Friday, July 11, 2014

Sickly, Yellow Phantoms

Boxer's wrath, shamelessness of Fauns, you whose genius
Showed to us the beauty in a villain,
Great heart filled with pride, sickly, yellow man,
Puget, melancholy emperor of galley slaves...

Fleurs du Mal,
Chucky Baudelaire

Sickly, Yellow Phantoms
(A.K.A. Melancholy Emperors, Shamewraiths, Monument-Minders)

The ironic hoots of these forlorn phantoms echo about the Jumbles, but can be heard at times from the ruins surrounding the White Sphinx, or from within the Burned Over Districts or deep in the Baffles. They haunt desecrated reliquaries, looted ossuaries, plunder crypts and the shattered and battered monuments of long gone and forgotten tyrants, despots and other civic-minded and legacy-minded rulers and potentates. to some they are a reminder of inconvenient truths and the inconstancy of politics. To others they are a lingering vestige of the slowly intrusive horrors visited upon Wermspittle by the cold, unsympathetic fungal intellects of Yellowholm.

Hooded, shrouded or robed, wearing elegant leather gloves they have made from the skins of their ancient enemies, these sickly, yellow phantoms rarely leave their beloved ruins where they brood over omens and portents of days long past. They keep a record of ancient prophecies. They maintain the hoary traditions of soothsayers and other prescient scoundrels everyone else has forgotten. They preserve the secrets, keep the mysteries, hoard the lore, observe the forms and defend the Sybelline Grottoes where they tend the inscribed leaves of plants that know too much.

No one is certain whether they are truly undead or merely some form of parasitical fungi, or something else entirely. For a price, a small sacrifice, they will perform any of a hundred or more forms of divination for you. But it will take a great deal to get them to break their sullen silence, to utter more than a few strange hoots or warbling gurgles, ironic or otherwise. They will show you the results, but they never interpret the spectral evidence they provide, never explain; to them the answers are always self-evident.

They tolerate the momentary presence of those who approach them out of respect and will render such results as they may according to the merit of the offering and the whims of the particular phantom.

However, when provoked they breathe forth their notorious yellow flames that inflict slow-healing burns that are prone to vicious fungal infections, or they will employ one of the Six Yellow Signs, or use some ancient and obscure spell only to be found within the yellow pages of the psychotropic grimoires these beings are said to grow like mushrooms in dark, deserted places known only to them. For a suitable price they will allow those they deem worthy to study certain of these living grimoires. The spells made available in this fashion are strange and sometimes wonderful, often terrible. Some do not survive the process of transmission. A few are reduced to gibbering wrecks or shapeless masses of spore-ridden ooze. But for those who succeed, who survive, there is power to be had; and in the end that is all that matters to some.

And shadowed on a screen, I saw hooded forms amidst ruins, and yellow evil faces peering from behind fallen monuments...

H. P. Lovecraft

Sinspiration: Les Fleurs du Mal/Flowers of Evil by Little Chucky Baudelaire, Maldoror by Comte De Lautremont, and of course, Nyarlathotep by HPL, the poem, not the entity...oh wait...

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