The Dream Eaten

Husks left from Fairfolk Feeding


After one’s emotions and ambitions have been devoured by Fair Folks, a slave is little more than a tottering husk of a person, but such dream-eaten are still useful. The Guild collects them after every delivery and sells them throughout creation.

Until they become used to a routine, the dream-eaten do nothing unless they are ordered to. This makes them uniquely suited for hard, repetitive labor, especially since they care little for their own bodies. Bereft of the sense of violation that accompanies injury, they feel little pain and only react to hazard with the most fundamental reflexes. A dream-eaten slave will flinch from the touch of burning coal or cringe under a falling rock but does not evade such hazards unless ordered to do so at the time of the occurrence. With these reduced reflexes, many dream-eaten begin to look like lepers after several years of labor, as their extremities are marked with sores and missing digits from untended injuries. They do not talk or cry out, though, in many, some wisp of their former life is trapped within them. This may lead them to repeat nonsensical phrases, such as their own name or the last thing they said to a good friend. This irritates most handlers, who are quick to cut the tongues out of these murmurers. The Guild’s least-valuable whip legions are populated with the dream-eaten, who tend drug crops and other monotonous duties, always under the care of a handler. The Guild sells dream-eaten whenever possible, both to rid itself of the depressing effect that they have on morale and because their labor is less efficient than that of healthy slaves. Many of them are sold as quick, disposable labor. The Guild dispatches a handler along with the lot to acclimatize them to their work with a few weeks of drill. House Cynis and other panderers purchase new, beautiful dream-eaten to serve as sex objects for the powerful. Warriors use them to test swords and martial art techniques. Vast numbers work the Guild’s drug fields, either directly or with a local drug farmer, sustaining another lucrative market.

It is not illegal to own dream-eaten in the Realm, but there is a moderate social prejudice against doing so. As with any slave, only Dragon-Blooded may own them. These wretches cannot seek enlightenment through the Immaculate faith and represent the influence of a power that threatens the Scarlet Empire. House Cynis is very discreet about offering the services of its “puppets.” The Immaculate Order frequently preaches against the practice of using dream-eaten for vivisection or daiklave testing on the grounds that it weakens the moral resolve of the Exalted. In deference to these wishes, most of these experiments are only undertaken in the service of the Realm, either to test new weapons or to train legion surgeons.

Spirits and sorcerers also use the dream-eaten in their work. They make convenient sacrifices and have no innate resistance to possession. In Great Forks, a worldly little god may keep a few dream-eaten in order to forego the bother of materializing. Some demons also enjoy having material form. Between this and their use in the field of alchemy and medicine, the Heptagram purchases a score of them every year (in defiance of popular disapproval, but the sorcerous academy doesn’t care). Because they can be easily possessed, the dream-eaten often cause problems when they work in labor gangs. Local spirits may turn them against their owners, and so, most wear neck-rings with a talisman against possession set into them.

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