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The Hanged King is a powerful being in the universe of the SCP Foundation. He is the monarch of the distant realm of Alagadda and is considered as one of the most powerful entities in the multiverse. The Foundation knows him with two separate designations: SCP-701-1 and SCP-2264-5.
He is based on the various incarnations of Hastur, especially from Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow.
Due to the universe of the SCP-Foundation having no official canon, there is also no official origin or biography to the Hanged King. The biography below is composed of several different sources of the SCP-wiki, which can work together, but necessarily do not.
Betrayal, Death & Resurection
The Hanged King was once the ruler of the city-state of Alagadda, where he governed as a corrupt tyrant, suppressing and exploiting monarch. He indulged himself in base pleasures and possibly practiced ancient, dark magic from the abyss.
Eventually most of the people of Alagadda rebelled against their King, setting his palace on fire and killing all who were loyal to him, including his court jester. The King was captured, and his crown and robes were ripped away from him, being replaced with rags and chains. His jaw was then broken and he was forced to crawl through the streets of the city, while being mocked, kicked pelted with filthy things by his former subjects, who all cheered loudly. In responce he only mumbled unholy words, which frightened the people, who in turn cheered louder in order to silence him.
The King was hanged outside the city on a hill, and while suffocating to death, he continued to mutter unholy words until he died. He was originally left to hang, to be feasted on by crows and maggots, but as nothing touched the dead body, the people burried him in a shallow grave.
After this, the people started to rob the palace of their former ruler, indulging themselves in his riches.
The next day, crows started to gather around the grave of the dead King and strange noises could heard from beneath the earth, though this was only heard by a homeless man, who was dismissed the rest of the people. The day after that, the river that flew through the city turned red and started to smell like human blood, and many citizens fell ill, started to bleed and tremble and were bound by chains. Those who stole from the palace suffered the most, growing weak and eventually dying.
On the third day the illness lifted, but the people became suicidal, cutting their faces and slitting their throats, and their blood poured through the city into the red river. Madness speard and most animals save for the crows also fled the city in this time.
On that very same day, having refused to die and having bargained with the souls of others, the King rose from his grave and travelled through the city, back to his palace. There he sat down on a throne covered with rusted spikes, which pearced his flesh and brought agony to his soul. Despite the pain, he remained silent for a moment, until the palace began to tremble and the red river boiled. The crows started to circle the city and pecked any surviving subjects to death. The Hanged King himself was now bound to the seat permanently and his undead court jester approached him, offering a silver chalice of blood, which the King took, but due to his trembling hands, dropped on the floor, spilling the blood.
This led to the dead throughout the city to rise again, now in twisted, inhumane form, whose faces were covered in masquerade masks. The dead started a continuous carnival through the street, acting like the previous days had just been a plays or act, and depraved acts such as orgies became common place on the streets. The Hanged King himself started to scream at this, but his death had made him unable to make any sounds, which led him to weep in silence.
The crows laughed and flew away, though they would always watch over the city, which now became an interdimensional nexus (SCP-2264-B), which could accessed by numoerous interdimensional entry points called known as Janus Gate.
During the uprising the scholars and artists had decided to run and leaved the city before the hanging. Despite their escape, they suffered from Nightmares, which showed the new vile form of the city. These dreams would influence them to create works of art, theatre or literature based on the Hanged King and the city around him, which would spread his influence and make everyone who views said adaptations accessible to the King.
Live in Alagadda
The Hanged King (now SCP-2264-5) is still stationary within Alagadda, and cannot move. Because of this, he uses SCP-2264-4, also known as The Ambassador of Alagadda, as an mobile agent, who travels throughout the city and wider multiverse. The Ambassador has traveled as far as Adytum, where he met Grand Karcist Ion. Over eons many have come to city, either in order to participate in the carnival and/or orgies of the twisted, vaguely humanoid inhabitants or in order seeking the boon of the King.
One notable Janus Gate was located in the Martin Tower of the Tower of London, created by Northumberland Lord Henry Percy in the 17th century, which would later be known as SCP-2264-A. Percy's friend, famous playwright Christopher Marlowe traveled through the gate into Alagadda, where the Ambassador would influenced the playwright to write The Hanged King's Tragedy, a five-act Caroline-era revenge tragedy, which would later be known as SCP-701.
The play, when performed, has the chance in triggering an anomalous psychotic events, which always leads to a human sacrifice and mass suicide, killing all performers and parts of the audience. Surviving audience members will go on a murderous rampage for the next 24 hours, before calming down. A hooded figure is also often been seen during the rehersals of the play as well as during the play itself, desiganted as SCP-701-1, who is considered an avatar of the King himself.
It is speculated that the plays has to far killed at least ten thousand people, if not more. Henry Percy also tried to stop Christopher Marlowe from publishing the play, though without success.
The Foundation's travel to Alagadda
At some point the SCP Foundation found the Janus Gate (designated as SCP-2264-A) in the Tower of London, and through an alchemic ritual, managed to open a way to the city. The Foundation conducted several missions into the city, with varying results.
Traveling inside the city appears difficult to humans, as concepts of space and time don't seem as fixed as on Earth, and recalling events after returning is also difficult, unless a person was either a lucid dreame or using hallucinogenics, which could help a little with coordination and memory.
One of the most famous travellers to the city was Dr. Calixto Narváez, who discovered a lot, such as that all spoken language was translated, meaning all beings in Alagadda could communicate with each other, while written language was more complex. Dr. Narváez was deployed two times in Alagadda, and met another traveler there, the Wandsman of Kul-Manas, who warned about the Ambassador and encouraged the Doctor to leave before he'd return.
Despite the Wandsman's warnings, Mobile Task Force Psi-9 ("Abyss Gazers") was sent to Alagadda, in order to estimate the thread the city and it's inhabitants could pose to humanity. The Task Force consisted of twelve agents, specialised in Counter Occult Stratagems. After traveling through to the city and arriving at the city's centre, the Palace, they met the Ambassador, who taunted the agents in an arrogant and narcissistic, forcing the men to "destroy themselves" with it's psychic powers, while laughing in an alien language. The agents suffered both mentally and physically, with bones, organs and muscles being damaged, which led to the death of eleven agents, leaving only one survivor, Alexander Papadopoulos.
Agent Papadopoulos was dragged by the Ambassador through the Palace, meeting the Hanged King himself. According to Papadopoulos that the King's face was hidden beneath a veil, which was then lifted, and the agent described the sight as following:
"A god shaped hole. The barren desolation of a fallen and failed creation. You see the light of long dead stars. Your existence is nothing but an echo of a dying god's screams. The unseen converges. Surrounds you. And it tightens like a noose."
Agent Papadopoulos was then returned to Earth as a message/warning for the Foundation and an interview was conducted over the event. Over the interview the agent showed a lot of distress and begged to be terminated, which were rejected. The agent was later amputated in order to prevent suicide-attempts.
Further operations to Alaggada have suspended for the time being.
The Scarlet King
At some point the Hanged King came into contact with the Scarlet King, an even more powerful god, to whom he fell into service, alongside Jeser and Moloch. He came to be known was the The King on the Gallows, He Who Was Hung, who tore down the Tree of Knowledge.
The Wanderers' Library
The Wanderers' Library (a group associated with the Serpent's Hand) claim the Hanged King to be an "ancient, unknowable thing with more names than the stars". The King once stayed at the library, but during his stay the library became more and more insular and depressive, which lead to a sudden loss of knowledge in the 11th Century.
The Hanged King encompasses Cosmic Horror, so his true motivation and reasoning is beyond human-comprehension. The reason for SCP-701 and it's effects are unknown, and the city of Alagadda appears to be more ideal for higher beings such as the Karcists of Sarkicism.
As SCP-2264-5, agent Papadopoulos describes the King being covered in tattered robes, having hallowed bonds around its corpse-like hands and throat, with pale tendrils slither in and out the tattered robes. There were impish creatures crawling all over the him, caressing its twitching body as if intending comfort while others pulled the tethers that anchored the King even tighter. The face was covered with an veil, and what lied beneath was described as a "god-shaped hole", enough to turn a human insane and suicidal.
As SCP-701-1 the Hanged King can move freely, though he still covered in robes and chains, with it's face being concealed in a hood.
The King's true power is unknown, though according to the Wandsman of Kul-Manas, the ancient being known as Yaldabaoth could rival the Hanged King, making him one of the most powerful being's in the multiverse.
He still cannot move away from his palace in Alagadda, having to use the Ambassador to travel across creation, apparently only being able to manifest in the human world through SCP-701.
Despite all this, was still weaker than the Scarlet King, and for this reason presumably fell to his service.
- The city of Alagadda is inspired by the city of Carcosa, lair of Hastur. Notable are the "dark stars" mentioned in both.
- The different works of ficition created in the Hanged King's name are based on the Yellow Sign.
- One of the few beings with two separate SCP-designations: SCP-701-1 and SCP-2264-5.