The Nameless and Clanless of Crevice
Where am I to go? What am I to do? I am no longer able to call myself a Mistsword and can not live in the home I grew up in. This disease is all I have. Cynosure, please tell me what I did to deserve such treatment. Guide me to understand what I am to do in life. Shall I rip this green rash from my body? No...I have seen the results of such fear and failure. Shall I join the Nameless in their Grotto of pain and suffering. Maybe, at least I will get food there. I have heard the rumors of the place; the food is foul, the water barely drinkable. They are given the stuff no one wants and are left to die in their hole. Is that what I want for me? What other choice is there? Wander the streets begging, hoping I don't get an outbreak and tossed into one of the treatment camps...to die.Verdant Infection . The incurable disease lays a curse on those that have it. There is a constant risk of flares and contagion. There is also a social consequence. Many fear them, others pity them. Most will avoid their presence if possible. Although laws prevent outright discrimination, the fear generated from the outbreaks is hard to ignore. Culturally, there are many unique differences on the ways the infected are treated. The Elves and Dwarves are considered the most cruel.
Excerpt from the journal of Yintir (Nameless).
NamelessThe Elves strip the infected of the family name and rights. The Verdant are considered unclean and no longer of noble blood. They lose access to wealth and power related to their name. Even children are banished from houses, though this has been debated furiously by many Elven parents. The Nameless lose almost all their social connections within a few Cycles. Many have to learn new skills and trades because they can no longer work in many of the Elven guilds. They have to create new lives.
ClanlessThe Dwarves treat the Verdant similar to the Elves, but for a different reason. They believe any infected dwarf has been touched by a demon and is corrupted forever. If they were to stay in the family, it would risk corrupting the entire clan. This superstition stems from the idea that the fourth outbreak in the Mining Stratum, was created by a demon. It was spread to the dwarves to weaken them. This have forced most of the Dwarven Verdant to move to other strata to avoid the constant barrage of insults and savagery of the other dwarves. Many have even joined the Elves creating a rather diverse community.
Life on the OutsideAlthough a recently infected may look very normal and are able to walk around the city without notice, this will not last. After only one or two flares, very distinct scarring will permanently label them as a Verdant.
This creates several challenges. They will struggle with finding work. Even those that are friendly to the Verdant can not hire them as it will ultimately hurt their business. Buying necessary goods is also problematic. Merchants can be less likely to bargain over prices and try to push the Verdant to shop elsewhere. Although not specifically banned from the public forum, they are usually ignored or threatened for trying to speak. The Kyren will listen to the complaints of the Verdant, but there has been no proclamations to change their treatment. Some local support may be given, especially from Halflings and Gnomes who don't show as much fear. They are still cautious and keep their distance from the Grotto in case of contagion, but they are more willing to trade.
Transcript from Forum debate between Thorak Underworm and Eventide Verdent (elven nameless).
Thorak: Why do you feel you should stay and risk another outbreak.
Eventide: No outbreak has been attributed to an infected. Even the fourth has been attributed to a demon and not an infected.
Thorak: What of the Green Sea Dream? Why not follow the signs to the Endless Sea?
Eventide: That dream has been torn to pieces many times and has no place in this debate.
Thorak: You would dismiss something so important? The Dream sends your people across the sea, maybe to a cure! Are you so cowardly to not even try?
Eventide: It has been tried if you remember. Finiss took his group into the seas to be lost as all are. IF there was a cure, why not bring it back? It is a ridiculous notion.
Thorak: You are a selfish group that will lead the entire city to it's doom! You should all be fed to the worms and the worms destroyed. That will end this scourge on our people forever!
Scribe Note: Many people started yelling and screaming multiple comments, some in favor of the Thorak's words, most against.
Guide Willem: That's enough of that Thorak, or you'll be removed.
Thorak: My apologies. My point is made, they do not belong here and are cursed. I would prefer them willingly see their fates.
Eventide: Do remember that it was an infected who found the curse of the stone as well as the mother of one that found the Blood Mold. If we are all gone, who will save you if there is another outbreak. Who will have the will to save you? What if you were to become touched by the rash? Will you send yourself across the Endless Sea, or come crawling to us for help. We will help as is our way, but I may do it with a grin on my face.
Scribe Note: Eventide leaves the floor ending the debate. It is quiet for several moments before people start leaving.
Life of the VerdantVerdant communities are not gross and disgusting as many rumours describe them. They are usually very clean to avoid additional sickness. They train in medicine and a variety of other skills. Life in the Grotto is a shared life. Nothing is bought or sold within the Grotto, all money is used to purchase raw materials, but all production is shared. They have a great Medical Alcove that they use to treat those with flares and newly infected. They also do research and create medicines to treat a variety of conditions which allows them to sell that medicine directly to the Beacons who will distribute it.
All family names are lost to The Verdent. Usually once they are diagnosed, they are given only a couple of Cycles to get out or be sent to the treatment camps. Most choose to leave these days. Without a family name, they lose all access to the family wealth and name. They can not use the name to gain favor nor work in any guild run by family leaders. This loss can be massively detrimental and many do end up committing suicide or going to the treatment camps. The Grotto became a new option for the infected.
Shared customary codes and values
The Verdant community is one of shared responsibility. They have been forced to create their own clothes, furniture and household goods because of the challenges to trading in the market. Some friendly guilds are will to deliver goods, but those are usually just raw materials and that arrangement can change quickly. They do get food from the Beacon, but also grow their own in small gardens approved by The Kyren to avoid going to the market often.
Average technological level
Medical Research has become the primary focus for the Verdant. In their pursuit of finding a cure and for caring for those experiencing a flare, almost all of the Verdant have some knowledge of medicine and basic aid. In the last 200 years, they have become the most knowledgeable group about the Verdant Infection and it's treatment. They have found many advanced procedures that have reduced the severity and lengths of flares.
Advanced Medicine is also taught to those with a particular interest in medicine. Several Verdant have become extremely influential in the field of medicine for more than just the Infection. They have created a number of advanced measures for treating and healing those suffering.
Rejection by the community despite this success continues. There have been attempts by the Verdant to teach and share their knowledge with medical leaders in the city, just to be shunned. In some cases the knowledge has been stolen and never attributed rightfully to the Verdant.
Progress has been made with many local people though. Knowledge of their skills has spread and the Grotto has seen a slight increase in visits from non-infected seeking their help with an illness of loved ones.
Common Etiquette rules
All infected are welcomed regardless of race or affiliation. The primary goal is to have newcomers feel welcome and safe in the community and allow them to live as they should.
Common Dress code
The Verdant have found many unique ways of covering what marks them as Verdant with clothing. This dress is only used when traveling outside the Grotto. Paradise Stratum is the primary place of travel. The cold weather allows them to cover completely and blend in without judgement. Within the Grotto, they tend to wear clothes that both reveal and highlight their marks. Tattoos are also commonly used to accentuate the skin marks and to honor lost friends.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
On the Day of Blood we honor all those lost to the infection. It is a day of solace and reflection. Most will meditate in their homes or or go to the Blood Room. Amaran, our chosen Counsel, will stand outside the blood room from Early Blue and read every name lost. This takes longer every year, but we must always remember what is lost.
Birth & Baptismal Rites
Risks of Birth:There have been no reported cases of a child being born with the Infection, but being born to a mother with the infection does seem to have other consequences. Children born of the Verdant typically have mutations that mark them as infected. The most common one is splotchy skin that looks similar to those that have been through several flares. Some are also born with more serious conditions including shorter limbs, no hair or odd facial features. Some can lead to more critical concerns and death for the child; heart conditions, constant mental problems (usually related to hallucinations) and higher risk of getting catching more common diseases.
Success of Birth: One interesting fact is that those born to the Verdant seem to be immune to it as well. There has been no case of these children ever getting infected despite being constantly around them even at their peak of contagion. This realization is leading to new medical studies being done by a new generation.
Funerary and Memorial customs
The Verdant Infection is a killing disease and all of the Verdant know this. Death may take many years, but it likely be the disease that kills them. The city requires all bodies of the infected be destroyed. Usually this is done with acid (mainly at the treatment centers). The Verdant have found a unique interpretation of that law. The bodies of the dead are placed in the Red Room. This room is covered in the Blood Moss that is used to treat the condition. The Blood Moss will also grow on the bodies of the infected which does eventually break down the body completely. This process usually takes 2-3 years. There is a grave marker placed until the body is fully destroyed, then it is moved to the walls outside the room. These are the only known graveyards in Crevice.
The Verdant embrace they loss of their names and will not use their lost names for any reason. Newly infected may take some time to adjust to the custom, but the Verdant are very patient and will remind them. They will also never mess the graves of the dead until the entire body is gone. Grave areas can be reused once the ground is flat once more, but to disturb the grave of another is forbidden and comes with a strict punishment (at least in the eyes of the Verdant). The punishments are usually several cycles of cleaning the waste pipes.
They generally avoid courting during a flare up of the disease as it is considered disrespectful. Although relationships with non-infected are allowed, they are very rare and most end quickly. Verdant couples usually stay within the Grotto, but some prefer to leave and enjoy a vacation to a different Strata. This usually would avoid running into past family or associates.
Since all of the people within the Grotto are infected, no relationship is forbidden. There is a mutual respect for people within the Grotto. Interracial relationship are much more acceptable as well than in most cases.