Progress is a powerful thing. It is an insatiable fire that burns within someone, urging them to move forward. The scarred man’s fire burned brighter after the events with the lightning. What he knew was only a droplet in the great ocean that surrounded his goal, and he had to know more if he wanted to sail closer.
He looked across the planes, the man’s home becoming filled with constellations and notes of the planes beyond this world. He had to keep searching; his obsession was concerning some of the denizens of his household as his minutes pondering turned to hours, hours became days -- it was a ravenous cycle, one that would be broken.
There was hope in the worlds he did not know, where the Scarred Man’s astral employment and star signs did not yet know. He prepared the ritual, using his salts, and the dried umbilical cord that acted as his planar focus. He tore a hole in reality, and vanished from the earth, to the great ocean. Traveling the great ocean was a feeling he was more accustomed to now; one might initially feel sick at their first time, as it feels as though one was being rapidly accelerated and then slowed down, but now -- he was only slightly disoriented from the travel.
He manifested, a three point landing with smoke rising from his person. It was instinct to now stay still for a few moments, to make sure nothing was disturbed from his travel, and then continue. The Scarred Man looked around the grassy plain, and the hills and ruins that surrounded it, then to the sky above - filled with floating land and a sky that showed what was beyond, the nebula of space. He felt something off about this world; he swore he felt something within it pull at him, beckoning him forward, towards the great ruined arches and the scarred gravel path.
The Alchemist followed this feeling, with his heatless lantern in tow. The land was vibrant and varied, filled with mountains, plains, and forests, It was quite beautiful. The wildlife seemed relatively similar to the Mortal Plane, this betrayed what was ahead. When he crossed a great hill and peered below, he could not believe his eyes.
The great construct of legend. The Tower.
It was massive, a great tower -- surrounded by abandoned homes and buildings -- that pierced the sky, shining a dim light from the wound and onto the structure. Its age was evident, large archways and stairs that ran along the various levels of the tower had cracks and foliage growing off it, though the tower was in far better conditions than the buildings surrounding it. He marvelled at Llull, the origin of worldly manipulation.
The Scarred Man continued down, treading through the worn streets to come to the entrance of the tower. This place was not ravaged by war, he surmised; it appeared as though it was left in an exodus, or something of the like. When he came to entrance of the tower, he had to take another moment to bask in its glory, and make note of the stone guardians that silently watched over the tower, the gargoyles resembled men - Adonis’ with tattered cloth and wearing paint - their heads marked with Alchemical symbols. They were lifeless, however the sculptures gave off an air of dominance.
He hesitantly walked past, and moved into the great tower. It was massive within, taking him a great deal to even get to the center. The Alchemist looked around again, before feeling that tug become stronger. He couldn’t help but feel something complement the pull, faint whispers and the occasional odd shadow. He grew more mindful, and readied his launcher as he followed the world’s rhetoric, up the construct.
The artifacts and information within was vast, this place was truly guided by Philosophy and Ideals, led by Philosopher Kings who stayed within the tower. The information was in both books and murals, with the last thing recorded was a series of events in the form of murals, a depiction of two angels coming from the heavens and meeting with a masked king, and bestowing what appeared to be an Alchemical circle, one which described the world. Following that, the mural showed the sun and moon shining down on the alchemists at work; the next scripture however, was not yet finished. People were drawn, in search of something, and they came upon the top of the tower, seeking what he can only think of as Truth. Worldly knowledge that surpassed what they already knew.
Ascending the tower took days, not from the great height of the construct; he wandered along each floor, and examined the great wonders. These people had used some ancient practice before the coming of Alchemy, relying on the material symbols. When Alchemy was transitioned into society, it seemed to make a prosperous society even greater. He documented many of the great things he saw, though he noticed that shadows began to linger the further up he went, and the world continued to nudge him. He eventually came to the highest point, where the tower pierced the heavens and the cosmic sky turned blue and cloudy; before him was a large throne, surrounded by chairs and shadowy figures, all pointing to one thing -- an insignia on the grand throne, made of golden arms that interlocked hands -- a symbol of a tree, with the shadows pointed towards the roots.
He heard the rattling of something on the side, a lift had risen via chains, and the shadows immediately reached across the smaller room and towards the center of the lift. On it, the insignia of roots rest. He moved towards it, whispers filling his head, the voices of many, which spoke of a certain wisdom that lay below; the knowledge of the people. He was drawn to the notion, not by the world, but his yearn for knowledge, the wisdom of Llull ought to be impeccable, the fellow assumed. His mind prattled on in rhythm with the actuating chains and pulley, he wondered how far down he was descending. Even though there was little vision of the floors as he descended, he assumed he was going below the ground floor, narrowing his eyes as the light grew dimmer and dimmer.
Soon, the chains stopped.
He was at the very bottom, a long room with polished granite floors, lit by artificial lights. He noticed lines and symbols within them, making a peculiar shape outlined by dark stone and material symbols. In its center was a large stone figure, where multiple shadows sprang from, reaching the ends of the symbol. The statue resembled a faceless man, with multiple arms and legs, holding a large circle in the air. It was an Ouroboros, the symbol of infinity and wholeness.
He could feel it calling to him, beckoning for the alchemist to come closer. He walked, mindful of the shadows that stood., and seemed to watch him. It felt like all eyes were on him, even though there were none to speak of. As he got to the center of the symbol, and towards the statue, he dropped to a knee before it, looking to the ground below, filled with varying symbols -- each he was able to recognize as symbols of the material alphabet. As he began to decipher the meaning of these, he felt a tug in his being.
The shadows formed to shapes, rising from the ground to become humanoid forms. The Scarred man gritted his teeth as he felt his body turn against him. The blood pushed against his flesh; with streams of it being excruciatingly forced out from the tips of his fingers and toes, pooling within his gloves and boots to be forced into the circles, with some remaining to coil around him. He was unable to scream, even when he wanted to - opening his mouth to try was met with silence as it felt like something was trying to push back. The shadows leaked as well, dark ichor pooled to the ground to join with his blood, more of theirs than his. The statue rattled and cracked at the center, black and viscous arms tearing free from a nebulous cosm and reaching out from the stone cradle, all grabbing at the man.
They each held parts of his body, his throat, his arms, his chest. Hands took his head and forced it to stare at the Ouroboros, Zadrik was wide eyed, from both pain and situation. The Ouroboros began to fill at the center, a midnight blue right. It hurt to look at, though looking away was not an option. When the portal fully manifested, the color turned pale, and the hands suddenly reached for his face, towards his left eye. It was then, he was able to scream, as they tore into the socket and ripped the eye straight from his face.
His vision grew blurry in his only now widened eye as the hands moved the eye towards the center of the rift; blood dripped and pooled into the sigils below. He was not able to lose consciousness, having to endure this excruciating pain; shock was not even occurring. The eye took center stage in the rift, sucking into the vortex, only to stare back at Zadrik. He screamed louder and louder as he felt his own eye staring at him, with his brain filling with images and knowledge. He felt thousands of voices fill his head, thousands of experiences and wisdoms that culminated in one mind boggling thing.
“Sic Mundus Creatus Est”
He was forced to endure, time was meaningless in this situation; even if he was being choked by the hands, or forced to endure his wounds, the knowledge kept coming to him. What these people learned, the hidden Philosophies of here and there, it was burned into his brain. The process took days; his body suffered, his skin clung to the bone at the end of this -- forced to sacrifice, starve, and endure for this knowledge.
Eventually, the hands pulled free from the ravaged Zadrik, fading away as he hit the ground, body twitching and squirming. It was not yet over, as in his head, he saw a singular man, blood pooling from his hand, donning a crowned mask and curious outfit. A Philosopher King. The king reached out, and in his hand, the Scarred Man saw it, the sigils, the blood -- it made sense. He saw the Truth these people spoke of. When it finally came to him, the figure that lurked in his mind vanished, and he lost consciousness.
When he awoke, eyeless and in his own vomit and blood, he was in a desolate place. Cracked pillars, and a gateway held by black floors. He slowly got up, haggard and disheveled, his hand cupping his lost eye. With a sudden twitch of his fingers and tap of his hand, the blood scabbed and solidified, and he proceeded through the gateway, to home with his newfound knowledge.