Bloodrot Condition in After Silence | World Anvil
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The Scourge of Witchkind

"I've been pondering on the subject of bloodrot lately. I'm reminded of the risks I undertook in my own transformation into an artificial witch. As a Red Thunder Dragoness, my resilience to demon blood is superior to mere humans, yet caution remains my constant companion. Two centuries have passed, and our best witches offer 'solutions' arguably more terrifying than bloodrot itself. Through my research, I aim to liberate us from this dreadful curse. A lofty ambition, perhaps? But who better than I, the magnificent Dragonwitch, to pursue such a noble goal?"
— From: "A Comprehensive Guide to Morvathia's Mysteries" by Salama the Dragonwitch
  Bloodrot is a deadly disease that has plagued the witches of Morvathia for centuries. It is caused by the body's inability to handle the potent demon blood that runs through the veins of witchkind. This leads to a gradual deterioration of the blood vessels, leading to a slow and agonizing demise.   Despite the best efforts of healers and alchemists, there is no known cure for bloodrot. The disease has claimed the lives of numerous witches throughout Morvathia's history, and it remains a constant threat to those with witchblood to this day. As a result, many witches are forced to live their lives in constant fear of the disease, always on the lookout for any sign of its deadly onset.  

Origin of Bloodrot

  Bloodrot exclusively targets those bearing demonblood, a substance intrinsic to the inhabitants of the Netherhells. Demonblood, in its purest form, is a black, organic liquid of immense toxicity to most living creatures of Netherdyn. To consume it is to invite a swift and agonizing demise, as its potent essence is fundamentally incompatible with the mortal coil.   The genesis of Bloodrot can be traced back to the very ambitions of Morvathian earlierst alchemists. These pioneering scholars discovered a method to dilute demon blood, rendering it less lethal and more compatible with mortal bodies. This groundbreaking alchemical process birthed the first witches of Netherdyn – mortals whose veins coursed with the tempered fury of the Netherhells, granting them access to its chaotic and potent energies.   However, this grand achievement bore a hidden curse. What alchemists and demonologists came to understand as "Bloodrot" is, in essence, a gradual manifestation of the inherent toxicity of demonblood. While direct consumption of demonblood results in immediate and fatal consequences, Bloodrot is its insidious counterpart, slowly ravaging the host's blood vessels over months or years. This slow decay mirrors the instant destruction wrought by pure demonblood, but unfolds at a mercilessly gradual pace.  

A Slow March Towards Inevitability

  Bloodrot has evolved significantly since its first appearance among the witches of Morvathia. Initially a rapidly progressing disease among the first generation of witches—those who were the direct recipients of demon blood infusion—it has since morphed into a more insidious ailment in their naturally born descendants. It can afflict individuals with only a trace of witchblood, so minimal that they lack the ability to cast spells. Conversely, even the most potent witches, wielding considerable magical prowess, may go their entire lives without manifesting a single symptom of Bloodrot.   The initial symptoms of Bloodrot are often deceptively benign, making early detection challenging. Victims may experience a slight pallor and episodes of fleeting dizziness. Such subtle signs are easily dismissed, allowing the affliction to strengthen its grip unnoticed.   As Bloodrot takes hold, its victims suffer a gradual deterioration of their blood vessels and internal organs. This leads to a diverse array of symptoms, including heartache, nausea, stomach pains, fatigue, and relentless headaches. The presentation of these symptoms varies widely among individuals, with some experiencing only one or two symptoms that gradually intensify over the years.   In its advanced stages, victims may endure horrific bleeding from the eyes, mouth, or ears and other orifices. Their skin grows pale and brittle, with darkened blood vessels becoming grotesquely visible beneath the surface. The final phase of Bloodrot is characterized by extreme exhaustion and excruciating pain, often rendering the afflicted bedridden. The culmination of this merciless progression is the failure of major organs, leading to an inevitable death.  

Cures and Treatments

  While alchemists, healers and scholars searched for a cure for a long time, there is still no known effective treatment for Bloodrot. However, this unyielding quest has given rise to a variety of treatments aimed at mitigating the disease's progression and alleviating its symptoms.   Among the more notable of these palliative solutions is the bitterwilk paste, a concoction known for its properties in strengthening blood vessels. Additionally, bloodgrowth potions have gained prominence for their role in promoting the health of internal organs, offering some respite to those afflicted. Another common remedy involves compresses made from shuffleshanks and rosemary, herbs believed to possess qualities beneficial to those suffering from Bloodrot.   These treatments, while somewhat effective in slowing the disease's progression, are fundamentally palliative. They focus on tempering the severity of the symptoms and prolonging the quality of life for the afflicted. However, they fall short of being a true cure, offering only temporary relief from the inexorable march of Bloodrot.  
Homunculi - Living Doll Bodies
  In a desperate bid to elude the clutches of the disease, Houses Siegmund, Caladrius, and Florindale have pioneered the creation of Homunculi, an innovative yet fraught solution to extend their lifespans.   These Homunculi are marvels of arcane engineering, blending mechanical ingenuity with the necrospiritual art of soul transference. Crafted with mechanical components underneath and adorned with porcelain skin above, these bodies are designed to house a soul urn – a receptacle capable of containing the essence of a living being. This allows the witch’s soul to inhabit a body impervious to organic decay, thus evading the physical ravages of Bloodrot. The Homunculi offer a life free from the disease’s deteriorating effects - even while maintaining the witch's spellcasting abilities through the use of pure demon blood in the artificial body's bloodlines.   Yet, this ingenious creation comes with perilous consequences. The soul urn, a critical component of the Homunculus, is a vulnerable target for malevolent spirits. These hostile entities are drawn to the urn, capable of gradually siphoning and ultimately displacing the witch's soul, usurping control of the Homunculus. Protective enchantments can temporarily safeguard the urn, but these measures are not infallible. Over time, they falter, leaving the soul vulnerable to possession and resulting in a fate arguably worse than the natural course of Bloodrot.   Despite these harrowing risks, many bloodrot-afflicted witches gravitate towards this option, driven by the desire to extend their existence, even if only for a few more decades.  
Body Amalgamation - A Risky Gambit with Mind and Soul
  Body Amalgamation stands as another drastic and controversial methods employed by witches in Morvathia to combat Bloodrot. This ritual involves fusion of a witch's body with that of another living being, leading to the assimilation of its unique traits and physical characteristics. The process often results in significant alterations to the witch's form, imbuing them with otherworldly aspects.   The risks associated with Body Amalgamation are as profound as the changes it brings. The ritual is fraught with danger; numerous attempts have culminated in immediate and tragic fatalities, the amalgamation process yielding unstable hybrid forms. Perhaps even more disturbing is the potential psychological impact. There have been instances where the witch's consciousness becomes overwhelmed, subsumed, or irrevocably altered by the merged entity. Such cases have occasionally given rise to hostile, unpredictable beings, posing a grave threat to all around them.   Despite these daunting hazards, some witch families within Morvathia have refined the art of Body Amalgamation, turning it into a guarded tradition. House Kelpearl, renowned as the sailing witches, has historically fused with oceanic creatures. This practice enhances their aquatic capabilities and often results in a more harmonious integration of forms and abilities. Similarly, the earth witches of House Girasola have successfully amalgamated with plants and insects. Their approach has shown notable efficacy in reducing the prevalence of Bloodrot and has contributed significantly to the extended lifespans of its practitioners.  
Blood Purification - A Tale of Hope and Horror
  In the year 1586 A.S., Balthazar Vettrel, a scholar famed for his deep understanding of witchcraft, unveiled the "Blood Purification Ritual", a groundbreaking development in the battle against the dreaded Bloodrot. This ritual promised a radical solution by cleansing a witch's blood of its demonic essence, effectively reverting it to a normal state. While it stripped the recipients of their spellcasting prowess, it offered a tantalizing prospect: a definitive escape from the slow death of Bloodrot.   Yet, the aftermath of the ritual revealed unforeseen and unsettling consequences. The purified witches began to exhibit a range of erratic behaviors - emotional detachment, unpredictable mood swings, manic episodes interspersed with unexplained bouts of joy and sadness.   Compounding these concerns were the recurring nightmares reported by many of the ritual's recipients. In these dreams, they found themselves in a fog-enshrouded swamp, haunted by the face of an old man with hollow eyes and a cryptic smile, emerging from the surrounding waters. The pervasive nature of these dreams, shared among numerous witches, baffled historians and healers alike. Even more disconcerting were accounts of these visions bleeding into the waking world, with some witches claiming to see and hear the old man in their daily lives, yet unable to recall his words.   The mystery surrounding the Blood Purification Ritual deepened with a startling and inexplicable event: Balthazar Vettrel and all the witches who had undergone the purification vanished over night without a trace. This mass disappearance left a trail of unanswered questions and unresolved mysteries, leaving the ritual largely abandoned, with few daring to continue its research.   Contemporary versions of Blood Purification exist, albeit in a less radical form. These rituals aim to reduce, not eliminate, demonic essence in the blood. While the loss of spellcasting abilities remains a consequence, no modern participants have experienced the mysterious vanishings of the past. However, subtle behavioral alterations are occasionally observed, and a few still whisper of dreams haunted by the face of the old man.


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Dec 12, 2023 17:27 by Marc Zipper

What an Amazing article I love the lore the creation of the witches the disease itself even the cure especially the homunculus one

Let's have fun creating the impossible, building new worlds, and all types of possibilities. Valcin
Dec 16, 2023 16:46

Thank you very much! I still plan on doing lore articles on the homunculus at some point, but I'm glad to hear the ideas go into the right direction ^w^

At the end of everything, hold onto anything.