GRASS DEATH ("SICKLE'S TOUCH", "FIRST PLAGUE")

SYMPTOMS - EFFECTS - CURE/PREVENTION
VECTOR/CAUSE - ENDEMIC - HISTORY/EPIDEMICS

Sickle's Touch, Grass Death, or First Plague, by whichever name, is the nigh-unstoppable disease that is said that the Demon Lord Lorkuloth brings into the world with him whenever he is summoned. Though the disease's touch is indeed terrible, the legends tell that Lorkuloth always leaves one escape route for his victims, although it is almost never found until it is too late.

Any and all animals are vulnerable to this disease, from fleas to humans to elves to dragons. Some grains can be tainted by the plague, but do not die from it, only transmit it.

Symptoms
. As an anonymous Nehtorian cleric was recorded as saying bitterly during one outbreak, "Anything He damn well pleases." Lorkuloth seems to delight in shifting the symptoms so as to confuse healers, but some are predominant. In the first stage, frequent, splitting headaches and a dulling of the senses are always present, as is the foul stench of the afflicted's breath. The second stage is marked by patches of skin on the arms and chest turning green and rotting at an advanced pace. The last stage is what gave it the name of the Grass Death; the green patches begin to spread, and send out green tendrils. By then, the victim is completely incapable of reason, and will be given to crazed fits of action. And in the wake of the green tendrils, nothing but rapidly decaying flesh and a painful death is left behind. Return to the top

Effects. Green Death is in alomost all known cases absolutely lethal if not treated correctly. For further details see Symptoms.
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Cure/Prevention. A cure is always incredibly hard to find. What stops one outbreak is useless against the next. One time, the secret to stopping it in someone already showing the signs was simply to eat a wizardleaf, and that would kill the infection. Another time, the secret was to have second-stage victims spend an hour every day facing the sun. Yet another time, the cure was to kill the person who gave it to you and eat of their flesh once the third stage was well underway; that was one of the worst outbreaks.

There remains one way to stop the plague if all else fails: fire. Like its hosts, the plague cannot survive cremation, and in extreme cases it has become nessecary to set entire housing districts to the flame.
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Vector/Cause. There are two degrees of cause: Direct, and indirect. Direct cause is the touch of Lorkuloth Himself as is said, which immediately turns the touched into a carrier, who in turn can spread the plague indirectly through their breath.

The breath is the chief method of the plague's spreading; any who breathe the breath of a carrier are infected inside of a minute. However, touching plague-rotted flesh, eating tainted grain, and close contact of most kinds with the afflicted are also ways to catch it indirectly.
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Endemic. Thankfully, there is no place that the First Plague is endemic; were there such a place, it would have been reduced to the single largest pile of ash of Caelereth long ago.
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History/Epidemics. Below are the major times the First Plague has appeared on the world's scene; more are likely to have occured, but no survivors ever told of them.

The Age of Silence

ca. 9500 b.S. The War of the Chosen
Lorkuloth, as well as most of his brethren, is summoned as part of the massive wars between the Chosen; this is thought of as possibly the only time Lorkuloth did any good, as he destroyed both friend and foe in equal number with this plague, whose only cure was to have one of the Chosen attend to a victim. Needless to say, thousands died, with their last words cursing their masters.

The Age of Awakening

1489 b.S. The Summoning of Avath'cao
Lorkuloth is summoned by Avath'cao to wreak havoc on her enemies, and his plague is all too happy to oblige. This plague, whose symptoms included skin turning pure black and insanity, was tied to the she-elf. When she died, the plague and the demon went with her.

The Age of the Blood

730 b.S. The Summoning of Qishim Luddorrah
As his last act, Qishim Ludorrah, Archmagus of the Fall, summons Lorkuloth to have vengeance on the dark elves who had destroyed Ximax. The plague was beginning to leave Ximax when the Volkek-Oshra purge the city with a massive firestorm, purging Lorkuloth with it.

The Age of the Change

40 b.S. At the Battle of Osthemangar, Lorkuloth is among the Portal's elite guard, along with some of his fellow Demon Lords. There he unleashes his strongest plague to date, which killed within seconds of its touch. In the end, he was only brought down by a concentrated effort by an elite group of war-magi and clerics, who paid for their victory with their lives.

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