Silent guides and protectors of the Halls

"A proof that maybe not everything in the Dark Halls wants to kill us. Or an exception to the rule."
Archivists are tall, robed creatures wandering around their Halls. Compared to most of the creatures living in the darkness, they aren't hostile (unless provoked) and can even be helpful in some situations.  


As Hall-Dwellers, Archivists cannot move beyond the border of the Hall they originate from. Thanks to the observations and scouting of this dimension, it is evident that certain (though unknown as of yet) criteria have to be met for one of those beings to appear. According to some travelers, there are "newborn" Halls those creatures already inhabit, while some of the bigger, older Halls never had one inside of them.  

Morphology and anatomy

Not much is known about the anatomy of the Archivists. The average specimen reaches up to 2.5 meters in height, the smaller ones showing up in the smaller Halls or Halls with the ceilings. All of them hover a few centimeters above the ground, however, it seems that they aren't capable of flight (with some exceptions) and need to traverse the land similarly to humans or with the use of their specialized "limbs".   Their robes seem to be part of their bodies and consist of living tissue. They are also the only part of the Archivists that can be damaged by any means. Said robes are covered with slightly glowing markings unique to each specimen. The weight of the robe, the material it is made out of, and the shape of the hood also tend to vary a lot between them. Some walk with their robes open, while others only reveal their "faces".  

"Faces and bodies"

When looking inside an Archivist's robe, one will only see darkness. Even when those creatures look around or put their arm on someone's shoulder, there is nothing underneath. No body and no organs. And yet, when the Archivists get hurt, they act as if the body underneath their "clothes" were hurt. There's even a black substance that starts to seep from the nonexistent wounds like blood.  


All Archivists can manifest limbs or body parts unique to them. In most cases, those "limbs" are something they use to traverse their Hall (climbing, walking over holes, or flying), fight off the other creatures, or look for the things people lost (eyes, ears, feelers). The "limbs" appear in one of three ways. They either float around their robe, grow out of it, or they appear from the inside of the darkness of their "bodies". When an Archivist dies, their

Don't look inside

Listen, whatever you do, as long as they live, don't look inside their robes. It starts with that fuzzy feeling in your head as if you were looking at white noise on TV for too long. Then comes nausea and headache. In worst cases, people get really heavy nosebleeds, and some just faint. So while it won't kill you, it can become really unpleasant.   And since Archivists tend to be curious about what people are doing, one of them might try to continue keeping eye contact with you, not understanding it hurts you.
"limbs" disappear.
Each Archivist manifests only one type of "limb". "Limbs" can resemble those of humans, and other animals or look like symbols, either drawn or digital. They can be proportional to their bodies or warped, elongated, and ever-shifting. There can be one of them or hundreds.  


Under most circumstances, Archivists tend to wander, seemingly aimlessly, around their Halls. They rarely change the direction of their walk, unless they encounter an obstacle they cannot traverse or hit one of the walls
Archivist's "eye" by Revyera
of the Hall. If stuck, for example, if someone captures them, they will act differently depending on the limbs they possess. Most of them will stop moving until some way out appears. If that doesn't work and they are capable of manifesting physical limbs, they will try to destroy things that prevent them from wandering. There has been a situation where a few of them simply disappeared and appeared in a different part of the Hall.  

Relations with other beings


Archivists seem to ignore humans unless one of three things happens. Sometimes, the Archivists simply stop their journey, approach, and look at humans passing through their domain. This behavior is often accompanied by them turning their "heads" sideways, which leads many to believe (especially the pet owners) that they do it out of curiosity. The real reason for this behavior is unknown.   When attacked, they will try to move away from the aggressor, but at some point, they turn hostile, trying to destroy all threats without mercy. The only way to stop them from attacking is to either kill them or run away from the Hall they inhabit. From now on, any attempt to enter their Hall will cause them to immediately start moving towards the one that hurt them, no matter the part of the Hall they are in.   A completely different interaction happens when a human approaches an Archivist and asks them a question about something lost inside the Hall or one of the exits outside of it. In that case, the beings seem to look around and start to move in a straight line toward the thing the humans look for. They will do so not taking into consideration that humans aren't always capable of following them. However, the one who manages to follow them will soon find the thing they are searching for.  

Lesser Shadow Beings

Archivists ignore most of the lesser intruders inside of their Halls unless they are either destructive or aggressive towards them or humans.


They hunt down and tirelessly chase any creature that tries to imitate them. If their limbs let them, they might even reach into another Hall just to try to capture the escaping Mimic.


Cape-stealers that get their robes without fighting (from already deceased Archivists) will be treated like mimics - hunted and killed. But if an Archivist detects a creature that tries to hunt it down instead, it will try to move as far away from it as possible and hide.  

Higher Shadow Beings

The way Archivists interact with bigger creatures mostly depends on the behavior of said creatures. Calm creatures that simply wander the Halls will be left to their own device. The ones aggressive towards the Archivist will either provoke them into self-defense or cause them to run away, depending on how powerful the aggressor is. And if Archivists notice something attacking humans, they will act according to their own will and relations with humans. Sometimes saving them from danger (even if they would put their own lives at risk) or completely ignoring the screams of attacked people.  

The Inhabitants

The moment any of The Inhabitants shows up in one of the Halls, the Archivist there simply disappears and won't appear until they leave it. Even then, an Archivist might not show up for some time, and a completely new one might take their place.
Geographic Distribution
Archivist's cape


Even when killed, the Archivists can be brought back to life to wander the Halls once again. As long as their robes are still in one piece, if someone places them in the Hall covered with light strong enough to stave off the hunger of the darkness, and protects them from any predators, a new Archivist will appear in a matter of days. The robe will transform, changing its color, symbols covering it, and sometimes its shape. The new Archivist doesn't possess any knowledge of their predecessor.  
And they stood there for three days, their faces turned towards the darkness.
And every day the beasts came, trying to take what they protected.
A small bundle. A seedling of an Archivist.

Archivist's "hand" by Revyera

Wolf in sheep's clothing

Not everything that looks like an Archivist is one. As such, one should be really cautious when approaching one of them. The two most common types of creatures (which encompass many different subspecies) that do that are mimics and Cape-stealers.
As their name suggests, mimics use mimicry to pretend to be Archivists. Some do it to scare away things that would want to eat them (similarly to how some butterflies have patterns resembling eyes on their wings), while others do that to capture their unsuspecting prey. One needs to watch out for any robe patterns that look like eyes, especially when they seem to follow their every move.
On the other hand, there are cape-stealers. While their bodies are vastly different from the bodies of Archivists, they mask that by stealing the robes of recently deceased Archivists or from the ones they killed and devoured themselves. If there is something underneath the robes and looking at Archivist's "face" doesn't cause any negative symptoms, one should be either wary, ready to fight or just run away.  

Their robes

The robes of Archivists are pretty valuable. While they can be turned into durable leather that will protect one from both hot and cold, it's the robe itself that has the most properties. Putting one on not only lets one see way farther into the dark, but it also lets one manifest the "limbs" of its dead owner. Each use makes the patterns on the robe disappear a little and if they do it completely, the robe will simply rot away and turn to dust. Likewise, if the robe was already too damaged, it'll lose all of its properties.  
As he donned the robe, part of the darkness before him eased off.
It was still there, he felt, but he could see places where it couldn't touch him.
And from his back, four more arms sprung and they moved like his own.

Cover image: Archivist by Revyera


Please Login in order to comment!
Dec 28, 2022 22:54 by Starfarer Theta

When I was told about an Archivist that lives here, this is not quite the kind of being I had in mind. The trader seemed to have left out a few details. Don't know if that was due to assumption or a desire to hear about how I handled or mishandled this encounter. This Archivist doesn't seem to have taken notice of me and seems intent on continuing its direction. It destroyed some debris that was in its way. I'm pondering whether to say hello or not.   Tried to say hello, didn't seem interested. How curious...   I made a mistake. I was trying to get a good look at the wearer underneath. I was disappointed and a little surprised to see nothing underneath the robe. It was then it looked back at me, my nose started to bleed along with a powerful headache, and then I fainted shortly after. I have no idea how long I was out. Long enough for the Archivist to have moved on I guess. The figure is not around anymore. - Nemo, World Traveler

Jan 2, 2023 08:06

I'm happy to hear you liked my 2 articles so much that Nemo decided to visit them. :D

Jan 5, 2023 11:56 by Annie Stein

The archivists are really mysterious, and I appreciate how you introduce this more neutral or even friendly entity that doesn't undercut the tone of the Dark Halls. They remain ominous and strange. This world is so weird and awesome and I'm really excited to see what you do next.   I also wanted to let you know that I featured this article and your world in my New Years Recommendations

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jan 5, 2023 13:58

Aww, thank you for featuring it and the world! I'm happy to hear you liked the archivists.

Feb 21, 2023 15:29

Kelly Pawlik at Kobold Press loved this entry for WorldEmber! <3 She asked me to pass on her feedback to you!   1.I am so intrigued by these creatures. Despite the amount of information provided, they still seem mysterious and unknowable.   2.I really like the interactions noted between archivists and humans. Would they be the same or similar with other intelligent humanoids?   3.Hunting for archivist robes seems like a likely activity; it’s nice to see this acknowledged in the section on their robes.

Feb 28, 2023 14:04

Thank you for passing the message and thanks to her for her wonderful feedback!