|“||So, this is the total of the strength which can be mustered by the great Elder Gods! What do you know of the Great Old Ones - the ones who seeped down from the stars, of whom those I have released are only servitors? You and your Celaeno Fragments and your puerile star-signs - what can you guess of the realities which those half-veiled revelations hint? You ought to be thankful, you imbeciles, that I'm going to kill you now, before the race below gets back into sway on the Earth and lets Those outside back in!||„|
|~ Lionel Phipps|
Lionel Phipps is the main antagonist of Ramsey Campbell's Cthulhu Mythos short story The Horror from the Bridge.
In 1806 Lionel Phipps was born in the English town of Clotton to James Phipps, a worshipper of the Great Old Ones, and a strange woman he met at a Satanist ritual in Temphill. Phipps was raised to awe the Great Old Ones, and another alien race imprisoned beneath a river in Clotton by the Elder Gods. Passers-by often heard James and Lionel Phipps performing rituals to their gods, and in 1823 the two were seen examining the vault beneath the bridge where the river-creatures were imprisoned. Upon ascertaining the location of the vault, they dug a tunnel to it from their cellar in order to release them when the time was right. The creatures were almost released in 1825, when a man searching for an escaped criminal insisted on searching the Phipps's cellar and opened the door to the tunnel, but James Phipps managed to shut it away again.
James Phipps died in 1898. Soon after Phipps was overheard arguing with his mother, accusing her of hiding the star-charts he needed to find out when the right time to release the creatures was. After being unable to find the chart, Phipps went to the British Museum to read Abdul Alhazred's Necronomicon and the even older Book of Eibon. He found that the seal preventing the creatures from escaping would cease to operate when Glyu'uho (known to humans as Betelgeuse), Fomalhaut and the Hyades were in the appropriate position. His mother pointed out to him that the destruction of the seal wasn't needed since he could just let them in through the cellar, but Phipps refused to do this because he would be unable to protect himself. She also pointed out that if the seal was removed the monsters would continue to breed at an exponential rate and would soon summon the Great Old Ones back to wipe out humanity, but Phipps believed that the Old Ones would never harm their priest and he would be able to rule the world. Upon failing to talk him out of it, Phipps's mother ran away and was later found as only a skeleton.
When Glyu'uho, Fomalhaut and the Hyades reached their correct alignment in 1899, Phipps went out and attempted to perform the ritual to release the creatures, but nothing happened. He visited the British Museum to read the Necronomicon again and learn the correct chant for next time, in the process arousing the suspicions of librarian Philip Chesterton. Chesterton began investigating Phipps and discovered the truth about his parentage: his mother was an undead woman who had been resurrected by the Temphill cult and given to James Phipps as a wife. This parentage gave Phipps arcane powers belonging to the Old Ones, but also meant he was only half-human and so had to use magic to prevent himself and his mother from decaying. His mother had died because she had stopped using the magic to preserve her undead life, causing her to decay. Horrified by this discovery, and guessing what Phipps was planning, Chesterton resigned and moved to the Severn Valley to stop him.
Eventually, on 2 September 1931, the stars reached their correct alignment again. Phipps went out onto the bridge and began shrieking the correct incantation while looking up at Fomalhaut. This ritual summoned a bolt of lightning which destroyed the seal, releasing the river-creatures from their prison. At the same time as the creatures emerged, a hunting party showed up at the bridge carrying rifles. Phipps mistook them for servants of the Elder Gods and declared that they should be thankful they would be dead before the Great Old Ones returned before one of the creatures attacked.
Fortunately, at the same time as Phipps was releasing the monsters, Chesterton had been performing a ritual that sealed the creatures away again, meaning that only the three that had already escaped by this point remained at large. The ritual also made the creatures vulnerable, allowing the men to kill the one that attacked them with gunfire. Phipps, enraged at his failure, charged at them and was immediately shot dead. Upon his death, the magic preventing him from decaying was negated and his body was reduced to a skeleton.
Chesterton and the hunters went on to kill or imprison the other two creatures, ending the threat posed by Phipps's plan.