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This is the testimony of all that I have seen, and all that I have learned, in those years that I have possessed the Three Seals of MASSHU. I have seen One Thousand-and-One moons, and surely this is enough for the span of a man's life, though it is said the Prophets lived much longer. I am weak, and ill, and bear a great tiredness and exhaustion, and a sigh hangs in my breast like a dark lantern. I am old.
The wolves carry my name in their midnight speeches, and that quiet, subtle Voice is summoning me from afar. And a Voice much closer will shout into my ear with unholy impatience. The weight of my soul will decide its final resting place. Before that time, I must put down here all that I can concerning the horrors that stalk Without, and which lie in wait at the door of every man, for this is the ancient arcana that has been handed down of old, but which has been forgotten by all but a few men, the worshippers of the Ancient Ones (may their names be blotted out!).
And if I do not finish this task, take what is here and discover the rest, for time is short and mankind does not know nor understand the evil that awaits it, from every side, from every open Gate, from every broken barrier, from every mindless acolyte at the altars of madness.
For this is the Book of the Dead, the Book of the Black Earth, that I have writ down at the peril of my life, exactly as I received it, on the planes of the IGIGI, the Cruel celestial spirits from beyond the Wanderers of the Wastes.
Let all who read this book be warned thereby that the habitation of men are seen and surveyed by that Ancient Race of gods and demons from a time before time, and that they seek revenge forthat forgotten battle that took place somewhere in the Cosmos and rent the Worlds in the days before the creation of Man, when the Elder Gods walked the Spaces, the race of MARDuk as he is known to the Chaldeans, and of ENKI our Master, the Lord of Magicians.
Know, then, that I have trod all the Zones of the Gods, and also the places of the Azonei, and have descended unto the foul places of Death and Eternal Thirst, which may be reached through the Gate of GANZIR, which was built in UR, in the days before Babylon was.
Know, too, that I have spoken with all manner of spirit and daemon, whose names are no longer known in the societies of Man, or were never known. And the seals of some of these are writ herein; yet others I must take with me when I leave you. ANU have mercy on my soul!
I have seen the Unknown Lands, that no map has ever charted. I have lived in the deserts and the wastelands, and spoken with demons and the souls of slaughtered men, and of women who have died in childbirth, victims of the she-fiend LAMMASHTA.
I have traveled beneath the Seas, in search of the Palace of Our Master, and found the stone monuments of vanquished civilizations, and deciphered the writings of some of these; while still others remain mysteries to any man who lives. And these civilizations were destroyed because of the knowledge contained In this book.
I have traveled among the stars, and trembled before the Gods. I have, at last, found the formula by which I passed the Gate ARZIR, and passed Into the forbidden realms of the foul IGIGI.
I have raised demons, and the dead.
I have summoned the ghosts of my ancestors to real and visible appearance on the tops of temples built to reach the stars, and built to touch the nethermost cavities of HADES. I have wrestled with the Black Magician, AZAG-THOTH, in vain, and fled to the Earth by calling upon INANNA and her brother MARDUK, Lord of the double-headed AXE.
I have raised armies against the Lands of the East, by summoning the hordes of fiends I have made subject unto me, and so doing found NGAA, the God of the heathens, who breathes flame and roars like a thousand thunders.
I have found fear.
I have found the Gate that leads to the Outside, by which the Ancient Ones, who ever seek entrance to our world, keep eternal watch. I have smelled the vapors of that Ancient One, Queen of the Outside, whose name is writ in the terrible MAGAN text, the testament of some dead civilization whose priests, seeking power, swing open the dread, evil Gate for an hour past the time, and were consumed.
I came to possess this knowledge through circumstances quite peculiar, while still the unlettered son of a shepherd in what Is called Mesopotamia by the Greeks.
When I was only a youth, traveling alone in the mountains to the East, called MASSHU by the people who live there, I came upon a grey rock carved with three strange symbols. It stood as high as a man, and as wide around as a bull. It was firmly in the ground, and I could not move it. Thinking no more of the carvings, save that they might be the work of a king to mark some ancient victory over an enemy, I built a fire at its foot to protect me from the wolves that wander in those regions and went to sleep, for it was night and I was far from my village, being Bet Durrabia. Being about three hours from dawn, in the nineteenth of Shabatu, I was awakened by the howl of a dog, or perhaps of a wolf, uncommonly loud and close at hand. The fire had died to its embers, and these red, glowing coals cast a faint, dancing shadow across the stone monument with the three carvings. I began to make haste to build another fire when, at once, the gray rock began to rise slowly into the air, as though it were a dove. I could not move or speak for the fear that seized upon my spine and wrapped cold fingers around my skull. The Dik of Azug-bel-ya was no stranger to me than this sight, 'though the former seemed to melt into my hands!