Apollyon's Curse

Apollyon's Curse

by M_Z

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore

Within the pages of folklore and fantasy, tales of people who chase after immortality rarely end with a happy ending. They either come to terms with their limitations, give up, and return to a life of mundanity or face a ghastly realization of their wishes. The latter is often the worse fate, as they will come to realize, only far too late, that what they sacrificed was worth far more than the time they gained.

Ultimately, the common thread in all these stories is that “immortality is as much a curse as it is a blessing”. Time and again, people either realize this early and turn back or press forward, doomed to inevitably face the consequences of their choice.

From the worlds Eldrige has traveled, nothing has contradicted this statement yet. Every pathway toward power or eternal life has shackles of its own. To ambitious mortals on the ground, they bring the heavens high above down to earth, leveling the playing field. With luck and determination, they too can become the heavens others look up to. And, with time, they too will be replaced. After all, what fun is a game if the pieces stay stagnant over the eons?

It is thanks to these fundamental, foundational laws that a determined few are able to defy their fate and achieve immortality themselves. 

Eldridge’s path doesn't break this trend. In fact, his shackles are more binding and restrictive than most. However, he doesn’t see it that way.

On the day of his ascension, a world’s worth of souls was melted and recast. On that day, the human’s path had reached its conclusion, its feeble form remolded into a Cursed Artifact, cursed by the resentment of a world. All of this, however, is secondary to the fact that his plan succeeded. An artifact, a weapon, is eternal, after all. 

As for the curse? The payment will be made, as it must. So why not offload the curse to someone else? Mortals throw their lives away for all manner of petty reasons, noble or otherwise, especially in times of desperation.

Eventually, someone will be willing to foot the bill. Most will if given the chance. The bait is far too tempting, after all. Power, status, knowledge. All at their fingertips, if only they say “yes”. Though their meager life may not be able to handle the weight of all those shackles, what are mortals if not numerous?

The Angel of the Pit is very willing to help any lost souls, its kindness and generosity knowing no bounds. Its help extends to anyone or anything, poor or rich, weak or strong. It does not matter. Well, if they sacrifice everything in return, of course.

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Grand Eldritch Fantasy, but can be improved upon

Reviewed at: (11)The Deserter VI: Veritas

There’s a lot of things that Apollyon’s Curse gets right - the grand scale of what it means to be a multidimensional world-devouring entity, how life can be perceived from the eyes of such a being, and how insignificant most mortal troubles are when you are not practically bound by the shackles of time. However, these types of stories are also prone to opening themselves up to narrative problems execution-wise, and Apollyon’s Curse suffers a fair amount from this in the prologue chapters. 

Style score: To get the bad out of the way, the style is bogged down by the way exposition is handled in the prologue chapters. Because the story is so grand and difficult to comprehend, lots of sentences and paragraphs are solely devoted to help the reader understand what is going on, and I’d say this is especially egregious in the first chapter. The narrative style is definitely off-putting as well initially, where I wasn’t sure if it was third-person omniscient or the main character was just thinking by himself for really, really, really long periods of time, and it wasn’t until chapter five that I got my concrete answer. The pacing in the prologue chapters suffers because of the heavy exposition, and I think it would be difficult even for veteran readers to get through it while remembering every bit of information thrown their way.

However, what is written is good prose. Fantastic prose, actually. While the third-person omniscient narrative style feels ethereal and ‘detached’ from the actual story, this combined with the wording choices and the general premise is also, in a way, informing readers on the tone of the story. The main character is a multidimensional world-devouring entity. Did you really expect anything less than reading the story through the lens of someone who’s done it all, seen it all, and only vaguely resembles a human at his current point in life? Even more intriguing is how the author has matched the narrative style with the events taking place in the prologue - when the main character is still a multidimensional entity - and then immediately pivoting to a more ‘grounded’ narrative style once he managed to compress himself into a smaller artefact. A lower being that the reader can properly comprehend. Granted, I don’t think it’s worth it ultimately for the story to spend five whole chapters with the omniscient style, but for what it is, it does properly inform the readers that the writing itself isn’t going to be a problem for the rest of the story. Style score: 4/5.

Story score: As mentioned, most of my issues with the writing style stems from the story, so I’ll address the bad first again.

There’s too much exposition in the first five chapters. Especially in the first four. A lot of what makes the world(s) interesting is buried under paragraphs of paragraphs of information that can definitely be deferred for later chapters, and it doesn’t help that the story doesn’t particularly set the scene for any imagination in the first four chapters. Exposition is quite literally just narration, which also makes it difficult to differentiate when the exposition is meant for the reader and when it is meant for the characters themselves. This confusion took me out of the story many times during the first four chapters, and until the fifth chapter (and subsequent chapters, since I did take a peek after the prologue to see how the story develops) where the story starts to become a little more grounded, I struggled to understand what the story was actually about. As such, the tension and the stakes shown in the prologue mostly fall flat for me. I couldn’t really ‘attach’ myself to anything, so to speak.

But once the story did get a little more grounded in chapter five, I began to see the bigger picture. There was an anchor for me to work with by way of the main character finally trying to forge himself into an artefact, and from there on I could tell the direction the story was going to go in. To very loosely summarise, the story follows Eldrige as he tries to forge himself into an artefact so he can be used by denizens of other worlds in order to become ‘detached’, which, as I understand it, is a form of true immortality not tied to the System of the story. The setting of the story seems to be that the System isn’t particularly regarded as an all-benevolent force, but the beauty of the story also lies in the fact that there isn’t one true world, and thus there is no one true ‘truth’. The story is set up in a way where Eldrige is going to travel between multiple worlds, experience different cultures, live vicariously through his vessels, and as such the story is open to an extremely wide array of themes, topics, and potential to explore whatever the author wants to explore. The utterly grand and eldritch scale of the premise works in favour of the story here, and if you like fantasy stories told from the perspective of a multidimensional entity having to compress himself to a more comprehensible form, you’ll like reading through this. 4/5.

Grammar score: A few typos here and there, but nothing that detracts from the reading experience. 5/5.

Character score: Even though the narrative style and the direction of the story is completely based around Eldrige as a multidimensional entity, the pitfalls of writing such an eldritch and incomprehensible main protagonist is quite apparent here. No doubt some readers would find him interesting as an eldritch entity in and of itself, but because the prologue chapters are mostly complicated exposition wherein Eldrige just… stands up and prepares a few things, it’ll be difficult for most readers, I imagine, to relate to him as a main protagonist. The story tells us what and why he is doing what he is doing, but doesn’t take the time to ground him with an actual character - we get snippets of his past before he turned into an eldritch entity, but those were all simply told to us in narration, which makes it all quite weak and insubstantial when he doesn’t seem to have any observable reactions to thinking about his past. Not saying there isn’t any at all, but I believe the first few chapters of a story should always do at least two things: Establish the general tone of the story, as well as the personality that will be carrying readers through the story. The tone is there. Eldrige’s personality isn’t. I can’t really tell you much about who he is apart from ‘logical’ and ‘he likes to think a lot’, which, while it may sound reductive of me, is what I truly think because the story gave me no reason to really care about knowing him.

Now, I’ve read a few chapters after the prologue, and another character does get introduced to work off of Eldrige as a main character. Said new character is a grounded mortal with understandable ambitions, fears, and troubles I think most readers can actually relate to, which is fantastic for the story. Having someone like him around makes Eldrige stand out in stark contrast, and it is through the contrast that readers can truly understand and see Eldrige for who he is - not everything we are told he is, but what he does do when interacting with a being he regards as lower than himself. Grounding an Eldritch entity in more earthly scenarios with earthly protagonists gives actual depth to him as a character, as opposed to the abstractness of his existence and all his world-devouring magic shenanigans. 4/5.

In Conclusion: There’s a lot that this story gets right, but the sheer amount of exposition and the writing style within the first five chapters significantly detract from the readers’ ability to form an emotional attachment with the story. However, if you can get past this initial hurdle and get to the point where characters become more grounded, Apollyon’s Curse is a story that can definitely appeal to readers of the Eldritch and incomprehensibly cosmic genre. It’s the well-written sort of incomprehensibility, where the prose flows when it has to and the scenarios of awe-inspiring power are actually quite awe-inspiring. 

The prologue needs a big trimming down, is all.

M.G Driver

A Immersive Premise and Perspective

Reviewed at: (12)The Assassin I: Downfall

If you're looking for a deep dive fantasy LitRPG - this is it. Straight to the core of the world rules and world building, fleshing out the system, environment and worlds in the multiverse.

By following a 'cursed' living weapon around, it makes for interesting and dynamic short stories along the way. There's not a lot of chapters as of now, but already the story has molded into something both grim and heavy.

If you love hard worldbuilding with detailed clear exposition and an intriguing plot that hooks you, read it right away.

Writing style is clean, consistent. I think my only major gripe is that the stats are not show in the usual blue box that I've been accustomed too, though that's a personal opinion.

There's a very very small tendency to go off the rails and explain something that doesn't really add anything to the story. Sure it's lore and background information, but it did not really relate to what the current character is thinking about or where he currently is.

I really, really think that the prologue should be completely removed, with the story starting in Chapter 6 instead. It makes for a more high-tension scene. I then believe that the backstory in the prologue can be dripped out over time through the story in later chapters That's just my personal opinion, and it might sound like a super cookie-cutter storyline to do so. However, I also think it is the most effective.

Otherwise, in terms of world structure, rules, system and abilities, the limitations are pretty clear - we already see in the prologue how far Eldridge can go and where he was forced to stop. The entire narration about the concept of immortality makes for an extremely intriguign introspective piece as well.

Perfect 5/5, didn't spot any major or minor flaws.

As of now, I believe Eldridge is the MC so I'll base my score off him.

I really like how much time was put into detailing his long and old age, and how he truly felt about it. Guilt and remorse are but small little ticks in his old memory that barely registers to him anymore, which i think is the perfect characterization for someone who has lived that long. The disdain for others far below his station is also expected.

Readers might hate him, but in terms of character design, this is as accurate as it gets especially considering the main theme of 'immortality is as much a curse as it is a blessing'

I think if the story was flipped around, it might actually be a super good story. The premise is already great, as well as the worldbuilding. So if the focus is on getting viewers hooked, I think removing prologue is the way to go. Of course, this is a personal opinion, and I don't hate the way the author has written it either.

In terms of chapter length, I think breaking it up into smaller chunks would work better as well. Reading on mobile really took a toll on me in terms of how long each chapter was.


Multiversal Fantasy: Fantastic world w/ issues

Reviewed at: (8)The Deserter III: Decisions, Decisions

Alright, I'm going to jump straight into it here. The story is fantastic once you get into it, but I will talk about some issues that need to be ironed out. Most pressing of which, is the character section.

Character: Elridge von Hastur is the main character of Apollyon's Curse. He is a ten-thousand year old, multiversal man who's attained such a height of arcane understanding that he can scarcely be called human anymore. Elridge has extended his lifespan virtually indefinitely with his knowledge, but he is not yet truly immortal and transcendent.

Apollyon's curse is fundamentally the story of a man who has lived too long, seen too much, but a man one who still thirsts for knowledge and to escape the bounds of reality.  Secrets behind multiple layers of reality are known to him, and he can wipe out entire planes of life with a single spell. Even the gods and overgods of these planes are usually insects to him. 

But, the issue here. Some people are drawn to cosmic, all-powerful, amoral  main characters characters for the sake of it. The first two chapters go heavily into the "who, what, when, where, how" of who he is a bit, but they gave no reason for me to really care about him.

In fact, it had the opposite effect. His 'prey' and victims have proven to be much more relatable and grounded characters and I decided by the end of chapter 1 that I absolutely loathed Elridge. Written with a third person perspective, the story could actually be structured to hook the reader in without losing anything by deferring Elridge's sections. The character became much more interesting to me once the story left the realm of abstract multiversal spellcraft and started focusing on more grounded planes of existence.

If you feel the same about Elridge as I do after opening the story, read on - because the author has done some really cool stuff here.

Story: The strongest point of this piece. Once you get past the clunky exposition of the first two chapters - you find that the author has actually a very, very intriguing world and plot. Elridge has in essence, forged himself into an artifact to be used by 'heroes' of various worlds, and continues to drain these worlds of their knowledge and secrets, as well as their resources. He orchestrates events on the order of centuries, and once taken in a grounded context, the story becomes infinitely more relatable. The entertainment and tension from the story really revolves around how the people he's exploiting and serving as a greater scope villain for move around his machinations, unbeknownst to him. If you've ever wanted to read a Print High Fantasy novel from the perspective of the cosmic god in the background, this is an excellent story for that premise.

Style: The author has an excellent prose and premise here, and they've created a super fascinating world / multiverse / magic system. If I had any complaints, it's that there's been TOO much descriptive exposition in the early prologue. Everything past that is great, but the first chapter in particular has entire paragraphs or sentences every other paragraph that could be omitted or deferred to later in the chapter without losing meaning or substance. The first chapter is extremely important in a web serial, and it needs to form an emotional attachment with the reader. 

If you have similar sentiments about the first chapter, skip it and go back to it. You won't regret reading the rest.

Grammar: Nothing immersion-breaking here, the prose is very good overall, like I said! I'd go as far as to say it's almost at the level of published print authors.


Pretty good so far, the one star rating it got before me was probaly due to bad formating it had on the first few days. The only weaknes i would give the story is that its dragging it feet a bit at some places, could trim those down for a more streamlined experiance but it is good enough as it is.