Wrote this in 2010, tried the Lovecraftian ideas, hope you'll enjoy.
| Nobody talked about it. It nearly seemed, it never existed, everyone kept silent if people from outside started to talk about. The palace sitting upon a cliff watching over the river and throwing his grim shadow over the village was never named in a travel guide, and none of the village’s inhabitants ever did take a step inside. Not even children, lead to this kind of places by their sense for adventure tried to come to the ruins. No one ever gave a name to the place, its owner was outlawed by the emperor long time ago, and he and his servants were carried away in chains. No one had ever claimed his legacy. The palace that heard so many laments and moaning were hushed up, since its aura is still falling on the village. Dark forests stood around it. People tell it’s a bit fishy in them. Lights were seen at night, when good citizens should be in their beds asleep. And voices were to hear there by night so the inhabitants started to shiver in fear. Stealthily they whispered about the evil deeds the nobleman who once owned the palace did and after that crossed themselves. There was talking about incest, about human sacrifice for Satan and about secret celebrations where they swore off all humanity.
I heard about this palace as I did restore a book with the emperor’s edicts. There were two sheets glued together carefully and renumbered by revision, so only watching it accurately one could remark this. Carefully I lifted both sheets, taking care not to delete the writing. Becoming breathless more and more I read about the unutterable crimes that were committed in a chateau, which lay near the capital in an area, which was hard to reach. A group of noblemen was sent by the emperor to investigate the accusation. Some weeks later the commission had found out the prosecutors had been right. The emperor made his decision startlingly fast and rigorous. The castle’s owner, all family members who took part in the crime and all involved servants were taken prisoner and executed in a special cruel manner. By advice of the commission the palace wasn’t destroyed by men, they decided it would be better to forfeit it.
I was astonished the main crime, or better the essential crime only was told about in umbral innuendoes, because the freely told misdeeds seemed nasty enough. But there was something no claimant, no annalist and no judge ever called a spade a spade. Not even the priest who took part at the execution, who had been laughed at by the delinquent refused to tell about more than an unnamed blasphemy.
Since I always had been an investigator of dark and supernatural this piqued my curiosity. I knew the village’s name, strictly shunned would not be any help for me, and in the case I really could find it, the inhabitants would do nothing to give some assistance to me. In the documents the palace’s name only was shown as a dubious initial, same as the nobleman’s name. So it was senseless searching for a name, because I could not even take the initial, it might have been changed regarding the villagers. Again I read the report, but there was no hint to find the cursed palace. Also the consideration at the capital was not really helpful, because at those times every town the emperor did reside was called capital.
My only evidence was the date, I had to find out hardly by watching the pages before and after the clued sheets, because the dates there had been blackened and obliterated. I decided the time where these incidents took place must have been at about 1710. I knew that time the capital was not the same which is occupying this title today. So I had to look at a map, not a modern road map, but an elder one, because there are nearly no inaccessible areas nowadays, at least not in our civilized part of the world. Since the invention of automobiles and aircrafts one can reach nearly every pint on earth, perhaps besides some regions in Asia, Africa or South America.
The very next day I started researching at the cartographic department of our library. And again I was lucky. I found a map on which was fixed a piece of paper. Carefully someone drew the landscape I was searching for, but without the village and the chateau. As I took away the paper I found the original, so I could read the name of the village I was looking for.
On the same day I took a holiday from my work and started to prepare myself for a vacation. I organized rope and lamps, I packed my camping equipment, matching clothes and all the little things, a civilized person would need for such an expedition.
I had to avoid the village, surely the inhabitants would have chased me away, ore worse, and they would have kept me there by some flimsy pretenses, so I would not be able to visit the cursed place. While my former researches I had this situation some times before, for example while the expedition to that ill famed ruin at the Rhine, or that haunted house at New England, standing on a cliff at a well known port.
With a little trouble I stashed my package in my car. With the help of a modern roadmap I drove towards a village from which I was able to reach the abandoned palace within three days of marching. I spent the night in a small but stunningly clean inn, whose landlord became weirdly uncommunicative when I tried to talk about the other village nearer to the palace. Besides that I learned to know a lot about the history and the stories from the surroundings, and in case I should come back again to this place the landlord would be an amazing source for local folklore. Despite of my excitement reaching a place that was erased in such a radical way from the human memory I slept astonishing quietly. For my own security I had some charms which were very useful while my former research. I also had an elder but fine military revolver and a good knife made in Germany to fight physical dangers.
I left my car at the friendly landlord’s shelter, took my package at my shoulders and left the village when the bells of the small church rang for the early mass. Short time after passing the last house I found myself in a veritable wilderness, only the tracks of some carriages showed there had been people times ago. The trees grew compact as a roof, underbrush restrained my advancement and the morning dew kept dripping from the leaves. In here there was a green twilight, only a few sunrays reached the ground. The animals which normally kept hidden were showing themselves by daylight, squirrels were jumping from tree to tree and roe deer were looking at me without any fear when I passed in a little distance.
I orientated with the help of a map and my compass, because the sky I saw only for a few times. As the dawn came I nearly didn’t mention, and I fixed my tent. Calmed a little I listened to the sounds of the night creatures and I fell asleep.
I don’t want to bore you, dear reader with the irrelevant things that happened while my walking tour. I recognized I was reaching the haunted chateau’s area since the night sounds did change in some odd manner. Instead of owls and foxes there was a weird whisper in the trees, as if a wind, not mentioned at the ground would be shaking the trees. And a remarkable thrill flitting was in the air like coming from some secret creatures which made me shiver. I didn’t sleep well and shapeless dream visions were lurking through my repose. Again and again I startled to hear the sounds of this ghostly forest.
I was happy the night was over and although I wasn’t able to see the sun above the forest. Passing a little glade I mentioned a soft drizzle was falling. Then suddenly I saw the stone. Or better not only a simple stone, more a monolith, dark overgrown by moss and fern like a mystic warning. Definitively the stone was no part of the chateau; it must have been much older. I stepped nearer to watch it more exactly. I could not see the whole surface but I recognized some fine lines scratched into the stone, forming devoured ornaments.
The aura surrounding the stone was dark and elder than everything I felt since then. I noticed a deep desperation while watching the stone. All the harm of the world seems to be banned into this stone and I recognized it with every cell of my brain. Startled I retreated and the negative feeling faded. It didn’t disappear, but the distress I felt before was easier to bear. All gods of our universe! I never did feel such a power like this before. I had made experiences other people would have committed suicide. There were emanations of inhuman malignance, diabolic, like the disappearance of the children of Hamelin, or with a deep human virulence like in the case of the subterranean dungeons under the Sphinx, but never before I examined something non human or better outside – human. I must have come to the palace very near, for this must have been the source of all the evil things that ever had happened here.
Like an old man painfully I trudged on until I stood between two stone columns, gnawn away by wind and weather. The wicket gate, nearly destroyed by rust and grown all over with climbing plants hung in one hinge awry. The wall, once thick and strong was nearly destroyed by bushes and tree roots. Even lack of maintenance or uninhabitibility could not do such subversion at that certain time. It almost seemed as nature herself had conspired against the building. The driveway has disappeared under masses of forest plants, and it was some kind of fighting to reach the main building. There was not much more to see from than from the surrounding walls, only the porch with the broad stairway which was broken by the roots of the trees and overgrown by ferns and bushes stood upright and too some parts of the walls from which the stucco was crumbling. Besides all the growing plants around I felt an ill emanation lying over the whole property.
It became dark and I didn’t want to enter the ruin without any preliminary. So I built up my tent in some distance to the broken walls and went to sleep. Some moments after I fell asleep came the dream.
Dressed up in a toga or some similar clothes men came pacing, carrying torches through an endless corridor into deeper regions like in a procession. Strange choruses reminding on nothing that ever came out of a human throat were reflected by the walls overgrown by moss and lichens. Mysterious masks hid the faces of the celebrants and made their singing sound flannelly. Virtually endless the corridor went into depth one may believe to feel the hell’s fire. Then, after an apparently ceaseless walk the people, to whom I seemed to belong came to a circular cave or hall, lighted by torches. The figure who had lead us stepped into the center of a circle of stones which were marked with the same queer ornaments as the monolith I saw out in the forest. At the spare room between the stones braziers were placed, emitting an acrid and numbing smoke. The figure, evidently a priest or something else lifted an ill looking book, whereupon the celebrants kneeled down and started an impressed murmuring.
The priest put the book on a desk, standing in front of a thing, looking like an altar. Over the whole thing was spread clothing reaching the ground. With one fast movement the priest, whose face seemed weirdly familiar to me tore away the clothing. There was lying a body, motionless, stiff but still alive, I thought I could hear the heartbeat. Nevertheless it was like me lying there, watched by a hundred eyes and too by my own eyes, touched by clothing that was held by a priest that also was me, I painted magic symbols on my own body. I took a dagger which lay on the desk beneath the book. I started to sing in a language invented at a time ancestors of mankind came down the trees. I felt the cold metal of the dagger touch my skin, and then scratch it. From the darkness of the ceiling which was not reached by the torches’ light something sank down on me to enwrap me, but before it could reach me I startled from sleep.
Only with some troubles I found back to reality. Deep inside me there was the dream, lurking sardonically for me to fall asleep again. I looked up and saw the dawn breaking. With a little shivering I climbed out of my sleeping bag and packed my equipment. On a small stove I boiled some water to have some instant coffee. The rest of my supplies were left untouched, because I lost my appetite after that dream.
Nevertheless I wanted to enter the building today and, if possible examine the rooms. After such a long time of ruin I could not hope to find some signs of the past, although I wanted to try it. I left my package, took my rope, a lamp and a spade and entered the inside of the palace using the porch I saw the day before. The darkness emanated by the walls nearly was tangible. Unconscious fear touched my soul and made me remember the dream from last night. After some searching I found an opening at the ground, probably it once was a stairway to the cellar. With the edge of my spade I ripped off the plants so I easily could climb in. I lit the lamp and realized I was inside a corridor with other corridors diverting spaced. The lamp offered a glance on a long way with an astonishing entire wooden door at its end.
The wood, blackened by the times passing by was covered with fearful carvings and painted with mystic symbols I only saw in a special cave temple in southern Italy before, and from which I had heard from in some reports about some condemned islands in the Pacific Ocean. As I brought myself to open it, the door opened easily, though it should have been fixed by its age and the rust. As I pushed it open out from the opening came some fog, or steam, as if darkness itself had made up physical existence and for a moment it actually darkened my lamp’s ray of light. I stepped into the corridor that lay behind and felt remembered at my dream in a fearful way. Water came dripping from the ceiling onto the lichen at the wall and the insane moss covering the ground leading in a slow angle down into the cliff the palace was built upon.
There was no other sound but the continuous dripping of the water in I felt forced to escape the silence by singing. Seemingly endless the corridor leads to the depth. For me it was like I walked through the darkness for hours, although my watch there has passed less time. Besides the slimy moss there was no other sign of a being living in such kind of cellars normally, no bugs, no centipedes, and no animals at all, as if animals did avoid this subterranean empire. Slowly dream and reality blurred, I was one of those ancient celebrants who had been pacing down there with the torches in their hands, and I was on my way to the subterranean sanctuary, where they had their celebrations.
Then I reached the hall I saw in my dream, the cave where the people have had their mass or worship. As I had seen in my dream there were the stones and the altar I had been lying on. There was the desk, and after all those time the book the priest had been reading was still laying there I took a deep breath and opened the book, which’s condition baffled its age. On the first pages I only found something looking like the scrawl of a madman, but turning the pages the more I recognized written words. Cuneiform writing was there, some pages later there were Egypt hieroglyphics, carefully painted by trained hands, archaic Greek was displaced by the straight writing of Roman writers. Bold characters of French scholars did follow the odd script of the medieval, I saw English from Shakespeare’s age, French that was written while the revolution, German from the renaissance, writings which were negotiating time to tell me the history of a cult elder than mankind itself.
Dark rites have been celebrated here, black enchantments more evil than even the darkest mysteries of the Celtic druids. But also there was shown the history of the cult’s priests. Like caught in a fever I did read the last entries, laid down by those cursed nobleman two hundred years ago. His pursuers had been wrong if they did believe they could annihilate his cult and his family by executing him. A little before they did arrive he had ordered a faithful maid to carry away his son, his son who was still in his swaddling clothes and who was brought up by a farmer’s wife in a village far from the palace. The nobleman had planned these times ago.
Oh, yes, the cult would be still alive, and he would have a new leader, because I read the farmer’s name, and it was my own. I was the heir of this nobleman. I was the heir of the cult. And I was the heir of this palace.