Where Godlings Fear to Tread...
Rodrigo: (Laughing) "'Horror'? You speak to me of 'horror'? I have seen things which would make the gods tremble!"
Massa di Requiem per Shuggay
Act II Scene IV
Benevento Chieti Bordighera
(Translated from the original Italian)
Torren-Wraeth hated being summoned. He hated human sacrifice even more. After all, his mother had been human, but he could not act against his father's wishes, nor those who had summoned him, at least, not directly.
He was here merely to witness, to stand helpless as a life was taken.
The youth stood, tall and handsome, his striking Polynesian features offset by his green skin and six slender tendrils that lined his chin and jaw. He was in a house, surrounded by black-robed humans, cult artifacts and blazing braziers. A young man lay upon a stone table, bound, screaming. Torren-Wraeth walked over to the table, regret in his glistening yellow eyes, "I'm so sorry." The man's bulging eyes stared past him, followed two of the cultists as they moved toward a spot near the west wall of the basement/temple, strained with terror.
The worshipers began to chant, and one among them called out in a loud voice, "For the glory of Great Cthulhu, we offer this one to The Beast Below!"
"My father does not need sacrifices..." Torren-Wraeth said loudly. That was true, to a point. His father did not, in fact, need sacrifices, but he did desire them. Perhaps, he could save this one... But they ignored him. He watched as the men rolled back a large stone, revealing a dark hole beneath. Ghouls? Ghouls can be reasoned with, better than some humans... He frowned, spoke louder "I said, my father..."
Then it hit him. A noxious smell poured forth through the opening, gagging him. It was not the familiar, moldy corpse smell of ghouls, but something bizarre, like ammonia and drying blood... And there was something else, something far, far worse.
Laughing madly, weeping, screaming. Screaming such as Torren-Wraeth had never heard in his life; the horrific, hopeless shrieking of the damned.
He unconsciously backed away as a huge form slithered slowly from the deepest region of the pit. Torren-Wraeth nearly vomited at the sight. It was similar in shape to a worm, blood-colored and slimy, but that was not the true horror of the thing, it was it's faces... A grinning, evil human face peered from the anterior of the beast, but dozens of other anguished, maddened human faces protruded at random from it's hideous form. Their eyes reflected unspeakable torment, madness, and a longing for the release of death. Some babbled or laughed senselessly, others begged for death or wept, or just screamed... So many faces, so much unholy suffering.
It turned toward the sacrificial table and it's occupant.
At the sight the victim screamed in utter terror, but his voice was drowned out by the many voices of the thing.
Torren-Wraeth had heard of such things, but had not believed, had hoped that they did not exist.
An abomination which absorbed it's victims, body and mind, leaving it's unfortunate prey trapped within it's hateful body, aware but helpless. The first head, the mind of the beast, was the cultist who had willingly created it, literally became the beast, the others the miserable wretches it had absorbed over the years.
Torren-Wraeth's body turned pale yellow with horror. He had seen so much evil and cruelty in his life, but this, this was vile beyond all reason.
The Binding broke with his terror.
He was free to act.
His reaction was instinctive.
He screamed, grabbed the nearest brazier, and struck at the beast with it.
The Chakota itself screamed as the coals and flames struck it's slimy flesh, and it was alight. Torren-Wraeth struck at it again and again, scattering flaming coal across the room, igniting tapestries and furnishings. More braziers were knocked over by the beast's own struggles and the cultists scrambling for the stairs. The stone floor grew hot, and the walls caught fire. The Chakota turned to flee toward it's hole, towards cool, dark safety, but Torren-Wraeth drove the broken brazier through it like a stake, pinning it into place.
There was no escape.
The flames danced across the stones.
As the fire raged around him, Torren-Wraeth turned to the sacrificial victim, intending to free him, but a quick glance revealed that the man was dead, his face contorted in terror.
He had died of fear.
In some ways, he was lucky.
He wondered how many of the cultists had died in the fire, and had the brief, dark feeling that they 'deserved it'. He pushed it from his mind.
He turned his attention back to the Chakota.
The beast writhed in agony. The screams grew louder, shriller, while, from some of the faces trapped within the beast, came shouts of joy and thanksgiving. Facing the flames was preferable to living within the beast...
Though it was obscured by smoke and flames, Torren-Wraeth watched as the Chakota quickly shriveled and blackened, withered like a worm on a hot sidewalk.
Then, there were only ashes.
The fire was spreading too quickly, the heat was intense, he had to leave or risk injury himself. Torren-Wraeth teleported away, leaving the cleansing fire to it's work.
He returned home.
Not R'Lyeh, but Rapa Nui, which the white men called 'Easter Island'.
He threw up, then wept...
Torren-Wraeth stood within an ancient quarry, partially carved Moai bearing mute witness to his words. "No more! No more human sacrifices!" He shouted at the top of his lungs.
He didn't care about the consequences. He had ignored his conscience, his honor for too long.
"You go where you are summoned!" Great Cthulhu's telepathic voice, calling out from his body in R'Lyeh, registered rage at this defiance.
"Never again!" Torren-Wraeth's voice was firm. He was ashamed that he had ever been party to such a thing, and he refused to do so again. His skin was blotched with conflicting emotion, "You don't even need sacrifices, much less intelligent ones! I won't help you commit murder, not anymore!"
"Who are you to judge me!?"
Torren-Wraeth fell silent.
Great Cthulhu sighed, his child was becoming sentimental, rebellious. It was his mother's blood, it could not be helped. Ever since he had befriended that human, he had become more like them... Still, it was a small thing. "Very well, Torren-Wraeth, from now on you will never represent me at a sentient sacrifice again."
The boy knelt quickly, "Thank you, father..."
"Do not thank me yet, I may ask something of you in return."
And Torren-Wraeth knew without a doubt that he would.
This story is set sometime after Goro's death in 2042, but before the Rise of R'Lyeh a few centuries later.
My story The Great Arising goes into more detail about Torren-Wraeth, Yoshida Goro and other events in his life his life. Goro, of course, would not have known about this part of his 'duties'.
Torren-Wraeth is part cephalopod, as such his skin color can undergo changes during times of strong emotion. Pale yellow is extreme fear or illness. His eyes, however, are naturally yellow and cat-like.
One of the few sources with information I've found on the Chakota states that it is created by a willing sacrifice, who becomes the first face on the beast, presumably by transforming into the creature itself, the rest are it's victims. That's the theory I implied here. I find it a fascinating creature, so disgusting and hideous. It's pretty cool!
I have no idea who created the Chakota, but I assume it is a copyright of Fantasy Flight Games.
Massa di Requiem per Shuggay and Benevento Chieti Bordighera were apparently created by Scott David Aniolowski and are copyright Fantasy Flight Games.
Torren-Wraeth was created by me. His name is Torren-Wraeth, and he hates it when anyone calls him 'Torren' or 'Wraeth' alone. Only his mother and his late friend Goro had that privilege.
I made up the quote from Massa di Requiem per Shuggay, I don't know if anyone's 'quoted' from the opera before. In my defense, everyone makes up quotes from The Necronomicon.