The Mystifying Evolution of The Illuminata Artifacts
Specimen No. 1 - The Hex Illuminata
The dark black marble eyes of a thousand crows watched as I lowered into the pit. Below my feet was only an inky void. Despite having brought a powerful electric torch, no light could reach the bottom. I was overcome with apprehension as I began my descent, cold condensation collecting on my rope making it slick and unwieldy. The warnings of the Maghreb scholar in Marrakesh echoed flatly in my mind: “Do not, under any circumstances, go alone.”
In defiance of the growing fear in my chest and the burning ache of increasingly exhausted muscles I kept on. Down, down, down, for what seemed like an eternity, until finally I reached the knot in the end of my rope. My feet dangled above a soft dirt floor, less than a meter below. Quickly I escaped my harness and dropped, creating a cloud of fine grey dust as I came to rest.
My light was a warm sphere of illumination pushing away the blackness but revealing nothing more than a plane of that same grey powder in all directions. Knowing then what I must do, fighting every sane urge in my body……. I flicked off my light.
Immediately I was plunged into a darkness so complete it was as if someone had dropped a black hood of heavy velvet over my head. My senses were denied all trace of light and filled with a choking oppressive murk. I fought down a rushing gorge of panic and steadied my breathing. Slowly my eyes and ears adjusted and I became attuned to subtle shifts in the qualities of silence and shadow.
Softly probing with arms stretched in front I carefully shuffled towards the strongest source of disruption in the oceanic void. After perhaps 5 meters of travel I felt a dance of sensation across the back of my hands. My body recoiled immediately fearing some creature had alighted on my outstretched limbs. Terrified, I waited in muscle clenched silence, but after a time no more disruption came and I pressed on, albeit even more warily than before.
Finally after what I estimated to be 20 meters of distance, I saw the faintest outline and flicker of a light. Increasing my speed as much as I dared, I moved determinedly toward it. In short order I was kneeling before a tiny star of brightness. I reached out and began to feel around it’s edges. A chitinous shell of ossified material surrounded the thing and crumbled beneath my fingers. Carefully I began to peel away the buildup and reveal the brilliant specimen underneath. A small sharply pointed crystal obelisk surrounded at it’s base by a hexagonal ring of burnished metal. It was then that I knew that my fearful efforts had been rewarded. I was in the presence of the Hex Illuminata!
The details of my return journey with that singular artifact through the Kingdom of Morrocco, Gibraltar, Madrid and finally the familiar comfort of my workshop on the northwest coast of Washington State are a blur. I traveled without rest as I was singularly focused on the object wrapped carefully and secreted away in a false panel of my luggage. However I needn’t have worried as all agents of the state I chanced to encounter shifted dumbly away from me as if repelled by some invisible force they could not, and had no desire to, understand.
Safely ensconced in the confines of my workshop my studies of the Hex Illuminata began in earnest. I sketched and recorded its appearance in detail. Noting the intricate detailed panels of the hexagonal metal ring into which the crystal obelisk was nestled. I took careful molded impressions of the burnished, aged, and deeply patinated surface. Most striking were the 6 heavy lidded eyes arrayed around the object. Each one projecting a sense of wizened wary watchfulness.
I was quite shocked to discover that the faint luminescence I first observed in the pit had all but disappeared during the journey. However through careful experimentation I discovered that by applying a small electrical current to the base of the object, the pointed obelisk would come alive with a brilliant clear light many multiples brighter than what I had experienced in that damnable pit!
One evening, shortly after the obelisk’s reviving, I fell to slumber and was hurtled into a startlingly realistic dream. In front of me was the glowing artifact, slowly turning and suspended as if weightless. From each eye in succession a single teardrop took shape, grew fat, and finally, fully engorged, tumbled away from the object. Each sparkling drop then reformed into a different ancient alchemical symbol. The symbol grew in size and transformed into a shining blue flame that seared deep into my memory. Even now I can recall perfectly every whorl and turn of each strange character.
I awoke suddenly and immediately set about researching the symbols. Some were already familiar to me through previous studies but others required a deep dive into the most arcane texts in my collection.
After days of intense effort I was able to piece together the sequence and its purpose. A bizarre but ultimately plausible series of chemical transmutations. At first I was sure I had simply imagined the formula, pulling from some subconsciously remembered source, but as I began the careful process of synthesizing the compound, I became convinced that it’s origin was far beyond my capabilities.
Soon, on the table in my workshop sat the results of my efforts. A near perfect twin of the original obelisk grown through a crystallographic process that I barely understood but somehow executed. It became plain to me what the next step should be. I set about recreating the hexagonal ring of metal using the molded impressions made during my initial research.
At first the duplicate seemed an empty vessel, a shadow facsimile of the original. However, through proximal exposure to the original over time not only did the duplicate begin to respond to electrical impulse, it took on the same weathered patina. All this through a process I still can not fathom.
What designs this marvelous multiplying artifact has for our species I can’t fully discern, but I am compelled nonetheless to aid in its opaque undertaking. Staring into the blue swirling depths of the crystal obelisk has awakened primordial secrets in the farthest corners of my psyche. Shown me a glimpse of the underlying mechanics of our universe. I fear my mortal mind is a poor vessel for the knowledge it imparts. But the path is at once inevitable and unknowable. For good or ill we are bound now by fate and linked in our essential being.
Under the tutelage of this incredible object I can now offer the opportunity for you, dear reader, to invite the corporeal spore of the original Hex Illuminata into your collection. What locks will the six-eyed obelisk key pry open in your brain? What antediluvian knowledge will it release from the ancestral memory of your mitochondria?
Specimen No. 2 - The Hexapod Illuminata
Crawling out of the Abyss, this strange and fascinating creature appeared uninvited in my workshop. It's six legs, decorated with markings by some unknown hand, fascinate with an odd arthropodian beauty.
The Hexapod Illuminata projects its radiant spirit across our world. What designs it has for us I can’t fully discern, but I am compelled nonetheless to aid its undertaking. In exchange for the subservience of my will it has revealed to me secrets..... unfathomably old secrets.... of time before time and deep cosmic forms.
Gazing into it's swirling crystal, at once dark and powerfully luminous, many worlds have been revealed to my pitifully inadequate human eyes. It seems to be a window across the veil of time and space, perhaps into the very soul of the world. And it is a beautiful and terrible world indeed.
It forces its way into my consciousness with skittering glimpses of the underlying mechanics of our universe. I fear my mortal mind is a poor small vessel for the knowledge it imparts. But the path is at once inevitable and unknowable. For good or ill we are bound now by fate and linked in our essential being.....
Specimen No. 3 - The Prismatic Skull Illuminata
Roiling clouds of ever changing prismatic refractions surround the skull and echo the turbulent moods of this fascinating artifact.
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