Dulofall

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Template:Info illnesses Dulofall, sometimes called the Dulôte Curse, is a parasitic fungal affliction caused by a magic-powered blood curse, though it is often also classified as an illness or disease. Dulofall shares similarities with Vampirism, but is primarily a fungal disease which changes the host both physically and mentally. Dulofall is highly infectious and often difficult to discover due to its very hidden nature; carriers of the disease do not appear naturally ill or otherwise sickly to behold. On the contrary, the infestation cleverly alters Yanar carriers to become more attractive to maximize its ability to spread. Dulofall affects plant-life most severely; Yanar act as carriers, but the fungal spores can also affect any other race ranging from Humanoid to Dargan and even Mekket, with the exception of the Lampar. In addition, there is no known cure for Dulofall. Being infected with Dulofall isn’t necessarily a death sentence, but being exposed as infected always results in social rejection and isolation.

History

Dulofall was developed sometime during the Shendar sabotage of the Elven Empire to target the plant-life through which Estel exercised her influence on the already waning Empire. The infestation mostly struck plant matter such as trees, flowers and shrubbery, but also transmitted to Yanar. While it is not known where Dulofall originated, the first sightings of the infestation were on the Shadow Isles, then known as Nyalone. There, the plant-life became covered in a white powdery mildew that resulted in the plants withering to an ashen gray before dying, often turning into brittle chalk-like shadows of their former selves that would break off at even the most gentle disturbances. The Shendar used the mildew as a weapon against the Cielothar and Wolathar by infecting their crops and forests, depriving them of food and their natural habitat. By 24 AC, the first Yanar became infected near a Cielothar village which is also where the infestation itself mutated into the modern form.

The infected Yanar became carriers of the parasitic fungus, bringing the illness wherever they travelled. What was originally just a small local pest started becoming a more concerning problem across Daendroc, and even further as Yanar travelled to Ithania, Teled Methen and were transported to Regalia and beyond as curiosities. Worst of all, the infestation in the Yanar would make them look more attractive, enlarging their flowery body parts, enriching their colors, and having them emit pleasant fragrances and pheromones. Thus, the prettiest of Yanar became the most infectious, often picked and hauled around for their beauty, but secretly infecting the plant-life around them with the mildew.

Regalia suffered a major mildew epidemic in 213 AC, when the central Regalian park became covered in mildew. City authorities eventually stopped the spread by completely burning the parks and replanting the trees with northern birch trees, which appeared to be more resistant to the mildew. Dulofall continues to be a valid concern for many nations, but most notably Daendroc. It is estimated that nearly a tenth of Daendroc is covered in mildew infected plant-matter, in some areas whole forests have turned to brittle ashen wastelands. Human settlements continue to use burn and plant methods to fight off the mildew, but Cielothar are particularly stricken by its effects on their surroundings. Shendar continue to roam the world infecting great places of Estel worship in their attempts to eradicate belief in the old Elven Pantheon, as well as usurp the Nelfin hegemony from the other subraces.

Physical Characteristics

Dulofall can only truly infect Yanar; other races may suffer some effects from it, but not as aggressively as the Yanar do when they become carriers. In spite of the fact that the physical changes start manifesting early on, the Yanar are not aware of their infection at all. Within the first few days of infection, the palms of their hands develop tiny little hook teeth that allow their hands to latch onto a person’s skin, while at the palm of their hand, three larger hook teeth develop that can pierce the skin and extract leaking blood. This is what makes a Dulofall-infected Yanar comparable to a Vampire; the curse causes the infected to wish to extract blood from others through their hands. Dulofall-infected individuals can consume blood from a victim during intimate moments. Even a kiss is sufficient for the pheromones to distract the victim, allowing the Yanar to place their hands anywhere on their exposed skin to begin extracting blood. The victim will not notice the feeding for as long as intimate contact is maintained, and afterwards will continue being unaware. Only three small puncture marks are left behind that do not itch or bleed and go virtually unnoticed, while the Dulô Disease that infects those that have been fed upon will only start showing effects after a third day of infection. Even the feeding act itself cannot be distinguished by onlookers, as the palms of the hands are always pressed flat against the skin of the victim. These teeth are able to extract blood from all races but the fur-covered Dargan. They are strong enough to puncture even Mekket skin, but cannot pierce through layers of fur and hair.

Yanar infected with Dulofall develop brighter and larger floral plumage on their body. Already existing flowers will enlarge and brighten, gaining more vibrant colors and more extravagant floral patterns. Where no flowers grew in the past, new flowers will sprout, and the Yanar’s general physique will take a more attractive form. These enlarged and extra flowers will start emitting pleasant pheromones about a week into infection, which makes the Yanar attractive to practically all living beings, but more intensely so other Yanar. The pheromones are both disarming in a sense that they make the Yanar seem unthreatening and attractive, but also enamoring in that they make those affected want to know more about the Yanar and get closer to them.

Mental Characteristics

Dulofall infected Yanar also suffer some mental changes. After infection, Dulofall become very social creatures. Even if their personality before was boorish, they will become extravagant, almost borderline seeking and craving attention. They are very vain, and suffer from a severe superiority complex. This makes them wish to perfect their physical appearance by wearing beautiful clothing and jewelry. They wish to engage in physical contact with others, especially Yanar, which is likely the greatest cause of why it spreads rapidly from one Yanar to another. The Dulofall infected Yanar become manipulative and possessive of others, and attempt to garner public affection as well as attention. The Dulofall infected Yanar are incredibly self absorbed and extremely controllative of those around them to the point of wishing to dictate what others wear and how they style themselves, though they always do so in a sweet manner to where it does not come across as tyrannical. They often reject ugly individuals and wish to be surrounded in beauty. Dulofall-infected Yanar often despise each other, and try to work the other out of the area. This additionally contributes to the spread of the curse by forcing Dulofall away from each other. Other races infected with Dulofall have more adverse effects through a side effect called the Dulô Disease.

Dulô Disease

The Dulô Disease is a parasitic fungal disease that affects all other races (except Lampar). Furthermore, Vampires are not immune to it. The Dulô Disease is transferred by either consumption of Dulofall infected Yanar blood, inhalation of Dulofall infected plant-matter, through the feeding process by a Dulofall infected Yanar, and finally by inhalation of the white powdery mildew that often breaks off from dead Dulofall infected flora. The Dulô Disease lasts anywhere between two and three weeks, causing both physical and mental side effects to those infected. The first physical effect is that it increases a scratchy sensation in the victim, causing them to scratch their exposed skin more often. Sometimes the scratching can get so bad that it will draw blood, which in itself is a means to spread the Dulofall infestation to plant-life around the victim. The only other minor physical change is that the eyes will turn slightly more yellow-ish as if infected with a common infection.

The mental effects are more pronounced. The Dulô Disease causes confusion and rambling as well as untargeted aggression and paranoia. A Dulô Disease infected Human might for example, after three days of incubation, suddenly become hostile towards their family and friends, or start attacking a street peddler for no obvious reason. The disease usually fades away after three weeks when the fungal parasites die down in the blood stream, or if a Cleansing Light Mage purifies the blood of the subject. It should be noted again that while Cleansing Light Magic purifies the Dulô Disease, it has no effect on the original Dulofall infestation among Yanar. While a person is infected with the Dulô Disease, any Vampire consuming their blood will also be infected with the Dulô Disease. Finally, Lampar infected with the Dulô Disease will simply wheeze and sneeze with high pitch noises for about a week, but not suffer any of the illness’s side effects. There is currently one known way to diagnose the Dulô Disease, which is to extract some blood from the patient, and then to mix it with Holy Water. If the Dulô Disease is carried by the blood, it will cause violent fizzling in whatever container the mixing occurred.

Effects on Flora

Dulofall affects flora in a completely different way than Yanar. Flora will become infected after several days of exposure to the presence of Dulofall. Plant-life can also be infected by being watered with Dulofall blood. Flowers will start growing powdery white fungus on their leaves or petals that will slowly consume most of the plant material. For roughly two days, an infected part can still be removed to save the rest of the plant, but after this period, the plant’s fate is sealed. Dulofall takes around a week to properly kill a plant, flower, or bush, while it may take a month to kill a tree. There is no way to cure a plant once it has been infected, and the only true way to destroy the mildew is to burn the actual plant with the mildew still on it, while being careful that the mildew will not break and be carried further by the wind.

When the plant fully dies, its leaves and stems will turn solid and brittle, while all of its colors fade to gray. The mildew will remain on the plant as a white deposit, almost resembling a small layer of snow. If any part of the plant breaks by disturbances like people knocking into them, the stems will break and cause a cloud of mildew dust to be sprayed on the immediate surrounding area that is able to be inhaled. Any contact by this mildew onto other plant-matter will also infect other plant matter, meaning that the most dangerous time for Dulofall infection is during heavy storms in Daendroc.

Another curious side effect of Dulofall infected Yanar is that they drive Mother Solurs into a state of confusion when near them. A Dulofall infected Yanar venturing within six feet of a Mother Solur will send the garden into a state of confusion, causing the plants and companions to attack anyone without provocation, even the Evergrowth mage who is the owner of the garden. This effect ceases as soon as the Dulofall infected Yanar is removed from the garden. Scholars often speculate this is an internal defense mechanism for the garden itself to alert the Evergrowth Mage of the presence of Dulofall, but at the same time the Dulofall area influence causes the garden to become confused and attack everything around it to avoid infection.

Infection Mechanics

Dulofall is infectious in certain ways, some unique to certain races and some unique to plant life. Below is a list of all possible ways of infection both for the Dulofall infestation as well as the Dulô Disease. Dulofall is primarily spread by a microscopic fungal parasite that lives in blood matter, but can also be found in the powdery mildew that grows on infected Flora.

  • Dulofall transmitted by blood can infect only Yanar by direct blood consumption from another infected Yanar. Any Dulofall-infected Yanar can deposit their blood on plant matter to infect it with the Dulofall infestation.
  • Dulô Disease transmitted by blood can infect either Vampire or any other race except Yanar by direct blood consumption of an infected Yanar, or any other non-Yanar infected with the Dulô Disease. Yanar are immune to the Dulô Disease and instead become infected by Dulofall. Dulô Diseased individuals cannot spread Dulofall to plant-matter, even if their blood is directly leaked onto a plant.
  • Dulofall transmitted by air can infect both Yanar and flora by depositing powdery mildew onto the organic matter, which can be brushed off the body within two hours. During two days after this time period, any infected body part, plumage, or branch can be removed to avoid infection. Inhalation of powdery mildew assures infection of Yanar without a chance to cut off the infection.
  • Dulô Disease transmitted by air can infect non-Yanar when inhaled only. It will not affect non-Yanar if deposited on their skin, though it can infect them if deposited into open wounds.
  • Dulofall transmitted by Yanar blood feeding will immediately infect another Yanar when feeding is maintained for more than five seconds.
  • Dulô Disease transmitted by Yanar blood feeding will immediately infect a non-Yanar when feeding is maintained for more than five seconds.
  • Dulofall transmitted by area presence will only affect flora or trees near which a Yanar infected with Dulofall is present for more than five consecutive days. They do not even need to touch the plant matter, simply being within six feet of it can cause powdery mildew to start growing. Area presence will not infect other Yanar or cause Dulô Disease to spread.
  • A Vampire infected with Dulô Disease feeding on another person will only spread the Dulô Disease to this other person if they also become infected with Vampirism, which is not certain during feeding.

Trivia

  • Hilariously enough, powdery mildew is actually considered a delicacy to Lampar. They love the taste of it, even if it causes them a mild infection of the Dulô Disease. Some Regalian scholars have theorized a pack of Lampar could prevent Dulofall from infecting an entire forest by consuming infected parts before the infestation takes hold.
  • The powdery mildew suffers a lot of air resistance when it is not extremely fresh (any broken off dead plant matter loses its freshness after half an hour). This means that throwing it from a pouch or hand, or even using explosive devices to spread it, is completely impractical. More often than not will the mildew just remain suspended around the source, thus having a high likelihood of infecting the thrower.
  • To this day, Yanar, Cielothar, and Human scholars still experiment to attempt to cure Dulofall with little success. It is not impossible to live with a diagnosed Dulofall infection known to the authorities, though heavy restrictions are placed on someone’s living conditions when they are exposed. Luckily for those infected, exposure is extremely rare due to its well hidden nature. One would physically have to be witnessed leaking blood onto plant matter to be accused.
  • Shendar are immune to the effects of the Dulô Disease, but they can still be carriers. This means that by blood ingestion, feeding or inhalation, their blood can still be infected for the same period as the Dulô Disease, but it will have no effects on their body or mind.

Accreditation
Writers MonMarty
Artists None
Processors Shayin, Aespair
Last Editor The Shadow King3 on 04/3/2017.

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