I gazed into the Abyss. But to my despair, it did not look back at me, for I was already too deep.

When plunged into the Abyss, the mind of common people have a tendency to break down. The implication of an occult world pervading in the night is too much to bear and they lose their mind. They go into seclusion or end up in asylums, telling stories of monsters in the dark and ghostly figures trying to drain their soul. This is all a perfectly reasonable reaction to the collision of incompatible belief and reality.


This is not what madness is.

Warped reality


Madness is a deconstruction of the mind. Imagine losing the threads of your thoughts one by one, until the very grasp on reality seems to avoid you. When the pressure of the occult overwhelms the awakened, insanity rise and takes over. Treading with anomalies is a poison that corrodes sanity. The deeper you are involved, the more the Abyss will attract you. This is a turmoil with no other exit than severe mental disorders.


Regular hunters engaged in night patrols will certainly die or get wounded before they feel the first effects of the affliction. But those who go down below return with a different look in the eye. They witnessed something that nothing could have prepared them to. That is when they don't lose their mind altogether.


The proximity of peculiar parts of the Abyss has an especially strong effect on the maddening. Namely anything related to the Outer Gods shatters the psyche. Repeated encounters with the unknown have the same effect. After all, with centuries of occult records, a confrontation with a being unheard of means that either it is a threat of a new kind, or that nobody lived to tell the tale.

Nobody is free from the whispering madness by Rumengol via MidJourney

Sundered thoughts


The process is usually progressive, with thoughts sent adrift and moments of absence. Then, the afflicted become incoherent and speak of an ancient tongue unbeknownst to man. They won't remember what they just said. And as the curse progress, their personality shifts until they become twisted versions of their former self. In their last moments of clarity, it is like they are replaced by someone else, an entity with fully black eyeballs and a disproportionate smile before their body breaks down and their mind goes blank. After that, they are past the point of salvation. The merciful thing to do is to put an end to the suffering of a wandering husk.

Do you feel it? The flow of your dreams bursting into a black smoke. by Rumengol via MidJourney

At the end of the day, it is a curse, and we all are hexed at the very moment we become aware of the Abyss. There is something beyond the veil of insanity, lurking behind the clouded eyes of thoughtless puppets, spying on a realm it dreams of conquering. We call it the Folly, without knowing much about it. Is it a god, an Outer even? Or a very powerful Occult being? As long as it communicates through a shattered ego the answer will stay out of reach, yet I fear what would need to happen for the truth to be unveiled.


Delaying the inevitable


There is no escaping Madness, as there is no escaping the Abyss. Sooner or later, it becomes impossible to process what we've been through and then it's over. A fall in a whirlwind of thoughts that are linked to no memory, aberrant memories that cannot quite feel right. As cheesy as it may sound, the only tried way to remain sane for the longest time is to be surrounded by supporting and loving people, who listen and help.


Funny, that something as basic as human psychology would achieve what alchemy cannot. No potion, nor apparel can slow the spread of Madness. If anything, my preparations enhance it.


I, just like anyone else, am afflicted with Madness. It would be foolish to deny that. I am closer than most to the malice, some of it being my very clientele. Yet, despite having no friends or relatives, I do not feel the grip of insanity tight around my neck. I wonder why is that.


I may not be mad, but isn't that the whole point of the condition? A madman cannot know he is a lunatic, so maybe I am. I cannot say if my personality changed that much, and the absence of long-lasting relations does not help. How much of me is left, and how much am I already part of the Folly?


Some of the basement's artefacts are obviously channelling Madness. The painting is the least of them, although the regular use I made of it might have been unwise in this regard. The catalyst is another story. Using it only once would be surrendering myself to the mind-wrecking avatar.


And yet. Yet if I could resist the rapture, wouldn't it be worth the risk?

The monster in the closet is not the one we should be afraid of by Rumengol via MidJourney

Beyond the Maddening


In some very rare cases, people survive the final stage of the madness. They come into contact with the Folly, but rather than succumb to its calling, they deny it and keep their ego, or what is left of it. The collision with lunacy incarnate scars them permanently but elevate them to the rank of Occult beings. Not humans anymore, they are something more, undecipherable. They crossed the gate of sanity without losing themselves and brought back whatever lies there. I suppose it is what happened to him.


I would try, if it was not for the risk.


I might just try.

I might just try by Rumengol via MidJourney

Cover image: Brittle thoughts and fading memories are the first to go. Then it only gets worse. by Rumengol via MidJourney


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8 Jan, 2023 19:43


Visit Daeliha, Iphars, Khulgran & Shattered
Love to code, but this one is driving me crazy!
My world Shattered won as the "Most ground-breaking premise new world"!
17 Jan, 2023 18:42

If you mean the narrator, he is the Alchemist who narrates most articles of this world and the stories. If it is him, he is an enigmatic doctor who seems to know more about the occult than most. He will be featured in an upcoming story, but I first need to finish the related articles.

19 Jan, 2023 16:59

I love this article, I really felt like I was being pulled further and further into the abyss of madness, which was also enhanced by the pictures.

21 Jan, 2023 10:58

Thank you, glad I could render this feeling well!

Sage strixxline
Polina "Line" Arteev
20 Jan, 2023 01:25

Thanks for letting me read your article on stream! ❤   This was a very fun read, and it was a fun one to chat about! You really did a great job boosting the intrigue of this condition with your quotes and snippets of storytelling! I, too, was left wondering who "him" was referring to in that last bit there.. it'll definitely push me to do further reading in the future!

Seek a new dawn, in Malkora!
Join me in Camp Feral this SummerCamp!
21 Jan, 2023 11:09

Thank you for your kind words, and the awesome drawing you made! The stream was really fun, I'm only sad I missed the others, but I will definitely try to catch some later! That's very good to read, I'll try to match your expectation ;D   I don't remember asking, would you mind if I were to include your art in this article once the judging period is over? Your style fits quite well with this world I feel.

Sage strixxline
Polina "Line" Arteev
23 Jan, 2023 20:36

You will be more than welcome to include the art in your article! I'll start working on uploading the individual drawings hopefully soon, and everyone will be free to use and share their own as they see fit :)

Seek a new dawn, in Malkora!
Join me in Camp Feral this SummerCamp!
26 Jan, 2023 19:29

Amazing Article ! The Story, Lay out, draws ... i need to learn from you and follow you as well.

27 Jan, 2023 14:59

Thank you for the kind words! I will do my best to match your expectations :D