The God of Shadows
Prelude to the God of Shadows
Excerpt from unfinished transcript of lecture on "Forgotten History of the Human Species", prepared by historian Dr. Benjamin R. Breane (R.I.P.), never delivered:
Opening Comments (penciled in) I must thank, first and foremost, the University for its unwavering support of all my academic endeavors these years. Without their support, I might never have had the opportunity to bring to light some of histories greatest mysteries. But now, I must digress. As I step down from my position of nearly 50 years, I chose this special occasion to unveil to the world the greatest- and darkest- of all my discoveries.
Mistake me not- I am no philosopher. But allow me, dearest listeners, to share with you one observation which is the product of the many years I have spent restlessly studying the history of the civilized man. Let me share with you, if you will, the culmination of all my scholarly efforts in one sentence:
Since the dawn of the human species man has moved, albeit unknowingly, in the direction of what it believes to be perfection.
Allow me to explain. Despite war, famine, and disease, man has moved violently towards the completion of itself though the sciences, arts, philosophies, religions, languages, and other high arts and sciences. Each category of man's intelligence seeks to lead to the same goal, if only from different directions.
However, since the early days of the human species, many of the paths have been forgotten. Now, the human mind turns toward mainly toward fields such as science and psychiatry, rather than ritual and religion. We have found new ladders to climb, in other words, and made obsolete the ones of old. Other ladders, however, have simply been forgotten. What I wish to unveil today is once such forgotten ladder of completion.
Unbeknownst to us and forgotten as it is- and please do not walk out, but allow me, if only momentarily, the suspension of your doubt- there was once a time when men sought to perfect themselves through the manipulation of the Earth and the Heavens- the invocation of miracles and natural phenomena- and during this time the greatest of all manipulators were those who ruled the sacred city of Ampemia, a "city of Gods" and a center of commerce, ideas, socialization, and most of all magic. This place of unlimited wealth and power, where the very essence of the human soul was transformed, now sleeps forgotten beneath layers of overgrowth. None can say precisely when, in Earth's great history, Ampemia stood.
Ampemia has risen from ashes, returned to dust, and is once again no more. What once stood as an unquestionable pinnacle of learning and beacon of earthly and heavenly science is lost. A thousand year's time or more has turned the old edifice's rocky ruins into rubble, which now lays buried beneath the hard surface. Now, beyond the mountainous regions that stretch all the way toward the chilling northern hemisphere, where I suspect Ampemia and its outer regions once stood tall and proud, is a dense and, dare I say 'mythic', forest. No one, not even I, can speculate exactly where the ancient city state stood in its Golden Age. Even the timeless trees have forgotten the sacredness of the magic burial ground which their roots thrust out of. All that remains is that which has been passed down my family from generation to generation, secretly encoded in this heirloom which I present to you today (penciled in- and here I will show them the crystalline in which the secrets are kept). That memory is now solely of my possession. Being the first to commit this to writing, I break the chains of looking through the eyes of the damned and open these new secrets up to those who might wish to speculate.
Few, if any, will believe the words that they are about to hear. In that case, I invite you to meet with me later and undergo the transforming power of this relic. But, better for you that you don't! Those who see through the eyes of the crystalline will be thought of as insane or worse, forever trapped in the most fringe circles of society with much to say but little listeners. The images that the poor soul who created this artifact saw will forever become engraved in your mind. You will be forced to live with the burden that he was, and that I know am. Fate will have damned you. Know, then, those courageous of you, that the events described are true. From the room of revival, to the hidden hall of the reanimated corpses, from the circles of shadows of archmages who hid behind masks, to the giant libraries and the unreadable books which graced the thousand shelves, from the carved catacombs to the rituals held within and the secret of the ancient apathetic sleeping deities. All has been passed down in the following text exactly as has been told.
Beware, you poor listeners who have been bested by your curiosity, for in Ampemia we see a place where all things have become subject under the microscope of reality of a select few, where the lines between sub human, human, super human, and divine have become blurred, and where brilliant minds are burdened with thoughtless rituals better buried long ago. Beware of the dreams of the God of Shadows.
Here ends the introduction and begins the second part, in which Dr. Breane describes his findings in greater and almost haunting detail. What follows is what Dr. Breane claimed was held in the crystalline- the very events which Dr. Breane and some other soul who lived long before out time have experienced. Dr. Breane was never able to deliver his speech, but being the heir to his studies I thought it only proper to bring it upon myself to undertake the painstaking task of making the Doctor's discoveries public. I have muddled my way through the complete version of the transcript reproduce above, as well as the personal notes kept by Dr. Breane. I can claim, all honesty intact, that I have recorded the message as best as possible in the following pages, and have taken very few creative liberties in making the following text as accurate and comprehensible as possible.