Anthropology

An Anthropological Approach to Sarkicism

Dr. Matthieu Desmarais, Department of Anthropology

Forward:
Our understanding of Sarkicism has changed dramatically over the last few decades. This information has revealed a diverse and shifting paradigm far different from the monolithic creed first hypothesized. We are now able to paint a broader, more detailed picture of the Sarkic religion, its various sects and cultural traditions.

Modern sects are the product of divergent interpretations, many bearing a mere superficial resemblance to their ancient progenitor cult. Most unexpected, especially among early scholars of Sarkicism such as myself, are the seemingly benevolent intentions of its founders. The road to hell, it is often said, is paved with good intentions - an aphorism the Foundation must always keep close in mind, for despite the aeons between us, we gaze into that very same abyss.

And like the ancient Sarkites, we have found it full of monsters.

Dr. Desmarais, at great risk to himself, seeks to better understand Sarkicism and its ever shifting paradigm through the study of living communities - revealing what ruins, artifacts, and the dead cannot. Though his methods are unorthodox (at least for the Foundation), his results are undeniable and deserving of continued support.

Dr. Judith Low, Senior Adviser at the Department of History - Religious GoI Threat Analysis.

CASE STUDY 02: The Divoši of Prague

ql8Pm6k.jpg

A collective condominium owned and inhabited by Divoši.

Overview:

The Divoši (derived from Slavic "divoch", meaning heathen or savage) are a crypto-Sarkic1 people inhabiting Central Europe. My research has ultimately led me to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic and home to a community of urban dwelling Divoši. Blood libels, expulsions, forced conversions, and massacres - the history of the Divoši is one marked by systemic persecution. Such incidents has rendered them a stoic and grim people, suspicious of outsiders even by Sarkic standards. They have suffered much to maintain their secrets and earning their trust will be difficult.

History:

The Divoši came to this region following the Sarkic Diaspora between 1200-1000 BCE. Following the fall of the Adí-üm, the followers of Sarkicism were scattered throughout Eurasia; isolated and decentralized, this event is believed to be the principle cause for the immense diversity among Sarkic cults and culture groups.

The Divoši initially settled in the Rhineland, living in relative peace among Germanic and Slavic tribes until the Christianization of the region by Charlemagne during the late 700s CE. Like their pagan kin, they were the victims of forced conversion and exile. Throughout the Middle Ages, they were accused of heresy and/or witchcraft and burned at the stake. By the Early Modern Period, whey endured pogroms alongside Roma and Jews despite having no discernible relationship to either. By the 1600s, surviving Divoši had resettled in Bohemia and Moravia - finding tolerance among the Czech people2.

Like others who previously found a safe haven in Prague, they would ultimately suffer vast casualties during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia between 1938 and 1945. Records provided by the Divoši indicate a population of approximately 12,000 throughout Europe at the start of the 20th century; by 1945, they had been reduced to around 600 individuals. It is believed that their people only escaped total eradication when their anomalous nature was recognized by the Ahnenerbe Obskurakorps3, though these survivors were forced to undergo human experimentation.

The Foundation first encountered the Divoši as test subjects at Eisenblut, a top-secret Nazi science facility located near the then recently liberated Theresienstadt concentration camp. A bargain was struck with their leader, the Karcist Nakiakken (SCP-████), which resulted in the unusual amount of freedom enjoyed by these Sarkites despite being technically under Foundation control. Karcist Nakiakken was able to achieve this by accepting containment without resistance and the promise of its cooperation, though the details of this agreement are presently classified and only available to authorized Project: Sitra Achra personnel. Dr. Judith Low, a senior member of the project, has informed me that the Foundation initially refused to comply with the offer and attempted to act against the Divoši people. Though she was not authorized to divulge the details of what occurred, it does appear that Karcist Nakiakken had several contingency plans in place to ensure cooperation - leaving the Foundation with no choice but negotiation.

Culture, Tradition, and Misconceptions:

The Divoši refer to their religion as The Sin-Eater's Church, though recognize NälkäNälkä4 as the spiritual guidelines of their faith. Efforts to externally disguise their religion and culture have inadvertently resulted in syncretic changes to internal traditions and beliefs (i.e. both esoteric and exoteric traditions and beliefs have developed into an amalgam of Abrahamic, Pagan, and Sarkic influences). Examples of this include the presence "saints" (svatých) which do not fit under traditional Sarkic hagiography5, choosing not to limit their reverence to strictly the Grand Karcist and his Klavigar.

GwirCdO.jpg

A fresco depicting Saint Antal (left) and Saint Imanta (right).

Such saints include:

  • Saint Antal, The Thrice Returned - Patron of resurrection6, metamorphosis, and the protection of children.
  • Saint Biellá, The Devourer of Godsmen - Patron of soldiers (particularly defenders of the faith), self-sacrifice, and defiance against the gods and their earthly agents.
  • Saint Joŋgu, The Poison Moon - Patron of medicine, alchemy, and healers.
  • Saint Imanta, The Shepherdess of Flesh - Patron of midwives, surgeons, butchers, and the art of fleshcrafting.
  • Saint Milan, The Red Hook of Mercy - Patron of righteous assassins, executioners, and other enforcers of justice.
  • Saint Szabolcs, The Ashen One - Patron of fair law and good governance.
  • Saint Uksáhkká, The Worm of Midnight - Patron of outcasts, the impoverished, and the diseased.
  • Saint Yrathas, The Unbroken - Patron of craftsmen and the triumph of endurance over drudgery.

Divoši practice social seclusion and self-segregation. Most civilians are unaware of the Divoši and those that are do not appear to know of their aberrant nature. Though the Divoši primarily achieve this via anomalous methods, such minor anomalies ultimately serve the Foundation through the preservation of normalcy. Such anomalies are designed to alter how they are perceived by outsiders, causing the Divoši and their homes/temples to appear especially unremarkable and easily forgotten or ignored. This effect is traditionally accomplished through the use of bio-chemical solutions (known as németh)7 and antimemetic cognitohazardous symbols (known as ūrma), with such symbols being painted on Divoši structures or tattooed upon individuals.

The use of ūrma is especially noteworthy, as these are able to render received information resistant to memory. For example, if a subject looks at an alleyway, that information is transferred from the eyes to the brain without complication; but if there is a certain ūrma painted or engraved within view of the alleyway's entrance, the subject will look and that information will be perceived but fail to translate to the brain; the human mind does not deal well with such gaps of information and will instead attempt to fill it in with whatever is most likely based on the rest of the environment. Testing this, the Foundation was able to determine that most will merely perceive a wall, dense vegetation, and in one instance, a police barricade. Ürma can be employed to make doors seemingly disappear, render an individual indistinguishable, or to hide the presence of written words, among other uses. The Divoši credit Klavigar Nadox8 with the invention of ūrma.

Law is of singular importance to the Divoši and the Sin-Eater's Church concerns itself with these matters on a level comparable to Judaism and Islam. A cursory glance would suggest little difference between Sarkic law and the secular/religious laws of public society. Murder is forbidden, so is rape, theft, and assault - but like other cultures and religions, these seemingly straight forward prohibitions are subject to interpretation. Some of the more specific laws include:

  • "Thou shalt consume the flesh raw, touched neither by flame nor luxury9"
  • "Honor thy Prophet, Devourer of All Sin, and never speak His Name in vain."
  • "Thou shalt awaken the senses, prying wide thy third-eye; thou shalt not seal thyself from Truth through inebriation."10
  • "Thou shalt eschew decadence in all its forms."
  • "Thou shalt enforce the ways of jaka11; inaction to evil is evil in itself."

The Divoši are not a welcoming people, but this is not unexpected given their history and practices. It is only through the Foundation, and its various agreements and threats, that I am able to study these people - and this certainly does not endear them to my mission. Interviews were difficult to procure but not impossible, having found some success reaching out to the younger generations.

A formal request for authorization was approved by the O5 Council under the following conditions:

  • Event is to be overseen by Project Sitra Achra.
  • Captives held by the Divoši are to be classified as D-Class personnel.
  • Security is to be provided by MTF Psi-9 ("Abyss Gazers").
  • Anomalies/anomalous phenomena are not allowed beyond the designated ritual site.
  • Ritual site is to be installed with audio/video recording devices.
  • In the likely event of anomalous corporeal generation or transmutation, tissue samples are to be secured and delivered to Foundation personnel.
  • Majority of personnel are to observe the ritual indirectly, through the use of live video feed with a thirty second delay (a defense measure against possible cognitohazards).

Official reports can be retrieved upon request but certain files require Level 3 clearance or higher. The following represents my personal observations and opinions of the event, partially redacted as required by the O5 Council.

Having observed the "Judgement", I decided it best to enjoy a hiatus from my research. My sabbatical was interrupted by a special request sent to me by Dr. Tomoko Muso. As it turned out, Dr. Muso was merely the messenger and the request came from her ward, SCP-████ - also known as Karcist Nakiakken, the securely contained leader of the Divoši. I would travel to Humanoid Containment Site-486 in Germany to meet with this entity.

Reflecting on my previous interview with SCP-████, I could not help but feel that it was I who initiated hostilities. The added stress of SCP-████'s unique manner of communication combined with the disturbing memories of the Judgment rendered me psychologically unfit for the interview. I have communicated with SCP-████ via a number of letters and we have agreed to a second interview. The Karcist ultimately has information that I will not be able to obtain anywhere else.

With this newfound information, I traveled to Germany with a team of Foundation archaeologists. After several days of digging we discovered the ruins of a village employing a distinct bone-based architecture. Skeletal remains were found as well, along with a significant amount of ashes and charred debris. It was concluded that the location had been the site of a massacre and that the village had been intentionally razed.

Abnormal remains were discovered among the dead, displaying both humanoid and cervine traits, along with other mutations indicative of a Karcist. The bones were held together by oily black substance with the consistency and adhesiveness of firm tar, preserving the shape and pose of the body at their time of death. The body was positioned on its knees with its head low and its arms wrapped around an unknown object. The remains were exhumed and delivered to Site-282 for autopsy, leading to the discovery of number of rusted arrowheads and sword blades lodged in the body.

It has been hypothesized that these remains belong to the late Karcist Viekudh, who according to Divoši records was murdered by Christian soldiers presumably under the orders of Charlemagne in 774 CE. A stone puzzle box26 was extracted from the remains, something that the Karcist presumably died while protecting. Sarkic puzzle boxes have been discovered before at archaeological sites and among the private collections of Neo-Sarkic cultists and are considered extremely dangerous due to the presence of anomalous traps, triggered by failed attempts.

Fortunately, these deterrents (normally the release of chemical or biological agents27) were designed to infect living organisms and have no impact on inorganic materials. This has allowed the Foundation to solve the puzzle box via a remotely controlled machine in a sterilized and sealed environment. The puzzle box was found to contain the following:

D34Q13f.jpg

A symbol or perhaps a stylistic representation of a real object or entity depicted in the Black Forest Codices. Dr. Low has theorized that it is an artistic rendering of an Archon or "Old God", malevolent deities that play a major role in Sarkic mythology.

  • An intricate bone flute: Object appears to be non-anomalous and was likely secured within the container for sentimental reasons. Listeners have described music produced by this instrument as "somber" and "hauntingly beautiful."
  • [REDACTED]
  • A wicker doll: Object appears to be non-anomalous. Similar to the flute, it is hypothesized that the object was of sentimental value.
  • The Black Forest Codices: The codices are a collection of thirteen ancient scrolls written in an unknown language whose symbols regularly change shape through some anomalous means. Though the script is unfamiliar to the Foundation, it employs several symbols encountered in both Sarkic and Daevite writing systems. The scrolls are crafted from the hide of an unknown animal and have been dated to approximately 1100 BCE; analysis of the ink suggests that it is primarily, if not entirely composed of blood. Efforts to translate the Black Forest Codices have coincided with a number of anomalous incidents and they have since been reclassified as SCP-xxxx.

Item #: SCP-XXXX

Object Class: Safe

Special Containment Procedures:

Description: SCP-XXXX designates a collection of manuscripts written in an unidentified script.