N'kai

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N'kai (alternate spellings: Black Realm of N'kai, The Gulf of N'kai, The Black Abyss of N'kai, The Gulfs of Nether Horror, The Ultimate Abyss of N'kai Beneath Red-Litten Yoth)

Origin: (earliest known story/scenario the Location appears in, indicate whether this is uncertain)


In the Mythos

...There are openings which human beings know nothing of - some of them in these very Vermont hills - and great worlds of unknown life down there; blue-litten K'n-yan, red-litten Yoth, and black, lightless N'kai. It's from N'kai that frightful Tsathoggua came - the amorphous, toad-like god-creature mentioned in the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon and the Commoriom Myth-cycle preserved by the Atlantean high-priest Klarkash-Ton.
— "The Whisperer in Darkness (fiction)" by H.P. Lovecraft

N'kai is a vast, lightless cavern below Yoth. It is the home of the Great Old One Tsathoggua, and is whispered to be a place of lightless, inky seas in which the unspeakable Shoggoths roll and splash hideously.

The black cavern is dotted with plain, hideously ancient, squat ruins and mazes of curious troughs or dry canals constructed of black, cyclopean basalt and generally mysterious purpose, aside from sinister temples dedicated to the toad-thing Tsathoggua.

Explorers from K'n-yan met with disaster when they first visited N'kai, encountering the deadly Shoggoths and Formless Spawn of Tsathoggua. Thereafter, entrances to N'kai were sealed off.


Vaults of Zin

See Vaults of Zin for more information about these underground catacombs on the borders between Yoth, N'Kai, and the Dreamlands.

Yoth

See Yoth for this weird, red-litten world located above N'kai. The gates between Yoth and N'Kai were sealed in elder times by sorcerers from K'n-yan, but may have since been breached in the upheaval which wracked K'n-yan in later eras.

Mount Voormithadreth

See Mount Voormithadreth for more information about this prehistoric Hyperborean mountain which legends say may have once towered over the surface world far above N'Kai.

Quotes

...There are openings which human beings know nothing of - some of them in these very Vermont hills - and great worlds of unknown life down there; blue-litten K'n-yan, red-litten Yoth, and black, lightless N'kai. It's from N'kai that frightful Tsathoggua came - the amorphous, toad-like god-creature mentioned in the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon and the Commoriom Myth-cycle preserved by the Atlantean high-priest Klarkash-Ton.
— "The Whisperer in Darkness (fiction)" by H.P. Lovecraft

In the end it seems to have been the neighbouring abyss which received the greatest colonization.... The abyss, it seems, had shelving shores of dry land at certain places, but the Old Ones built their new city under water - no doubt because of its greater certainty of uniform warmth. The depth of the hidden sea appears to have been very great, so that the earth’s internal heat could ensure its habitability for an indefinite period....

Decadent though their style undoubtedly was, these latest carvings had a truly epic quality where they told of the building of the new city in the cavern sea. The Old Ones had gone about it scientifically - quarrying insoluble rocks from the heart of the honeycombed mountains, and employing expert workers from the nearest submarine city to perform the construction according to the best methods. These workers brought with them all that was necessary to establish the new venture - Shoggoth tissue from which to breed stone lifters and subsequent beasts of burden for the cavern city, and other protoplasmic matter to mould into phosphorescent organisms for lighting purposes. At last a mighty metropolis rose on the bottom of that Stygian sea, its architecture much like that of the city above, and its workmanship displaying relatively little decadence because of the precise mathematical element inherent in building operations....

What had happened afterward we could only guess. How long had the new sea-cavern city survived? Was it still down there, a stony corpse in eternal blackness? Had the subterranean waters frozen at last?
At the Mountains of Madness (fiction) by H.P. Lovecraft

...This was a squat, plain temple of black basalt blocks without a single carving, and containing only a vacant onyx pedestal. The remarkable thing about it was its story, for it was a link with a fabled elder world compared to which even cryptic Yoth was a thing of yesterday. It had been built in imitation of certain temples depicted in the Vaults of Zin, to house a very terrible black toad-idol found in the red-litten world and called Tsathoggua in the Yothic Manuscripts. It had been a potent and widely worshipped god, and after its adoption the people of K'n-yan had lent its name to the city which was later to become dominant in that region. Yothic legend said that it had come from a mysterious inner realm beneath the red-litten world - a black realm of peculiar-sensed beings which had no light at all, but which had had great civilisations and mighty gods before ever the reptilian quadrupeds of Yoth had come into being. Many images of Tsathoggua existed in Yoth, all of which were alleged to have come from the black inner realm, and which were supposed by Yothic archaeologists to represent the aeon-extinct race of that realm. The black realm called N'kai in the Yothic Manuscripts had been explored as thoroughly as possible by these archaeologists, and singular stone troughs or burrows had excited infinite speculation.

When the men of K'n-yan discovered the red-litten world and deciphered its strange manuscripts, they took over the Tsathoggua cult and brought all the frightful toad images up to the land of blue light - housing them in shrines of Yothquarriedbasalt like the one Zamacona now saw. The cult flourished until it almost rivalled the ancient cults of Yig and Tulu [but] in that world of blue light the cult came to an abrupt end, even though the name of Tsath was suffered to remain. What ended the cult was the partial exploration of the black realm of N'kai beneath the red-litten world of Yoth. According to the Yothic Manuscripts, there was no surviving life in N'kai, but... when the men of K'n-yan went down into N'kai's black abyss with their great atom-power searchlights they found living things - living things that oozed along stone channels and worshipped onyx and basalt images of Tsathoggua. But they were not toads like Tsathoggua himself. Far worse - they were amorphous lumps of viscous black slime that took temporary shapes for various purposes. The explorers of K'n-yan did not pause for detailed observations, and those who escaped alive sealed the passage leading from red-litten Yoth down into the gulfs of nether horror. Then all the images of Tsathoggua in the land of K'n-yan were dissolved into the ether by disintegrating rays, and the cult was abolished forever.

Aeons later, when naive fears were outgrown and supplanted by scientific curiosity, the old legends of Tsathoggua and N'kai were recalled and a suitably armed and equipped exploring party went down to Yoth to find the closed gate of the black abyss and see what might still lie beneath. But they could not find the gate, nor could any man ever do so in all the ages that followed. Nowadays there were those who doubted that any abyss had ever existed, but the few scholars who could still decipher the Yothic Manuscripts believed that the evidence for such a thing was adequate, even though the middle records of K'n-yan, with accounts of the one frightful expedition into N'kai, were more open to question. Some of the later religious cults tried to suppress remembrance of N'kai's existence, and attached severe penalties to its mention....
— "The Mound (fiction)" by H.P. Lovecraft and Zelia Bishop

Over the jagged Peaks of Thok they sweep, heedless of all the cries I try to make, and down the nether pits to that foul lake where the puffed Shoggoths splash in doubtful sleep.
— "Fungi from Yuggoth (poem)" by H.P. Lovecraft


Heresies and Controversies

Keeper Notes

Associated Mythos Elements


References