Solo Seeking Truth. Finding Change.

“Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.” - R. Feynman

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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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Seeking Truth. Finding Change.

Postby Antelokes on April 21st, 2022, 4:05 am

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36th of Spring

Smooth white sand slipped through Anteolokes’ lose fingers as he held it up and inspected it closely, crouched near the crashing waves on Swing Beach. He’d always taken sand for granted and had never given much thought to its structure or how it had come to be. He was trying to pay more attention now though.

Squinting, Antelokes held the grains up to his eyes. From a distance they all looked the same, but he could now see that the grains possessed quite a diverse set of colors. He couldn’t make out too much detail though. With a sigh he let the rest of the sand drop. It was interesting, but not what he was looking for. Antelokes opened his pack and glanced at the spoils he’d gathered so far. Two mundane stones about the size of his fist that he’d taken from Treasure Point several days ago, plus a hunk of shale he’d just found.

Some people combed the beach for long lost riches and others looked for beautiful shells or organisms they could harvest for food. Not Antelokes. The treasure hunt he’d been sent on was for rocks. With a sigh he slung the bag across his back again. The experimentress—T’aidell—had given him the task. She was willing to teach him some of her knowledge about Ivak’s role in the processes of geology but had wanted him to show some initiative in speculating for himself first. Thus, he had been sent on this hunt that he had a hard time convincing himself wasn’t completely useless.

Antelokes slowly walked along the beach, careful not to wander far from the settlement. He wasn’t likely to get killed on the beach, but there were still any number of large jungle creatures that on a whim might wander down onto the sands. Antelokes didn’t fancy his chances should he happen to run across one of them alone. As he walked he scanned his eyes across the rolling plane of the beach, seeking irregularities. Eventually, he spotted a promising lump and bent down to brush it off. Sure enough, it was a stone. It was solid, with an almost orange color. It seemed distinct enough from the rocks he had gathered so far, so Antelokes slipped it into his bag with the others. The weight and hard irregular forms of the stones made the bag uncomfortable across his back. He supposed that sensation was nature’s way of punishing anyone who was silly enough to carry around a heap of rocks in a bag.

He continued picking across the beach for several more minutes without much luck. Eventually—back by Syka’s more developed area—Antelokes spotted a small piece of rough-hewn granite laying discarded in the sand. It was probably discarded material from some construction project, too small and with too odd of a shape to be of much use. Its color was mottled in shades of white and black, though it was stained brown from exposure to soil and the elements. Perfect.

Antelokes almost laughed out loud at his own quick flash of pride. Finding five different types of rocks was hardly some great accomplishment, but however strange it seemed, it was what he needed to do to learn what he really wanted. The false visions he’d been receiving unsettled him more than he liked to let on. By know he’d heard Ivak’s voice from these false imitations far more than he’d heard it from the god himself. Antelokes wanted to learn as much as he possibly could about his patron. He wanted to more fully understand the god, and more easily distinguish him from the pale imitator that had ravaged his mind since he’d arrived here in Syka.

Antelokes was tempted to lug the rocks directly to T’aidell and demand she teach him what he wanted to know, but luckily a more rational section of his mind guided his steps toward the forge. T’aidell had asked him to try to learn everything he could about the stones before bringing them to her. Many of the tools that would best suit him in that task happened to be at his place of work. He would give this study his best effort—something told him that the strange experimentress wouldn’t be impressed with half-hearted attempts at fulfilling her request.

As he arrived at the forge Antelokes upturned his pack over a workbench, letting the stones spill out onto the surface. He stared at them for a moment, not sure exactly what to do. The closest thing he’d done to this was working with ores back when he’d helped run a proper metalsmithing forge with his father, but that was a long time ago now and he didn’t remember much. Plus, he seriously doubted that he had found any kind of ore lying strewn about on this tropical beach.

Visually, each stone was unique. Some were smoother than others, and the colors of each were different. None were particularly exciting, but what could be expected from a pile of rocks? Perhaps their distinctions were like those found among metals? Metals shared many similar properties, but a closer look revealed that there were many varieties, some of them derived from mixtures of two or more base metals in different quantities. A trained eye could recognize many metals at first glance, however with regard to rocks Antelokes’ eye was far from trained. That meant he had to resort to cruder methods.

That would be more fun anyways.
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Seeking Truth. Finding Change.

Postby Antelokes on April 21st, 2022, 7:17 am

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Chips of shale showered across the forge’s floor as Antelokes struck the stone with a hammer, shattering it. He had done the same with each of the other stones in turn, though none had broken with quite the ease that this one had. Cursing a little under his breath, Antelokes did his best to gather the pieces together. Some of the stone fragments were quite sharp, and Artik frequently came around here without his shoes on. As much as he wanted to the older blacksmith to finally learn a lesson regarding disciplined forge safety, Antelokes didn’t want to be the reason his foot needed stitched up.

Carefuly, Antelokes placed the largest piece of the shale next to an array of similar pieces from the other stones so he could compare them. Broken apart as they now were, it was easier to see more differences between the rocks. The dark jagged one had been brittle, and it broke with a jagged, sharp edge. The smooth gray stone had broken cleanly, though the interior surface was somewhat rough, though flat. The way the orange stone and the granite had broken was somewhere in between the other stones, though the granite had taken significantly more effort to crack.

Antelokes ran his thumb over the stones, contemplating. Perhaps the difference came from purity? Maybe purer stones broke more cleanly, while stones with impurities were more jagged… That could explain the color as well. Different impurities could create different colors and properties. That implied however that there was an element of pure stone that all types of stone were derived from. Or perhaps there were several fundamental materials of “stone,” like metals, and then the impurities changed them? How were the impurities introduced though—if that was how it worked? Certain processes for making alloys involved introducing foreign elements into pure metal or mixing pure metals. However, these processes needed to be done at great heat, and required deliberate action. Plus, very high heats were often used to extract metals from ore. It removed the impurities, separating material. It didn’t mix them. How then were these strains formed?

For that matter, the thought occurred to Antelokes, how did ores form in the first place? Did the metal grow in the rocks? Did the impurities do so as well? Were they like some type of rot or rust that infected pure stone? Antelokes brought his hand to his chin in thought, forgetting he was still holding a piece of gray stone, inadvertently raising it to his face as well. He heard Artik’s voice call out behind him.

“Are you kissing a rock Antelokes? To each his own, but just between the two of us I think most of the girls around here are prettier than the stones.” In his reverie of thought Antelokes hadn’t heard the man approach. He placed the stone back on the workbench next to the others. Artik strode into the forge, long-bearded and rather ape-like with his curly mat of chest hair. Antelokes rolled his eyes.

“Don’t say that where they can hear you,” Antelokes deadpanned, gesturing to the rocks. “You wouldn’t want to offend.” Artik guffawed, clapping Antelokes on the back as he strode past.

“I didn’t know you were getting that desperate boy. Luck’s running a little short with the ladies eh?”

“Don’t count me desperate yet old man,” Antelokes replied, “but that’s not what I’m doing. I’m studying these rocks.” Artik raised an eyebrow.

“Why in the world would you do that?”
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Postby Antelokes on April 26th, 2022, 7:51 am

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“Because some people like to learn new things,” Antelokes retorted. “You should give it a try.”

“The only new thing I care to learn right now is how to cut this hair!” Artic rumbled gruffly. The man walked to the tool rack and started to pick through the offerings. It almost looked like the older blacksmith was about to start doing something useful. On the off chance he was, Antelokes didn’t want to get in his way. With a sigh he cleared the stones off the workbench, putting at least one broken piece of each type of stone in his bag again. He had some ideas that he felt like he could express to T’aidell. Whether there was any grain of truth to them or not remained to be seen, but that couldn’t be helped for the moment.

Antelokes ventured out into the Commons in search of the alchemist. Sometimes finding people in Syka could be difficult. Those of the settlers who could handle themselves in the wilds often disappeared into the jungle, and without prior coordination there were few means of knowing when they would return. Thankfully, T’aidell didn’t seem quite as comfortable in the jungle as many of the Sykans were and could usually be found in the settlement itself. All the same, it took him half a bell to find the woman.

She stood in the midst of Kihala’s shrine, brushing her hands along the wide leaves of a drooping plant that Antelokes couldn’t identify.

“Ho, T’aidell!” he called out in greeting. She glanced up at him, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, hello little blacksmith,” she replied. “May I help you?”

“You know full well you can help,” he said. “You promised to teach me, and I’m ready to learn.”

“Are you now?” she asked, returning her attention to the plant. She seemed to be inspecting it closely, though for what purpose Antelokes did not know. “I told you I would teach you once you learned to teach yourself. Without that step you would never learn anything else. Have you done this?” Antelokes swung the pack of his back.

“I did the task you gave me—if that’s what you’re asking,” he said.

“Merely following orders will not suffice, if the order given is to think for yourself,” replied T’aidell.

“I have thought for myself. Now I come to you to learn if those thoughts were wrong.”

“If they were truly your thoughts, then they cannot be ‘wrong.’ They were your thoughts, and that is immitigable.” The experimentress plucked a young leaf from the plant and held it up close to her eye, studying it as she spoke to Antelokes. “What you wish to know is whether or not your thoughts accurately model the world, or the small fragments of it that you have chosen to study.” Annoyed that she was not giving him her full attention, Anteloke answered her.

“If my thoughts are not accurate, then what is the difference between that and calling them wrong?” he said.

“The difference, pupil, is in the journey. Early in your quest for knowledge you may come to me or go to another in search of answers. However, that path will not always be open to you. If you truly seek to understand the world around you, then you must learn to find the truth for yourself. You may struggle, and your initial theories may prove incorrect. However, you must acknowledge these occurrences for what they are. Steps on the path to understanding. Do not hide from your mistakes. Embrace them, learn from them, understand them, and build upon them until you know what you wish to know, and do what you wish to do.”

T’aidell met Antelokes’ eyes. Her gaze was sincere. “This is change. This is the process of growth.” She gestured to the plant she had been examining. “The leaves on this plant bud in one form, small and delicate. As they grow they change. They broaden, thicken, and toughen. Their color deepens, and they become an important part of the organism. The leaves cannot pop out of the plant fully formed. They must develop, passing through each of the early stages. So it is with thought and theory. Your early incomplete thoughts are important, and without them then you will never develop a workable base of knowledge.” Antelokes mulled over her words, eyes flicking between the leaf and T’aidell’s own stare.

“So it may be,” he finally responded, “but I would be a fool to wander lost if there was a guide available to help me. The things I want to know are among the knowledge that you possess. Looking for it in another place would be a waste of time.”

“It would take longer, yes, but it would not be a waste of time...” T’aidell said. “…but there is some truth to what you say. There are ways I can help you. There are things that I can teach you, just so long as you are willing to learn.”
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Postby Antelokes on May 5th, 2022, 5:50 am

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Antelokes gazed at T’aidell. There were many important things he could learn from this woman, of that he was sure. She treated knowledge as something sacred. Fools didn’t do that. Neither did people in useless fields. They went about squawking their knowledge to anyone with ears, hoping somebody would recognize their expertise. T’aidell did not do that. She was secure in her stewardship. The things she knew were worth knowing, and that worth was not lost on the experimentress. It wasn’t lost on Antelokes either. He wanted to know what she knew.

“I am willing to learn,” he said. She smiled.

“Good. Then show me what you have brought, little blacksmith. And tell me what you have taught yourself.” T’aidell gestured to one of the shrine’s benches, and they both sat down. Antelokes pulled the stones from his bag, setting them out between him and T’aidell. She cocked her head.

“Did you find the stones in this form?” she asked.

“No,” he answered. “I broke them.”

“Such violent experimentation. Why did you do it?” At her question Antelokes raised an eyebrow.

“To see what they would do, was that wrong?” he said. T’aidell smiled.

“No, it was not wrong. Rather it is… informative for me. Please continue.” With a shrug, Antelokes began to present his thoughts about the stones. He talked her through his theories. The clear differences between the “species” of stone and their properties, as well as his ideas about how they came about. He mentioned his idea of impurities in the rocks, and the thought that some might be “alloys” of other rocks in the way that many common metals were alloys. Through it all T’aidell did not interrupt. She nodded along, and to her credit did not seem to lose interest. As he finished, Antelokes looked at her expectantly.

“Well?” he asked. “Was I right?” The corner of T’aidell’s mouth twitched up again into the hint of a smile.

“It is not the worst description of stones that I have ever heard,” she said, “though it is at least equally distant from being the best.” Antelokes rolled his eyes.

“You could just say it wasn’t right.” She fixed him with a cool stare, which he met. Antelokes buckled first. “All right,” he said, “tell me then, where did I err?” She answered.

“You focus so much on the composition of these stones Antelokes. That composition is important, but in your hyperfocus you have ignored an equally important factor that makes these things what they are.” Antelokes frowned.

“And what is that?” he asked. In response T’aidell held up the same leaf she had used for demonstration before.

“Change. Transition. The way these objects came to be in the forms they occupy now.” T’aidell let the leaf drop from her fingers, picking up one of the stones in its place. “The first knowledge you sought from me was about the way Ivak’s domain intersects with these stones, was it not? Listen now, young one, and you will hear your answer.” Anteloes furrowed his brow. He was young, but he wasn’t that young. How old could T’aidell be, to talk as such? She didn’t seem that aged. He didn’t speak these thoughts aloud.

“I will listen,” he said. She nodded.
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Postby Antelokes on May 12th, 2022, 6:22 pm


T’aidell ran her fingers along the stone in her hand as she leveled her cool gaze at Antelokes.

“Come,” she said, “walk with me.” T’aidell rose to her feet and started to slowly stride around the grove. He followed her, leaving the other stones where they were on the bench. She spoke. “Feel the ground beneath your feet,” she said. “Does it feel solid?” Antelokes raised an eyebrow.

“Of course it feels solid. It’s the ground,” he replied. T’aidell appeared unimpressed with the observation.

“Well then, the ground feels solid. Do you believe it really is?”

“Yes, of course it is,” Antelokes said.

“Why?”

“How could it not be?”

“You are the one asserting that the ground is solid. A lack of evidence does nothing to support your claim,” she said. Antelokes let out a sigh of exasperation.

“Fine then,” he said. “We can see that the ground is solid from experience. A solid shelf is one that can support weight. The ground will support any weight that is placed on it, assuming the surface it is placed on is firm.”

Any weight, or any weight that you have seen?” T’aidell rebutted. She cast her eyes around, eventually alighting on a line of ants crawling across the leaf of a nearby plant. “Do you see those ants there?”

“Yes, I see them.”

“The leaf doesn’t buckle under their weight, does it?”

“No, it doesn’t” Antelokes answered, beginning to see her point. “But what does that matter? The leaf can support the weight of the ants, yes, but it isn’t solid because there are so many things around it that it couldn’t support. It even trembles in the breeze. If you would compare this leaf to the ground beneath our feet, then what forces surround it that could do the same thing?” T’aidell smiled.

“Well well Antelokes, you’ve stumbled across a very interesting question indeed. What forces could act upon the very surface of Mizahar itself? What could make it tremble just like that leaf in the breeze? What thoughts come to your mind, blacksmith?” Antelokes considered the question—his own question. What were the most concentrated sources of power he knew of?

“The gods,” Antelokes answered.

“The gods, yes,” T’aidell replied. “They are all quite formidable compared to us mortals, but not all share the same sphere of influence. There is one in particular who governs some of the forces that can make the ground shake and which drive the very shape of the land around us. You know him well.”

“You speak of Ivak,” Antelokes stated.

“I do. Learning more about his domain is the reason you came to me, yes?”

“It is, in part,” Antelokes replied cautiously. “But how? Ivak is not the god of stone. He commands heat, emotion, pressure, passion… what is the relationship between these and the movements of the earth?” T’aidell tsked in response.

“Do you really know so little, Antelokes? Mizahar itself is not dead, Mizahar is not cold. Just as life blooms here on the surface with spectacular motion, just so does the world itself bloom and move with a life of its own, and I do not speak only of the gods.” T’aidell’s voice took on a grand philosophical tone. She normally displayed less emotion than most people, but it seemed clear that she enjoyed this topic of conversation. Antelokes leaned forward with growing interest.
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Postby Antelokes on Yesterday, 3:51 am

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“Beneath our feet there is earth. Sand, clay, stone… These stretch very far into the ground. But they do not go on forever. Deep, very deep, the stone that Mizahar is made of flows through the world like blood, burning with tremendous heat. Sometimes, and in some places, this material makes its way to the surface.”

“Volcanos,” Antelokes interrupted. He walked with T’aidell, slowly leaving the shrine and emerging onto the beach.

“Volcanos are one of those means, yes. They are perhaps the most visible. But this lifeblood of the world affects us in so many other ways as well. It does not stagnate, it flows. Moving, changing, and forcing everything else to do so as well. It can shift the surface in mighty earthquakes, or manipulate the land more subtly. It is from this molten rock that many of the stones we see around us are formed.” T’aidell smiled. “Of the five stones you showed me, three of them were formed from this magma as it cooled.” Antelokes considered this.

“If three came from the same place, why do their properties differ?” he asked. T’aidell cocked her head.

“That’s a foolish question,” she scolded. “You of all people should have known that answer before you asked. You do know the answer, but you didn’t think enough to remember it.” Antelokes shot her a hard stare. Her stare was harder.

“Why me of all people?” he asked.

“Because of your work,” she answered. “The elements are all there in your head, put them together. Heat, cooling, differences in properties.” As T’aidell laid it out, the pieces fell together like a puzzle. Of course. He should have seen it even as he asked the question.

“Is it the speed?” he asked. “Like when cooling metal. We can let it cool in the air or speed it up. Sometimes in water, sometimes in oil, depending on what we want it to do. The properties are different based on the process we use.”

“Yes. You begin to see. The composition of the stones vary as well for a variety of reasons. Many reasons you wouldn’t understand. Not unless you devote much more effort to this study than you have.” The statement wasn’t said like an insult, but it was harshly honest. Antelokes tried not to take it as an insult to his intelligence. He guided the conversation back to his main subject of interest.

“Ivak then, he commands these forces under the earth? That heat?”

“He takes stewardship over this, and guides it,” T’aidell said. “You will find the process similar to the rest of his domain, if you look hard enough.”

Antelokes turned his eyes to the ground, boring into it with his eyes as if he would be able to see through the sand and stone far enough to glimpse the flowing magma far below.

“Speaking of looking,” T’aidell continued, “you have had enough words out of me. If you wish to know more, go and learn it.” Antelokes met the scaled woman’s eyes as they came to a halt by the shore.

“I intend to learn, yes,” he said. “About this and many other things. There are many things I don’t know. I intend to make that list shorter.”

“Well, you don’t seem to have made all that much progress yet, though the pursuit is noble. Remember this if you truly seek knowledge. You must change, grow, adapt. If static comfort is something you seek, then confine yourself to the forge. You could belong there.”

“I do belong there, but that is not all I am or intend to be,” Antelokes said, a hint of challenge creeping into his voice. Again, the very hint of a smile tugged upwards at the edge of T’aidell’s lips.

“So it may be,” she said. “There is much to learn here, in what was once Pavena. Just so is there much to learn from other places, do not restrict yourself. Perhaps the Outpost will be of use to you if such mental expansion is your goal.”

“The Outpost?” Antelokes asked. He had heard this outpost referenced before in conversation, though with many recent events he’d neglected to give it much thought. T’aidell laughed lightly.

“That list you mentioned earlier of things you do not know? It is quite long indeed. Go to the dovecote Antelokes. You would not go wrong to take some money with you when you do.” Antelokes raised an eyebrow, but T’aidell shrugged it off.

“I am going to leave now,” she said. “I have things to do. Farewell, until we speak again, little blacksmith,” she said. Antelokes nodded in response. She strode away purposefully, leaving Antelokes to sort through his thoughts, now that she had barged through and cast them into disarray. That woman was truly an enigma. A smart enigma, but an enigma nonetheless.
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