…and below the demoniac bird he descried a sort of pool with a margin of mud that was marled with obscene offal; and in the pool a grayish, horrid mass that nearly choked it from rim to rim.
Here, it seemed, was the ultimate source of all miscreation and abomination. For the gray mass quobbed and quivered, and swelled perpetually; and from it, in manifold fission, were spawned the anatomies that crept away on every side through the grotto. There were things like bodiless legs or arms that flailed in the slime, or heads that rolled, or floundering bellies with fishes’ fins; and all manner of things malformed and monstrous, that grew in size as they departed from the neigbborhood of Abhoth. And those that swam not swiftly ashore when they fell into the pool from Abhoth, were devoured by mouths that gaped in the parent bulk.
— The Seven Geases, Clark Ashton Smith
Clark Ashton Smith, for those who don’t know, was part of the circle of writers that were close to Lovecraft, and exchanged letters with him. In this tale, we find a connection between Lovecraft, and the works of Robert E. Howard (another friend of Lovecraft’s) via the mention of the Hyperborean race (not to be confused with the Hyborian age, also a Howard-ism). Hence, The Seven Geases is equally a tale of cosmic horror, and one of sword and sorcery.
The Seven Geases by Clark Ashton Smith is something of a “Six Degrees From Abhoth” tour of mythos creatures. The protagonist, Lord Ralibor Vooz, while out hunting for Voormis one fine day, is geased by the sorcerer Ezdagor to present himself to a mythos deity, Tsathoggua.
From there, it turns into this whole Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly kind of thing. Each successive mythos race or deity or creature that Ralibor Vooz is geased to present himself to for sacrifice, protests either their business, or their fastidiousness, and sends him on his way. Along the way, we meet Tsathoggua, Atlach-Nacha, Haon-Dor, the Serpent People, the Archetypes, and finally Abhoth,
Not even Abhoth can be bothered to consume Ralibor Vooz.
I, who am Abhoth, the coeval of the oldest gods, consider that the Archetypes have shown a questionable taste in recommending you to me. After careful inspection, I fail to recognize you as one of my relatives or progeny; though I must admit that I was nearly deceived at first by certain biologic similarities. You are quite alien to my experience; and I do not care to endanger my digestion with untried articles of diet.
One wonders if Ralibor Vooz is starting to feel inadequate by the end of the story.