Robes of Ce'lgon

Say-luh-gahn

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One of those priests stopped by the village today, I couldn't understand a word they said. Yet...Cihue was drawn to them, somehow. They gave her a robe of her own— she hasn't taken it off since.
— A worried man
  The Robes of Ce'lgon are breathtaking garments worn only by followers of an unknown faith. They are not seen commonly, but have been spotted throughout the known world. Almost, it seems, with increasing frequency...  

Growing Garments

When one first receives their robes, they are fairly simple in design. These flowing, lilac robes appear to be made of linen— yet feel extraordinarily light. They are faintly transparent as well— not enough to fail at covering those donning them, but enough to give them a somewhat ethereal appearance. They are made of a single monotone piece. After a week or two, however— they begin to change.   A teal fabric wraps itself around the torso, as a more saturated one wraps over one's shoulders from the back. Like a great tongue unfolding, a thick pink strip grows from the neckline, ducks beneath the teal wrapping, and lowers itself until it rests between one's shins— and splits at its tapered end. At this point, the wearer begins to hear strange, quiet voices.  
Cihue asked me if I'd been hearing whispers in the wind— I have heard no such thing. She said that she does not understand what they say, only that she should continue to wear those "holy" robes. I suggested that she should stop wearing them— and she simply walked away.
— A worried man
 
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By the end of the first month, teal strips will have wound their way down the length of the wearer's arms and legs— entirely covering them, save for their hands and feet. As their movement becomes slowed, like they were wading through water, obsidian beads appear from beneath the strips— over each arm, dangling from the hip, and wrapping around the neck. These beads are accompanied by obsidian sandals, to match. Sandals that, mysteriously— leave no footprints in their wake.   Shortly after, a translucent lilac scarf will sprout from the small of the wearer's back— and drape itself over each arm before allowing itself to hang freely between these points. Despite appearing loosely worn, this scarf does not slip from its position. Upon its back is a black symbol, depicting something unfamiliar to all who spot it. Yet— this unfamiliarity is alluring, and draws the curious closer to the robe-wearing individual.   By the next day, thin teal strips will loosen themselves from the arms and legs— strips so light that they float like ghosts in the air, gently trailing behind the wearer as they move. The wearer's gait will become laboured, and shaky, their limbs trailing ahead of themselves— as if being puppeted by an outside force.  
Cihue stopped talking to me, or anyone else in the village. She simply sits in her home, and recites passages from a scripture we do not know. No one has seen her exit for so much as food in a week.
— A worried man
  Then, the robe completes itself. A mask of wrapped teal strips is formed over the wearer's face, with two stunted horns at its top— each proudly accented with another floating strip. Once the robe has fully grown, the wearer beneath is a husk of their former selves. The covered portions of their body are shriveled and hollow— with fabric now filling the gaps where bone, muscle, and tissue once were.  

Priesthood

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Most who don the robes of Ce'lgon are the curious sort— drawn in simply by spotting the symbol on the back of a wandering priest's scarf. Whenever a potential priest presents themselves, a new robe will grow and find itself in the hands of the initial wearer. All they need to do is convince the curious to wear it. They do not speak conventional language— as if unable or unwilling to speak in the tongue they were raised with. Instead, they speak in wispy, strange voices— with words that remind one of thread floating in the wind.   More than a means of communication, these are alluring words that can lull the listener into a light trance through unknown means— as if they were literally weaving new thoughts into their victims' minds. Few are able to resist once spoken to, and none are able to reject the priest's offer of a new robe. The priest will leave the area shortly after, leaving the recruit to undergo their transformation alone. Despite this, all priests of Ce'lgon act and speak in the same manner, and spread across the world in what appears to be a coordinated fashion— despite rarely meeting one another. As if possessed, once a new priest has finished their transformation, they will leave their home and begin to wander the world to grow their number.  
I begged her to stay, to think of her family, her friends— but she simply kept walking. As if I wasn't there. Her brother attempted to hit her out of anger, but something stopped him short of doing so. He went home looking as if he'd seen a spirit, and hasn't talked to anyone since.
— A worried man
 

Ethereal abilities

Priests of Ce'lgon possess a number of strange abilities— most notable among those being their ability to survive without food, drink, or rest. It is believed that these priests could walk forever, without so much as a moment's rest.   Any would-be attackers are unable to hit their marks. Each is chilled and halted by some unseen force, none have dared speak of what they encountered.

Removal

If one wishes to remove robes of Ce'lgon— they must undergo a significant act of willpower to do so.   This can only be done within the first week, after which, they can only be freed by third parties. After the first month, it becomes increasingly dangerous for anyone to attempt to free someone donning the robes— as their body becomes further integrated with the eldritch fabric. Removal after this stage often leads to death, if not severe injury.
Someone had to stop her. Someone had to remove that horrid robe— and I was the only one willing. I took a deep breath and ran towards Cihue— immediately grasping her mask, and pulling back in an attempt to remove it. It was eerily cold to the touch, yet I pulled with all my might. My muscles ached with the effort, yet it didn't budge— as if it were now a part of her. An otherworldly shriek emanated from behind the wrapped thing, as the floating tendrils atop it writhed in pain.   A sudden flash caused my body to freeze— both from a sudden, eerie cold, and from the sight I beheld. For but a moment, I saw the face behind the mask. Whatever being now inhabited that body was something entirely inhuman— a visage woven of eldritch threads in dizzying fractaline patterns. What struck me most were its eyes— eyes that once belonged to Cihue.
— A worried man

Comments

Author's Notes

Feedback is very much welcome! Whether on the content, or the formatting! Please, point out typos if you spot any!


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16 May, 2021 00:33

WHOA that was so atmospheric and genuinely terrifying. You hooked me in and kept me going throughout the whole article - I devoured every word. The idea of weaving the story the transformation of one of these new priests in with the lore details is just brilliant. I love your imagery and your writing style! Wonderful work.

In Gormhan, an ancient magic-using nobility clings to its power in a high-tech 1950s-inspired world. There are dragons too!   Check out my costume challenge, the uniform at the exclusive boarding school for young nobles!
Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
16 May, 2021 02:21

Thank you! I'm glad it struck a chord!

Mar Qaroll
Mar Qaroll
16 May, 2021 02:05

...Eeeek! This is fantastic! I loved reading every moment of this article and the mystery of the robes is eerie as sin!

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
16 May, 2021 02:21
Grandmaster itmePhil
Philipp Rieblinger
16 May, 2021 11:04

This is fricking scary, I love it.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
16 May, 2021 19:23

Glad it is, thank you!

16 May, 2021 19:45

Hauntingly well written, as usual. The quotes pull the whole thing together and make it more personal. What an eerie idea. Well done!

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities, and Vazdimet, its darker spacefaring future.
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Garrett Lewis
17 May, 2021 00:48
17 May, 2021 12:11

There's a lot of lore here, but after reading it I feel like I still know very little about the people in the robes! Eerie stuff. Very fun read, and beautiful artwork (as always).

Drake's Dozen | Magic and Innovation and Identity, oh my.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
17 May, 2021 15:39

Thank you! You aren't meant to know a lot about them. After all, things become a lot less scary once you understand them.

17 May, 2021 12:28

Such a great concept! I love how the quotes tie everything together to get the entire transformation process in a story form as well. That ending makes me even more curious now!

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Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
17 May, 2021 15:41

Thank you! And if you're curious— be wary of alluring symbols on the backs of strange scarves...

17 May, 2021 19:51

Too late they suddenly gave me robes!

Feel free to check out my costume entry. :)
17 May, 2021 15:57

This was an incredible work of storytelling and informative presentation. As others said, the quotes weave the fear and concern into the reader before swaddling them in terror, and it's delightful.   [I]where did this bit of fabric come from? did you hear that?

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
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Garrett Lewis
17 May, 2021 17:32

Thank you for the kind words! As for where it first came from? That is unknown...

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
17 May, 2021 22:01

This is really creepy! Well done! I love the concept and the way you've used the quotes :D And nice drawing too (just a small note, at first I though the second drawing represented a later stage in the evolution of the clothes rather than the back).   While reading I was wondering if the cloth was literally sprouting from the body, and growing from it, but having read everything, I guess the answer is yes :D   If people manage to free someone from the clothing before it is too late, can that person talk about the experience? Do they have holes left in their body from where the clothes was starting to dig in? Have people tried to study the clothes that are left over after that or do they get destroyed? Unless the clothes try to attract a new wearer?

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Garrett Lewis
18 May, 2021 00:16

Thank you! Yeah, I realized the back view could be read that way too late in the process of drawing it. I didn't have the time by then to fix it.   I tried to imply it's moreso sprouting from the initial robe, but by the point the robes have invaded the body I suppose it could be both!   These are great questions! I'd say that they could talk about it, but that they couldn't articulate much about the language or scripture. If they were removed at a late stage, yes, they'd have visible injuries. Cuts and scars where thread went through their skin. I'd say that after removal, the robes wither away and die. Occultists are likely to have attempted to inspect them, however.   Now I have to figure out if I want to elaborate on these answers with sections in the article or not— the ending is a real nice bow and I don't think I can place these after it!

18 May, 2021 17:39

SO CREEPY! This is really great. I absolutely loooove any time quotes are used to tell a story throughout an article, and the way you told Cihue's transformation with the robes was fantastic, especially with the final quote.   The robes themselves are terribly interesting too, I love the way they slowly grow and integrate themselves with the host's body, it's fascinating.   And that symbol is really interesting...   I wonder what the fabric of these robes feels like...

Cathedris, the world of God-Husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
19 May, 2021 01:57

Thanks! I hear the fabric feels really nice, maybe a local priest could show you?

20 May, 2021 17:08

Oooo so creepy. D: I wonder if the fabric is truly alive or if there is some being behind it. I love that the quotes tell a story that weaves through the information in the article.   I do kind of want to touch the robes though...

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Garrett Lewis
24 May, 2021 15:42

Likely both alive and tied to something bigger....

22 May, 2021 13:36

At first I wanted those robes myself, until I read further. Nope, too many side effects for me. I loved the article.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
24 May, 2021 15:42

I'm sure it'll be fine to wear them!

23 May, 2021 23:26

Well damn, even the outfits are terrifying now!! Every new article you write for Qet makes me happier I do not live in this place. This is just an awesome piece of work! Absolutely beautifully written too :D

Author of Interarcanum and the Shakiraverse
Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
24 May, 2021 15:43

Thank you! And yeah, Qet is definitely not a fun place to be haha.

24 May, 2021 11:43

Parasitic Clothing... That is worrying. I love how you manage to build up this creeping sense of dread. And the picture of the robe is so pretty - as many predators seem to be, I am afraid.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
24 May, 2021 15:43
24 May, 2021 20:31

Thank you very much for telling me how to pronounce the name of these robes.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
25 May, 2021 00:41

Haha, I learned the hard way a while back that I need to include pronunciations for everything.

27 May, 2021 14:42

What an incredible article! I especially liked the Priesthood section. It really is chilling, that even the slightest curiosity towards these robes can doom someone to become integrated with the robes. I really felt a shiver down my spine during that part, well done! The quotes really emphasize this well, and everything about this makes me want to learn more while also feeling like I shouldn’t. Truly fantastic!

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Garrett Lewis
28 May, 2021 18:58

Thank you! Glad it jived!

Sage Dejers
Dejers Garth
28 May, 2021 00:38

Well this article is creepy as hell. Feels like a curse on the naturally curious, which is terrifying.   The story of Cihue is surely one that's repeated across your world. That brings up the question of if this is being noticed. Are there any concerted efforts that are being made to track down and free those stricken by this affliction? Have any of the priests died/been killed, whether through trying to remove their robes or some other method?   This brings up a lot of questions that are super interesting to think about, but touches very nicely on the outskirts of an eldritch horror that would have to exist for such a creation to actively influence and spread through such a world.   Many thanks for sharing! :)

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Garrett Lewis
28 May, 2021 19:14

Thank you very much! I would say that, yes, it is being noticed by some! I just haven't written about them yet... Ok, well, the Qrol may have taken note. As I noted that it kills them when removed in most cases, yes, it is implied there that they have.

28 May, 2021 04:32

Fascinating! Well written article. It makes me wonder what the ultimate purpose of this religious order is. Nice and eerie.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
28 May, 2021 19:15

A wonder that many may never know...thank you!

30 May, 2021 09:05

These are absolutely terrifying. The article setup really draws you in, and the quote-blocks really sell the terror.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young   Costume Challenge Entry: As Superpowered troops on an alien planet, the Battle Spears wear a uniform capable of handling all they face
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Garrett Lewis
1 Jun, 2021 20:02

Thanks for the kind words!

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