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Literature / Palus Somni

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The current Royal Road cover.

The end is already here, you just don't know it yet.

Palus Somni by Laurie Raye is a horror Web Serial Novel that updates every full moon.

The story takes place in the convent of Palus Somni, an isolated nunnery whose denizens are terrorized by warped, inhuman monsters that stalk the night. Little by little the convent falls into ruin and chaos, as the last remaining nuns struggle to uncover the secrets behind the violent world they find themselves in. The narrative utilises letters, diary entries and notes as well as traditional storytelling techniques. Though there are one or two characters who get protagonist treatment, the story uses multiple viewpoint characters making them one Big, Screwed-Up Family.

Palus Somni launched on June 17th 2019 and is regularly updated, with the story expected to wrap up near the end of 2021. Each chapter also features artwork and a selected atmospheric music track.

Palus Somni provides examples of:

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  • A Death in the Limelight: Abigail was first and last seen in the chapter that led to her imprisonment and presumable death. Lydia also had a more sympathetic chapter from her perspective before she got Eaten Alive.
  • Bittersweet Ending: By the final chapter, almost everyone is dead, while Isidore remains as the Sole Survivor to watch over the ruins of Palus Somni and keep the Gol in check. Wille and Claudia may no longer be human, but their Gol forms are spotted in the ruins displaying behaviour which indicates that they are just as much in love and enjoying their undeath together.
  • Booby Trap: The main enterprise of the Mallory family was cryptography. No, not that cryptography. This cryptography was the study and creation of booby trapping tombs, making it a Stealth Pun.
  • Body Horror: Where to begin! The Gol are a strange mess of animal, vegetable and mineral. Often with too many teeth and not enough humanity. Claudia's transformation into a mess of neurons and teats is particularly gruesome. Sister Mischa has turned almost completely Gol beneath her veil. Not to mention the slug-like remains of Aloysius Mallory.
  • Break the Cutie: Claudia is in for one hell of a ride after she is impregnated by the gol-bugs.
  • Burn the Witch!: Cesca wants to burn Wille alive for her various 'tresspasses', and she succeeds, though maybe not with the intended consequences.
  • Cannibal Larder: Sister Sophie has been feeding the corpse of Sister Harriet to the convent throughout the story. She cuts and prepares the meat in the main kitchen, salting and storing it in barrels. The discovery of which lead Lydia (who was already Properly Paranoid) to Freak Out.
  • Church Militant: The Inquisition. Neither Cesca nor Judith are shy when dealing out righteousness in the form of Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Cult: The Alucinari often describe themselves as a sect, but of what major religion is left ambiguous. They are devoted to one God in particular — the Dreamer — but do not begrudge the existence of others. The Nocturnes can be described as the esoteric wing of the Alucinari chapter, with secret rites and forbidden knowledge giving them a cult-like status.


  • Nice Day, Deadly Night: The Gol are only active at nighttime, making daytime activities outside relatively safe.
  • Nun Too Holy: Sister Magda with her smoking habit and penchant for fortune-telling. Sister Dosifea isn't looking too good either what with all the lies, kidnapping and identity theft.
  • Parasitic Horror: The most obvious choice for this trope is Claudia and her parasite babies, though the Dream Eater Gol could also qualify.
  • Shout-Out: Lydia oh Lydia, say have you met Lydia? Lydia the tattooed lady.
  • Stern Nun: Lydia, and then Cesca, both lay down the law in what they think is the strictest possible way.
  • Temple of Doom: Palus Somni was built on the remains of an old temple. And that temple was also built on an old temple. And another after that, and another. The ruins go deep.
  • The Worm That Walks: Claudia at the end of her transformation.
  • Was Once a Man: It is hinted very strongly that the Dream Eater Gol is the same worker who was caught eating Pearl Iron by William Montagu and Maid Mina.
  • Weakened by the Light: The Gol stick to the nighttime hours, though the fact that they have also been sighted abroad in high fog means that it may be the light is their main problem. Sunlight also burns the Dream Eater.