Hermits
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"Shut up. Please, shut up. You’re not making this any easier."


You were always a good communicator. A problem solver. Taking the long view was vital to getting perspective on whatever was happening, whether in politics, a relationship or just in a crowded room. You knew how to convey information, to show people what they hadn’t considered. Most importantly, you knew how to listen. All of these capabilities might have been professional if you were a counselor, teacher or social worker. Maybe you were just the one your friends turned to. Whichever it was, listening, considering and talking were probably the most natural parts of your personality and life.

Now they bring you pain.

The voices ebb and flow like the tibe, like the seasons, like consciousness itself. They might fade to background or crash to the fore, but they’re always there, cramming all sorts of things into your head. Strange, half-remebered glimpses of unknown places. Odd words that seemingly have to be whispered to your - or screamed at you. Cryptic snatches of haunting verse. Colors, shapes, smells - any and all sensory input, layer upon layer, crashing through your head until it feels like you’ll explode. But you don’t. Your mind just gets more and more crowded. The clamor doesn’t make sense - mostly it’s just random static - but when it does, you’ve learned that it’s important, maybe even life-saving. If you can understand it, that is.

One thing you noticed early on is that the voices are worse around other people. Or more specifically, around crowds of people with others who had been “chosen” hidden inside. A lot of the time you can handle being around some people - until the wrong kind turn up. They’ve been shown the truth too, but together you know too much for you alone to handle. The Messengers, of whatever is to blame, barrage you with signs that another hunter is nearby, like you’re supposed to do something about it. But what can you do when you’re being deafened? If you don’t learn how to ignore the voices, you’ll go nuts.

Then there are the things, the monsters. You can see them for sure. They aren’t alive or even human, and they can make the voices and flashes almost unbearable, too.

When you discover that there are other “imbued” out there like you - and then things you can’t even describe - you want to warn everyone. You want to tell what you know and empty out all the chaos in your head. But all the makes it hard to be around anyone who could understand, so it’s hard to share what you know you have to. That means some of you never come to terms with your calling. A few just run away, trying to get as far from everyone as possible. When you’re completely alone, with no one else near, the voices almost fall silent. Unfortunately, you don’t have the luxury of retreating from the world and the truth. You know you can save people, if you can find it in you.

The two pressures that build in you, to silence the voices and to pass on what you experience, seem almost contradictory. That makes your new life hard, maybe harder than any person was meant to handle. Remember that no matter how bad it gets, no matter how far you run or how deep you hide, you’re never alone in your pain. There are others who can understand you, if you bear their presence.

Given who you might have been before, your aptitudes probably lie in information gathering and distribution, whether you know it or not. Being artistic is perhaps the most natural form of communication. There can be as much artistry in conveying information through journalism, research or programming as there is in painting or sculpture. Maybe your open mind or free spirit is what lets God or the Messengers or whatever to be in constant contact. You’re quicker to listen than you are to fight or pass judgement. When the voices do share something intelligible, it’s almost always critically importtant for you or someone around you. With such information at your disposal, and your talen for passing it on - whether as a writer, public speaker, web designer or illustrator - you’re instrumental to the hunt. You input, when you can control it, can help set goals, establish plans and avoid tragedy.

But all that comes at a terrible price. Every time you force yourself to go out there, the chorus gets louder and more painful until you’re convinced you’re going mad - or you already are. You won’t do anyone any good in a straightjacket, though. It’s a balancing act of finding your inner peace while continuing the fight. No one promised the hunt would be easy. But then, no one offered you a choice at all.

Weaknesses

It should come as no surprise that you have problems dealing with other people. Psychologists talk about “aversion therapy,” training yourself to dislike something by associating it with pain. If that’s not what’s happening to you, it’s damn close. You’re withdrawn because that’s the only way you can find peace. You can be paranoid, aggressiv, depressed or even manic around other people, because it hurts to be around other imbued. And how do you tell them from anyone normal?

But the real risk lies in losing track of what you suffer. You might refuse to have anything to do with the calling, or even with other people. Your pain maybe become a general hatred of others in general, and of monsters and the imbued in particular. You can grow really bitters and twisted. You need to avoid both traps if you want to hold onto anything of yourself from before.

Apocrypha

You might be somebody who always shunned company, who lives in his own head, who feels that what goes on there is far more interesting than anything happening out in the world. Somebody who sees this ugly, monster-riddled reality as God’s punishment for having turned your back on the world. Or did you always feel unworthy to breathe the same air as “normal” people, until you realized they needed someone like you to save them from the abnormals they can’t see?

Or maybe you’re more in touch. So in touch that your quest for meaning in it all succeeded in ways you never imagined possible. You saw people numb themselves to life and sword you’d find a better way for people to live. Did you look inside youself, only to find God and Satan, and somehow unleash both as walking - if not always breathing - aspects of your own will? You know something changed, and recently, but most people missed it and still do. Somebody has to make them all see, and you mean to find a way.

Or are you the once-gregarious type who feels attacked by unseen forces that want you to understand what’s at stake yet also want you to do nothing about it? People matter to you more than your own comfort, though, so you periodically sacrifice it for them. You isolate yourself only reluctantly because you know that no man is an island… unless he lets himself become one. And your greatest fear is that such surrender into self-imprisonment is what (and how) your invisible tormentors hope to win.

The Imbuing

When your first message comes, it probably isn’t an isolated phrase like the other imbued describe. It’s the opening of a floodgate. That first, clear signal starts a deluge and in the confusion of sensory input and the sudden horror of seeing monsters, you probably recoil or withdraw and take stock of the scene before doing anything. You don’t flee altogether, but you certainly see and skirt the action while you try to understand what’s going on, to comprehend what’s happening and pass that information or warning on to anyone who would understand or even listen. Insight, perspective, and direction are as active as swinging a fist or lending a hand.

Starting Conviction

Starting Conviction: 3.

Sobriquets

A.K.A.: Ostriches, Loners, Schizos, Outsiders