Ithagnal Lore Scroll 1

“Excerpts from the Notes of Arthur Balaji, Linguist and Cryptographer

For months I’ve struggled to translate the documents provided me by Mister Pomeroy. Now that I’ve finally determined how, I nearly wish I hadn’t. Either someone is playing an unamusing prank, I have stumbled across a mathematically impossible coincidence, or something is at work I cannot rationally explain.

It’s a book cipher, this code. And although these documents are ancient, flaking at every touch, the code key is my own Techniques of Modern Cryptography, volume 3—published only two years ago!”

Ithagnal Lore Scroll 2

“Even knowing the key, segments of these documents are proving far harder to decode than others. They use different languages, peculiar diagrams that irritate the eye… Thus far, I have pieced together only individual phrases.

“…tenebrous caverns, where stands the Web-Shrouded Chair…”

“…who gleefully become speakers of sacred lies, keepers of [unnecessary? unimportant?] secrets.”

“…there dwells, face smeared with the [Crown? Veil?] of Dust, the Minister of Doubt, who is midwife to falsehoods.”

It seems the writers wanted these peculiar titles to be more easily interpreted than the rest.

Surely this is a hoax, and yet I must know more…”

Ithagnal Lore Scroll 3

“Much of it eludes me. But I’ve found a name in the diagrams!

“The Crawler in Dusk.” Ithagnal.

Head splitting, has for days. That diagram … dizzying. But I beat it.

This Ithagnal seems a thing of worship to these “speakers of lies,” this Minister of Doubt. They’re some sort of cult. Nonsensical, yet … this feels real. Like a distant memory.

Haven’t been to see Mother this week. Well, she’s not an invalid yet. She’ll bang on the neighbors’ door if she’s hungry. I’ve work to do.”

Ithagnal Lore Scroll 4

““…dwellers in the furthest reaches, who had as many limbs as the vermin that crawl, but who walked upright and whose vile tongues had learned speech. And they brought those who would become humanity before the Web-Shrouded Chair. They were taught of Ithagnal, The Solver, but their eyes were put out, that they might never see a truth to counter the sacred lies.”

Clearly this must be parable. Never have there been any such creatures!

They sound like spiders. I hate spiders.

I swear something is watching me as I write this…”

Ithagnal Lore Scroll 5

“Collapsed on the worktable. Must record the dream before it fades.

Saw … almost-people. Silhouettes, twitching forms stumbling through a claustrophobic maze. Its walls were rigid here, fleshy there, but everywhere wet with corrosive, mucoidal sludge. I somehow understood the runes in its folds and edges, but they consisted only of false directions and poetic oxymorons. Paths led into each other, into themselves, like a toxic mockery of grey matter.

Through all crawled Ithagnal, his followers like flies in a web-work, fueling his search for an exit from the labyrinth!

This work is getting to me. But I cannot stop now!”

Ithagnal Lore Scroll 6

“Someone’s gotten into my notes! Papers have been moved. Worse than moved: altered!

My dream of Ithagnal’s labyrinth, his skittering cultists, his endless search for the maze’s end, all of it. It’s in my notes, in my hand! And not today’s, but last week’s! How did I record the ghastly vision before I dreamt it?

I’ve barricaded the door and blocked the window with bookcases. Yet I still feel unsafe. If only I would stop seeing that movement, those glints from between the floorboards…

This is madness! Ithagnal is not real!”

Ithagnal Lore Scroll 7

“I’ve read too much. They know. Nobody must know I’ve seen these documents, let alone decoded them.

Mister Pomeroy must be first. It shouldn’t prove difficult. He’s a small man, without family. I pray that anyone else he’s told of me is equally alone. I’ll try to make it swift.

The “Minister of Doubt” would probably approve. Murder for a secret. But this is my life!

And it’s only for this extreme circumstance. I’m not like them!

I’m not.”