This so-called 'Atlas' makes me uneasy. When the Elder and the Shaper fought for dominion, their territories made a certain violent sense. There was a known purpose behind the miscreations we fought. Now that those purposes are gone, these lands have reverted to a primordial malleable clay which seems to offer up our very desires as offering and appeasement.
Long ago, before I was exiled, indeed before I truly knew the uncouth adult realities of humanity, I wandered a hall of mirrors at a carnival in Theopolis. By flickering torchlight, I saw myself reflected into infinity, finally obscured not by any horizon, but by the darkening and shrinking of my own image as it grew more and more distant behind echoes of itself.
The mists of the Atlas are the same. There is no fog, no humidity, no obscuring and coiling haze. There is only my will, my thoughts, and my expectations, reflected as countless echoes through a vast and immeasurable space. A pure being might make this a paradise, but we are mortal, and brimming with vices.
For a brief time before we lost Sirus, I would have called these fellow exiles friends. Perhaps, even family. A certain bond forms between those who believe they are about to die, and that kept us focused... but we did not die. Sirus sacrificed himself, and we won the day.
At what cost? We are drifting apart. Each of us sees that which we desire on the formless horizon, and each of us pursues our own path. I saw Baran continuing his crusade in a righteous wrath, though I know not how many days past, for the sun is false in this place. I suspect each valley I tread has a sun only because I expect it to be hanging in the sky. Does each valley only have a sky because I expect that, too? I no longer believe anything at all.
I would not call myself bitter, but I do see the others descending, while I remain steadfast in my convictions. Drox believes he can forge a new land here, with himself as king. His pride draws him ever further from me. Al-Hezmin seeks to hone his skills against ever more dangerous enemies in a vain attempt to be more powerful than Drox and Baran, a curious kind of envy that poisons both his soul and the land around him.
I understand now. I must serve as the moral heart of this place. The others are lost in their own gluttonous pursuits. They have become naught but delusional addicts lost in a haze of indulgence, and the thought of them makes me nauseous.
I continue to fight the horrors out of the mists because I must keep them in check. The pure require strength to impose order on a chaotic world, and I cannot allow the likes of Al-Hezmin or Drox to spread their filthy vices.
Yes, I am the only one among us free of the hall of mirrors. I am the only one still thinking clearly. I have to get us out of here before it is too late... I am the only one that can save us.
Loathsome, foul creatures! This 'Atlas' is infested with vice. In every direction, they emerge from the mists, dancing, laughing, eating, drinking, and cavorting in grotesque exaggeration of mortal frailties. The smack of their lips as they chew grates on my ears, the gulps from their bulging throats as they down their wine fills me with fury, and the embrace of coins and jewels and golden treasure makes me shudder.
Do you not see how repugnant you are? Stop consuming, stop partaking, and look at the abomination you have become! Every morsel you stuff down your gullet and every lie you tell yourself just makes you that much more monstrous. You are changing. You are misshapen. Your mouth bulges and grows, your eyes bulge, and your hands bloat. Do you not see yourself?!
I shall save you from your own vices by purging your weakness.