The... The itching! The scratching! Always scratching! it is... is... unbearably... MADDENING!
One of the cruellest curses concocted by Cato the Plaguemancer in his infinite madness, the Flayer's Pox is a truly horrific illness that any Soul can find themselves inflicted by. The Flayer's Pox is just one of the many virulent strains carried by the Akhlus Lurk, but it is by far one of the most feared.
The Blue Itch
The onset of the Flayer's Pox is after initial infection is rapid and sudden. The first symptom is a minor discolouration of the skin, with deep, vibrant blue spots or rings appearing at random all over the inflicted victim's body that rapidly swell into pustules. Sometimes these blue patches can appear to have a spiralling or concentric shape, and may appear in combination with the more common rings and spots, though other symptoms and progression remains the same. These pustules are accompanied by a constant, intense irritation akin to a common itch that compels the inflicted to scratch at the pustules until they rupture and spread their contagious contents to other parts of the inflicted victim's skin. As skin is rent from flesh, the nerve endings and synapses suffer greatly. They rapidly shrivel and die off, and yet the itching remains as a sort of sensory phantom. The constant unbearable itching rapidly becomes unbearable, sending the inflicted victim's mind into a spiral of obsession and madness. They scratch skin from flesh and flesh from bone, never finding the relief they desperately crave. Death is the only release these Souls find.
For a Soul already bearing the Vampirism curse, the effects of the Flayer's Pox become truly horrifying. The regenerative deathlessness of a Vampire prevents them from fatally wounding themselves with their compulsion to scratch and claw at itches that cannot be relieved, and so they end up flaying their own skin from their flesh in their mindless scratching. These tortured Souls become Flayed Ones, little more than mindless ghouls, driven to insanity by the constant phantom itching of nerves that no longer can sense anything. For such an individual, death is a merciful release. In what is left of their hazy, addled minds, perhaps if scratching at themselves won't work, maybe scratching at you will instead!
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
That evil Cato! >:( This is a really nasty disease, and I love what you did with the vampire :D "In what is left of their hazy, addled minds, perhaps if scratching at themselves won't work, maybe scratching at you will instead!" this sentence is perfect! XD
A pleasant, though disturbing read. :D I like how the condition can affect not only the average beings but also the vampiric ones. It adds a nice complexity to their character. If they use that rage and madness to attack others, does it take their mind off it for at least a little while, or does the itching remain at levels that make it impossible to focus on anything else? Thanks for a good read!