The Teaching of Terrible Truths
Papa’s Little Sprout
“People see what makes sense to them, reality notwithstanding.”
A swarthy, handsome man with sleek, dark hair framing his angular face sat on the ground beside his daughter, a lovely child clad in an eye-catching patchwork dress embroidered with multicolored flowers. The child waved her hand, and a sprout pushed its way up from the ground, blooming into a lovely white daisy. The youngster’s magical abilities were impressive, doubly so considering that the child and her father were on the dwarf planet that would come to be known as Pluto in an infant solar system coalescing around its juvenile star.
The girl had a miserable look on her face as she hid behind her copious waves of coal-black hair. She threw her arms around her father’s neck, clinging to him.
“Papa, I know this,” the child replied in a quavering voice. “I didn’t intend to be contrary. It’s just that I’ve thought about it and thought about it, and I simply can’t make myself understand, no matter how hard I try.”
“Yadira, my special little sprout, you’re not contrary at all,” the Cosmic Trickster countered. “Can I tell you a secret?”
“Anything, Papa,” the child declared, drying her tears, and sitting cross-legged facing her father.
“Well, as you know, this Universe we find ourselves in was born of the tragedy that befell your homeworld, Zaïs, on the day that you were born.”
“Of course, Father. You had to race through time and space and countless wormholes and dimensions to keep me safe. I also know that you were not native to Zaïs but that you arrived there in the time between winter and spring. You brought hope back to my mother’s soul. She had waited a long time to find you.”
“Yes, my pet, and for me, it seemed that every journey from the past led me along the path to my Nathicana. She was like water to my thirsting soul. Alas, the path back to her does not lie on a straight line, but arduous though it may be, we will one day find our way to her again. My point in telling you this is that some things are not readily apparent, even to an immortal. Even I, the mighty Nyarlathotep…”
The God scooped up a handful of dust, tossing it into the air. The particles sparkled, grew, exploded, and raced into space to become companions for Pluto. Yadira laughed and clapped her hands at her father’s exaggerated performance and manic grin.
“My dearest Yadira, even I don’t understand the insanity that hardens hearts and makes minds corrupt and twisted. I am the son of primordial chaos. My father both creates and destroys, but he does neither with malice. The terrible soul that you recently encountered feeds on the fear and pain of his victims. Such an individual perhaps cannot, and absolutely will not suppress his urges to commit acts of cruelty. The subjugation and suffering of others make such corrupted souls feel powerful. It is like drinking poison to be in the presence of such a being.”
“Even for you, Father?”
“Yes, my love, even for me.”
“Did you fear for me when you realized my plan to trap that sadistic tyrant back on Vilzek?”
Nyarlathotep shook his head.
“No, for your magic is great and he was weak and self-absorbed. Even in the unlikely event that he was able to overpower you, I would have sensed your distress and come to your aid. Had you asked my permission to take on your intended mission, I would have advised against it. However, you relied on your instincts as I have encouraged you to do from the time of your birth, and you prevailed. You would have learned this lesson at some point, although I wish it could have waited until you were older and better prepared.”
“Can one ever be prepared for the inhumane actions of those who see others as their playthings?” Yadira inquired.
Nyarlathotep shook his head.
“No, not really, I’m afraid. However, one does learn to steel oneself. Perhaps my condition makes me better able to distance myself from the corruption of men such as Strok’aik Zuugrods. I have never been small and seemingly vulnerable, and, when encountering humanoids, I generally present as a male of their kind. Even when presenting as female, my energy is still that of a male. The unfortunate truth is that there are some males who seek out females for the very reason that Zuugrods targeted you.”
“And his daughters,” Yadira reminded her father.
Nyarlathotep swallowed the bile rising to his throat.
“Yes, and his daughters,” he agreed, the words turning to dust in his mouth.
“But you would never do such a thing, Papa.”
Nyarlathotep drew Yadira close, his voice trembling as he spoke.
“Never and never and never again,” he swore. “You are my daughter, and you are safe with me.”
The Daughters of Strok’aik Zuugrods
Strok’aik Zuugrods, an Unqraid warlord who became chief of the Stek settlement in the Kingdom of Cerkreids, had a dozen daughters ranging in age from one year to twenty-three years. The one-year-old, Zaktuk, was born to his eleven-year-old daughter Hihmed, whom he had impregnated following her first menstrual cycle.
Hihmed was the daughter of twenty-three-year-old Olin. Olin’s twin sister Odo was mother to twelve-year-old twins Bokaes and Brokuks. Ses and Shukeks were Zuugrod’s three-year-old twin daughters by his eighteen-year-old daughter Uhun.
Olin and Odo’s mother Brondred was the eleven-year-old daughter of Uphrot, king of the Dhovat fiefdom. When Zuugrods’ army invaded Dhovat, the merciless warlord beheaded Uphrot before the horrified Brondred and her nine-year-old sister Chovoill. He did not spare Uphrot’s twelve-year-old son Dhumhars, separating the brave lad’s head from his neck with one deft swing of his ax when the boy attempted to defend his mother and sisters.
Uphrod’s wife Onzex was said to have perished from Khicets, a severe respiratory infection marked by thick yellow mucus blocking the bronchial passages. Olin and Odo, however, believed that Zuugrods’ brutal treatment of their grandmother combined with her grief over losing her son was the likely cause of her demise.
Chovoill was the mother of Uhun. Her sister perished giving birth to Olin and Odo. Chovoill was slower to mature than Brondred had been, and Zuugrods beat and ridiculed her for her delayed development, sneering that she must be a useless boy like her dead brother and that if she failed to reach womanhood in a timely manner, he would behead her as he had Dhumhars.
Zuugrods’ three-year-old daughter Struhmea was the daughter of the unfortunate forty-five-year-old housemaid Cegrads, whom the cruel warlord raped one night after being rejected by Zaeks Qugzans, a noblewoman whom he fancied.
Zuugrods’ six-year-old daughter Ghoks and seven-year-old daughter Nustot were conceived with his 35-year-old sister Thomhell, who had no choice but to obey her brother’s whims to prevent him from throwing her and her severely disabled eleven-year-old daughter If’er into the street.
The women and girls subjugated by Strok’aik Zuugrods despised him, despite his assertion that they not only enjoyed his despicable treatment of them, but being female, and therefore inferior, they also deserved it.
Zuugrods was unaware that his female kinfolk and servants had formed a coven and, during the nine-moon alignment that occurred every thirteen weeks, they performed rituals cursing him. They prayed to Crinqix the Goddess of Fate and her sister Cetal the Goddess of Death. They asked that Naundrins the Master of Tricks and Traps beguile him and use his grandiose self-adoration to make his demise spectacularly humiliating so that none would ever again glorify the vile name of Strok’aik Zuugrods.
A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes
Hihmed was the first to encounter Yadira and Nyarlathotep. Although Yadira was a millennia-old immortal being, she appeared to be a young girl of approximately ten years of age. The world-weary Hihmed, already a mother although she was only a child herself, was entranced by the bright innocence of the dream angel who approached her, smiling, and holding out her hands.
“Sister, I have heard your call,” the radiant child greeted. “My name is Yadira, and my father and I are coming to grant your wish.”
The frail youngster gasped in adoration and fear as she beheld the girl’s father. He was a marvelous sight, tall and stately with long, flowing black hair. He took Hihmed’s hand and prostrated himself on one knee before her.
“I am pleased to make your acquaintance, young princess,” he said. “Any friend of my Yadira’s is a friend of mine. I am Nyarlathotep, but you may call me Naundrins if it is easier for you to remember. You and your sisters have suffered for far too long. When you are tending to your tasks tomorrow, you will encounter us in the clearing near the Forest of Gur’aiks. You may wake with hope in your heart and trust that your salvation will not be long in arriving. Drink this potion and allow it to strengthen you.”
Nyarlathotep handed Hihmed a silver flask containing a shimmering golden elixir. Hihmed drank the draught, and her mind was filled with clarity. Because her intent was pure, Hihmed and her sisters would be safe from the Trickster’s guile, but their malicious, self-aggrandizing father would easily be seduced by his flattery.
“This wondrous beverage tastes like liquid sunshine!” Hihmed praised. “I have never before encountered anything like it! Can you tell me what it is, or does it only exist in dreams?”
“It is called Sweet Anne’s Nectar,” Nyarlathotep replied. “Before we depart your world, I will give you the seeds to grow the trees that will earn you and your sisters and daughters a fortune. I ask only a small price.”
“Anything,” Hihmed agreed. “I will give you anything that is mine to give, and if it is not mine to give, I will go to any lengths to acquire it. Name your price.”
“My price is simply this. You must never willingly allow any man to subjugate you. No matter how pretty his face or his words, you must remain true to yourself and loyal to your sisters and cousins and your daughter and nieces. Do we have a bargain, young Princess?”
Nyarlathotep extended his hand and Hihmed exuberantly clasped his long, graceful fingers between her rough, palms.
“We have a bargain, Master Trickster,” she agreed. “My daughter calls to me now and I must wake to clean her and give her sustenance. I look forward with all my soul to meeting you soon!”
The Shepherd and his Daughter
The next day while Hihmed was gathering herbs in the fields where the goats and sheep grazed, she wandered to the edge of the dark Forest of Gur’aiks. Strolling down the path, she beheld the glorious trickster and his daughter emerging from the shadows of the wood. Nyarlathotep carried a golden shepherd’s crook, although he was clad in a fine patchwork suit unlike the attire of any shepherd that Hihmed had ever seen. Yadira wore a simple white blouse and a dark red skirt embroidered with red flowers.
Hihmed ran to the pair and embraced Yadira as if she had known her all her life.
“I am so pleased that you have come,” she enthused. “Will you be following me home, or will you work from the shadows of the wood?”
“We will join you in your home, my princess,” Nyarlathotep affirmed. “I will introduce myself as Haita, a simple shepherd from the faraway realm of Azathoth.”
“Good trickster, I do not like to quibble with a god, but no shepherd ever dressed in such luxurious attire,” Hihmed protested.
“Nonetheless, your father will fall for my flattery,” Nyarlathotep reassured the girl. “He will believe me to be the leader of a flock of admirers who envision him as an idol. Hearing that he has achieved widespread renown will render any doubt null and void.”
Buoyant with hope, Hihmed took Yadira’s hand, and the girls hurried down the path together. Nyarlathotep strolled behind them, his long legs carrying him quickly to the vast home that had been constructed by the slaves of Strok’aik Zuugrods.
“Mighty and glorious Lord, we have visitors,” Hihmed announced, bowing low to her father who sat in his sitting room sipping a goblet of Xotex, heady, blood-red wine from the Igrids region.
An unexpected jolt of terror filled Zuugrods’ heart as Nyarlathotep strode into the room. The arrogant warlord convinced himself that it was merely indigestion and that this dandy in frivolous finery could not possibly pose any threat. A different sensation shot straight to his loins as he beheld the beautiful child who accompanied the preening poseur. The girl’s glorious crown of thick, lush black hair, her youthful body with breasts barely beginning to form, her soft, round face, and most of all her innocent black eyes filled the warlord with a desire to be the one to bring first stain from such an immaculate virgin. If the tender tart’s foppish father interfered, his head would soon become a decoration to adorn Zuugrods’ front stoop.
“Your Majesty, I am Haita, a simple shepherd from the Realm of Azathoth,” Nyarlathotep greeted, giving a theatrical bow. “My fellows have dispatched me to seek your aid in freeing our realm from our tyrant king.”
“And I am his daughter, Nephalotë,” Yadira stated with a dainty curtsy and a shy smile.
“Well, splendid, splendid!” Zuugrods declared, staggering to his feet. “We will discuss our business over a feast prepared by my daughters.”
The Downfall of Zuugrods
Throughout the sumptuous meal, Zuugrods could not keep his eyes off Yadira. Although she could easily strike him down with a wave of her hand, the way he ogled her made her stomach churn. She was eager to make this monster pay for the rape of his poor daughters, sister, and housemaid as well as the distress that he had caused countless other unfortunate souls.
Giving a coy curtsey as she rose from the table, Yadira excused herself to use the Necessary Hut. As expected, Zuugrods volunteered to walk with his comely young guest to protect her from any nocturnal predators that might be lurking.
Mere yards away from the main house, Zuugrods struck, pouncing on Yadira. Despite her superior abilities, the young sorceress was stunned by the ferocity of the salacious warlord. Before she could counter his attack, he had turned her onto her back and pulled her dress up to her thighs.
“I know not whether you have attained womanhood yet, young temptress, but I beheld the fire in your eyes,” Zuugrods panted. “You do not smell like any other female I have encountered. Before this evening is out, you will reek of my manly fluids, and there is naught that your simpering fop of a father will be able to do to prevent your ravaging.”
To Zuugrods’ shock, bolts of energy burst forth from Yadira’s hands, elevating him into the air. As he hung suspended above the ground, his clothing disintegrated. He watched in horror as his manhood shriveled like a garden sludge doused in saltwater and dropped away from his body. The young sorceress kept her attacker’s body aloft with her left hand as she made an upward motion with her right.
The daughters of Zuugrods emerged from the house to see their despised sire floating, his entrails falling from his abdomen as Yadira unzipped his body. She flung him to the ground and crouched beside him.
“You will have no more victims in this life, Strok’aik Zuugrods,” Yadira snarled. “You will bow to me in any future incarnation where I may be so unfortunate as to encounter you. May those whom you would make victim always gain the upper hand in the most humiliating way possible.”
Yadira sprang to her feet, snapping her fingers. The brain and heart of Strok’aik Zuugrods exploded.
“Can we help you clean up this mess, Ladies?” Nyarlathotep inquired as he and Yadira were surrounded by the grateful daughters of the expired warlord.
“I think there is no need, dear Trickster,” Olin declared. “We will have these terrible remains plated in metal and display them at the gates of our realm to remind any potential invaders of what will happen to those who attempt to subjugate the Queens of Stek or their subjects. We are eternally grateful to kind Naundrins and brave Nephalotë for freeing us of the tyranny of Strok’aik Zuugrods, and each year on this date we will hold a grand feast in your honor.”
Nyarlathotep is the creation of H.P. Lovecraft, initially appearing in his 1920 story of the same name.
Nathicana, the Gardens of Zaïs, and the white nephalotë are the creations of H.P. Lovecraft, initially appearing in his 1927 poem Nathicana.
Haita the Shepherd is a character from a short story of the same name by Ambrose Bierce, first publication Wave Magazine, 24 January 1891.
Azathoth is the creation of H.P. Lovecraft, initially appearing in his 1922 story of the same name.
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