Archive22: Kedoaken

‘Look!’ Keeley shoved her handheld ORCID into Lesley’s face.

‘Good morning to you too, Claremont,’ Lesley said, taking a step back so that her eyes would actually focus on the screen. Keeley was practically bouncing up and down with urgency. Lesley grabbed her wrist to keep the handheld still.

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It was was a photo of a wall, with a very familiar symbol painted on it.

Lesley groaned. ‘Evelyn is going to be thrilled.’

 

Evelyn was not thrilled at all. She scrunched up her fists, leant back into her chair and went uuuurgh– which, coming from evelyn was basically a temper tantrum.

Then she produced her own photo.

‘This was pinned to our door this morning.’

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‘Is that a… corn dolly?’ Keeley asked. ‘It’s kind of cute. Some little cultist probably spent a lot of time on that! Where is it now?’

‘Jesper whisked it off somewhere- I think he’s dissecting it. I took the photos for the archive, if my dear brother actually turns up for work today.’ She peered at her ORCID owlishly, ever the long-suffering responsible sibling.

If it were up to Lesley, she’d just kick him out.

That’s probably why is wasn’t up to Lesley.

‘…I was just about to ask where Bartholomew was,’ Keeley said. ‘Are you sure he’s not just sleeping in the archives again?’

‘I checked the usual spots- besides, I actually heard him leave last night.’

‘Just…with all of this cult thing, it’s probably a good idea if we keep track of everyone. And not wander around Revery in the dark alone, like, ever.’ Keeley sounded worried. 

‘Or,’ Lesley said, ‘We could let him get murdered by ritual sacrifice. Then I wouldn’t have to do it myself.’

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F#23: Wyrm Hatchlings

Wyrm Hatchlings (Northen European Wyrm) 

Dragon species

When we got the call about an ‘infestation of worms’, we might have reacted a mite too hastily with our stock (polite!) ‘we are a research institute, not Revery Pest Control’ response.




After the miscommunication was cleared up, we arrived at a small garden in the suburbs- only to find these week-old specimens of the European small wyrm causing havoc and destruction in their pursuit of a Sunday dinner.

These dragons are rarely found in built up areas (and almost never in the south of England) and there was no sign of the parent wyrm, who normally feeds young in the nest until they are a month old. It seemed as if the babies had been fending for themselves for a few days- feeding on insects and tearing up the garden in the process.



After a short (but chaotic) pursuit, Evelyn and I caught all three at the same time and took them back to the institute.


They have settled down in the break room in Keeley’s hat, whilst we contact the South West Dragon Centre to see if they have a spare pen…

F#22: Hearth Sprite

Hearth Sprite

Chaotic Elemental

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The hearth sprite is a familiar and well-loved figure, present in many homes. Drawn in the flickering of a fire, the warmth of a stove or just a trace of coal dust; the sprite is easy to attract.

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Having done so, many people follow the tradition of bottling a sprite, and keeping it on the mantle for good luck and prosperity.

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As long as you feed it with a pinch of coal dust every day, the sprite seems content to live in the jar. (Should its glow start to dim, it should be released immediately.)

Archive19: Blood Donation

A photo diary entry by Thursday Madaki

So, when I joined the SFI no one mentioned the ritual blood-letting. And, since then, it’s only been mentioned in passing- until the other day, when Evelyn said it was time to renew the Whistman contract.

Bartholomew groaned.

‘I’d send someone else,’ Evelyn said, looking unusually sly, ‘but you haven’t left the archives for days and you need the exercise.’

‘Also the guardian will only deal with me.’

‘That too.’

I interrupted then-

‘What contract?’

Instead of answering my question, Evelyn spoke to Bartholomew.

‘You should take her along.’

I hate it when they do that, like I’m the kid in a group of adults. I mean- I am, technically. But I hate being talked about like I’m not there.

Bartholomew was pulling a face like he was going to say no, so I spoke before he could.

‘I’d love to go!’

 

If only someone had mentioned it would involve hiking, and creepy blood drinking goat fairies.

 

Wistmans wood is only half an hour of walking from the main road, but that’s half an hour too much for my liking. I’m not really the biggest fan of the great outdoors, although I can appreciate Dartmoor’s weird brand of bleak beauty.

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The drive to get there had been long, made longer by the fact that Jesper listens to recordings of scientific lectures whilst he drives.

Bartholomew and I played i-spy, but he said I cheated when ‘something beginning with A. M.’ turned out to be ‘abject misery’ because it was on HIS face and therefore he couldn’t spy it.

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The reason we were driving all this way, then walking over uneven, ankle-twisting moorland, was because in the in the middle of nowhere is the kind of place you find a faerie who goes on vicious murdering rampages if you don’t check in on him every once in awhile.

The first contract was made in 2001, after a farmer who walked in the wood came home to find his sheep gone without a trace. Hikers were poked with invisible pins, and a young couple who carved their names into a tree drowned mysteriously in a shallow pool.

Evelyn, just starting out at Seaflower back then, tracked down the creature responsible, and made a deal. A deal that we were now heading out to reinforce.

The woods were beautiful and completely surreal. The entire floor was made up of huge rocks you had to climb and hop between, the trees were dripping with garlands of moss and lichen.

I barked my shins several times as Jesper led the scramble to the far side of the woods, where we stopped before a small cave formed under rocks and tree roots.

Bartholomew took something from his bag, unwrapping it and lying it on the ground. It was a athame- a ritual knife used in witchcraft.

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‘I know you’re there,’ Bartholomew said.

I saw something move in the depths of the dark crevice. Light glinted on a pair of eyes, staring straight back at us.

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To be continued in Sunday’s creature post! Please don’t hate me.

F#20: Hekbune

Hekbune- Filauny Male

Fae


For the past couple of days Percy, our resident manticore, has been very interested in the little courtyard garden at the back of the institute. It took us humans a while to catch on- we were being watched.


This is our second encounter with a member of the reclusive filauny species, and after a patient couple of hours of Evelyn and I sitting outside and trying not to look threatening, he finally came out from behind the plant pots.



He introduced himself as Hekbune, still clutching a tiny slate knife and shaking a bit, and said he’d come to thank us for offering assistance to his little sister on her pilgrimage.

So we offered him a cup of tea, and got him to put down the knife (Jesper also offered him a piece of that shortbread Mrs T makes for him and he uses as a doorstop. Jesper is no longer allowed at diplomatic meetings).


We asked Hekbune to tell us more about his people, but he was unconvinced.

However, he said, he would talk to his elders and see what they thought about us meeting them.

He did say that Minluth had been successful on her journey, and is now a fully-fledged clan member.



We offered him a tour of the institute, and he seemed intrigued- but when we took him to the archives he didn’t even make it across the threshold before he backed out, his hands shaking, muttering about ancient evil.

Looks like the archives could do with another cleansing ritual…

F#18: Lanternhead

Lanternhead

Also known as: Old Man of the Swamp

Homunculus

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In the dark of a summer night, you spot a light that seems to hover half a foot off the ground. Then another light pops into existence.

Then another.

You have come across a rare occurence: a ‘Moot’ of Lanternheads.

This pale skinned, furry-bodied homunculus is normally a solitary creature, wandering large swathes of woodland, moorland or marsh. However, during the summer months it seems that several will congregate in one area- and no one knows why.

There is no visible interaction between the creatures at the moot. They stand several feet away from each other, and appear to gaze skywards. Are they communicating in some internal fashion? Or are they waiting for something?

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We may never know.

Entry compiled by: Bartholomew Moon

Archive16: Owlmen

What- or who- is The Owl With Tongues?

By B. Moon

The temporary office Elion Okar has set up in the break-room of the Seaflower Institute is a mess, although its creator insists to me it’s a complex system.

‘Each station is a potential connection,’ he says, gesturing to the coffee table as an example. ‘And is broken down into piles- evidence for, evidence against, and what a positive connection would imply.’

He is searching for links in the puzzle of the ‘Owl With Two Tongues’- a mystery that has dogged him since he was an undergrad.

A mysterious amulet found alongside evidence of an ancient sacrificial ritual, dedicated to a being otherwise unheard of, lost to time.

Or is it?

Elion has three favourite possibilities amongst the sea of papers decorating my breakroom floor.

 

Connection Number One: Medieval ‘Owl-faced mad-man’ (Coffee Table)

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This woodcut illustration is from the bottom of a page of a 14C manuscript documenting the daily work of a popular bishop.

The accompanying entry recounts the story of a man: ‘for whom his good wife sought help, for he had torn apart his son’s dog, and it he then devoured there upon the ground’.

His wife, understandably concerned, went immediately to the house of the bishop; who accompanied her (along with several strong men recruited from nearby fields).

On their arrival, the party were alarmed at the man’s condition:

“we looked upon an owlfaced mad-man, naked and scrabbling in the fresh turned sod for worms, which he consumed with vigor’.

The man reportedly died after spending several days restrained. The bishop eventually came to a conclusion in his writings as to the cause of the man’s affliction:

‘punishment for a meddling in the occult… serving idols and false gods that are not Him… and bargaining with fairies and devils for knowledge his mind could not hold.’

 

Connection Number Two: Scottish ‘Lightning King’ (Counter next to the sink)

Found in a sealed off cave system, the Lightning King has always been overshadowed by the other paintings in the Blue Worm Cavern. The bold blue dragons distracted from the cracked stick man and his faded throne of skulls.

Its debated what of this mysterious figure is the original etching and what is cracks in the dry rock face- but there is an undeniable resemblance to the symbol involved in the recent Revery necromancer activity.

 

Connection Number Three: The Owlman of Mawnan (Floor to the left of the door)

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1976 drawing of the first owlman sighting

(the-line-up.com)

This connection has the least evidence to connect it, but it’s my favourite because i have a fondness for cryptids.

The Owlman is a folkloric creature sighted in Cornwall in 1976, around a church built on prehistoric earthworks. Reportedly (from several different accounts) the owlman is a feathered birdman with huge eyes, pointed ears, and pincer hands (see Morgawr: The Monster of Falmouth Bay by Anthony Mawnan-Peller).

 

Will we ever find out about this ancient being? Part of me hopes not; but I fear that the Owl With Tongues is not done with this world yet.

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Jesper’s moth subjects continue to grow. Ugh.

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