The Efer'Avél disease (Styrásh
or "Thought Burn" in Tharian) is a mental illness, which attacks the conscious
thought of the elderly, causing the afflicted to forget things. They first
forget small things, but over time, he or she will start to forget more
important matters. This disease is not fatal in itself, but its side effects
Symptoms. The earliest symptom is when the afflicted forgets what he or she was about to say. Not the occasional mind blank, but a frequent loss of thought. Soon they forget mainly unimportant things, like if they have watered their plants or looked after the dough for the loibla, have told their wives, that there was a neighbour here.
Things get worse at a slow pace, over a period of two or three years. There have been cases of it getting very worse very fast, but this occurs only very rarely. Finally forgetting things such as an old acquaintance they haven’t seen in ages worsens to good friends. The name of parents worsens to the name of a spouse. Eventually the afflicted forgets even the most simple task s or things to do like eating or going to the toilet.
The afflicted will eventually reach the state of an alternate world. He is on the edge of reality, they often don‘t know, who they are. If someone who knew them were to remind them who they were, then everything will make sense again for a short while, then, in the blink of an eye, the afflicted forgets all they had remembered. Then this process repeats itself as long as someone can remind the person to whom he/she is talking at the moment. Though it has to be noted that the memories aren’t forgotten entirely. The afflicted will remember random things at random times, for instance, while sharing an old fishing tale the afflicted will suddenly start talking about an epic battle he claims he was involved in.
Effects. This kind of memory loss isn’t unbearable to the afflicted; they do not even know they have a disease. The relatives are the ones who face the biggest blow, having a loved one forget who you are and everything about you, this hurts to observe. The family will normally get the afflicted to the cure. Though there are others who live with it without any attempt to cure it, or, sadly enough, some are even abandoned, left to fend for themselves, soon dying from lack of fostering.
The effects of the Efér'avél disease include a change in memory, personality, and often behavior. Also the Efér'avél disease makes it hard for a person to carry out normal daily activities. He/she may ask the same questions repeatedly and get lost in familiar places. Or the person may not be able to follow simple directions, may be disoriented about time, people, and places. The neglecting of personal safety, hygiene and nutrition are the causes for a death ahead of time.
Cure/Prevention. Fish. Eating a lot of fish has been proven to help prevent this disease, though there has been a rare case or two where an old man in a fishing village has acquired this disease, most people who eat large quantities of fish aren’t susceptible to it. Latest researches indicate, that though there is no cure, a medicine which main ingredient is the diluted venom of the coral sand snake found in the Ráhaz-Dáth could protract the symptoms, so that the progressing of the disease could be slowed down up to ten years. However, this is not thoroughly proved, so fomenting hope is not advisable.
There is a cure, though most forget about it before they reach it and have to have their families carry them there. A little village at the foot of the Norong‘Sorno volcano, northwest of Thalambath in southern Sarvonia has a well that is rumored to be enchanted. Who ever drinks out of it is put to sleep, during which the disease is cured. The cure itself can be deadly though. Once the ill has drunken the proper amount from the well, he passes out, and stays in an unconscious state for a period of time. For most it is a matter of days only. However, there are always some, who drink too much, and will never gain conscience again, but die after some weeks from lack of nutrition, but that is the risk the relatives of the ill take to escape more suffering.
However, those who do wake up remember their experience with the disease as no more than a dream and go back to life how they were used to.
Vector/Cause. No one knows what causes this disease, though most think it is hereditary, passed down through generations; a recent research is attempting to link the disease with diet. For instance, the disease is pretty rare among dwarves and much more common among elves and humans in general and doesn’t occur for example in the Sanhorrhim tribe, or any other seaside area where the people eat lots of fish.
Endemic. The Efér’avél disease is not a rare one. It affects mostly elven and human men; about one out of every hundred elves gets the disease, and about one out of every thousand in other races and genders. Also, the disease mostly affects the elderly, those over the age of fifty in humans, or the equivalent age in elves, dwarves, and orcs, depending on their tribe. There have been cases of younger people acquiring the disease as well. In these cases recovery from the disease is possible, but though the afflicted seem cured, the disease strikes back more severely when they reach an elderly age. If such a young man drinks the water of the famous Thalambathian well (see Cure/Prevention) while he has the disease, he is cured, and it wouldn’t strike back, however if he didn’t have the disease, he will only fall asleep.
History. The first recorded case was among the Quaelhoirhim elves around 500 b.S. after a few of their elderly men suddenly began to lose their memories. Though there have been cases earlier, there was no pattern to them and they were disregarded. From there it spread over the whole of Santharia and now seems to be especially common elves as well as humans. If it has reached already Northern Sarvonia, is unclear due to the lack of reliable researches, however, rumors tell, that it occurred lately also in the secluded living Tiraelhon elves at the continent of Aeruillin.
Information provided by Zdoth Natterath