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SCP-2264 - In the Court of Alagadda
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Martin Tower, Tower of London.

Item #: SCP-2264

Object Class: Safe

Special Containment Procedures: Due to the unavoidably public nature of the building housing SCP-2264-A, security measures are to focus on preventing civilian access to the anomaly''s entrance. The Foundation is to cooperate with the government of the United Kingdom in concealing the existence of SCP-2264-A. A hidden passage to SCP-2264-A has been constructed and remains its only means of access. The original entrance to the room where SCP-2264-A is located has been walled over, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to SCP-2264-A.

Description: SCP-2264-A is a door composed of iron located within a hidden chamber beneath Martin Tower, a part of the Tower of London1. The gateway cannot be unlocked through traditional means, requiring a highly ritualized process. Attached to SCP-2264-A is a complex apparatus composed of alchemical tools such as alembics, retorts, and a crucible.

Henry_Percy-9th_Earl_of_Northumberland.jpg

Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland.

Based on journals found within the hidden chamber, SCP-2264-A2 is presumably the creation of Henry Percy (27 April 1564 – 5 November 1632), 9th Earl of Northumberland, an English aristocrat, alchemist, and long-term prisoner within the Tower of London. Despite his incarcerated status, the Earl maintained a degree of influence, said to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and allowed access to books and research material. He was known as The Wizard Earl due to his extensive library and interests in the scientific and occult.

It is considered possible that others within Percy''s circle of associates were involved in the creation of SCP-2264-A, including John Dee, famed alchemist and court astrologer of Queen Elizabeth. The School of Night3, of which Henry Percy was supposedly member to, may have also had involvement.

Journal of Henry Percy, The Wizard Earl:

nigredo:
we wilt confront the dark night of the soul - the [pineal gland] wilt be freshly extract''d. fire evokes the shadow within.

albedo:
wash aroint the impurities - rain cleanses all sin and prepares the soul f''r Elysium. divide, not as dictat''d by the rigors of harmony, but rather into two opposing principles to be later coagulat''d to form a unity of opposites.

citrinitas:
victory coincides with the yellowing of the lunar consciousness. the white surrenders to dawn; the travelling lamp slays the moon.

rubedo:
red alludes; instead, surrender upon the apparatus a sanguine sacrifice.

A Foundation alchemist was consulted, the instructions roughly comparable with the magnum opus; a four-part process employed in the creation of the mythical philosopher''s stone. Replication of this procedure required [REDACTED]4

Through still undetermined means, a mechanism within SCP-2264-A responds to the completed solution, causing it to unlock and open - allowing access to SCP-2264-B.

SCP-2264-B is an extradimensional city which does not correspond to any known location, earthly or otherwise. Objects that originate from within SCP-2264-B will dematerialize if brought through SCP-2264-A. Such objects have been later found returned to the site of their initial removal.

Those who enter SCP-2264-B report having all personal belongings removed and their clothes replaced. Manifested outfits are said to resemble those worn at masquerade balls, most especially those associated with the Carnival of Venice, and will dematerialize upon exit of SCP-2264-B. Masks cannot be removed while inside SCP-2264-B but the rest of the attire can be discarded if one chooses to do so. The majority of SCP-2264-B inhabitants are dressed and adorned in a similar fashion; agents have reported a somewhat organic quality to their costumes, frequently describing it as "chitinous". The most common inhabitants of SCP-2264-B are roughly humanoid and have since have been classified as SCP-2264-1.

The sky has been described as yellow and containing an indeterminate number of black stars, corresponding with no known or even hypothesized constellations. Buildings are shaped in such a manner as to suggest them being carved from a single seamless material. Black, white, yellow, and red are the only colors to reportedly occur within SCP-2264-B. Architecture is non-euclidean and the normal laws of gravity do not apply5, thus inhabitants can be observed as climbing a stairway upside-down, but based on their own gravity source, they are climbing normally.

The city has been described as having the odor of "dried flowers with a hint of mold", or a scent "not unlike that of old books". The actual size of the city has been difficult to measure but it appears to be located on an island, surrounded by a black ocean, the composition of the liquid unknown but described as appearing more viscous than water.

Operatives have reported a hypnagogic malaise while exploring SCP-2264-B, with difficulty estimating time and space. Although SCP-2264-B is a tangible location and not considered to be an actual dream, those who had a history of lucid dreaming have shown far greater self-control and attention to detail than those who did not. Operatives are to be reassigned and replaced monthly due to the threat of psychological addiction to SCP-2264-B. Initial efforts at exploration resulted in eight AWOL operatives with those that returned having difficultly describing what they had observed in a coherent and/or detailed manner.

The almost hypnagogic nature of SCP-2264-B has led many to observe it as a dream or hallucination, failing to fully recognize its inherit verisimilitude. A lucid dreamer and an experienced user of hallucinogenics, I (Dr. Calixto Narváez), was well chosen for this mission. My comrades quickly surrendered to the anomaly, engaging in the decadent pleasures of the city; most especially within the palace.

Tempting as it was, I did not join the others in their rapturous orgy. I would suggest interviewing those that previously entered SCP-2264-B again; it is unlikely they''ve gone into all the details. When allowed a chance to directly control a dream, so many claim they would fly or visit the stars; those people are liars. Most choose to surrender to the ecstatic delirium of sexual pleasure.

Again, this is not a dream, but I am able to understand why most are unable to perceive the difference. I am reminded of the legend of the Hassassins, how their leader supposedly drugged and led his recruits into his castle; within was a pleasure garden that rivaled any imagined paradise - the individuals truly believed they were offered a taste of the divine. SCP-2264-B works in a somewhat similar way but I do not believe that is the reason for its splendor. I doubt it is intended to be a trap. It is simply a city (although certainly a majestic city unlike anything I had ever before encountered) but one that happens to exist outside baseline reality and does not entirely confirm to the physical rules we are used to.

I have made significant discoveries while exploring SCP-2264-B:

1. Universal translation of language - while most of the agents perceive the inhabitants as speaking English, I heard them in my native tongue of Spanish. Even those of my team, when communicating with me directly, appeared to have been speaking Spanish while within the anomaly. I have discovered that this is also applied to written language but not quite as accurately.

Written words initially appear as alien shapes; most of the symbols having a somewhat spiral-like pattern. If one continues to directly observe the symbols, they will begin to blur and alter until some level of translation has manifested. However, there do appear to be limitations and it seems that some words native to SCP-2264-B have no equivalent in any human language. The words appear to move on paper and prolonged exposure can easily result in nausea and headache.

2. The true name of SCP-2264-B is Alagadda, a city-state said to border the Nevermeant6. I was able to gather much of this information from the Wandsman of Kul-Manas, a scholar and foreigner like myself. They wore a beaked mask and exquisite robes cloaked their hunchbacked form; their hands were scaly (more avian than reptilian) with black talons. They unfurled a scroll before me, said it was a map of the multiverse - layer after layer of endless spirals - I sense an oncoming migraine just thinking about it now.

Regardless, I was pleased to meet a fellow intellectual within. I asked them about the nature of their research. "What is the nature of all that is?" they asked, I assumed rhetorically. "Just for a start." they noted.

3. There is a specific power structure within SCP-2264-B, involving entities that, based on description, could easily be considered some of the more dangerous reality benders known to the Foundation. The Wandsman of Kul-Manas warned of individuals that should not even be approached, less we draw undesirable attention to our reality.

There are (or were) four Masked Lords who directly oversee SCP-2264-B:

The Black Lord, Wearer of the Anguished Mask
The White Lord, Wearer of the Diligent Mask
The Yellow Lord, Wearer of the Odious Mask
The Red Lord, Wearer of the Mirthful Mask

They continued to warn that I not be fooled by their names; each just as terrible as the other. I have seen the Masked Lords, always at a distance, all except the Wearer of the Anguished Mask. I was informed that they were the victim of a political struggle some time ago (the reason never known, if reason existed at all) and cast into some dreadful dimensional backwater. It would only be a matter of time before they returned. They were said to be the chief advisors to the King of Alagadda.

The insidious glamour of the city-state disguises a dreadful truth, one the Wandsman had difficultly expressing in words. They stated that most outsiders came to this place to seek a boon from the King. They refused to speak anymore of this entity and suggested I avoid the Ambassador of Alagadda as well, before politely taking their leave of me.

I decided it time to report back, gathered the others (pulling a few from the writhing mound of masked transdimensional entities); the first door we entered was the one to return us to baseline reality. I suspect that SCP-2264-B is a dimensional nexus, connected to countless worlds across the multiverse. Every door used within SCP-2264-B has connected directly to SCP-2264-A. If there are other gateways like SCP-2264-A, I suspect them to be currently sealed.

Dr. Calixto Narváez was commended for his initiative. A psychological evaluation has determined it safe for him to reenter in the near future, although it has been requested that he use a more professional tone with regards to his reports. Future operatives will be screened for higher than normal levels of activity in the parietal lobes while in a state of altered consciousness (sleep or otherwise).

The "Wandsman of Kul-Manas" has since been classified as SCP-2264-2 and is considered an invaluable source of information. The "Masked Lords of Alagadda" have been classified as SCP-2264-3.

I believe SCP-2264-2 is the only entity we might truly trust in Alagadda and sought them immediately. The city contains thousands, if not millions, but SCP-2264-2 stands out and appears to have a strictly scholarly interest in SCP-2264-B - most especially the palace library.

The collection was impressive and could have been infinite in size for all I knew (there was no visible end to the room, the corridor stretching long into the horizon). I wandered the seemingly endless hall, Agent Cromwell and Dr. Yu at my side, in search of SCP-2264-2. I scanned through a few grimoires and scrolls, the alien symbols failing to translate (leading me to suspect that no earthly translation was possible).

In time we found SCP-2264-2, affable as before and expressing concern about our well-being. I asked that they elaborate and I write their response as best as my memory allows:

"The Ambassador of Alagadda will soon return from Adytum and only the mad shall remain. I suggest you leave posthaste, for I intend the same."

I thanked them for their warning and declared that we would not linger for long. I asked them about Adytum. They replied:

"A terrible city, filled with equally terrible people. It is said that the Grand Karcist of Adytum serves the designs of an elder being, a horror thought to rival even the Hanged King of Alagadda. Craw! (SCP-2264-2 made a sound not unlike a crow) I should not speak of them. Not here."

I asked about who they were (SCP-2264-2), wanting to know more about them. They replied:

"I am the Wandsman of Kul-Manas. A scholar, as you undoubtedly know. I am a walker of the astral plane, a sailor of the celestial sea, and a spelunker of the planar deep."

SCP-2264-2 noted something about our "aura"; declaring it rare across the multiverse but admitted to having encountered similar during previous visits to SCP-2264-B. They said something along the lines of:

"The Deathless Merchant of London; driven by greed and black ambition. There was another; a stranger in a strange land. It appeared as though they did not know where they were, smelling of fear. I cannot imagine how one might accidentally stumble upon Alagadda, I did not believe such a thing was possible. They vanished soon after yet I never witnessed them leave. Simply gone in a blink."

They would continue to reference the "Karcists" and "Clavigers" of Adytum, stating that they "reeked of decay and embryonic fluid". That was the extent of people encountered with a similar "aura" to our own; I suspect SCP-2264-2 is able to sense a person''s "dimensional neighborhood". SCP-2264-2 turned their head completely around (somewhat like an owl) and cawed, declaring:

"I sense the Ambassador of Alagadda has returned. I take my leave of this place and I suggest you do the same. Flee; do not delay. Perhaps I will pay your realm a visit in the future."

SCP-2264-2 exited the nearest door. The door refused to budge but I suspect it connected SCP-2264-2 to their native dimension. We exited the library, walking quickly (not wishing to bring too much attention upon ourselves by running). We found an unlocked door and returned home. We never saw the ambassador or their king, but I feel it best that we not seek them out.

Although not directly encountered, the Ambassador of Alagadda and the King of Alagadda have been respectively classified as SCP-2264-4 and SCP-2264-5.

The O5 Council voted 10 to 3 in support of sending Mobile Task Force Psi-9 ("Abyss Gazers") into SCP-2264-B. The goal of the operation was to locate SCP-2264-4 and SCP-2264-5 and calculate the level of threat they represented to humanity, Earth, and local dimensional space. Twelve agents, trained in hand-to-hand combat and Counter Occult Stratagems (COS), entered SCP-2264-A in ██/██/████ at 0800.

One agent returned alive; the rest are presumed dead or otherwise irretrievable.

Interviewed: Agent Alexander Papadopoulos

Interviewer: Dr. Laxmi Narang

Foreword: Agent Papadopoulos was found to be in critical condition upon their exit of SCP-2264, losing consciousness soon after. A physical examination revealed fractured bones throughout the entirety of their body and extensive internal bleeding. After three weeks of hospitalization, Agent Papadopoulos was deemed healthy enough for interview.

<Begin Log>

Dr. Laxmi Narang: I know it might be difficult but please tell me what you are able to remember.

Agent Alexander Papadopoulos: The city was remarkable. Command prepped us for it as best they could but words fail to do it justice. We all had the appearance of harlequins or something out of a 17th century masquerade. Wasn''t exactly the same but close enough. Couldn''t take the masks off, hard as we tried. We had a mission to complete but the details were quite vague.

Dr. Laxmi Narang: Vague?

Agent Alexander Papadopoulos: Find SCP-2264-4 and -5; get an estimate on their threat level. We knew they were important to SCP-2264 but we had no idea what they looked like or how to locate them.

Dr. Laxmi Narang: Go on.

Agent Alexander Papadopoulos: Right. Well. We found the palace. Don''t know how long it took. Time was kind of impossible to tell in that place. The city is full of people, especially that palace, but it didn''t feel like being in a busy city in our world. There was something different about it but I don''t know how else to describe it. Not important I guess.

Things blurred a lot. Everything seemed to follow a sort of dream logic.

Dr. Laxmi Narang: Dream logic?

Agent Alexander Papadopoulos: Yeah. I mean. It wasn''t a dream, I''m certain of that. And I have the scars to prove it. It was all real but have you ever noticed how dreams rush through the details? You end up one place but don''t really recall how? It was like that. I remember the masquerade; the music and the dancing… oh, and the fucking. All with their masks on, of course. Still adorned with their masks. Seeing some of them nude made us aware of just how much was an elaborate costume. Their skin was like porcelain. You could sort of tell those were the natives. You know, SCP-2264-1. But the more you stared, the less human everyone seemed; some had too many limbs, some had too few - like, snake people - was similar to monsters in an old fantasy comic I read as a kid.

Sorry. Rambling. Head hurts trying to remember. [distracted] I can''t move my arms or legs. What''s wrong with them?

Dr. Laxmi Narang: The numbness is just a side effect of your medication. Please focus on my questions.

Agent Alexander Papadopoulos: Okay. If you say so. I remember having to pull Agent Maher away from some woman; wasn''t attacking him, quite the opposite. Couldn''t blame him. She had curves in all the right places - made it easy to ignore the tentacles.

So, the twelve of us stick together. Hard to not look like you''re out for trouble with that many. Anyway, we wandered around the palace and it was like a labyrinth; I honestly wouldn''t have been surprised if we walked into a minotaur or something. We spent most of the time descending the stairs, I think? I remember feeling like we were traveling deeper and deeper…

And then, somehow, just when we thought we had reached the bottom, we''re back outside. It looked like we were in exactly the same spot as when we first entered SCP-2264-B. Hell, we could all see the palace in the distance.

But something was different. Everything was dark, drained of color. Like, we could see and all but it was a hazy gray twilight. The streets were empty and the buildings looked… ruined? Yeah. Was like the whole city was abandoned long ago. Desolate and silent; not a sound but our own footsteps.

We entered this iteration of the palace. Everything was identical, architecturally speaking.

That was when we started to hear the whispers. It spoke in a language I had never heard before. I could feel it slithering into my ear, penetrating my brain…

We… [hesitates, his eyes grow damp with tears]

Dr. Laxmi Narang: Please continue.

Agent Alexander Papadopoulos: We destroyed ourselves.

Dr. Laxmi Narang: …What?

Agent Alexander Papadopoulos: We didn''t want to but we had no choice. The Ambassador of Alagadda - it found us. It didn''t have a face; no mouth, nose, or eyes. I thought it was wearing a skintight outfit and… high heels? That is what it looked like at first but no… that was its body. Its flesh was black. It stood tall, lithe and androgynous, and so.. so…

Dr. Laxmi Narang: Please, this information is important. Pace yourself. We can stop if…

Agent Alexander Papadopoulos: [interrupting] It stood so damn proud. Just radiating arrogance. I couldn''t understand a word it said and yet every syllable dripped with narcissistic venom. It brought a hand to where a mouth should have been… and it laughed and laughed…

And we destroyed ourselves for its amusement.

Bones were shattered, flesh and organs ruptured. All for its amusement, we ruined ourselves in body and mind.

And the whole time, we screamed and begged yet only silence parted our lips. I''m so sorry, I tried to say, I''m so sorry… their eyes pleaded for mercy and asked for forgiveness.

In the end, I was the only one left alive - surrounded by the corpses of my ravaged friends and comrades. I understand now. The Ambassador needed a witness, one to deliver its message. To tell you this… and… [pauses again]

I watched the ceiling move as it dragged my broken body from room to room. Eventually we stopped and it lifted me into the air, held me up before the throne.

There I saw the King.

It was anchored in place, hallowed bonds around its corpse-like hands and throat - its face hidden beneath a veil.

Impish creatures crawled all over it, caressing its twitching body as if intending comfort while others pulled the tethers even tighter. The King trembled and quivered and I saw pale tendrils slither in and out of its tattered robes.

I looked on as the veil was lifted… [a change in tone suggesting lucidity] I want to die. I can''t live with what I''ve done. Please kill me. End this. I can''t feel my legs. I can''t feel my arms. Not like this. Not like this. Please, I''m begging you…

Dr. Laxmi Narang: You know I am not allowed to do anything of the sort. Please tell me what you saw.

Agent Alexander Papadopoulos: [emotionless] A god shaped hole. The barren desolation of a fallen and failed creation. You see the light of long dead stars. Your existence is nothing but an echo of a dying god''s screams.

The unseen converges. Surrounds you.

And it tightens like a noose.

<End Log>

Operations involving SCP-2264 are suspended until further notice. The agent''s request for termination has been denied. Due to the considerable damage suffered, amputation of both arms and legs was deemed necessary, and subject is no longer able to perform most biological functions without the aid of life support systems. He is to be restrained for his own protection (despite his loss of limbs, suicide attempts have been made) and thoroughly interrogated for all possible information related to SCP-2264. Due to his contact with SCP-2264-4 and SCP-2264-5, he is to be quarantined and carefully observed for signs of anomaly. Agent Papadopoulos has refused food and water, requiring the use of feeding tube.

Addendum: SCP-2264 was discovered accidentally during the refurbishment of Martin Tower in ██/██/████. The Foundation was contacted by representatives of the Crown due to the suspicion of a potentially anomalous artifact based on the writings found within, since attributed to Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland. Discovered among his notes was an unsent letter, intended to be received by Christopher Marlowe, famed poet and playwright. The letter is dated 30 May 1593, the day of Christopher Marlowe''s mysterious murder.

389px-Marlowe-Portrait-1585.jpg

Christopher Marlowe.

to mine singular good friend, may this missive reach thee ''ere ''tis too late:

''twas thou who urg''d against mine building of the janus gate. mine insult wast cruel, having deem''d thee foolish and ignorant of the sciences. prithee forgive mine arrogance.

''twas thee who suffer''d the evil to which i was blind. i show''d thee the other ordinary and allow''d the secret darkness to coil around the cinder of thy beautiful heart. i was blind but anon i see.

i beseech thee burn that accurs''d play and return it to ash. thy patron seeks to corrupt and defile. thither are things that simply should not be. the ambassad''r shall exploit thee as they did us. i hast seal''d the janus gate so that only the enlighten''d may enter. may they have the wisdom to see what i couldst not and the power to slay the wretch''d king within.

damn that metropolis of blood, that terrible realm and its ancient, countless crimes. endue fire to the play, deny thy vile patron, and walk aroint from this madness. we would fain welcome thee back into the night.

page revision: 13, last edited: 31 May 2015 03:21
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