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
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.
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
Green Death is in alomost all known cases absolutely lethal if not treated
correctly. For further details see Symptoms.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
ca. 9500 b.S.
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.
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.
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.
At the Battle of Osthemangar, Lorkuloth is among
the Portal's elite guard, along with some of his fellow
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
Information provided by