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Literature / Nights In Lonesome Arkham

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Nights in Lonesome Arkham is a supernatural-horror web novel by Lightysnake, the sequel to Girls on Film, and the second entry in The Kindness of Devils. It can be read here.

A year-and-a-half after the events of Girls on Film, Hardestadt Delac and Erin Hasegawa have become a couple now joined by the vampiric Emma West. The return of Hardestadt's father — Lucifer himself — forces Hardestadt to confront a dark figure from his past, who has returned with terrifying ambitions and a grudge that began thousands of years ago. Forced to confront his past, Hardestadt, Erin and Emma are left to ally with Hardestadt's family and confront horrors that defy human comprehension. Erin is forced to confront her own mortality in the worst ways as all of them are brought to the edge of reality and sanity against an ancient, timeless evil that will stop at nothing to gain what it craves.


The work contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Above Good and Evil: Lovecraft's typical deities such as Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth and Azathoth are beings well above human comprehension.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Lucifer himself is the Devil, but he's pleasant, polite, honest, and genuinely loves his family.
    • Nodens, a Wild Card who lives for the thrill of the hunt, whether that be eldritch horrors or people if they're worth the challenge. For all that, he's friendly, expresses admiration for those he deems worthy, treats his prey "fairly" and keeps his word.
  • Almighty Idiot: Azathoth, the Blind Idiot God, the Mindless Sultan, is the most powerful being in the setting besides God, and utterly mindless.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Hardestadt's mother was locked away in a beautiful prison called The Garden by her father, left to languish there for eons with no company or friendship.
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    • Nyarlathotep's victims for his 'trophies' are taken into horrific prisons, locked in incredible torment for all time as Nyarlathotep happily gloats over them.
    • This is a specialty of Nyarlathotep's. At one point he turns a Deep One guard to stone but let him keeps his mind, all for the crime of doing his job. Lucifer eventually comes across said guard and mercy kills him.
  • And This Is for...: Emma seems to have picked it up from Hardestadt, repeating the names of her friends at Jacobs as she beats and kills him.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Hardestadt likes playing this role to Azmodan, teasing like him they're young teenagers.
  • The Archmage: The archmage of Ulthar is the city's guardian and a powerful magic user. She's also the former queen of hell.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Lucifer is the most powerful Devil and their clear leader. Aleviel was the leader of the second great rebellion and the most powerful being in Creation. On a lesser note? Cornelia is the king of the cats of Ulthar and their strongest warrior. Even if she's an adorable little kitty.
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  • Back from the Dead: Nyarlathotep's choice of a servant to resurrect is Girls on Film villain Rich Jacobs, solely to torment his former victims and Hardestadt. He also suggests bringing back Hargrove, but Jacobs rejects this suggestion.
  • Badass Adorable: The cats of Ulthar are adorable cats who can tear apart evil sorcerers without issue. Erin thinks they're the cutest little killing machines she's ever seen.
  • Bad Boss: Nyarlathotep frequently belittles Jacobs, uses his Deep One servants as cannon-fodder and simply devours the souls of all his worshipers in the land of Leng to use them to resist Hardestadt and the others.
  • Badass Boast: Hardestadt gets a few epic ones to Nyarlathotep.
    Hardestadt:“The one you’ve been obsessing over or the last few thousand years. The one who beat you in Thinis, in Arkham. The one you’ve never managed to break. The one who’s beating you right now. Your weakness? Is me.
  • Badass Family: Hardestadt's father is the super powerful Lucifer, his uncle is an archangel, his mother is a renowned warrior angel and his brother is one of the most powerful demon lords there is. He also implies many of his siblings are powerful demons as well.
  • Berserk Button: Saying Nyarlathotep's name if he hasn't deemed you worthy will annoy him to the level of doing you serious harm. For that matter, so will bringing up the fact he was never given a name by the Outer Gods, which drives him to berserk fury.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Hardestadt, and to a lesser extent Azmodan, are very pleasant. Cross them or hurt their loved ones, you burn.
  • Big Bad: Nyarlathotep himself serves as this, appropriately enough for a Lovecraft-centric story.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Hardestadt's eldest brother, the demon Azmodan feels guilty for not saving him from Rich Jacobs in the previous story and largely joins the crew to help defend his brother.
  • Big Good: Surprisingly enough, Lucifer is the most powerful of the good guys and the one to direct them.
  • Blood Knight: Hilariously, the cats of Ulthar love fighting and have to restrain themselves from raiding the zoogs' forest for fun after killing a group of Leng pirates. They have a peace treaty with the zoogs.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Erin's reaction to the walking, talking cats of Ulthar is to constantly remind herself not to pet the widdle kitties.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: So many. Rich Jacobs for one gets stabbed in the groin, has his eyes impaled and is then fed screaming to Cthulhu.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Hardestadt's reunion with an empowered Jacobs is this despite Jacobs being empowered. Stadt interrupts his attack, grabs him and beats his skull against the wall for a short time.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: He was already evil before, but Nyarlathotep was given brief hope for a better existence by Aleviel and her dream. Seeing her, in his eyes, 'betray' it for Hardestadt and sacrifice her life for him made him utterly snap and dedicate himself to destroying the world she loved.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Lucifer tends to cloak himself in shadow and utilize darkness alongside flame, but he and by extent the entire demon race, aren't evil or malicious. The same goes to the sinister ghouls in the Dreamlands who end up being quite friendly.
  • Darker and Edgier: While Girls on Film wasn't sunshine and rainbows (what with the story involving snuff films and torture), Arkham has a more powerful, evil villain, the stakes are higher, we get more insight into Hardestadt and Lucifer's tragic backstories, there's more bloody death and violence, comatose loved ones, eldritch gods hellbent on destroying mankind, and the theme of enjoying one's life while they still can before their death.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Both Azmodan and Hardestadt have a dry wit, which they inherited from their father. When Dagon and Hydra rant how their children will rise up to overrun all the land, Lucifer just quietly snarks "any day now, I'm sure."
    • Erin herself has learned this quite well, even talking dry smack to Yog-Sothoth at times.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Losing Aleviel has led to Hardestadt to putting her on a pedestal he can never match, to rather unhealthy levels. He eventually accepts his mother wasn't perfect and the dream she gave him isn't truly possible to fulfill, though he still obviously loves her deeply.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: The nobility of Hell are the ruling Houses, above them are the rulers of each Circle of Hell, and above them is the ruling family. The devils, Satan and his followers, were accepted as the new leaders of Hell after the Fall.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Rich Jacobs, Big Bad of the previous story, is resurrected as Nyarly's enforcer here.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Hardestadt and Lucifer crossed it after losing Hardestadt's mother Aleviel, utterly devastates both and makes them each abandon Hell.
    • Nyarlathotep crossed it when Aleviel fell, making him believe the world was worthless after all.
  • Determinator: Hardestadt and Erin refuse to ever give up, no matter what, fight through incredible pain, fear and devastation.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Erin's response to Nyarlathotep's Deal with the Devil offer to her? "I'm saying go fuck yourself." After he threatens to have her tortured unto the end of time and ask her if her defiance was worth it after millions of years, she says she'd just go tell him to fuck himself again. On the dream-quest, she also snarks off a lot at Yog-Sothoth when he's in her head as well.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Hardestadt quite literally decks Nyarlathotep in the face during their final showdown. Also, midway through the story, Hardestadt, Azmodan, Emma and Dani confront and even defeat the Great Old One Ithaqua.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Oh, did you interrupt Nyarlathotep from entering your city, Mr. Deep One Guard? He'll just freeze you as living coral for the rest of all time. Nyarlathotep seems to have a real habit for answering very minor slights with monstrous punishments and horrific pain.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Hardestadt rejects his birth name of 'Daemon' as it was given to him by his father (who he is still heavily on the rocks with)
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Nyarlathotep reacts to Aleviel's pity with raw hatred.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: For Nyarlathotep, gaining the power to create a universe of never-ending torment and misery is its own reward. That and spite towards Aleviel for offering forgiveness.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For all the terrible, tragic crap that Hardestadt and co. had to go through, their journey ends with Nyarlathotep killed, and Erin waking up from her previously thought to be permanent coma.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Nyarlathotep's true form is a massive of endless black tentacles and shadows. The rest of the Mythos deities, especially Azathoth, are hardly any prettier.
  • Enemy Mine: Lucifer and his estranged twin brother Michael team up to rescue Heaven and Hell from Nyarlathotep at the story's end.
  • The Epic: Certainly the longest story in the series, reaching over 220k words, just shy of Order of the Phoenix in terms of length.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Dagon and Hydra are two of the few Lovecraftian deities who are actually capable of love, loving each other and their children. After Nyarlathotep kills their children and they come across Lucifer among the bodies, they attack him out of blind rage.
    • Rich Jacobs as usual averts this with his father, letting him rot in hell. Nyarlathotep admires his lack of scruples.
  • Evil Is Petty: Nyarlathotep is willing to consume all creation to spit on the grave of an angel who he feels betrayed a dream he wanted to see fulfilled.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Azmodan and Emma form a close friendship over the course of the story due to fighting together. Erin and Queen Karai Gehenna also spend time in the Dreamlands together and form an incredibly close-knit bond as well.
  • Foil: Both Nyarlathotep and Hastur were offered forgiveness and freedom from their purposes, Hastur accepted this offer but Nyarlathotep rejected and became even worse.
  • Freudian Excuse: Nyarlathotep was created by Azathoth to be nothing more than a means of finding Azathoth more food. He wasn't rewarded for his efforts, validated by his father, or even given a name. To say that this affected Nyarlathotep's self-worth would be an understatement.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Emma has adjusted to vampire life as a pleasant defender of innocent people.
  • Genre Shift: While the previous story was more of a supernatural noir, this one is more of a Cosmic Horror Story mixed with adventure/drama.
  • A God Am I: Nyarlathotep wants to consume his father, Azathoth, and all the other Out Gods, becoming the new supreme deity in creation.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Stadt is a genuinely heroic person, but he sheds no tears for terrible people getting what they deserve, such as Nyarlathotep feeding the men who helped him butcher a town to Ithaqua, and he's more than happy to send them to hell himself if he gets the chance.
  • Good Parents: Erin's parents are seen in flashbacks and are very kind, loving people. For that matter, Lucifer himself is a loving, if distant father. Hardestadt's mother Aleviel also deeply loved her son to the point she sacrificed her life for him.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Erin and Hardestadt have a very fulfilling sex life. For that matter, so do Emma West and her girlfriend Dani Cortez.
  • The Good Queen: Karai, queen of hell, is a beautiful demon woman who loves her people and gave her all for them.
  • Groin Attack: Emma plants her knife right between Jacobs' legs.
  • Grim Up North: Part of the quest takes the team to Ontario in winter, near the prison of the Great Old One Ithaqua.
  • Have You Seen My God?: God has apparently up and abandoned Creation, leaving his most beloved angelic daughter to suffer for eons alone in the Garden, leaving everyone without direction and guidance, leading to horrible things. The truth is far, far more complex.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Prior to the story, Hastur, the King in Yellow, was like Nyarlathotep, a being created for the purpose of feeding the Outer Gods. Unlike Nyarlathotep, when offered the chance for redemption, he took it and has been good ever since.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Hardestadt's mother, the angel Aleviel, sacrificed herself for him ten thousand years ago. He isn't over it.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: Nyarlathotep's real masterplan isn't to let Azathoth in to devour this world, it's to devour his father and all the other Outer Gods, being the new supreme being of creation.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Azazthoth's creation of Nyarlathotep nearly backfires when the latter attempts to devour the former.
  • Horror Hunger: Ithqua really, really wants a lot of flesh and blood after being deprived for so long.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Lampshaded when Karai is listing some of the reasons why humans are looked down on by other races.
    Karai: I will not deny there that there was a time when I held prejudices against humans. Many demons and angels do not think your race is worthy of our notice. That you are short-lived, weak creatures. No offense.
    Erin: Oh, none taken, but, uh, can we skip the Humans Are Flawed acknowledgment? Trust me, we get it enough.
  • Humans Are Special: Humans, or 'Those Between' are described as most able to change their natures and rewrite what ven Outer Gods believe impossible. Even God says it to Yog-Sothoth at the end.
  • In the Hood: Hastur wears a sweeping yellow hood totally obscuring his face from view.
  • Ironic Echo: Nyarlathotep loves to bring up his deliverance of "the void's wild vengeance" to "the presumptuous". Aleviel's shade that may or may not only exist in his head coldly returns the words to him when he dies.
  • It's All About Me: Nyarlathotep cares not one whit for the feelings of others.
  • Jerkass Gods: As a Lovecraft deity, it should come as no surprise that Yog-Sothoth is a being Above Good and Evil apathetic to human life, but there are times where he just seems needlessly cruel to Erin for no apparent reason.
  • Kill It with Fire: Hardestadt's family seems to love fire as a weapon, even extending to his uncle, Archangel Michael. Nyarlathotep even lampshades it.
    Nyarlathotep: Sweet Shub-Niggurath, what is with this family and fire!?
  • Killer Rabbit: The cats of Ulthar tend to be adorable. They are also hardened warriors who can massacre a troupe of Leng pirates without a scar among them. Erin even refers to them as the most adorable killing machines ever.
  • Lack of Empathy:
    • Nyarlthotep is completely unconcerned with the pain of other beings, even enjoying it.
    • Yog-Sothoth is rather... unconcerned about Erin's despair over what his presence is doing to her mind, coldly informing her it is 'of no concern' if she ends up a burnt out shell.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Emma and Dani, but only in the most literal sense, as they're in a healthy, loving relationship and completely avoid the Unfortunate Implications associated with this trope.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Hardestadt moves fast and hits hard. Azmodan and Karai, as powerful demons move exceptionally fast and can effortlessly kill a grown man with a light backhand.
  • Mama Bear: Mother Hydra loves her Deep Ones and woe betide anyone who harms them. Aleviel was also fiercely protective over Hardestadt.
  • Master Swordsman: Hardestadt is probably the best swordsman alive on earth.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Erin becomes painfully aware of her own mortality and the fact Hardestadt will outlive her and never age, but ultimately chooses to remain with him.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • Hardestadt was forced to cut the throat of his friend, Pharaoh Semerkhet, destroying Thinis and killing everyone within, to save the world from Nyarlathotep. At that point everyone had been tortured so bad they would welcome the embrace of death.
    • Lucifer delivers one to the Deep One Nyarlathotep froze into living coral.
  • Mood Whiplash: Erin's snarking at Yog-Sothoth in her head is often humorous, until she reminds herself that she dosn't have much longer with Hardestadt due to her impending death. Yog-Sothoth's answer is to coldly confirm it, snapping things right back to somber.
  • Moral Myopia: Jacobs is enraged Hardestadt threw him screaming to his own ghouls and finds a way to blame Emma for it. The fact he was a torturer and snuff-film maker who fed innocent people to said ghouls doesn't quite seem to matter to him.
  • My Greatest Failure: Hardestdt is haunted by his failure to save his mother long ago, as well s the destruction of Thinis at his own hand.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: The ghouls in the Dreamlands all love horror, blood and gore.
  • Noble Demon: Lucifer himself is still, well, the Devil, but he's pleasant and honorable. Hardestadt's eldest brother Azmodan is a lord of hell, but extremely protective of his brother, reasonable and even bonds well with Emma during the course of their mission.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Emma gets this to Jacobs, overcoming her fear of him and recognizing how much stronger she's become since she was his prisoner.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Nyarlathotep realizes Hardestdt's ring protects him from Azathoth while he himself has no such defense and the angel power he's ingested makes him very, very appetizing indeed, his response is a quiet "Oh, no." with a look of terror.
  • Official Couple: Hardestadt and Erin are solid. Emma and Dani are together as well.
  • Offing the Offspring: Nyarlathotep ends up killed by his father, Azathoth, who's too mindless and hungry to notice or care he's eating his son.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Nyarlathotep wants to consume everything, annihilate the vast majority and keep the rest to torment for entertainment.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Demons, or 'Those Below,' are described as being inhumanly beautiful and naturally inclined to darkness and unrestrained passion, without hiding feelings such as lust. In morality, they believe themselves superior to humans or vampires but rarely bother with earth and are no more or less likely to be evil than humans.
  • Papa Wolf: Father Dagon loves his children, the Deep Ones and will erupt at any who harm them. Lucifer also reacts with utter Tranquil Fury when Nyarlathotep mocks Hardestadt.
  • Parental Neglect: Given that Azathoth is known as the "blind, idiot god" it should come as no surprise that he's also a deadbeat dad who doesn't give a shit about Nyarlathotep.
  • Pregnant Badass: The first time Nyarlathotep meets Aleviel? she effortlessly tears apart eldritch horrors, makes Nyarlathotep feel fear for the first time in an existence that spans strange aeons...and then reveals she's pregnant with Hardestadt at the time.
  • The Quest: Part 3 of the story? The Dream Quest Of Erin Hasegawa as she journeys into the Dreamlands to find the Necronomicon and Shining Trapezohedron in Nyarlathotep's castle.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Hardestadt's true age is given as at least ten thousand. His eldest brother and father are also far, far older despite all of them looking like they're in their late 20s or their 30s.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • Like father, like son; Lucifer's eyes turn red when he's enraged or gearing up for something devastating, much like Hardestadt. Azmodan's eyes are also naturally red and he can be quite dangerous.
    • Ithaqua's eyes are described as burning red and it is very, very hungry and malicious.
  • Redemption Rejection: In the backstory, Aleviel offered Nyarlathotep a chance at atoning for his numerous atrocities by joining the world she wished to create. When Nyarlathotep interprets Aleviel as giving up on the world he wanted to be part of, he decides to create a world of pain and suffering that's the opposite of her dream to spite her.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Hardestadt and Erin have officially become a couple since Girls on Film, as have Emma and previous minor character Dani.
  • Satan is Good: Good is perhaps a stretch as Lucifer here was still at the forefront of a divine war to overthrow Heaven that cost the lives of thousands, but in the present day, Lucifer's mellowed out to an aloof but well-meaning man completely unaffiliated with all the imagined tortures of Hell, who sincerely cares for humanity as well as his own son. A part of the contrast between him and Nyarlathotep is outlined in their very first meeting, with Nyarlathotep threatening to make a chef boil his own hand over and Lucifer preventing Nyarlathotep from doing so, stating "nobody in the Eastern seaboard makes bacon quite so well."
  • Say My Name:
    • Nyarlathotep's very last word is a fruitless shriek of Aleviel's name as the latter tauntingly looks down on him as Nyarlathotep earns "the vengeance of the void" at the maw of Azathoth itself.
    • Nyarlathotep also screams this word for word to Hardestadt when he reveals himself to him, deeming Hardestadt one of the only ones worthy to say his name
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: All the Great Old Ones were locked up in pocket dimensions, still accessible to a degree on earth. Blood sacrifice can unseal them — Ithaqua is unleashed in the first half of the story, and Nyarlathotep later nearly summons all of them.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Nyarlathotep plans on killing his father along with the rest of the Outer Gods, though it's somewhat understandable given Azathoth isn't father-of-the-year material, being a mindless abomination that created his "son" to deliver realities for him to devour.
  • Shoot the Dog: Hardestadt slashed the throat of Pharaoh Semerkhet back in Thinis to stop Nyarlathotep from summoning Azathoth, even if it killed everyone in the city as well.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At the very end of the novel, Lucifer commends his son on defeating Nyarlathotep and tells him the stories of his valiant actions will echo across countless other realities, from "Heaven and Hell, to Carcosa, to the City of Never itself."
    • One of the ghouls is named Dees after the Stephen King short story and even repeats a line of dialogue from the movie.
    • Another ghoul is named Pickman, after the Lovecraft story Pickman's Model, which also involved the main character turning into a ghoul.
    • Erin cites The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas at Nyarlathotep at one point.
    • Hastur, dressed all in yellow comments he wears no mask at one point.
    • Nyarlathotep's boasts of delivering "the void's wild vengeance" to "the presumptuous," is similar to Father's statement that the Gate of Truth gives "despair to the conceited."
  • The Starscream: Nyarlathotep's true plan is to devour the Outer Gods and gain their power.
  • Supreme Chef: Hardestadt is still an amazing cook. One of Erin's last requests is to enjoy a meal he made one last time. Then she discovers Yog-Sothoth has burned away her sense of taste...
  • Take That!: Lovecraft is referred to as a racist, misanthropic asshole on a few occasions
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Kitab al Azif, or Necronomicon is a repository of Yog-Sothoth's knowledge on the Outer Gods and Old Ones with many, many forbidden rituals. Unfortunately, writing it is very hazardous to the writer's health.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Emma has gone from a victim to Hardestadt's partner in the field, taking on Supernatural monsters like an expert. Erin likewise steels herself in the face of the worst monsters and manages to show she's every bit as badass as those around her.
  • Tranquil Fury: A family trait among Lucifer and his kids seems to be them remaining shockingly calm when they're well and truly enraged.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Nyarlathotep suffers a truly epic one at the end when he realizes he is about to finally die, screaming and cursing all the while.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: It's implied Nyarlathotep once craved the approval of Azathoth for all his work on behalf of the Outer Gods- approval Azathoth is not capable of expressing or even acknowledging.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The revelation Hardestadt's original sword is alive makes him throwing it away after rejecting Lucifer a bit of a dick move that he's called out on.
  • World's Strongest Man: Aleviel is the most powerful being in Creation short of God himself, full stop. Literally the only reason she didn't end the war with heaven single-handedly? she couldn't bring herself to kill so many of her own people at once and faltered at key moments, but in sheer power it becomes clear she is within a class of her own that Nyarlathotep at his best and Lucifer are far behind.
  • Worthy Opponent: Nyarlathotep's reaction to being thwarted by Hardestadt in Thinis, Egypt thousands of years ago? Was to scream 'at last' and relish in having found a worthy foe after so long.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Nyarlathotep gleefully forced everyone in Thinis to murder every child in the city. He also has hundreds, if not thousands, of people killed for rituals, children included.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Emma plays at being much more injured than she is to lure Jacobs close enough to rip a chunk of his face out.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Nyarlathotep feeds the minions who helped him butcher a town to the Ithaqua because he didn't need them anymore. Amusingly, Jacobs has to point out that he hasn't outlived his usefulness yet. Nyarlathotep, who seemingly forgot he was even there, begrudgingly allows Jacobs to stick close to him to keep him alive a little longer.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Karai prepares to sacrifice herself stalling an empowered Nyarlathotep so Erin can complete her mission. Not only does she manage to survive, she also pulls a Big Damn Heroes to save Erin from Nyarlathotep later.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Erin learns that Yog-Sothoth being in her head means that her life is going to be cut very, very short.

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