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⚠️ content warning
Item#: 7462
Containment Class:
Secondary Class:
Disruption Class:
Risk Class:

Assigned Site Site Supervisor Research Lead Case Lead
Outpost 312 Anna Dubois Yasmin Merhout Jan Claessen


"Willem die Madocke/vele bouke maekte." Opening lines to "Van Den Vos Reynaerde" in the Comburger manuscript, modified in the 1400s. The first known redaction of the existence of SCP-7462.

Special Containment Procedures: The only known copy of SCP-7462 is kept in Containment Locker 2 at Outpost 312 in Nieuwegein, Netherlands.

Under no circumstances are the contents of SCP-7462 allowed to be recontextualised in any way. This includes transcription, (modern Dutch or English) translation, or adaptation through recitals, performance or reading out loud.

The status of SCP-7462 as a lost text is to be maintained under cover story 7462/1640 “Forgetbuster”. Any newly discovered renditions are to be retrieved and contained, and all references to their existence removed. Foundation webcrawlers are to monitor for mentions of “Madocke/Madock” in combination with “Alagadda”.

Description: SCP-7462 is a spiral-class hermeneutic1 attached to Madocke, an epic poem in Middle-Dutch estimated to have been written around 1250. Its only surviving rendition, SCP-7462-1, was discovered as a fragment manuscript in the bookbinding of a 16th century printed edition of Karel ende Elegast.2 Evidence suggests that the folios containing SCP-7462-1 were cut from the Trechter Manuscript, a handwritten composite manuscript dating back to the latter half of the 13th century, containing 70 non-anomalous Medieval literary texts. The Trechter Manuscript is otherwise well-preserved, suggesting that the removal of SCP-7462-1 was a deliberate act.


The Red Lord of Alagadda, depicted as a fox in the Trechter Manuscript.

Madocke is a relatively short epic poem, consisting of only 701 lines of verse; the odd number of lines suggests that this rendition is incomplete. Very little is known about its writer, aside from also writing Van Den Vos Reynaerde.3 Further examination of Reynaerde shows no anomalous link; however, the opening prologue of Reynaerde instructs the perceiver to leave its words unchanged, suggesting awareness of SCP-7462's effects.

Discovery: On 26/04/2004, the Foundation was alerted to the existence of SCP-7462-1 by a Foundation webcrawler embedded in the Intranet servers of the University of Ghent, Belgium. References to “Alagadda” were cause to investigate.

SCP-7462’s effects on the retrieval and initial categorisation team were inadvertently documented by Agent Jan Claessen in his field report. The newly created reinterpretation of Madocke, as seen in the addendum, displays low levels of memetic characteristics, but review while observing the SCP-7462 Containment Procedures does not result in re-activation of SCP-7462.

The events leading to the final discovery of Agent Claessen fit available security footage and reports by other personnel. All people present confirm the accuracy of the events, although heavily fictionalised.

To date, this is the only documented activation event.

Act 1. Prologue

Dramatis Personae

Agent Anna Dubois; newly in charge and taking the lead.
Agent Jan Claessen; a man who hides a spirited need.
Dr. Yasmin Merhout; not present just yet,
but soon she will join our travelling set.

Dr. Martin Cortoys; a scholar with knowledge to depart.
‘tis With him that our story will start.

The Agents travel to Belgium, to the University of Ghent, to retrieve Madocke, which holds anomalous content.

Facing them is Cortoys, greying and ponderous. He’d seen the vision, the shores of the wonderous. His words, covered by courtly display; let us hear what he has to say!

CORTOYS: – Truly a remarkable find. Once upon a time, this text was famous enough to promote Willem’s masterpiece, Van den Vos Reynaerde.

DUBOIS: The story about a fox who leads a court of animals to temptation, right? I remember it from school, although I couldn’t read the Middle-Dutch. It looks so familiar, though.

CORTOYS: Ah! There’s a trick for that! These verses were meant to be spoken or sung. Even reading – a rare skill at the time – was done out loud. All the verses are in rhyme, since that’s easier to remember, but it can also help with the pronunciation. Try reading it out loud!


The opening lines, which have been redacted
For the safety of those who could be affected.

CORTOYS: We only know about the author of these two masterpieces by the moniker he gave himself: Willem die Madocke maekte.4 He otherwise disappeared from the pages of history. All that remains are questions and theories.

Agent Dubois, she’s learned the trick. A Foundation has been laid, brick by brick. To get what you need, you approach with grace. So there is the smile, painting her face.

DUBOIS: Don’t tell me you don’t have an answer.

CORTOYS: Well, I certainly wouldn’t say I have the answer, but… Let’s just say you can’t study these texts as intensely as I have without being able to pick up on patterns. Willem was well-read, referencing fables, mythology and other cultural artefacts, as well as employing the expected tropes of the genres, but with a twist.

DUBOIS: Twist?

CORTOYS: Reynaerde wasn’t invented by Willem, but he really leaned into the idea of a fox – a common way to depict the devil – with temptation and the fall of Eden. It's why that poem is still a classic today. Similarly, Madocke is a twist on the sea voyage epic to reach Paradise.

Who is that shade, who stands to the side?
A figure in shadow, a King untied.

CORTOYS: It starts with an elder wiseman telling the main character about a faraway Paradise waiting at the other side of the ocean, and instructing him to travel with a specific number of crewmen. As Madocke prepares to leave, three unnamed monks join the crew at the last moment, begging to travel with him to Alagadda and meet its King. As per the trope, Madocke can’t reach Paradise until his crew is back to the original number.

Jan Claessen’s shoulders tense as he hears that name. At last, the knowledge for which they came.

CLAESSEN: What does it say about Alagadda’s King?

CORTOYS: Unsurprisingly, very little. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey! Most of the text tells us about the islands that make up Alagadda, presided over by regional rulers in animal masks that represent their sins. As they encounter the four Lords that make up the Noble King’s court, the Latecomers fall one by one – a common theme for the genre. One Latecomer sets off on a different mission, one is wounded and has to be left behind, and one is marked for damnation.

DUBOIS: So, the story isn’t really about Alagadda?

CORTOYS: In a sense. It's about what Alagadda means to these travellers. Their sins and desires, unmasked! Only then can Madocke reach the King's court and sail home.

CLAESSEN: Not exactly Paradise, then.

The scholar chuckles as he shakes his head.

CORTOYS: The twist is that it is, in a most deceptive way. Nothing can compare to the pleasures of Alagadda. Pleasures you'll never stop craving, desires you'll have to fight until your final breath, or they will eventually choke you. A heaven and hell of your own making.

The encounter concludes, and Cortoys is forced to forget.

And so, our travellers told
Of many wonders to behold
On their journey to contain
That which should not remain.
With their task to control
They’ll learn the nature of their soul.
They set sail, embark on their travel,
A mystery unwinding, a knot to unravel.
With the three Latecomers, named again:
Dubois, Merhout and Claessen.

Act 2. Nigredo

They arrive at the isle where the Black Lord resides.
The dark cliffs of Nigredo, polished by tides.
A city in shadow, a castle forgotten,
Watched by a ruler most twisted and rotten.
Their subjects caught in endless rivalry,
The Black Lord looks down from their tower of ivory.
The mask of a Bear, eternal in grin,
A desire for power: t'was their greatest sin.

Our Latecomers, with the trophy in their hands, travel by car back to the Netherlands. There is one who fits the mask of the Bear. The first Latecomer will leave us here.

CLAESSEN: You’ve learned some new tricks since our last field mission. He basically ate out of your hand! I can’t remember teaching you that.

DUBOIS: It’s a lot easier to amnestisize someone who trusts you.

That was the last lesson Agent Claessen – unknowingly – taught you.

CLAESSEN: How is it to leave the ivory tower of EU Command, and work in the lowly backwaters of Nieuwegein? Quite a step down.

DUBOIS: Don’t say that, Outpost 312 has potential.

CLAESSEN: And a fast track to Directorship for its supervisor once it gets Site status, right? Clever move, Anna.

DUBOIS: That’s a cynical way of looking at it.

Just because it’s cynical, doesn’t make it untrue.

CLAESSEN: I’m just saying I don’t envy you. Directorship would just give me a headache. From where I stand, the world is a lot less complex. Retrieve the weird stuff, and shoot the horrors.

DUBOIS: It all takes a toll.

CLAESSEN: Nothing I can’t handle.

Dubois frowns, but has no retort. She’s noticed his coffee – the Irish sort.

DUBOIS: It was good to be back in the field, even temporary.

CLAESSEN: First field mission in five years and you’re already done?

DUBOIS: Got a meeting in The Hague about the D-Class programme. You can meet up with Dr. Merhout without me, can’t you?

CLAESSEN: I’m not sure I can charm my way to an answer the way you can.

She feels the strings sewn into her skin.
Contort in a smile, pull in a grin.

DUBOIS: The man was about to forget his greatest academic achievement. The least I could do was humour him.

CLAESSEN: You did that and more. He was about to buy you dinner.

So much for a partnership’s chance to restart.

DUBOIS: Is there a problem with the way I conduct this investigation, Agent Claessen?

CLAESSEN: No, chief. Sorry, chief.

A silence between friends, growing apart.

CLAESSEN: You’ve changed.

No matter how much she wished that was true,
She couldn’t lie: deep down she knew.

DUBOIS: I haven’t. I just learned how the game is played.

The corners of her mouth, pinned in a smile.
It hid a desire, a goal most vile.
Rotten it is, the desire for might,
She’d scheme in the dark, to rule in the light.

Act 3. Albedo

The Library of Albedo, its ashen stones arise
Bright and pure, against darkened skies.
The White Lord rules these library halls,
Keeps all that is known well within these walls.
Masked as a Cat, but one eye lost,
– A reminder that knowledge comes at a cost –
They wash and they cleanse till all is pure
Blind to what their subjects endure.

Madocke secured; containment is next! For that, they need to understand its text. Merhout and Claessen will complete this task, and a Latecomer will don the White Cat’s mask.

CLAESSEN: It’s memetic, isn’t it?

MERHOUT: Actually, that’s a common misconception. Memetics are ideas that spread. The Hanged King’s Tragedy was considered a memetic virus for a very long time, until developments in the field of anomalous hermeneutics has led us to reconsidering its effects.

CLAESSEN: Do I look like I understood what you just said?

Dr. Merhout looks at the man of muscle and force, then chuckles and continues her course.

MERHOUT: You look like you’ve lifted more books than you’ve read. Alright, I’ll break it down for you. In literary science, "hermeneutics" is concerned with interpretation. Adaptations, performances, translations, all reworking and remixing the original. So, an anomalous hermeneutic is an anomaly that's activated by, or involved with reinterpretation. Following along, big guy?

Jan Claessen nods, a little less confused.

MERHOUT: There are two types of hermeneutics: spiral-class and circle-class. Circle hermeneutics concerns itself with a singular response, based on a singular “meaning” of that anomaly. The Hanged King’s Tragedy is a circle-class hermeneutic: if it activates, it incites violence in all affected individuals. The effect, the core meaning of that interpretation, is always violence.

CLAESSEN: Don’t some individuals attack bystanders, and others commit suicide?

MERHOUT: Interpretation isn’t black and white. If you’re going to be pedantic, you’re going to incite violence in me.

They share a moment, both amused.

CLAESSEN: Madocke is the other one?

MERHOUT: It’s a spiral-class hermeneutic, which means the effect is tailored to the individuals doing the reinterpretation. Same anomalous starting point, but with a new context. It builds a bridge between the receiver and the source, spiralling off a new meaning each time.

CLAESSEN: That means that the effects could also differ with each activation?

MERHOUT: Possibly. More likely, it’s a new version of wherever that bridge leads to. In this case: does it lead to Madocke, the Kingdom of Alagadda, or its ruling Lords? Will it bring the Hanged King to our world, or us to Alagadda? That’s up for interpretation, which we’re not supposed to do, of course.

A figure steps forward, nothing more than a shade. To Dr. Merhout they hand a steel blade.

CLAESSEN: Not curious what would happen, Allfather of Knowledge?

MERHOUT: Of course! I wouldn’t have joined the Foundation if I didn’t. But times have changed; we don’t just throw D-Classes at every mystery. There is a price for knowledge like that.

She raises the blade close to her face. Both hands keep it steady, keep it in place.

MERHOUT: A price in blood. A tribute.

With one clear move, her eye is carved out.

MERHOUT: The price to pay for knowledge devout.

Learning a truth at any cost won’t stop her.

MERHOUT: We can pretend to be better, cleaner, more proper.

Redact all your crimes, by omission you lie.

MERHOUT: Many a time, I’ve turned a blind eye.5

To lose the left half of her sight.
All that is left is to see what is right.

Act 4. Citrinitas

Now they travel through a place that Once Was,
The empty wastelands of Citrinitas.
The Yellow Lord, their howl made silent.
Found their end in a battle so violent.
At night Jan remembers, but only in dream:
Another person was once part of this team.
A former companion, a friend who did fall.
You cannot mourn who you cannot recall.

There was a forth, a name erased; torn from the pages by the horror they faced. They thought it was best if your mind was reset. Jan, what's that name you were made to forget?

CLAESSEN: Alright, your turn. Biggest fear?

Who hears: Being remembered.

CLAESSEN: I think you have that backwards, buddy.

the howl?: In this line of work? God, no. There are two ways people stick around here, and they're both Scranton.

CLAESSEN: You lost me.

A fate: Scranton's Question, Claessen. You either get remembered for your greatest accomplishment, or a horrific fate. Which Scranton you are going to be, that's the Question. I'm not gonna invent some shiny doodah or revolutionise some kind of anomalous research, which means I'm left with the other outcome: a cautionary tale.

CLAESSEN: Your drinking habits already are one.

At the end of the day, they got what they wanted.

so foul: Pot and kettle, my friend. Nah, I'm just here to do my job and get out. Preferably with a nice retirement, but if it's not in the cards, I'll settle for a forgettable death. My goal is being less than a footnote in the history of the Foundation.

CLAESSEN: I'll drink to that.

Raise a glass to a wish granted.

At times Jan remembers, in dead of night.
Fragments and moments, like threads untied.
Nothing and no-one is truly gone.
But all of it fades at the break of dawn.

[You have 2 missed calls from Anna Dubois]
[You have 1 new message, which you never saw.]

Act 5. Rubedo

At long last, our companions arrive
At the Wilds of Rubedo, where pleasure can thrive.
A place for desire, for need, for want,
Ruled by the Red Lord, masked in a taunt.
Jan, it is known, you can only be brave,
By drinking the courage you so deeply crave.
Each day in a Foxhole, each moment moves quicker,
If you can taste the relief you find in that liquor.

[You have 5 missed calls from Jacqueline Claessen]
And all of them voicemails, asking where you’ve been.
The answer should come as no surprise:
Jan Claessen indulges in a toxic vice.

So here you stand, Jan, here you lay,
One last Latecomer has to pay.
In drink you cannot escape forever,
You'll soon pay the price for this very endeavour.
Hang, as you may, at the end of your rope,
Where one is left with just a fool’s hope
You’ll arrive at the Alagaddan shore
To drink and forget to feel once more
In the court of the once Hanged King –
A Ruler made of twine and string.
The rope, it twists into His crest.
Blessed His mark in crimson nest.
Until the tribute is paid in full.
Every day you'll feel the pull
Of the noose around your neck


And every night,
Alagadda drags you back.

Note: Agent Dubois was alerted something was amiss when several calls from her and Claessen’s wife went unanswered. Agent Jan Claessen was eventually found in his office, lying in a pool of his own blood and holding a steel knife similar to the one used by Dr. Merhout, which he had attempted to use to slash his throat. Due to severe alcohol intoxication, he was unable to complete this task.

Agent Claessen was rushed to the hospital and required several blood transfusions. Upon examination, it was discovered the skin of his neck was covered in rope burn.

The above SCP-7462 reinterpretation was found among Agent Claessen's files. Further analysis showed minor memetic characteristics in the text, but no hermeneutic effects. Dr. Merhout concluded that Agent Claessen's failure to "pay the tribute" resulted in an interruption of SCP-7462's effects, stopping the hermeneutic bridge from completing.

Dr. Merhout completed her review of SCP-7462 after recovery, and retired shortly after due to the sustained injury.

Update: After several months of rehabilitation, Agent Claessen signed up for the Foundation sponsored addiction support group.

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