Related by The Shad, member of the Serpent’s Upraised Middle Finger:
Siddown, kid, and lemme tell you a fundamental truth about the Foundation.
It’s run by vultures. SCP stands for Special Carrion Procedures.
Yes, vultures! Don’t sit there with yer mouth open like a lunatic! I know, it sounds crazy, but I got it all figured out.
Oh, come on now, they wear people suits, obviously! Why, I reckon that if you took off their clothes, you could see the zipper--not that you’d want to get a skipper naked, ‘cause a skipper’s most dangerous when naked. Skippers strike when you least expect it, son.
Anyway. I reckon they’re Vulch sapiens--the wise vulture. Nasty pieces of work, them, and they’ll swear up and down that they’re really people. But they aren’t. They’re vultures.
Don’t know quite what they look like, but I reckon that they look long an’ thin, with scrawny wings--hafta be scrawny, to fit in the suit’s arms--an’ they probably have a pink wrinkly head like a buzzard. I reckon they’re cousins twice removed, them and the buzzards.
Proof? Oh, I got proof. I got proof… I got proof that’ll make you weep.
The D-Class program was where I began to figure it all out. See, I’ve got inside knowledge, and lemme tell you, the D-Class program ain’t just cruel, it’s downright stupid--well, unless you’re a vulture, I guess. There are dozens of things they use the D-Class for that they could just use those robots for. Why do they have D-Class clean out places instead of use robots for the cleaning? Why do they use D-Class to explore new places instead of robots?
Took me a while to figure it out, but finally I hit upon the truth of the matter: They’re eating the dead bodies. Oh, they type it up nice and dandy, making it sound like those D-Class just vanish, but they eat ‘em. Every last one they can. They take the ones people won’t miss, and then they put them in situations where they’ll die, and then they eat ‘em. What did you think happen to the bodies? Incineration? Burial? That’s why they gas them, too. Leaves ‘em intact for eating.
In my mind, I can see it. Dozens of vultures, their suit heads flopping against their backs, tugging at dead D-Classes with their beaks. Thousands of carcasses, all lined up as far as the eye can see. The damn skippers probably make them into damn dishes. Like D-Class fricassee. Vultures wearing chef hats.
Vultures are behind everything, sonny. And I don’t just mean Vulch sapiens. Wars, famine, disease… vultures be the ones who benefit, and they’re always there. They try to pass it off as just their nature. Don’t fool me, though. Sneaky bastards. They farm us like cattle, and we don’t even notice. We just think it’s part of life. So we’re blind to their evil.
Wherever we are, those damn birds follow. Even in the cities they swarm buildings. And lemme tell you, there are a bunch wherever the Foundation goes, spying for them. They get some carcasses too, I reckon. Probably try and negotiate for more carcasses all the time in exchange for them being spies.
Third clue: Very nature of the vultures themselves. Vultures follow me. They’re tracking me, and they’re doing it more and more since I figured it out, ‘cause I’m on to them. I mean, to some extent they follow everybody, yeah, just like I said, but they follow me more. Not just when I’m walking around in the desert, either. They follow me to the farmer’s market and hop around eating my groceries, they roost on my car and eat the wiper rubber, they sit on my lawn and eat the flowers. Damn things are trying to make me crash by eating my wipers. ‘Cause it rains down here, and it rains hard.
When they started, I knew they was on to me. So I went into my basement, and I set up my very own interrogation room. Then I went and purchased this here Taser, which I’ve used to stun every goddamn vulture I come across. Then I tie them to a chair in my interrogation room and interrogate them. So far, the damn things are loyal to the Foundation, and I haven’t managed to pry any of their vulture secrets from their beaks. I’ve tried the standard interrogation techniques, even waterboarding.
But I’ll come up with something to make them talk, at least eventually.
‘Cause vultures ain’t no match for The Shad, son.
Q: What’s therianthropy?
A: Therianthropy is the condition (not in a medical or psychological sense, in the ‘constant state of being’ sense) of identifying on some level as a non-human animal. The reasons for the identification vary wildly. In my case, it’s because the behaviors and urges of a cheetah feel utterly natural and right to me, even though I’m not yanked around on a psychological chain to fulfill them—but I know others who are yanked around like that.
Aside from that, you really aren’t going to get a universally agreed on definition of therianthropy. Hell, not everybody agrees on that definition, though most therians I know agree that it’s at least a fairly accurate descriptor. Since there’s no official dictionary definition of the word ‘therian’, and no medical consensus either, arguing the definition is rather pointless. While it’s safe to assume that that definition holds true for most, it won’t for all. When in doubt, ask.
Because a lot of therians will go on at length about what therianthropy is to them. Or have pages written about it already.
Q: What are otherkin?
A: Otherkin are similar to therians (and, depending to who you ask, are basically a larger group—from a mental and philosophical perspective, not a historical one—to whom therians belong to), but they identify as a non-existent species, usually one with sapience comparable to humans. Their experiences seem to focus more on remembered cultures (whether the cultures are actually remembered is, of course, a matter of opinion), as well as relatively alien thought processes. And when I say ‘alien’ I mean ‘right there in the uncanny valley of thought processes’. Of course, I don’t have much of an uncanny valley for thought processes, I’m trying to put my perspective more in line with that of an average human.
Not all otherkin have biological kintypes. Some have mechanical ones, and some have ones that are spirits or somehow not of any type of material origin we have here on Earth.
Allati, I need your input on this.
Q: Do any fictionkin identify as specific characters from fiction?
A: I know for sure of only one who does; they’ll remain anonymous unless they specifically say I can mention them by name. They’re also a member of a multiple system and find the fact that they’re so like this character from fiction incredibly disturbing; I’ve heard other fictionkin who didn’t identify as a specific character echo this thought. Nor are they a carbon-copy of the character; they just find the similarities too obvious—and unnerving—to ignore.
Naturally, if anyone has any suggestions for topics I should bring up in the Q&A, or wants to contribute something, I’m open. This shouldn’t just be my view of everything.
I wrote some new poetry.
I walk alone.
A figure in the baking desert,
Distorted by heat.
Staring straight ahead,
I am on a solitary trek.
Sun beats down from overhead,
Making cracks in the landscape of my mind.
And making my eyes water
Despite my tearmarks.
I know not how long I have walked,
Nor my destination,
Or even my origin.
Only the journey can be known.
Pawprints stretch back for miles,
Distinct despite the hard ground.
But still, they seem to waver,
And even if I wanted to,
I could not retrace my steps.
Where am I?
Where have I been?
What am I?
What was I?
What am I becoming?
Do I even move?
Or does the world itself shift around me?
Am I going in circles?
Am I even going anywhere?
As I walk, I change.
Protrusions form, dark vast spiky things,
Then vanish into dust blown by a phantom wind.
Metal and gears shimmer across my body,
Finally disappearing into heat mirage.
My very self fades,
Then blazes like a supernova.
And then it fades again.
My essence warps.
Currently working on an art trade with Kisota. She does a reference sheet of Plant Cheetah, and I do a story featuring SOLAR KISOOOO. Aside from that, I’m working on Dunes of the Variforms (my science fiction book), several stories for the Wanderer’s Library (one involving Robert Griffon, the Man With A Tertiary Neuron Cluster In His Armpit; one involving the Albania Incident; and a few files involving Legacy, the anomalous wildlife sanctuary)—for those who don’t know, that’s a spin-off of the SCP Foundation.
So, background. This is another story set in the universe of the Hand, and again features Peristrixalo, whose adventures I think I shall follow for quite a while.
September 10, 1936- Sydney: Lovely country, Australia. Lovely people, lovely weather, lovely wildlife. Lovely gods, too. Live as long as I have and you meet a few gods. Oh, it’s not as big a deal as you might think- they’re literally everywhere, and lots of people meet them without even realizing it- but in most places they sure act like it is. Met Queztacoatl once. Guy’s religion is nearly dead, the main thing he’s the archetype of is kept alive only by archaeologists, and he still expects a heart to be sacrificed to him. Naturally, I wasn’t going to do that, so I fulfilled the letter by sacrificing the metaphorical heart with a truly miserable poem.
But I digress. Point is, Australia’s gods are as laid back as any, and I’ve been friends with some. Walmajarri, for example. God of the thylacines, also known as the Tasmanian tigers. I hadn’t known why he’d summoned me, and I’d visited him a few months ago. Usually we only met two years or so. Calling me back this early was unprecedented, especially when I was off in the Soviet Union smuggling out a few parahumans. At least, I wasn’t sure until I received the paper with my tea, flipped it open, and read that the last thylacine was dead as of the seventh.
Despite the name, gods can die. A better name for them might be archetype manifestations, but it’s too bloody long. Gods die when everything they stood for vanishes. Gods are tied both to the culture that venerated them (if one did- if one didn’t they’re much less powerful without the link to the ideals of a human culture with a massive impact) and to what they were the archetype of. Walmajarri would die without any thylacines left. At least, he probably would. I’ve heard of a few gods who survived after everything they stood for vanished, despite being reduced to a voice on the wind or a figure in the corner of the eye. Usually it was because what they stood for captured the imagination, and if it happened after they died, they’d start to return.
“You know, I met that one once. Liked her quite a bit,” I said, knowing that Walmajarri was next to me. “This mean what I think it does, Jarri?”
“Prob’ly so.” He spoke in a rather resigned voice. “Few still running around, maybe.” I put down the newspaper and turned towards him. He resembled an Australian aboriginal, which was enough to get him shot around most places. He was a god, though, and that came with certain advantages, such as making himself nearly impossible to notice. Good thing, too, because normally Jarri had a feral, predatory glint in his eye, claws, long canines, and a build similar to the thylacine’s. This time, though, he looked very human. Jarri never looked human. It simply wasn’t an option for a feral god.
“What,” I asked cautiously, “was the last thing the Rainbow Serpent said to us before-”
“We never met him. He’s still stuck under Uluru.” He gestured towards himself. “This is going to be normal from now on. I can’t even shapeshift anymore.” I recoiled in horror. Shapeshifting was necessary for the sanity of a feral god. Jarri’s mental stability was about to take a plunge for the worst. I knew the symptoms, and so did he. Irritableness first, followed by total loss of instincts and feral edge. Then the god lost all initiative, and became delusional, seeing things that weren’t there that almost always were visions of past glory. “Yeah, I know,” he said quietly. “I’ve been hanging on by my claws for a long time now, traveling the continent and trying to preserve my species by sticking a few of them on the mainland. It doesn’t work, Peri. The Europeans have nearly killed me, and I think they’ve just about finished the job.” His eyes swam out of focus, then swam back into it. “I’ve seen quite a few of my fellows disappear. Seems I’m next.” I adjusted my bush hat.
“Doesn’t have to be like that. You know that.” I was thinking of the bird. The Dodo.
“Dodo was an unusual case,” he said flatly. “Everybody remembers the dodo as an emblem, and so he gets to hang around Mauritius and taunt the Dutch. No one’s going to remember me, Peri, at least not for long. They never do. And if they do it will be as vermin, something to be eliminated for their mythical predator-free utopia.” He took a drink from a beer that hadn’t been near him before. Like I said, there are some advantages to being a god. “I wanted you to be with me when I go. I know you were busy in the Soviet Union, but to a certain extent I need you. When a god dies, there are things that need to be taken care of.” Australian gods might be more laid back than most, but they did have their limits. I could refuse, but Jarri would be incredibly offended, and I didn’t know how important the ‘things that need to be taken care of’ were.
“Can’t say no to my oldest friend,” I said, sipping the herbal.
September 11, 1936: I’ve hiked through the Outback countless times. Whenever I’d meet up with Jarri the two of us would inevitably end up on walkabout. I’ve always enjoyed those times. As One Who Walks, I don’t become tired from walking, ever. Nor do I become thirsty, or hungry while walking, and I don’t suffer from the environmental conditions. I’m ageless, too, even when I’m not walking. Walking’s in my blood, and hiking is my life.
This time was different. The red sands shifted in the breeze, and when they flew away from an area, it seemed like they would expose skeletons of the gods who had died. They wouldn’t, of course. That just wasn’t how gods died: They never left a body. You could kill a god without them being dead permanetly, of course. They reformed elsewhere, near what they represented. I didn’t know if Jarri would have that benefit. Probably not. I wasn’t going to ask.
Wildlife was absent. Not even a soaring bird breaked the monotony. I recognized the signs- emotional change for the negative, lack of wildlife, unusual weather conditions, weird [a note penciled in later says ‘in this case, ethnoambient, Australian’] music playing in the back of my mind- from my thousands of trips through the Ways. But we couldn’t be entering a Way; gods simply couldn’t enter them. Gods were bound to the land. They could send something which they represented through a Way and experience what that saw through telepathy, they could make use of spatial anomalies, but they couldn’t leave our dimension. On the other hand, here was Jarri walking in front of me, leading the way as he always did, and to all appearances he was leading me through a Way.
“There are other places, Peristrixalo, than the other worlds through which you walk. We are going to a Dream Place. It is different,” Jarri said when I asked him, and refused to say any more. He’s not usually so secretive.
That night we camped near a pile of red sandstone rocks inhabited by venomous snakes and great big lizards. Jarri instinctively curled up beside me when I lay down, and I, out of habit, stroked his back. It was different, since no longer could he become a thylacine. But when one lives as long as we do, one starts to find it hard to change some habits, and I wasn’t going to try to change this one. It was a memory of better days.
Jarri only stayed next to me for a while. Like the thylacine, he’s nocturnal, though capable of daytime activity. And while he might not be running free in thylacine form anymore, the heart and soul can be feral too.
September 12, 1936: Uluru is a beautiful sight. The Europeans call it Ayers Rock, but the true masters of this land call it Uluru, and if they wished they could create a storm that would cleanse Australia of the Europeans for a generation or more.
We’re going to Uluru, I’m nearly sure of it. The Aboriginal caretakers of the site are a dead giveaway that there’s something paranatural about the place. Don’t know exactly what it is. Something connected to the Dreaming, yes, but what and how?
Walmajarri had his old feral glint in his eye today. He even was quivering with excitement when prey came near him. It’s good to see that he is partly wild again, even if he isn’t as feral as he used to be. Personally, I still hold out hope that he’ll survive. Maybe the thylacine will capture the public imagination in such a way that Walmajarri survives. But Jarri doesn’t think so. Understandable; he bears no love for the Europeans and automatically thinks badly of them- something I can hardly blame him for. I’ve seen them committ horrific acts too. But I see a distant possibility for hope. They just need to be directed, and that’s what I’m doing: directing them to different paths.
I can feel my mind changing. Walmajarri’s always had that effect on me, and I’ve always enjoyed the effect: a kind of feral alertness and edge like his own, a kind of instinctual undercurrent. But while Jarri’s is thylacine, mine is not. My species has legends that we are descended from cats, even though we don’t look like them in the least. And when I’m with Jarri, sometimes I wonder if they are true.
The two of us saw a goanna today. Walmajarri clearly wished to kill and eat it, but I was too fascinated by the lizard for him to do so. It’s scales shimmered in the light like granite, and for so long it looked like the stone it sat on.
September 13, 1936: We’ve reached our destination. It’s basically a giant canyon, though the walls… there’s something about them that tugs at part of my brain. It’s like I’ve seen the pattern before in something extremely significant, and I should know what the pattern means. Whenever I look at the canyon from the cliff face overlooking it, I get this feeling of deja vu.
The music is getting stronger. It’s not actually coming from the environment, it’s coming from my mind. Whenever I start to get lost in though, it’s there, but somehow not there at the same time. Not the only strange thing, either. When I woke up this morning, I could have sworn my body had altered, like I was taller with my arms and legs longer. There was more coiled energy, less steady endurance. I tried entering the Walk. It works, but I could have sworn there was something different about it.
I mentioned all this to Jarri. I didn’t like the look on his face when I told him about the second part. It was a cross between ‘this worries me’ and ‘everything according to plan’. Make no mistake, Jarri is no Machiavelli. He’s the polar opposite. But it would be just like him to keep the details of a location from me on the grounds that it’s a sacred place.
Sometimes people think that the gods are the focus of religions. That’s not entirely true. In many places, they are the most devout adherents of it, as much as they may be able to coexist in perfect harmony with those holding other beliefs. Many gods disdain worship, Jarri included, even (or especially, in the case of many more chaotic, freewilled gods) when it is of them. Jarri doesn’t see himself as something to be worshipped up high. He sees himself as a creature of the Dreaming, perhaps more wise than most mortals, but only because he’s been around longer- but still fallible. He makes mistakes.
Like his tendency to misuse British swearwords.
September 14, 1936: I trust Jarri. He’s been a friend for a very long time. Hundred years, in fact. I can still remember when we met.
But this… this is strange. As I said before, Jarri’s always had a wilding effect on me; it comes from him being a feral god. But never before has the effect been physical. I can barely move, it seems, without a slight ache in my bones, and I know that my body morphology is changing dramatically.
It’s not Jarri, I’m quite sure of it. It’s the canyon. I’ve spent all day analyzing it, to Walmajarri’s evident annoyance, and there’s something this place is doing that is changing me. Whether it’s magic or science, I don’t know. Probably magic, but who is to say that magic and science are not the same thing here?
September 15, 1936: Jarri’s looking reinvigorated. His body morphology is changing slightly too. I suspect it’s the effect of the canyon.
I’m beginning to grow impatient. I might not want Walmajarri to die, but I would very much like to know what it is he wants me to do. Even if it was actually nothing of import, I’d stay with him until the last. But I should know.
September 16, 1936: I stopped worshipping the gods of my people a long time ago. I saw them for what they were: entities like Walmajarri, like Bast, like Lugh, like Thor. I have tried to stop swearing by them, though it is often instinct.
I swore by the gods of my people today, when Jarri finally revealed why he had brought me here. I should have guessed something along the lines of what he told me.
Gods are archetype manifestations; I know it, the gods know it, anyone who associates with them knows it. Therefore a god has an incredible amount of energy- potential energy- bound up inside of him or her. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. When a god dies, that energy doesn’t just vanish, it’s got to go somewhere. Sometimes it dissipates. Sometimes it creates an explosion so vast that it dwarfs anything that has ever been seen. Sometimes the god creates a new sacred place with their last breath, or works a miracle.
Walmajarri intends to work a miracle. He has had enough, he says, of the Europeans driving species extinct. He has had enough of his friends dying because of the actions of fools. He has had enough of entire ecosystems collapsing around his ears, and entire ethnic groups being driven to ruin.
And so he intends to stop it. With his dying breath, he will create a sacred place where the essence of species can be stored. The canyon will trap the essence of any creature that dies within its borders. The god associated with the creature would still die if all specimens died, but there would be a chance of coming back in the future.
We will make preparations tommorrow, he says. I must find the last thylacine and bring it here. Jarri knows where she is now. Jarri knows that she is hunted, too, and old and weak and sick.
September 17, 1936: I found her. She was fearful, but as Jarri said, she was weak. But she delayed me long enough for the hunters to catch up with us.
“Stand aside. Damn thing killed my best laying hen,” the lead hunter said, brandishing a long-barreled firearm in my face. I crouched down next to the thylacine, which I had soothed with a small pipe Jarri had given me.
“Can’t do that,” I said as I shook my head, and vanished into the Way with the last thylacine before the bullet left the barrel of his rifle.
September 18, 1936: It is done. Jarri turned to floating motes of light before me. I stayed with the thylacine until she died. Strands of light traveled from her body into the soil as she did so. Because what thylacines are is still intact, Walmajarri might return, someday. Until then, though, for all intents and purposes, he is dead.
My body is returning to normal, but my mind will never be the same.
You said they would never remember you, Walmajarri. I say differently. I say they will never forget you, I say that they will never forget the thylacine, because I will not let them. I will travel from place to place, planting evidence for your continued existence. I will place you in art whenever possible. And ultimately, I will bring you back, though I do not know how.
You will see a new dawn, Walmajarri.
September 18, 2006- Sydney: “The genetic programming is completed. We’ve reached stage three of integration. The pups should be ready within a few weeks.” Dr. Jacobsen stood next to me. How I loath him! The man has no ethics; he’d gladly kill a thousand sapients to make a few dollars. But I need him. All of the others I had approached had rejected me. Understandable. They believed in what they were doing; they were into science, not hare-brained plans to resurrect a species. Jacobsen was in science for the money, and unlike most of his colleages, he was a member of Marshall, Carter, and Dark, so he believed what I said. And so for the proper fee he was willing to convert an old warehouse into a lab.
“Soon,” I whispered, stroking the glass holding the preserved specimen. I could hear the slighest whisper in the back of my mind, a whisper from a voice I hadn’t heard in seventy years. Across the waters, I saw the sun rise.
Later that day, I sent a coded message to California, asking an old friend for a favor.
November 1, 2006: Today ten people wielding assault rifles modified to shoot tranq darts entered by a hidden doorway, darted Jacobsen, and took the thylacine pups to a sanctuary for careful nurturing. Odd how some organizations turn up in supposedly secure locations. Shame Marshal, Carter, and Dark don’t understand such things.
They should stop chasing me by next month. Jacobsen can hold a grudge, but he has better things to do than go after me. For that matter, eventually it’ll be more cost effective to let me go.
Jarri and I’ll meet at the usual place in 2010. With the advances in transportation technology, we can meet far more often, but he needs a bit of time.
In the meantime? I haven’t been to the Southwest since that skinwalker episode. Time to pay a visit. Figure after that I’ll go through Mexico and Central America. Maybe visit some Mayan ruins; I always liked Mayan ruins.
Librarian’s Notes- Project Uluru is doing as expected. As of September 2011 the thylacine colony at Legacy has reached thirty-six individuals. Advance scouting for possible reintroduction sites completed. Reintroduction will begin once a suitable cover story is announced that doesn’t involve anomalies and the colony reaches one hundred individuals.
I've started work on 'And I was Present At the Death of a God', and it is turning out awesomely. I think, anyway. I've also started reading a book on rewilding, and will probably post a response eventually.
Also, the Internet here? It sucks. Big time.
I still don't believe that zoos are innately bad, and I think that zoos feel morally insulated from what happens to their animals once they drop off the map, but I'll be damned if I'll go into zoological exhibit design and not try to use my position and any contacts to make things better. I don't plan on going into the job I plan on going into because I want the money.
Today will be a good day, though, I think. I will listen to Deep Forest and contemplate the miracles of modern ambient French music. I will play Dungeons and Dragons, and hopefully the druid will show up, and I will send Sixlife on aerial missions above tropical islands. I will probably stretch out and have my back scratched or sunbathe. And I will probably finish up the Nigerian lava cat for the Wanderer's Library. If I get that done, I will start work on And I was Present at the Death of the God of Tylacines, also for the Wanderer's Library. Or perhaps I shall work on poetry. Or drawing.
I'm outside the Anasazi ruins at Chilchinbito, where I'm told the skinwalkers dwell. The Navajo speak only of them in whispers, but I found an old woman who was willing to tell me just a bit about them, so I am prepared, both for the physical challenges and the usual stresses on my sanity. Naturally, their appearance is horrifying (no facial features) and they would kill me as soon as look at me. They can also run as fast as a car and shapeshift. Just once, I would like to meet something beautiful that tries to kill me, but I suspect that's asking far too much. In any event, I will be going through a third story window that I didn't detect any signs of activity from.
My research on cryptid sightings in the area suggests that the skinwalkers are a seperate offshoot of humanity, most likely (in my opinion) warped from the foul variety of magic they use. They are about the size of a child, but whithered and pale. Their eyes are deep red and sunken, the mouth is a gaping hole that never closes, and the ears are simple holes in the side of the head. Their forelimbs are approximately twice as long as they would normally be and are correspondingly limber, allowing skinwalkers to manuever easily in the ruins. The skeletal structure of the forelimbs appears to be similar to that of a gibbon's, with the important difference of one extra joint.
Since I expect hostility, I am carrying a standard revolver with the bullets dipped in white ash. I would prefer more technologically advanced weaponry but can't afford the chance that the skinwalkers would loot it from my dead body.
Currently in room with Anasazi artifacts. Very little time to write. Grabbing as many things that could tell me about fall of civilization as possible.
May 13, 2004:
They were definitely hostile. As soon as I had finished bagging the last tablet, they came running in, leaping from floor to wall to ceiling like evil humanoid frogs. No idea how they did it, either. The bodies of skinwalkers I've examined show no adaptations that could be used to such an effect. Magic of some sort, I suppose.
I shot two dead and wounded another in the chest. After that, they ran away as quickly as possible. Thought that was the end of it, but (of course) it wasn't. A few minutes later, while I was gathering blood for DNA testing, one- just one- approached. I bade it not to enter the room, for I was armed with bullets dipped in white ash. "Thank you," was the only thing it said- in Navajo, of course, but when you're as old and well-traveled as I am, you learn more than a few languages.
The voice still gives me nightmares, as does the mental blast that came after. I had known that these… things… took the shape of children, but I did not know what both the voice the blast revealed to me- that they were children, children that by all rights should be at rest. But they can't rest. They were killed by witches, and so their spirits became witches too. Their suffering, I think, is the worst I have ever seen, for they do not enjoy what they do, but they are driven by ancient spells and curses to inflict pain, horror, and suffering on others anyway.
It was straining at the end of its story, trying by an act of millennia old willpower not to tear me to quivering bits. I saw the plea in its eyes, begging me to put it out of its misery.
So I did. I could have sworn it smiled and laughed as I shot it.
I'm tired now. I think I'll go to bed.
— Peristrixalo, member of the Hand
Librarian Notes: The DNA sample Peri brought back was indeed mutant human. Tests demonstrated that it apparently exists both in our plane and another, and so requires ritualistic objects to be damaged. This applies to the dead bodies as well.
Translation of the tablets is currently in progress, but what we have deciphered so far suggests that skinwalkers began to multiple exponentially until the Anasazi performed a ritual that apparently destroyed most of the skinwalkers and partially cut them off from reality, but at the cost of the Anasazi civilization.
Peri returned to the location several weeks later and found it abandoned. The dead skinwalker bodies were gone, as was any sign of a struggle. Analysis of the site indicates a recent spatial disturbance.
Reposted from here
Then we ran into an aboleth. I got transformed and got de-transformed later, but we lost all our crew and will probably have to track the bloody morons down, if they are even still alive, which I doubt. Next time we're getting some people with high will saves.
Haven't posted anything lately, which I'm sorry for, but things got in the way and my giant big post kind of gummed up the works. Still been reading everybody's journals, though.
I was going to send cookies to the Wall Street protesters, but apparently they want non-perishables. Cookies are perishable. And the ones I made were fragile. So sending them would be a bad idea. Instead, I shall send them canned food. But good, wholesome canned food. Possibly locally grown and inside glass cans.
I've joined the Wanderer's Library, and posted Skinwalkers on it.