It was not as damp inside the decaying body of an Old One as Kayeera had been expecting. It was also much brighter than she would have thought; it turned out that the deeper one traveled inside the body, the brighter it became; the godly corpse glowed as it rotted. The only downside to this, of course, was that occasionally one had to step out of the way of falling chunks of flesh and meat. The group’s local escort were adept at this, almost preternaturally avoiding Old One flesh in a manner so smooth it hardly seemed that they were dodging it at all. Kayeera, Grzzk, and Ygmawr were less skilled, and after only a few minutes Kayeera was sticky with the rotting flesh and blood of a god. Her new fleshy and bloody coat did not help eliminate the overwhelming stench of the body.
“Well, I guess the Old Ones do have a physical body,” Kayeera muttered as something splattered on her head.
Of course they do, a voice spoke in Kayeera’s head. From Grzzk and Ygmawr’s sudden jumps, Kayeera guessed that they heard the voice too. The scantily-clad man striding just ahead of her turned back and smiled. Though it is not their entire body; what you see here is only part of the corpse of the Old One we knew as Yig. Other aspects of his corpse decay on other planes of this universe.
“Ah, so it is Yig that died here,” Grzzk said, nodding to herself.
Indeed. And no, we don’t know how it died, a woman, walking behind the group, said through her mind-speak. Even in death, though, an Old One wreaks havoc. Our kingdom had long lived out its glory days, and pitifully clung to the last shreds of existence by the time of the Cataclysm that ravaged this planet. When it arrived, two mighty Old Ones fought each other across our kingdom, neither even noticing our presence. Yig was one of them, and perished in the battle, his corpse quite literally crushing out kingdom to dust beneath him.
Yes, we know of Valusia, another man said. A kingdom nearly as ancient as our own. And it seems that you have recently traveled through it, after it made a journey forward through time. Most interesting.
Yes, we know it is Yig. We, the last survivors of our fallen kingdom, are magical adepts. We know our Old Ones; our people had even seen Yig himself in the far distant past.
Another woman spoke. And I see that you travel to the lead sorcerer and servant of Eibon. You have struck a dangerous bargain, travelers.
Your mind is open to us, unguarded and undefended, the original man ahead of them said. We are not only magical adepts, but telepathic ones as well. Thus, there is really no need for you to hold on your end of the conversation.
The feline is most interesting, a woman spoke. I see from your memories that he came from a dimension in which he communed with Yog-Sothoth, the Key and the Gate. His mind is closed to us, though we can still project to him. He sees much.
Tell us, a man said. What is it that you see, Ygmawr?
“A rotting corpse,” Ygmawr said. “And ahead, I see bones. Bones that have been carved out by tools and sorcery; a city of bone in a sea of flesh.”
You truly can see beyond the apparent, the original speaker in front said said. A remarkable gift. We shall have to question you about it.
In response to Kayeera’s thought, a woman answered. Yes, we are taking you to our city. You are to be guests there; though naturally, we will hold on to your weapons until you depart from this place.
We are holding you there to learn more about you, and the outside world. We will deeply interrogate you – do not worry, we mean you no harm. We also can offer you sanctuary and a home and haven down here if that is what you choose, Dreamlander, but we see that you are set in your quest and we will make no attempt to stop you.
It is most interesting that you travel with a Deep One and an Ultharian cat, another thinker thought. Once, long ago, I visited Ulthar in the Dreamlands, before Nasht and Kaman-Thah. It was a lovely town, though this was, of course, long before the events that led to the feline ascension there. Yes, I am rather old; centuries. We all are. We are a long-lived people.
The small group rounded a bend in the internal passages of Yig, and Grzzk and Kayeera played their lights over an enormous, cavernous space. The ceiling, just visible to them through their lights, was almost entirely stripped of falling flesh, and enormous ribs towered above the cobblestone ground, with stairs, doorways, and windows carved into them. On the ground itself were more houses of bone and stone, and several individuals, dressed like their escorts, waved as the small group made their way towards the center of this city of bone.
Other than Grzzk and Kayeera’s lights, the city was completely dark, as the glowing flesh had been removed from this place. We do not need light to see, one of their escorts said. Our minds are enough. For you, though, we can make light. Let us show you this city, and after you have rested, washed, slept, and done something for you to forget about this horrible smell, we shall begin to get to know you better. Welcome to K’n-Yan.