Friday, December 30, 2022

OSR Thoughts On Clark Ashton Smith's 'The Dark Eidolon' & The Devil King Thasaidon 'ruler of the Seven Hells' & 'Lord of All Turpitudes'

 The Dark Eidolon  (1935) by Clark Ashton Smith is the Zothique story that for me helps to define the last continent on Earth;"On Zothique, the last continent on Earth, the sun no longer shone with the whiteness of its prime, but was dim and tarnished as if with a vapor of blood. New stars without number had declared themselves in the heavens, and the shadows of the infinite had fallen closer. And out of the shadows, the older gods had returned to man: the gods forgotten since Hyperborea, since Mu and Poseidonis, bearing other names but the same attributes. And the elder demons had also returned, battening on the fumes of evil sacrifice, and fostering again the primordial sorceries." Clark Ashton Smith's writing here is top notch breathing life into the world of Zothique in this tale of youthful black sorcery revenge. Thasaidon, lord of seven hells is the overiding damnation force within  The Dark Eidolon . 

Title page of "The Dark Eidolon" as it appeared in Weird Tales, January 1935. Illustration by Clark Ashton Smith.

Thasaidon, lord of seven hells
Wherein the single Serpent dwells,
With volumes drawn from pit to pit
Through fire and darkness infinite —
Thasaidon, sun of nether skies,
Thine ancient evil never dies,
For aye thy somber fulgors flame
On sunken worlds that have no name,
Man's heart enthrones thee, still supreme,
Though the false sorcerers blaspheme.
— The Song of Xeethra

 Narthos becomes a willing pupil of a dark  wizard & while this crystalizes his resolve in his revenge it also puts him on a dark path that will destroy an entire city. And here's where the PC's might come in. Say that the party find themselves within the ruins of the city of Xylac. Are there treasures & relics left behind after the affair of Narthos, &  Prince Zotulla. Then there's the matter of Thasaidon who may well be looking for other willing followers within Xylac's walls. So there's opportunities here for beginning dark wizards at first level to gain favor with the Lord of the Seven Hells. 
And on a second, or is it third, or fourth reading of  
The Dark Eidolon on my part?And it's the horror & scale of this Sword & Sorcery classic that get's me as a reader.  I happen to agree with  E. F. Bleiler's accessement & review of  The Dark Eidolon; 'Reviewing Out of Space and Time in the 1983 book The Guide to Supernatural FictionE. F. Bleiler remarked "The Dark Eidolon" and "The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan" are "the best stories."[1] In the 1988 book Fantasy: The 100 Best Books, James Cawthorn and Michael Moorcock said "the apex of incarnadined horror is achieved with 'The Dark Eidolon', the tale of a childhood injury avenged on a scale which would tax the visual resources of a major studio."' 
And within a Zothique game campaign 
the ruins of the city of Xylac are going to be prime loot & monster magnet for the dark forces of the future Earth. And I can explain my thinking here. There has been so much dark energies & forces that the the ruins of the city of Xylac are themselves are accursed. This goes back to the lord of the seven hells himself. Thasaidon is a devil king  of business & black magick. He's in the business of the souls of mankind especially magicians & on Zothique business is very good. At least until  the affair of Narthos, &  Prince Zotulla.
And Narthos has taxed & vexed 
Thasaidon's patiences to the point that the devil king has cursed the very ruins of the city. 
And this goes back to an article that I wrote back on October 2 on "
Gods of Hell & Murder - Thoughts on the Ecology Of The Devil King Thasaidon 'ruler of the Seven Hells' & 'Lord of All Turpitudes' Updated" here. 

Deep within the ruins of the city of Xylac are two madmen who act out their dark sorcerious affair night after night. The riches of a city are still there for the taking or are they?! The Lord of All Turpitudes has attracted many of his devils & devil spawn to his side. And these horrors are going to be encountered by a party of adventurers the moment they try to pillage the dungeons & ruins of Xylac. 

Skeletons, the damned souls, undead horrors, and worse haunt the of the dungeons & ruins of Xylac. Xylac is the home of irony where the soul & center of the city swims with the nightmares & dreams of the former city. And this will come through loud & clear to the players. 

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