Tuesday, September 10, 2019

OSR Commentary - Deeper Truths of the Hyperboreans In The Old Solar System

So let's speak about the once & future Hyperboreans beyond the North Wind shall we. The Hyperboreans tales pick up after the departure of Iceland in AS&SH. Into their declining decades long  kingdoms in Zothique just before the appearance of the Silver Death in Clark Ashton Smith's Isle of the Torturers. 

"Between the sun's departure and return, the Silver Death had fallen upon Yoros. Its advent, however, had been foretold in many prophecies, both immemorial and recent. Astrologers had said that this mysterious malady, heretofore unknown on earth, would descend from the great star, Achernar, which presided balefully over all the lands of the southern continent of Zothique; and having sealed the flesh of a myriad men with its bright, metallic pallor, the plague would still go onward in time and space, borne by the dim currents of ether to other worlds."
Clark Ashton Smith Isle of the Torturers. 

This isn't the only evil star in Lovecraft's circle of writers in fact there's dozens of celetial objects that cause untold amounts of destruction let's use Ramsey Campbell's Ghroth (the Harbinger) as an example; 

"A] nineteenth century British cult believed in [a] comet-god who sang to the stars and planets as it passed by them in its orbit. They said it destroyed those worlds it passed, by waking up demons or ancient gods ... who slept on each world.
—Kevin A. Ross, "The Music of the Spheres"
Ghroth (the Harbinger) resembles a small, rust-colored planet or moon with a single, gigantic red eye which it can close to avoid detection. Ghroth drifts throughout the universe singing its siren song, the Music of the Spheres. As it swings by a planet, any Great Old One or Outer God sleeping there is awakened by the song. This usually results in the extinction of all life on the planet or perhaps even the utter destruction of the planet itself.[2]
Ghroth is believed to be responsible for the periodic mass extinctions that wiped out 90% of all life on earth, including the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous era. It may also have caused the destruction of the planet Shaggai, the homeworld of the intelligent, insect-like Shan.[3] For this reason, Ghroth is also known as Nemesis, or the Death Star, named after the Nemesis Hypothesis, first proposed by American astronomers David Raup and Jack Sepkoski.
Appears in "The Tugging" ( The Disciples of Cthulhu , DAW books, 1976)"
And there are dozens of these extraterrestrial places within the Cthulhu Mythos & some are strongly connected with the Hyperboreans. 

This isn't the first cycle of rebirth & destruction associated with the Hyperboreans because these are a fated peoples;
"Hyperborea is the ancient location mentioned in Ancient Greek Mythology. Descriptions of the land mention immortal beings that never age, huge valleys and forests inhabited by fairies and elves. The only way to get to Hyperborea is through huge swans. It said that no north wind blows there and its tresures are protected by griffons. A mystical land that Zeus created for no apparent reason, that only grows questions to Apollo. Mount Voormithadreth, the abode of Tsathoggua, is located in Hyperborea."

Hyperborea itself is intertwined with the Cthulhu Mythos by Clark Ashton Smith in his Hyperborea cycle; " "supposed to have corresponded roughly with modern Greenland, which had formerly been joined as a peninsula to the main continent" — in Miocene times ("Ubbo-Sathla", Clark Ashton Smith). We get the actual purpose of the Lovecraftian Old Ones to end one cycle of time & begin another epoch within the Hyperborean cycle: 

Just before the events of Ragnarok the Hyperboreans are making preparations for their return. Across the globe of Earth the ancient Lovecraftian cults are growing. People are turning to the worship of the ancient gods & agents of the Hyperboreans are sewing the seeds of destruction. Where were the Hyperboreans all this time in the far future of Ragnarok?! They've been under the Earth in hidden grottoes & caverns planning their 'holy' come back.

The Hyperboreans use perhaps a natural pole reversal of the Earth or solar flare that produces a world wide magnetic pulse & mankind's technology is cast into ruins. A strange new world rises from the old one. But even Zothique has its time with the Silver Death  as does Hyperborea in AS&SH with its Green Death. But while Hyperborea & Zothique are at their height there are extra solar colonies;

"There was no time to flee from the strange, inevitable scourge. Dreadfully and quickly, beneath the clear stars, it breathed upon Yoros; and few were they who awakened from slumber at dawn. Fulbra, the young king of Yoros, who had but newly suceeeded to the throne, was virtually a ruler without a people.

Fulbra had spent the night of the plague's advent on a high tower of his palace above Faraad: an observatory tower, equipped with astronomical appliances. A great heaviness had lain on his heart, and his thoughts were dulled with an opiate despair; but sleep was remote from his eye-lids. He knew the many predictions that foretold the Silver Death; and moreover he had read its imminent coming in the stars, with the aid of the old astrologer and sorcerer, Vemdeez. This latter knowledge he and Vemdeez had not cared to promulgate, knowing full well that the doom of Yoros was a thing decreed from all time by infinite destiny; and that no man could evade the doom, unless it were written that he should die in another way than this.

Now Vemdeez had cast the horoscope of Fulbra; and though he found therein certain ambiguities that his science could not resolve, it was nevertheless written plainly that the king would not die in Yoros. Where he would die, and in what manner, were alike doubtful. But Vemdeez, who had served Altath the father of Fulbra, and was no less devoted to the new ruler, had wrought by means of his magical art an enchanted ring that would protect Fulbra from the Silver Death in all times and places. The ring was made of a strange. red metal, darker than ruddy gold or copper, and was set with a black and oblong gem, not known to terrestrial lapidaries, that gave forth eternally a strong aromatic perfume. The sorcerer told Fulbra never to remove the ring from the middle finger on which he wore it — not even in lands afar from Yoros and in days after the passing of the Silver Death: for if once the plague had breathed upon Fulbra, he would bear its subtle contagion always in his flesh; and the contagion would assume its wonted virulence with the ring's removal. But Vemdeez did not tell the origin of the red metal and the dark gem, nor the price at which the protective magic had been purchased."

Isle of the Torturer - Clark Ashton Smith

So why would the Hyperboreans be on Mars?! Because Great Old One of many names & incarnations is back in the era of Zothique . It goes by '
The Dweller in the Gulf ', 'Vulthoom', & especially its nom de plume of 'The Seedling of Mars'. All created by Clark Ashton Smith himself. But each of these entities are aspects of the same Great Old One. And you can bet your behind that the Hyperboreans are going to have a cult dedicated to it. Why ?! Because they want to reap the sweet rewards that are promised in CAS's Mars Cycle:  Yeah I'm going with the alternative background & most folks would be thinking that oh here he goes again for the usual Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea connection. And they would be right except for the fact that actually I'm going for a Castles & Crusades campaign aspect here. Not only is there a portal to a lost Hyperborean valley on Mars but its within Kraggoth Manor. Kraggoth Manor is from The Beasts of Kraggoth Manor an adventure that I've recently run using Castles & Crusades even though its designed for AS&SH.

The Hyperboreans I'm speaking of here are not your average AS&SH PC. Instead these are fanatical devotees of the Lovecraftian & CAS gods. These examples are the vile aspects of the lowest royal denominators of the Hyperboreans. These folks are connected genetically with one of the most dangerous races of Mars & I'm speaking of the cult of the Holy Therns;
"The Holy Therns were a vicious Martian cult populated by the therns. Inhabitants of the Valley Dor, they worshipped the "living goddess" Issus (who is actually merely an ancient Black Martian woman), and sought to keep her happy with human sacrifices. For centuries, they enthusiastically promoted the idea that the Valley Dor is the gateway to Martian Heaven and decreed that any Martian who had reached 1,000 years of age or merely tired of living should travel to the valley to either spend the rest of eternity in paradise or be reborn. When the unsuspecting pilgrims reached the valley, they found a beautiful land where fruit and water were plentiful... which also happened to be heavily inhabited by white apes and plant men. Those who survived those creatures ended up enslaved by the Holy Therns, who would work them to death before feeding them to Issus or the Tenth Cycle. The Holy Therns' downfall came in 1886, when John Carter suddenly returned to Mars."

And the connection is the entity behind the cult of the Valley of Dor & that is the progenitor of the planet men on Mars 
 'Vulthoom'. The children of this god have been devouring the Martians of centuries. But their god has been preserving his holy Therns between cycles of destruction & resurrection. Could 'Vulthoom' be connected with the Martian tree of life!? Possibly an aspect of it.  

A more Earth wizard who would have knowledge of these connections & their roles across space & time is strongly connected with both Earth & Mystara. The wizard-noble Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville
) has been using his knowledge of these cycles of destruction & resurrection to take full advantage of the body of mystic & occult knowledge to make war upon his enemies across space & time. 

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