The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 58

by Mark Figueroa aka Anthony Abyss | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen


Chapter 58: The lutenist of limbo.

“Well… since we’re on the subject…” I say, piling all the dishes in the sink. The Nothing… eating alien souls…” I strain scrubbing the waffle maker. “…Sounds like a bunch of crap, Kanti. Humans in space… that we don’t know about…”  

“You can be brilliantly dense at times, Young Emery. What is an alien?”

“Someone not from Earth. What else could it be?”

“By that logic, all of the divines are aliens.”

“That’s not what I meant. I mean a being, or whatever, from this reality that doesn’t look like a human earth-person.”

“Human earth-person… how eloquent. Consider this: what if space were a giant planet, all of the different universes were regions, the galaxies made to be continents, and solar systems made to be countries; imagine all of the planets in space were counties, each continent on the planet would be like a unique state with countries being cities or towns; all of the states then become like neighborhoods with their own towns and cities counted as communities or villages. Then let’s assume every sentient organism—creatures who can think or feel emotions—has a soul.”

“Okay. Go on.”

“We know that since the first soul existed, the body it dwelled in was called human. Therefore, any and all creatures with a soul fall under the same classification. Beyond that, all other races, distinctions, categorizations, creeds and ethnicities are human-made, varying by region, continent, county, country, and, lastly, neighborhood. What race are the inhabitants of the planet called space, if they all possess souls?”

“I get it. I get it.”

Kanti speaks over me, “All souls return to the Meta and are reborn accordingly, despite how they resonate, if they resonate at all, because they are human.” 

“So where do the other cloaks fit in this? I know how they work and everything, but how are they decided on, and how is everything divided?” I ask, placing the washed waffle maker on the dish rack. I reach for the other dishes and pause when I realize Eliza has a dishwasher.

“As far as I know, one cloak chooses, one is given, and one is inherited. They all perform the same function.”

“What about the fourth?”

“There are two Olacium ethereals, and a divine, per cloak. One Olacium-dweller monitors the passage of souls on Vivus—the Topside of the Meta—and the other on Mordis—the below; each pillar corresponds to the cloak-bearer’s area of responsibility. Though I cannot say it with 100% certainty, I am confident that the other cloak bearers have the same arrangement. I do not know anything of the fourth cloak apart from its existence, and that Sha-ik’Tael is the only with any knowledge and comprehension of it.”

“So… is it safe to say that there are intergalactic cloak bearers fighting the Nothing?” I ask, absorbed by the possibility of drifting through space. 

“Such a fantastic notion, young Emery,” Kanti smiles at my thought. “Aemon’s followers only plague creatures they can feast on. About half of the organisms across the Universes on this plane are primal. Though some beings are more technologically advanced and more intelligent than the humans on this planet, they are not entirely sentient—only striving to reproduce and survive; they have a hive mind and cannot think or feel on their own. While a Nothing may able to feed on their leader, or their puppeteer, they cannot impose thoughts or feelings on the creatures that are incapable of emotion or reason. Thus, their supply of energy would be unsustainable.” 

“That’s a crappy existence… what about the rest?”

“Well, the other half are the emotional and intellectual beings that can feel… empathize, rationalize and sympathize on their own. The ones you and the other cloak bearers need to protect. You see, life on this planet makes up about 15% of the cosmos’ rational-emotional population. Mind you, there are only eight billion humans on Earth; however, within the scope of your area of responsibility, this planet contains slightly less than half of all sentient life.”

“I thought a human was anything other than… well, humans… what about the animals?”

“The animals capable of feeling become prey to the Nothing as well, but it is doubtful that those particular human souls can be corrupted without a replicable means of communication. Aemon’s followers would spend an insurmountable amount of time and effort picking up “cat” for example, when it need only walk among human-humans anywhere, taste their corruption, and see into their memories to mimic speech and thought processes.”  

“Interesting… Can we talk to Sha-ik’Tael about helping us? If she’s Aemon’s counter, then she should have some ideas as to how I can contain his energy.” I place a smudged spoon into the dishwasher.

Kanti shakes his head. “Unfortunately, only two entities are able to set eyes on, comprehend, and maintain dialogue with Sha-ik’Tael,” Kanti declares. “Those two…” He sighs. “Are Aemon, and the forsaken one.” He pauses before continuing, seeming to remember something. 

“Kanti?” I ask.

He clears his throat and continues explaining. “Sha-ik’Tael resonates at every possible wavelength simultaneously due to being confined within the divine source. It is impossible to gather all she speaks, so we would have to make sense of the fragments. Currently, all of the divines can hear fragments of Sha-ik’Tael’s words, but only Olcacium-bound ethereal beings like Achron and Etriyenne can speak to her—albeit, for very brief periods. Their differing resonances allows them to fill in the gaps when Sha-ik’Tael speaks.” 

“Achron and Etriyenne didn’t mention any of this.”

“You never asked, Young Emery. And this knowledge, fascinating as it may be, is irrelevant at your current capabilities. With Aemon inside of you, what we know, save for the basics, is for the most part useless. We are almost starting anew. And as far as I am aware, only the divines aiding a cloak bearer know the specifics of their respective cloak.”

“Gotcha… Wait a minute!” I yell, filling the dishwasher with dish soap from the sink. “Sorry, it just hit me? I’ll be able to go anywhere?”


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