Masks of Nyarlathotep
Tome Liber Ivonis
A large (25” x 36”) vellum manuscript bound in brass-capped leather. The interior of the work (entitled Liber Ivonis) is in illuminated Latin, accompanied by copious marginal illustrations, miniatures, and decorated initials (most of which seem to consist of a rather fanciful toad or frog). The manuscript binding is in fair condition—some of the brass fittings have been lost, the inside cover has been gouged repeatedly (apparently to remove a book plate, the scraps of which remain, but are totally illegible), and there are recent small scorch marks on the rear cover. The manuscript interior is in excellent condition. The artwork within depicts many strange scenes, some of which are rather disturbing and unlike those found in a typical medieval work. An expert can date the manuscript to the early 13th century, most likely the Sicilian Court of Frederick II. The cover is more recent, probably dating from the early 16th century.
Base Read Time: 36 weeks
Skim Time: 72 hours
Spell Multiplier: x2
Skimmed by Father Mike Sullivan:
This work is a grimoire allegedly written by the magician Ivon “of Hyperborea.” It serves as both a grimoire and to provide an autobiographical account of the author’s life, from his time as an apprentice to his departure from Hyperborea. Ivon, after his apprenticeship, journeyed about “Hyperborea” encountering many strange beings and individuals (some of whom he traveled with for a time). Most importantly, he pledged his service to some sort of batrachian being of great power (Xatogua—“he who sleeps and is served by crawling shadows”) in exchange for the being’s vast magical knowledge. Beyond Ivon’s tutelage under this strange furry being, there are also discussions of astronomy, astrology, protective magical signs, and a lengthy passage about a dragon of some sort that laid waste to much of “Hyperborea.” The work concludes with a discussion of Ivon’s flight from this kingdom due to some sort of religious conflict as well some commentary about his apprentice (apparently written by said apprentice).
The frequent illuminations of the tome oftendepict the disturbing topics contained within in a shocking manner. The artistic style is somehow more representational than that typically found in medieval manuscripts, yet contains elements that would almost be described as modernist, if the book did not date from the 13th century; certain stylistic elements suggest the artist was trained in the Persian Miniature school. The combined effect of the unsettling illustrations with the bizarre text is an undoubtedly disturbing one.
Read by Father Mike Sullivan:
This book is a collection of writing of the wizard Ivon, who lived in a land called Hyperborea in some antediluvian age before recorded history (at least as it is traditionally known). The initial chapters of the work dwell at length about his apprenticeship to the wizard Xylacus, who dwelled in a basalt tower in a region called Muxulanae. Later chapters detail Ivon’s journeys, sometimes with his companion Salgis, and more often on his own. The most important of these journeys took him to a vast subterranean realm where he sought out Xatogua, the toad-god and master of sorcery. A pact was made between the two and Ivon was taught many powerful enchantments.
The central portion of the work is a discussion of these many magical rituals, including those intending to call upon Xatogua or his servants, ritual preparations of magicians’ tools, and a few wards against physical harm and against the magic and servants of other, more inimical, beings. Of particular note is a rite designed to shield a caster via an enchanted fog from the servants of “the Thousand-Faced God of Madness, known as Burning Eye of Darkness and master of the Shining Gem of Iuggotum.” Other enchantments call upon the wisdom and power (or even call forth physically) a host of strange, and sometimes vastly powerful beings (perhaps even gods) such as “Xthultus the Baleful Sleeper,” “the Silver Lord Who Dwells Beyond All Things,” and (this one prefaced by the direst warnings) “The Father of Chaos.”
There is a lengthy catalogue of various inhuman beings, including a long digression about some sort of ice dragon who had once done great damage to Hyperborea and the magics that might bind it. Additionally there is some discussion of various magical realms or planes that Ivon traveled to during his studies. A complex astrological system is presented in another section, though the “zodiac” used and the heavenly bodies examined are unlike anything found in any traditional system.
The final chapter is said to be written by a student of Ivon, one Cyron the Varandian, and relates the final fate of Ivon who was driven into hiding behind a great metal portal that magically transported him to a distant world after coming into conflict with the priest of Ioundae, the horned goddess; it also does more than a little to tout Cyron’s might as a sorcerer and his worth as a successor to Ivon.
“The stone has many faces, each shining with a fire from within, showing black with a first view but other colors may be seen. Each face appears regular as the others but the working of the stone is such that there are more sides that are right and proper. It cannot be measured or known. Such is the nature of the stone brought from Iuggotum, for the very earth there is unlike that of our world, though they lie within the same sphere of being. The buzzing ones who dwelt there carried the stone forth to our world at the behest of the Faceless God for it serves him as a conduit to his power and can call forth “That Which is Born In, and is Lord of, Darkness.” Fear it and seek it not.”
“Abhotuc the Unclean One, the Forever Father, the Maker and Unmaker of Pollution. Though much is known to this one, it serves no master but its own appetites. The discs of Xacaccus say that it is but one form of the Dweller of the Cavern of Iaqua and that those who call Abhotuc call for instead but a finger of the Master of the Elder Tablets. The Subtle Joiner, She Who is Mother and Lover, She of Myriad Forms, She Who Ever Hungers, was said by Xylacus to be a tendril of this same Power, broken free and of free will; his wisdom was clouded by certain lusts that only such a One could fulfill however. Be wary of any entreaty from ones such as these, for even the mightiest sorcerer, even one as well-schooled as I, am but a morsel to them.”
“And by such words and signs will the servant of Xatogua know of your pact with his master and will draw close. Know that not all caves and dark places lead to the vast kingdom of Xatogua- look for his mark therein to be sure that such entreaties will not be in vain. In my practice, I have seen certain clues that I may share with the wise student who has need of such ones as these- first, seek the moss of Uophan for it grows where he walks…”