Here we are, the big finish!  Carter and all his friends get sucked up into the Castle of the Great Ones.  The castle is huge, y’all: large as the army of ghouls and night-gaunts [is], it [is] lost in the prodigious voids of that more than earthly castle.  Once they’re indoors, it takes Carter several minutes to work out that they are no longer in the boundless air outside.

So for the whole story up to this point Carter has been trying to reach the Castle of the Great Ones.  He had a whole plan, in his head, for how this was going to go.  He was going to march into their throne room with an honor guard of ghouls, filled with poise and dignity. The Great Ones themselves aren’t capable of smiting him; they have the protection of the Other Gods for that, but maybe the Other Gods won’t notice if he saunters in and demands his sunset-city… And with his hideous escort he had half hoped to defy even the Other Gods if need were, knowing as he did that ghouls have no masters, and that night-gaunts own not Nyarlathotep but only archaic Nodens for their lord.

But he gets none of that.  There’s no assembly of gods to meet him, no august circle of crowned and haloed beings with narrow eyes, long-lobed ears, thin nose, and pointed chin whose kinship to the carven face on Ngranek might stampt ham as those to whom a dreamer might pray.  The castle is deserted, dark save for one light.  Carter had come to unknown Kadath in the cold waste, but he had not found the gods. 

What next? he wonders.  Then, the trumpet.

Three times a strange demonic trumpet blasts, and when the echoes of the third blast [dies] chucklingly away, Carter realizes he’s alone.  He lost his ghoul army, his night-gaunt steeds.  Where they went, he doesn’t get to find out; he’s distracted by more trumpeting.

Unlike the raucous blasts which banished his allies, this new trumpeting echoe[s] all the wonder and melody of ethereal dream; exotic vistas of unimagined loveliness… odours of incense… a great light… colours changing in cycles unknown… weird symphonic harmonies.  From the incense-clouds stride twin columns of giant black slaves with loin-clothes of iridescent silk… fragrance of obscure balsams… fumous spirals… crystal wands whose tips were carven into leering chimaeras… long thin silver trumpets… 

Then down the wide lane betwixt the two columns a lone figure… tall, slim… gay with prismatic robes… around whose eyes there lurk[s] the languid sparkle of capricious humour.  It [speaks], and in its mellow tones there ripple[s] the wild music of Lethean streams.

Nyarlathotep is come, at last.


Primary Sources: the Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath 26, Kadath at last — No Comments

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