Desert Mind Walks

I... I can see them again. I see my brother and sister. They're waving at me. They look... happy!
— Second Floor Citizen, while consuming Mindwalk Cactus on the third floor.
  Seasons don't exist within Synthacrosia -- the tower's climate instead varies floor by floor. The Tower's third floor, The Floor of Health, is taken up entirely by a massive desert. Souls within Synthacrosia choosing to experience summer-like conditions they used to enjoy during their lives must travel to the Third Floor for that chance.   A very special plant grows in the desert of the third floor: Mindwalk Cacti. It's very similar to it's cousin, the Salvation Cactus -- it's got a tough thick skin, and inside is a very juicy soft flesh. If it weren't for Mindwalk Cacti's secondary effect, it too could be used as a water source while in the hot desert of Synthacrosia.

Execution

Finding the Cactus

I never found out what her name was, honestly. She had this bright, bright white cloak on, which matched her bright and happy personality. She sat us down and taught us how to find Mindwalk, and how to avoid the Dry Trap Cactus in the area. Then, she left.
— Third Floor Explorer
The Third Floor desert is an incredibly dangerous place; quicksand and sand-wurms to begin with. That, and the three species of cactus found within the floor are incredibly difficult to tell apart as well. While one might not mind taking a bite of Salvation Cactus rather than Mindwalk, they likely wouldn't want to mistakenly touch Dry Trap Cactus.   Because of this, guides are often highly sought after for trips to the Third Floor Desert. Tamworth, on the Second Floor, has made it into their business to escort people through the desert.
I'll take ye there, but I ain't trip sitting.
— Tamworth Guide

The Mindwalk

Not all souls take part in a mindwalk, however. Traditionally, new souls from the First or Second Floor would be the ones to partake. The souls who had not yet regained all of their memories could find help in taking mindwalk cacti, to explore what they had forgotten.   Mindwalks can be a bit of a mixed bag of reactions, as well. There is not much a soul can do to choose what memories the cactus will sharpen and bring forth. First timers usually find that their initial mindwalk shows them the last memories before their death, and arrival in Synthacrosia. Repeat users generally find the experience to sharpen a random memory from their mind. Long time users have said they've began to be able to choose which memories they wish to revisit; however, long term use of Mindwalk has side effects. The heavy user begins to become detached from reality, instead focusing nearly all of their attention to their own memories.  
Oh wow... oh WOW. I totally forgot about this! I can see it so clearly, my surprise 11th birthday... My own knife! I was so happy to get my own knife! I remember now, the way I ran around showing it to everyone. I miss that knife.
— Unnamed mindwalker

Observance

Before the War of the Fracture, residents from all over most of Synthacrosia would make a trip to the Third Floor at least once per year. Back then, the Water wasn't so cursed, and the desert was full of less poison fog. Souls from nearly any floor could be found within the desert, attempting to enjoy the heat. Even though taking mindwalk cacti was usually reserved for fresh lower-floor souls, occasionally the much older souls within Synthacrosia would partake as well. A staggering amount of years can pass for old souls, and memories will fade over time. Mindwalk Cacti is often used then to revisit faded memories.

Can you... sit with me during this? I'm afraid of what I'm going to see. I'm afraid my death was especially horrible, and I'm going to see some shit that will scar me for the rest of eternity.
— Pre-Mindwalk fears

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Author's Notes

Header image made via Inkarnate


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