December 4, 2023

Ithagnal

Table of Contents

Ithagnal is the Elder God of the Netherworld.

Ithagnal is cruel and merciless. She reigns over dark, shadowy labyrinths, meant to imprison those foolish enough to trespass. But even worse than a prison for the body, Ithagnal wants most to create a prison of the mind. The labyrinths are filled with twisting hallways and vicious traps, all designed to wear down the trespassers and flay their minds. Ultimately, their minds reflect the labyrinths, and they become lost in madness. 
Ithagnal is a creature with massive, spider-like legs that allow her to travel at great speeds. The walls of her labyrinths allow her to suspend herself and quickly maneuver the treacherous mazes. Where she should have a face, she possesses only a gaping maw with savage teeth. 
 
Only the mad and disturbed are able to seek out  Ithagnal and find their way to her labyrinths. There they are stretched thin and become twisted shades of their new lord. They sprout long legs or powerful tentacles that propel them at great speeds. Vicious jaws jut out from their faces, and their hands are replaced with sharp, bloody claws. Like their master, even the sight of them is enough to inspire madness.
 

Ithagnal exists to torture, maim, and destroy the minds of all living things. Stable minds and strong wills appall her, and she seeks to break these the most. While only the mad seek her out, she often kidnaps or tricks the worthy or strong-willed into entering her labyrinths, and forces them to pass a gauntlet of torture mechanisms, traps, and hideous monsters. She takes pleasure in their suffering and anguish, and if they break and go mad, she takes them into her fold.  

She does have a secret goal, however. Long ago she entered a great labyrinth to reach its center and claim the prize that hid within, a looking glass that is said to allow the holder to look into any mind and break it, even those of the Elder Gods. Only she failed. She was never able to find her way, and has spent eons searching. The hopelessness of her search flayed her mind and decayed her body, turning her into a sadistic, single-minded monster.
She currently possesses the Rune of Hell Magic. 
 
The Netherworld
The Netherworld is home to many denizens and minions of Ithagnal.

Lore Scrolls #

“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!”

“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…”

“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.”

“…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…”

“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!”

“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!”

“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.”

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