- Cosgrove Somerby Esq.,
- Guolong, China.
- August 25, 1938
- Gerald F. Perry,
- Professor of Hyborian Studies,
- Miskatonic University,
- 141 University Dr.,
- Arkham, Mass.
- My Dear Sir:
I have come back down out of the mountains to Guolong here in Southern China, where this journey truly began, to let you know that our quest has been a success. The mountains to the north of Guolong are majestic and colossal snow-capped behemoths which even now beckon me to climb once more to the dizzy heights that we reached and see once again that legendary plateau. It has been said that at the end of a journey such as this there are two outcomes, enlightenment or damnation. I have found my enlightenment, I have seen sights alien to the eyes of mortal man for thousands of years and am humbled beyond my words to express.
As you know professor I was accompanied on this sojourn into the southern heart of China by my fellow classmate and closest friend William McAllister. His father’s worldwide shipping interests got us the much-needed paperwork to allow us into this part of China. As far as we have been able to tell we are the first white men to come here with our destination being to the north-east from here in the vast and barely-explored mountain ranges of southern Tibet. The locals who were friendly enough to us on our arrival were very reluctant to even speak of the mountains to the north much less tell us what we might find on our journey in that direction. Much further north in the Himalayas the towns and hidden temples of the Tibetan people are well documented and explored but here in the southern inaccessible areas of the mountains the sheer cliffs and the constant threat of avalanche makes exploring rare indeed. There are safe routes to get into the heart of Tibet that one can take with relative ease but we were not going to the Tibetan plateau, we were heading somewhere else, a place of legend even older than Tibet and often spoken of in hushed-tones around cryptic books of forgotten lore.
We had heard about it in your class professor and we simply had to see if it truly existed. You spoke of it in such awe, such reverent tones that it seemed a quest worthy of two gentlemen such as ourselves. We arrived in the village in the second week of July, the rains of the lowlands here in the valleys were indications of fresh layers of snow falling to the north across the cliffs of those noble towering sentinels. It all seemed so wondrous and awe-inspiring the day we set in the first week of August. The mountains were reaching for the sky to the north and the valley behind us was stretched out to the east and west in glorious green as far as the eye could see. To the south rose the colossal peaks of Nepal along with a sweeping wind carrying the faintly cloying scent of poppies and herbs. We followed a dry riverbed up to a shoulder of the mountains along whose slopes we could see the trails off countless sheep herders from time immemorial. Cresting that shoulder we looked down at a narrow boulder-strewn gorge down the center of which continued the dry river bed we had been following. The opposite end of the gorge looked at first glance to be an impassable cliff-face. It was further away than it looked and it took nearly until nightfall to get to it’s base. As we grew nearer we saw a switchback trail ascending up to the gap between the mountains above, so we camped for the night at the foot of this trail in the sheltering cover of a cluster of boulders. That night the stars came out like no other sky I’ve ever seen in my life in a breath-taking display of cosmic mystery with billions of sparkling lights glistening in a vast blanket of galactic beauty. I sat up for several hours just staring up at those far-away glimmering jewels and then I began to drift off. We awoke the next day and the two local guides we had hired to bring us to the edge of the Pan-Oyhou glacier, they would agree to go not a single step further than that, had taken their leave during the night. We were both very set against turning back now without even so much as a glimpse of the legendary glacier in the valley above. At noon we had climbed up to the valley above and there in the distance at the edge of the glacier was a huge archway in the side of the mountain to the north, the movement of the glacier had revealed it and we made a bee-line for it. The movement had torn open a glyph-covered gate under the archway, a path leads over the thrusting arm of the moving ice and up to that gaping opening into the eldritch darkness of the mountains interior. The trip through that mountain passageway and out of the rune-carved arch at the other end would take more paper than I have at the moment, suffice it to say it was an epic journey in and of itself. However the result is that we walked out under the stars once again and there gleaming in the light of huge fire pits rose the massive platinum-gilded gates of the legendary plateau itself. I must finish this letter quickly now, for the faceless night-winged flyer they sent me on to write to you grows impatient out on the balcony. I must return now once again to that land of legends, I must return to Leng.
© T. Patrick Rooney.
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