Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
(The gentleman approaches the podium, clears his throat, and begins to speak.)
Good evening, fellows and esteemed colleagues. For those who do not know me, I am Percival Rucksack VI, who humbly occupies the Honourable Carnarvon Seat within the League of Adventurous Archaeologists.
I thank you for your time and attention, and speak to you today on a matter of dire importance. My family has served this League with faith and in good standing for several generations. It appalls me to admit today that my forebears, the five prior Percival Rucksacks, might no longer recognize the principles of the august body in which we all stand today.
It has become evident to many of us here that we may have committed an error in opening the tomb of Kolma-Tet, Blight of All the Earth.
(more concerned murmurs)
My friends! I ask you to remember that the purpose of our fellowship was once noble and straightforward! We would venture forth into the ruins of ancient civilizations and extract the treasures within, avoiding both deadly traps and complicated ethical questions! We would reap the glories and wealth that came naturally of pilfering lost gold and gemstones from the sacred resting places of past sovereigns whose names we could not be bothered to pronounce correctly!
(scattered applause and cheers)
When we were warned of curses or irreversible damage, did that give us pause? No! When the native populations around us began to die of mysterious plagues, did that restrain our thirst? No! When those newly dead began to rise from their graves and feast upon those still living, did we alter our values? No! We did as we have always done! Placed the plunder in crates, placed the crates upon ships, and left the land to its destiny!
And yet! When our expedition to the tomb of Kolma-Tet was first proposed, I was among the first to raise my hand and ask if we had taken adequate precautions. I had seen, as you all had, the ancient Sumerian tablets affixed to the door of the mausoleum. I agreed with all scholarly interpretations of its prophecies that told us inescapable doom awaited not only those who disturbed the slumber of Kolma-Tet, but all who now lived upon the surface of the world. But when it came time for our council to vote upon proceeding with the expedition, I too was convinced by the promises of riches untold. Indeed, you may have noticed the amulet of pulsing emerald I wear about my neck at all times and recognize it as a prominent selection from our spoils.
(murmurs of approval)
I am not here, however, simply to display my magnificent baubles. I am here to gently suggest that the growing ranks of the Acolytes of Kolma-Tet may present a problem we are hard-pressed to solve in the coming future. I encourage us to consider with great concern the myriad reports of people being devoured whole by marauding, crimson-eyed hell-beasts. I come before you with all of the contrition I can muster to say that it was perhaps ill-advised for the League of Adventurous Archaeologists to open the tomb of a being that had been known in the Age of Antiquity as “the vengeful bane of existence.”
Many of us have by now heard the proposal from our brethren in the Society of Courageous Explorers that we may yet arrest the ongoing damage of Kolma-Tet by following the instructions laid out within the second tablet of the Sumerians. That we must return all items taken from within to lure the monster back, and then use the prescribed rituals to seal the tomb once again. The arguments are sound and sensible, and I trust all of you to read them thoroughly then offer your own expertise for revisions. To be clear: I feel it is our duty to condemn the atrocities of Kolma-Tet with one single, unequivocal voice, and I stand here today to do so. I also believe we should begin informal discussions about offering some token assistance for the Society’s plan to rein in the prospect of our extinction.
(hesitant grumbles, scattered applause)
I am also here to remind us that the League’s most abiding principle is our spirit of freedom and curiosity. This is why I fully endorse the proposed expedition to unlock the alleged prison of Gorgalath Childslayer, called the Scourge of Solomon.
(loud cheers and banging of fists at tables)
On behalf of the House of Rucksack, I salute you all.