Reared by the last twisted branches of a denuded family tree, the heir was regaled by maiden aunts and crippled great uncles on tales of his dynasty’s former glory, now brought to ruin. All of these dry and dreadful personages put the entirety of their hopes for the family’s future on the heir and his cousin, hoping that the last ember of their once-great house would burst forth into guttering flame.

Instead, the heir grew up devouring the desiccated and dusty remains of the ancestral library and longing for the life of genteel comfort that graced the gentlemen of learning and literature in his books. So when the last of his great-aunts died, he used his legacy to take degrees in arts and humane letters at Oxbridge, seeking only to live a comfortable life as a learned gentleman. But those old tales, wheezed by firelight, and the dying light of rememberance in his family’s old eyes…they had more of an influence on the heir than he might otherwise have liked.

An idea took hold, a buzzing insect of the mind that refused to stop its chittering. The family legacy could still be salvaged. Their reputation could be pried loose from the inky tentacles of madness that had taken hold of its very name. And so the heir resolved to reclaim his birthright, little suspecting the true nightmare that awaited.

Educated for a life of indolence and foppery, he was ill-equipped for adventure in both mind and body—for the terrors of the mind and of the flesh care little for human letters. Theirs are the inhumane letters, signals carved in blood upon skin, bone, and sepulchral crypt wall. Nevertheless, fortified with both guilt and wine, the heir resolved to undertake the burden of this arduous quest.

Will he rise to the occasion, a phoenix from his family’s ashes? Or will he find inspiration only at the bottom of a bottle, retiring to a life of comfort and cats? Only time will tell.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!