Dark Fantasy: Nogoloth – The Drakemorton Hole

In which I continue to pen some seriously Lovecraft-inspired dark fantasy.

On the outer fringes of the city of Oustminnish stands the decayed and crumbling Drakemorton estate. Once a grand and bustling manor built by Captain Dominic Drakemorton more than a century ago, the estate has fallen further and further into disrepair – and disrepute – as the old Captain’s heirs have grown decadent and squandered the fortunate Dominic amassed throughout his storied career. Bereft of its army of servants and caretakers, the family’s holdings rest now in the distracted hands of the last surviving Drakemorton scions: the mad Benicia and her unsettling twin brother Felix.

Behind the manor house itself there are several outbuildings including a mausoleum and disused crematorium. Within the weathered marble burial chamber there is a strange, heavy slab – cemented in place for three generations – that has recently been chiseled free and cast aside as through by an unearthly powerful hand. Where the slab once lay there is now a large hexagonal hole down which well-secured iron rungs descend at slightly more than comfortable intervals. The hole itself is smooth and regular, as though bored by some impossibly gigantic machine of a sort that has never been seen in Nogoloth.

The Drakemorton Hole cuts deep into the earth, an eerie and stygian blackness closing quickly about any who attempt to plumb its depths. Whether the shaft itself is truly as extensive as it seems or the way down only feels excruciatingly long due to the preternatural gloom and dampness that attend its descent is impossible to say without further detailed, scientific exploration. What the urchins of Oustminnish – who have endeavored to seek the bottom of the cavity at my own request – have reported is that a growing sense of doom began to wash over them after little more than ten minutes’ descent, resulting in a retreat to the relative comfort of the surface.

These same somewhat unreliable sources further claim that dropping a stone down the shaft produces no sound of impact even after several long minutes of waiting. It is most unfortunate that young Jabben Scarth, the boldest of the children, does not appear to have returned from his excursion to the Drakemorton Hole. As an orphan with none to mourn him, his disappearance has gone largely unreported. For my own part, I feel some small sense of guilt at seeming to have sent the child to an unfortunate fate. But there are none for me to recompense, so I content myself with having lit a candle to the boy at the altar of Ste. Rixende.

Of the Drakemorton clan, little more than rumor an innuendo is readily available to the casual inquirer. It is said, though, that Benicia is quite insane due to her never-ending quest for arcane knowledge and the blasphemies she has surely read in the accursed tomes that line her library walls. Felix, though he is more immediately accessible and outwardly sane, is known to have begun showing the first hints of the Oustminnish Look within the past few years and is no longer seen at the society functions he used to attend with the regularity of an aging gentleman of reduced means. Neither Drakemorton heir has ever married and neither has produced issue – a small mercy for which the more sanguine people of Oustminnish remain thankful.

Dark Fantasy: Nogoloth – An Introduction

In which I pen some seriously Lovecraft-inspired dark fantasy.

The island-continent, called Troqelac on the ancient sea charts I found amongst my grandfather’s papers, but known to those who dwell there as Nogoloth, rests deep within the Black Ocean, far to the east of Nyspere. Ships from Ulrath and Morryn used visit its shores, but rare is the captain who will risk that damned route any longer.

Whether it is a trick of the atmosphere or the curse of some hateful god none will say, but whatever the reason the truth is that it is perpetually twilight across the full breadth of Nogoloth. The sun never shines fully on that island – I know, for I have longed for its full radiant light to relieve the dread I felt every day of the seven years I lived in that accursed land. I fear that even now I may not have shaken the touch of madness that lingers over those who endure that interminable gloaming.

For surely you will think it madness when I speak at last of the terrible things which live and hunt in the umbral spaces between the cities that have grown up, fungus-like, in that dark place. Yes, we of Nysperé have our fair share of dangers in the wilderness – and even our own shadows to face among our fellow civilized inhabitants – but nothing here on our home soil can compare to the horrors I beheld in the murk and gloom of Nogoloth.

But before I drive you to disregard all I have to report with careless talk of Dagon & Hydra and things worse still, I should truthfully and calmly tell you of the rational facts of Nogoloth. I should remain calm, and speak sensibly of the Great City of Khaarm, where the fountains run with crystal waters to nourish the souls of the great scholars and priests who inhabit the bone-white towers that ring the University. I should tell you of old Cwnuihd on the western shore and the raven-haired beauties who stand on the docks and sing songs no human ever wrote to the ebon-skinned crews of the emerald-sailed ships that brave the reef to take on cargoes of rubies the size of human hearts.

I should, no I must speak to you of the eastern port of Oustminnish and the strange, degenerate look that looms like a shadow over some of those who live in the precincts nearest the shore. Few of that city would speak to me of such things, but those who would whispered of the sea devils who sometimes leave their home beneath the waves to consort with the Istholams, the Phaths, the Chac-Langthuses, and several other families of lesser standing within the community.

I ought, though it behooves me not, to tell you of Pnikigystros where the ancient wizard Orazath resides. I am bound by blood oath and implacable geas to ensure that the knowledge I unearthed within the great library of Canton-on-Imisk does not recede into the darkness it seeks as surely as the waters of the river upon which the town sits seek the oblivion that comes with returning to the sea. Will you listen to me? I have search so long for someone who would bear the burden of this terrible wisdom I possess.

Does This Actually Surprise Anyone?

Not if you’ve been paying attention, it doesn’t.

FanGraphs tags the Houston (Dis)Astros as the MLB team with the worst present, bleakest future.

If the Astros had demonstrated organizational strengths that allowed them to bring in young, cheap talent to surround guys like Pence and Wandy Rodriguez, there would be some reasons for optimism. Instead, however, the plan has been (and continues to be) to use resources on guys like Clint Barmes, Bill Hall, and Brandon Lyon, all of whom could be useful role players to a contender but serve to offer no real long term value to Houston as they try and rebuild. The team has revamped their scouting department after years of not investing in the draft, and while that could pay off long term, the help won’t come any time soon.

I can’t help but cheer for the Astros when I watch them, of course. I just don’t watch them all that often any more. In part because they’re lousy and stupid and don’t appear, as an organization, to understand jack about baseball anymore. But also in part because of the absurd and draconian blackout rules that MLB saddles its fans with. I can’t get Astros games on any of the internet-y options because I happen to live within the borders of the state of Texas. Never mind that Houston is a 2½ drive from my house. Oy.

Happy Birthday, Dad

My father would have been 75 today, if he hadn’t passed away 33 years ago. I’ve never published the following poem, dedicated to his memory, before – despite having written it quite a while back. But today seems like a good day, and this blog that no one reads seems like a good place.

dug post holes in black
North Texas dirt,
pulled oil from
the sand, hauled Sisyphus
rocks and
deciphered hieroglyphs
in your tomb.
anything to fill
the spaces you left behind.
only the smoke,
the beer,
and the lost camaraderie
of the bars ever really worked.

made false pleas
to deaf and indigo
gods. consulted
cards, stars, stones,
readers and tellers —
heard nothing in return.
screamed and beat
cacophony
out of finely crafted strings
just to pretend they were
your voice.

hard, cold, unmoving in the
world without your light.
swallow the death of swallows
violent, pungent and alone.

Happy birthday, dad. I know you more by your absence than anything else.

At The SXSW Guitar Show

worlatron bass
worlatron guitars

The SXSW Guitar Show was pretty uninspiring – sure, there were a few vintage Teiscos mixed in with a trite & tiring surfeit of old strats and teles – but one booth in particular caught my eye. Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you… Worlatrons!

See, although I will always be a sucker for the pure lines and poetic simplicity of a Precision bass, I generally like my instruments to have a touch of funky about them. And these guys have that in precisely the right way. Because as much as I like the funk, I don’t care one white for the raging, over-the-top LOOK AT ME! madness that some guitar companies engage in. You know the ones.

Actually, one of the guiltiest in my book is Ibanez, and yet they also managed, for a brief time in 2003-2004 or so, to produce my beloved Jet Kings. Ibanez Jet King I. Inspired by the Teisco MJ-2(L)

Ibanez Jet King II. Inspired by the Ibanez Rhythm Maker
Of course, these babies were throwbacks to vintage Teisco and Ibanez designs and not the typical modern Ibanez flash job. So that makes them even weirder and more wonderful to me. That they also happen to be damn fine instruments – my Jet King II even passed the inspection of my cranky Master Luthier friend Gil – just makes them all the more special.

So while I salute your classic axe styles, in almost all cases I’ll take just a dash of funky flavor in my own instruments, por favor. And while everyone knows that look of the instrument doesn’t ultimately have any impact on whether the cat playing it is any damn good – I can say that a guitar I’m in love with will sound better than one I feel indifferent about. Looks are only finish deep, of course, but what I’m attracted to is what I want to hold.

Sabermetric Cartoons

Laugh while you learn about the mad numbers of Sabermetrics…

More delightful baseball cartoons at the creator’s YouTube channel.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Don’t drink any green beer, damnit. That means it’s been poisoned. Drink Guinness instead.

Birds Pics Make Good Tests

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The blue one is Leo. The green one is Zoe.

Script Frenzy

Yongi’s Office. Interior. Day.
Just outside the room two parrots – ZOE and LEO – angrily complain that their breakfast hasn’t been served yet. YONGI is typing a blog post after having seen something interesting to him on the internet.

Script Frenzy:Scriptwriters::NaNoWriMo:Novelists

Where “Scriptwriter” covers a pretty broad swath of scribes. I don’t generally go in for these sorts of bandwagony writing things (no offense to people who do – whatever gets you writing is good) but oddly I find this one slightly compelling. It’ll probably pass, though.

But just in case it doesn’t, there’s always Soul Coughing to keep me company…

Speaking of this song, in case you haven’t stumbled across You Are Listening To Los Angeles (New York/San Francisco/Chicago/Montreal), you should give it a listen.

Vladdy Vlad Vlad!

Sure, it’s a puff piece, but hey! I love to read nice things about one of my all-time favorite baseball players.

A revered figure and bona fide rags-to-riches story, the most feared presence in the Orioles’ lineup spends nearly every morning with a box of fan mail by his side. Guerrero signs everything: the shiny new Orioles photos, a shot of him smiling with his former Angels teammates and a vintage Expos baseball card, carefully sliding each into its envelope.

I just wish it had made any sense for the Rangers to keep him around for another year. But hey, it gives me a reason to enjoy watching the Orioles when they’re on.