Wasting Disease | World Anvil - Isekai Codex

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Wasting Disease

Rotting Disease of the Tatanka

Melancholy cries echo across the plains as a mother watches her baby sluff away, hide and horns melting like sugar in the rain, but from something far more nefarious, something far more dangerous for these creatures. This disease spared no one, not the babies freshly on their feet for the first time nor the old-timers whose hides were darkened with age. As the snows crept in, the cries would echo through the hills, another Tatanka lost to a disease that for the longest time couldn't be cured.   Wasting Disease was once rampant amongst the Tante and their children the Tatanka, spreading like wildfire through the herds that roamed the Cradle of Clay. Most diseases are hidden, tearing a creature apart from the inside, but Wasting Disease was much the opposite, bringing decay and death to a body before a creature actually died. This disease brought with it slow suffering, one where the body consumed itself from the inside out.   As the Clay Giants became better shepherds of their land, it was a must to find a cure to a disease that decimated the Tatanka herds, making numbers in the thousands little more than a handful. With the help of the Starlit Academy, a natural salve of sorts was made, one that attacked the bacteria that caused the disease at its source. Over the years, this simple salve turned into a vaccine, one that could be given to the animals beforehand, stopping the disease from ever occurring in the first place.


While the exact cause of Wasting Disease is unknown, Scholars at the Starlit Academy along with the many shepherds of the Tatanka have discovered that this disease stems from some sort of bacteria. It is believed that a creature may contract this disease through an infection setting in on an open wound or possibly through an insect bite.   Either way, the cause is a specific strain of bacteria that has been found in other places across Isekai, but for some reason, Tante and Tatanka do not have the natural antibodies to fight off such a bacteria or infection while other animals that have exhibited this bacteria can. Many Scholars have come to the conclusion that close proximity to the Arcane Geysers has heightened the creatures' immune system in most cases, but has also lowered their ability to respond to certain intrusions. It is unknown why such a thing has occurred, as in most cases, the Arcane Geysers grant increased abilities, not deficient ones.


The symptoms of Wasting Disease are often considered horrific as in many instances, an animal's body is wasting away while it is still alive. Commonly, the disease attacks the horns and hide of a creature, causing one or both to rot slowly, creating greater infection while the horns or hide melt away slowly. Many have likened the sight to sugar melting in the rain, a sticky runoff that moves slowly but hinders any additional movement.   These symptoms are considered extremely painful for the creature, often causing a myriad of other issues as it slowly dies of infection. In past years before treatment and prevention existed, it was common for the shepherds to soothe the ill creature as much as possible, but to take the creature's life if it meant the end of unnecessary suffering.  
Tatanka Roundup
Bison Roundup by RiverFang
The goal of the Tatanka Roundup is to limit the roaming space of the Tatanka during the winter months to provide greater safety for the herds. The Clay Giants provide many shelters, plentiful food, and vaccines for many of the common diseases that would wipe out large parts of the herd if left unchecked.


As the Clay Giants became more aware of the causes behind Wasting Disease, they worked with the Scholars at the Starlit Academy to develop a natural salve that could be applied in the early days of the disease's symptoms to help stop the rotting and infection process. Made of herbs and other plants, this salve would have to be applied multiple times per day to the affected area and often wrapped to keep the animal from licking or rubbing it off. This was a rather difficult process, even for the most experienced of shepherds, but the salve had proven to work and was saving the herd in incredible numbers.  


Through years of trial and error, eventually, a vaccine was created that could be injected into the animal to provide them an immune boost that would keep the disease from taking root in the herd and decimating the species as it had in the past. This gave way to the necessity of the Tatanka Roundup which would allow the shepherds a designated time in the winter to care for the creatures and administer vaccines.   This vaccine has almost completely iradicated Wasting Disease amongst the Tatanka population in the Cradle of Clay, but some instances of the disease have been reported in the youngest and oldest animals throughout the years.
Bison by RiverFang
Tatanka are large creatures descendant from the giant Tante that once roamed the Cradle of Clay. Breeding efforts of the Clay Giants led to the first Tatanka.
Chronic, Acquired
Affected Species


The stories of the Clay Giants have noted instances of Wasting Disease since the earliest days of the domestication of the Tante. While the disease was not rampant in these large creatures, instances were known to appear and often wipe out ten to twenty creatures at a time.   After first appearance of the Tatanka, the disease became more widespread, often decimating the herds that scattered across the Cradle of Clay. As the number of Tatanka dwindled to little more than a hundred, the shepherds increased their research, alongside the Starlit Academy, to find some sort of cure.   Since the creation of the vaccine and the implementation of the Tatanka Roundup, the Clay Giants and the Starlit Academy have continued their research, changing the vaccine as needed to handle each change in the disease. Because of this partnership, other remedies for common animal diseases have been created and are used most commonly in the herds in the Cradle of Clay.


Author's Notes

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1 Jun, 2022 03:25

I like how you smoothly go from painting a heartbreaking scene to giving more technical details about the condition, treatment and vaccine.

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