Scorch Skin

"Scorch Skin" is a condition caused by the inhalation or epidermal absorption of spores from the Desert Seed mushroom. This condition is also known as dry necrotic epidermal rot, but that term is hardly used outside of medical circles.   Scorch skin is a very painful condition in which the person affected by the condition experiences a series of worsening symptoms over a period of three to four days, often (but not always) leading to death. The stages of the scorch skin, when the spores are absorbed through the skin, are:
  1. Sunburn: In the first twelve hours after epidermal absorption, the infected person begins to experience highly agitated and itchy, red skin, similar to a bad sunburn, but spreading out radially from the main absorption site(s). After twelve hours, the infected person is usually completely covered in the burn-like condition.
  2. Shedding: After the sunburn condition has covered the subject's body, over the next ten to twelve hours, the surface layer of their skin begins to peel away. While most recognize the symptoms at this point, some will still mistake it for a bad sunburn that is healing rapidly. As the skin sheds, the itchiness will subside and the victim may believe that they are in fact recovered, though their raw skin will remain quite sensitive. No new skin or scabs will cover any potential scrapes or other injuries from scratching.
  3. Drought/desiccation: Approximately twenty hours after the shedding has stopped, the skin will begin to crack anew, but in larger and deeper intersecting lines across the whole surface of the body (similar to drying ground during a prolonged drought). These cracks will be painful and, in severe cases, can cause death on their own due to blood loss or shock. As the first cracks begin to form, the person can still be treated with magic (against necrotic or poison) or with a prolonged bath in salt water, but as the cracks deepen and multiply, these solutions are no longer effective.
  4. Blistering: After the person's body is covered in deep and very painful crags, blisters begin to form in these crevices. They are blood filled and extremely painful. Very few survive beyond this point, but someone at the blistering stage can still be healed by strong disease-curing magic.
  5. Reclamation: While blistering can last up to 48 hours, after that point the blisters will burst and the victim will die nearly instantly. 
Those who inhale the spores of the Desert Seed are effected by extreme stomach discomfort, a rasping and persistent cough, a very painful throat, and nosebleeds for 24 hours before they are affected by stage 3.   Some herbalists and botanists believe that the Desert Seed affects victims in this way to introduce nutrients to the surrounding area through killing creatures that come into contact with it. Those affected with scorch skin have often acquired it while trying to pick Cool Winter's Dew mushrooms during the summer or autumn months. Cool Winter's Dew mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with Desert Seed and tend to grow in the centre of Desert Seed mushroom clusters.


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