Saturday, 26 June 2010

cthulhu sequel: the potter of oaxaca

Oaxaca 1991.

Agent Jorge was alone in the workshop.  He consulted the oil-stained paper carefully typewritten sometime in 1974 then took the thick black clay and began his work, remembering his schooldays and the clay rolling between his fingers, cold and hard, then warm and yielding. Then he recalled how the callow boy would tremble at his deeds and the road he'd taken.  A lifetime ago since JFK had spoken in Berlin.  Many lives had ended since that boy looked out of his eyes. 

Now they saw only the task at hand, spelled out in type on a greasy, yellowing page.

el cáliz de arcilla

Take the black mud, rich with life when Venus is ascendant. Grind into meal, anoint with el humores vitales. Shape el barro primigenio in the likeness of Her hair.

A moment's tremor in his hand, recalling unlucky Luisa in Monte Alban as he added the contents of the sample tubes. Stifling the acid sour vomit he felt the wet clay roll between his fingers until it was merely damp. A memory of his mother gutting fish in her kitchen forced him to turn his concentration to the instructions.

Mark the head with the Voorish sign then coil her hair into the Bearer of Mysteries.   The flesh shall be formed by the rib until it is fruitful with seed.

An ancient design - the Pueblo Indians made such pots before Oaxaca had become famous for barro negro. His thumbnail made four indentations, meticulous in their proportions before taking the other end and coiling it upon itself to form a cup. Taking a curved piece of gourd, he began to press it cross-wise against the sides of the coil, evenly shaping it into a curved rim. Agent Jorge noted with faint revulsion dark fluid seeped and pooled within the clay. His voice trembled as he spoke the invocation legible despite a smear of oil on the paper.

Su vientre es fructífera con la legión de sus crías.
guías K'awil mi mano
La cabra negro tiene hambre
guías K'awil mi ojo
Ia! Ia! Shub-Niggurath!!
Mira con bondad a mi sacrificio!

He poured the third sample tube into the chalice, swirling it with the black fluid pooling inside.  The copper smell was his own blood, blessed in Her name.  The fluid receded... then it was time to dry the pot before it could be finished - which would take two weeks, when the moon was dark again.

Shape the flesh, by blade, sand and round stone.  Paint the earth with guaco juice so forest shadows touch the night sky.  To call forth the night, polish the clay with a crescent of quartz.

As he did, his stomach growled and he smiled - the Black Goat wasn't the only thing that was hungry. To lose the pot now would be intolerable. The shaping would be meticulous but Agent Jorge was a patient man, when dealing with the Long Count, you could afford to be little else.

Let the kiln birth the mystery and when the moon is full again the chalice shall be ready for the devotee.

The Elder Gods did not tolerate errors of haste.  For all their terrible passion, they demanded respect and punished the weak. Jorge had the foul-smelling guaco juice, the stone, the blade, the sand.  All was ready and all he needed to do was to finish the job.

(in response to a query by seaofstarsrpg about the clay chalice)


  1. Well, far more than I was expecting! Glad to have inspired you. Very interesting to read, the magic of the mythos certainly is disturbing.

  2. You're welcome! One thing about Mythos magic I like is it's unashamed darkness - something that Chaosium are usually bang on with.


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