Nostalgia

We were walking on the surface of the lake. I followed her in silence.   The sun lowered onto the horizon, painting everything in a reddish tinge. I stared at her silhouette, entrapped in a trance.   She turned around, smiling.   I averted my gaze, longing for this very moment.   “I’m here with you, right now," I said, "sharing this moment-” my hands began to tremble, my face hiding a grimace. “but tomorrow,” I paused, attempting to repress tears. “tomorrow, this will already be yesterday. It won’t exist anymore. In a year from now, maybe we won’t even remember this.”   The now somber crimson sun sank beneath the water, bringing to mind the image of a candle snuffed out. As the last ray of sunshine faded, I finally looked back at her.   “I don’t want to face tomorrow.”
— Lost Memory
  Nostalgia, also known as Memory Magic, is an alila, learned and taught by Daemiyon's Illustrators. By harnessing the gloom of the world, practitioners are able to manipulate the flow of memories. The practice has mostly been forgotten in the kingdom of Album. Still, illustrators have been said to roam the land, offering their discreet services to those knowledgeable enough to find them.      

Sika Triss - The First Illustrator

 
For if I am to be the paint, let it be red!
— The Epic of Sika Triss
  As was the case with other God Laws, Nostalgia seeped into the human world in the years following the Endless Immortal War. The sole source to its exact origin can only be found in the ancient texts discovered during the early 500s. These stone tablets - excavated from the tunnels of the Ghastly Coast - tell of a great battle between the humans of Album and the god Daemiyon.  
The Epic of Sika Triss
  Fearing the triumph of mankind, Daemiyon decided to devour the memories of humanity, engulfing them in eternal, perfect light.   As all seemed lost to the light, one nameless person stood against the divine, its shadow demonstrating a feeble attempt of defiance. The human stood against the god, spreading its shadow with open arms and proclaiming to be the shameful scar of the gods - Sika Triss.   Falling to the human's scheme, Daemiyon struck the shadow with untold wrath. This sealed the god's defeat, as the human's body exploded from the force in all directions, painting the nearly perfect white with brilliant streaks of red.   The blood of Sika Triss was revealed to be that of the god himself. The wound sustained was told to be so severe that Daemiyon retired from the rest of the endless war. His blood continued to spill into the human world and gifted the humans with nostalgia - the strongest connection to their lost immortality.
     

Sika Ron - Mortal Illustration

 
"You must whet the knife and hit with a strong blow, sis. Make it quick and painless."   The way he brought it down on the hen was so graceful. The head was loped clean off, and a shot of blood tainted my skirt. I tried to stay calm, but a giggle betrayed my excitement. He wanted me to do it next, but we were interrupted by the soldiers. They took him to the war. He told me he'd see me do it when he came back, but he never did.
— Cherished Memory
  The anonymous authors of the stone-tablets-epic went on to become successors of the original illustrator, bestowing nostalgic wisdom upon their many students. Although their knowledge was never written down, it was of utmost importance that the oral teachings - often referred to as Sika Ron - be passed down to the next generation. There was no room for error, as each word and pause had been dictated with clinical precision. Students were taught the verbal script and were then tested on it. Repeated failure to meet the strict standards would eventually result in expulsion from tutelage.   According to the Sika Ron, there are seven types of memory ailments, correlated with seven illustration practices:

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Type
Metaphysical, Divine
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Type - Cherished Memory
  The result of a significant experience from the subject's past. This memory clings desperately into one's mind. It is irrelevant whether its nature has roots in good or evil, only that it occupies its target, usually preventing them from living in the present and moving forward into the future.    
Illustration - Perfect Goldfish
  A circular motion, brushing off any attachments to a cherished memory. When done correctly, the illustration calms the subject enough to release their hold on the memory. Improper use may result in a lost memory.  
Type - Lost Memory
  A memory forgotten in the depths of the subject's mind. These are nameless, faceless memories that once held some importance but were discarded. As it still exists in their headspace, this could cause them unsurpassable anxiety and a feeling of 'missing'.      
Illustration - Waterfall Salmon
  Hard strokes upwards cause the lost memory to rise to the conscious mind, where it might be dealt with, according to the specific experience. Exessive strokes can end in the subject suffering a displaced cherished memory.  
Type - Shared Memory
  A memory created with multiple subjects. Mostly harmless, unless the experience caused the subject public humiliation. Since such an event is comparable to murder in many's eyes, the memory can cause great suffering.      
Illustration - Indoor Eel
  Moving along the lines of a rectangle, a shared memory can be excluded from the collective memory of the subject and their witnesses. An imperfect illustration has the potential to vault random memories of anyone inhabiting the same space.    
Type - Vaulted Memory
  A memory locked away in the mind's prison. Unlike lost memories, these tend to "scream" from behind their bars, inflicting anguish and even blackouts on the subject. If originated from a shared memory, they can cause a rupture between the subject and those who used to share it.  
Illustration - Sardine School
  Striking numerous short strokes in a line outward from the subject, a vaulted memory can eventually open up and release into the subject's conscious. When overdone, it can cause the memory to project from the subject's mind and enter others' minds.  
Type - Wounded Memory
  A memory in the state of tear and dissonance, caused by being either cherished, lost, shared or vaulted. Such memories affect the subject in dangerous and unpredictable ways. Subjects have been known to gradually lose their sanity over these wounds, and are the first priority for an illustrator.    
Illustration - Eternal Jellyfish
  Illustrating soft and swirly lines - sometimes with a circular Perfect Goldfish at the top - brings the subject's memory into a state of relaxation, bliss, and eventually harmony. A circle illustrated poorly may cause a cherished memory, while omitting it may drive a lost one.
Type - Healed Memory
  A memory that has gone through the appropriate illustrations and has made a full recovery. The few cases in which a healed memory requires treatment are mostly due to the subject's reliance and eventual addiction to a state of solitary bliss. In such cases, some break off their connections with their social group and choose a hermit's life.  
Illustration - Sea Urchin Dilemma
  Illustrating sharp lines shotting from a center point in all directions, the subjects are "pricked" by the spikes and are brought halfway into the realm of ordinary human suffering. The complete treatment requires them to impale themselves fully and is entirely up to the subjects.
Type - Invented Memory
  A memory that should not exist.  
Illustration - Piranha Bait
  This illustration requires immense resolve and is done with harsh strokes in a zig-zag motion. These teeth lash at the subject, devouring the invented memory, even at the cost of their health and well-being.
         

Mel Ohw - The Reaching Hand

 
 
I DIDN'T MEAN TO-   I KNOW I CANNOT CHANGE THIS BU-   NO! I WILL NOT-   SOMEONE TAKE ME AW-   BRING IT BACK! I DON'T WANT TO-   AAAAAARRRRGGGHH!.
— Wounded Memory
  During the first century of Album's mortal age, illustrators were hailed by the people as divine healers. They provided the only form of solace for the many humans who had to come to grips with true despair - the loss of their immortality.   First and second-generation illustrators were told to command such power that they could illustrate infinity back into the hearts of mortal men. All who could afford them would have one by their side, day by day. This was a mercy given to the wealthy and resourceful few to assist them in their finite path towards inveitable death.   As the second century dawned on the land, most of all who had known immortality had already died off. Their offspring only knew of an eternal blissful time from stories and legends. Illustrators were still in demand by then, yet their purpose changed all but in name. They were now the professional healers of the body, as well as the mind. Their leaders at the time established medical institutes across the land - the hospitals known as Mel Ohw.      

Nostalgia's Slow Death

 
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As I looked upon the land that gave me birth, I saw a familiar face.
— Healed Memory
  Though, as time persisted on passing, the generations changed, and so did the need for those who were once recognized for their connection with the divine. The people of the new centuries saw illustrators who dealt with the mind as unnecessary workforce in the best cases and parasitic freeloaders in the worst. Most were driven out of their positions as doctors, while the few that remained shifted their focus exclusively to the well-being of the body.   The banished ones scattered into obscurity, living the lives of nomads. In the years following this, tales grew of the traveling illustrators opening their own practices. Those who still sought the health of the mind did well to traverse the land, looking for individuals covered in a red robe made of a Zilz's feathers. Then, by offering them 'something' of substantial value as tribute, they may be admitted to the mysterious and elusive Mel Ankoli - the Lost Clinic.


Cover image: Album Cover by Yurii & rikia

Comments

Author's Notes

Want to be an Illustrator? You can!
  7 easy steps to channel nostalgia through your mind and soul:   1) Find 5 minutes of spare time
2) Prepare a quiet setting alone in the dark
3) Meditate to calm your mind (optional)
4) Play this article's song (or a song of similar magic)
5) Ask yourself a guiding question - "What do I remember of the ones I love?"
6) Close your eyes and let your mind drift away on the gloom of the world
7) When ready, seize the relevant memory and illustrate a new interpation over it   Participants are welcome to share their results in the comments below!


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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
17 Jul, 2021 11:18

Great article, I really love the concept, it's such a nice way to practise healing :D So do the people speak with the Illustrator, tell them about the memory and the Illustrate will illustrate it? - I think a quick explanation early on about this would be helpful to clarify that as I wasn't sure if they were really doing illustrations as their names seems to indicate or if it was something a bit more metaphorical.

To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.