“The Jewel in the Crown”
The Wold Newton Universe and India, Tibet, and Nepal
by Jess Nevins

(with many thanks to Rick Lai, Mark Brown, Matthew Baugh, and especailly Jean-Marc Loffiicer for research assistance)

Updates of 24 June in boldfaced blue.

India, Tibet, and Nepal, hereafter referred to as the “Indian subcontinent,” are countries which have held a certain fascination for the West for centuries. Their ages-old civilisations and cultures and the great wisdom which some of their members have possessed have led many seekers after wisdom to travel there, in an attempt to receive enlightenment. As we shall see, many who went to the subcontinent came back with more than just wisdom.

This is not only the story of a geographic area, it is the story of a duel for the fate of Humanity. It begins a very long time ago and continues today. It involves forces beyond the comprehension of ordinary men battling across time, desperate deeds done in darkness, men of great valor and things of darkest evil. It may shock some of you, but the story must be told.

In the beginning....

Many centuries ago, beyond the reckoning of humans, long before primates walked upright, perhaps even before life crawled from the oceans, there was the awful Plateau of Leng. No one knows how old it is; some have conjectured that it is eons old. Some archaeological digs have produced evidence indicating its existence 35 million years ago, when what is now the Indian sub-continent, having broken away from the Gondwana land mass 165 million years before, made contact with Asia. The meeting of the continental shelves of the Indian and Asian plates began the rise of the Tibetan Plateau. But the Plateau of Leng survived this, and possibly pre-existed it.

On this Plateau, in what is now Tibet, awful things lived, and from this Plateau awful things have periodically come to plague mankind. The early journalist Howard Phillips Lovecraft has written about the Plateau of Leng and its extension the Plateau of Tsang, and of the awful Tcho-Tcho dwarfs. What Lovecraft did not write about, either because he was ignorant of it or because he feared the revelation of a truth too terrible even for him to write of, was the one of the semi-human rulers of the Plateau of Leng.

The writer and journalist Robert W. Chambers was not so reticent, however, and in 1896 he wrote a lightly-fictionalised account of the encounter between Barris, an American Secret Service agent, and the ruler of the Plateau of Leng. Chambers, perhaps not wanting to frighten the American public, altered some details, placing the ruler, the dreadful sorcerer Yue-Laou, in China rather than Tibet. Likewise, he obscured the truth of he conflict, which had Barris finally meeting and dying at the hands of “Hark,” one of the agents of Yue-Laou. (Hark’s story is told at greater length in MN’s “Secret Wars” article.)

Yue-Laou, as Chambers wrote, had ruled the Plateau of Leng for a long, long time. Chambers did not write that Yue-Laou had ruled it since before the dawn of humanity, for the truth that a powerful and inimical being who was in turn the agent of ageless and horrible beings from the stars existed and was sponsoring attacks on human civilisation would have sparked panics in America. But such, unfortunately, was the truth. Yue-Laou, and the Plateau of Leng, are millions of years old, and their masters untold billions of years old.

Nor is Yue-Laou the only agent of the Old Ones who “lives” on the Plateau of Leng. The Old Ones who empowered Yue-Laou and the inhabitants of the Plateau of Leng have many worshipers and agents on Earth. One of the most powerful of these agents has been the group known as the “Nine Unknown.” Under that name they came to the attention of modern readers courtesy of the work of the journalist Talbot Mundy, but the truth is that they existed before their battles with James Schuyler Grim and survived his passing.

The Nine Unknown is an organization of evil lamas given unnatural powers and greatly advanced science by the Old Ones. The Nine Unknown use  these powers to further the worship of the Old Ones and to spread misery and chaos across the world. Some information about them is already known, but much has only recently been revealed. The truth is that their influence was much more widespread than previously suspected, and that the Nine Unknown, directly and through their agents, have been responsible for many of the woes that have beset mankind. The roster of the Nine changes over time, with each new lama being given powers by the Old Ones to replace the fallen or dead member(s) of the Nine. Unlike Yue-Laou, they have not hid in the Plateau of Leng and had little contact with the outside world; the Nine Unknown have been active on the part of the forces they represent, and have bases and agents around the world. The Nine suffer many defeats, but they always survive, only their agents and lesser forces being destroyed. The Nine seem to believe that the Old Ones they worship will eventually return to rule the Earth, and that patience and endurance will see them through.

Luckily for mankind the universe is not wholly hateful or uncaring. There are incredibly powerful beings in the cosmos and on Earth who are capable of wiping out humanity with barely a thought, but there are also Higher Beings who look out for mankind and protect them.

One of those beings has, like Yue-Laou and the Plateau of Leng, existed for millions of years, before humanity began. Across the millennia he has fought for good, using his strange powers to help mortal men and women. He has always been frustrating ambiguous and coy about his origins, but he has dropped hints that he is a direct representative of a Higher Power–perhaps even the Higher Power. In 14,000 BCE he went by the name of “John Gribardsun.” In 1908 he was called “Sunday.” In the 1930s he was known as “Mr. Am,” and was a friend to the noted industrialist Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks and his ward Annie. In the 25th century he will call himself “Kevin Uxbridge.” His real name may never be known, but there is evidence of his presence across time.

I believe–and I hope this article will prove–that Mr. Am (as I will continue to call him, as I believe that is his true name) is the leader of an organisation of good men and women who are set against the Nine Unknown, their alien masters, and all they stand for. These men and women had and have and will have exceptional powers and greatly advanced technology, possibly courtesy of Mr. Am and possibly derived from other sources. They make use of these abilities and science in the war against the Nine Unknown. They have had many guises over the centuries, but usually they are seen as lamas in various East Asian lamaseries. This duel, between Mr. Am’s lamas and the Nine Unknown, has spanned centuries, and much of what humanity holds dear exists only because of Mr. Am’s forces. These forces, like those of Yue-Laou and the Nine Unknown, are spread around the world, but they are concentrated in India, Tibet, and Nepal. Their headquarters may be the legendary kingdom of Agartha, described by the French traveler Saint-Yves d’Alveydre.

In the beginning
Before the Twentieth Century
The Twentieth Century
The 1920s
The 1930s
The 1940s & Afterward

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