Tuesday, 19 April 2011

AtoZ April - P is for Plenary of Polysyllables

P is for "putrescence" or "pandemonium" (Flynn) or "parallax" (Carter Soles).

"It's not the leering and winking of the moon I mind.
It's the sibilant whisperings underlying its blandishments..."

It is an open secret among the learned that the skies that whirl above the Wilds are full of secrets and strange wisdom mortal men are not fitted to know. But even among the sodality of squint-eyed sages and sleepless stargazers circulate stories of men who looked into the darkness too hard and too long.

Rumour speaks of deeper voids in the void of space where certain ill-omened stars shine either intermittently, or in colours visible only to those with correctly attuned sight. It is said (although said by exactly whom is disputed) that the flickering light of these unknown luminaries is hypnotic, and that extended study somehow conveys mind of the observer instruction from beyond the bounds of the world as we know it.

What is known for certain is that occasionally eminent astronomers disappear overnight; their notes destroyed or incomprehensible; their telescopes still fixed on empty areas of the night sky. Sometimes travellers matching - at least in some particulars - the descriptions of the missing men are seen traversing unsettled areas of the Wilds; at other times they are encountered lurking in the lowest stews and dives of the cities. None initiate communication and most shun human contact, but their repeated mumbling of a particular mantra ("Gli-oo-aff-cuff, gli-oo-aff-cuff, gli-oo-aff-cuff...") is noted.

Left untreated these unfortunates soon succumb to any one of a variety of misfortunes or infections. More than once a body garbed in academic robes has been found in some overlooked corner, seedbed to a fungal garden of unusual richness and variety. The fruiting bodies of these fungi are much sought after by the less squeamish among the wizardly fraternity.

Astronomer image from Cornell University Library Collection
Glyuathk'th is an original creation of 'Carcosa' Geoffrey McKinley.


  1. Gaze not into the abyss, eh?

  2. @Trey: "No. Do not be afraid. The whispering void is your friend. Keep looking. Keep looking..." :)


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