Strata is a form of insanity that is known to afflict Balance-Keepers; where either the power of Chaos or Order will force control over the body of a Keeper, thus driving the Keeper out of his own mind. It is usually the responsibility of other Balance-Keepers to try and stop their afflicted comrade, either by bringing him/her back or killing him/her if they are too far gone...
Strata occurs when a Balance-Keeper delves too far into either Chaos or Order; their bodies will forcefully rebound and allow the opposite power to consume their minds. Balance-Keepers afflicted with the condition have been known to do things potentially harmful to the Balance; the most well-known of these being Arbiter.
Symptoms of the Chaos-Strain involve bizarre shifts in emotion, from bliss to sadness, and often rage.
A far more serious symptom is the actual change of form by the balance-keeper in question; the balance-keeper will lose his or her "humanity" and enter a bestial form; becoming more powerful and dangerous at the expense of sanity.
Symptoms of the Order-Strain involve a neutralization of emotion and at times, a change in form. They may be driven to repeat a certain task (such as destroying worlds), sure that they are restoring Order to the Multiverse, while in reality, they are destroying the Balance.
Strata is usually a condition that requires the assistance of others to cure- namely Balance-Keepers
Known cases of "Strata"
- Arbiter became afficted with the Order-strain of Strata the moment he became a Balance-Keeper; however, this was due in part to the Secret of Order, who made Ryou a Balance-Keeper. Being possessed by Order, Arbiter was driven to destroy countless worlds, and there was no one capable of turning him back. Arbiter was able to regain sanity slowly after accumulating enough Chaos energy- his affliction slowly wore away over the course of over 1000 years.
- Arbiter would be afflicted once more in "Return to Order"- the antics of the Secret of Entropy cause the power of Order to force control over Arbiter's form, reverting him once more to the Arbiter of Order.
- Unlike her master and father, Karma is more prone to the Chaos-strain of Strata, which first reveals itself in the story Bad Luck.