Leviathan

“Leviathan” by Jamie Jones.

Pictonaut challenge story in five parts – a prose intro, a runic code puzzle, an extract from an archaeological fragment, notes from a theatre critic and a final testament.

PART I

Thundercloud horizons had called and compelled them to come to this coast. Beneath heavens black and bleak the earth quaked and the ocean boiled, waves breaking upon hell-weathered rocks. Across soaked sable stones the pair inched closer to the edge. Before them loomed the unfathomable: the immense and awe-inspiring that, for most, only existed in the imagination or in the crude verisimilitudinous icons of the temple shrines.

Cracking the sea and cursing the sky, the leviathan raged before them, impossible but all too visceral to be delusion. The elements whirled around its obdurate mighty will. An all-powerful god risen from the depths: an immense colossal monstrosity writhing in primal agony.

The two priests stood firm in the face of abject fear. Enormous sweeping tentacles splashed water, spraying briny foam and titanic teardrops of spittle everywhere. Their bones trembled, skin singed and inner organs shook to resonant pounding reverberations that deafened and disturbed. The abstruse entity before them made no sense in this world and was too big to be contained by it. Yet it had bellowed out and demanded their presence here on the noisome nexus of Earthly civilisation and the aethereal elements greater than the matter of this mortal realm.

Finally summoning up courage to speak, the elder priest stepped forward and looked up at the chthonic titan. Howling against the elements, he cried out in an ancient arcane tongue: “CHAIĬKUL FNAHM’ETAH! ǛL BA’HM LI’RŘHA!”

The almighty being appeared to understand and acknowledge the meek humans in attendance on the shore. They looked at each other: a moment of hesitancy as they realised they held the attention of a god.

We beeseech you… enlighten us and reveal your will andthe  reason for calling upon us, your humble earthly subjects,” the leading wanderer quietly croaked aside, turning the phrases over in his mouth as he nervously sought for the correct translation. He closed his eyes, turned to face the frightening flailing giant upon the waves and screamed out “MYÄAH GIFP’LOȮHM DIVI! LAH’FKA! SHY’AȂHM KU’HLP O FHRǗU’UL KTH’ARAH DH’KǗUP’TH MORA PH’GǗUR SPHTAȆYA!”

It responded. In terrible sonorous booming it spoke out soul-shattering sounds that struck hard, splintering their pith and marrow, choked them at the very core of their being. Burning, brazen signals abhorrent and unnatural written into the minds of the men who stood before the sea at the end of their world. The truth was told to them: the message received.

The god had revealed what was coming. Shaking with fear and confusion beneath darkening skies lashed with thunder cracks and torched by lightning sparks, the priests dropped to their knees, overwhelmed and overcome.

By the gods…” whispered the priest as wrathful, riled tentacles swooped and splashed overhead. “By the gods… it can’t be true. It can’t be…

But as he lifted his gaze and looked up into the mass of primordial fury he realised that it was true. The Leviathan was scared. The Leviathan was all too aware of the coming climax. The priest raised hands to the air and prayed against an inevitable catacylsm, desperately yelling at the despairing shape of doom. “By the gods… BY THE GODS!

PART II

The message received according to Archon-Priest Kro’rm Pthai, translated and transcribed into runic form corresponding to the common alphabet.

For reference, the runic code…

PART III

Extracted fragment translated from stone stele retrieved from the Lea’krohs Citadel archaeological dig site. The academic consensus is that the stele will have been on prominent display outside the city’s central acropolis where it could be seen by the mass populace. Votive sculptures of the lesser gods, fresco fragments with vulgar graffiti and stele providing street directions were found near the recovered artefact in question – all of which supports the supposition.

More research and critical study is required to acquire a more enlightened understanding of the artefact and its purpose in addition to its significance. Some sections of text are either missing or illegible due to damage (perhaps vandalism alongside the expected erosion over time). The stele – which has been labelled as ‘the Citadel Cataclysm Stele’ – reads as follows:

[…] THE COMING OF A GREAT DEATH WAS IN TURN FOLLOWED BY […] BIRTH. WE WORSHIP G’ILD AND THE BLESSED DIVINE CONSORT. RULERS OF HEAVEN, WE REVERE AND UPHOLD […] RISING OVER THE DARK AGES AND DOMINIONS OF THE ANCIENT TITANS. FOR THE CATACLYSYM WE GIVE THANKS AND PRAISE. THOSE WHO HAIL DEAD GODS OF THE DARK PROFANE THE NAME OF G’ILD AND DISPLEASE THE BLESSED DIVINE CONSORT. MORTAL PUNISHMENT WILL BE MET UPON […] HERETICAL […] OF WILL. THEY SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS AND BE DAMNED TO THE BYGONE PAST. FOR THE AGE OF GLORY AND DELIVERANCE FROM THE TERROR DESTROYED BY THE GREAT DEATH, WE PRAISE THE SACRED NAME OF G’ILD AND BESTOW ETERNAL THANKS ON THE BLESSED DIVINE CONSORT. DOOMED AT THOSE THAT OFFEND THE CONSORT. PRAISE G’ILD, BRINGER OF LIGHT […] ANCIENT AGES OF DARKNESS ENDED IN CATACLYSM. PRAISE THE BLESSED DIVINE CONSORT […]

PART IV

PART V

THE TESTAMENT OF ELLIS D. QUAYE

I, Ellis D. Quaye, leave these words as my final testament. I wish it were not so but I can no longer stand the torment and see no escape from the horror except in the ending my own life. I am sorry that it has come to this but I cannot continue knowing what I know and what lies in store for the Earth.

I have no family but I feel that it is my duty to provide a record for wider humanity. Those I have discussed my experiences with have laughed off my warnings or dismissed me as yet another delusional doomsday prophet.

Previously I would have taken a similar standpoint and joined them in denouncing irrational paranoia and superstition but all that has changed now. I have seen too much, heard and felt the presence of the terrifying primeval force. It has possessed me and shown me the absolute truth, smashing my scepticism and any doubts I had clung to in hopeful desperation. We are doomed. Another cataclysm of cosmic magnitude is coming and the species of Earth will crawl before the resurrected might of rising, wrathful ancient gods.

At first I was only mildly troubled by bad dreams. Fleeting nightmares of thunderstorms and ominous dark skies over lightning-ravaged coastlines bothered me but did not bear upon my day-to-day waking life. They were eerie intermittent half-nothings that caused me some unease in the early autumn months but that was all.

Soon however the dreams got worse and my sleep became more fitful and uncomfortable. As days passed I rapidly plummeted into erratic patterns of anxiety, regularly startled from my unconscious wanderings soaked in sweat, compelled to scream like a child and vomit when the trapped air had exploded out of my throat.

The visions became longer and more lucid and violently disturbing. Images of lashing tentacles lacerated my mind and stung my memory so that my waking hours were fraught with terrifying flashbacks. Short nightmares grew into prolonged torture as I found myself standing before raging oceans, eye-to-eye with a chthonic titan, awe-inspiring and abominable at the same time. To witness it was to be made sick – an unfathomable epic nausea ate away at my soul and suffocated my spirit. Doom had come to me, creeping into my dreams and claiming my mind.

The horror was overwhelming and I began to fear sleep. I would spend the October evenings drowning myself in coffee in the hope that I could stave off drowsiness, trying to trick my body so that I wouldn’t succumb to inevitable slumber. Fragile and weakened by the mental strain wrought by the awful premonitions, I failed time and time again. Night by night the noisome atrocities arrived and I was helpless beneath the power of something subconscious, beyond the control of my physical agency and rational powers.

It was in early November when the great thing first started communicating with me. Its wild, rolling ululations announced its triumphant return and told me of how it and its kin were coming to reclaim their rightful place. I sought to shut off the voice – though it was nothing like a human voice – in both my sleep and in my waking life though it was a futile endeavour.

I heard the booming and thunder roar and saw colossal scaly shapes everywhere I went. Those I tried to confide in called them mere figments of my imagination and urged me to get more sleep. Attempts to distract myself from the inner distress and reassure myself that they were all hallucinations came to nought. All my exertions were in vain and by December I was ravaged by sleep deprivation and despair at the content of my visions.

Those visions have told me of the terror that will come to pass. I’ve stood on the blackened scarred stone shores at the crack of oblivion. I’ve borne witness with the ghosts of ancient priests bowed down before the might of the primordial leviathan. Forces beyond our humble comprehension – the forgotten gods of a far ancient order – are ascendant.

What was dead and destroyed now revived. Harbingers of doom and devastating horrors beyond reason are rising once more to cause havoc and herald in a new dark age. Their strength renewed, they are unstoppable and all shall suffer and perish beneath their almighty will.

I have seen the truth. I now leave this cruel world with the knowledge of the cataclysm to come. I hope, for all your sakes, that I am wrong.

Ellis D. Quaye

 

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