by Kahwen Markado Archeas

It began in a land of mystery, a land of jungles and ancient temples and cities.

Four adventures wandered through the steamy land, each with his own quest.

Kodiak, a barbarian exiled from his tribe for his kinship with his namesake. Martello Entropy, a half-elven questor of justice. Darkangel, an enigmatic warrior whose past was as mysterious as his purpose. Kahwen Markado Archeas, the grandson of the god of storms and birds, searching to prove himself worthy of his heritage.

Late one night a supernatural glow lit the darkened sky. A shooting star streaked down and slammed into the ground with earthshaking force.

Each of the men's curiosity attracted them to the calamity, but more than that drew them. A subtle voice, one that whispered in their minds like their subconscious lured them like a siren song.

They came upon an ancient, ruined city with a dark, twisted temple at its center. Each man was ambushed and overpowered by the natives before they could explore further. They awoke alone in tiny cells where there was not room enough to lay down or stand up. Each day they were given mind numbing and will destroying drugs and taken to a black altar, before a dark form. There, sinister words were whispered to them and an evil spell began to form. They were slowly losing their wills and were being bent to the service of the natives' wicked god.

As the days passed Kahwen found his divine ancestry counteracted the drugs. He bided his time and marshaled his strength until he was strong enough to fight against his captors.

As he was being taken to the altar one day the struck. He attacked and slew his guards. After freeing his fellow prisoners, the keeper of the keys called upon his grandfather. The power of the mighty thunderbird flowed through him and into his newfound companions. Soon their strength returned, also.

Before they could make good their escape their native captors assaulted them. The company held its own at first. The horde of attackers continued to grow, however, and the group was forced to flee.

They were soon lost in the labyrinthine caverns under the temple, with the mob gaining on them. The four found themselves trapped in a small room and prepared to make their final stand.

The situation had turned grim when Kodiak noticed a single long sword leaning in a corner of the room. The blade seemed destined for his hand and he seized it as the first fanatic burst through the door. Though it was more than a yard of steel, the weapon seemed to weigh nothing in the barbarian's hand.

The berzerker's fury rose and he unleashed it upon their assailants. The man and blade became one and he cleaved through weapon, armor, and foe alike. The swordsman soon stood alone in the doorway surrounded by his fallen enemies.

They had survived another trial, but were now hopelessly lost. The group took stock and planned their next move. The voice returned, stronger now, all subtlety abandoned.

The voice led them through the decayed temple, past the guards and into an ancient chamber. It spanned almost a hundred paces across. Ancient runes, inscriptions and hieroglyphics covered the walls, ceiling and floor. In one corner the roof had recently been caved in and a large pile of rubble covered the floor.

The four explorers noticed these details only peripherally. Their full attention was drawn to the thing that covered half the floor of the temple chamber. A huge mass of putrid writhing tentacles with a pair of baleful red eyes in its center. The Crawling Chaos, the Thing-That-Should-Not-Be, the Hunter of the Shadows, the Twisted Voice, Nyarlathotep lay there in the shattered remains of the meteorite they had seen fall from the void an unknown number of days before.

It spoke to them then in their minds. It explained how the primitive inhabitants of this once mighty city had summoned it from across the endless expanse of stars. How it had traveled through space and time to come to the world and its plans for them. They were to become the bearers of its power and word, the leaders of the humanity it planned to conqueror and enslave. It offered them riches, power, women, and the answers to all their dreams and the men were tempted.

Then, as one the four denied the creature's gilded slavery.

The entity's anger sparked into being and it preferred to destroy its rebellious instruments rather than allow them to deny its gift. Dark power crackled out of the invader's glowing, red eyes and into a nearby skeleton.

The bones slowly rose into the air and resumed their former shape. More energy flowed into the form, and they soon found themselves facing a man made of pure dark energy. Their eyes ached and their heads spun as they looked at the depthless black which made up the shadow man. It reached one tentacled hand out toward them and they knew the feeling of fear.

The others fell back before the horror, but Darkangel called upon his own wicked powers. Arcane words flowed from his mouth and his body began a sinister transformation. His arms lengthened as his shoulders and torso thickened. Long, saber-like fangs and claws grew from his mouth and hands and his eyes began to glow an iridescent green. Thick, coarse fur covered his body in patches of purple, black, and green.

The beast set upon the dark man with an unbridled fury that shocked the onlookers and stunned the entity. Within minutes he had ripped apart the dark avatar. He slumped to the ground in his natural form with a dozen or more wounds streaming blood.

Nyarlothotep's rage grew. He attacked them with dozens of razorspined and clawed tentacles. The four adventurers were battered and slashed and slowly forced back. The situation was again bleak.

Martello cast a quick divinatory spell, hoping to find something that would help them. The magic drew him to a small antechamber. There glistened a green, glowing fountain. The group gathered there and followed an unexplained urge to dip their weapons in the mystic fluid.

The-Thing-That-Should-Not-Be had begun an evil and powerful spell to destroy the interlopers. The mustered group exploded into action before the incantation could be completed.

The freshly baptized weapons struck the insidious invader with inhuman strength and accuracy. Dark flesh and ichor spattered the warriors and the room. The Crawling Chaos unleashed an unearthly scream. The creature's tentacles twitched a final time and the twisted space traveler lay dead.

The adventures stood battered and exhausted in the aftermath of the coming of Nyarlathotep. They had seen how their diverse strengths complimented each other and decided their separate missions would be better served as a group.

They decided to take the name of their first foe for their own and Crawling Chaos was born.

©1998 James M. Abendroth
Crawling Chaos~