The waves gently lapped against the small boat. Craig looked up at the darkening sky, the ocean was calm for now, but he knew it was only temporary. Once the ritual truly began a vast storm would engulf the island. Craig huffed as he rowed the boat along with his fellow cultists. While he was the cult leader he believed that no task was too menial everyone did their share and contributed to the cause. He saw ripples in the water, the deep ones, star spawns and all sorts of minions of the Great Ones swam along their boats. They would join in the awakening of the Great One. He looked back and saw the fleet of boats following behind, each one with contributing members of the cult with Gifted swimming along side. Soon they would reach their Lord, soon they would revel in his presences.

They made landfall with the rocks crunching under their boat. The members of the small skiff disembarked and began hauling it up the shore to make room for the rest of the cult. The rocks were slick with seaweed and sea water making progress a challenge. Craig looked back over the water to see the second boat arrive, and the cultists splashed into the water and began making room for the rest of the cult. Craig watched as a blue finned crest broke the surface a few feet from the shore.

Craig watched as the fin drew closer and raised itself out of the water. The creature had deep blue glimmering skin. It had a crested fish head, with almond eyes and short whiskers reminiscent of a catfish. Behind the crest Craig saw thin hair like tendrils dripping with water. It was humanoid in shape with long lanky arms ending in webbed talons. The creatures belly was a softer shade of blue. Its webbed feet slapped onto the rocks and the creature scanned the shore until its eyes locked on Craig. The eyes were a dark firey-blood red orange. Had Craig been a normal person he would probably start to panic at seeing such a creature. But he was no ordinary man, he lead the Cult, and his mind was open and free. 

The creature began to approach him its wet feet slapping against the rocks. Craig watched fascinated as it came up to him. It stood in front of him easily two feet taller than him at an impressive six foot four. Then to his surprise it kneeled, and a gurgling female voice coming from its wide fish mouth said “We have been waiting for you, the one with the key, the one who will awaken our Lord”. Craig smiled and placed a hand gently on her shoulder. Her cool slimy skin sent an electric shiver through his arm. “I-we have come.” he gestured with his other hand to the humans still in their boats. “For our lords time is nigh.” 

As more of the cult made landfall Craig took a step back and waved for the creature before him to rise “Please there’s no need for such formalities, stand, my name is Craig. What can I call you?” as the creature stood it spoke, its voice coming out a bit clearer and less like it was gurgling. “I forget what my name once was, but call me” she hesitated for a moment “Call me Ashel, that is the closest to my new name that can be said with human speech” 

Craig noticed the what were once feminine features, the fish-like appearance was not as strong this close, he could see how this had once been a human but now she was something else, something greater. “Forgive me but what are you? I’ve seen Deep ones before but you are not one of them.” Ashel nodded. “I am not a Deep One I am a Gishal, the deep ones are our cousins so to speak but we are Gifted” Her English was getting clearer but had a rasping reverberation to it. “We are all Servants of the Great One all the same” Craig said as he looked out into the bay as more cultists and creatures of the deep came ashore. 

There were all sorts of beings rising from the waters, some were small, the size of a dog or cat. One was large at least ten feet and a hulking brutish creature. Craig had never seen anything like this. He recognized traits of sea life in all the creatures. Some had features of sharks, squid, crabs, manta rays and he even saw a small creature that just looked like an aquatic cat.  More and more boats came ashore their occupants helping each other and even some of the more humanoid creatures helping the unchanged humans. Craig assumed most, if not all of the humanoid creatures were once human, given a gift to dwell in the deeps or their descendants.
Soon the shore was full of a countless multitude of creatures. Many were of the same species but there were numerous ones that were individuals in their own right that seemed to not have another creature with the same shape or form to indicate being related at all.  Craig stood next to Ashel and watched as the vast number of cultist quieted down. “We gather now to awaken our lord!” Craig yelled out to the masses. Craig reached into his robe pocket and pulled out what appeared to be a sort of box. 

Craig held the object in the air, it had a metallic look but was a deep sea green. It almost appeared as a box but didn’t seem to conform to the shape of a box, its angles were wrong, appearing to have too many sides, not enough sides and no sides at all. To any sane person viewing such an object would make them sick and slowly eat away at their sanity, and it had. The not-a-box-box had driven an untold number of people and animals insane over countless millennia. Craig held the box high for all to see “With this we shall enter R’lyeh!” A gasp came from his right “The Box of Sarron!” Ashel stared in amazement at the object. 

The Box was the size of a large fruit and was covered in glyphs, runes and images. Craig began to slide and rotate pieces of the Box, it had reminded him of the children’s brain teaser toys that when done correctly would open up or have matching colors on an entire side. After a few minutes the Box made a clicking noise and the angle Craig was looking at began to shimmer. 
“This way! It has revealed the land and at its center, the location to our Lord!” Craig called out to the gathered worshipers. Craig began walking further inland over slippery rocks and up into the treacherous looking land. Behind him he heard Ashels webbed feet slapping onto the rocks following him, then he heard hundreds of other feet as a procession began making their way up the beach.

The wind howled through the massive rocky land, creating a whistling sound, Craig was thankful to have his heavy robe to shield him and his human companions against the wind, but as he held the Box up to guide him he felt a splash as the raid began to fall. He sighed hoping the raid would stay light for as long as possible. He didn’t want his robes to soak up a bunch of rain and become water logged. Soon the box-map, led them to a forked path, the left path lead to tunnel that was half filled with water, the right led up into a craggy hill. Craig had stopped and looked from one path to anther.

“Which way do we take?” Ashel asked, coming up beside him,  next to her Craig spotted a large creature with a snake like lower body but large muscular torso with bulging arms, it had an eels head and fins sprouting off of its body. Craig blinked for a second and looked down at the Box. After studying the object for a moment Craig looked up at Ashel “Both paths lead to entrance to R’lyeh from the looks of it. I think we can take whichever path is easiest to traverse.” Ashel nodded and turned to the creature next to her and spoke in a hissing gurgle. The creature nodded its big head and barked out in a low growl 

“I have instructed those capable to take the right path. While we’ve encountered nothing dangerous yet its possible there are dangers we have not yet seen” Ashel said. “I had not thought of that, I assumed anything within the area of the city would be an ally to us and our Lord” Craig responded with a frown. “Alright, I recommend those of us without the Gift of the Deep take the right path up into the crags, but you’re free to choose whichever path you want. Those with the Gift will divide between the two paths and we will all make our way to the same location. I have been informed there could be enemies of the Lord here so keep a watchful eye out.” Craig called out to those within ear shot. “Tell those behind you and let us continue!” With that Craig began walking the right path followed by Ashel and the large snake like creature. 

The rain and wind soon began to increase in intensity, Craigs robes began to get very heavy with the added weight of the rain. As the procession trudged, hopped and slithered along Craig began to feel uneasy, like he was being watched. A strong arm suddenly grabbed Craig and yanked him backwards, with a yelp Craig fell against a strong muscled body without a moment to spare as a large pincer at least six feet long crashed down in the spot he had just been. From the rock face a large insect like creature with a rain slicked obsidian black shell broke away. Craig couldn’t tell how large it was but it was easily over fifteen feet tall. 
“Get back! Let the Gifted ones handle this!” Ashel grunted as she pulled him away. Craig watched as a large four legged creature with a shark like head, large fish finned back, long cat like claws and a tail with a stinger charged forward followed by multiple bulky snake eel beings and various other creatures leapt between Craig and the towering insect. 

With a roar the large insect slapped away the shark headed creature against the wall. Craig hadn’t noticed it before but many of the Gifted Ones had weapons, ranging from tridents, to swords and clubs. Howls of pain escaped from the insect as a trident was pierced a joint in its pincer arm. Its carapace was thick and most of the sharp weapons did little to harm the creature if it they weren’t directed into the soft vulnerable places. A Gishel ran forward and swung a large spiked mace at the creatures legs and Craig heard a crack and the insect howled in pain. 

Green blood began to ooze from the shattered carapace, in retaliation the insect snapped at the Gishel and crushed its head. The Gifted ones quickly swarmed around the giant insect, hacking and slashing. Craig could hear its carapace covered body beginning to crack. He heard it howl in pain under the onslaught unfolding upon it. The insect reared back and sprayed a jet of thick green slime onto the attackers directly in front of it.

Craig heard the bubbling of flesh as the Gifted ones howled in pain, it had sprayed them with some sort of acid and it began tearing into them with mad vigor. Craig heard a roar and felt the ground tremble as a hulking behemoth barreled into the insect. The massive behemoth had a large snake like head with a crested fin running along its spine, its dark blue scales shimmered in the rain. It wasn’t as tall as the insect but it had large brute muscles under its scales, its fore limbs were massive and ended in thick clawed fingers. It swung at the insect, knocking its head to the side and barreled it over. The snake head began pummeling the insect spraying thick green ooze with each crack of its carapace. 

The snake head grabbed one of the insects back legs and ripped it off tossing it to the side. The insect howled in pain and tried to scramble onto its remaining limbs. The hulking snake head raised both of its fist above its head and slammed down onto the insects back with the sound of shattering stone. The insect howled and the snake head grabbed it by the head and began to squeeze. With a bone jarring roar the snake head obliterated the insects head. The insects body shuddered and fell to the ground twitching. 

Craig watched in fascination, as the hulking creature poked at the dead insect, as if expecting it to start fighting again. Craig had never seen anything like he had just witnessed before.  He felt a strong hand gently shaking his shoulder. He looked up at Ashel, and wiped the rain from his face “Th-thank you, you saved my life!” Craigs breathing was ragged, the adrenaline was still flooding his system from the near death experience. “Wait here, calm down, relax” Ashel stood and trotted over to the Gifted ones that had fought against the insect. Craig stayed on the ground his back pressed against the rocks. He heard Ashel talking in their language and inspecting the survivors. “Craig are you alright?” he heard a voice call out and heard the wet footsteps as one of his priest came running up to him. The dark skinned man crouched down next to him and gently braced a hand against his shoulder. “I’m fine thanks to the Gifted ones. James, are any of the Ungifted injured?”  James nodded. “Nothing serious  just a few scrapes and bruises from flying debris.”  Craig noded and leaned his head back against the rock trying to slow his breathing. 
Ashel came back over to Craig and James “We have suffered a few losses, and many more injuries but not as many as I had fear with facing one of the Crithak.” Craig had finally gotten his breathing to slow. “That thing nearly killed me, please, thank the Gifted for defending us.” Craig said as he brought himself to his feet. Craig had somehow managed to keep a hold of the Box through out the commotion and examined it. The glow was begging to dim, soon they would meet up with the group that had split from them. 

Craig gave a quick speech thanking the Gifted that had sacrificed themselves and fought bravely for their lord. Ashel repeated the speech in the Gifted Ones language which he was thankful for. After expressing his gratitude and letting everyone know the deaths and injuries would not be in vain they continued their pilgrimage. The rain became more intense the deeper inland they trekked, slowing the Ungifted down as it soaked into their heavy cult robes. 

The path wound up and down, through tunnels which he wasn’t sure the Gifted could squeeze through. Craig continued to scan the rock walls looking for another of the Crithak or anything that might be out of place. But between the rain and howling wind it was impossible for him to tell. The Tunnel soon began to widen, Craig noticed the rain never seemed to pool anywhere. He suspected there were small tunnels the water was running into that drained somewhere. The procession came to a stop when in front of them was a smooth flat wall. 

“Search the wall for any irregularities!” Craig called out. He heard Ashel call something out, presumably the same thing. As Gifted and Ungifted alike began spreading out searching high and low along the wall. Craig was scanning every inch within his line of sight and running his hands along the surface. He couldn’t believe how smooth the rock was. It was smoother than glass. It was so smooth the rain water didn’t even bead up on its surface. They had been searching the wall for nearly twenty minutes hen he heard “Here! Over here!” Craigs head whipped to his left as he saw an Ungifted pointing to the spot she was at. Craig ran over his soggy shoes squelching with every step. He came to a halt and saw nothing. He frowned at the section of wall she was pointing at “I don’t see anything!” he called out over the rain and wind. 

A small Gifted, no taller than four feet was also pointing at the wall. Craig was soon joined by Ashel as they examined the wall. Ashel ran her hand over the rock and her eyes went wide “It is here!” she yelled with excitement. Craig reached out and placed his palm against the wall. His eyes also went wide, there was something there, an imperfection in the wall. He raised the Box up and placed it against the wall. It was roughly the same size but wasn’t quite right. He quickly began to shift the pieces of box, until he felt a click. And the side he was looking at began to glow. 
“The others have arrived!” Ashel called out to him, Craig looked back and saw the second contingent of the cult making their way through the rain. They waited patiently as the two groups became one gain. “Bishop Craig!” He heard a voice call out. Craig spotted a waving figure and noticed it was one of younger members, Dorthy was her name. She came running up and gave a slight bow. “Sorry were late, we were attacked by a Crithak, I think is what they called it. A giant blue insect, we lost a quarter of our number before we were able to bring it down .” Craig Nodded solemnly, we will not let their sacrifices be in vain, for we are here!” He pointed at the wall. Craig stepped up to the wall, then turned to face the Cult. “For untold millennia our Lord has been waiting for this day. We all heard His Call, and we have answered. All who have joined our cause has sacrificed much, and many have gained more!” Craig raised the Box into the air, he noticed the rain and wind had stopped, as if even the elements knew it was time. Craig placed the glowing side of the box against the imperfection in the wall.

Where the Box had touched the wall a ripple moved out spreading far and wide. Then a second blue ripple, then a third green ripple. The ripples bounced back into itself causing the wall to move and  fall into itself. With each bounce of the ripple more and more of the wall faded away. The box clattered to the stone. Before the cult was a stone walkway leading into a massive hole that was at least two hundred feet wide. In the center of the hole was a spire dozens of feet across spiraling downward into the depths. The sides of the hole had great water falls, which could have been ocean or rain water.

Craig collected the box back into his hand and began walking slowly into the cavern. A green glow emitted from the bottom of the shaft. The spiral stair case was cut from stone and went hundreds of feet down. With a wide smile Craig began the journey downward. The stone steps were slick with dew, yet not a single Gifted or Ungifted lost their footing. The universe knew it was time, their Lord would awaken and be set free from his slumber. 

When they reached the bottom of the spiral stair case Craig noticed the water crashing down around him. The green light emitting from a pool and yet the sound of water crashing should be deafening but it was queit. Craig approached the edge of the pool the surface of the water was more like a field of energy. There was another long stone walk way going down and up at the same time. Perception was wrong here, like the box he held in his hand. All around him he saw a city of stone with angles and corners that should not be. At the far end of the path was a door. The pilgrimage was at an end all Craig had to do was unlock that door and their Lord would be free. 

Craig led the procession along the path. R’lyeh was incomprehensible to his human mind, he didn’t need to understand it though he just need to fulfill his duty. When Craig reached the door it loomed before him, and yet he looked at it as if it were any normal sized door. Craig lifted the box and began to slide pieces and sides around, twisting, pulling and pushing against the box. With a final click the box began to glow from all sides. It began to float into the air and rapidly spin its sides spinning outward opening. With a loud whirring and intense green flash the box snapped back together. A single piece glowing a color Craig did not have a name for, a color he had never seen. Tears began to pour down his face as the box gently fell into his out stretched palms. Craig lifted the box and placed it against the door. It slid into the key hole. Craig didn’t question where the hole had come from. 

A split formed in the door light following pathways along to imperceptible edges and corners. A loud hiss escaped from the splitting doors and mist began to snake out. Craig looked up into Door way and saw massive glowing eyes and in those eyes Craig saw nothing, and everything, Cthulhu had awoken. 

Answering the Call by Vrastal.