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The Marchen
Intense102 9345.jpg
The Marchen, as drawn by Nanepul

Fear of...

Loss of Innocence




The Rooks, The Queens, Bishop

First Appearance

A Pawn of Fear

The Marchen is a portrayal of the Fear of Memory. It is a living meme or story that manifests as an ordinary book that grows stronger each time a human being encounters it. It traps its targets by recreating one of their favorite childhood fantasies or some other ideal deception, compelling them into staying. The longer someone stays inside the Marchen's world, the harder it becomes for them to escape back to reality. If a victim starts to realize something is wrong, the Marchen will use their worst nightmares against them. Their supposedly perfect fantasy or spotless childhood is flipped over and dark truths emerge. Unlike many other Fears, The Marchen does not kill its victims; rather it absorbs them into itself and feeds off their energy. Once the human is caught and reaches the point of no return, they will become stuck inside of it forever. Trapped in either a neverending fantasy that slowly becomes monotonous torture or an eternal nightmare that becomes their own personal hell.

In some canons, Jack of All is connected to The Marchen. Depending on the story, Jack is either a servant who offers a copy of a Marchen book to victims who desire to escape from their boring lives or a specific manifestation of The Marchen.

Chess Motif

The Marchen will sometimes use or recycle victims to expose others to its memetic properties. The Marchen sets these humans into a collective based off a motif or theme. Different motifs are used for different people, as the Marchen feeds off the person's mind for ideas. One of the most common motifs it utilizes is chess, which is where the Marchen's mentality of "triumph over difficulty" comes into play. The Marchen sees every human being as a challenge or contest and the series of chess games represent all the hard work it puts into capturing its victims.

The participants in the Marchen's game of chess include:

  • The Pawns are human victims of the Marchen. Their connection to the Marchen varies, but they are always used for its own benefit. The Marchen views capturing humans similiar to a complex game of chess, and it uses Pawns in a similar manner to how a normal chess player would use pawns. Pawns can be cultists of the Marchen, or normal people who have been exposed to its memetic properties at some point in their life.
  • The Knights are the classification the Marchen gives to allied Fears. Any Fear that somehow gets involved in one of its "games", or is currently helping the Marchen because they share a common goal, is pushed into this classification. Otherwise, the Fear does not have any relation to the Marchen, other than being on the chessboard. Knights move in a way unlike any other piece on the board, and are able to bypass other pieces, which is the chess equivalent of their eldritch nature and their ability to access The Godsway.
  • The Bishop performs a similar role to a herald or evangelist. It is responsible for spreading the Marchen's memetic presence by exposing it to others. Just like how the bishops in chess move diagonally, which mimics non-confrontational behavior, the Marchen's Bishop moves in an unpredictable and sneaky way.
  • The Rooks are monstrous creatures whom the Marchen has tasked with maintaining its illusions by having them lurking under people's nightmares. They do this by disguising themselves as fantastical replacements of common people and objects from a person's life (i.e. paper ballerinas, a faithful hound missing most of his head, amusement park employees wearing cartoon masks, slightly 'off' versions of close relatives, etc.). The Rooks are generally the direct arbitrators of the Marchen's will, but also follow the orders of a promoted Queen from time to time. They are the Marchen's equivalent of proxies, but they are not human in nature.
  • The Queens are eldritch beings created by the ascension of a victim who successfully becomes the ruler of their own fantasies. These are usually the victims with the strongest wills. They are similar in nature to the Fears, but since they are still human at their core, they are incapable of ascending to true power, no matter how much their delusions of grandeur say otherwise. Most of the Queens follow the Marchen's will institutionally, but many of them have become independent entities. They cannot, however, ever bring joy to the world, or get back in touch with their humanity. They are destined to fail and their actions will always benefit the Marchen somehow. They can try to help people, but because of the Marchen's curse, it's futile.
  • The King is the Marchen itself. He controls all the pieces on the board. Unlike the other pieces, the King cannot be captured. He rarely attacks directly, as he uses the other pieces for that. He also usually doesn't appear directly. He generally appears in a position of royalty, and when a victim appears, he "crowns' them.