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Satashona

Real name unknown (he/him)

Trigger Warning: this article discusses suicide


Satashona was the stage name of a legendary Nekiho-engineer, whose infamous musical piece "The Sound of Order" is considered one of the most important works of art in both Lahhei and Enthanaesic history.

Mental characteristics

Personal history

Satashona was born in Enthanaes, around 20 cycles before its collapse. At an early age he started learning how to play a regular hurdy gurdy (or a baki, as it was known in Enthanaesic). His mentor, Sul, had lost both of their legs in an accident involving a collapsing Tunnel entrance. They were not afraid to utter their thoughts of doom and gloom when it came to Enthanaes' future. During sessions, Satashona and his mentor often talked about mortality, mourning, and moving on after a great catastrophy. Despite his young age, these topics were not at all scary to Satashona. In one of his journals, he wrote:
Sul
by Rain Tunison via HeroForge
"Old One Sul saw hope in hopelessness. They got back from the edge of death with only half of themself left. They did not hide their pain, and they were not always pleasant to be around. But if there was one Elphin who knew about survival, it was them."

After the Collapse

In 372 ATC, a short but devastating earthquake caused the ceiling above Enthanaes to collapse on top of the city, destroying everything underneath it, and resulting in thousands of deaths. One of them was Sul, who was already of age, nearing 140. Satashona joined the other survivors and journeyed to Lahhei City. Before they arrived, the news of Enthanaes' collapse had already reached Lahhei, and the group was welcomed with open arms. They were given food, shelter, new clothes and direct access to medical and psychological care. Satashona lost his old hurdy gurdy during the disaster. Despite having survived the destruction of his homeland, it was his inability to play music that affected him the most.

Tavern Miracles

by Rain Tunison via HeroForge
"So, I do my usual performance of 'The Worm-armed Drunkard', and when I'm finished, this fellow comes up to me. He says he wants to ask me a question.
So I say: 'Sure, go ahead.'
And he asks: 'What kind of baki is that?'
And I am confused. 'What in the holes is a baki?', I ask.
And that clearly confuses him. He points at my nekiho. 'You're holding one right now.'
'Ah', I say. 'This is a nekiho. This is my trusty Glow Twig.'
And he asks: 'You named your instruments?'
'Why of course', I say. 'All nekiho-engineers name their instruments. Well, the ones I know at least. And if there is anyone who doesn't name their instrument, then that person has no imagination.'
And the fellow is silent for a little bit. Judging from his face I may have offended him.
Then he asks: 'Can I try it?'
And I'm shaking in my boots. 'Whoa there, buddy. Are you sure? This is a really complex instrument to handle. And I don't want you to break anything.'
He says: 'I am adept at playing the baki.'
And I say: 'But this is not a baki.'
And he says: 'It sure looks like a baki. And you appear to handle it like a baki.'
I think long and hard. Then, after having to endure those pleading eyes for way too long, I cave. 'Sure, but be careful.'
Then I stand up from my chair and give the fellow my trusty Glow Twig. He starts playing it. For a beginner he is remarkably good at it. But there is one thing I will never forget. That face. That is the happiest face I have ever seen in my life."
- Taley Taloien-Asa, established nekiho-engineer (excerpt from an interview)
Satashona met Taley Taloien-Asa in a tavern. Taley noticed his passion and talent and offered to give him a few training sessions in which she showed him the inner workings of her nekiho. A few weeks later, she adopted him as her pupil. She taught him how to build his own instrument, which took an entire cycle to finish. In the meantime she allowed him to practice on her nekiho. The two became close friends.

The Tale of Ceiling Hopper

With his first nekiho, Satashona quickly made a name for himself. His persona revolved around laughing in the face of hopelessness and tragedy, which was also why he called his nekiho Ceiling Hopper. Ceiling Hopper sounded mostly like Satashona's old baki, but with a few twists. Under de guidance of Taley, he added a few extra switches that intentionally caused the instrument to go horribly off-key. That was only the first trick. As he grew more adept at nekiho-engineering, Ceiling Hopper became his sonic playground. His first successful experiment resulted in a switch mechanism that turned the sound of the entire instrument from a regular baki sound to the sound of a Shkttt-worker. The switch was so easy to handle that Satashona composed around fifteen different songs that involved regular swithing between the two modes. The lyrics of these songs started out as nonsensical wordplay, but later turned into a sung epic about Satashona's desire to phase through walls.
Useless back of flesh and bones
Where will you be when the ceiling drops?
Where will you be when the earth roars and the music stops?
I am a jiggling jelly-worm
I drop that ceiling straight through me
I play that music inside my neurons
Inside the walls and beyond, that's where I'll will be

Let the rocks fall!
Let me feel the tumbling down on me!
Let me slither!
Let me jitter!
I am a jester!
A ceiling-sitter!
The Queen herself will be jealous of me!
- "The Phaser, Part Three"
 
Soon enough, it became clear that Satashona's ambitions could not be met with just one nekiho. After pushing Ceiling Hopper to its limits, he decided to build a new instrument. And with it, he would compose a piece that angered the Peeping Tongue itself.

Provocation, Image-ization

"If the apocalyse comes again, I want to die listening to Satashona's music."
- a fan and fellow survivor
The apocalyse did come again, but only for Satashona himself.
In 435 ATC, his new nekiho, the name of which has been lost, debuted with the piece 'Don't Close Your Eyes'. In the song, Satashona took on the Peeping Tongues, the agents of terror that seemed to watch over Lahhei even when they were not active. These creatures were the sole cause of one of the most feared conditions known to the Northern Tunnels. And they did not like provocation. For this reason, the Peeping Tongue was a taboo topic in the arts. But if there was one thing Satashona was known for, it was breaking taboos.
Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!
Cowardly peeper, peel away the curtain!
Look me straight into the eye and don't look away!
Don't close your eyeless eyes!
- Excerpt from "Don't Close Your Eyes"
And the Peeping Tongue answered this request. Three days after the song's debut, Satashona was implanted with an Image , and was left with only a hundred days to live.

Tragedy

by Rain Tunison via HeroForge
Hey Sata,

Taley here.
When are you coming out of your house? Without the mask? We haven't been jamming for ages now.
I know you're in a lot of pain, but you can't just lock yourself up like that. You're making it even worse, you know!

(Also, that mask is unfatomably creepy.
You want people to not treat you like a monster? Ditch the mask.
Idiot.)

I don't know what I'm writing. There is something about you... something I cannot describe. Writing this letter somehow fills me with dread...
I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.

(You're a failure, you know that? I'm so disappointed in you!)

I guess there is something wrong with me as well. That Image of yours, it's contagious.
But I'm not the one suffering, am I?
- Excerpt from an unfinished letter to Satashona
Taley's autobiography contains a passage in which she destroyed Satashona's front door with an axe. She dropped it immediately when she caught Satashona in a panic attack. By all accounts he genuinely thought she was going to chop him up.
After recovering from the Peeping Tongue's attack, Satashona's condition slowly worsened. He stopped playing music in public. He locked himself up in his home and when he went outside, he wore a mask resembling the head of a screaming wing-rat, a feathered Tunnel-creature infamous for its ugly face. Social workers tried to contact him again. One of them lamented their failure to help him in their patient's journal.
"A lost case. Doesn't cooporate. Doesn't open the door. Doesn't talk to anyone. He is now firmly in the Image's grasp. It was our job to give him the tools he needed to ward off the worst aspects of his condition. We failed. And now it is too late."
During this period, Satashona's own journals were scrambled and almost unreadable, apart from the constant pleading for people to listen to him, to understand him. The last part of his journal ended with an unusually clear description of his inner struggle.
by Rain Tunison via HeroForge
"I have no face. I cannot speak. It has taken everything from me. I can only wear the mask. This hideous, monstrous mask. But I would rather have a monster's face, than no face at all.
I would rather be a monster, than be nothing at all."
Satashona took his own life before the Image could gain complete control over his body. But he didn't go out without a fight. And he fought in the only way he knew how.

The Sound of Order

The nekiho called 'The Sound of Order' made its public debut six days before Satashona's death. Satashona had worked on it while he was secluded in his home. In his desperation to communicate his agony to the world where words failed him, Satashona constructed this nekiho to replicate a sound he would often hear in his Image-induced nightmares. It was not a pleasant sound. A screaming drone. No melody. No rhythm. No dynamics. And it went on and on and on, seemingly forever. The sound was so traumatizing, that Satashona asked for many social workers to be present during the concert, so that the audience could get immediate councelling afterwards. Even still, some members of the audience suffered lasting psychological damage.
That was the only time 'The Sound of Order' was heard. Before his death, Satashona disconnected some of the instrument's core components. If anyone would play the instrument now, it would make no sound whatsoever. He taught Taley how to reconnect these components. This knowledge was passed on to a few select individuals that were deemed responsible enough to not abuse it. As of 743 ATC, the nekiho can be found inside the Lahhei Archives. It lies on a pedestal, its internal mechanisms exposed, and protected by a glass dome. Documents describing the sound and its effects were gathered by the archives and carefully preserved. Satashona's piece ended up to be a major breathrough in understanding the Image and what it does to its victims. As the Peeping Tongues grew more active, 'The Sound of Order' laid there as a call to action, to never let this happen again.
by Rain Tunison via HeroForge
"I was there at the concert, if you could even call it one. He didn't talk. He had that awful mask on. It was a horrible experience, but I'm glad I had it. This may seem incredibly sappy, but I think it made me a better, more compassionate person.
Thank you, Sata. For everything.

- Taley
Species
Conditions
Ethnicity
Other Ethnicities/Cultures
Date of Birth
352 ATC
Date of Death
435 ATC
Children
Gender Identity
Since his full name is unknown, so is his gendered suffix. The only thing that is known is that he used he/him pronouns. If Satashona adhered to Enthanaesic gender roles, he was likely Li.
Eyes
Red, dilated
Hair
Short, straight, black
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Greyish green
Belief/Deity
Biqas Cosmology

Nekiho-Engineering

by Posessed Photography from Unsplash
A Nekiho is a hurdy gurdy-like instrument that can produce an extremely wide range of sounds depending on its build and configuration. It was developed in the early years of Lahhei City, based on a wide variety of similar instruments used by other communities in the Northern Tunnels. The Nekiho is considered Lahhei's most important musical instrument.
Those who play the Nekiho tend to build their instruments themselves, and always have a wealth of knowledge of the inner workings of their instruments. They need this knowledge in order to get the most out of their instruments. For this reason they are also called 'engineers'. With the right build, materials and configuration, a Nekiho can produce sounds from a simple string, to a metallic howling, to a deep, booming drone and anything in between. Some Nekiho-engineers even managed to build instruments that emulate certain animal noises with uncanny accuracy.
Satashona by Rain Tunison via HeroForge

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Character Portrait image: Satashona by Rain Tunison via Artbreeder

Comments

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22 Jan, 2022 23:44

A tragic story but a great read! It was interesting to see how the impending death had an effect on Sata. Also the instrument itself is a cool concept.

Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
23 Jan, 2022 10:25

Thank you! I had the idea for this instrument lying around for quite a while, but I couldn't really give it a proper place. This challenge was the perfect opportunity. I'm glad you liked the article.

26 Jan, 2022 07:52

Well written tragedy. I want to say I enjoyed your writing, but the tale left me with a sad feeling. so uh well done.

26 Jan, 2022 12:02

Thank you!

4 Feb, 2022 12:10

Wow, i'm impressed by the story and the details of the instrumets. I love the article!

Visit Daeliha, Iphars & Khulgran
Love to code, but this one is driving me crazy!
Hey look, I have a SC prep article
4 Feb, 2022 13:22

Thank you!

7 Feb, 2022 14:36

This was very interesting to read! The highlight for me is the dialogue–in particular the interview with Taley Taloien-Asa–as it's fun, witty, and really lets the characters' personalities shine. As other people have commented, the Nekiho is a fascinating concept, but I also like the little details, such as how the instrument is called different names by different groups, hinting at a much more in-depth world than is shown (by the way, the Peeper Tongue and the Images are so wonderfully Lovecraftian and terrifying). Returning to our titular bard, I find Satashona to be a rather admirable character as he undergoes many tragedies yet maintains a positive attitude. However, his ambition and his final performance that inflicted "lasting psychological damage" keeps him morally grey and interesting. Just a minor typo: "discusses" is missing an s. Apologies for the ramble :)   (づ。◕‿‿◕。)づ My entry for the bard challenge: Dinara Görah!

7 Feb, 2022 23:15

Wow, I literally didn't notice 'disucsses' was missing an s up until now! Thank you for pointing it out. Aside from that, thank you so much for the feedback. It means a lot to me.

8 Feb, 2022 01:39

You're most welcome.

13 Feb, 2022 03:40

Poor Satashona! I liked how his final piece was able to provide vital information to stop what happened to him happening again.

Hello!
16 Feb, 2022 09:49

Thank you!

16 Feb, 2022 04:57

You have an interesting and well crafted tragedy. I also liked the early on exchange about the baki/nekiho showing the difference in culture and language development, but the universality of music.

Feel free to stop by and read some of my Summercamp articles, conveniently located here Summer Camp Pledge 2022. Leave a comment if you can, feedback is always appreciated.
16 Feb, 2022 09:49

Thank you!

16 Feb, 2022 20:42

Phew that was intense. Such a tragic tale, and his fight at the ned to simply be understood, beautifully sad. great article

20 Feb, 2022 17:45

Thank you so much! This story honestly got a lot more intense and sad than I intended it to be, but I guess it's inevitable considering the subject matter.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
18 Feb, 2022 12:51

Great article! I remember those pepping tongues >:( A very tragic story, but it's good that people have been able to get a breakthrough from Satashona work. Is there any trace left of his work that angered the pepping tones or did people thought it more careful to destroy it?   I like the idea of the musician having to build the instruments themselves and so making each of them unique, with only themselves able to fully play them :D

To see what I am up to, see the list of my Summer Camp articles—my favourite is Sentient Cells.
20 Feb, 2022 17:56

Thank you! It means a lot! I would imagine that, since the Lahhei value archiving and rememberance greatly, 'Don't Close Your Eyes' was sealed away in the Archives, now only available for study and research purposes. Fun fact: the nekiho-engineering part was actually inspired by certain types of experimental electronic music in which musicians engineer their own unique sounds. Think the likes of Autechre or more recent musicians like Arca and Sophie (may she rest in peace). Since Lahhei is still a pre-industrial society, I felt having a hurdy gurdy-like instrument may be a good non-digital variant on that concept.