Trigger Warning: Depression, Bipolar, Mania, Psychosis and other Mental Health Conditions"Poisoned Mind" is a description of a set of conditions found in victims of Hobgoblin Iron Shadows.
Transmission & Vectors
PoisonThere is no known natural vector to contract this condition. All instances of the condition have come from assassinations by Hobgoblin Iron Shadows.
No Other Known CausesIt is necessary to be clear that there is a causal effect that is consistent and provable between the application of the poison and the symptoms outlined below. There is no other known or suspected vector for the condition, and many of the admonitions common from the L'église universelle are highly counterproductive.
PoisonLittle is known about the origin or manufacture of the poison that leads to this condition. It is a tightly held secret of the iron shadow clan members.
Application of PoisonThere have been known instances of this being used as a contact poison. The injection of the poison in the bloodstream through a stabbing or slicing injury has been observed several times. There have been suspected cases of the poison being ingested. This however hasn't been proven.
Biological Components of PoisonFrom analysis of the residual traces of the poison, there appears to be a biological component to the poison that is boosted by chemical elements. The biological component appears to be some kind of living organism too small to observe that infects the victim's body. The organism itself does not appear to cause the condition. Rather, it appears that the organism disrupts how the body creates certain body chemicals that appear to be critical to proper mental function. The initial impact of the organism appears relatively muted. However as it spreads throughout the body and builds up over time, the suppressive or amplifying effects on that critical chemical production continues to increase geometrically.
Chemical Components of PoisonThe chemical components of the poison have been analyzed from the residual of several attacks. The chemicals bear resemblance to a manufactured additive to increase the longevity of clothing dyes. The concoction is produced and used by several of The Northern Peoples, and is easily accessible. It is suspected that the chemical component either increases the infectious nature of the biological component, or dampens the bodies ability to fight it off. It does not appear the chemical component(s) have a long term role in infection and symptoms.
The poisoning has differing impacts on differing races and individuals. The two most common are depression and mania.
Early Stage Symptoms
DepressionIn many of the early cases of poisoned individuals there are feelings of sadness, low mood and loss of interest in their usual activities. The intensity and the frequency of these episodes increase with the progression of the poisoning. Common symptoms accompanying the depression include:
- Change in appetite
- Change in appetite, losing or gaining weight
- Sleeping too much or not sleeping well (insomnia)
- Fatigue and low energy most days
- Feeling worthless, guilty, and hopeless
- An inability to focus and concentrate that may interfere with daily tasks at home, work, or school
- Movements that are unusually slow or agitated (a change which is often noticeable to others)
- Thinking about death and dying; suicidal ideation or suicide attempts
ManiaIn other cases, the poisoning victim will rapidly changing emotions and moods, highly influenced by surrounding stimuli. They will remain in this heightened state for prolonged periods of time. The intensity and the frequency of these episodes increase with the progression of the poisoning. Several of the symptoms may include:
- Decreased need for sleep
- Talking excessively
- Racing thoughts
- Being easily distracted
- Physical agitation and relentless movement
- Increased sexual desire
- Impulsive risk behaviors (including gambling and lavish spending)
- Grandiosity or inappropriate behavior
- Irritability, hostility, or aggression
- Delusions or hallucinations
Late Stage ProgressionOne of the key elements of the poisoning is the progression of symptoms into a far more severe state where delusions (believing things that are not real), hallucinations (hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, or feeling things that are not real) and paranoia (fearing things that are not real) become frequent occurances. These symptoms have led to dangers to those affected and those around them.
Final StageRegardless of the progression, the final stages of this inevitably lead to the mind ceasing to function and the death of the victim. It appears that the production of the critical chemicals at this stage cease (either from overproduction and burnout, or by complete supression).
No healing magic, spiritual intervention or resuscitation has ever been successful in preventing this progression. Supporting the poisoned individual and reinforcing that the feelings are rooted in the effects of the poison are critical. The only known treatment that has shown the ability to stop the progression is to suspend the body functions of the host. This state of suspended animation, achieved through complex magics, does not heal the disease or reduce the damage; rather it simply prevents the progression of the disease to its finale state. Identification and isolation of the biological component will be necessary in order to devise a means of ridding a poisoned victim of the organism, and hopes of then being able to naturally or magically address the persistent damage.
No healing magic, spiritual intervention or resuscitation has ever been successful in preventing this progression.
In some of the earliest cases occured in 4421 amongst the Goliaths following a series of skirmishes with hobgoblin tribes, the condition passed unnoticed at first. The tribal chief had been infected with the poison, and the disorder progressed from early stage manic behaviours to late stage behaviors so severe that he believed his tribe had been replaced by hobgoblins imposters. The resulting violence he committed against his peaceful tribe led to his execution. It was only after his execution that the shamans inspecting the body noticed the physical changes the organism had induced. The disorder then appeared several times over the intervening three centuries, all being linked back to skirmishes with the hobgoblin tribes. One suspected case of a female Drákonian with no known contacts with the Hobgoblin Iron Shadows was identified in 4690, but the body was never recovered and the victim was never autopsied.
Currently, the leading researcher for the condition is the reclusive Asími Kallitéchnis. He publishes his research intermittantly, and has never been seen in public. He has claimed to have pursued a scientific investigation, as well as spiritual augury and divination. According to his theories, the only viable first step begins with systematic elimination of the organism from the victim / host. Once that is complete, he theorizes that the condition may heal itself, or could then be healed through traditional magical or natural means. However, as this would require access to the original form of the biological component, he has not been able to progress further.
Many of the Holy Empire of Humanité believe the condition to be a hoax, or a weakness in the moral character of those afflicted. Others within the L'église universelle believe that the individuals are possessed and exorcism or burning at the stake are the only options for freeing the afflicted from the possession of evil spirits, the forces of the adversary.