(or Plateau of Leng
) is a fictional cold arid plateau
in the Cthulhu Mythos
, whose location seems to vary entirely from story to story. The Plateau of Tsang, referenced by H. P. Lovecraft
and other authors, is probably a region of Leng.
The mad Arab Abdul Alhazred describes it as a place where different realities converge, which might explain why its precise location cannot be pinned down.
Appearances in Lovecraft's work
- Lovecraft first described Leng in "The Hound" (1922) in which the dreaded Necronomicon places it in Central Asia and says it is inhabited by a human corpse-eating cult.
- In The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, (1926) the Plateau of Leng is located in the north of the Dreamlands, an alternate dimension accessible only in sleep. It is inhabited by the High Priest Not to Be Described, who dwells alone in a prehistoric monastery, and by a race of degenerate humans who are feared by all other men.
- In At the Mountains of Madness, an expedition from Miskatonic University explores a plateau in Antarctica and discovers an ancient and apparently abandoned city built by the Elder Things. One member of the expedition, who has encountered references to the Plateau of Leng in ancient texts, forms the hypothesis that the plateau they are exploring is Leng. In common with the High Priest's abode in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, the walls of the buildings atop the plateau are covered with detailed frescos that are disturbing to read. However, it is never explicitly stated in the text — or in any of Lovecraft's later works — that this Antarctic city actually is Leng. In fact, it seems more likely that the city is simply an outpost of the Elder Things which came to Earth not to conquer but to live in isolation.
- Wilmarth briefly mentions Leng in "The Whisperer in Darkness".
- Leng is also mentioned in "The Horror in the Museum" and "Celephaïs".
- In Stephen King's novel Needful Things, Mr. Gaunt gives Ace Merril some cocaine said to be fabricated in "the plains of Leng", though no other explanations are given. The novel also contains other references to Lovecraft's work. It is mentioned again in his novel The Eyes of the Dragon where it is described as a vast, poisonous desert.
- In Walter C. DeBill's short story "In 'Ygiroth" (1975), the deserted city of the title is located in the mountains surrounding Leng.
- In Master of Orion II Leng is the name of a star system.
- Leng is mentioned by an Iranian agent in "A Colder War".
- A song is called Leng in "Alan Moore's The Courtyard".
- In Joe Hill's Novel, 20th Century Ghosts, an unseen tape player loops the phrase 'The ants go marching two-by-two, Hurrah! Hurrah! The ants go marching two-by-two, They walked across the Leng plateau And they all went marching down'(297)
- In the CCG Magic: The Gathering, there is a card named Library of Leng. As a matter of coincidence, or perhaps design, this card allows the player to skip his/her discard phase and to put and cards discarded by spell or effect into his/her library instead of his/her graveyard, effectively preventing the loss of any of your cards, except by removal from the game. This coincides with Abdul Alhazred's definition of Leng from the beginning of this article, in that all of your cards (creatures, lands, spells, etc.) converge from the multiple instances (or "realities" if you will) of being in your hand, on the playing field, in your library, and in your graveyard into a single, shifting 'reality' or instance.
"Lěng" is the pinyin of the Chinese character used to describe coldness (冷). It is unknown if Lovecraft knew this when he chose the name for his plateau.
- Harms, Daniel (1998). The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana. 2nd ed., Oakland, CA: Chaosium. ISBN 1-56882-119-0.