Dear Mr. Fondleberry,
Thank you for your order from our seed catalogue. We are deeply embarrassed to report that several of your selections are currently missing from our stock, however we would like to suggest some substitutions which may be acceptable.
The following are also unavailable but will shortly be replenished when we find a new supplier:
We are truly sorry for the inconvenience.
The Secret Garden Confidential Seed Service
Dear Mr Schlong,
As you are an exemplary customer of our emporium and show an inordinate interest in our range of appliances we thought you would appreciate this notification of our recent acquisitions. The packet freighter from the orient has arrived at last and we have received the latest advances in gentlemens health devices from Cathay and Siam.
Firstly, the celebrated Yow Yings Elephant Trunk provides the perfect balance between authenticity and reliability. Those who have experienced its benefits exclaim not only at the lifelike texture of the materials used in its manufacture, but also praise the ingenious construction which includes such advances as dual drain channels to prevent unwanted blockages, durable accordion folds of purest gutta percha which are guaranteed not to irritate the skin, and a removable inner membrane in a range of tightnesses and textures.
The Generals Enlarger can not be praised too highly for it's value and practicality. For the cost of a modest mechanical horse or steam heated trouser press the discerning gentleman can purchase the most advanced and efficacious enlarger known to man. Noticeable results can be obtained in months with diligent use for only minutes per day. The device is housed in an attractive rosewood cabinet which resembles a small writing desk, so closely that one can install this device in ones study or library without fear of embarrassment.
The latest Reciprocating Cucurbit has arrived. Made of polished turned brass construction and powered by a reliable clockwork motor, ten minutes winding will provide a similar duration of action. The selection of interchangeable probes includes polished ebony, finest ivory and hollow copper examples which may be filled with hot water to simulate body heat if required.
We have also received, from the Netherlands via the colonies in Indo China, a lightly used Charged Facilitator with it's attendant dry cell battery. Once charged with a common hand cranked dynamo the device may be connected with the parts by the insulated wires and black leather straps which have been sanitized. In less than a single minute the user can achieve extremely satisfying effects and complete discharge of the troublesome effluvia which afflicts so many of the more sensitive gentlemen.
If you wish to view these devices at our warehouse please don't hesitate to write and request a private showing during which you may fully experience the benefit of these inventions to your satisfaction.
Dear Doctor Spong,
My apologies for the lateness of my communication, I have been unwell as of late, a malady peculiar to my family, a variety of brain disease which strikes randomly and without mercy, quite often at the most inopportune moments. I have however been able to finish the translation of the inscriptions on the tablets you sent me, and hereby enclose my best efforts at rendering them into the queens language.
As you will soon see the reason for the thinness of the clay has been uncovered, although a multitude of other mysteries are revealed. I would caution you against revealing this translation to the other members of the Academy, as they will no doubt take issue with the way they conflict with common academic understanding of the history of the area where they were uncovered.
As usual I have attempted to fill in lacunas with a best guess as to their contents, and indicated where other gaps appear which I cannot bridge. I will return the tablets via personal courier to your chambers at the Academy.
As you yourself observed the hand which impressed the reed is obviously unwell, the varying depths of the indentations and the occasional grammatical mistakes indicate a scribe who is suffering from some malady of the mind or body. The text confirms this diagnosis but as I mentioned abounds with dire mysteries which i am unable to resolve and which quite frankly are the primary cause of my own distemper.
To begin, the first tablet starts with an unusual prefix as follows:
"Oh stranger who fishes these waters, this river of Uk, on finding my boat of reeds and the contents within, please convey this message to my brother, Martuk of Ur, for which I have included a dozen talents of copper, which are yours to ensure my words find their destination."
"Oh Martuk, blessings upon your family and the city of our birth. I would pray to the gods that your fortune be increased, but lo, my faith in the gods has been sore tried by the recent events in my adopted city and my heart is empty. Do not come to Urtuk and advise any merchants and travellers of your acquaintance to avoid this region as dire events have been and a curse is upon my land."
"It began in this wise - a guest star was seen to move in the heavens, waxing brighter than lightning as it approached. It came to rest-"
At this point the first tablet ends. It appears that at least one tablet is missing from the sequence. The next begins thusly:
"- when the strangers began regular commerce with the city. Those who took their gold soon developed sores which did not heal, and even those like myself who observed from a distance have been stricken with great weakness and bloody flux. Their iron armour makes a great din as they stalk the laneways, driven by a strange curiosity as though they have never seen weavers or potters at work before. Thus childlike and innocent, they have been tolerated by the people even as the scourge of their presence takes great toll on their health and that [of their herds], for no calf or kid has been born alive since their arrival. The king has not been seen for [presumably a period of some time] [and I believe] that he has been greatly affected by the sickness, following the time he spent enclosed with them in the palace."
"The priestess, more perceptive surely than our king, shut herself and her retinue in the temple and remained there despite the exhortations of the people and the demands of the strange angels who stood before the pillars-"
The top of the third tablet is damaged.
"And escaped through tunnels, to stand outside the city gates and exhort the people to depart. She held reeds and grasses in pots and exclaimed that they were wilting from a radiance which poured forth from the angels, and that the unseen glory of their radiance was the cause of all our woes. A dreadful sound rang out from the spiky star which hangs yet above our city, like the ripping of an endless bolt of cloth, and a bolt of lightning straight as a rod shone down upon her. But lo! She was seen moments later unharmed, having sheltered beneath the great offering plate of beaten gold which is [unreadable]. One of the angels tried to rouse the people to capture her and recover the plate, but within moments she had disappeared into the tunnels of the temple and the crowd was too [unreadable]."
The next tablet, which is the broken one, continues:
"These and many other portents have ravaged my city and I fear [unreadable] without great misfortune. The armoured angels have become frantic with haste in recent days and all fear that some terrible event will soon befall us. We are unable to leave for fear of the lightning but I will place this missive in a boat of reeds and surely it will be found. If your are-"
Assuming the final table is the same height as the former 6 lines are missing.
"-our people and our land. Urtuk is surely cursed. Tell the king if you are able and do not tarry if the guest star is seen in your land. This is the hand of Uber of Urtuk."
I am sure you will agree that this translation will not sit well with the other members of the Academy and I will send the tablets without any accompanying documents. Although there is no historic record of a city of Urtuk I have heard rumours of a ruin south of the Hawizeh marshlands in Eraq, avoided by the Ma`dan people and considered cursed land. They call this region Orduq which is not phonologically consistent with their language so it is quite likely and ancient name.
I remain, yours sincerely
Greetings Mr Spong.
I am writing to you because of a unique set of circumstances which quite frankly vexes me. For some time my colleagues and I have observed your experimentation in the occult arts with a mixture of boredom, slight irritation and just a twinge of anticipation. Your recent attempts to complete the Execration of Flesh seemed to be proceeding along the typical trajectory, one that always ends in failure and the complete abnegation of your essence which is then carried away to the nether realm by those pathetic and powerless entities who are compelled to this task. However, by a somewhat remarkable combination of luck and a flash of bizarre insight you were able to spot the deliberate mistakes which were propagated into every extant description of the ritual, and continued on to a point where other harmless mistakes rendered the casting fruitless, dissipated the gathering energies and unwittingly saved your life.
My colleagues and I, in the sodality of Those Who Descend, inhabitants of the plane which you in your idiotic foolishness wish to penetrate, idly discussed allowing you to continue your experimentation, secure in the fact that success was almost certainly beyond your abilities. However we are nothing if not conscientious, and have a reputation to maintain. Certain compacts with the world of materiality forbid us from merely randomizing your pattern and allowing the minor efts and dodads to have their way with your ineffable essence, so I have resorted, with great reluctance I should make clear, to the disgusting act of communicating with you. I'll try to be brief enough for your fatty nervous tissue to absorb my meanings.
Don't continue in this matter. Don't persist in troubling the clockwork of your world, in the vague hope of improving your fortune or gaining power. Even if you were able to reach the subtropolis and access its secrets, they would mean nothing to you.
I see in your circuits the desires and hazy hopes which you hold, or rather which hold you, motivating your behavior like a parasite. They are meaningless. You don't know the reality of the situation. Our world is other. It is not possible for you to conceive of the truth.
Let me put it this way. As I compose this message I just now created a perfect replica of your mind. I read it several versions of the wording, as many versions as is possible in your language in fact, over a period of time you might consider infinite, while idly tormenting the shade in between and remaking it in a variety of whimsical and unendurable forms. It suffered more than can be understood in mortal thoughts, but it was merely my way of composing a letter, as you might idly contemplate the rhyming options when composing a limerick. And you wish to reach into the fallen city and steal a notion from my brethren and I?
Perhaps it is a matter of scale. You people like basic concepts which are easy to grasp. Your legends tell you that "hell" is a place contained within your world, buried underground (although I realize you are too educated to quite believe that myth). Still, psychologically I see you feel that my world is contained within yours and therefore within your grasp. I must inform you that your world is merely a state of mind, a quality and a taste of the range of experience I can access. Your world is like one of many atomic elements which shape mine, one type of fundamental particle, not critical, but there, useful sometimes for certain purposes, a source of suffering, when suffering is needed, not the only source but a good one when a certain quality of pain is required.
It's really quite useless. I've now exhausted countless iterations of your soul to try and explain myself and I grow weary of this foolishness. Stop the rituals, return to your mundane life and hope that we are distracted before your mortal demise and forget the imposition you have caused us. If we have cause to notice you again we will demonstrate our displeasure in new and creative ways which we will enjoy.
What ho old bean old chum old Toby old fungus old lang syne, how are you and the family, what what! Myself, I've been a bit funny recently, but I'm sure it's nothing to worry about.
Just the other morning I was passing a few stones as usual when I noticed my stream was a tad more crimson than was healthy. I paid it no mind and ate a hearty breakfast, cook kindly poached some aged sheep pituitaries in gorgonzola which I am most fond of. Suitably fortified I summoned a Hansom and rode down to the club, the old Toadpond that day as I owed a couple of guineas to Butterworth at the Bloodhaus and I'm interdicted at Mother Edwards because of that incident with the eel I told you about.
I'd just settled into the snug when the bell for elevenses rang, but I wasn't interested and ignored it. When Todger the aged retainer hobbled past and told me they were serving boiled walrus tripes brought back from Greenland by Sir Pendlesby in a barrel of salt, I was tempted, but explained that I wasn't feeling myself and so must decline. This agitated the simple minded old servant and he suggested perhaps I should see a quack.
Now normally I would have thrashed the scoundrel and damn the fines, but it occurred to me it wasn't such a bad idea. Normally I abhor the chirrurgeons touch, ever since that field sergeant tried to suggest amputating my leg in the Transvaal because of a minor touch of gangrene! Knowing far better than that whey faced college educated nancy boy I got our native batman Mboto to fetch a tame hyena from his village and she soon licked the infection clean out. Still, my usual choleric complexion has been tending from a healthy crimson towards a deep burgundy, and I remembered all my finger and toe nails had dropped off the other day, so I said why not? No harm in seeing what nonsense so called "medical science" has come up with in my absence.
So I strolled down to Harley street where they tend to lurk and picked a shingle at random. The nurse, recognising my class, arranged to send me straight in after the leech had finished wasting his time with some layabout miner who was bothered because his lungs were black or some such nonsense, disgusting the way the menial class wastes the time of their betters with their malingering attempts to avoid doing their duty to the nation.
Soon enough the doctor emerged and summoned a stretcher to carry away the lazy sod, and I was allowed into his surgery. It was not a promising sight, not a bone saw or belt clamp in sight, with a horrible stink of carbolic soap in the air. But worst of all, the bleeding quack was a wog! That's right, a subcontinental, and here I thought the name Currimunchi was Scottish, from the Hebrides perhaps.
It was all downhill from there of course. The sodding fool asked a bunch of impertinent questions like "Where is the pain" and "How's your water?" and "Do you ever partake of coca salts?" As a matter of fact I believe my usual panacea Old Bosworths Never-Fail does contain extract of coca as well as some opium and formaldehyde and turpentine and sweet salts of lead, but only for flavouring, so I didn't mention. After an interminable ordeal of attempts to poke and prod me in a most insufferable manner the dusky charlatan finally gave in and declared me fit as a dragoon, although he did allow that I should be eating more greens. I thought he might have been referring to turtle soup, which I take on occassion, I still have a few cases of dried meat from my fathers ill fated trading venture in the Pacific, but blind me if he wasn't suggesting I should eat some leaves! Yes, it appears some crazy boffins have recently determined that man would benefit by adding raw, uncooked herbiage to his diet, like a cow!
Needless to say I couldn't sccept such a suggestion unchallenged. Leaves yet! I told the idiot that I ate plenty of green leaves, grass in fact, once it had been suitably prepared by passing through a cow and converted to good red beef. Also I am not averse to a cup of tea, assam usually, which constitutes several ounces of the essence of leaves, not to mention a pipe of black shag, also a leaf. A veritable garden of leaves, concentrated to their purest form.
The idiot had no reply to this barrage of logic and soon acquiesced that I was surely inhaling and drinking more than enough greens and allowed me to leave, taking only a prescription for glass ampules of nitroglycerine, the new explosive which apparently also is capable of restarting a mans heart should it fail from exertion or congestion from fatty globules in the bloodstream.
So as you see time marches on and waits for no man etcettera and I do hope to live as long as our next game of bridge at the Striped Bottom, where I wager that the winner gets to try out my new sjambok on his defeated opponent!
Dear Brother Martin, you were greatly missed at the last congatheration of the Unholy Mystik Circle of Darkness! It was a good one, Brother Narth brought some salmon tuna casserole for the pot luck and Arch Mage Klysteron managed to liberate a carton of crisps from the supermarket where he works, so, not just a blow against the suppressive forces of Order and Light but a tasty snack as well! We performed the Summoning of the Beast and revealed the terrifying truth of the ages to our questing eyes.
The Summoning was a great success! Our minds united in the vibrations of the grotesque ritual penetrated time and space and experienced a great revelation, namely that our infernal lord and dark rector Lord Nurgl requires a sacrifice. He was most insistent, he really really needs a sacrifice and it has to be a human one this time. No chicken or lowly mammal will do, absolutely has to be an actual human being.
Also, in order to satisfy the demands of our inexecrable Lord of Chaos and mutation, we performed a ritual of divination to determine who the sacrifice would be. We ran through all the names of our usual targets of our wrath and ire, "those who would not be missed", and then those people who have earned our mild dislike and even indifference, but no results. The omens remained completely steady. When we realized to our horror that our unbearable lord of pain desired us to select from within our own ranks, we were rather upset. However, being dedicated occultists and committed to the path of Darkness, we proceeded through the names of all the members of our order, and although the candle didn't actually go out when your name was spoken, it did flicker, quite distinctly. Twice in fact! So that's it then, I'm afraid the time has come to make the ultimate sacrifice for our brotherhood and take the next step in commitment to your path of darkness and knowledge.
Now as it's the end of the year we all realized that we had other commitments and couldn't make it to the next meeting, what with work parties and last minute shopping. So we did some research and it appears that we don't actually have to be present for the ritual to occur, although we do need to offer a silent inward chant to accompany the process as your soul is consumed within the fathomless pit. So if you could arrange to perform the sacrifice at midnight on the date of our next meeting, preferably in a concealed place such as a basement or carport which is shielded from exposure to the gaze of the pantocrator, we will all be with you in spirit. Remember that the blood must be caught in a bowl of crystal, and, if you are able, it would be a great help if you could inscribe the sigils of Bathomet and Dagon on the floor with the fresh blood before losing consciousness.
We're all counting on you, so best of luck and remember to make sure the sacrificial knife is sharp! Also, although I know you are a dedicated member of our circle and know the consequences of your actions, just a friendly reminder that if you miss the opportune moment or, hell forbid, fail to complete the ritual, all the myriad forces of darkness will be pursuing you for all eternity.
With all our admiration and gratitude, we remain your friends and confidants in the Unholy Mystik Circle.
Many aspects of the metabolism of paranormal entities remain mysterious, not so much from the difficulty in studying these creatures but through the seemingly illogical nature of their pathology. For instance, scientists have long puzzled why vampires are susceptible to sunlight but seem to ignore lunar radiation and influence, while werewolves are directly affected by the moon yet impervious to the rays of the sun.
Here we set forth a novel theory of the basic metabolic nature of these entities and suggest some experiments which could be used to confirm or deny these speculations.
It is proposed that the force which animates these beings is wholly or partly based on quantum decoherence, allowing the creature to exist in a half life state which is impossible for a normal animal. By existing in a superposition somewhat like a solid form of the Bose-Einstein condensate, the vampire is able to remain animate without any detectable metabolic activity, and the werewolf is able to change form and even gain and lose mass.
In order to remain in this state the creature has to avoid interacting with it’s environment and especially observers whose attention would collapse its wave function. For this reason they avoid normal interaction with other humans, or when necessary attack solitary humans, usually in darkness which makes it difficult to fully perceive and decohere their forms.
It is proposed that a vampire attacking a human and drinking blood is actually a form of safe and necessary to the vampire transaction involving the temporary formation of a combined coherent state vector, which is subsequently collapsed but with the total energy of the system contained only within the vampires being. In other words, the vampire creates a temporary region of coherent space and then deliberately collapses it himself, in such a way that the combined potential energy is retained by the creature. The blood drinking may be a necessary illusion to facilitate the process, disabling the human's ability to observe the transaction and possibly collapse the state vector from within.
In cases where a vampire is exposed to sunlight, it is interacting physically with photons from a distant and very large source, these photons being of course entangled with other photons interacting with other matter within the star and within other people and observers. This process quickly decoheres the wave function and renders the vampire inanimate matter whose potential energy quickly manifests as heat and causes the typical fire which burns the corpse to ash.
Other weaknesses of this creature can be explained as well. A wooden stake penetrating the body of the vampire represents a large solid inanimate object which remains within the creatures body interacting with the coherent systems and causing them to collapse into the original form, flesh and blood heart and viscera which of course quickly assume the form they would have taken if the normal process of corruption had been allowed to take place. Other events such as bullets and stabbing knives most likely prove ineffective against this process because they are able to be assumed into the wave function, being metal and composed largely of the electronic gas which makes them conductive means they already represent a weak form of the state found inside the vampires body, which is better described as a Schrodinger box in living form. The effect of silver however represents a problem. Silver is known to have the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal and to have the highest reflective index, which may mean it is able to interact with the inner coherent state in ways other materials cannot.
Moonlight is of course reflected sunlight. The refractive index of the moon is very low, about the same as coal, and the light is polarized. The process of selection means that photons have interacted with electrons on the surface of the reflective object and been deflected. Metals are reflective because the free electron flux flowing between the atoms provides a large excess of unbound electrons at the surface, where the boundary between the crystal lattice and free space makes it easier for them to move. Most of the reflective surface of the moon is silica, which as a semiconductor also has a free electron flux although much weaker than for a metal. The use of metalloid elements such as silicon and germanium in transistors takes advantage of the fact that semiconductors can be forced to change state by electrical pressure and act as solid state switches when electrical field pressure increases. The switch effect depends on the electrons ability to tunnel across an insulating layer.
I propose that the phase change experienced by lycanthropes is mediated by interaction via entangled photons with the moon which acts as a transistor, enabling the mass of entangled particles within the body of the creature to tunnel to a new stable energy state when acted upon by moonlight. The critical strength of the moonlight is obvious, and the configuration naturally jumps back to the lower energy state once the effect is withdrawn like an excited atom releasing energy in the form of heat, although in this case the release is in the entangled particles of the lunar surface. This shape changing ability has an obvious survival value. Many other researchers have speculated that lycanthropy is viral in nature since it can easily be spread through bighting and salival infection, I propose that the virus mediates the creation of the quantum imposition and the survival value given to the infected person is enjoyed by the virus as well. In much the same way that early cells improved their metabolic pathways by internalizing the bacteria which eventually became mitochondria, this may represent a next stage in evolution, although since the infected party then becomes a predator that feeds on other members of the same species it doesn’t represent a straightforward advantage for the entire species. There are even suggestions that species production is not dependent on gradual mutation but large jumps mediated by external forces such as viral infection, so that human lycanthropy may more accurately represent a speciesation event that would normally go on to completely supplant the original form.
Several experiments to explore these speculation present themselves. For instance, it might be possible to replicate moonlight by focussing sunlight on a large sheet of mica and illuminating a subject with the polarized ray and cause transformation. Bombarding a subject with coherent matter created in a linear accelerator such as high energy silicon nuclei may also trigger the reaction directly and permanently, as the semiconductor which mediates the process becomes embedded in the system itself.