Mathematician, Adventurer, Heretic
– E. A. Poe
“I am restored! Whole once again, I cannot believe it! Now I must discover how best to safeguard my soul.”
Walter Derleth is a man who has regained his prime. Though he began this journey stooped by trials and with thinning, greying hair, some color and confidence have returned to him. Where he once wrung his hands and glanced about furtively, he now carries steeples his fingers and trusts in his own mind again. Where he went about hunched and shuffling, he now carries, rather than leans on, a staff. Where he used to float and bob in the air, unconscious of the battles around him as if possessed like a horrific marionette, he now exerts a mastery over the laws of the planes.
His face is set with wide, grey, bulging eyes and his neck is thick and fleshy, a look typical of Illmarsh in southern Ustalav. His hair, though thinning and grey, is long and his face is cleanly shaven. He carries himself well, but were it not for his raiment and the strange look in his eye, he would scarcely be looked at twice.
Walter dresses himself in far finer garb than the patchwork, professorial rags he wore after leaving the Pathfinders. He wears a dark cloak of pitch and violet over a coat of vibrant green (his favorite color). Dark breeches, high boots of soft leather, and fine gloves complete his attire.
About his waist and across his chest hang dark belts bearing an array of scrolls, pouches, potions, and wands, as well as half a dozen virtually unused weapons. These include a finely forged mace stamped with the mark of Harrowstone, an enchanted longsword taken from a vampire, and a curved katana that once belonged to the famed murderer Hirayama.
Also among his macabre regalia are a signet ring belonging to the Count of Vampires, a grim Moribund Key, a cracked mask of Razmir, several pages on the creation and control of flesh golems, and a folded ouija board.
“I understand more than almost anyone how the planes sit one atop another. I have almost disturbing experience with pulling back the layers to unleash what lies beneath.”
Walter Barnabas Derleth is an unassuming man under normal circumstances. His claims of having been a Pathfinder would likely be laughed off. The one detail lending credence to the idea is Walter’s obsessive curiosity. His desperate need to know as much as he can lands him in difficulty more often than it provides answers, but his extensive understanding has proved, at times, to be the key to survival.
Over time, Derleth has developed a sort of casualness with the laws of the Prime Material Plane. When threatened or agitated, he has taken to absentmindedly folding the subjective gravity of the Ethereal around himself, allowing him to drift and fly through the air with ease. He frequently bends space to traverse vast distances in a moment, bending two points of the world so he can step between. He wraps reality around him to protect himself from harm.
In combat, Walter will pull pack the layered Planes to release bursts of flame or create dramatic pressure differences to cause massive static discharges. He frantically calculates probabilities, consults the ancient Yamasan arts of Numerology, and figures angles and formulae to effect what he needs. Derleth has also shown a certain disregard for the morality of toying with the minds of others, though this tendency has diminished since he lost Jenkin.
“Who better to help me than an emissary of the Lady of Graves, herself? Who better than a dear friend with whom I can read and debate long into the night? I am glad indeed of Ayelsbury’s company!”
A nosoi psychopomp, Ayelsbury is a scribe of the goddess of death and fate. He ordinarily appears as a large black bird with a wingspan of nearly four feet and a plague doctor’s mask over where his face and beak should be, but prefers the form of a whippoorwill when not invisible. As the songbird, he is small, brown, and incessant in his singing out of the iconic cry. Whippoorwills are sacred to Pharasma and it is said that they stop calling when a soul departs the world.
Ayelsbury has known Walter since the man’s days as a Pathfinder. The psychopomp met the man in Osirion during an exploration of ancient tombs there. While the nosoi was there to safeguard the dead, his curiosity and love of lore lead the two to become fast friends. At the time, however, Walter was being stalked by the beast, Jenkin, and Ayelsbury was eventually forced to withdraw from the darkness and horror surrounding his friend.
When Walter freed himself from Jenkin and at last turned to Pharasma to protect his immortal soul, Ayelsbury came to the man’s aid against a dread Blood Knight. Afterward, and after escorting the doomed Walter back once more from the River of Souls, Ayelsbury agreed to bond with his friend, becoming his aide and familiar.
(Extracted from Walter’s Journals.)
Relationship with Mordren
Mordren is one of the fiercest people I know. There was a time I considered her my foe, but she has grown to be one of my closest friends. I would fear to stand on the wrong side of her axe.
Walter trusts Mordren with treasure
Walter believes Mordren can protect herself
Walter believes Mordren will protect him
Walter doesn’t trust Mordren with knowledge
Walter doesn’t trust Mordren’s judgement
Walter believes Mordren is helpful to him
Walter depends on Mordren for her combative abilities, but would feel alone without her.
Relationship with Bjorn
Bjorn continues to be stubborn and willfully ignorant. That said, he is capable in the extreme. If only I could direct him to see truth and not blindly follow his faith in what is good.
Walter trusts Bjorn with treasure
Walter believes Bjorn can protect himself
Walter believes Bjorn will protect him
Walter doesn’t trust Bjorn with knowledge
Walter doesn’t trust Bjorn’s judgement
Walter believes Bjorn is helpful to him
Walter depends on Bjorn for protection.
Relationship with Emelia
Emelia Kalderas is a fascinating subject. Devout, but divided from the church. Physically mute, but highly opinionated. Full of judgement and hate, but willing to do what is necessary regardless. I could almost count her a friend, but whatever she is, she is certainly useful.
Walter doesn’t trust Emelia with treasure
Walter believes Emelia can protect herself
Walter believes Emelia will protect him
Walter doesn’t trust Emelia with knowledge
Walter trusts Emelia’s judgement
Walter believes Emelia is helpful to him
Walter depends on Emelia for information and her ability to remove threats.
Relationship with Elk Runner
Her return is a blessing to the whole of Golarion. Although I fear some plot by A.A. and so will keep a close eye on my friend, I am thankful that her brilliance and ability have once again graced the world.
Walter doesn’t trust Elk Runner with treasure
Walter doesn’t believe Elk Runner can protect herself
Walter believes Elk Runner will protect him
Walter trusts Elk Runner with knowledge
Walter trusts Elk Runner’s judgement
Walter doesn’t believe Elk Runner is helpful to him
Walter considers Elk Runner his closest friend, ally, and colleague.
Feelings on Talathiel’s Disappearance
Talathiel may have been one of the greatest advantages we could have had in this mad crusade, but the threat to his family was too important to him. I cannot begrudge him this, given how significant he finds that bond. I abandoned my own family, twice. He abandoned the world for his. We were opposites in many ways, but I can find nothing in myself but respect for the elf. I hope he will keep Kendra safe.
Feelings on Elk Runner’s Death
Elk Runner was a woman of magnificence and intellect with an unfortunate sense of ego. She always believed herself right, a situation made worse by its validity, and it gave her a belief in her superiority as a guiding force. The fact of the matter is that she was brilliant, a great leader in a divided group, and an inspiration. Her passing from this world to the next occurred to early and is a great loss. Who knows what she might have wrought, given the time?
Feelings on Reiner’s Disappearance
The man was perhaps too full of himself and not aware enough of others and the world at large. Certainly he seemed to care little for consequence to anyone else. I sincerely hope the man survived his lone crusade against the orc horde, but I will never regret my decision to abandon him to his own hubris.
Feelings on Hirayama’s Death
There seems to have been no call for the mass murder of so many people. I can see a certain logic in his eyes to the killing of one, but not fourteen. No doubt his spirit has joined those others we must quiet in Harrowstone. His actions have caused me a great amount of unnecessary difficulty.
Feelings on Liam’s Death
A noble, if wasted death, but his sacrifice revealed more than a few fascinating secrets the man was holding. Perhaps I misjudged him in life. I may need to seek answers from him in his death.
(As described by Walter’s Journals)
Volume I – 4693 (13) through 4697 (17) with a gap extending slightly past either end of 4695, documenting life in Illmarsh and Walter’s youth, ending with the decision to enroll in university and the journey across Ustalav to Lepidstadt
Volume II – 4697 (17) through 4704 (24), begins with Walter’s acceptance into school and payment of tuition in a smuggled deep platinum crown. Sporadically describing Walter’s seven years enrolled in the University of Lepidstadt. Details and topics vary widely. It concludes with his graduation.
Volume III – 4705 (24) through 4707 (27), Walter’s brief return to Illmarsh and travels as far as Falcon’s Hallow in Andoran, making mention of Lake Encathan and the Isle of Terror, Kerse in Druma, the Five Kings Mountains (mainly Highhelm, Kovlar and Saggorak, and the roads toward Falcon’s Hollow). The journal includes Walter’s studies on dwarven culture and draws what will be an important connection between Tar -Kazmukh and Tar -Baphon. The second half chronicles Walter’s year-long stay in Falcon’s Hollow and expeditions into the dwarven ruins there.
Volume IV – 4707 (27) through 4708 (29), Walter’s wanderings across Andoran and voyage to Absalom as well as admittance to the Pathfinder Society and exploration of that city. It also records his first several (minor) assignments with the Pathfinders.
Volume V – 4708 (29) through 4709 (30), a one year mission and his first significant task from the Society, Walter is sent with a team to survey ancient Osirion ruins. Research will take him briefly over to Jalmeray to investigate links to a dungeon there. Encounters with traps and enchantments lead Walter to begin to question the life expectancy of most Pathfinders. Other hints appear, as Walter also mentions some odd fears and delusions.
Volume VI – 4709 (30) through 4711 (31), another important assignment as a Pathfinder takes Walter into Rahadoum and even the Sodden Lands investigating ancient Azlanti architecture. More than once will the man have to escape after exchanges with the Rahadoumi because of offhand comments or questions. Ends with a return to Absalom and Walter questioning his own mental health, as his condition has progressed to full-blown paranoia.
Volume VII (thrown into Encarthan) – 4711 (31) through 4713 (33) documents Walter’s sabbatical from the Pathfinder Society and disastrous return. A long silence interrupts the journal, although a number of pages are filled with incomprehensible scrawls and notes. When it resumes, rambling speculation concerns musings and possible events of Walter’s lost year. The final leaves contain mad research notes and a terrible admonishment, followed by the conclusion to ensure the book is never found.
Volume VII (VIII) – 4713 (33), begins with a rushed and vague recap of Walter’s withdrawal from the Pathfinders and some speculation as to what may have occurred between 4711 and 4713, all guarded with a cryptic warnings about not digging too deeply into things best left unknown. It then continues with trip to Ravengro to attend the funeral of his late friend and teacher, recounting the events that follow. Hirayama’s massacre is treated with extreme vitriol, but thereafter the tone of the journals takes a darker turn. Walter reveals his growing witchcraft and quest for the power to regain the soul he becomes convinced he has lost, embracing the magic Jenkin provides. The book describes Harrowstone prison and the haunting events surrounding it and Ravengro Walter encountered, then goes on to recount Walter’s journey with companions back to Lepidstadt. There they encounter the Order of the Pallantine Eye and defend and liberate a flesh golem. Walter and his allies continue on to discover deep secrets about Schloss Caromac and it’s lord. The journal ends with a truly disturbing account about a haunted house in which, among other horrific events, the spirit of Heam Farramin is once again revived.
Volume VIII (IX) – Continuing 4713, this journal describes Walter’s journey through the haunted forest and long road back to Illmarsh. More disjointed and confused than any volume since the discarded seventh, the book nonetheless holds a number of hugely significant details. Of particular note are Walter’s repeated encounters with the goddess Desna, his own bout of insanity, the multiple separations from and eventual destruction of the beast named Jenkin, Walter’s purpose as a vessel, the summoning of an elder god off the coast of what was Illmarsh, and the discovery of an undead army threatening the whole of Ustalav and possibly Golarion lead by the secret cult known as the Whispering Way. Because the man succumbs to schizophrenia after finding religion, renouncing it again, and dying repeatedly throughout this one volume, the language is overall confused, but profound and terribly clear when detailing the events listed above. Many pages are incomprehensible or filled with what can only be described as madness set to paper. Making note of a flight to Caliphas in pursuit of the Way, the book ends abruptly after the destruction of Illmarsh with nearly one third of the pages left blank.
Volume IX (X) – Still continuing 4713, Walter is currently documenting the ongoing pursuit of the Way alongside his companions.
Journal of Walter B. Derleth, Volume VII
As you read through this account, you may at points think me mad. I cannot, in fairness, dispute this. I myself awake each morning hoping to find myself in some temple bed, cared for by priests and with the past years of my life nothing but the dream of a breaking fever. Yet never have my settings changed this way and each morning, just as the despair of that lost hope settles on my shoulders like a leaded coat, the beast appears again to mock me. The evidence is incontrovertible. My life is real and what here follows is truth.
My childhood was not unusual. Certainly, I have always been an obsessive sort, but that was as far from the norms of most minds as mine ever strayed in youth. I was born and grew up in Illmarsh, in the part of Ustalav known as Versex. The town is not large, and the buildings do indeed tend towards dilapidation and flooding, but a good amount of trade comes in from the Avalon Bay of Lake Encarthan. I confess the people there are somewhat insular from what I’ve seen of the rest of the world, but the omnipresent abundance of fish there means that hardship is indeed rare. Exactly what the source of that bounty is, regardless of trends in other parts, is known to few, even in Illmarsh. We of Avistan who dwell east of Nirmathas think ourselves safe because the waters we draw from are not of the ocean, but I have seen secret whisperings in the dead of night between the fishermen of Illmarsh and strange men who arrived from the Lake but brought no boats.
Perhaps it was the private nature of my hometown that prevented me from ever truly getting along with people. In their absence, my focus turned to the books my parents collected. I readily devoured all that was put to paper through ink and spent much of my youth attempting to become an author, emulating the style of Ailson Kindler as best I could. Though you who read this may think it a boast, my work was more than passing with one crippling flaw that kept me from that career. I could never get the romances quite right. Instead, my path in life lead through a different sort of book and I found myself at the University of Lepidstadt soon after my parents disappeared. Though I was young to enter the school, my mind has always been quick and sharp and I was accepted as something of a prodigy.
It was here that I found the truest home I have known in life. I consumed everything the professors there could offer me; history, philosophy, alchemy, theology, arcana, science, and mathematics. It was the ultimate that most interested me, in truth, though it was the last to capture my imagination and, with it, my obsession. It was the professor Lorrimor who showed me the intrigues of the language of numbers, that tongue which holds secret within it all the answers of the cosmos. Though it was never the professor’s main focus, of that I was sure, and yet he was able to instill in me a passion I could not quell and he was willing to work with me through the night in efforts to unravel the truth behind the veil that is our perception of this world. It was him, too, that suggested to me that which would establish my actual career. Knowing my love of knowledge and my desire to learn all that one could, he set me towards becoming one of the Pathfinder Society.
As influential as professor Lorrimor was on my life, he was only a part of my time in Lepidstadt. Another chief influence was what would inevitably set me on this terrible path I now find myself following, unable to turn my will from the darkness I see ahead. That thrice damned object which warped my way is a book.
In the library of Lepidstadt there is a vast collection of ancient tomes holding knowledge from long before the reign of the Whispering Tyrant, sometimes hinting at things from even before Earthfall. There is a copy of one work by the ancient Azghad I of distant Osirion, filled with dark things and faint lights whispered to him supposedly by the god of magic himself. There was once also a single volume of a book, skinned in darkly glistening leather and leafed with pages that turned to dust as they were read, kept in a dark and cobwebbed corner low on a shelf where few would ever find it. Curse my obsessive drives, for I did find that singular scripture and, worse, read every legible word of the account.
What this book held filled my mind even in the years when I journeyed south to Absalom. In that city of wonders, with buildings more polished than any I had seen and magic a more than common occurrence openly displayed without fear of stoning or crucifixion, I joined the Pathfinder Society as a resident mathematician and scholar, to be called on when the more adventurous souls needed the aid of one such as myself. In their employ, I enjoyed a relatively luxurious life. An impressive number of discoveries can be made in this world, for men are surprisingly wont to forget. My knowledge of formulae, architecture, and the planes beyond this one proved frequently valuable. Certainly there was danger in all that I learned. Most often, some band or another would have cleared the vaults and catacombs into which I was sent before ever I arrived, but occasionally some trap they had evaded or beast they had missed would make its good attempt on my life. Nevertheless, the risks were nearly always worth the reward in what I learned. My mind swelled with knowledge, surrounding the dark shadow which shrouded the words those crumbled pages had etched into my very soul.
I suspect that knowledge guided me in everything I did from the seat of my subconscious. The more ruins and runes I investigated around the Inner Sea, the more the book’s whispers twisted inside me. At night my dreams would be fraught with words and equations and I would wander the halls of deep dungeons of Golarion, returning in sleeping fantasy to places my waking mind had seen. Always in these meanderings I would be drawn to an area and the symbols of the tome would appear as shadows cast by strange angles and curves in the architecture and illumination. Always this occurrence was matched by a faint sound, as though from behind the stones of a wall, a scratching or slithering without a source. More than once I would wake drenched in terror’s sweat and entreat the Pathfinders with me to dig into the wall where my dreams had brought me, hunting the creature responsible for the nightmarish noise. Never was anything discovered beyond but solid rock and earth.
Here, perhaps, if not before, you may question my sanity. At the time I certainly wondered myself, but I entreat you to continue this account and you will see that I was not. These horrors were directed and myself compelled, though I knew it not. There was a shrouded will which haunts me still and I fear I may never escape. To call it a creature would be to suggest to you that it was some form of animal or beast, something that could be battled and perhaps slain, ending my torment. That would be folly. I cannot name the monstrous being that enslaves me even now, but I can tell you its power is beyond conception and it is impossibly old, as old as the world itself, if not older. Even now it is a struggle to hint this much, to give this warning. Be afraid. There are things here, in this world, now and always. Dark, terrible things with memories as long as time and a hatred as deep as the tunnels beneath the earth. Things we cannot escape, even through death.
Fearing myself that my mind was lost, perhaps because of the stress and risks of the Society, I removed myself from service for a time, hoping to rest and recover. Yet my sleep was as troubled as ever, perhaps even more so, and I found my dreams carrying me from my apartments out to explore the island of Absalom, again following singularities in the architecture or geography or shadow. What made these worse was movement that seemed to accompany me or at times guide me as I explored. Some beast explored the island with me and my imagination called up all manner of horrific fantasies for what might be lurking just out of sight. On more than one occasion I tried to capture or elude my dreamed pursuer. I would turn my mind’s meanderings into dead end alleys and in the dream turn suddenly to confront whatever shape might follow me there. Never once was I able, though, to catch a glimpse of the truth of that creature. Never once until after that fateful night.
After months of this restless, sleeping torment, I grew desperate in my madness and even attempted to kill the thing haunting my dreams. Nightly I would form a plan as to how I might dispatch the half-seen unreal beast. Nightly the shape would vanish just before the implementation of my scheme and I would be thwarted. Then, at long last, an opportunity came. Despair had set in and I allowed the dreaming to take me where it would, the elusive beast flitting from darkness ahead of me and I pursuing, trodding mindlessly and oblivious amongst the night shadows of Absalom. Down through doors unknown to me the form led, beneath cellars and vaults, exploring unfamiliar depths each time I slept. It was on such a venture that I saw my chance. As a student of architecture and engineering, I found my waking consciousness examining what it had seen sleeping and analysis revealed a structural weakness in some of the passageways it had invented for my unconscious wandering. When next I dreamed, I seized upon this, waiting for my tormentor to dart near a wooden support, where concealing shadows fell. As quick as I could, I drew forth a vial of acid and threw it violently against the beam. I was already fleeing when the construction gave way and the passage collapsed behind me as I ran. I awoke the next morning in my bed with a feeling of triumph in my chest.
Flush with success and feeling refreshed, I returned to the Society. I concealed the insanity that had gripped me and invented a familial death to help explain why a Pathfinder’s burdens had cracked me so. It worked and within a fortnight I was called to investigate some strange glyphs found in a newly discovered catacomb. To my horror, I learned that these vaults had been discovered beneath the city of Absalom itself when some errant wanderer had somehow caused a portion of wall to collapse and revealed behind it a section of tunnel. I dared not ask if some monster’s corpse had been found beneath the rubble, as it would earn me only looks and questions, but I dreaded in my heart that perhaps the dreams were something more than madness, something far more sinister and terrifying.
Cautious, I allowed myself to be led down beneath the city, growing ever more fearful as our route became more and more familiar. My terrors were confirmed when we came upon the very tunnel I had collapsed and there, behind the wall I had brought down in attempt to destroy the beast, was a darkness leading deeper beneath the isle. A certainty seized me that it would descend down into an unknown depth and leading to horrors darker even than those that had tormented me from which would emerge the doom of Golarion. I felt the shadow that had fallen so long ago in my mind, that darkness which concealed forbidden knowledge gleaned from dusty tomes which should have never been read. In the depths of my imagination, I felt it stir and shift, seething with understanding of things that should not be. I fear I began even to mutter in the forgotten tongue of Aklo, an act which drew the stares of my guide and the guards posted down at the opening and quick excuse was required to prevent hasty judgement. I did not want them thinking my mind once again lost on my first foray back with the Society. This is true, but there was something blacker at work, too. The obsessiveness that had been a part of me since childhood compelled me, pushed me toward the darkness. I could not allow them to send me from it. I had to know!
It is curiosity which is the greatest folly of man. That sinister drive to risk all as though the consequences were insignificant just for a single piece of the puzzle that we might try and fit it into our world and in so doing discover yet more questions and unearth a deeper desire to know. It is the urging voice and the pressure on the back of our own minds pushing us towards the cliff’s edge even without another there to jokingly shove and mock a friend. There are things which should never be known, pieces of the puzzle that should never be fit for the picture they reveal is one of truth so profound and terrifyingly horrific that the mind must shatter itself in order to forget lest the mere recognition of the reality conjure forth that which lurks in darkness beyond the stars and between the worlds. Ia! Ia! Ftaghn -- Here several pages are torn out and lost. -
That madness of common human existence, that curiosity, drove me into tunnels I did not wish to see but needed to know. Two guards, Pathfinders both, a torch bearer, and a scribe accompanied me down into darkness. The catacombs proved an unparallelled find. Architecture unique and ancient even before Absalom and scripts even I did not recognize. Treasure troves of wealth, power, and knowledge lay beneath the city the Pathfinder Society called home. Everything they sought lay beneath their feet and had for longer than they had been exploring the world. I could not have been more delighted as I spent weeks virtually without seeing the sun or sky, cataloging and transcribing everything I could while underground and spending my nights deciphering arcane formulae and ancient languages. No more was my sleep troubled by strange dreams, if that’s what they could indeed have been called. I was filled with a sense of having found my life’s purpose and meaning and the work became all that was important.
It is the nature of the universe that no man be content for long and my life has rarely been a happy one. One evening I was late beneath the city, detained by familiar text which called to my mind’s shadow. I have a vague memory of the Pathfinders summoning me back to the surface, of the torch light guttering and casting the runes in illegible shadow, and of a shadow moving in above a pool behind me. The next thing I knew was darkness, a deafening roar as water closed over me, and a cold so deep that it felt as though my very soul might freeze.
Half a dozen long appendages seized me beneath those dark waters and I found myself paralyzed and entangled in their whip-like grip. Slowly in the darkness, too many glowing red eyes began to shine, staring through me with a malevolence as old as time.
Slowly, far more slowly than it would have were I not so possessed by fear, it dawned on me that I was not drowning. Some foul mucus had instead coated my body as the tentacles swept over it, creating a strange membrane through which air seemed to be being extracted from the water around me. I could feel the slime in my throat, filtering the water my body was reflexively swallowing. A bizarre sensation, but one which I had little time to ponder.
Instead, my mind was filled with an alien sensation. It was as though the creature in who’s grasp I was held had transposed itself in my brain. I felt as though I had been pushed up against the fringes and my own self crushed against the hard bone of my skull to make space for the awesome intelligence and ancient memory of the great thing before me. A voice thundered through me and images consumed me, but I was so diminished by the presence I could not make sense of them. Their power overwhelmed me and I sank into oblivion.
The time that followed even today remains a confused jumble, from which I cannot properly extract reality from imagination. I have twisted memories, as though seen through thick, swampy water or a dense, slimy fog. A cave deep beneath the waves. Being surrounded by dark robed figures. Chanting in a language that twisted the tongue into painfully unnatural shapes. Lying on a cold stone slab as a man raises a dagger, followed by a sharply clear memory of burning pain which quickly subsumes in blackness until a burning white light bursts through the void. A vast, shape against the stars or perhaps beneath the darkness of the water, a form my mind refuses to see. A strange cry torn from my throat and twisting up toward a full moon.
What is fact and what is fiction is as murky as the recollections themselves, but I found myself more than a year later standing on the end of a dock in my home town. A deep fear forbade me from looking behind, but I have the strangest worry that no ship lay moored behind me. Rather than dwell too much on a thing that would surely have fractured my exhausted wits, I took first one step forward and then another and another back into the streets of Illmarsh.
So long had I been gone that the folk with whom I was raised would no doubt have considered me an outsider. Already insular, such a fate would have meant open resentment or at best an active effort to avoid contact. I myself, was absorbed in my own inner turmoil, however, and paid no mind to the world around me until I found myself standing at the door to the home in which I was born.
My parents were only slightly more welcoming of me than the general population would have been but I was able to convince them to let me have my old room again. Technically an attic, the chamber inspired my present love of architecture and mathematics and I spent a deal of time in my youth studying its myriad strange angles and corners, fascinated by how the roof never quite reached the floor, how the walls created private nooks in which I could hide and read, and the manner in which the building seemed almost to be collapsing and yet was in fact well supported.
It was in this space that I conducted my research into the past I could not well remember and hints of secrets I discovered there were truly terrifying. I was eventually able to obtain copies of a number of dark, secret tomes, volumes too terrible to be mentioned here, books that brought at long last back to my mind that work I had read so many years ago in the shadowed library of Lepidstadt.
Call of Ktulu – Metallica
Rats in the Cellar – Aerosmith
Monsters of the Cosmos – Symphony of Science
Dragula – Rob Zombie
Obsessive Devotion – Epica
Can I Play with Madness – Iron Maiden
Save Me from Myself – Sirenia
Losing My Religion – Lacuna Coil (In part because they just dumped a bunch of cinematic clips from random video games)