Arbortide Affliction, The Curse Of The Elven Mariners Condition in Domen Aria | World Anvil
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Arbortide Affliction, The Curse Of The Elven Mariners

“Ok, its time. Put your amulet on. They say this is the place that an entire faerie forest was lost below the sea. Lots of ruins to explore and gold to find down there. The curses won’t bother us with these amulets, but you better drink that elixir too, just to be safe.”
    The Arbortide Affliction is a debilitating curse that affects only the elven sailors who have wronged the spirits of the forests that were swallowed by the churning seas of the last cataclysm. This curse weaves a tale of elven sorrow and the delicate balance between the mortal realm and the enigmatic depths of those submerged elven groves. The afflicted sailors must tread carefully, seeking both magical remedies and spiritual reconciliation to quell the wrath of the vengeful spirits beneath the waves.

Transmission & Vectors

This afflcition is actually a supernatural curse that is transferred from the spirits of forgotten, decaying, underwater forests, through the water column to the elven sailors above it.  Not all who sail above the forest are cursed, it seems that the vast majority of the afflicted are elves who are disrespectful to nature and the elements, particularly this area of the seas and/or the sunken trees.


According to Kellin Riphath's notes in the Clararton Curative Clinic, the Arbortide Affliction is a malicious oceanic condition that specifically targets elven mariners navigating the tropical seas. This curse is believed to originate as a manifestation of the ancient hostilities between the elven seafarers and the vengeful spirits of the forests that were submerged during the Sundering and the Binding. This affliction often arises when the elves sail over the sacred, sunken groves or engage in acts that disrupt the new harmony of the underwater forests.


Those who contract the Arbortide Affliction progress through four main symptoms that remain with the individual until they are either cured or pass away.     The first symptom of the curse is known as the Twilight Branches. This is when the affected elven sailors develop gray-green, elongated, branching patterns on their bodies. The darkening veins appear as intricate patterns resembling underwater, wavy tree branches that symbolize the curse's connection to the submerged forest realms. The afflicted develop a great thirst for water and an aversion to bright light.   Those who go untreated, incur the second symptom, known as the Lamenters Chorus. The curse now induces haunting melodies within the minds of the afflicted, mimicking the enchanting songs of sylvan sirens. The perceived music and songs can lead to entranced states, distracting sailors from their maritime duties, luring them toward perilous waters, or even causing them to jump into the water and attempt to swim down to join the sunken forests below. The affected also gain an extreme sensitivity to loud noises and harsh sounds cause them pain.   As time passes, the third symptom, known as Marine Melancholy begins and triggers a profound sense of loss and nostalgia for the elven sailors. Visions of sunken cities and memories of elven kin who perished in the depths haunt the afflicted, leading to melancholic introspection and deep depression.   The final symptom of the untreated is known as Aqua Entanglement. The curse now creates temporary but sporadic paralysis that affects the lower limbs of the afflicted elves. This paralysis makes movement challenging and is accompanied by sensations of being entwined by ghostly seaweed, binding them to the ocean's depths.


Despite the supernatural nature of this curse, there have been several cures discovered that can be used to dispel this condition.    Wearing a Sylvan Amulets Of Remembrance is said to slowly turn back the curse and eliminate the symptoms in reverse order, one month per symptom. These wooden amulets are made by master craftsman and are adorned with aquamarine gems, ancient sylvan symbols, and infused with the essence of the ancestral forests. These amulets act as a conduit for reconnecting with the spirits of the elven ancestors, providing solace and guidance during times of affliction.   The Rite Of Oceanic Atonement is a spiritual ceremony involving offerings, prayers, songs, and rituals of apology. They are performed to appease the spirits of the submerged elven forests. These rites are conducted on secluded sylvan islands, seek forgiveness and strive to mend the rift between the elven sailors and the vengeful sunken woodland spirits.   Although not exactly a cure, the Moonshimmer Elixir will alleviate the curse's current symptom and prevent new ones from forming. These elixirs are brewed from the essence of Moonshimmer seaweed, that is found only in the sacred elven groves beneath the waves. The Moonshimmer Elixirs must be administered under the guidance of elven healers during elaborate lunar rituals.   Rumors suggest that a reading from the ancient scroll known as The Sorrowful Currents, can immediately break the curse of the Arbortide Affliction. The discovery and deciphering of this ancient elven scroll, is believed to contain many insights, including the appeasement of the spirits, communion with the seas, and the mitigating of many ailments and conditions. The knowledge within the scroll is closely guarded by royal elven scholars and mystic interpreters.   Lastly, a skilled elven healer or cleric, must successfully cast a Cure Disease spell for each symptom and then the afflicted must not enter the sea for a year and a day. This will halt the effects but not the appearance of the curse. Then after that time has passed, the same healer or cleric must successfully cast a Remove Curse spell on the afflicted elf. At this point the curse is finally broken and all effects and appearances of the condition are gone. If for any reason the afflicted person enters the sea during that year, then they must start the entire process over again.


If an elf is left untreated, they will quickly progress from symptom to symptom and grow weaker by the day as each occurrence magnifies. While the order that the symptoms occur remains the same, the duration of each and the time in between each symptom occurring fluctuates on a person by person basis.    Overall, those who are afflicted and left untreated will often incur life threatening accidents or accidental deaths. Eventually they experience terrible depressions, in which many hide themselves away from public or unfortunately even commit suicide.

Affected Groups

So far only the elven people have been known to contract this dreadful curse. Most notably the Avertere, Erumpere, and Excedere dark elves make up over 90% of the cases. Thus far, no half-elves, despite their alignment, have been known to become afflicted.

Hosts & Carriers

There are no known flora or fauna that carry this condition, and there are no known humanoids who carry it either.  Only the elves have ever been the recipient of this curse so far.


While there are many rumored ways to prevent someone from acquiring this curse, sailors seem to favor three main ways.   The first is to consume the Moonshimmer Elixir just before one sails over one of the sunken elven forests. In theory this will prevent the affliction from taking hold on the consumer. The tricky part is knowing just where the underwater woodland is.   The second ways is to have previously purchased, inscribed, and wear the Sylvan Amulets Of Remembrance during sea travels. This is said to be the most affective preventative to the curse as it so greatly appeases the spirits of the sunken forest. Stories say that the grateful spirits may even help out the travelers, granting calm waters or faster travel.   The third and most surefire way to prevent anyone from getting the affliction is to simply not travel to unknown portions of the sea. Staying in the main shipping channels and avoiding sketchy short cuts may be slower but safer than chancing the spirits curse.


Fortunately for the populace, this condidition is not contagious at all and can only be contracted by those who have sailed over various sacred, sunken groves and infuriated their spirits in some way.


The Arbortide Affliction is a relatively new condition, that records show has just come about shortly after the Sundering and Binding that devastated the planet. During this great upheaval much of the terrain and landscapes had been prominently changed. Related to this curse is the events that sunk several of the ancient, coastal forests and those who lived within them. Several of the spirits blamed the elves for not doing more for the planet and for not intervening to save the trees and inhabitants. These newly vengeful spirits of the sunken groves now curse any irreverent elves that traverse their underwater lands hoping to teach them a lesson and remind them of their ancestors and of their ancient pacts with the forests.

Cultural Reception

While most would believe that those who are afflicted with this condition would be ostracized, shunned, or ignored by the society that they live in, the elves of Veladare see this differently. As an aggressive sea faring nation, the naval elves of this nation are expected to take chances and seek out treasures and short cuts and unexplored parts of the ocean. This attitude quite often brings them into unusual conflicts and circumstances. Those elves who are affected by the Arbortide Affliction are seen as brave explores who willingly sacrifice for the good of the nation. The military elves who have become cursed are treated quickly by the government, while those of the nonmilitary are seen as competition and left to fend for themselves.
by by me from Midjourney
Extremely Rare
Affected Species
by by me from Midjourney
“Congratulations. You didn’t find any gold or magical items, but you did manage to get your first curse. Wait till the captain sees that you have the Arbortide Affliction. Don’t worry, it’s a badge of honor around here.”
by by me from Midjourney

Cover image: by by me from Midjourney


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Dec 12, 2023 15:39 by Marc Zipper

What an amazing curse love the fact that the spirit is just Target one species for their vengeance. Great job on coming up with the preventative measures

Let's have fun creating the impossible, building new worlds, and all types of possibilities. Valcin
Dec 13, 2023 01:35

Thanks. The spirits feel betrayed by the elves and really take it out on any neutral or evil elves in the area.