Whispers of Wickedness

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In the thirteenth century, an otherwise unknown monk in a monastery in Wiltshire, England, was stricken with a series of nightmarish dreams of a Godless future. These deranged dreams were written down in the style of an apocalyptic revelation in order to be sent to the authorities at Rome for investigation. The Vatican showed little interest; not so the community of monks of Europe, who began to circulate these texts under the vulgar Latin title Susurri Maleficiis. The author of the texts, if he is not apocryphal, is known by scholars as the "D" author, since the four surviving texts in the Cotton MSS are ascribed to Brother Durstan, Brother Dunacan, Brother Daeghelm, and Brother Deorwulf respectively, but all show signs of being the work of a single author.

The four manuscript texts are as follows:

MS Cotton Cantancuzenus: Whisper 12[edit]


Frater Durstan


S. xiv² (palaeographical)


The Narrator Brother wakes screaming from a dream so terrifying that he has soiled himself in the sheets. In his mind are images of fire, of the gaunt, naked bodies of screeching harridans, and of flint-bladed weapons sawing at living flesh. Gasping for breath, he reaches for the bowl of water beside his pallet, drinks from it and chokes: it is brackish and foul, the urine of a sick horse. He smells smoke, the appetising smell of crisp roasting pork. His brothers are burning in their dormitories, and the realisation that it was their flesh he could smell makes the monk retch and vomit, falling from his bed onto the floor. The bare floor is crawling with scorpions and locusts, scattered with broken glass, tiny nails and women's underwear. Scrambling back onto the bed, he tries to brush the insects from his wounds, his body smeared now with blood and vomit and shit. He notices then that his mother lies naked and uncovered beside him, and he wakes screaming.

MS Cotton Nicephorus

MS Cotton Nicephorus: Whisper 13[edit]


Frater Dunacan


S. xv¹ (palaeographical)


(from the text)

"At about the same time I began to be plagued by nightmares. One night I had barely closed my eyes when I was beset by visions of great gods, whom I somehow knew were the builders of the Cyclopean, undersea city. These mighty beasts sang to me, their throats inhuman, unreal, their tongues barnacled and distorted, the very sounds they issued making my brain bleed internally. Terrifying in their power, I felt as helpless in their presence as a baby; a blind, mammalian baby with no voice and no defences.

"In their appearance the gods were neither exactly insectoid nor quite fungal, although they bore elements of both. Although they came close to me, sang in my ears and my mouth, interacted and interfered with me, I could not have told you even to the nearest order of magnitude how large they were. Flat figures that moved woodenly about me, they nevertheless seemed to have more profound aspect than the solid objects that we are used to, so I could not say if they were two-dimensional, or three-, or four-. And they shifted with time, so they were either shedding their skins like snakes, or growing spiky, leprous tumours under their flesh, or both at once. But yet neither, for they changed in far more subtle fashion than either of those things.

"And they sang to me. Or rather they allowed me the privilege of hearing them sing their sacred songs. Songs that I understood at a level deeper than language, a level that I can never express here, nor even remember when I awoke. They sang of the blood-sacrifice spoken of in Etruscan inscriptions; they sang of journeys from the stars and from beneath the crust of the Earth. They sang of the eternal torments that their songs themselves would inflict upon the brains of those not designed to hear their sacred voices.

"I awoke from these dreams bleeding from my ears."

MS Cotton Lascaris: Whisper 14[edit]


Frater Daeghelm


S. xiv¹² (palaeographical)


(extracts from the fragmentary text)

"The stinking demons sang as they sucked on my flesh, their gummy mouths tutting and tickling and tidivating..."

"A man with no remorse, Father Peter brought down the full weight of the riding-crop on the prince's bared skin..."

"It was dark, but patinas of ghostly light swam inside my sizzling eyes..."

(summary to be added)

MS Cotton Murtzuflus: Whisper 15[edit]


Frater Deorwulf


S. xiv²³ (palaeographical)


(to be added)