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I was an arrogant fool to think I could trick a God and out of all gods, it had to be the god of trickery, trickery, chaos and madness. As my sanity is leaving me, I find myself wondering why I'm writing this posterity legacy, perhaps a warning or perhaps a reminder from when my mind has left me entirely. A rude day across the threshold to his realm, the darkness beneath the fields known to the townsfolk as the valley of madness. It had seemed like such a simple job. Cultists usually make for easy targets. They are a week don't tend to fight back. Nobody misses them. And their temples are filled with valuable artefacts. Nothing pays like religion. So when one church pays you to dispose of another, how could you refuse? I was never a religious person myself. I never imagined the repercussions. The gods don't care. I thought we are nothing to them. I was wrong. These cultists were like nothing I had ever encountered. Their temple was like nothing I had ever seen. Deep, dwindling tunnels, dark, dank Hollows, desolate, devoid ruins. There was no treasure here. Only rambling madman lurking in the shadows. At first, I believe this could not be a temple. I was in the wrong place. But then I encountered the first one. Pale and malnourished, the pitiful creature shivered in a corner, laughing at itself. It clawed at its own head. Patches of hair lay at its feet. Bloody scabs left where he used to attach to its scalp. It had not yet become aware to my presence, still frantically tearing at its own face. As I inched closer, I cocked the hammer of my pistol and it stopped freezing in place with a sudden, eerie silence. It turned its face toward me, and the lowering of its sinewy hands revealed where its eyes should have been to bleeding Hollows, which tunnel deep into the darkness of its skull. It seemed aware of me and reached out its bony fingers. Presenting an offering. I looked down and my throat retched the bile from my stomach before forcing it back. It's gouged. Eyeballs rolled playfully between its fingers. It smiled. It laughed. It cackled. It's screamed. A deafening thunder cut through the soul tearing company, the sound of my pistol releasing a bullet from its chamber down the endless void within its eye and out the other side. Suddenly, all was still saved from my shot, still echoing in the distance, and it's laughter still echoing in my mind. Instead of collapsing, the pathetic creatures just sat there, slumped and unmoving. It stared at me, and I stared back, losing myself in the void of its dead gaze. My mind began to slip as a laughter slowly grew louder, not fainter, borrowing its way into my mind, scraping at the insides of my skull. That curse had laughter, that laugh that had never stopped, that laughter that continued to haunt me to this very day. I wanted to scream. I want to do panic. But I was transfixed with a sense of surrender. I welcomed the madness, and in its chaos it brought peace. Eternity had passed, or perhaps but a single fleeting moment, perceived wrongly by my senses. When finally I blinked, the corpse before me crumpled to the ground with the sound of breaking bone, and I gasped the panicked breath of a drowning man. The fear that had previously forsaken me finally took my legs and guided me hurriedly to whence I came. My heart pounded with my chest as fast as my body took me down the winding, endless tunnels, which I was certain would lead me to the entrance. It wasn't long before I realised that they would not. Every tunnel looked the same and that I was unequivocally lost days, weeks, months, perhaps years. How long did I wonder? Time had grown strange in that underground sanctuary. I could not remember the colour of the sky, nor the feeling of the sun's warmth. But I still remember the feeling of turning a corner and seeing that light, my eyes that recoiled, afraid that a sudden shift from the endless darkness would burn them. The endless darkness which had become my world, a world which whispered to me horrible things, terrible things, mad things, it asked me, threatened me, begged me to remove my eyes in favour of the mad God. For surely I no longer needed them. I would like to say that my resolve fuelled an unwavering defiance, but I had grown weak, and one day I listened. One day I was stumbling slowly over the bodies of my fellow denizens, wiping the blood from my mouth, desperate to forget the horrible things I was forced to commit in order to survive things I care not to repeat in this journal. Things I look forward to forgetting. And I found myself bringing my hands to my face. It was not even a thought. I simply began to claw at the flesh until blood ran down my cheeks. There was no pain, no fear, only chaos, only peace. Then, as a reward for my faith, I saw the light, the curse, it green light As I stumbled across a threshold, my fingers still quivering against the flesh of my face. The light flooded my senses, parting through the chaos like the sharp edge of a blade. It was deafening. The light was deafening and its intensity was only matched by its smell. It smells so pungent, so powerful I could taste it while alien and unknown to me. It was not unlike burned metal, but a peculiar, noxious quality so caustic it corroded every organ that sensed it. It smelled of rot. It smelled of decay. It smelled of disease and of pestilence. It smelled of death, horrible death, impossibly but instinctually. I knew this to be speaker. My will was no longer my own, and I began to regret having yearned for the light I tried to pull away, which did nothing but cause it to let some tighter to my being. But every attempt I began to panic as the roaring noise pounded down on me, tearing into my skull and infecting my mind before crawling down slowly into my veins. I felt as if hypodermic needles were tearing sequentially through all the surface of my skin and pumped into me a searing cold sludge, leaving a trail of agony as the rancid fluid seeped down into my very core. The process was excruciatingly slow, or perhaps it wasn't but merely seemed so. I only knew I would do anything for my torment to end. I made one less attempt, herbal free for its grasp, bringing an instant regret as I felt my veins shift beneath my skin but excruciating pain, a sensation so intense it felt as if they would tear away from my body, leaving my tattered remains in their wake. I wailed until every fibre of my being was wholly devoid of willpower and hoped that the worst had passed. But my defeat. But none of the anguish had endured was as dreadful as horrific as Eldridge. As the heinously jarring sensation of having my mind forcibly severed from my body. My tactile senses were dislocated, as if by a pair of rusty scissors cleaving every nerve of my body in the most arduous manner until all that remained was my thoughts and the void. Then I saw him. I sensed him, grotesque and magnificent, the visage harrowing enough to drive one mad at the mere sight tendrils of darkness darker than any person could conceive or perceive, reached out and enveloped my very soul, which I felt fracture under his power. What happened next? I will not say. I cannot say he will not allow it. What I can say is that I was not found worthy. ID killed every single one of his followers with my bare hands to survive that endless darkness, and still, he rather had no followers at all than have me. It must seem strange to you that I lamented his rejection. I should have been relieved, and indeed I was with the passing of time. But in that moment, his rejection heard more than a torture. I have just described tenfold. I awoke in the darkness of night, a darkness which felt like the brightest light beside the one which had Ni consumed me star and moon set the sky ablaze, illuminating the desolate field. As I ran, I ran without question without direction. I ran without knowing where I was without looking back without looking ahead. I ran until I collapsed under the strain of my own body, giving way to the exhaustion and weakness. I was so weak. Perhaps my weakness was what had saved me from his interest. Perhaps I should have stayed weak. None of that matters now. In the end, I have lost and he has one He always wins for madness has no purpose. Chaos, no direction. Succeeding is easy when you operate without intent. Getting what you want is easy when you do not want. But then who am I to presume to understand his ambitions? Oh, I know for certain is that I never should have gone to that dreadful place to that darkness that dwells beneath the Valley of Madness.