, his nickname had been Curly because of his premature bald spot, a small hole was found in the crown of his head. Upon noticing this abnormality, the crew was reexamined. A hole, about the size of a number two pencil, was found in the same spot on each of the men. None of us, could even begin to guess what could have caused this wound, much less, how did they all receive the same wound with no signs of a struggle?

Six of us watch the two aircraft take off, heading back to Little America. The three mechanics and the crew chief, one of the medics and myself temporarily stranded in this barren wasteland of white. So far, at Little America, we have been fortunate to encounter temperatures varying no more than between zero and 20° or 25° above, no more rigorous than a New England winter really.  Here deeper into the continent the temperature on this open plain has already fallen to minus 5°. The rampaging wind from the nearby plateau whips the snow into the air, which even with goggles on is blinding and stings any skin it can reach.

As designated sleep time approached, we realize there is no room in the tent for all six of us with the supplies. The crew had accomplished a great deal in disassembly, they were not quite to the point of removing the faulty fuel pressure line. Preparation to install the new line would still be at least half a day’s work. The replacement, which had to be flexible for installation, could not be allowed to freeze before completing repairs. While none would admit it, none of us truly wanted to spend the night in the R4D. We decided to draw straws for three us in the plane and three for the tent.

Flash Friday – The Zephyr

The joy of fully realizing and knowing the bond of our friendship had deepened over the last three years made my heart sing that fateful morning. Seen from a distance the early rays of dawn glistened against the silhouette of The Zephyr exiting the barn. That The Zephyr existed was a triumph of the bond shared between Philip and I. Through the trials, tribulations, and victories of our endeavors as our shared vision took shape so too did our relationship grow from friendship to brotherhood.

Our combined skills in engineering and electrical sciences produced this magnificent airship. While not as large as its successors would be, this ship would be the proof of concept which would change the world, ushering in a new age of commerce and transportation. This maiden flight would test and confirm our theories shining as a beacon of hope for the future.

Preflight checks all seemed to be in order. The rudder and planes responded well to the controls from gleaming brass and polished wooden controls in the wheelhouse. The small Donkey engine aft generated a good head of steam as it spun the two dynamos up to speed. Dials spun as they engaged both in the engine compartment and their duplicates in the wheelhouse. They reflected the steady pressure of the Donkey engines chug-chug and the current flow from the dynamos. A third dial held a steady vigil as the batteries held their charge while four smaller dials below read the amperage fed to each of the powerful electric motors ready to spin the propellers.

A steam engine required to power even a ship this size weighed more than the ship could lift, besides and cargo capacity being negated by the requirement to carry enough fuel to feed the monster. Our concept used a very small donkey engine to charge batteries. It was light weight, could be tuned off for extended periods while the ship was powered by its batteries therefore requiring much less fuel. At least that was the idea.

I lost the coin toss to Phillip. It would be he who piloted our craft as I operated the engine and tended the batteries. Our six backers and their wives would occupy the small, but well appointed, passenger cabin and we would carry 250 pounds of mixed cargo. Our future plans would aim for up to 100 passengers or as much cargo as large freighter. Other designs might allow for a mix of passengers and cargo. Yes, our optimism was high.

The ground crew loosed our bonds the earthly realm. With hardly a bump, our beautiful craft with its crimson and gold gas bag adorned by the saw-toothed stabilizer fins bore us heavenward.

We circled the town, checking our systems and operations, allowing our backers to, “ooh and ahh”, as we dipped low enough to view landmarks. A tight circle of the town’s clocktower confirmed the trim crafts maneuverability. All conducted in silence.

The intent was we would fly northward to our capital, showing our invention to the government. Surely after such a prolonged period of devastation, an invention such as ours might inspire them to back us as well. The possibilities were endless. Our dreams were of the pie in the sky variety, for our heads and our invention were in the clouds.

Our Backers were ecstatic, fortunately the weather was good, and they gushed over how comfortable the travel. Even the best trains were loud, and smelly. This was almost as comfortable as sitting in their own parlors. Their schemes at attracting passengers soon outstripped Phillips and mine most grandiose of plans. The only sound the occasional chug-chug of the Donkey engine to keep up the charge.

As the batteries charged two things happened. First they generated heat and this in itself could cause them to boil out exposing the plates seated in the sulfuric acid potentially causing a spark. This results in the second problem of explosion. For as the batteries charge they generate not only heat but hydrogen gas. This gas is the very thing suspending our craft between heaven and earth. A spark could ignite it.

Phillip solved these problems in two ways. Each battery resided inside a glass housing. Ingeniously a stopcock attached to each of these housings allowed the hydrogen to be siphoned off and stored for future use. This would solve one of the questions posed in obtaining a supply for our ships. A creative system of ductwork flowed over the batteries removing the oxygen produced as part of the process which had the effect of cooling both batteries and the engines. The controls to open these ducts resided in the wheelhouse. The siphoning process could be controlled manually at the batteries or from the wheelhouse.

We made the trip from Texas to Washington D.C. in less than 14 hours. A three day trip by train reduced to less than a day. The trip was a complete success for our vision of the future.

Well, mine at least, for I noticed the temperature of the batteries rising. This had occurred a couple of times during the flight but each time Phillip had opened the ducts rapidly cooling things down. There was no cool down.

The speaking tube engendered no response. Worried I went to the wheelhouse only to find the door locked. My knocks produced no more response than the speaking tube. Concern for Phillip led me to break open the door. In the interest of lightweight, the doors and nonstructural components were made of the lightest materials, the door collapsed under a determined assault.

“Phillip, what is wrong?” stunned as he seemed to be piloting the craft normally. I could just see the capitol through the front windows of the wheelhouse.

“There is nothing wrong Emmet. I aim to repair history. We never should have lost that war and now carpetbaggers steal our ways of life. Take our property and our lands, do you really think those men back there are not plotting to take every cent from our toil? When this ship crashes into the capitol our brethren will rise again, throw off the shackle of these northern oppressors.” Madly throwing controls The Zephyr abruptly canted downward. If action were not taken swiftly our dreams would turn from an optimistic vision to a thunderbolt of Zeusian vengeance.

“Phillip, after all we have come to understand each other how can you dash our dreams? The war was lost, slavery was on the way out as machinery changed the economics. Ours is a time to look to the future, rebuild from the ashes and create new things, things like the Zephyr. Please Phillip, step away from the controls.”

“I knew you had gone soft Emmet, when you mourned Lincoln, I knew it then. You are a good man but you just do not understand. The idea came to me as we flew. I knew you would never understand what this chance represented. ”

“I understand Phillip. I understand too well there are those who cannot that times change. There will always be those who want to hold dearly to old ideas, will fight to prevent change. Even change for the better where all mankind might learn to live as one brotherhood. How can I convince you this is not the course to take? Only evil can come of it.”

With a glance to the controls Phillip spun to face me.

“I can’t let you do this Phillip.”

“I can’t let you stop me Emmet.”

Without further word, we both launched at each other.

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

WIP – Excerpt from Starshine in Storyville

Good afternoon everyone,

Almost finished with this piece and will begin editing  tomorrow. So if you can stomach an unedited bit, read on McDuff.

“…The night air was cool and moist; the light breeze carried the tang of the Mississippi, as Benny walked aimlessly considering all that happened these past months. When he had found Erich and agreed to apprentice with him, Benny thought he was learning new saxophone techniques. The joke was on him, Erich explained to him there was magic and the sounds he produced were magical energies he could shape to his will. Benny thought of it only as ways to please a crowd, perhaps inducing more tips. The things Erich taught him about magic is very few could produce it at will. For that he was special, seems Erich, and now Benny had a hyperpineal gland which allowed them to sense and control magical energies. Others, without a hyperpineal, could practice magic but must use spells, gestures and rituals. Erich explained he had waited long for another to come along with the gland. For Erich had stood Guardian for over two centuries and looked forward to being able to share, and eventually pass on the Guardianship of New Orleans.

Benny had laughed it off as the rambling and fantasy of an old man. Until the night of the Grunch, that night after their practice, Erich had looked at him.

“Benny, you are good, maybe one of the best ever, I have never heard make love to a sax or play like you. And I’ve known them all. Tonight, it’s time you learned the difference between ballads and battles. Pack up and I’ll explain what you will face on the way.”

Benny shuddered and rubbed his arm as he remembered that night. It had all seemed a dream until tonight. He watched a man weave shadows of darkness around himself, warding Benny’s magic. Then he disappeared under Benny’s scrutiny. Just as he thought the world was setting back to normal, it was shaken.

The bell Victory, in St. Louis Cathedral shook him out of the reverie as it chimed midnight. Lost in thought, he had not realized how far down Chartres he had walked. The artists and psychics along Jackson Square were long gone. Or so he thought, as he approached he saw one of the psychics tables still up.

Curious he approached, looking around the area in front of the cathedral, but the pools of light revealed no one. The table belonged to Psychic Mary, an Irish redhead with legs that’d make you dizzy. Even at her age she could make a man’s head spin with her seduction through the very air. She would not have left her table with crystals displayed and cards unprotected.

As the last stroke of the clock faded, Benny paused. Uncertain if he what he heard had been an echo of the bells last stroke, Benny listened more closely. There it was again, a muffled cry and from the direction of Pirates Alley. Benny took off at a sprint for the nearby alley. Upon entering his eyes could not pierce the gloom having adjusted to the well lit court. Reflexively, Benny began to hum and immediately calling upon his magic to see. At the midway point, three figures struggled. One had flaming red hair against two hooded figures that were pulling her toward a swirling circle of shadow. “

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

 

Flash Friday – Challenging the End

Slowly, the insistent knocking roused Sir Michael from his deep, dreamless sleep. He shrugged into his tunic and opened the door. Breathless from his run up the stairs, Alakka stumbled into the room.

“Sahib! Come quick, there is a messenger from Qatni with an urgent message for you!” he pantingly implored Sir Michael.

As Sir Michael dressed to meet the messenger he glanced out of the window. From the position of the moon it must be only a couple of hours before dawn.

The courtyard shadows danced as the torches showed him two of his men-at-arms standing to either side of a young Bedouin and his mount. His message must have been urgent indeed to use up such the once beautiful stallion as a mixture of froth and blood puddled on the flagstones. It would likely have to be put down judging by the visible swelling around a sprained, possibly broken ankle.

‘Alakka, have the beast tended to at once.” he commanded. Grieved as the animal limped away, refusing to put much weight on the one foot.

The young Bedouin was doing a good impersonation of standing on hot coals as he pranced from foot to foot. Seeing the deference the men-at-arms gave Sir Michael, he rushed forward.

“Effendi, Sahib Petain is in our village and has been badly hurt. He sent for you, please, it is most urgent he speak to you!” explained the boy.

Sir Michael grabbed the boy by the shoulders, demanding to know the whole story. A long time friend and brother in arms, Sir Petain had disappeared repelling a raid almost a fortnight ago, only to surface now in a village a hard ride away. Yet, all they could get from the boy was that Petain had stumbled out of the desert a few days ago, badly hurt and near death. The village healers had done what they could for his wounds but he lay hovering between worlds for days.

He gave orders for his horse and four others to prepare to ride. If they started soon they could make considerable distance before the desert sun took its toll. With luck they would arrive in the boy’s village the next day. Before leaving he left instructions for more to follow armed and with supplies while the garrison prepared for their return.

The grueling ride left them exhausted but they made the village by dawn of the following day. Sir Michael was led to the Sheik’s tent, Sir Petain was in the section for those who are sick are cared for and treated.

Sir Michael gasped to see how quickly the virile and robust Sir Petain had been reduced to a shadow. He was gaunt, with skin two sizes too small drawn over his large frame. Asleep, he had been propped into a position where the angrily glaring welts of a whip did not contact anything.

Whatever heroic trek he made out of the desert had not been kind. The bitter-sweet aroma of dead flesh hung cloyingly and from he stood Sir Michael could see the greenish ooze of pus from some of the wounds.

Michael knelt at his friend’s side to offer prayers for him. Petain opened his eyes and rejoiced at the sight of his friend.

“Thank you for your prayers, but you could wait until I am dead,” in a voice firmer than his appearance would have suggested.

Michael laughed as tears welled up in his eyes, “You can’t blame me. You looking like you have joined Fionn and his heroes already. What happened to you old friend?”

“During the last battle I was knocked unconscious. I awoke trussed and packed like a sack of barley over the back of a camel. When they realized I was awake, they tied my hands to a tether and pulled me along behind the camel. I am not sure how long we traveled, but we came to some cliffs. Here the leader of the group shouted in a tongue unknown to me and a gate opened in the side of the cliff.

Inside, I was paraded around their streets to the jeers and prods of his men. All the time they pelting me with garbage while some struck me with clubs or daggers. When they tired of this sport, I was tied to a post and whipped until I passed out.

I awoke behind bars in a rough hewn hole in the cliff side. Each day I was given just enough water but no food. Daily I hung from that wretched post and was either whipped or used as a target for the men would ride past and slap me with the flat of their blades. When they locked me away each night it was with words, “Sleep well, for tomorrow we will kill you.”

The day came when I saw all the good horses were gone and hardly anyone in sight. I was able to surprise the guard who was dragging me to the post and took his sword. With surprise on my side I won my way through the eye of the needle and began my trek here.

These are the bandits who have been hounding this region. Look for the cliff to the south and west of here. Swear to me you rid this land of the scum and avenge me.”

“Brother I swear to you on my sword and by Our Lord old friend, vengeance shall be reaped for what they have done to you and the blood of the innocents they have spilled. Sleep now, try to regain to your strength.”

The remainder of the day Sir Michael spent speaking to the tribal elders working out the most likely place the fortress of the raiders would be located. The remainder of the time he spent sitting by his friend’s bedside.

Three days after he arrived, so did the rest of the men he had instructed to follow him. He explained their mission to his master sergeant and ordered the men to rest before they would all start out again. Sir Michael kept vigil that night at Petain’s bed. Early in the morning Petain awoke, coughing heavily. Sir Michael offered him a glass of watered down wine.

“It seems fate has brought us full circle my friend.” Petain choked out as he sipped from the goblet. “ Not that long ago I was helping leech you after you were run through, your body though was allowed to heal. Michael, I have a favor to ask.”

“ I know what you are thinking and please, do not ask this of me. God would not take you from us when there is much left to do in his name. Our prayers will be answered.”

“No Michael, I appreciate your faith and how you feel but my body is not lying to me. We have never had false words between us and now is not the time begin them. I am already dead or soon will be. I beg you, as your brother, do not let me die weak and helpless from the degradation evil has caused. Let me die as I lived, a warrior. Put steel in my hand that I die as I lived, by the sword.”

Slowly, reluctantly, Sir Michael stepped outside, asking the first of his men he spotted for his sword. When he returned Petain was sitting on the stool which he himself had been sitting at earlier.

He drew his own blade and offered it to Petain. Tears blurred his vision as he had to assist his friend to uncurl his fingers that he could grasp the hilt. Then, hefting the borrowed blade he saluted his friend.

A prayer on his lips for his friends soul, he thrust at his heart. And nearly burst out laughing when Petain parried.

“I told you I wanted to die fighting” he smiled weakly.

Sir Michael nodded, as he did not trust himself to speak, and began to fight. Slowly at first, testing for a speed his friend could manage. Petain held nothing back, indeed, if any of his blows had landed, Michael may have been waiting to greet him as he ascended.

Men of both the Sheiks household and Michaels troops crowded the entryway, attracted by the noise of battle.

Soon, Petain’s strength waned, and with a final prayer Sir Michael delivered the coup de gras to his brother and long time friend.

Kneeling beside Petain’s body he began a long, low wail that rose gradually in both volume and pitch. His heavy heart began to swell with pride as he realized each man present, Scot and nonScot alike had taken up the keening.

 

Opus Marduk – Pt 1

Swooping over the blood soaked plains of the daemon world answering the summons, Marduk’s thoughts drifted over the circumstances of his ascendancy. From the first whispered tales of Khorne before the grand revolution throwing down the false emperor, through the endless journeys through the warp, leading his warband in one battle after another for the glory of Khorne…..

Many were the battles of my Marauders carving out swathes of destruction and carnage through the galaxy. In their wake only the charred ruins of systems, onward to the new sector and fresh offerings of skulls and spilling of blood for the Dark Powers. Until the day the Imperial Battle Fleet came and our only solace of escape lay within the warp. Chaos heeded our call. A titanic warp storm, its power was more than anything seen in this sector, the sheer ferocity of the warp overwhelming our astronavigator, losing us in the labyrinthine corridors between the worlds.

Within the malicious currents of the storm, we boarded them. One by one, my fleet grew. The hunter was now the prey. Those who would not surrender to the Dark Powers were sacrificed. Of those who surrendered, the sweetest taste were those of the Delphian Guard who succumbed, seeing the false light of their corpse empire for lies; joining eagerly in the sacrifice of their former Battle Brothers. Many were the skulls piled in cairns as offerings to the Dark powers.

The sights, the madness, the glorious Muse which bore me euphoria from its womb; whose pained head I first took Vision of those instincts which have to do with all corruption. Rage, only rage began to exist, the purer the rage the more in control I felt. The stranger god was his own, MARDUK. Yes, it was he who tasted life then, the seed of the earliest dreams sprouting, taking root in the hoary remnants of my soul.

Marduk smiled at memories of the whispers once reaching his ears.  For as time passed within the timelessness of the warp Ideas there were those sought to sow sedition speaking against him. Whispers of getting ideas above my station and despite our victories, we were cast into the Warp Storm as punishment and to teach me my place; Marduk’s mirthless laughter rang off the canyon walls at the memory. So easy to handle, those who complained – adding their skulls to the growing cairns in dedication to Khorne, drinking the blood of the slain from their skulls as their brethren watched, searing into them the discipline and obedience he required as they each sipped in turn..

Each death more savage, each more bestial, yes, it was he who flung himself upon the mon-kee, who bit , tore and swallowed the smoking gobbets of flesh- while on the trampled decks began the rites in honour of their god, blood smoked as incense and shared draught, while the cairns of skulls grew-and In his very core, felt the bestial elevation to his ascendancy.

After one such orgy of blood, it happened. The sighting of an Imperial battle cruiser and as the storm waned; we attacked out of the storm. Their cruiser’s astronavigator was caught by surprise, the warp disruptions still blinding them and they crashed to the planet below.

The hated enemy, a host of Dark Angels, spilled from the wreckage like maggots deserting carrion. Our warband descended upon them as the wrathful vengeance we represented. In a battle bloody and fierce, even for followers of the corpse empire, more of the warp filled me. Till within my armor, the very form of one of the Dark Powers began to take shape. Among the spoils, a pair of scroll cases the contents citing a mysterious void, the Astronomicon, said to contain a source of great power.

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

Stories of the Iron Dragons – Awakening : The End…???

Joining the others around the altar, whereupon is bound a woman in green robes is bound, a great tome to one side, Inquisitor de Salis ascends the dais. A chant begins. Slowly, at first, building in crescendo and fervor the chant builds. He holds up his hands and cries out,

“Where the stones have been set up thou shalt call out to Shub- Niggurath, and unto he that knoweth the signs and uttereth the words all earthly pleasures shall be granted.”

* * * *

“The sun has entereth the Sign of the Ram and the time of night is upon us. De Salis turned to the North wind and read aloud:

Iah ! SHUB-NIGGURATH !

Great Black Goat of the Woods,

I Call Thee forth !

 

As one the crowd kneels.

Answer the cry of thy servant who knoweth the words of power!

(my right hand raises in a strange gesture I know to be the Voorish sign)

Rise up I say from thy slumbers and come forth with a thousand more!

(my left hand now raises in a strange gesture I know to be the sign of Kish)

I make the signs,

I speak the words that openeth the door!

Come forth I say,

I turn the Key,

Now ! walk the Earth once more !

The Inquisitor cast the perfumes upon the coals, a putrid smoke now arising from the altar and he traces a sigil in the air and pronounces the words of power:

ZARIATNATMIX, JANNA, ETITNAMUS,

HAYRAS, FABELLERON, FUBENTRONTY,

BRAZO, TABRASOL, NISA,

VARF-SHUB-NIGGURATH ! GABOTS MEMBROT !

And then the Black one came forth and the thousand Horned Ones who howl shall rose up from the Earth. And thou shalt hold before them the talisman of Yhe upon which they shall bow to thy power and answer thy demands.

And before did indeed appear Shub-Niggurath. Standing there legs astride the altar looking down as Inquisitor de Salis plunged an obsidian blade deep into the womans chest tied down upon the altar. As her life force visibly rose from her body to join the incense already polluting the foul air, Shub-Niggurath spoke.

There is another you must awaken this night and your time grows short. Take this image of the last Old One and go now, do as it is foretold.

Turning with the crowd, (had there been so many in our expedition?), we headed out a great archway toward the cliffs looking over the oceans.

Standing at the cliffs edge, Inquisitor de Salis turns and began to speak again. Again the chant grew, more powerful, stronger than before..

 

Ia!! Ia!! Cthulu Phatagn! Ia!! Ia!! Cthulu Phatagn! Ia!! Ia!! Cthulu Phatagn!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh Wgah’nagl fhtan.

 

After the third chorus of the chant, all was silent. The Inquisitor began to speak,

‘In His House at R’lyeh Dead Cthulhu waits dreaming, yet He shall rise and His kingdom shall cover the Earth.

And He shall come unto you in sleep and show His sign with which ye shall unlock the secrets of the deep.’

O Thou that lieth dead but ever dreameth,

Hear, Thy servant calleth Thee.

Hear me O mighty Cthulhu! 

Hear me Lord of Dreams !

In Thy tower at R’lyeh They have sealed ye,

but Dagon shall break Thy accursed bonds,

and Thy Kingdom shall rise once more.

The Deep Ones knoweth Thy secret Name,

The Hydra knoweth Thy lair;

Give forth Thy sign that I may know

Thy will upon the Earth.

When death dies, Thy time shall be,

and Thou shalt sleep no more; Grant me the power to still the waves,

that I may hear Thy Call.

 

After repeating this incantation three times, Inquisitor de Salis lifted the statue of the winged creature, (where had I seen it before), and threw it over the cliffs into the waves below, saying as he did, ‘In His House at R’lyeh Dead Cthulhu waits dreaming, yet He shall rise and His kingdom shall cover the Earth.’

Shortly afterward, the waters began to boil, the seas exploded upward, and there he was, towering over the cliffs, glistening by the light of the gibbous moon. Cthulhu! He did exist. Many within our number swooned, or fell dead, I know not which, nor did I care. All that mattered was he was here.

Then a abruptly a pain, a terrible, blinding pain erupted behind my eyes, and I knew. I knew this was the beginning. We did not have the power needed to release him from R’lyeh, but we had enough he could communicate with us gloriously in our dreams.

We must go out, bring the other races under his calling, for it will take many minds to bring him back to our materium. Since he has powers of the warp we cannot even imagine, he can aid us. He sees now there are powers within the warp which were not intended, but he can use them. He can imbue our force with the power of any warp faction. For now, our directive is clear. Take Cthulhu Crusade to the stars. Seek the power to release him from R’lyeh.

*****

Awakening as the morning revel is sounded I am drenched in sweat. The sides of my cot still have impressions of my fingers and I have a headache. I hope there is coffee.

 

 

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

Stories of the Iron Dragons – Awakening Pt. 4

Entering, the interior is cavernous, larger than many of the hive cities on other worlds. As we bring in light sources and the cavern is lit, surprised to see many buildings through out the expanse. Central to all of these is a building of apparently the same greenish-black stone as the temple itself. Shaped as a Ziggurat it towers over the other buildings.

These other buildings are not of the same design, not even the same races! Here there are the graceful lines of the Slynar, there are some which if they were not so neatly organized, I would swear are Oruk barracks, clean efficient Mechronter, and dwellings which may have come from any period on Earth, and many styles which could not be named.

After hours of collecting data, trying to find common thread between the runes, it was time to rest. During this time, I know not where the Inquisitor or his Augur had gone, but on my way back to camp they came walking out of the jungles.

Neither offered any information and it is not wise to question the ways of The Inquisition, so we continued back in silence.

Reviewing the runes I am finding much that is exciting. I dare not, I shall not, hope that we may have found a last stronghold of the Old Ones. If I read some these runes right at first impression, they tell the story of the Old Ones. Genetically manipulating and bring into being many of the races we know today. Even, hints at things never dreamt in our imaginations.

After creating many races, even with their great wisdom and foresight, an unheralded event in Galactic history occurred. This unforeseen side effect of the Old Ones began to manifest as the Young Races’ growing pains disturbed the Warp. With this formless energy coalescing older warp entities become predatory and the Empyrean became a more hostile environment. From cracks in reality, the denizens of the warp sought entry into the material universe. From this beginning, all of Chaos was formed.

Legends hinting at some of this continue to be sung by the Slynar on the homeworld Jeilur, but compared to what has been learned here in only a few hours, they are as children’s tales. But if these tales be true, perhaps it is true one yet survives?

So many races who were shaped by the Old Ones and set into their eventual destinies, all described here.

The Mechronter wanted to immortality from them, but were denied, pushing them to form an alliance with the Yith. The Slynar race, were taught and shown the ways of the warp. Teaching them to use the warp portals, and their excesses in search of experiences, gave birth to the chaos god Sleakesh. Kroruks, (possibly devolved into the Oruks we know today), as living weapons from spores, complete with the knowledge of weapons and battle needed to fight the wars with the Yith.

Having not even scratched the surface and to have this much knowledge, what things will we learn here?

I go to sleep, my mind abuzz at the wonders awaiting us all.

 

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

Stories if the Iron Dragons – Awakening Pt. 3

Now, approaching the area it comes into view. A coastline of mingled mud, ooze, and weedy cyclopean masonry surrounds the nightmare corpse-city. The city built in measureless aeons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars.

As the city resolves itself into sight it is seen as a vista of vast angles and stone surfaces – surfaces too great to belong to anything right or proper for mortal beings. Our pilots found landing space in the great plaza. On our approach the temple dominated the landscape. What has looked black from the air and recon photos had a greenish sheen to it, possibly the result of the slime and molds that covered everything. The great temple, those greenish stone blocks, the dizzying height of the great carven monolith, and the stupefying identity of the colossal statues and bas-reliefs commanded awe from human onlookers.

The geometry is abnormal, non-Euclidean, and loathsomely redolent of spheres and dimensions apart from ours. The taint of the warp so prevalent on this planet is almost palpable in this tomb city of a forgotten race. So much, the Inquisitors’ Augur was almost glowing with it as he jewels sought to contain and bleed it off.

We began our investigations at the largest of the buildings while the guardsmen set up our camp. Exploring the perimeter of the ruin the walls are covered in reliefs. When seen close many bas-reliefs of different species and life forms. Perhaps this was a central complex for an interstellar religion. Many reliefs appear to show scenes studying the stars. These scenes showed astrology and astronomy blended into an arcane science. A great number of runes appear to be similar to versions used by a variety of races.

Between the runes and the reliefs it appears the builders thought themselves teachers, perhaps mentors, to some of the other races.

One such relief shows a winged figure with a barbed tail, crouching upon a platform. Its head reminiscent of a cephalopod or perhaps some sort of Xristox, some of the runes surrounding it are similar in appearance to those used by the Slynar and of all races, the Mechons.

A cry in the distance at the edge of the temple brings me back to our group. It seems some of the group found a stone plinth could be moved revealing an opening into the temple.

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

Stories of the Iron Dragons – Awakening Pt. 2

Tezcatlipoca smiled.

 Had there been any to see, it would be enough to tear the final wisps of sanity from any lesser being. During the long search for the shards of his broken crystal staff, the scribes found something even he had not expected.

 An Old One; one who did not die in the war with the Yith but was found sleeping in the dimension known as R’lyeh. It took tremendous and complex manipulations pulling together the demons to salvage those tokens which would release the Great Old One, Cthulhu, from his slumbers. Even now, the humans speed their way toward the magnificent basalt city in the materium where the gateways lay waiting.

 With the claw of one gnarled finger, Tezcatlipoca reached out and drew aside strands of the veil separating realities to enjoy this moment of time.

“My excitement is intense and building. Finally, after weeks of delay we are embarked upon the Iron Dragons Helleater en route to this mysterious city in the Southern Hemisphere of this planet. Accompanying us are the Arkham Confederates in a Capybara. Seems the delay was a result of consternation by the Inquisitor, not something one wishes to be the focus of, regarding an apparently large number of defectors. Rumors swirled they had taken to the jungles of this strange world based upon dreams of service, power and immortality. Inquisitor de Salis was quite wroth at hearing this and spent days interrogating the Arkham Confederates and inhabitants of the Hive City, Innsmouth.

Seems he did root out the corruption; for finally one broke, somehow his dying words echoing throughout the city, ‘Ia! Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!’, and with that eerie cry, many hundreds fell dead. The remembrance of the event is enough in itself to run my blood cold as icy talons of death caress my spine.