Solfernus' Path

1. False Sleepwalker

[Beuthen (Bethania), Silesia, 27th September 1909
After an accident during one of his journeys, a young student of medicine named Filip Stoudilski is unable to continue his voyage not only due to the breakdown of his automobile, but also because of the thick mist which suddenly veils the entire area.]

[Filip Stoudilski's Journal
27 September, 1909, Beuthen, Silesia - the estate of countess Josephine von Köchmeister.
Had an accident last night. Luckily, nothing happened. I am not in heart to describe it now, as I am pressed for time. Friedrich, the Countess's footman appeared on the spot immediately and brought me here, to this nineteenth century manor house. I have been here for a couple of hours. The butler has already shown me around and told me about the guests who had once stayed in the first-floor rooms. He mentioned, for example, a man who had not slept all his life. Then he told me that there was no point of visiting the upper floor rooms, as apart from the countess's chambers, his own room, and a little cell belonging to the old gardener, there was nothing to see. In spite of that, I decided to have a look around on my own.]

In the dark you head towards the crossroads
Where the wind blows without restraint
Cold and soulless like a wax figure
At times rising over the clouds
You won't get here in the daytime,
You won't see anything in the light of day
The gale is flapping its iron wing
Staring inside with its eyes like two abyssal vaults
The armoured heart won't break, it'll just fall into the gulf of feelings

Hundreds of nights, hundreds of days
All mercilessly sad
All cruelly lonely
All pervaded with gloom
All marked with pain

Over at the sky that never ever dawns
Fell clouds of pallid spectres spellbinding shadows bleak
Eyes so dark that you need to turn away lest you fall into the void
Murk seeps in every night, of blackness made, in coldness carved
A swarm of morbid phantasms is teeming in your thoughts
Their deathly hands upon your brow
The sleepless flock pushing at you
Leering at you

Hundreds of nights, hundreds of days

2. Vote For Heresy

[The gardener told me that there had been a lake on the property earlier. The rest I would find in an old chronicle hidden in a certain place in the library.

A chronicle entry by Nicolaus Liebental (1367)
In was September 1367. In the morning, both the priest and the curate from the parish of St. Mary's were still in good health. The priest celebrated a solemn mass and delivered a sermon in which he requested payment of the tithe imposed by the pope. Mines were running out of lead and silver, the city was in the grip of poverty and famine. At night the citizens locked the priests in the tower and the court passed a death sentence to both of them. They were taken to the lake and thrown into the water. They were floating on a surface for a while, so their heads were split open with axes. Blood was shed. The bishop of Cracow imposed an interdict and anathema on the city. Pope Urban V sustained the interdict and the curse. All public worship was suspended and the sacraments were withdrawn for two years. Merchants avoided the city. Eventually the interdict was lifted, but the anathema was not. In fact, it has never been lifted by any pope...]

The world is turning to ashes when faith triumphs
The faith of those convinced they believe in nothing
You conceal your dark soul and your filthy thoughts
That spectre of naivety that burns in your eyes
Tears the fabric of noble ideas
Overwhelmed by gloom you head towards the nameless void
Your doom dwelling in this deserted city
Has become its dungeon

The age of magic when you struggle with the waves of darkness
Enfolds you with a haze of sin
The moaning of the condemned reverberates within you
You abandon those silver shrines
They want to shroud your mind with the veil of their black wings
In the grip of death you renounced your god
And arose as a heretic
That is how infinity awakens

I've ceased to believe in false miracles
Vote for heresy
In flames I'm descending into the shades of death
Vote for heresy
I'm spreading the wings of my wicked plan
Vote for heresy
Hidden from the human sight in a cloud of black mist

3. Final Conjuration

[Diary entry:
Had an early lunch with the Countess. The lady of the house insists on my staying in the mansion until I recover. Have been watching her for a while - the suppleness and velvet smoothness of her body is starting... I don't know what to think. For a mature woman her body seems unnaturally young. Unfortunately, the entire area is still enveloped in dense mist. It sometimes seems like it was getting thicker - it seems denser than the night I arrived. The Countess's words are sometimes really disquieting... She keeps saying that the fog is a trick of her lover, mythical Solphernus, and then she would leave the drawing room with a skittish smile. I feel some sort of a strange tension and my Reason seems to fail me. I hope to continue my journey soon. Now I am writing in the library. There are a lot books around...]

All numb, you look around
Your soul does not struggle anymore
Everything makes you suffer
Dark clouds gathering over you again
Unstained with the sign of the cross
You can't dispel these thoughts lashing you with the fire of contempt

I will be in your dreams till the very end
Your blood's so precious to me
You will leave the chronicle of your anguish
Looking forward to the final night of doom
I'm taking your hand in this deathly silence
Your journey brings you closer to the secrets of death

The moon enters the cave of the dead
Snakes tense in their sleep
You debase yourself begging for the last spell

The grave will hide your deathly pallor and abomination

[Diary entry:
Last night I saw something that made me want to leave this accursed place immediately. In one of the rooms, in the dim light, my eye was caught by something that resembled a human being. At first I could not believe my eyes. I thought it was some trick of the moonlight, some weird effect of shadow, but I kept looking, and it could be no delusion - it was a woman. I could not even determine her age, but it does not matter now. This woman... she looked ghastly pallid and thin, as if something was draining her life. She seemed unable to move, lying in some sort of a vat recessed into the floor. She mumbling something, staring at me with her big hungry eyes, but I could not understand a word. She was clutching a handkerchief with the letter 'S' embroidered in gold. Suddenly I could hear footsteps approaching. I rushed back to my bed chamber. When I woke up in the morning, I thought that maybe I had been dreaming? In this terrifying house reality merges with delusions... I feel the dread of this horrible place overpowering me. I am encompassed about with terrors that I dare not think of. Why haven't I left yet? I think my curiosity gained the upper hand again.]

All numb, you look around
Your soul does not struggle anymore
Everything makes you suffer
Dark clouds gathering over you again
Unstained with the sign of the cross
You can't dispel these thoughts lashing you with the fire of contempt

I will be in your dreams till the very end
Your blood's so precious to me
You will leave the chronicle of your anguish
Looking forward to the final night of doom
I'm taking your hand in this deathly silence
Your journey brings you closer to the secrets of death

The moon enters the cave of the dead
Snakes tense in their sleep
You debase yourself begging for the last spell

The grave will hide your deathly pallor and abomination

3. I. Delium

4. Pain Collector

[He spent the evening in the library where he came across an interesting book on the legend of a man who once lived in the area. The poor man suffered from a terrible ailment. Whenever someone in the neighbourhood was harmed or ill-treated, he would suffer agonizing pain. He stopped reading. There was a letter in the book, with a vague signature and a little map of a section of the estate. The nights between late August and late October seem darker than any other nights.

Diary entry:
It was around midnight and I had to be very careful because of vast darkness. A few hours passed. A heap of soil was growing next to the hole I was digging. The hole was getting bigger and bigger. He was trying to locate the spot on the map. Layers of brown sand were slowly turning yellow. Suddenly he heard a metallic clank. He struck with his shovel once more - the clanking sound reverberated again. Then he swept the remaining soil aside and found a metal hatch. He broke the padlock with the blade of his spade.

Diary entry:
Like in a dream, I went down an old rotten ladder and into a manhole. It was some sort of a tunnel that led to this exit. My legs were carrying me on. After a little while I could smell a faint scent that was getting more and more intense. O shone the torch into the opposite corner and saw a man whose body was aching with terrible convulsions. He looked at me imploringly. His body was swollen as if he had been drowned...]

Followed by a nauseating metallic stench
Of wounds and death
Stigmatized with the rust of clotted blood
Filled with the strength of his arrogance and hate
He destroys everything
Possessed with rage
Overwhelmed by wrath
He burns all words
All memories
Here comes real impurity
Cursing you and the world

The pain collector
He gained the gift of suffering
The pain collector
Those bloodshot eyes stare in the dark
The pain collector
Asking after the sinister omen
The pain collector
Filled with painful stigmas of death

Tears flow all night long
The sombre mourners carry a soulless flame
The corridors vibrate with a sinister melody
Reverberating with a sepulchral echo
Broken heart intoxicated with agony
Pierced with a black lightening
The sobbing of ominous songs
Accompanied by a cold bell tolling

5. Gloria Inferni

All the darkest dreams came true
She closed her eyes forever
The bride so calm and pale and sad
Here's the agony she'd suffered

I was lead through a monumental hall
When a blow blinded me and I lost my way
Her ghastly face shrouded in a cloak
Six wings bleeding into six ebony cups
De Profundis – the trembling out of the depths
This infinite flame that crumbled her heart
Dribbling its dark venom

She said: gloria inferni

A shining dagger cutting through my breath
She collected my blood in a stone chalice
Licking the blade with a wicked face
Suddenly encircled by a dreary cortege
Consciousness fades away, conscience withers away
A cold trance spreads

It's dusk already, but haunted by nocturnal demons...

[Diary entry:
Fatigued with the events of the night before, I decided to go to bed earlier. However, the gloom played a cruel trick on me again and wouldn't let me find solace in the arms of Morpheus. In my dream I heard a horse neighing, I woke up (or did I? Maybe it was also a delusion...) and looked out of the window. From behind the heavy curtains I saw the Countess and Friedrich getting out of the carriage. Friedrich was shrouded in a long dark cloak with the silver letter 'S' embroidered on it.]

5. II. Fumus

6. III. Venenum

6. Solfernus' Path

His numb fingers clenched around infamy
The blurry transparencies of misty dreams
Washed his atrocious soul
Praised for his vaulting pride and sinister hubris

Betrothed to a doomed song of darkness stronger than god himself
He disavowed his soul for ages
Hoisted the sails when the storm started its mournful lament
He stepped forward, silent, lightnings in his eyes

The sons of men on the brink of death
How much they suffered looking at his mysterious glare
And the heavens in their eyes faded, the day darkened
The shadow swelling casting its black wing

Like the flame fluttering in the wind
Panting with bitterness
Entombed in a smoking urn
He descended into the dark abyss of spectres

Dimmed are the sepulchral candles
With a cunning gesture of his crooked hands
Immune to the stare of those piercing eyes
The king of chaos merges into gloom

7. Lunar Silhouette


[He heard a dull thud. It seemed to come from the drawing room situated next to his bedroom. He dragged himself out of bed and put on his dressing gown. It was well past midnight. He heard the clock striking three. He quietly slipped into the room and saw only a shape imbued with a faint luminosity since it caught and reflected in its yellowed surfaces what little light there was in the ill-lit room. And then he saw a fragile figure, a girl, six - or maybe seven-year-old, sitting on a wooden swing attached to the oak ceiling. The girl was swinging rhythmically to and fro. She was the splitting image of the skeletal women he had met before in the house.]

[Mara: known in the Slavic as 'mora', a terrible night visitor that crushes or oppresses its victims, normally taking the shape of a beautiful woman or a truly hideous old hag. The Mara has close associations with vampires through its nocturnal predations and, in some areas, its fondness for blood. According to the southern Slavs, once the Mara drinks the blood of a man, she will fall in love with him, never leaving him and forever plaguing his slumbers. She also fond of sucking the breasts of children. A number of vampire species are classified as variations of the Mara: (amongst them the 'mora') who hold to be the wandering spirit of an unbaptized girl, eager to suffocate people.
Source: Matthew Bunson, The Vampire Encyclopedia.]

8. King Of Burning Anthems

I am the still darkness of stars
I am the shadow of a flickering flame
I am the mournful moaning of wind
I am the sigh of a tomb of silence
I am the cold eternity of the sea
I am the blood-stained dagger of the hearts

Here I am, the bell that plagues the conscience
Overwhelmed by the pale abyss
Here I am, the gloomy temple of my soul
That will never let you forget
Here I am, frozen into a gem of wisdom
That petrifies with fear
Here I am, the anthem of shadow
That reverberates with a distant resonance
Here I am, the chariot running blindly to a certain death
As merciless as the grave
Here I am, the prophet of haunting infinity
That pervades from all sides

I am the bright flame amidst the gale
I illuminate mountain murk with the glow of dawn
I am the ember of my pain, the star of my power
I am the thunder of the storm louder than eternity
I am the dust of desert scratching bloodstained tombs

I am the abyss of volcanoes spouting venom

[He was awoken by howling. Could it be night already? He must have fallen asleep at this desk studying one of the volumes recommended by Friedrich. The one he was just reading focused mainly on some unknown biblical criticism. Suddenly he heard music coming from the other room. He opened the door. Could it be the Countess's bed chamber? It was empty. Only a candle on the table was burning. There were hundreds of vessels and dishes in the room: on the table, on the floor, on the window sills; jugs, bowls and carafes; all filled with water. Dark dirty water. Then he saw the Countess in front of him. She was standing there with her raven-black hair loose, wearing a lace négligé. She looked at him and smiled defiantly. Without saying a word she gestured him to come in...]

9. Chimera

Remnants of human consciousness in you
Polish your rage
You'd give it away without regret
All the stars let you down
Your lost paradise is fading
The wailing of false prophecies
Leading your straight into those ice-cold arms

Fear lurks in the dark
You'll all shrouded in it
I'll take you up into a vortex
I'll carry you away into the endless starry space
You can't see my veiled face
Anxiously clasping the clammy hand

The sign of blood imprinted on your arm
Will make you follow my way
You'll open your eyes to the cravings you'd never known
You'll be the witness of agony
Everything will change
Your eyesight hearing smell will sharpen

The pain will make you want become one of us

[Diary entry:
Friedrich suggested that we should meet in the drawing room in the evening. He said it was time to explain everything. He also added that he wanted to put me to some kind of test...]

[For a long time they were savouring the taste of exquisite spirits in silence. He was sipping has laudanum alternately with spiced beer. Suddenly his contemplation was interrupted by a rustle reverberating through ominous silence which shrouded the room like a thick mist.
"Laudanum (...) was an alcoholic tincture (dilute solution) of opium that was used in European medical practice as an analgestic and sedative."
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.]

9. IV. Spectaculum

10. A Mesmeric Séance

Say farewell to a fading beam
This leaden mist has frozen still
The spectre's petrified into gloomy haze
Shrouding mystery that you revolt against
An end to your dreams of absolute power
Only spellbound stupor in the waking hour
Those opiate vapours of oblivion you inhale
Hush your dazed conscience wearing it away

My memory thrown down into the abyss
All my secrets entrusted into your clenched fists
My curiosity dazed with this mesmerizing glitter
When the pillars of cognition succumb and wither

Your soul aroused by a sudden flare
Or is it wind howling out in the air?
Is there someone still crying and calling my name?
Or is it rain sobbing, moaning out in the gale?
Is this just an illusion or can I really hear
This nocturnal howling of sinister wail
Can I see shadows dancing in the moonlight rays
Or are these pale figures swarming in mortal embrace?

[Filip looked at his interlocutor, watching with interest how the man was drawing on a long, elegantly carved pipe made of heather root. He felt this delicate tingling that slowly spread all over his body.
- "So what kind of impro am I witnessing? Isn't the situation I am facing a delusion?"
For a moment, the only sound breaking the dense silence was the ticking of the clock. Suddenly he caught the piercing gaze of his interlocutor.

"Doubt is not pleasant condition, but certainly is absurd, Filip. All our deeds are tokens of the will of the doer!"]

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