As I sit down, it occurs to me that I ought to describe the machinations of my wandering and wondering, so that it might be reproduced in the event this practice is crippling in some way or otherwise fatal. There is no guide for what I am doing, and no way to know the consequences except to forge ahead.
My name is Art Sheffield. I have made a modest living selling insurance. I am not married and I have no children. This fact is what gave me boldness in my pursuits. A man is more than his interests, but a man's interests and activities shape a part of who he is. I am like this. The life of insurance is not so mundane that it cannot keep a man's mind occupied, but the repetition of the work and the salesmanship of it can act as an abrasive, slowly wearing down the edges of a man's personality till he is neither dangerous nor threatening.
This state for a man can render him the most dangerous of people, a predator whose appearance and demeanor are duller than any knife. While his motives and inner life are suffused with violence and ill intent. This is especially true when the man lacks clear purpose to life. I often sit in my empty house and wonder if I am that man, if I am one of the lost ones, if I would consent to some terrible offer in hopes of feeling something other than numb.
Selling insurance has been rewarding in the monetary sense, but has not given me the kind of fulfillment a family might have. Here at nearly 50, I find myself without the motivation or desire to pursue this, and so I took to traveling and collecting. This, I am sure, kept me from behaving as one of the lost, but it was just a distraction from a directionless, purposeless life.
Until I found the Moon Pool Helm. The night it came into my possession, I was out walking in the woods around my house, as I do when the loneliness of my home becomes too oppressive. There is a rather deep pond on my land. It can't be more than 50 feet across; however, the few times I have braved a dip into its murky waters, I have not touched the bottom.
The twilight sky was clear and bright, and the moon full and pregnant with mystery. I made my way to the pond so that I might listen to the chorus of frogs that call it home. As I came out of the piney tree line, I was stunned. The pond was glass-smooth and clear. The night sky was superimposed over the depths of the cavernous hole as I knew it to be now. The muddy bank sloped steeply into a rocky hole that terminated in bottomless darkness. The only thing that interrupted the darkness of that hole was the reflection of that night sky on the surface of the unnaturally smooth water.
The sight before me filled my eyes and begged me to not look away. Such a rare view that made alchemy in my mind. At the edge of the pool, the moon floated there, hung in the reflection as it is hung in the sky. Across its surface crawled a being as white as the moon itself. Large, powerful legs folded beneath the creature, and from its long torso sprang four arms, each terminating in hands with three tentacle-like fingers. It rose to a sitting position, its thick, fleshy tail curled about it. There, in the reflection across the lake, sat the Gibbous King.
Its long, serpentine neck, at least the same length as its body, reached towards me. The neck terminated in what I can only guess was the face of the creature. The face was a series of holes and a lattice work of swirling patterns around the holes. The patterns drew the eye into what at first appeared to be darkness, but revealed itself after a few moments to be an empty hollow, as if the creature's head was a cage without a prisoner.
The crest of the head was covered in what looked to be coral, magnificent and crystal-like. An alien crown for a king of unknown origins. My pulse raced, and my breath came short in my lungs, but I did not run. I wanted to know, even if the creature's intentions were evil, I needed to know what role the sight before me played in reality.
Two hands reached and grasped the edges of a wound on the creature's chest, pulling it apart. Red and blues pulsed and shimmered along strange organs. Two more hands plunged forcefully into the wound, rupturing several of the organs in a spray of color and fluid. The creature shivered in what I assumed was pain, and a low frequency coming from the creature shook my bones. The creature reached across the impossible space of the pond and presented to me the Moon Pool Helm, which resembled the creature's own face.
I have heard the warnings of those who have practiced witchcraft, and in my travels, I have talked to holy men and shamans alike. All have a similar warning. Evil will reveal to you any number of secrets because evil does not care for your mind or well-being. It is content to spend you like wood in a fire, for purposes only it can know and not for your good.
Hearing the warnings, why would I choose to keep such an object? Why would I risk an interaction with an alien, ancient god, interdimensional being, or any other possible unknown existence? As I hold it now, unnaturally light in my hand, considering the possibilities, I can hear the call of exploration deep inside of me. I look around at the devastation of aimlessness that has left me am empty life, a temporal finite existence that, when it passes, will leave nothing to remember, no monument in story or memory. I have wasted these 50 years. I have nothing to lose, and though my edges have been worn down by mundane living, I still know that I am lost and dangerous. Perhaps this helmet, if it can be described as such, is another offer. One that I am obliged to take.