August Messenger (Icons Writeup)

August Messenger
aka Nyarlathotep

Prowess 4
Coordination 4
Strength 8
Intellect 5
Awareness 7
Willpower 7

Stamina 15

Powers
*Magic 8 (Mastery: Blast, Affliction, Extrasensory Perception, Mind Control, Regeneration, Transformation – Humanoids)
*Immortality 2
*Damage Resistance 5

Specialties
Occult (Expert +3 bonus)

Qualities
*The Crawling Chaos
*God of a Thousand Forms
*Messenger of the Elder Gods

Background

In his first appearance in “Nyarlathotep” (1920), he is described as a “tall, swarthy man” who resembles an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. In this story he wanders the Earth, seemingly gathering legions of followers, the narrator of the story among them, through his demonstrations of strange and seemingly magical instruments. These followers lose awareness of the world around them, and through the narrator’s increasingly unreliable accounts, the reader gets an impression of the world’s collapse. Fritz Leiber proposes three interpretations of the character based on this appearance: the universe’s mockery of man’s attempts to understand it; a negative view of the commercial world, represented by Nyarlathotep’s self-promotion and contemptuous attitude; and man’s self-destructive rationality.

Nyarlathotep subsequently appears as a major character in The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath (1926/27), in which he again manifests in the form of an Egyptian pharaoh when he confronts protagonist Randolph Carter. Leiber describes Nyarlathotep as “evilly intelligent” in this story, in contrast to the mindless Azathoth, his master.

In “The Dreams in the Witch House” (1933), Nyarlathotep appears to Walter Gilman and witch Keziah Mason (who has made a pact with the entity) in the form of “the ‘Black Man’ of the witch-cult”, a black-skinned avatar of the Devil described by witch hunters. Although inhuman, some characters mistake him as a human of African descent, though his facial features are described as Caucasian.

Finally, in “The Haunter of the Dark” (1936), the nocturnal, tentacled, bat-winged monster dwelling in the steeple of the Starry Wisdom sect’s church is identified as another manifestation of Nyarlathotep. This avatar cannot tolerate light.

Lovecraft suggests that the fake Henry Akeley that appears at the end of The Whisperer in Darkness (1930) is also Nyarlathotep. In the story, the Mi-Go chant his name in reverential tones, stating “To Nyarlathotep, Mighty Messenger, must all things be told. And he shall put on the semblance of man, the waxen mask and the robes that hide, and come down from the world of Seven Suns to mock.”

In the Reese Unlimited universe, Nyarlathotep took on the form of “Mr. Black” when commissioning Felix Cole to aid in the creation of The Great Work (“The Great Work,” The Family Grace: An Extraordinary History)

Nyarlathotep later appeared before The Peregrine several times in the late 1930s before his physical form was finally dispatched. His heart was then used by the Peregrine to fashion his ring, with which he would brand the foreheads of criminals. (The Peregrine Omnibus Volume One)

As August Messenger, he battled the Dark Society and the Peregrine in the early 21st century – a plot that involved the near destruction of the earth. (Dark Society Book Two: August Messenger). This version of Nyarlathotep was crafty and capable of being almost charming but he was also a devout sadist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s