Masks of Nayarlathotep – Harold’s madness

London, Hitchcock’s manor. 1925.February the 21th
Soundtrack : Layers of Fear OST, main theme

Awnya words were kind, but the news was too heavy for Harold’s sensible artistic mind.

James is dead.
is no more. Departed. Gone. Not with us anymore.The reality of the
situation hit him hard. He wanted to face it, to revolt against the
entire world, to howl and scream, but his body wouldn’t respond. He
struggled to keep some coherency in his mind, but his thoughts has gone
numb. As he felt into slumber, he saw a trace of guilt in Awnya’s
beautiful face and understand the strange taste in the infusion she made
earlier… Awnya gazed for while at Harold’s
face, slowly stroking his long hair. At least he would rest, and maybe
the narcotic will dilute the pain. She knew how important James was to
him, maybe she should lay down with him, and ease him into consciousness
in the morning. Yes, it would be a good way to…

Harold’s eyes opens suddenly.

gasped. Franticly, she searched for her words, surprised by this sudden
awakening. As she mumbled a quick excuse, she realized something was
off. The face of Harold was blank, as if its mind was too. He stood up
brusquely, made a few steps and stood still, staring at the painting of
Aleister on the mantle chimney. Awnya tried to talk to him but he didn’t
respond to her. After a few attempts to attract his attention, he
started walking again, and goes to the stairs. As she followed him, she
noticed his usual sluggishness was gone. He climbed up to his room,
stared at his luggages, and with swift and precise movements, started to
unpack his painting tools.

Awnya lay
herself on his bed and watched him dressing the easel. She saw him paint
before, slow gentle touch of color. This was different, the strokes
were quick and violent, spaying drops of paint everywhere. The silence
were oppressing, heavy, tense. She had to break it. Without knowing if
Harold could hear her, she started to tell everything. What happened in
New-york, the Bloody tongue cults, the escape to London, and the
Damocles sword upon James. The possession, Silas’ shadow, the arrival to
the manor and the ritual, The Dreamlands, the cats of Ulthar, The
Nightgaunts, Nodens… Her sister’s taking away.

by one, everything she told to Harold was painted, Soon the canvas was
filled by a giant juxtaposition of scenes and portraits, and then the
walls and furnitures around too were sprayed too with drops of colors,
suggestively arranged. Hours by hours, this giant mandala grew larger
and larger, but she still couldn’t see what he draw in the center. What
was the nexus, the central piece that liked all the others.

Her raging curiosity was devouring her, but she had to finish her story first.
It has to be told. To be painted.

Pencil doodle on A6 sketchbook

Excerpt from an ongoing run of Call of Cthulhu Campaign : The Masks of Nyarlathotep (London arc)