The Rotting Plague
A black mark on Eden’s world history, the Rotting Plague’s true origin is unknown, but its first outbreak can be traced back to the northern fiefdoms of Hadriana in the year 1506. The name “Rotting Plague” originates from its symptoms. The disease was spread through direct contact, but it could also become waterborne, therefore infecting plants, and livestock. Later in its lifespan it became airborne as infected bodies were burned. Those who were infected had their limbs and organs rot out from the inside over a period of eight days.
A decade has passed since the five year long pandemic, which decimated all race populations to where they are today. Even now, many nations are rebuilding, while others were wiped out entirely.
The ‘Rot Spores’ as they are colloquially known, rapidly break down their host’s body for protein and nutrients, resulting in gruesome side effects such as necrosis, loss of limb function, and organ failure. Sometimes in the late stages of the disease, the host’s lungs degraded to a point where the host began to cough, resulting in the exhalation of Rot Spores. Necrotic tissue within the infected organism also produced spores in the late stages before its death.
The methods of infection include direct skin-to-skin contact, ingestion of contaminated food/drink, and later on airborne spores and cremated remains of infected. Both fauna and flora could be infected by the Rotting Plague, so even though the Elves were directly immune to the disease, their crops and livestock were not, which resulted in widespread famine.
Both plants and animals were affected by the plague, livestock in particular, which included chickens, pigs, sheep, cows, and even horses. The livestock would suffer symptoms very similar to their human counterparts, wasting away one day at a time. Given their close proximity to one another, and the rapid rate of the disease, entire herds were wiped out in little more than a week.
Meanwhile, a select few animals were asymptomatic carriers such as fish, insects, and rodents. However, rats reacted differently to the plague, showing minor symptoms of the plague, while also exhibiting traits and behaviors similar to rabies. Infected rats formed massive hordes to search for food; which was everything. This included the humanoid inhabitants of Eden, especially unattended children. While still unexplainable, the rats showed aversion to fire, magic, and large bodies of water.
Symptoms of plague mainly firstly hidden, as the "rot" formed within the body before radiating outward. This made it difficult to diagnose early enough to quarantine, as its trademark symptoms only show up during its later stages. In its early stages the plague takes on the symptoms of the cold or the flu. The life cycle of the disease was on average eight days. Conveniently, the stages of the infection can also be measured by days.
quoted from Scholar Erinae Lazaru’s “Ruin & Rot” study of the Rotting Plague:
Name: Terrence Umber
Race: Attian Human
Presumed origin: Touched exposed corpse of infected individual.
Stage One, Day 1 (24 hours since infected):
Host retains motor function and is cognizant, but complains about congestion and aching pains.
Stage Two, Day 2 (48 hours since infected):
Subject is bedridden with a high fever, sweating with chills. Mild skin irritation around the skin folds and cuticles. Subject is somewhat delirious but was able to confirm congestion and muscle pains.
Stage Three, Day 3 (72 hours since infected):
Fever has broken and the subject has regained cognitive function. Beginning signs of paronychia around the skinfolds/cuticles, with skin irritation traveling up the limbs and appearing around the torso. Subject continues to complain about congestion and muscle aches, but less so than the intense itching/burning of the irritated areas on their body.
Stage Four, Day 4 (96 hours since infected):
Subject has lost body fat and remains cognitive but is in extreme discomfort. “Feels like I’m covered head to toe in fire ants that think I killed their mother.” Welts have appeared on irritated skin, the itchiness has been replaced entirely by a burning sensation. Pus has accumulated around fingernails. but no longer suffers from congestion or muscle aches.
Stage Five, Day 5 (120 hours since infected):
Subject has lost more weight and become an infectious carrier. Subject’s welts have developed into large collections of boils, which leak pus (which can be infectious). Signs of gangrene have appeared on fingers and toes. However the subject reports that the burning sensation has stopped with little discomfort, and that he has no appetite. Upon testing reflexes and pain response time in other areas, the subject reports little to no pain. Subject has small cough. Given the frequency of these symptoms, I propose that the nervous and digestive systems are the first to degrade.
Stage Six, Day 6 (144 hours since infected):
Fat in the body is nearly gone, and the subject has difficulty with his mobility. Rot has spread to his muscles, leaving blackened splotches beneath intact skin. Boils have burst to reveal severe necrotic damage below the dermis. Once more, the subject reports no physical pain, although he shows emotional distress at the sight of his body. Brain still mostly intact then.
Some reflexes also remain intact, such as to cough, which has become far more severe. What comes up in a mixture of phlegm, blood, and dislodged degenerative lung tissue. Cough is likely to contain living Rot Spores, so avoid.
Stage Seven, Day 7 (168 hours since infected):
Subject is completely emaciated, and severely cognitively impaired. Motor function is all but gone. If speech is attempted it is greatly slurred beyond understanding. Necrosis is visibly spreading across the body, revealing blackened blood vessels visible beneath the skin, which begins to flake off. Coughing has lessened in intensity, but yields even more debris and spores than before. Subject is alive, but smells like a several-day-old corpse.
Stage Eight, Day 8 (187 hours since infected):
40% of the body has rotted away due to necrotic damage, leaving bone exposed to the elements. The subject is unable to respond, and is motionless. Sensory input seems to have been severely damaged. At 187 hours post infection, the subject stopped breathing, and his heart stopped.
Only in 10% of the case can an infected host be cured by magical means before reaching stage six. This magic came from the elements of Earth and Water, which held the most healing spells. Yet, using these spells on plague victims was hard, barely even curing the infected and merely staving off the symptoms. Alchemy was also used as a way of healing the bacteria. Yet, none of the alchemic recipes or results of their use survived the plague years.
If the host survived, which was most unlikely and extremely rare, dead portions of the body: arms and legs would be amputated. Some would be so damaged they would be unfit for use. Death could eventually occur due to internal organ damage thanks to the effects of the rot.
If the host survived all these things, damaged skin tissue by the rot would heal, leaving large scars. If people lost their eyesight, this would not return, and you would forever be blind.