The Red Stalker, the curse of Uuku.
The Red Stalker lasts between 9 months to 2 years, with symptoms that can be cleanly divided into 5 distinct stages.
|Stage 1: Red Halo[\th]|
|Within 24 hours following contact, the outer edges of the afflicted's eyes begin to turn red.||Stage 2: Red Blots||Between 1-7 days after the initial halo around the eyes forms, the redness spreads to consume the entirety of the eyes. In addition, red splotches begin covering the body, these are always warm or hot to the touch, but the patient rarely feels any discomfort.||Stage 3: Red Shadows|
|Over the next 1-5 months the blots continue to spread across the body, the afflicted may experience episodes of extreme vertigo and a lack of energy as their temperature rises and their body becomes a mottled red.|
|Stage 4: Red Stalker|
|When the Afflicted's skin has turned completely red, a number of new symptoms surface; all body hair falls out, skin sensitivity skyrockets, and the afflicted gain a massively increased appetite.
At this point, the afflicted generally has a maximum of 6 months to live with many dying from starvation long before that point.
|Stage 5: Red Death|
|The most common final stage of the Red Stalker is the Red Death. The point at which the afflicted completely loses their mind to the disease. At this point, their hunger consumes everything. To the point where the only seeming solution is to resort to self-cannibalism. The afflicted begins to consume their extremities, while carefully avoiding major veins and arteries.
The afflicted are often found with the bones of their arms and legs with the meat pulled completely from them and marred with bite marks. Death is always through blood loss, but witnesses say that it can take hours before they die.
The Forests are sick, the red blight has burned the very roots of our homes. The Bones of our ancestors have been picked clean and their connections to the before and after have been broken. Their death is to be final. Even now, my vision turns red and I know that this death will have my own connection severed. My death is to be final.
Transmission/VectorsThe Afflicted seems to become contagious after about a day of infection. However, the Red Stalker doesn't need any contact. With recorded victims merely being in the same vicinity as one another and not coming into contact with one another at all. At the same time, the Stalker doesn't seem to infect everyone in the same way. In one recorded instance over 100 people came into contact with the Afflicted at a wedding. Only around 70 of the group were infected, but the groom's family were entirely unaffected. Similar results were observed over the long history of the Red Stalker.
TreatmentWhile many mages, priests and doctors have attempted to cure the Red Stalker, but successes were rare. Healing Magics seem almost wholly ineffectual against the disease, medicines only forestall the symptoms. Even strenuous rituals to retrieve the soul of the afflicted from death itself doesn't aid in their recovery. However, particularly strong magic users have been seen to heal the disease, at least for a time.
What can I say except that I have hope. Hope that the young may escape unafflicted. A hope that we will survive this curse. A hope that we will recover.
Stage Six: The Survivors
Over two and a half centuries of death and destruction wrought by the Red Stalker across Ithungsida are often focused on by historians. The Secondary focus is often on increased focus on healing science and magics, even though those weren't effective against it. The thing not focused on at all, tends to be the survivors of the Red Stalker. Those few people that made it to the fifth stage and somehow survived.
Their bodies warped by the disease, these people never recovered from their affliction. However, they did continue to live. Many of them even managed to have progeny of their own. When their children were born, they too came out blisteringly red with defects that clearly showed them to be something other than human, elf, or anything in between. They had tails, they had horns, they were demonic in shape and figure.