Budapest, January 1944

From the Story Arc: Futures and Pasts.

Previous Story in the Arc: Cherkassy, December 1943 by Albtraum (Monday, October 03, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Perez Park, October 2005 by Albtraum (Sunday, October 09, 2005)

(posted Friday, October 07, 2005)

January 28, 1944

Budapest.

The Hungarians may be our allies, but the black uniform I wear inspires more fear than respect when I walk through the streets. Instead of feeling superior I feel like a walking target. It takes some getting used to not being in my field uniform. I would never wear a uniform like this with my rank and insignia in Russia. There the snipers would kill you quick; the partisans would take their time.

I have been billeted with a local historian, Professor Baranyi, and his eighteen year old granddaughter Monica. No coincidence there. I have found it easy to speak with Professor Baranyi and we have had many late night discussions on a variety of academic subjects. It feels good not to discuss the war. Well, this war at least.

I have also spent the past week going through the information that Goermann has provided to us.

I still have some reservations about the merits of trying to locate the ‘Dreaming Sarcophagus’ (as Goermann has dubbed the artefact) within the labyrinthine miles of limestone catacombs beneath Castle Buda, and am both intrigued and concerned.

Intrigued by how the ‘specialists’ from the Thule Society came across this information, and concerned that the Deutches Ahnenerbe are plunging whole heartedly into this endeavour without the proper research and investigation. These are desperate times, but this is an area we cannot afford to act in desperation.

But I am a student of science and history, therefore I will go over the ‘facts’ as they have been presented to us.

The first mention of the 'Dreaming Sarcophagus' comes from an Anonymous Roman scholar writing in the fifth century AD. This scholar lived in the Roman garrison town of Aquincum, built on the west bank of the Danube River.

Anonymous details the local barbarian people present at the time, the Celtic Eravisci tribe who were absorbed into Roman rule under the province of Pannonia. Aside from the usual observations of lifestyle, ritual and custom that Anonymous describes in detail, he relates a story of a journey he undertook with a pagan priest.

This priest takes Anonymous on a long journey through limestone caves and shows him a great circular room, carved from the limestone and marked with symbols that neither the priest nor Anonymous recognizes.

In the middle of the room is a great stone sarcophagus. The sarcophagus is plain and unadorned, save for more markings and symbols that neither man recognizes. The priest refers to the sarcophagus as the ‘Seat of the Old Dreamer.’ Anonymous provides no explanation as to what the priest could have meant.

Anonymous is obviously intent on having the sarcophagus studied but the inevitable expansion of the Huns into the Carpathian Basin forces the Romans to eventually withdraw from Pannonia and abandon Aquincum.

The writings of Anonymous included illustrations of the sarcophagus and the symbols and markings he witnessed.

I have no idea how the Thule Society have come by these writings, and am surprised at the excellent condition in which they were presented to us.

I agree with Professor Albrecht on her assertion that the markings and symbols of the chamber and sarcophagus are somewhat derivative of Assyrian or Kassite origin. I suspect however, that our friends from the Thule society have a better understanding of this ‘language’ than either of us.

It appears that the ‘Seat of the Old Dreamer’ is mentioned only once more in history when the Mongols devastated the towns of Buda and Pest in 1241. A French woman - again Anonymous - fleeing from the Mongols, sought protection in the limestone catacombs along with other terrified citizens. It was the Mongols who pursued and accidentally stumbled across the chamber and found the ‘Seat of the Old Dreamer.’

The terrified French woman was later found in a panic-stricken state and placed in the care of a nunnery after witnessing a ‘great and terrible act of wrath from God.’

It is recorded that the Mongols fell upon the sarcophagus with greedy intent, thinking only of gold and silver trinkets and jewellery they believed to be within. When the first axe struck the sarcophagus it shattered as easily as if it was made of glass. Not so easily deterred, six of the Mongols decided to attempt to push the heavy lid of the sarcophagus to one side.

The French woman claimed that as soon as the Mongols touched the sarcophagus they began to shiver and freeze as if caught in a blizzard. Ice formed on their armor and beards, and their skin began to pale and peel. The men could not pull away and they could not issue screams from their cracked, frozen lips. In the space of ten heartbeats five of the six Mongols were dead and fell, shattering on the floor like the axe had only moments before.

However, the sixth Mongol did not perish from the cold. His eyes blazed with a terrible blue light and his fingers crackled with lightning as he pulled aside from the sarcophagus and turned upon the rest of his terrified comrades. He slew them with all with callous ease. Only when his bloody ruin had been wrought then did the sixth Mongol collapse and shatter.

Again I have no idea how the Thule society came into possession of this record. But I understand why the Reichsführer is so interested in finding an artefact of this reputed power.

It also explains why we have a German medical specialist come from Poland with extensive knowledge and expertise on the effects of cold temperatures on humans with us.

And finally it explains why Goermann has asked from two members of the Sturm Korps to join us on this expedition. If things go wrong, they may be the only ones capable of stopping it.


Unrelated matter:

I received a copy of a military dispatch today as a courtesy from my old comrades in Army Group South. The Red Army have succeeded in encircling several of our divisions in and around Cherkassy. I fear for our boys in Russia. The butchers bill will be high for both sides - and we can least afford to pay it.

JD.