Death may Die
Telepathic beacon of Rali
The Telepathic Beacon of Rali
For across human history, people have dreamed, and most people discount their dreams as being dreams. This is true of all dreams, including those that come from elsewhere. When Rali sank so long ago, it started generating a telepathic beacon that endures to this day. It was likely intended to remind the remaining people of Rali and its people (and their eventual needs), but occasionally it bleeds into human dream awareness.
It isn’t until the oceanic war that people started paying closer attention to it.
Picking Up the Dream
The dream isn’t intended for humans to receive, but it is possible. Someone with five or more marks of Sixth Sense might receive the dream in the night (at most, it will happen one night in twelve). Most people forget their dreams upon waking, and even if they remember the dream they likely won’t learn anything from it.
If the GM wishes to use game rules for this, assume that someone who picks up the dream (Sixth Sense task with a difficulty of 12) will have to use Introspection to remember it and to gain anything from it. The difficulty is d12. On a success, they remember the dream, but not its subtextual message. On a critical success, they remember it entirely, including the underlying concepts.
This means that, in most cases, the person will be Breezing the roll, since one doesn’t generally spend Attribute Points in one’s sleep. Thus, it is rare in the extreme that someone would wake up from having the dream, remembering it, and learning its meaning. Making matters more complicated is that the dream never occurs in its entirety – a single remembrance will only have a portion of the dream.
Content of the Dream
The dream occurs in fragments. It puts the dreamer in a dark area (sometimes the dreamer recognizes being in his own room) with an unknown presence filling the area around him. The dreamer hears a voice speaking in inhuman vocal patterns for some time.
The Words and Underlying Meaning
It seems evident that these vocal patterns aren’t actually supposed to be sounds. This is a telepathic message conveyed in a telepathic language. It stimulates the parts of our brain that handle language processing, but does so ineffectively, producing a consistent but incoherent stream of sounds that we hear in our minds as a voice.
However, someone who is keenly aware might sense the “subtext” of the dream, the underlying meaning deciphered from the noise of alien communication. This occurs in fragments, but enough people have recorded portions of the dream and its underlying meanings that the general message has been deciphered. Indeed, linguistic analysis has studied the message to gather linguistic characteristics. The value of this is questionable, but hypothetically if one of these titans were to awaken, someone with this linguistic understanding would have a better chance of knowing what they were saying.
Each of the following parts occurs in pieces. A single person might have to dream three times to get a complete part.
The First Part
It appears that the early parts of the message are a series of statements about places, creatures, and people. It may be an attempt at identifying the sender. It references many places and things for which no clear meaning can be given, and in many cases the difference between “creature,” “place,” “object,” and “political opinion” are virtually impossible to discern. This is the least comprehensible portion of the message.
The Second Part
The second part of the message seems to be a statement of futurity, that people should rise to extinguish the “inferior and alien,” and instead stand to “consume the body of the lesser.” This may be a poor translation of a higher-minded principle than ethnic cleansing and cannibalism, given the Raliite principles of genetic assimilation of other species.
The Third Part
This part is difficult to discern, but it appears to be a call of distress. It speaks of the sky, the stars, the sun, the wind, or the air being “unfit” or “improper,” and needing to change. It declares that when the change comes, something can be awoken in the city of Rali. It also provides a relatively famous cult phrase among the Rali cults, described in detail below.
It appears that some Raliites gain motivation from the beacon, but most passively wait for whatever conditions are required. Indeed, current thinking is that many Raliites don’t know what condition the beacon demands, though many Raliites adopt the human perspective that atmospheric oxygen must be significantly higher than it is now.
For Rali cults, this dream is the Bible. Despite having little understanding or hope of being able to do something, Rali cults often try to find things to do to assist in the event they know nothing about. These hopeless individuals are among those in the cult activities that threaten the civilian world of Earth.
The Cult Phrase
There’s one phrase in particular that’s exceptionally popular among the Rali cults. It occurs in the middle of the third part of the beacon. In human words, it comes out is, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” (Rough translation: In his house on R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming. Better translation: Dead Cthulhu sleeps in a dwelling in R’lyeh. Precise translation: Is dead Cthulhu sleeping in the dwelling of R’lyeh?) This and other phrases have become the basis for several cult languages. The phrase itself is known for its parts of meaning quite well by those who’ve analyzed the message.
Ph’nglui: Active form of the verb “sleep.” This term indicates that the subject of the sentence is sleeping. Normal sentence structure requires that the principle active verbs of the sentence be the first words in the sentence.
Mglw’nafh: Adjectival form of the noun “death.” The formation applies “death” as a present condition to the object being modified, in this case both the subject of the sentence and the word immediately following.
Cthulhu: This term is a proper noun, either identifying an individual or a body of individuals. It may mean the titans generally, or one specific titan. Having no modifier and given its position in the sentence, this is most likely the subject of the sentence. This isn’t clear, however, as Rali might also be the subject. However, typically the subject of the sentence comes before any other unmodified noun.
R’lyeh: One possible formation of the place called “Rali.” This is the source of the terms “Ralii” and “Raliite.” There’s no actual pronunciation for the word. It’s a telepathic signal interacting with the language receptors of our mind trying to find a way of presenting it. The word was never spoken – evidence suggests that the ancient Ralii had no vocal apparatus whatsoever.
Wgah’nagl: This is a heavily morphologically modified form of “dwelling.” Being after any possible subjunctive noun but before the sentence ending, this indicates a locative. The morphology also gives a locative (if this was immediately after Cthulhu, it would indicate “the dwelling of/on Cthulhu”). Since it’s directly after an unmodified noun that clearly isn’t the subject of the sentence, it’s a modifier on the noun. Thus, it means “the dwelling of/on Rali.”
Fhtagn: The final word in a complex sentence is syntactical marker, in this case indicating a present tense interrogative. Thus, one might express the sentence more correctly as, “Is dead Cthulhu dreaming in his home on Rali?” Despite this, it’s used as a declarative. The exact reason for this disconnect eludes most scholars.
There are three possible explanations. One is poetry – there’s a poetic reason why the sentence would be phrased as a question despite not being a question. Another is that it’s an excerpt from a longer work (hypothetically, the answer would be “yes”). The third, and perhaps most puzzling, is that it’s an actual question, possibly a ritual question. Perhaps the whole phrase is asking, “has the tome come for this condition to change?”
This also means that only non-cultists will confuse you for a Rali cultist if you go around shouting “Cthulhu fhtagn!” An actual Rali cultist or someone who knows the language will react very differently. Imagine walking up to any American and shouting “Washington?” in an exaggeratedly interrogative tone and you have an idea of how a cultist will react.