It took a moment for the weight of her words to fully sink in. When they finally did, I felt despair like nothing I had ever known before. The world grew dim. My vision swam. The paltry effort I had been making to push myself to my feet proved all for naught as I slumped to my knees. It was all meaningless, I realized. All of it, utterly meaningless.
“How many?” I croaked. “How many were there before me?”
The priestess laughed, a high soft noise, almost musical. The way the sound contrasted with my own misery felt like knives being pushed into my ears, like an icy fist clutching my heart and pulling it into my stomach. “Dozens. More. The God of the Bloody Tongue has drank an ocean’s worth of hearts’ blood spilled on the Altar of Teeth. The Haunter of the Dark has borne witness to a thousand atrocities perpetrated in Nyarlathotep’s names. There have been nearly as many victims as there are masks in the Masquerade, and still it will never be enough.”
“No,” I said, my voice barely a whisper. I shook my head, as if that could dispel the dark miasma currently infesting my skull. “How many ethnographers?”