Eldritch Descent, or Things Which Should Not Be
British doctor. Not THAT kind of British doctor.
Age: 36 Birthplace: Devonshire, UK
Personal Description: 5’6", glasses, scar on face.
Ideology: Skeptic; Science has all the answers.
Meaningful Locations: Family estate at Lord’s Tor. Home in Arkham, MA.
Treasured Possessions: Brother’s diary. Written in code.
Traits: No SAN loss when viewing corpses/gross injuries. Loyal-will die before renouncing his beliefs.
Injuries/Scars: Facial scar from…something. He doesn’t know what.
Encounters: Uncle Laurie’s disappearance.
Spending Level: 1000
Family estate at Lord’s Tor. Home in Arkham, MA
Simon Isaac Clough was born November 13, 1888 in a Manor located on the moors of Devonshire. They say the winds howled so loudly, it drowned out the cries of a screaming infant. But it could not cancel out the screams of the rumored cursed Clough family — so the more superstitious maids insisted. Those rumors were not without merit.
The Clough family came from old money and even had a spot in the House of Lords. Their estate, Lord’s Tor, had Clough members occupying it since its building sometime in the 14th century. It was right about that time the legend of the cursed family of the moors came into being. A Clough once sentenced a woman accused of witchcraft to death and before she died, she said the family would maintain their status and wealth but would fall to great misfortune. Or so they say. Simon always had a healthy dose of skepticism but as he walked down the main hall in the manor with all the portraits of his ancestors — all that seemed to watch him in warning — he could recall not right away what they did while alive, but he remembered how they died. Sir Adalger: stampeded by his own horse. Sir Winston: choked on a grape that was being fed to him by his mistress. Sir Sebastian started to talk about how the stars were after him and drowned himself in the ocean. Madness also seemed to run in the family too.
Misfortune would visit Simon through most of his life and it started at a young age. He still grew up in privilege and had the best tutors money could buy and the best toys and the best clothing. He was a little lonely because of the isolation of the Manor but he did have an older brother and sister named Henry and Geraldine. The three were close and they would become only closer when their parents would die when Simon was 8, Geraldine was 12, and Henry was 15. While going on holiday, they were robbed and killed by highway men. Simon didn’t know details and he felt it was better that it was a closed casket.
Their father’s younger brother, Laurence — nicknamed Laurie — came to become the children’s guardian. Laurie was a bored rich person who traveled the world and had many odd hobbies. He was fascinated by alternative science and cultures in all corners of the world. He was hyper and eccentric. The maids often whispered how Laurie had shades of the Clough madness.
But to the Clough kids, they looked forward to what adventure Laurie had in store or listen whatever story he had to share. They would walk miles in the moors following their uncle as he used dowsing rods to follow ley lines. Apparently the Manor lied on a source of power and lined up perfectly with other stone circles, including Stonehenge on the Salisbury plain.
As the years went by, Laurie got more obsessed with his hobbies and claimed other beings would come into the world. He shouldn’t have doubted them, why did he doubt them?
When Simon was 16, Henry was in Egypt and Geraldine was in Uni, he was stuck with Laurie during his craziest. One night, Laurie explained that the stars were right for a door to open and he had to conduct a ritual to prevent unspeakables from entering this world. He drew strange glyphs all over the property but then, his face fell. He did it wrong.
Simon doesn’t really remember what happened next. The next thing he remembered was seeing the back of his hands as he lay curled up in a fetal position inside a wardrobe. A flesh wound across his cheek would scar. He could hear the sobs of the night maid, and his uncle was gone. The maid babbled incoherently of seeing a great horror, a demon. She couldn’t unsee the horror. It touched her. IT TOUCHED HER. Sadly, the maid never recovered and Simon had to have her committed to a sanitorium.
Simon had a brief stint as Lord of the Manor and in that time, he rarely slept and rarely ate as he tried to account for missing time. Eventually Geraldine returned, a newly wed and Simon decided he had to get out of Lord’s Tor and Devonshire. He decided to attend Oxford University and pursue a degree in medicine. He wanted to help others, figuring that is what he needed to do to fill this widening dark hole inside him.
In many ways, Oxford was healing for him. He dived head first into his studies and was among the top in his class. He earned the nickname, the Lonely Baron, which one of his future friends, Richard Urquhart, took that title as a challenge and forced him to go out and enjoy life. Simon was surrounded by science and began to explain away the strange events at Lord’s Tor using what he learned. In many ways it was Science that settled his soul. There were no witches’ curses, no strange portals, no places of power, no ley lines, and most important of all, no strange creatures the mad maid spoke of. All the stories Uncle Laurie had told were just faerie tales. The “Family Madness” was probably an undiagnosed medical condition, perhaps tied to toxins on the land, maybe even a genetic disorder. The fear of the latter caused Simon to take up a healthy regiment of exercise and diet. He hoped it wasn’t too late as blacking out was never a good sign.
He did keep in contact with his siblings who both continued to share the stories of oddities of the land or in the case of Henry, what he saw on his travels. Simon would gently explain what they saw in scientific terms. Like the whole not remembering what happened to Uncle Laurie? Highway Men who did something so terrible he unwillingly chose to forget it. One time, he got an angry letter from Henry who insisted that Uncle Laurie was alive, just in another dimension. He had read through Uncle Laurie’s notes and he was on a quest to recover the lost relative. And then Henry would say that Simon shouldn’t let the University Types brainwash him that these things weren’t real. Simon apologized but didn’t take back what he said. From that point, he just listened to hear what they had to say.
By the time Simon got his Doctorate, World War I had begun. He felt this would be the time in which he could use his new found knowledge to good use. He enlisted as a combat medic and was shipped to France. It was there in which he witnessed the feeling of being trapped in the trenches and had many of his fellow comrades die in his arms. If he didn’t know better, he wished he saw the unspeakable terror rather than all the horrors of war.
As the war went on, Simon was promoted and was taken out of the field to a field hospital. He still saw a lot of death but at least there were no artillery shells flying overhed. It was here he ran into an American nurse Ruth Winthrope who he initially found insufferable
- she had stolen his lunch. And the two would bicker constantly as they would work on a patient. But eventually, something like sparks began to fly between the two of them and when the war ended, they cared enough about each other to exchange addresses." Henry took a stepforward. Simon rushed towards him and the older brother stopped. Henry suddenly laughed.
Dr. Clough didn’t have time to think about what to do now that the war was over. He didn’t think he had it in him to be Lord of the Manor or one of the Lords at least. He wanted to be out there doing something for the community. But family came first. As he came home to greet his sister and brother-in-law (who had also taken up his family’s bizarre interests), they got a telegram from Brazil. A priest had found Henry, who hadn’t sent letters in almost a year, wandering naked on the edge of the jungle. He had fallen ill and the priest nursed him back to health, at least enough to get a name.
Simon went to retrieve his wayward brother who seemed rather unhinged, probably worse than Uncle Laurie was at the end. Henry talked about seeing things and hearing things that he could barely describe. He also talked about how it would only be a matter of time before the Old Ones rise again. Simon didn’t listen to these moments of Henry’s babbling. Just the Clough Madness. The only thing the babbling revealed was a possible future for him.
Once back in Lord’s Tor, Simon devoted his time to taking care of his older brother and his older sister (who now was pregnant). Henry, in addition to his madness, had also developed a cough that Simon suspected may be consumption. The cough, Simon could deal with, it was the bouts of madness were tiring. There was one morning Simon woke up to Henry pulling stones from the foundation and moving them down the slope. He was moving the manor away from the ley line. It’s position on the ley line made them all mad. Other times, Simon caught Henry drawing similar glyphs Uncle Laurie had drawn that night.
Although there were moments of lucidity and in some ways, those were the most painful. One day, Simon had taken an afternoon nap when dreams of the war rose him out of it. Henry was watching him, with the look of brotherly concern on his features. He asked his little brother what he dreamed of. Simon said it was the war. Henry then pointed out, “Funny how you can recall obvious troubling memories about war but not the night Uncle disappeared. If it was just Highway Men that you suggested, those are but nothing compared to the horrors of war. Makes you think.”
Then, one fateful night, Simon went to check on Henry only to find him not in his room. He searched the manor and didn’t find anything. Then he searched the moors all night. Nothing. Then he made it to the sea side just before dawn. Henry stood on the cliff staring up at the sky. He seemed to sense his little brother’s presence.
“I’m mad, aren’t I?” he asked in his more lucid voice.
“Uh, I spent all night looking for you!” Simon scolded.
“I saw things, Simon. Things I just can’t comprehend. I wanted to know but I wish I didn’t. And they will come. They will come here again. And I can’t
“You know what Clough means in Old English?” He looked over his shoulder and smiled before he serenely swan dived off the cliff into the pointed rocks below.
For the record, Clough in old English means ravine. Simon didn’t find the joke very funny.
Simon and Geraldine buried Henry in the family plot. Walking among the headstones, Simon could name the cause of death. Sir Peter Sebastian Clough — caught on fire after passing out drunk on the hearth. Matilda Anne Clough — strangled to death when scarf caught on the spoke of the wheels of the stagecoach. Henry Albert Clough — jumping off a cliff after telling a very bad joke.
Not wanting to cause worry to Geraldine who now had a little girl to take care of, Simon wrote to Ruth throughout the whole Henry ordeal in surprisingly candid letters. Ruth then gave him the idea of maybe coming to America, her hometown of Arkham and maybe get a position teaching medicine classes at Miskatonic University where her uncle also taught and he could get him a job. Ah yes, the colonies. Why didn’t Simon think of this sooner? So he packed his bags, including the journal of Henry’s which started off easier to follow of his adventures but then Henry slowly grew more paranoid and began to write in a strange code. Simon wasn’t sure why he brought it with him. Perhaps it was because it was so his brother in the beginning at least and maybe he could decode the path to madness if it all had a genetic componant.
Simon got a job at the University teaching Biochemistry and Undergraduate Medicine classes. Of course it didn’t take him long to hear about the large collection of occult books which often dominated conversation between the professors. He took on the role of skeptic. The books were interesting in an anthropomorphic perspective but nothing more or less. His colleagues did recognize his name as it turned out Laurie and later Henry had visited the university a few times purely for the occult collection. Simon would say they always had the taste of the unusual like most bored wealthy people. And that is all he would say.
As for Ruth, the two would go out on many outings in which they would argue about little things. Then their belligerent sexual tension broke down and the two eventually wed. And they would eventually have a son not too long after who they named Clifford.
Unusual things would happen in Arkham but Simon still tried to find scientific reasoning for why things happened. Yanks were too gullible. It became almost his obsession. But perhaps that is tied more heavily to he wanted to convince himself those things don’t exist — that the terrifying thing he saw or didn’t see didn’t exist, that his family members were driven mad because their genes told them to, not that they too saw unspeakable things. But still, a tiny part of him is that young boy who watched in awe at his Uncle’s tales of the unknown.