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The Mask of Erlik

"The Veil of Eternal Shadows"

By Kamran AlamPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

The account was discovered after the disappearance of two researchers in Northern Russia, Dr. Daniel Moore and Tim, who were on a research expedition to search for signs of climate change in the Arctic. Syndassko, a small settlement of about 500 people, serves as their final checkpoint before going offline for a month. About half of the villagers are Russian, while the other half are indigenous Siberian. They stay at the only inn and pub, and plan to set out early in the morning to head further into the peninsula.

Tim and I set up our base camp for the month and started data collection, taking soil, ice, groundwater samples, temperature, and atmospheric data. The landscape is fascinating, with the Russian tundra being utterly unique. On our excursion to the shore of Lake Taymyr, we encountered the village mentioned by the local. It was surprisingly well established and parts of it were very old. Their buildings are constructed out of thick pine and spruce logs and another type of wood called the Siberian Larch. The exterior walls are dotted with paintings done in a red paint that seems undisturbed by the elements. Barns and pastures take up the majority of the land around a small town center. Everything slopes downward towards the shore that houses a row of docks.

Vasily, a man originally from Krasnoyarsk and speaking decent English, spoke to us briefly, telling us that the village was not prepared for visitors but could offer us a tour the next day. We returned to camp and consolidated the data that had been collected during the day. We tried playing catch with the slightly deflated football I had brought, but just a few minutes gloveless in the Arctic air made our hands stiff and achy.

Vasily is much younger than he looks, having deep-set wrinkles in his face and very dark circles under his eyes. He looks almost 40. The investigation has affirmed that the entries in the journal were written by Dr. Moore, whose body was discovered in a forest near Lake Taymyr by local law enforcement.

The author and Tim explore the village of Komur, a settlement in the Ural Mountains, where they encounter a unique blend of anthropology and geology. The village is home to a temple with intricate murals depicting war, banishment, cannibalism, and other interesting aspects of its mythology. Vasily, the village elder, warns them not to cross into areas surrounded by red rocks, as they are only accessible to the village elders. The elders keep relics inside and perform private rituals.

The author learns that the village relies on livestock or lake-based food production due to the cold climate. Vasily shares how the village makes money through successful investors. They also visit a large grove of trees, which is an amphitheater for village-wide ceremonies. The author is intrigued by the amphitheater and its wooden t-shaped posts.

Vasily and Tim discuss the history of Komur, explaining that its residents are descendants of migrants from the Ural Mountains and their first language is a Ugric language. The settlement was named after a figure in their mythology, who bestowed the mask of his father, Erlik, upon them. A ceremony celebrating Komur's origins is scheduled for next week. The author is curious about the mask, which is kept in the temple, but is hesitant to leave.

As they approach Komur, Vasily informs them that they have been invited to attend the ceremony. The author is excited about this news, but Tim seems apprehensive about the village's hospitality. The streets are lined with torches, and everything is draped in red.

In summary, the author and Tim explore the village of Komur, observing its unique culture and traditions. They are excited to return to the village for more research and human interaction.

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About the Creator

Kamran Alam

"Kamran Alam: Karachi-based Digital Marketing & Content Writer. Crafting captivating narratives and driving online success. Let's elevate your brand's online presence together!"

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    Kamran AlamWritten by Kamran Alam

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