The Recurring Nightmare Physical / Metaphysical Law in Ethnis | World Anvil

The Recurring Nightmare

Prompt 8: A destructive natural or supernatural event

The Recurring Nightmare is a phenomena which has plagued Yak'koli for the better part of a year now. Despite the widespread evidence of this phenomena, with thousands of people reporting variations of the same dream, the Jhoutigari Exorcists have been unable to determine the cause.

The prevailing theory is that this may be the intersection of mass hysteria and Auric Impression, though Solanthyr over at the University still follows up promising leads.

Within the dream, the dreamer finds themselves in the long-gone ruins of Yak'koli following a terrible collapse. Often, they wander solo, but sometimes they spot a figure in the distance, a hazy entity who calls out to them in seeming distress and panic.

You may see for yourself, should you stay the night in Yak'koli.

Brightly colored, extensively furnished, and well ventilated, your suite includes enough space, seating, and surface to host a party, or to get lost for hours in locally made tchotchkes and furnishings adorning it.

At one end of the room, windows look down over the glowing canal which carries water from the top of Yak'kolithon to the bottom. Theres a few seats situated around a glowing cooling vent, as well as a writing desk and a vanity. Behind you, a comfy lounge offers sofas, a large chaise, and a small library.

Not long after you stow your luggage and retire for the evening, sleep seizes you like a prison, plunging you into vivid fantasies of the days to come.

At first, the visions are a bright and wonderful collages of the brochures and advertisements which drew you here in the first place, but the wonder is not long lived before disjointed nightmares begin to interrupt.


At first, it's a creeping filth that clings to the corners of Yak'koli's gorgeous architecture. It's dark halls of prostrate mummies where crowds should throng. It's panicked hordes of locals rushing to get past, to get away from something. It's clouds of dust. It's a rumble you can feel in your eyes.

Following the terror to its source brings you to the edge of Yak'koli's oculus, where you watch as the southern wall of Yak'koli collapses inwards in plumes of dust, and with a sound so thunderous that your vision blurs and goes dark.

Time escapes you by the shroud of darkness, and when your vision returns you find yourself walking the silent halls of the collapsed ruins. The bones of the ill-fated are strewn through the streets, lain where they fell when the concussion and dust of the collapse smothered them.

The river is dry, the ventricle collapsed, the people dust. Time passes in quiet aeons as you explore, tangible as a ghost, snaking through crevices and down dark, collapsed halls until you find an ancient temple in a chamber formed by the pieces of a collapsed ventricle. A mote of sunlight burns down from a hole in the roof.

Following your heart, you find your way to the top of the temple, where a bright light pours out from the doorway.

Within, you find a meditating figure. Though his face in pensive, you sense a great gravity in his demeanor. Streaks of glittering tears depart from the corners of his eyes and drift away in glowing streaks.

He does not address you until you draw close. One of his eyes open to reveal holy light, the other remains beaten shut.

His voice comes as though from a great distance.


Sight taker, heart breaking;

I've still got one good eye.

Sand weeps from the hourglass;

Time seeping out, death creeping in;

Soon the casket will rise.

I, alone, can be so, no longer;

Through my eyes gaze unblinking into abyss;

Finish what was started, before it's too late.

— Holy Figure

You awaken drenched in sweat.

Your day is off to a slow start as you relearn how to inhabit your own skin after such a long journey—to remember who you were and what you were doing. The pall put upon you by the vision subsides by midday, when the chatter-clamour of the outside world reaches your windows and reminds you of the world outide. Nothing remains of the nightmares which once tormented you.

The answers you're looking for are beyond the threshold of the door. You won't find them in here.

That bed was mighty comfy, though.

You're gonna remember that bed.

Cover image: Yakkoli Cover by Ademal, via MidJourney


Author's Notes

All images made using midjourney.

I hope you enjoyed the nightmer!

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Jul 11, 2023 10:32

I read it. Three times. Noticed the changing background. Everytime I read it the nightmare became more reality. Holy shit. Would be an interesting journey to see if the nightmare is just a mare or... more.

You wanna see what we did for the last events? Go, click here: Eddies Major Events
Jul 11, 2023 17:54 by Barron

Seeing the Nasyk open his eye and then transform into a skeleton is... amazing! Well done!

Jul 12, 2023 06:50

I love the layers of transformation combined with presentation, the is really well done.

Graylion - Nexus   Roleplaying
not Ruleplaying
not Rollplaying
Jul 12, 2023 11:10 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Aaahh, the figure opening his eye and then transforming into a skeleton was a m a z i n g. Beautifully done, and beautifully written as well. I could feel my skin crawling as I read.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 13, 2023 16:51 by Ademal

Thank you! A line in the prophecy was inspired by Weigh Me Down by Lorn, and I wanted the prophecy to convey some of the feelings of the song -- though in this case, he's more asking for help than making accusations.

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Jul 13, 2023 16:51

Good article :) Took me a minute to figure out that the background were not moving

Jul 13, 2023 16:52 by Ademal

If I can startle at least one person with it, I'm happy!

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Jul 13, 2023 19:28 by Dani

omg. This was an EXPERIENCE. Evocative prose, descriptions and visual treats (and yes, the lovely shift to bones behind creeptastic lettering). I love most especially the way you've varied spacing as the reader scrolls; it enhances the already gripping pace of the tale itself. Sooo good.

You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
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Jul 13, 2023 21:20 by Ademal

Though text is our main medium, the boundaries of the page are a frame of our own control, and I love to use that frame to lend poetry to the words themselves. I'm really glad you enjoyed!

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Jul 16, 2023 14:05 by Morgan Biscup

As usual, this is very well written and packs a heck of an emotional punch. I'll admit I'm very excited about this module you are working.   Mary watched over my shoulder, so she has additional commentary: "I really like that guy, why did you ruin him? I need to see him again but you have to fix him first."

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Jul 16, 2023 15:39 by Ademal

Aww! Well his name is Mazzu and the module helps you resolve his story! I'll be writing about him for one of the prompts today!

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Jul 16, 2023 22:44 by Morgan Biscup

I will let her know his name! She was asking me and got very angry when I said I didn't know.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Jul 16, 2023 22:46 by Morgan Biscup

She has informed me she does not like his name, and you should call him Christof instead.   Some people are impossible to please. ROFL.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Aug 8, 2023 18:59 by Stormbril

This is absolutely fantastic :O Really great and evocative writing taking us through the dream, and then wrapping it all in such clever and excellent presentation, just 10/10

Aug 23, 2023 17:56 by Autumn Riverwood

This is just incredible! The writing is amazing, and the backgrounds moving caught me off guard and it looks so good! If I may ask, how long did this take to make? It is really impressive :D

Oct 5, 2023 05:54 by Ademal

A few days! One to code the parallax effect, one to write it, one to generate the resources and one or two more to bring it all together!

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!

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