He's empty - nothing left of what he used to be.
  Victims of the terrible Shrikes, the Gnawed have lost parts of their mind to their hunger. Dreams, hopes, memories and thought all disappear into the maw of the Shrikes, leaving huge rents where they should be. After the Plague of Dreams wracked Patala, the number of gnawed have grown greatly, the worst cases little more than empty husks.  


The most fortunate, whose haunting were short by whatever luck blessed them, the lowest grade of Gnawed is relatively minor. A few memories lost, a couple of details forgotten, or even words excised from their mind are symptoms of the Nibbled. Most don't suffer much from their condition but are able to get by, though some report being unable to really dream in the same way that they used to.  


Most Gnawed survivors fall within the category of devoured, with entire sections of their past consumed by the Shrikes. Many find themselves unable to speak as before, struggling to remember or even relearn parts of whatever languages they spoke or read before. Others lose hold of skills they used to possess, from swordplay to menial labor once mastered, either regressing to a lower level of expertise or forgetting completely, depending on how long they were haunted.  
No matter what degree they've been Gnawed, whatever has been lost resists to be learned once more. Only with great effort can the suffering soul put their minds back together.
  A few find entire, vital parts of their memories gone - having no recollection of where they came from, who they married, or what they owned... Making them vulnable to any number of schemes from unscrupulous villains.  


Given enough time, the hunger of the Shrike will leave nothing behind. Every thought held, every dream had, every memory cherished disappears into the void and leaves nothing behind but an empty shell. Before the Plague of Dreams, there were few Empty, as most were instead slain when the Shrike birthed a new kin that would then burst through their skull. Now, there are scores of them in Vicitra, mindless and empty things in human form.   The Empty have nothing left. They're incapable of speaking or reasoning, and if left alone will simply sit and stare, stewing in their own filth with no control over bodily functions. They can be directed to an extent, but will revert to their inert state without constant supervision.
Shrikes, Thought-Eaters   Nightmarish moth-creatures that live somewhere between dream and reality, Shrikes feed on thoughts and dreams, memories and hope. They gnaw holes in the mind, and make their lair among the broken memories.   The gnawed are those who survive the experience, whether they wish they had or not.   Read More About Shrikes
No one is sure what to do with them, either. Though some have called for them to be slain out of mercy or practicality, it's generally been met with a reply of "you fucking do it then", and things have ended there. Most hope that time will do it for them, leaving the Empty to starve on the street or die of exposure.
by Midjourney

Cover image: by Midjourney


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27 Jul, 2022 12:30

This is sad, and also kinda dangerous! Could the empty become a vessel for something else?

27 Jul, 2022 13:48

Mwhahahaha- I mean I couldn't possibly comment. :)

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
27 Jul, 2022 14:48

aaaaahhhh!! you're a tease <3