"Scattersomnia": A Disease of the Wise and Drowsy Wanderers
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WANDERER'S MEMO: Hello! This is my first time penning a Page in The Library! I'm ecstatic, but I hope my excitement doesn't carry me too far away, as this topic is severe. I am ever hopeful that others who have experienced what I describe will be able to voice their own experiences.

-Wanderer Lampyra
Member of a fledgling splinter known as
“The Watchers of The Lost Glade of Her Serpent”

rating: +68+x

“Scattersomnia”: A Disease of the Wise and Drowsy Wanderers

A Plague of Thought,
A Crook on the Lookers,
Nightmare-Walkers (By the Oneiroi),
Fuck Wanderer “Tenebris” for Misleading Me

(Though, I'm grateful their deceit allowed me
the opportunity of finding this on my own,
so I might help others)
1, 2

Conspectus

This is a tale of what I found during my lost fortnight in the far reaches of the Stacks, with nothing but my rucksack (containing more space within than without), my phantasmal feline Buckwheat, and my own sense of direction. I had been a member of the Serpent's Hand living in The Wanderers' Library for only six months to that point.3 I was in a vulnerable place, inside. Then, someone with a track record for misleading our fellow Hand members (fuck you, Tenebris) tricked me into an adventure I could never dream of getting into. I stepped into a forbidden Way and found myself hundreds of millions of rows from the Commons.

All bookshelves were dilapidated there, likely unread in centuries. The verdancy4 was pleasant, in streams of thick vines and overgrowth, but it wasn't long until I realized how much trouble I was in. No Librarians would answer my call.5 I found one building — an old settlement, likely built by a long-dead expedition party — where a sense of unease filled my chest. It is there that I speculate an entity, known by Oneiric Folk as a “nightmare-walker”, had stalked me. When I was unaware, it jumped into my head, nesting in my subconscious mind.

I spent that next week foraging for scores of disembodied knowledge and sustenance; reading and retrieving forgotten texts; and exploring with Buckwheat, to no avail. Another group (who wish to remain anonymous) found me there, and via complex working, opened a Door back to my home. I showed no symptoms of its tendrils — except for intermittent, fearful fluttering — until I returned.

And then, it took me.

Illustration

thanks-lissie.png

This is the place where I first felt it. My photo-clairvoyant friend, Lissiefang, produced this image from my memory, in my stead. I was unfortunately unable to capture a photo myself. The Serpent knows I could never afford a camera that takes vital energy snapshots, so this will have to do. (Thanks, Liss!)

Knowledge

Traits

A “plague of thought” is a malignant being that inhabits your psyche, latches onto your dreams, and sucks them dry. It is an intrusive negative thoughtform fuelled by a cynical, alien Mindscape that knows what you fear and robs your life of its joy. They assume innumerable shapes and sizes with a motif of endless, fractal spirals. One can nary identify it until it is too late.

Those Wanderers who know a thought plague experience an immense mental valley in which they might feel downtrodden and discarded. It starts with a light throbbing — or even, a strange numbness — behind their eyes. As the plague grows, they experience a lasting ego death. Those around them are unable to identify them as they once were. They sense realistic hallucinations of those who have similarly fallen, reaching toward them, pleading for help, or mercy. And then, one's physical form recedes like a tide and diminishes, wisping away from the Overworld.

The thought plague, satiated by its latest feast, returns to its nightmarish abode, and awaits another who might happen on its imprint.


Nature

Stressors come with an interconnected world. Through both (A) the Internet and (B) the vast, shared psychic space we advanced sapients can access with the most basic of neuro-biological function, we feel more a sense of togetherness than any other time in history. And yet, still we find ourselves anxious and alone, thrown to the wayside with poisonous depression and uncertainty. Separating into ideological tribes more distant than the oldest peoples of antiquity. In rare instances, this leads to what is known as a fatal, psycho-physical expansion, especially now in the Unmasqued Age.6

This is not quite that. “Scattersomnia” — a nomenclature I developed with the others in my sect, to describe the wretched ways these ideatic miscreants prowl — affects some of those same people, but only those whose guardians raised them to believe they were naturally gifted. Those “smart cookies”; those naïve ones in their merry ways; those of us who succeeded young, peaked early, and fell hard. Those whose dreams were dashed are the most vulnerable, as the nightmare-walker sees them clearest.


History & Associated Parties

An endless amount of scattersomniacs lived and fell across human history. I believe some famous ones include painter Vincent van Gogh and poet Edgar Allan Poe. The most recent one in my records — seer & former Jailor psionics specialist Samara Maclear — frequently experienced nightmares of a vantablack Gate and an ambling, indeterminate silhouette.

The Oneiroi disavow the nightmare-walkers. Though they are both the same kind, their minds twisted after lifetimes basking in the nightmares at the bottom of Man's misery. They are shells of what they once were and plague the Waking World incessantly, having nowhere else to go.


Approach

A nightmare-walker is not to be pitied. They are wretched, and act in wretched ways. A nightmare-walker is to be subdued with stronger thoughtforms. The help of a capable telepath might do, if temporarily.7 There is little else one may wield to fight them, except maybe the spirit of oblivion that lives deep in sapients of some worlds, seeded by cursed, impossible machines.

Observations & Stories

I am the only one in my circle8 that I know to have felt this. I ask all who have experienced the cursed fate of the nightmare-walkers to join your voice with mine.

-Lampyra

Doubt

There is little doubt. I have seen it. The nightmare-walkers are here, in droves, howling from behind the tarp strung against the cosmic wall. I have already invoked their name, and I fear my voicing of their disordered, collective spirit of pain has cast forth their image where all may see.

I'm sorry.

But with your strength — all ye who tread here — we might defeat them.

Or so I hope.

-Lampyra

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