There is no known cause for Ataxia Putrida. Initially, when this disease was first recognized and the number of rune casters in the world was much smaller, it was thought that the disease was caused by a rune caster having at least one ancestor who was also a rune caster. This theory was discarded when more students from families that had no previous casters joined the academies and later in life started showing signs of the disease.
First Stage: This stage is often the most difficult to accurately diagnose as the signs are very subtle. In this stage, the caster begins having issues with their short-term memory, attentiveness, misplacing/forgetting where they placed an item and forgetting plans. All of these can easily be attributed to both the caster being overly stressed, getting older, or being distracted by their work hence why it's so hard to tell if a caster is experiencing the first stage of Ataxia Putrida. Rune casters may begin exhibiting symptoms of this stage anywhere from the ages of 35-65.Third Stage: This stage typically occurs 4 to 7 years after the second stage begins. In this stage, the caster's memory degradation continues at a moderate rate with the patient having trouble remembering most memories, often getting lost or wandering and not remembering where they were going, where they came from, and where they are as well as not being able to recognize family members or close friends. Their speech becomes impaired with their vocabulary further shrinking and their ability to read and write declining until it becomes non-existent. The patient becomes uncoordinated as they lose complex motor control, with them being more apt to falling or dropping things. The caster's aggressive outbursts become more common as they are still lucid enough to recognize their declining state but are unable to do anything about it and they often violently resist caregiving. Many younger casters will begin seeking means to end their suffering or ask others to do it for them as they are afraid of reaching the next stage. Final Stage: This stage occurs 3 to 5 years after the start of stage 3 and will last until the patient dies. In this stage, the caster requires extensive assistance to carry out daily activities as they have lost all motor control and are unable to control their bowel movements or bladder or even eat or walk under their own volition. They are also unable to recognize anyone, regardless of if they've known them for decades or met them the day prior. The patient is also unable to speak and appears to have the mental capacity of an infant. This is the stage all casters fear, and why most take their own lives or ask to be put out of their misery before they reach this state as their pride wont allow others to see them brought so low.
At most, runes seem to stall or slow down the progress of the disease but, so far no caster has been able to find the right combination that would cure it completely. There might be a viable treatment found in non-arcane means of healing but no self-respecting caster would be caught dead using a salve or potion on themselves.
No matter what is tried the prognosis is always the same: the rune caster who has Ataxia Putrida will experience neural deterioration until they are completely dependent upon others and have the mental capacity of an infant.
Rune casters over the age of 35 from all walks of life and sexes are affected by this disease.
As of yet, the rune casters of Remia and the other academies have not come up with a way to prevent this ailment. In fact, a few have noted that runes may actually be speeding up the progression of the disease.
- 120 ARC: The first recorded instance of a once brilliant rune caster losing their mental aptitude as they age. At the time this was just chalked up to typical memory loss caused by aging.
- 346 ARC: Dallan MacRae realizes a small but significant number of casters in the past year exhibited the same signs and symptoms and after looking through the records realizes the number of casters experiencing the same symptoms has been slowly increasing.
- 350 ARC: Magnolia Harlow finally looks at Dallan's findings, including the number of casters who exhibited the symptoms in 349 (88 casters), and realizes Dallan is correct.
- 351 ARC: Academies start secretly sending casters who exhibit signs of neurological decay or instability to Remia and Magnolia and her Magi begin trying to cure the sick casters. The disease is given the name Ataxia Putrida
- 428 ARC: The arrest and execution of Baron Gavriil Aukes puts every caster on high alert while Archmage Moritz Ruhl does damage control to keep the public image of a caster positive. Within the academies, all records of Ataxia Putrida were placed in incredibly secure vaults that only the Archmages and the senior Magi could access and all casters were sworn to secrecy. After his execution, Gavriil's body was secretly taken by Remia and after a thorough examination of his brain, it was determined he had not in fact been suffering from this disease. The Survey Council was created for the sole purpose of watching for any signs of mental instability or degradation in the casters who were most publicly visible.
- 472 ARC: Casters everywhere panic as the number of casters affected by the disease doubles.
- 503 ARC: The Survey Council is just barely able to prevent a potential disaster when Markos Elesbaan Archmage of Tarora Academy of the Arcane suddenly began having aggressive outbursts while meeting with parents of prospective students. The Magi of Tarora issued an apology to these parents, attributing Markos' behavior to grief over the recent passing of his eldest daughter.
The rune casters throughout the world have done their best to keep the rest of the world from finding out about the disease although, with the number of afflicted showing no sign of declining or plateauing, they know its only a matter of time before non-casters find out. Rune casters themselves are petrified of the disease, both because they can't fix it and because of how it can turn the best and brightest into a drooling invilid.
- Chronic, Acquired
- Extremely Rare
Rune Casting is the method of using magical runes. During rune casting, the caster must maintain physical contact with the object or person the runes are drawn on. More commonly, casters draw runes using their blood as a way to maintain 'contact'.
Rune casters are highly skilled individuals who are the only people in all of Iosis able to use rune magic at will. Those who cannot perform this feat may buy the services of a rune caster at a high cost.