Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 36

The entry this week for Serial Setting 1 for Ubiquity adds an additional point of curiosity for visitors to the beautiful, yet deadly Windlet Islands. The Serial Settings series of posts is intended to provide usable setting material for busy GMs. Series 1 is for those looking to run Daring Tales of Adventure or Hollow Earth Expedition.

36) The Gate, The Manuscript of Mortlake, Lenkiewicz Collection

Until very recently a transcription of a purportedly lost inscription whose relevance has defied scholars for centuries, known to some learned and obsessive occult scholars as the Awam Cemetary Inscription, or more poetically as ‘The Portents of the Gate‘ has remained a dead-end for mystics. The text of the inscription would have been lost to antiquity long since, but for the tireless work and travels of the celebrated occultist and scientist John Dee, who immortalized it and several other tantalizing secrets in his prized unpublished final work known reverently, by those fortunate enough to be able to read it, as the Manuscript of Mortlake.

A beautifully transcribed version of the manuscript – signed by Dee – as well as a stone fragment suspected as being the actual inscription itself – stolen from its resting place in Awam have been placed up for auction after the death of the controversial occultist and artist Redburn Lenkiewicz. In addition to many scandalous items deemed to vile to auction, friends of the deceased also claimed that the artist had died several times before and hoped that good records would be kept of the sales as upon his return, he would want to gather all the items again. The truth of such claims are another tale.

Examiners for the Auction House allowed a shot of the manuscript to circulate, little realizing that the photograph revealed the complete text of the inscription to anyone who saw it, and possessed the language skills to read it. Also revealed were notes, presumably by Dee, resolving a code into what looks like coordinates. The photo distorts the numbers enough to cast doubt, but the resulting furor in the occult community has been unprecedented since the birth of Christ. Searches and expeditions were launched within days of the photo’s first circulation, while saner heads tried to get a look at the real document.

Numerous theories abound as to the nature of the Gate mentioned in the inscription, but the sanest of these suggests that a portal will be opened to a place of great safety. It is hard for those raised in western occult traditions to see this as anything other than an opportunity to cross over to the Heavenly Kingdom, or at the very least to provide one a chance to come into contact with the ineffable and the divine.

The inscription simply reports that when the stars align properly on the longest day, the gate will open in the place of crossings. Symbols of no discernible meaning follow. The manuscript photo implies that Dee solved them and arranged them into coordinates that sailors could use to navigate there.

For those with the resources and connections to come across mention of this work, and then this photo, the partial coordinates visible will eventually lead them to the Ghast family and their world-spanning company, and their delightful, if deadly hub in the Pacific. Research into the islands may turn up numerous strange accounts such as those telling of the Three Brothers’  or more recent accounts of the 23 Unexplained Steps or the like. From such tales it will not be hard to convince oneself that a long journey must be made… particularly when alignment of the sort mentioned in the inscription is due within the year.


Seek and thou shalt find!

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