The King In Yellow

Some Byakhees don’t know the true tale of The King In Yellow

“You are speaking of the King in Yellow,” I groaned, with a shudder.

“He is a king whom emperors have served.”

“I am content to serve him,” I replied.

– Robert W Chambers, The Repairer of Reputations

Against the far wall is an obsidian pyramid fifty feet high, made of two-foot obsidian cubes. Atop it is a throne, of human proportions. Slumped upon the throne, limbs dangling limply, is a figure clad in a thousand scraps of yellow cloth. The figure does not move or even breathe, and its face is fully covered by a mask, pallid as the belly of a dead fish rotting on a dead shore.

All hail the King In Yellow !!


KING IN YELLOW. (from the Encyclopedia Chthuliania)

1 The King In Yellow
Play written in the late 19th century by an unknown playwright (possibly named Castaigne) who later attempted suicide. When first published the government and churches denounced this work, and the city of Paris banned the play. Since then other editions have been published secretly. Though this play contains much contradiction and allegory, it is a work which leaves none who read it unchanged. During my research into this topic, I have found two different versions of this play, each having its own interpretation of the various elements mentioned in connection with the play. A synopsis of both is included herein, in the interest of completeness. Which one is truly correct is unknown; it could be that The King in Yellow is different for every reader.

A King of shreds and patches – Hamlet, William Sheakespeare, Hamlet III.4

(a) The two-act play begins on another world in the city of Yhtill, under the stars of Aldebaran and the Hyades. The majority of the play concerns the intrigue in the royal court between the claimants to the throne of Yhtill – the Queen, Alar, Thale, Uoht, Cassilda, Aldones, and Camilla. The royal party hears of a mysterious stranger who wears a Pallid Mask and the horrid Yellow Sign, who comes to Yhtill at about the same time as a strange ghostly city is sighted across the Lake of Hali. The royal family questions this figure, but they learn nothing. After revealing at a masked ball that he in fact wears no disguise, the queen tortures the wearer of the Pallid Mask, also known as the Phantom of Truth, to death. Following this affront, the dreaded mythical entity, the King in Yellow, appears in Yhtill as the mysterious city on the lake’s far side disappears. The King states that Yhtill has passed away, and now only the city of Carcosa lies on the shore of the lake. All characters except the King go insane, die, or must helplessly await their fate.

(b) In the second version, the setting is the city of Hastur, which has been at war with its neighbor Alar for countless years. The children of the ruling queen, Uoht, Thale, and Camilla, pester their mother Cassilda for the crown so that the dynasty might continue. but she puts off giving it away. Cassilda then learns that a figure wearing a Pallid Mask and bearing the Yellow Sign has been seen in Hastur. Counseled by the high priest Naotalba, she calls this stranger into the palace. The stranger, named Yhtill, offers the queen a chance to break free from the domination of the King in Yellow, who dwells in Carcosa across the Lake of Hali and rarely interferes in the works of humans. By wearing the Pallid Mask, he states, all those in the city may throw off the dread of the Yellow Sign as he has. Believing what the stranger has told her, the queen holds a masquerade at which each person wears the Pallid Mask. When the time comes to unmask, Yhtill reveals that he wears no mask, and has come from Alar to wreak vengeance upon Hastur’s people. This outrage does not go unnoticed by the King in Yellow, who comes to bear away Yhtill. The King promises Cassilda that he will allow the victor of the war between Hastur and Alar to rule the world, but on one condition: that the people of Hastur and their descendants wear their Pallid Masks for all time. As the play ends, the King In Yellow departs, leaving the courtiers in despair.

See Alar, Aldones, Camilla, Cassilda, Demhe, Hali, Hastur, Last King, Naotalba, Pallid Mask, Thale, Uoht, Yellow Sign, Yhtill. (“More Light”, Blish; “In the Court of the Dragon”, Chambers; “The Repairer of Reputations”, Chambers; “The Yellow Sign”, Chambers; “Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign?”, Ross (C).

2 The King in Yellow
Also the name for an avatar of Hastur, or possibly Nyarlathotep, which is the title character of this play. The King usually takes the form of a gigantic human dressed in tattered yellow robes and sometimes wearing the Pallid Mask. See Brothers of the Yellow Sign, Hastur, Nyarlathotep (Being in the Yellow Mask), Sakkuth, Yellow Sign. (“More Light”, Blish; The Yellow Sign”, Chambers; “Tatterdemalion”, Love, Ross, and Watts (C).)

One Response to The King In Yellow

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