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Rapture's Hook

You might have been chosen by a so-called higher being, but what makes you so sure that it has chosen you as its next prophet and not its next meal?
  Mostly confined to the regions of the Frozen South, the condition referred to as "Rapture's Hook" is an obscure and supernatural phenomenon that causes an infected patient to "ascend" towards the frigid heights of the sky.   Given that the fate of those taken by the hook remains unknown, it is up to the infected to decide whether they view being "hooked" as the blessing of a higher being or the baleful curse of an unknowable evil.

Causes

In sharp contrast to most other cryptic and supernatural conditions such as Sclera Overgrow Syndrom or Frailing, the underlying causes for Rapture's Hook are relativly well researched and understood.   The central agent that triggers the condition is an eldritch substance known as "Starbleached Water" that sporadically forms in bodies of water, which have been exposed to the swirling lights of the Southern Aurora.   While one-time physical contact with this substance has been shown to be sufficient to cause the manifestation of the condition, the chance for such an occurrence is so low that it can be regarded as almost negligible.   Due to this most cases of Rapture's Hook are caused by accidental or voluntary ingestion of the substance, which due to its close resemblance to mundane water happens with frightening frequency.   Yet even if ingested repeatedly the formation of a Rapture's Hook is still rather improbable, which has led most scholars to the conclusion that the outbreak of the condition requires a certain number of yet not discovered auxiliary factors.

Symptoms

The first tale-tale symptom of an infection with Rapture's Hook is the appearance of a biting chest pain, which starts at the base of the sternum and gradually moves towards the patient's collarbones. Once the pain has reached the collarbones it will pulse for a number of times before finally subsiding.   Roughly 3 to 4 minutes after the last pulse of pain, the patient's chest will begin to emit a faint golden light, which quickly increases in intensity. Shortly thereafter a hook-like structure made from the same shimmering light will begin to sprout from the center of the chest.   Despite the growing hook clearly piercing the chest's skin no patient has ever complained about feeling any pain during this process, with some individual describe the sensation of the sprouting hook as comfortable or even outright pleasurable.   After this structure has grown to its full size, the "hooked" individual will start to feel a faint pulling at their chest, which quickly increases in strength until it is strong enough to lift the patient of the ground.   Once off the ground, the hooked individual will be pulled skywards with an ever-increasing speed until he can no longer be observed.

Treatment

Once you've been hooked your fate is already sealed.
  Rapture's Hook is regarded as an incurable condition, given that the few experiments that were conducted on hooked "volunters" all failed without exception.   And even if such a mythical treatment would exist, the time between the appearance of the first symptoms and the "ascension" of the individual is so short that most patients would be unable to receive it in time.   Due to this it is widely accepted that once an individual has been hooked their ascension is already set in stone. Depending on how one views the prospect of ascending towards an unknowable fate this is either a reason for despair or one for celebration.  
Type
Supernatural
Origin
Divine
Rarity
Uncommon
Affected Species

Sacred Water

  Despite Starbleached Water clearly being linked to the manifestation of a Rapture Hook, many individuals nevertheless willingly consume it.   While some of those individuals belong to one of the various groups that yearn for salvation the of the Hook, most don't and instead outright dread the glistening embrace of the Hook.   The reason for this paradoxical behavior is the fact that the ingestion of Starbleached Water is able to cure a wide range of mundane diseases and furthermore possess notable rejuvenating properties.  

Off the Hook

 
You are oddly relaxed for someone that has a glowing hook stuck in his chest.
  Once in awhile the invisible threads that connect a Rapture's Hook to whatever is pulling it snap and thereby rerelease the hooked individual.   While the resulting fall generally kills the now freed individual, some nevertheless manage to survive it.   Those that do receive otherworldly powers fairly reminiscent of those of the Celestial Children, which allow them to bend the golden light emitted by their hook to their will.


Cover image: by ID 6335159

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