At the end of the 19th century, an American art student went to Paris, read a play, and lost his grip on reality.
The play was called The King in Yellow.
Having read it, head reeling from absinthe, bedeviled by unseen adversaries, he realized that the alien world it described, Carcosa, had sunk its traces throughout the City of Lights.
As he explored Paris in search of its decadent influence, he created a scrapbook. A guide for himself, and for those who would come after him.
Yoked together from existing travelogues, newspapers, and the disquieting ephemera of the occult tradition, it laid out a skewed portrait of a haunted city:
Art student life, from hazing rituals to fabulous bacchanals at the Moulin Rouge
Hangouts and nightspots, from everyday beaneries to ghoulish cabarets
Neighborhoods and attractions, with useful maps
Sources of knowledge, from museums to institutes of technology
Operations of the justice system, from the city's police to its prisons
Rites of death, from funeral fees to the notorious, bone-stacked catacombs
Details of everyday life, including currency, communications, and essential phrases
A timeline of recent historical events
In the margins appear the increasingly fervid scrawls of the anonymous compiler. Through them determined investigators of the Yellow Sign mystery will learn:
Who to seek aid from
Where madness lurks
And to never waver in their distrust of clowns
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