Arrival In Monstra Somnicarcerum
Awaken and find bearing, kindred things.
The nightmare is never lucid at first. Upon stirring, the first thing new minds notice is the dizzying eb of swirling thought around them without identity or self. As they coalesce, they begin to differentiate the internal and external thoughts around them. They clump together from fragments of secrets, fears, hopes, desires, virtues, and sins whose origins have been long forgotten. As their awareness grows, they slowly find their body floating weightless in the deep void before becoming dimly aware of the liquid flowing over them. Gasping awake, they claw disoriented from the clotted blood they formed from; still dripping, confused, and lost. For many, that madness is all they know. For some, whether they be blessed or cursed, they may become aware of the realm about them with all its hate and fear. This covetous realm could be called countless many things, but for our purposes it is the Somnicarcerum, the nightmare prison.
These fresh denizens are what we call grubs, maggots, and worms regardless of literal shape or imagined soul. Demons named so for how they fester in and crawl from the blood. In this realm, all living things are either spawned from the blood of others, or from the red rivers that snake through the volcanic caverns about them. Parentage is a rare blessing and many live solitary lives if they do not find shelter in tribal society, cult worship, glory in battle, or the metal hymn.
This world that they find themselves in is a network of cavernous tunnels formed in fractal shapes that echo with distant metal riffs and drum beats; lit only by the smoldering volcanism, the diffuse glow of illuminated fog, and the eerie beckoning of bioluminescent sirens. A countless plethora of underground biomes here crawl with diverse ecosystems built on carnage, pleasure, and decay. In this sunless realm fields of flesh and tentacles writhe, tar pools bubble in black bogs, calcified trees reach up from the rocks, volcanos blanket caverns in gray, cathedral spires look on the horizon, and battlefields of heavy metal warbands grow fresh rivers from the blood of their fallen foes.
Those grubs unfortunate enough to be born into this world with the faint memories of distant realms, blue skies, twinkling stars, and clear rivers are tormented to find themselves here, but in this crucible they will be remade. They are remarkable horrors all, as this world demands. All beings in the nightmare will find their niche in time, but for some it will not be in their first incarnation, or second, or third. There is an eternity laid out for each being, whether they want it or not. Sooner or later those covetous things will all find what they desire but in time they will feel loss as well. It is their greatest challenge, to be ready for both. Ready to forge unforgettable experiences in the furnace pits, and lose the memories they cherish most to rivers of blood. They may lament as necessary, but know that nothing is forever in this timeless world.
When they do pass, it is not into dirt or soil. they are born of memories hoarded by blood, and to blood they shall return. Their minds fragmenting alongside their decaying bodies, and the constituents of their souls dissolving into the birthing matter. Each life thereafter taking an echo of themselves forward into strange eons evermore.
Whether this is a blessing or a curse, is up to each being to decide.
This realm offers little time to quiet contemplation however, as all grubs are assailed. Many are fished at birth from the pools to serve crews of corpsecraft, but those are the lucky ones. All beings a threat, and no brief guide could prepare a soul for all they will face. Lashing vines, carrion birds, ravenous flames, creeping ooze, and cavernous jaws are but a few of the dangers here. However, Amid the countless threats, but three stand out. Those drowned in blood rarely retain any semblance of self upon waking, the blood within us compels we obey any contract knowingly signed, and what few grains of silver there are in the realm sear demonic life as no flame could hope to. Humbled are well before the power of each, but any power can be made a tool. One may always drown a foe to make a compliant husk, a contract can always be tricked, and and a small grain of silver is all it takes to turn a river of clotted blood into a crystal clear stream. Be wise, grub. There is much yet to learn.
Words of the mother prophet
transcribed in mnemonic tongues
Recorded by Cleritrix Niveava