Tree-like aberrations born from Shub-Niggurath
Dark Young Lore
The mouths was like leaves and the whole thing was like a tree in the wind, a black tree with lots of branches trailing to the ground, and a whole lot of roots ending in hoofs. And that green slime dribbling out of the mouths and down the legs was like sap!…
It came crawling up the hillside to the alter and the sacrifice, and it was the black thing of my dreams-that black ropy, slimy, jelly tree-thing out of the woods. It crawled up and it flowed up on its hoofs and mouths and snaky arms. And the men bowed and stood back and then it got to the alter where they was something squirmin on top, squirming and screaming.
– Willie Osborne, from "Notebook Found In a Deserted House"
Those men from the notebook of Willie Osborne were cultists. In a futile attempt to achieve a reunion with the perverse Outer Goddess that they worship, they offer sacrifices to the tree-like aberrations they find in the heart of the woods. Very little is known about the goddess. She is an evil fertility diety. Her name is Shub-Niggurath. I dare not repeat it again. More is known about her foul progeny, her "Thousand Young", for it is these monstrosities which spew forth from her vile maw to walk the worlds we inhabit.
They are commonly referred to as the Dark Young. Gruesome, writhing, tentacled monsters who live in swamps and temperate forests. They resemble trees standing twenty feet tall, though there are reports of larger ones. Thirty, even fifty feet. Large enough to trample houses.
They walk upon black hooves. Covering their body and tangled tentacles are mouths that appear disturbingly human-like. The mouths are constantly chomping and salivating. Green slime oozes from them, covering the ground. You can notice their passage through an area easily. The air about them smells like a mass grave. Giant hoof-prints and green slime make a clear trail.
Though the Dark Young appear to be ungainly beasts they are intelligent. They have their own ambitions and work through proxies to achieve their goals, though their dark designs can be inscrutable to us. In some cases they are simply violent. They may desire human sacrifices to sate their dark hunger. They may desire the destruction of a village to secure their territory. Other cases are more obscure. A coordinated effort to mark every thirteenth tree with an alien sign. Routing a nonthreatening species of bird from a section of the forest. The building of a well where no water can be drawn. Their worshippers never question them. They obey.
When they attack, they may be brutish or subtle. Using their tremendous size and strength they may choose to simply trample you. They are capable of making themselves appear more like the trees of the place they inhabit. This allows them to use stealth when it suits them. In other cases, they can simply rely on their slaves to bring them ready offerings. Their preference is to wrap their victims with their tentacles and feed the always starving mouths. The strength is completely drained from the victim but they are left technically alive, a husk to be fed upon by some other passing beast. It is unimaginably cruel.
The most disturbing cases are the survivors. Something about the green slime of the Dark Young infects the mind. Those who are partially fed upon but manage to escape are psychically broken. They appear schizophrenic. They start to obsess over the Dark Young, replaying the encounter over and over again in their minds. They crave a return to the place of the attack. They must go back and feel the fulfillment of a complete devouring. They want to be consumed. In other cases, this need manifests as worship. In this way, the survivor of a Dark Young attack becomes the most devout member of the cult.
Written by Giles Ravensong.