Inganok

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The Dreamland of Inganok first appeared in H.P. Lovecraft Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (fiction). It is placed in the north of the Dreamlands.

Inganok

Inganok is a land, very far to the north, and not many people cared to go thither because it was a cold twilight land, and said to be close to unpleasant Leng which lay on the far side of high impassible mountains. Of other boundaries of Inganok those sailors had no notion, nor had they heard of the cold waste and unknown Kadath save from vague unplaced report.

The ruling caste of Inganok are strange men with long, narrow eyes, long-lobed ears, thin noses, and pointed chins; they are said to be directly related to the Elder Gods, whom they resemble. These men and their agents come in dark ships from the north and trade onyx for the carved jade and spun gold and little red singing birds of Celephaïs, and the traders and sailors of that city know little of the people of Inganok save that they talked but seldom and spread a kind of awe about them. The land is also populated by other folk, including a "squat, slant-eyed" folk said to have drifted south from the hidden valleys and deserts in the Cold wastes beyond the northern mountains, and there is an unearthly cast among all the peoples of Inganok, and no Cat will sail on their ships or visit their land because there are shadows redolent of outer space in Inganok which no cat can endure, and few sensitive men care to tolerate.

The civilization at Inganok is terribly ancient, and many lands further south show signs of their colonies lost to antiquity, including far Mount Ngranek, carved in the likeness of these ruling caste.

Geography

Grey Barrier Peaks

The jagged grey peaks that form the northern barrier of Inganok, with strange caves near the summits; the best course to cross beyond the Grey Barrier Peaks to Kadath beyond would be that over the cold waste north of Inganok rather than directly through the hidden Plateau of Leng, for Leng's northward reaches are full of unseen pitfalls and abysmal influences centring in certain white hemispherical buildings on curious knolls, which common folklore associates unpleasantly with the Other Gods and their crawling chaos Nyarlathotep.

Plateau of Leng

"Plateau of Leng" illustration by Lee Moyer

High impassable mountains tower on the side of Inganok where Leng is thought to lie, so that none might say whether this evil plateau with its horrible stone villages and unmentionable monastery were really there, or whether the rumour were only a fear that timid people felt in the night when those formidable barrier peaks loomed black against a rising moon. Certainly, men normally reach Leng from very different oceans, for the plateau is accessible from the waking world. The Men of Leng, one of the Dreamlands' oldest civilizations, call this plateau home, living in peculiar lone huts of granite and bleak stone villages whose tiny windows glowed with pallid light; and among these little villages Men of Leng dance and leap around blazing bonfires in terrible celebrations at certain seasons. See Plateau of Leng for more detail on this land.

Cold Wastes

Beyond the Northern Mountains of Inganok, the untraversed lands of the Cold Waste conceal Kadath from the rest of the Dreamlands, thousands of miles to the north. The wasteland consists mostly of ice-covered boulders. Huge, nameless, and formless beasts prowl this land. The Cold Wastes are a land of eternal night, and time does not work normally there: days may seem to be hours, or hours may seem to be days.

Vales of the Spiders

The Cold Wastes are the location of the Vales of the Spiders, where there were old wars wherein Leng's almost-humans fought with the bloated purple spiders that once flourished in the Vales, and which may flourish yet again, for the Cold Wastes are vast, and who can say with certainty that the spiders, clever and thoroughly malignant toward any warm living things, are truly gone? The Vales were the seat of the Leng Spiders' civilization, such as it was, and may contain ancient and dusty relics of the time when the Leng Spiders crept through the vales and spun blasphemous wonders and horrors there in silken webs in the Vales and in the vast desolation beneath the howling of the northern winds of the Cold Wastes....

Kadath

Thousands of miles to the north of even Inganok's Northenrn Mountains, in the Cold Wastes, beyond the boundaries of the Earth's Dreamlands, lies the dark and terrible mountain Kadath, which few men have visited, and returned sane. The Elder Gods are rumored to have built their ultimate castle in the Dreamlands here to retreat from the intrusions of mortals, and they are said to sullenly dance on the chilly peak of Kadath as they once had on sunnier, more pleasant mountain peaks in the Dreamlands' youth. Half the northern sky is obscured by the rugged conical mass even from a distance, towering monstrous over all peaks and concernments of earth, and tasting the atomless aether where the cryptical moon and the mad planets reel, for no mountain known of man is looming Kadath! The high clouds far below were but a fringe for its foothills, the gasping dizziness of topmost air was but a girdle for its loins. Scornful and spectral climbs that bridge betwixt earth and heaven, its awful and significant outline black in eternal night, crowned with a pschent of unknown stars.


Cities

City of Inganok

A dark, chilly, disquieting port city of the land of Inganok, weird and beautiful beyond words, with bulbous domes and fantastic spires of onyx, and great basalt quays beneath the looming northern mountains. Rare and curious does that archaic city rise above its walls and quays, all of delicate black with scrolls, flutings, and arabesques of inlaid gold. Tall and many-windowed are the houses, bearing carven balconies and crystal-paned oriels, and carved on every side with flowers and patterns whose dark symmetries dazzled the eye with a beauty more poignant than light. Some houses ended in swelling domes that tapered to a point, others in terraced pyramids whereon rose clustered minarets displaying every phase of strangeness and imagination. The onyx streets are lit by night with small bronze lamps, and the walls are low, and pierced by frequent gates, each under a great arch rising high above the general level and capped by the chiseled head of a god. On a hill in the centre rose a sixteen-angled tower greater than all the rest and bearing a high pinnacled belfry resting on a flattened dome: the Temple of the Elder Ones, ruled by an old high-priest sad with inner secrets. There is a wonder and a strangeness on the twilight city of Inganok, and men fear to be lax in its rites lest a doom and a vengeance lurk unsuspectedly close.

Gate of Caravans

In the north quarter of the city of Inganok, near the Gate of the Caravans, there are the towns inns and taverns favored by the the yak-merchants and the onyx-miners, including the low-ceiled Inn of the Quarrymen.

Temple of the Elder Ones

It is said that nothing in the city of Inganok is more splendid than the massive height of the great central Temple of the Elder Ones with its sixteen carven sides, its flattened dome, and its lofty pinnacled belfry, overtopping all else, and majestic whatever its foreground. The temple is set with its walled garden in a great round plaza whence the streets go as spokes from a wheel’s hub. The seven arched gates of that garden, each having over it a carven face like those on the city’s gates, are always open; and the people roam reverently at will down the tiled paths and through the little lanes lined with grotesque termini and the shrines of modest gods. And there are fountains, pools, and basins there to reflect the frequent blaze of the tripods on the high balcony, all of onyx and having in them small luminous fish taken by divers from the lower bowers of ocean. But no visitor may enter the temple itself, for only the Veiled King of Inganok may do so and live.

At intervals from the temple's belfry, the clang of a strange bell shivers out, answered each time by a peal of mystic music made up of horns, viols, and chanting voices, and from a row of tripods on a gallery round the high dome of the temple there burst flares of flame at certain moments; for the priests and people of that city were wise in the primal mysteries, and faithful in keeping the rhythms of the Great Ones as set forth in scrolls older than the Pnakotic Manuscripts. When the deep clang from the temple's belfry shivers over the garden and the city, and the answer of the horns and viols and voices peals out from the seven lodges by the garden gates, there issue from the seven doors of the temple long columns of masked and hooded priests in black, bearing at arm’s length before them great golden bowls from which a curious steam rises. And all the seven columns strut peculiarly in single file, legs thrown far forward without bending the knees, down the walks that lead to the seven lodges, wherein they disappear and do not appear again. It is said that subterrene paths connect the lodges with the temple, and that the long files of priests return through them; nor is it unwhispered that deep flights of onyx steps go down to mysteries that are never told. But only a few are those who hint that the priests in the masked and hooded columns are not human priests. At those hours when the temple bells ring out over the city and the peal of the horns and viols and voices rose cryptical in answer thereto, all cease their songs or tales and bow silent till the last echo died away, for the unearthly strangeness of the land is such that it seems wiser to respect such customs to stave off some nameless doom, than risk running afoul of the gods.

Palace of the Veiled King

On the hill whereon the Veiled King's palace rises many-domed and marvellous, the ways to the onyx palace are steep and narrow, all but that broad curving one where the king and his companions ride on yaks or in yak-drawn chariots. Petitioners to the king ascend allies that are all steps, between inlaid walls bearing strange signs in gold, and under balconies and oriels whence sometimes floated soft strains of music or breaths of exotic fragrance. Always ahead loomed those titan walls, mighty buttresses, and clustered and bulbous domes for which the Veiled King's palace is famous; and at length the way passes under a great black arch and emerges in the gardens of the monarch's pleasure, for there the onyx terraces and colonnaded walks, the gay parterres and delicate flowering trees espaliered to golden lattices, the brazen urns and tripods with cunning bas-reliefs, the pedestalled and almost breathing statues of veined black marble, the basalt-bottomed lagoons and tiled fountains with luminous fish, the tiny temples of iridescent singing birds atop carven columns, the marvellous scrollwork of the great bronze gates, and the blossoming vines trained along every inch of the polished walls all joined to form a sight whose loveliness was beyond reality, and half-fabulous even in the land of dream. There it shimmers like a vision under that grey twilight sky, with the domed and fretted magnificence of the palace ahead, and the fantastic silhouette of the distant impassable peaks on the right. And ever the small birds and the fountains sing, while the perfume of rare blossoms spread like a veil over that incredible garden. But, the palace itself no visitor may enter; and it is not well to look too long and steadily at the great central dome, since it is said to house the archaic father of all the rumoured shantak-birds, and to send out queer dreams to the curious.

Urg

The small-domed village of Urg north of Inganok city, where traders rest and miners tell their tales, and paused in its taverns till noon. It is here that the great caravan road forks west toward Selarn, and north on the quarry road.

Selarn

Selarn, a village to the northwest of the city of Inganok.

Quarries

There were many Quarries to the north of Inganok city, for all the city was builded of onyx, whilst great polished blocks of it were traded in Rinar, Ogrothan, and Celephaïs, and at home with the merchants of Thraa, Ilarnek, and Kadatheron, for the beautiful wares of those fabulous ports. And far to the north, almost in that cold desert whose existence the men of Inganok did not care to admit, there was an unused quarry greater than all the rest, the Onyx Pits from which the Castle of the Great Ones on Kadath had been built.

Onyx Pits

The Onyx Pits, from which had been hewn in forgotten times such prodigious lumps and blocks that the sight of their chiselled vacancies struck terror to all who beheld; who had mined those incredible blocks, and whither they had been transported, no man might say; but it was thought best not to trouble that quarry, around which such inhuman memories might conceivably cling; the Onyx Pits are a monstrous space vast acres in extent, tall onyx cliffs on the right lead on as far as one could see, and tall cliffs on the left chopped off just ahead to make that terrible and unearthly quarry where some archaic power had riven and rent the native cliffs of onyx in the form of a giants' quarry. Far back into the solid precipice runs that Cyclopean gouge, and deep down within earth's bowels its lower delvings yawn. It was no quarry of man, and the concave sides were scarred with great squares yards wide which told of the size of the blocks once hewn by nameless hands and chisels. High over its jagged rim huge ravens flap and croak, and vague whirrings in the unseen depths tell of bats or Urhags or less mentionable presences haunting the endless blackness.

Watchers in the Wastes

A terrible range of black mountains carved down to hills in the far north beyond the Onyx Pits beneath the phosphorescence of the brooding clouds, how distant it one cannot tell, but it must have been very far, and thousands of feet high, stretching in a great concave arc from the grey impassable peaks to the unimagined westward spaces, carved by some hand greater than man's into vast, dark sphinxes of nightmare, squatting silently and enigmatically atop the world like wolves or ghouls, crowned with clouds and mists and guarding the secrets of the north forever. All in a great half circle they squatted, those dog-like mountains carven into monstrous watching statues, and their right hands were raised in menace against mankind.

Sarkomand

"Sarkomand" illustration by Alan Clarke

The primal city of storied yet aeon-deserted Sarkomand, located somewhere between the Plateau of Leng and the Cerulean Sea, whose ruins had bleached for a million years before the first true human saw the light, once the great seaport and capital of the almost-humans; proud and pillared betwixt the cliffs and the basalt wharves, and wondrous with high fanes and carven places. Great gardens and columned streets once led from the cliffs and from each of the six sphinx-crowned gates to a vast central plaza, and in that plaza was a pair of winged colossal lions, whose huge winged lions shew their mighty flanks of diorite glistening in the grey twilight of the day and the cloudy phosphorescence of the night, the lions guarding the top of a subterrene staircase whose steps lead down from dreamland to the Great Abyss. Now the city lay deserted, a great corpse-like width of black broken pillars and crumbling sphinx-crowned gates and titan stones and monstrous winged lions against the sickly glow of the luminous night clouds of Inganok. Sarkomand was built and inhabited by the Men of Leng in the distant past, before those quasi-humans were enslaved by the Moonbeasts. Its best known feature is an entrance to the Underworld sometimes used by Ghouls and Nightgaunts, which is flanked by two massive lion statues carved of diorite; adventurers to Sarkomand should be wary, for Moonbeasts and their slaves still sail to the ruined port from time to time in their Black Galleys.

Castle of the Great Ones

Capping that most measureless of mountains was a castle beyond all mortal thought, the fabulous, the incredible home of the Great Ones atop the titan mountain-top of unknown Kadath, crowned with horrible domed towers in noxious and incalculable tiers and clusters beyond any dreamable workmanship of man, the windows glowing failtly of daemon-light; battlements and terraces of wonder and menace, all limned tiny and black and distant against the starry pschent that glowed malevolently at the uppermost rim of sight. Vast loom the tenebrous towers of the Castle of the Great Ones, well-nigh blasphemous in its immensity. Well might the castle's stones have been quarried by nameless workmen in that horrible gulf rent out of the rock in the Onyx Pits in the hill pass north of Inganok, for such was its size that a man on its threshold stood even as an ant on the steps of earth's loftiest fortress. The pshent of unknown stars above the myriad domed turrets glowed with a sallow, sickly flare, so that a kind of twilight hung about the murky walls of slippery onyx, and virtual night in the titan courtyard before the vast gate into the labyrinthine interior of the castle, where the Elder Gods hold court at the pleasure of their Crawling Chaos, soul, herald, and master, Nyarlathotep.


Heresies and Controversies


Associated Mythos Elements


References