The monastery of the Monks of Tian Shan sat high in the mountains, far beneath the jets flying above—between earth and heaven.
The monks had roused themselves from their silent routines, and now spent their days in preparation for the coming of Cthulu.
They knew the Time of Devouring was very nigh. They felt the rumblings as the Old One stirred in Its sleep in the City of R’lyeh.
They had seen the omens, the signs and portents, and the fulfillment of Prophesy. But there also were things they did not understand.
One day the novice who swept the lintel of the main entrance found a being asleep there. It was like an animal, and yet not an animal.
The being was wounded in body and in spirit, and the novice brought it inside.
The Head Priest was called to see the creature, and confirmed it was not part of any known prophesy.
He told the novice to give it food and water, while he meditated on what it meant. After three days, he announced his decision.
“We are the devotees of the Old One, and we have waited millennia for Its return. We have preserved the knowledge and Prophesy of It.
“All our knowing comes from Cthulu, but it is not the way of Cthulu to tell us everything. There are things we were not meant to know.
“As the Devouring gets closer, we will see many things we do not understand. This is to be expected. When this happens, we will accept it.
“We must accept this creature as a Messenger of the Devouring; we must care for it until it recovers, and then learn from it.”
All the monks bowed in assent. The novice who had found the creature took it to the cell reserved for guests and made it comfortable.
In the days that followed, the creature remained in its cell, quietly meditating, as the monks’ activity became more frantic.
For as long as any of them could remember, life in the monastery had gone on unchanged, with incense and chanting, meditation and ritual.
The monks knew the monastery to be the repository of the knowledge of Great Cthulu, of the Prophesies, and of the Great Devouring to come.
Each monk had considered himself to be a part of the monastery in the same way that each individual bee is a part of the hive.
Each had expected to live, to keep the knowledge of Cthulu, to die, and to be replaced by another in an unbroken line until the end of time.
Almost none of them had considered the possibility that THEY might be the ones to witness time’s ending.
At first they had been ecstatic at the realization that they were among the chosen. But then they began to think about what this would mean.
Their chanting began to have an anxious edge as, more and more, the Elder God sent them his dreams of total destruction of their world.