Solo Misery Tessellates

Antelokes seeks to learn about his false visions from the visions themselves.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Misery Tessellates

Postby Antelokes on April 3rd, 2022, 4:37 am


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Thick acrid smoke filled Antelokes’ nostrils. The only sounds to accompany it were the dry lifeless peals of cracking rocks, shifting sands, and howling winds. He looked out across a wide barren wasteland. Everything was a shade of gray or brown and there was no trace of any living thing as far as he could see. He scanned the horizon—searching for identifying details. Few of his visions showed him new locations and fewer still did so at this scale. If there was anything to be gleaned from this lie he wanted to learn it.

A storm raged overhead. Though no rain fell, bolts of lighting lanced through the roiling clouds.

“What do you see, child?” Ivak’s voice rang out from behind Antelokes. The young man whirled around to see the god’s noble form gazing across the shattered landscape with a forlorn expression. He inspected the figure warily.

“I see barrenness,” Antelokes responded. He then pressed for more information. “Tell me what I see but don’t understand.” False Ivak made eye contact and smiled a sad smile. Antelokes recognized that smile. It was the same expression the real Ivak made. With that same voice too.

“What you see is the aftermath of destruction. Complete and utter destruction. It isn’t often that you see cataclysm on this scale, although it happens from time to time. Can you guess what exactly caused this scene before us?” Ivak gestured out across the wasteland. Most of the visions Antelokes had seen were threatening if not outright violent. This one seemed different, more genuine. He didn’t dare hope it was the real thing.

“The Valterrian?” he guessed.

“Yes, although there’s no need to dance around the blame. I did this. This place used to be green, lush, and full of life. I burned it all.” To hear it stated so frankly was a frightening thing. Antelokes thought carefully about his next question.

“Why am I being shown this?”

“To help you remember.”

“Remember what?” Antelokes insisted. Ivak smiled, but this time it was not sad or kindly. His lips curled up into a grotesque sneer that bared his teeth as if they were fangs. Antelokes’ heart turned to ice. No, this was definitely not the real Ivak. Now when he heard the god’s voice the figure’s mouth didn’t move to match it. The voice vibrated out of reality itself and echoed through his bones

“To help you remember just how easy it would be for it to happen again. To help you remember how ridiculously futile all of your tiny actions are compared to the forces that really drive this world. To help you remember your place.”

A great ear-splitting crack tore through the air. A hillside in the near distance had exploded in a shower of molten rock that spilled high into the air. A thick cloud of superheated ash shot out from the base and thundered towards Antelokes. The last thing he saw before the cloud enveloped him was that wicked grin. As soon as the wave of blistering hot force struck him the vision shattered.



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Misery Tessellates

Postby Antelokes on April 3rd, 2022, 4:42 am


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Antelokes opened his eyes, standing alone in the center of the Syka Commons. He could still smell the toxic odor of the wasteland. Once the visions left it usually took a minute or two for all of his senses to catch up to reality.

He needed to write down his experiences. This vision had given him a lot more useful information than any of the others. Where had he left his journal? He’d meant to carry it with him so he could record it no matter when the visions struck…

A wave of emotion crashed down on Antelokes, causing him to stagger for a moment. Fear, pain, horror, rage, grief… Every negative emotion he could imagine flooded his senses through his gnosis mark. He had never felt anything so strong. What was happening? He dashed towards the sensation. The path led him into the jungle, which stood thick and mysterious with a blanket of concealing fog. He followed the negative emotions, straining his legs and dodging trees. He almost tripped over the first body.

The corpse was bloated. It had obviously been dead for quite some time, yet somehow emotion still rolled off it in waves. A cold lance of fear stabbed through Antelokes when he recognized Mathias’ face. It was frozen in the same twisted smile that the false Ivak had made in the vision.

Wait Antelokes thought, how…?

He had woken up in the Syka commons… but that wasn’t where he had first fallen into the vision. That meant it had never stopped. He was still under it’s influence.

Antelokes backed away from the body, but quickly saw that much of the fog had lifted. The jungle was full of rotting corpses. Some were piled on top of each other like broken heaps of children’s toys, some were twisted into gruesome impossible shapes, and still others hung above the ground—suspended by vines or onto trees by sharpened branches. All of them emanated the same horrible emotional cocktail that Mathias did. Each and every one of them bore that same horrible smile as well. Well, it was there on the ones that still had recognizable faces.

Antelokes covered his nose. What he’d assumed was the leftover scent of the wasteland was in fact the stench of rotting flesh. Antelokes barely stopped himself from expelling the contents of his stomach right then and there. He stumbled backward. This wasn’t real, it was part of the vision. Unless the thing that gave him the visions had come here and done this while he’d been in the other vision… but no. That wasn’t likely It was possible though. Antelokes turned around, looking for a way to get back to Syka, and to get as far away from the corpses as he could. He didn’t know where to go though. With no landmarks to guide him he was thoroughly lost.

A series of sharp cries drew Antelokes’ attention back to the dead bodies. Several large apes were now hunched over the lifeless forms. Their eyes were bloodshot, and their fur was matted with viscera. He stared on in horror as one of the apes tore the arm from the shoulder socket of one corpse and began to gnaw at it, swallowing big mouthfuls of human flesh.

A hard knot of anger welled up in Antelokes’ chest. This desecration could not be allowed to stand. Not even in a vision.

“Hey!” he shouted, waving his arms. A few of the apes looked at him—almost bored—but most continued feasting on the decomposing bodies. With a growl he charged the ape who was holding the arm. A few of the other apes saw this and hopped up and down, letting out a peal of exited whoops and screams. The ape with the arm saw Antelokes. Just as soon as he was close enough the ape swung the disembodied arm like a club. It struck Antelokes like hammer, sending the young man sprawling across the jungle floor. Dazed, he tried to sit up. His efforts were quickly repelled by a massive weight on his chest. Through disoriented vision Antelokes saw the ape standing on top of him and looming over his face. It pulled its lips back into a gruesome simian sneer. It was the same smile the false Ivak had made. The same smile frozen on the faces of the corpses.

The ape placed its hand across Antelokes’ face. The young man twisted, fighting to get away but the ape was too strong. It grasped his neck with the other hand.. Slowly, the ape pressed two of its fingers deep into Antelokes’ eye sockets.

He screamed. Antelokes’ world turned black as he screamed and screamed until his voice was ragged. Eventually all sound and sensation faded away. He drifted back, enveloped in nothing but a single thought.

Home… I just want to go home…



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Misery Tessellates

Postby Antelokes on April 3rd, 2022, 4:45 am


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Antelokes didn’t want to open his eyes. His cot was warm, and his limbs were weary. There was an underlying sense of urgency though that pushed him to wake up. He rubbed his eyes and slowly rose to his feet, yawning. He was at his father’s shop in Sunberth. Judging from the sounds he could hear through the closed door it was evening. Antelokes noticed the forge itself. It looked cooler than it should be. He moved to the bellows. His father wasn’t here now but he’d better get it back to the proper temperature before the man came back…

No. This wasn’t right. Things weren’t this way anymore. He lived in Syka. This was a vision, it was fake. Why had the visions brought him here of all places?

The back door burst open and an older man stumbled through, wringing his hands in a nervous gesture Antelokes knew too well.

“Dad?” he asked. “What—” his question was interrupted by two hulking gangsters who followed his father through the back door with murder in their eyes. In an instant Antelokes knew why the visions had brought him here. It was the worst moment of his life. The night before he had gotten his gnosis mark.

“Outta the way kid!” one of the gangsters shouted, savagely shoving Antelokes to the floor. This had really happened, but it had been years ago. By this point the sickness that eventually killed his father had already claimed his mind, robbing the great man of all intellect and wisdom. Without his wits the older metalsmith accidentally insulted these two Daggerhands. They’d forced the old man to bring them here so they could punish him as they saw fit.

A wave of nausea shook Antelokes as he saw one of the gangsters place an iron poker into the forge. The Daggerhands had wanted to burn his father’s tongue out with that poker. Antelokes had gotten lucky and used it to kill one of them before they got the chance. The other he’d thrown into the forge, burning him to death. He shuddered at the memory. These were the only two men he’d ever killed. He could never forget what had happened, but he'd certainly never wanted to relive the memory so vividly.

Antelokes’ father met his eyes and the old man seemed to plead with him silently as the Daggerhands shoved him around, leering and joking about all the torturous fun they planned to have. It broke his heart. He hadn’t realized how much he missed his father until now, and it was crippling. The man he saw in this moment wasn’t the quick-witted good-natured fellow he had been before the disease, but he was still Antelokes’ father. Antelokes still loved him. And despite the years that had passed since this this event, seeing these pieces of human filth mistreat his father made Antelokes more than angry enough to kill them again.



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Misery Tessellates

Postby Antelokes on April 3rd, 2022, 4:50 am


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“Hey!” he shouted. The gangsters casually turned to look at him, no trace of fear in their eyes. Antelokes rushed forward, dropping his shoulder and ramming directly into the larger of the two men just as he had done on that night so long ago. The daggerhand fell back into the blazing hot coals of the forge.

Seizing the red-hot poker Antelokes wheeled on the other Daggerhand. He struck mercilessly, crushing the man’s shoulder in one blow, shattering his ribs with another, and finally stabbing him through the eye in a final thrust. Smoke poured out of the man’s eye socket around the poker. Antelokes let if fall to the floor.

In real life this had been when he had noticed these men’s gang affiliation tattoos. He’d burned the bodies in the forge to make sure none of their fellow gang members found out what he’d done. It had taken a whole night at the bellows before the last scrap of flesh had given way to smoke and ash. He still had nightmares about it sometimes.

It had been in the aftermath—surrounded by the fetid stench of burnt flesh—when Ivak had come to him. The god had raised him out of despair and set him on a path forward, giving him an Azenth mark to help him along his way.

That didn’t happen this time.

The man he’d stabbed through the eye didn’t fall dead. Instead, he pulled his lips back into that same damnable grin. From behind him the other daggerhand crawled out of the forge. Antelokes looked on in shock and horror as the half-charred corpse struggled to its feet, grotesquely smiling in the exact same way, exposing the bones of his skull and jaw where they had been pressed into the searing coals.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

The man Antelokes stabbed grabbed him in a crushing bear hug. Antelokes struggled to free himself but the man’s arms were hard as steel. He looked on in despair as the half-burnt man took the poker from the ground and turned towards his father, who had been huddled in the corner whimpering.

“No! You stay away from him! Leave him alone!” Antelokes shouted. “Kill me!, Kill me you filthy vision freaks! Kill me!”

The burnt man ignored him. Antelokes writhed and struggled but couldn’t break free from the gangster’s grip. He heard a sickening thump from the corner, followed by a pathetic cry of pain. Antelokes fought like a cornered dog, kicking, scratching, headbutting, even trying to turn and bite his captor. A guttural tone of animalistic frustration tore itself from his throat, thick with rage and bile. It was fruitless.

Eventually, the arms holding him went limp. The gangster’s whole body collapsed to the ground at once, as if the supernatural force animating it had left and death had finally caught up to it. The same thing happened at the same time to the thug who had been killing his father. Antelokes immediately darted forward, tearing the charred corpse off of his father’s bloody form.

Antelokes hugged the broken body and cried. Tears streamed down his face, mixing with his sweat before falling onto the older smith’s body and joining the blood in thick congealing pools. In this moment the fact that this was only a vision didn’t even register.

“Dad… dad… please…” he muttered, over and over again This wasn’t how his father died! This wasn’t how he was supposed to die. It was never like this. It couldn’t be like this…

“Antelokes…” the response came, barely even a whisper. Apparently, his father still clung to life, if only by a thread.

“Father?” Antelokes answered, the faintest grain of hope in his voice.

“Antelokes,” his father continued. “I am so…” he trailed off.

“So what? Please father, stay awake. Be strong!”

“I am so disappointed in you.” The sentence struck Antelokes like an arrow to the heart. All hope was dashed, all joy gone. His father continued, “If I were still alive, I would spit in your eye and curse you for daring to call yourself my child.” With a final shuddering breath, Antelokes’ father met his son’s eyes and smiled. It was that same smile. That ape smile. That terrible cruel soulless grin. Seeing it on his father’s face shattered Antelokes’ resolve. He collapsed to the dirty floor and let the blackness take him again.



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Misery Tessellates

Postby Antelokes on April 3rd, 2022, 5:59 am


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This time, he opened his eyes in Syka’s tranquility center. He had been trying to meditate here when the vision had come. The timing couldn’t have been better. He had been attempting to learn to meditate in order to handle the visions with more grace.

It had been too much though. Even as he woke from the artificial vision, tears welled up in his eyes and began to pour down his cheeks. His vision swam and his breathing became rapid. Zayne—who had given him some pointers on meditation—noticed quickly.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. “Did it happen? Just now?” Antelokes choked out a response, though his throat was tight.

“Yes.” He tried to center himself, growing comfortable once again with the world as it really was—convincing his mind that the vision wasn’t real.

“Did it work? Were you able to learn what you wanted to learn?”

“Some of it,” Antelokes replied. He reached out and grabbed the journal he had been using to record the details of his visions. He started to jot down the things that stood out to him. “There were multiple locations, it was like multiple visions all in a row. They were all so terrible… I think this was the worst one I’ve had yet.” Antelokes remembered the corpses, the monkeys… his father. He shivered despite the heat.

“And what do you think that means?” asked Zayne.

“I don’t know, but the visions are definitely personal. They felt like attacks. Some were very specific, like something intelligent designed them for me in particular.”

“Interesting,” said Zayne, kneeling in a meditative pose near Antelokes. “Perhaps it is drawing from your own mind? Your own fears and memories. Is there perhaps any connection between your life in Syka now and the part of your past that you experienced?”

“Not that I can think of now, though that is a good idea…” Antelokes began, then paused. He hadn’t told Zayne that the vision had shown him anything about his past, and it had never happened before. He couldn’t have known that.

Antelokes stood up slowly, gathering his journal.

“I do think the visions are at times intentionally deceptive,” Antelokes said. Zayne cocked his head.

“How so?” he asked.

“Well,” Antelokes began, taking a step towards Zayne, “inherently they pretend to be what they are not. They have always pretended to be Ivak, But now they’ve started pretending to be different things as well.”

“That’s very curious,” said Zayne.

“Yes. Even more curious is that they’ve even acknowledged their own existence.” Antelokes had steel in his voice. Zayne raised a questioning eyebrow. Antelokes did not respond.

Eventually the curiosity faded from Zayne’s face.

It was replaced by a smile.

A twisted, grotesque, tooth-baring ape-like smile.

In a flash that scene was gone, the vision dispersed. Antelokes was back on the floor of the tranquility center, gasping. His legs were stiff from the meditation position Zayne had told him to use. He still didn’t think he had done it right. He scrambled for his journal, grasping it in a white-knuckled grip but not writing anything in it.

“Meditation is about relaxation, emptying your mind. You don’t seem to be doing it right,” called out Zayne from several yards away. The man had his eyes closed and seemed to be meditating himself.

“I got distracted,” Antelokes said, voice cold. He stood up to leave.

“That’s exactly my point,” responded Zayne, however the man made no move to open his eyes or push the point further. Antelokes left. He would record his impressions of the vision later. He spared one last wary glance behind him for Zayne. Was the vision truly over, or had it simply brought him to a new layer of the illusion? Antelokes felt like he was being played with. As he strode away his anger started to burn like a bed of hot embers in his chest.

Antelokes did not like being played with.


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