“There are moments when even to the sober eye of reason, the world of our sad humanity may assume the semblance of Hell. ” -Edgar Allan Poe

I had always liked that quote, up until I discovered the truth behind it. Now, it haunts me. It will likely haunt me to my grave, if not beyond. I still see them, hear their curse, smell their pungent odor, feel my skin crawl. I know they’re still here, I see the signs. The memoirs you have found should explain.

It started a wonderful July night. I was sitting on my bed, releasing some of the horrors of my mind into my notebook by means of artist’s pencil. It was a wonderful setting, albeit darker than some may like. The mist rising from my barren, field-like yard as if spirits were rising from their graves.

The calls of wolves, nightingales, crickets and others of night’s choir ringing, humming, almost whispering in my ears. Oh, how I love my sweet little cabin. I was never accepted in society, and that’s exactly how I always liked it. I am an outsider, a freak, a- how did the arrogant people put it? Oh, yes; a monstrosity. But no matter. All are complements to my ears. But alas, on that glorious night, all went astray. I could not resist their calling.

Oh, how rude of me! I must explain what these archives are. I have decided I am not coming back from what I must do. I am making this so if any wandering traveler comes across this plot of land, they know what may lie ahead. I do not envy you, my dear reader, nor the position you are in. You are currently ignorant to an ancient threat you must watch over. You will not be able to leave this place, so you might as well read the memoirs and listen to the recordings through to the end. No, I envy you not at all.

If you would, please listen to the greyish tape. If you do, you will hear one of their voices. (Upon listening to the tape, a menacing voice is heard saying, When the time is near, ye must heed. Do not fear, ye have done no misdeed... The voice trails off into silence.) I doubt it, but you may now at least have an inkling of the danger you are in.

There are rules you must follow. I do not know if they apply to all or just the empty husk of myself. Please look at the first picture, if you would. (The picture shows a grotesque frog-faced humanoid with large, round, droopy eyes. It has pus dripping from the sides of its mouth. It is in the best of a crouching position but is leaning forward due to its immense girth and weight.)

That’s Allotch-Amurach, a retired demon lord. He should not be much of a problem, but make sure you visit his “shrine” everyday, just in case. He once got out and devoured a whole herd of sheep and three wild mustangs. In fact, he’s out right now! I suggest you listen to the toad-green tape.

Running and panting is heard. In the background, loud thumps. An older woman’s voice is heard: “Allotch! What are you doing?!” A deep-throated voice, somewhat like a frog’s croak, says:

“I must... (there is wheezing and coughing) feed! I must-”

The woman:

“‘You must’ go back to your pitiful hovel, Allotch! You forget you are no longer lord of this place! You have no jurisdiction anymore! Besides, if they see you, they’ll tear you apart!”

What appears to be Allotch:

“I must. You... (choking noises) do not... know the powers... you trifle with... Youngling!”

“Oh, really? I’m the one who saved your sorry, toady arse!”

(Grumbling and croaking noises are heard in the background here.)

“Fine. I shall… (Pained croaking) Go back. But next we meet… I shall… Go on.” Tape ends*

I’ll miss arguing with that dying sack of frog shi-… Never mind, never mind. I remember a friend came to stay once. He looked into one of their kind’s eyes. He was never the same. In fact, he was barely alive!

You probably think this place is a living hell, because it is. But, like all evil, there is some good. Some of the beings here make such beautiful music, If only I knew what they were saying. It seems I can only understand the shades that haunt this place.

Speaking of them, I have found they can create fear. The strangest part is they can only do this when invited, whether intentional or not. I guess that saying is true: To think is to invite feelings. Seeing as the most prominent feeling is fear, I suppose it makes sense.

I suppose you should know what they are. To be honest, I do not rightly know! As far as I can tell, they are insubstantial or can turn so at will. Somewhat like a ghost, I suppose. They leave me cryptic messages frequently. Their favorite way, as far as I can tell, is to carve symbols into my body. Some symbols I recognize, some I do not. One thing's for sure; they mean harm.

They have carved sayings such as, Though the body dies, the purpose lives on. I cannot fathom what purpose they mean, but I get the feeling it is not something I’d like.

The one thing that keeps me sane has recently disappeared. The musical voices have gone, and I fear I am the cause. I have seen the orchestrators of the beautiful melodies. They are a group of some of the most atrocious monstrosities I have ever seen. Some barely resemble anything; they seem to just be sentient blobs of... I’m not sure what! Others are like gnomes but naked except for loincloths. There are animalistic creatures; birdlike, fox-like. There was one resembling a cricket! They took one look at me and their melody transformed into a demonic hissing. I can still remember it.

My dear, dear reader, this is where I end and you must continue. They are pulling me, hitting me, biting me. I must leave now. I wish I could tell you more. You must figure out what all else, I haven’t the time. I wish you luck, for we are now kin; we share the same fate, I fear. May the Lady Mist bless you…

(The rest of the page is covered in bile, blood, ink and an unknown substance that smells of decaying flesh.)

You feel as if something is watching you… You feel… As if you have done this before… As you stand up, a hand grips your shoulder with such force you almost faint. A familiar voice says,

Ye shall fear the Grotto; The Realm of Despair. Ye shall stay in the Grotto. ‘Tis the way of the Grotto.

You wake up in a cabin with a strange symbol carved into your arm. You look around and find the tapes destroyed, the memoir shredded, the pictures burned, and the recording device melted.

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