Ascent from base camp was difficult as expected, but fruitful. Storm advancing from the northwest, but we’ve attained the shelf that leads into a cave of some sort. May lead further into a plateau and possible pass through the mountains.
Entering the cave we find numerous specimens frozen in ice several feet thick. Early estimates date ice shelf to be Cambrian or possibly pre-Cambrian.
Frozen specimens are eight feet long all over. Six-foot five-ridged barrel torso 3.5 feet central diameter, 1 foot end diameters. At top of torso blunt bulbous neck of lighter grey with gill-like suggestions holds yellowish five-pointed starfish-shaped apparent head covered with three-inch wiry cilia of various prismatic colours. At bottom of torso rough but dissimilarly functioning counterparts of head arrangements exist. Bulbous light-grey pseudo-neck, without gill suggestions, holds greenish five-pointed starfish-arrangement. This is the paddle, fin, or pseudo-foot which has made prints in rocks from a thousand million to fifty or sixty million years old. Too early to classify as animal or vegetable; dissection and autopsy will be necessary.
Progress through the cave finds the plateau as expected, flanked by irregular, sharply angles black peaks on either side. Storm has changed direction due to gale winds blowing in from the south.
Across the plateau are enormous live specimens, to the eye appearing as man-sized penguins. Based on ridged beaks I observe specimens may be carnivorous. I surmise low intelligence as they are easily dispatched. Rubbery hides prove useful in staving off the elements.
Exploration takes us past the plateau to snowy foothills, were we encounter enormous, violent creatures with white furry hides and bestial humanoid features. They match the Inuit’s description of the Yeti, although they are thought to only inhabit the northern pole. Dispatching them takes considerable effort. We will need to set up a secondary camp at this altitude for further exploration, as the elements at this height are taxing our resources.
Further on we find that the hills come to a level height and another small shelf, where there seems to be an archway that appears to have been constructed. Making the shelf we witness both a captivating and horrifying sight, which I first thought to be a polar mirage.
We saw a Cyclopean city of no architecture known to man or to humanoid imagination, with vast aggregations of night-black masonry embodying monstrous perversions of geometrical laws and attaining the most grotesque extremes of sinister bizarrerie. There were truncated cones, sometimes terraced or fluted, surmounted by tall cylindrical shafts here and there bulbously enlarged and often capped with tiers of thinnish scalloped discs; and strange, beetling, table-like constructions suggesting piles of multitudinous rectangular slabs or circular plates or five-pointed stars with each one overlapping the one beneath. There were composite cones and pyramids either alone or surmounting cylinders or cubes or flatter truncated cones and pyramids, and occasional needle-like spires in curious clusters of five. All of these febrile structures seemed knit together by tubular bridges crossing from one to the other at various dizzy heights, and the implied scale of the whole was terrifying and oppressive in its sheer giganticism. The general type of mirage was not unlike some of the wilder forms observed and drawn by the Arctic whaler Scoresby in 1820; but at this time and place, with those dark, unknown mountain peaks soaring stupendously ahead, that anomalous elder-world discovery in our minds, and the pall of probable disaster enveloping the greater part of our expedition, we all seemed to find in it a taint of latent malignity and infinitely evil portent.
The sight nearly shatters the minds of my companions entirely. At this point I radio Peddenghast and Nemo’s team at base camp to proceed with ascension so we can set up a secondary camp with medical facilities. I return with my companions to rejoin Victor and the others at the plateau.
I fear for my companions and for the expedition. I fear for us all. Fear, however, is the mind-killer. So I shall not speak of what it is that I fear…