Nameless Pasture

In a distant land, in a distant time, the mad arab, Abdul Alhazred, began a horrific journey into the Roba El Kaliyeh (Empty Space), the vast desert of southern Arabia. The time was CE 715 and Alhazred was quite mad. After traversing the ruins of Babylon and the strange subterranean catacombs beneath the archaic ruins of Memphis who would not be? Alhazred, in his demented mind, thought that the vast desert would allow him the peace and tranquility that he so desperately needed. Unfortunately, this was not to be.

As Alhazred traversed the shifting sands, his mind wandered back to the days when he was but a simple cow herdsman. All was well, until that day, the day that he heard a cow utter the following phrase in an ancient tongue: "Ia! Ia! Bob-Sothoth fhtagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Bob-Sothoth wgha-nagl fhtaga!" Ever since that time seventeen years ago Alhazred had not been the same. He had afterward began a vast quest to discover why the cows he had herded had talked and exactly who and what Bob-Sothoth is or was. Alhazred began his quest almost a score of years ago and felt that he was close to the ultimate answer. During his nights with the cows those years past he had heard their urgent mooings. What did they mean? Were the cows possessed of daemons? What in the hell was going on?

As Alhazred continued his bizarre cycle of thought he noticed not the paved stones peeking up at him from the sand below his sandaled feet. Only when he tripped on a large crack did he notice the fragmented pavement beneath him. "What?" thought Alhazred. A road in the middle of a vast expanse of desert? Filled with curiosity Alhazred decided it best to follow the ancient road. Soon darkness overtook the world and day became night.

As the moon climbed higher in the sky he began to see that the slopes of desert began to rise. Urged by an impulse which he could definitely not analyze, Alhazred scrambled with difficulty up the dunes. Upon reaching the top of the tremendous circle of dunes he stood silently, gazing into the stygian depths where no light had yet penetrated.

All at once his attention was captured by a vast and singular object on the opposite slope, which rose steeply about a hundred yards ahead of him; an object that gleamed brightly in the newly bestowed rays of the ascending moon. He assured himself that it was merely a piece of gigantic stone; but he was conscious of an instinct impression that its contour and position were not altogether the work of Nature. A closer scrutiny filled him with sensations he could not express; for despite its enormous magnitude, and its position in an abyss which had yawned in the middle of a vast desert since the world was young, he perceived beyond a doubt that the strange object was a well-shaped monolith whose massive bulk had known the workmanship and perhaps the worship of living and thinking creatures.

Dazed and frightened, yet not without a certain thrill of the scientist's or archaeologist's delight, Alhazred examined his surroundings more closely. The moon, now near the zenith, shone vividly above the towering steeps that hemmed in the chasm revealed that far below rested a great area of flat land. As he inspected the monolith more closely he noticed that, though eroded by the billowing sands, it was still identifiable as a cow. Footholds were aplenty and Alhazred began the laborious trek downward into the vast chasm.

As Alhazred dropped from a low ledge to the base of the chasm he uttered a slightly audible groan. His feet had hit not sand but wheat. As he regained his feet he surveyed his surroundings. For hundreds of yards the great field reared into the distance — far off he thought that he saw a mass of some sort but it was dark and he was unsure. He slowly set off towards the mass. Somewhere off in the distance he thought he heard the frenzied mooings of some unspeakable Bovine beast, but he convinced himself that it was probably just the wind.

When Alhazred was within earshot of the vast mass he did hear the frenzied mooings of some sort of beast. Shaking with fear he moved closer only because of fear of what might be lurking around the vast pasture. As he got closer he saw that the mass was indeed a building, a temple, broken colonnades paraded around the temple and strange bas-reliefs covered its face, it was too dark to clearly make out what the relieves depicted. Alhazred began to circumvent the temple looking for some means of egress. Soon he found a rubbled hole in a wall. The hole poured with a dim light and the smell of greasy smoke. He crouched down so that he could peer inside.

Inside he saw a vast chamber filled with a slime-coated liquid that was obviously water. The chamber was dominated by a Cyclopean monolith, on whose surface he could now trace both inscriptions and crude sculptures. The writing was in a system of hieroglyphics unknown to Alhazred, consisting for the most part of Bovine creatures and the like. Several characters obviously represented beasts not of the modern world.

It was the pictorial carving, however, that did most to hold him spell-bound. Plainly visible across the intervening monolith on account of their enormous size was an array of bas-reliefs whose subjects would have excited the envy of a Dore. He thought these things were supposed to depict cows — at least, a certain sort of cow; though the creatures were shown disporting like cows in great pastures, or paying homage at some monolithic shrine which appeared to be in a pasture as well. Of their faces and forms he dared not speak in detail; for the mere remembrance mad him grow faint. Grotesque beyond the imagination of a Poe or a Bulwer, they were damnably Bovine in general outline despite loathsome tentacles, cilia covered with congealed slime, wide with flabby lips, glassy, bulbous eyes, and other features less pleasant to recall. Curiously enough they seemed to be chiseled badly out of proportion with their scenic background. Alhazred decided that they were merely the imaginary gods of some race lost in the vestiges of time. Awestruck at this unexpected glimpse into the past, he stood musing whilst the moon cast queer reflections on the stone walls around him.

Then he saw it. With only a slight churning to mark its rise to the surface, the thing slid into view above the dark waters. Vast, polyphemus-like, and loathsome, it darted like a stupendous monster of nightmares to the monolith, about which it flung its gigantic scaly tentacles, the while it bowed its hideously horned head and gave to certain measured mooings. Alhazred went mad then.

On his frantic ascent of the cliff and dune slopes, and of his delirious journey back to Damascus, he remembered little. Alhazred sang a great deal, and laughed oddly when unable to sing. He had distinct recollections of a great storm some time after ascending out of the blasted heath in the middle of the Roba El Kaliyeh; at any rate, he knew that he heard peals of thunder and other tones which Nature utters only in her wildest moods.

It was this experience that prompted Abdul Alhazred to scribe the original Arabic text, Al Azif, later translated into the bovinomicon. This rare work deals with many complex matters, including the idea that Bovine mooings are actually the language of daemons from the outer regions of the cosmos.

"Do you dare imagine things as they can be? As, indeed they will be when the earth is transformed and the illusion of reality is erased from the minds of men by the annihilation of those minds? Do you live in hope to see Great Bob-Sothoth stride the earth? Do you dream of the Throne of Yog-Elsie, of joining the faithful that mosh there? O, purify yourselves, then, for these and greater things await you who are members of our terrible order."

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