Leng (plateau)

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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.

Lovecraft's fictional character Abdul Alhazred describes it as a place where different realities converge, which might explain why its precise location cannot be pinned down.[citation needed]

Appearances in Lovecraft's work[edit]

  • Lovecraft first mentioned and described aspects of Leng in Celephaïs (1920) in which it is described how Kuranes "once barely escap[ed] from the high-priest not to be described, which wears a yellow silken mask over its face and dwells alone in a prehistoric stone monastery on the cold desert plateau of Leng".[1]
  • Leng is described 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, goatish humans who are feared by all other men.[2]
  • 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.
  • Leng is also (briefly) mentioned in "The Horror in the Museum", and "The Whisperer in Darkness".

Earlier appearances[edit]

Other mentions[edit]

  • In Stephen King's novel Needful Things, Mr. Gaunt gives Ace Merrill 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 the place where Flagg's spellbook was written, by a man named Alhazred.
  • In Brian Lumley's Cthulhu Cycle novels the plains of Leng are supposed to be located in Earth's dreamland.[3]
  • In the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Leng is a demi-plane, or pocket dimension, that exists adjacent to the world of Golarion. It closely resembles the Leng described in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
  • In the CCG Magic: The Gathering, there are two cards named Library of Leng and Candles of Leng.
  • In August Derleth's short story "The Thing That Walked on the Wind", two characters claim to have been taken "...to Leng, lost Leng, hidden Leng, whence sprung Wind-Walker".[4]
  • In Neil Gaiman's 1994 short story "Only the End of the World Again", Leng Avenue is a street in Innsmouth.
  • In Kim Newman's Richard Jeperson short story "Soho Golem", an occultist and priest of Nyarlathotep holds the noble title "Lord Leaves of Leng".
  • Leng is mentioned by an Iranian agent in "A Colder War" (1997) by Charles Stross.
  • In Charles Stross's short story "Pimpf", the "Language of Leng" is inserted into the programming code of Neverwinter Nights in order to ensnare the souls of players.
  • In The Illuminatus! Trilogy, Leng is mentioned as being the home of an order of cannibal priests.
  • In Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Saga of the Renunciates", a character refers to a road that goes "across the Plateau of Leng" being "impassable and haunted by monsters"
  • High on Fire's 2010 song "Frost Hammer" contains the lyric "Plateau of Leng".
  • In the novella "Voluntary Committal", collected in 20th Century Ghosts, by Joe Hill, it appears in the song lyrics "The ants go marching two-by-two, They walked across the Leng plateau".
  • In the Horus Heresy short story collection Tales of Heresy, Book 10 of the Horus Heresy book series, the "Hall of Leng" is mentioned in the story "Blood Games" authored by Dan Abnett. It is described as a location within the Imperial Palace on Terra (Earth).[5]
  • In Alan Moore's Neonomicon the plateau of Leng is described as a projection into a higher mathematical space, which makes up the universe as observable by humans.
  • In Darrell Schweitzer's short story "The Adventure of the Death-Fetch", featured in the anthology The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a mystery revolves around an expedition to the Plateau of Leng.
  • In the comic series Locke & Key, demonic Lovecraftian spirits from beyond a buried stone doorway are known as the Children of Leng.
  • In Marc Laidlaw's short story "Leng", first printed in the anthology Lovecraft Unbound, Leng is a remote plateau in Tibet where the monks of a lone monastery serve what appears to be an ancient underground fungus and possible hive mind, similar to Ophiocordyceps sinensis, but which infects humans.[6]
  • In the world of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, Leng is an isolated island inhabited in part by a culture that worships the "Old Ones", who dwell underground in subterranean ruins and labyrinths.[7]
  • The starting point of Bob Morane's adventure Les Dents du tigre by Henri Vernes is the plateau of Leng in Tibet, somehow connected with the lost continent of Mu.[8]
  • In the incoming board game Deep Madness by Dimension Games inspired by Lovecraft's work, Leng Corporation is the company responsible for the chain of events happening in its story.[9]
  • Frequently appears in the tabletop roleplaying game Delta Green. In The Fall of DELTA GREEN, Leng is shown in a map to be located in Afghanistan.[10], in the 2018 Handler's Guide, Lang was discovered by Soviet soldiers during the Soviet–Afghan War, the soldiers made a pact with the inhabitants of Leng to deliver human sacrifices in exchange of riches and power, creating a supernatural version of the Russian mafia.
  • The first episode of season 3 of True Detective features a fictional Dungeons & Dragons manual called The Forests of Leng.


  1. ^ Lovecraft, H.P. (1920). Celephaïs (Penguin ed.). p. 28.
  2. ^ H. P. Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
  3. ^ Lumley, Brian (1978). The Clock of Dreams. Grafton. ISBN 0-586-21465-8.
  4. ^ Blackwood, A.; Price, Robert M. (2006). The Ithaqua Cycle. Chaosium, Inc. p. 61. ISBN 1568821913.
  5. ^ Abnett, Dan (2009). "Blood Games". In Kyme, Nick & Priestley, Lindsey (eds.). Tales of heresy (print). Horus Heresy [book series]. 10. Cover art & illustration by Neil Roberts (1st UK ed.). Nottingham, UK: Black Library. pp. 9–60. ISBN 978-1-84416-683-1. [Context at pp. 20, 27].
  6. ^ "Leng - Marc Laidlaw". 22 May 2012.
  7. ^ Martin, George R. R., Elio Garcia, and Linda Antonsson. The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones. Bantam Books, 2014.
  8. ^ Henri Vernes, Les Dents du tigre, Marabout, « Marabout Junior » series #134, 1958.
  9. ^ "Update 12: Mining the Wreckage · Deep Madness". Kickstarter.
  10. ^ Hite, Kenneth. The Fall of DELTA GREEN. Pelgrane Press. pp. 2–3. ISBN 9781912324002.