Aliases: The black cancer
The universal rot
The veil splitter
Blood of dreams
Though the dreamer sleeps, it seems to maintain a rudimentary awareness of its slumber; whenever it resists the lullaby beguiling it, fissures and hemorrhages form across the multiverse. These wounds, tearing apart the seams while a blackened film emerges from the ruptured sections. This blood, oily in texture and shade, contaminates the region.
At first, the effects can be challenging to discern with the mortal eye, and by the time one can observe the first pool, it already has planted its seeds. This dross is sentient, birthing creations known as the outsiders charged with broadcasting its necrosis. This otherworldly serum often is accompanied by a haunting dirge or a ghastly fog—such a blight serving a natural function within the cosmos.
The pathogen has already consumed many levels of reality; twisted effigies from each added to the possible manifestations it might wear. This adaptive and resilient organism possesses an alien language, often depicted as crashing waves against the rocks. The forms they generate can be a humanoid, animalistic, amorphous, or even inanimate - but no matter their design, that signature blackened fluid coats their forms, joined with cancerous growths and writhing barbed tendrils. The most elite of their collective are shielded by carapaces, the hues of which often shift with each step, and lack the revolting additions to their bodies typical of The Defiled. Favoring areas of seclusion and setting their gaze upon the vulnerable regions, unknowingly prime for subsumption, the Defilement brazenly flaunts about their sentience. The stages of infection fit under four categories, and as the disease proliferates, so too does their ability to rationalize within a given space.
Paradoxically, whenever a universe isn't ripe for transcendence, The Defilement maintains the cradlesong incarcerating the dreamer. As time passes, they begin to trickle into the plane; initially, their interference may appear small, easy to miss, before rapidly swelling into a boisterous tempest. In actuality, the Defilement is not a disease, rather it is a symptom. They exist because of the Dreamer, and their principles permeate within it, yet it does not explicitly follow their will; it destroys and corrupts aspects of reality because doing so is in its nature. However, that motivation gradually moves towards its logical conclusion. The aforementioned small rifts manifest everywhere, either in long-forgotten or destruction-marred pockets.
If their fluid is ingested, or the feelers of those twisted creatures rip into the body of an organism, the victim will become marked, becoming an unknown patient. At first, no changes will be apparent, but in time, their minds will begin to rot, yielding to the whims and desires of the Outsiders. Magic, however, seems to serve as a natural, albeit temporary, barrier - once the reserves are depleted, nothing is left to halt the infection. The entire process can take from days to weeks. All things must end, and from its syrupy depths, new seeds of evolution are sown to start the age of nightmares. Below is a list of the four levels of outbreaks.
1) Pools- Easy to vanquish, liquid pools of filth vulnerable to fiery purging. While time-consuming to remove, these puddles offer not much resistance, if any at all.
2) Feral- Their numbers are smaller, and the manifestations lack complex deduction skills-appearing more akin to animals than harbingers.
3) Environmental- At this stage, more complex forms can be assumed. The area under effect can be blanketed by fog and other such visual changes. Meanwhile, those entities skulking within can start using tools and pack tactics. Their main goal, to build up enough cells to construct a network. Toward the upper echelon of progress within this level of infection, The Outsiders start to melt into our plane and begin lording over their lesser evolved cousins. Sometimes even picking up and copying that space they have anchored, resulting in convergences.
4) Network- At this level, the entirety of the contagion works as one. The network, a greater intelligence, steers them with the sole ambitions of permanently purging that area of any unsuitable life. This region is stripped bare of organic material before they disappear as eerily as they emerged - only to recommence this nibbling away at the veil and barrier between worlds from behind the curtain.
((The defilement are our "monsters' they can take any form you can imagine as long as they adhere to the theme listed above. Stages 1-2 are acceptable to be used liberally outside of settlements; anything higher is for events driven by in-universe action and can not be employed liberally given their level of infection.))
In the beginning, there was the Dreamer, who, when it slumbered, brought with it infinite iterations of reality. Each existence inevitably wanes, disseminating with it a cycle of armageddon and genesis. Upon the seeding of a universe, the Dreamer endows the sentient races with magic and artifacts to steer them to a path of security and enlightenment. Nevertheless, the foolery of one's nature perverts these tools repeatedly; they invariably use them to wage war and bring about devastation. This Darwinian tussle isn't by happenstance alone; the existence of ambivalence germinates with it the need to progress. Continually the Dreamer discovers itself saddened by life's insatiable need to consume and expedite entropy. And so, to bring checks and balance to the cycle, it begot the Defilement.
Initially, this equalizer performed its functions admirably. However, as time flowed on by, they eventually succumbed to corruption. Instead of subsisting to complete their intended role, the Defilement took on a new crusade. Within their minds, life is faulty, and to correct such imperfections, they must oust the universe of all life to expedite the kindling of a perfect creation. Their corruption heralds from an unknown source, the moment in which this shift in philosophy transpired remains lost to the annuls of time. But, when a world is nearing the season for a harvest, they slip through the veil and materialize within existence by prowling inside of an eerie fog. The Dreamer, having observed the iniquities of their ways, sowed crystalline trees across the world. Safeguards to delay the inevitable that awakens when the manufactured extinction draws nigh.
Within this unnatural film, the polluted and malformed creations of the Defiled abide. They dispatch shrimp-like organisms that levitate across the earth and attach themselves to an unsuspecting host. The process mutates the lifeform, adding it within their collective until such a time as that mist is repelled. Those imprisoned remain cognizant, prisoners within their bodies and forced to watch in horror as they rabidly assault any in their path. As time passes, so does the hazes' influence and thickness, forcing those who remain to congregate underground, behind tall walls, within elevated constructions, or the safety offered by modern technology. There they wait, gathering around the final flickerings of society as they hope for salvation. Blissfully ignoring the fact that they will likely become consumed by the mist and join their brothers and sisters within the salvation its disciples proclaim they offer.
The otherworldly film will naturally recede during a specific period within the day. The mist is at its strongest during nightfall and dissipates to safe levels after sunrise till late afternoon. After late afternoon the fog rolls in and blankets the land. All those still outside during this period are in peril.