The Incarnadine

Twisted creatures of endless scarlet... or mortals, ordinary as ever, until they reveal the truth behind their eyes.
— account of the Incarnadine
  The Incarnadine are creatures that have entered the scarred lands of the Starsear and been afflicted with the odd mind-twisting curse it seems to lay upon any who enter. Unlike a more standard curse, enchantment, or corruption, the Incarnadine always vary heavily. Currently, it is thought that the effects of their strange affliction are determined by their own innate strength - physical, mental, and especially magical.   Most significantly, becoming one of the Incarnadine offers the individual an immense amount of power. In most, this is represented through raw strength. But in the very strongest of individuals, the effect sharpens into something terrifying - the perfect villains, bolstered by dark power that lingers in the back of their minds, pushing them to terrifying new heights.   These Incarnadine Scourges, as they are known, are of a league all their own. None currently are known of; those that have existed in the past often choose to fade out of the public eye. It isn't known whether any do remain hidden away.

Causes

They begin the same, each and every one, even if they intended otherwise. It's that first step into the scarlet horizon.
  A single step into the Starsear is all it takes, though often the effects of the affliction do not set in for days - or even years, in some rare cases.   Those who attempt to hide it will never succeed forever - not unless they are some of the most powerful individuals to walk the lands, close to or belonging in the rank of Scourge. These rare people often intentionally inflict themselves with the crimson fate, seeing it as a way to improve much as a wizard might choose to descend into lichdom or vampirism.

Treatment

Accursed they are and accursed they will stay. That crimson never fades.
Incarnadine Transformation by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
There is no cure for a being that has joined the ranks of the Incarnadine. Even should they hide their fate, masquerading as a regular mortal, their broken mind will inevitably reveal the truth of their existence.   From the more monstrous Incarnadine, this revelation is typically extremely violent and followed by a drastic change in their morphology.   The most intelligent - and thus those who remain the most human - are wont to reveal their curse more subtly, perhaps by adapting red as their primary colour of clothing or by the slow flicker of their eyes to scarlet.   For these individuals, their unmasking is almost always something they have intended - often to intimidate. Scourges often adopt these tactics.

Prevention

One cannot paint themselves red if one stays well away from the crimson paint.
 
Preventing someone from becoming an Incarnadine is, on paper, particularly easy: all that must happen is they must be kept away from the Starsear.   However, in practice, this is far harder than it seems.   Though the Starsear is advertised as a land of horrors, it is also a land of temptation and power; things that the most dangerous individuals desire, the lingering spectre of the rare Scourges lurking in their hearts and minds.   In these cases, the only true way to permanently prevent the Starsear from being accessed is to kill the afflicted individual, though more temporary solutions have been found in binding them to other planes.   Some suggest that psychological intervention may also lend assistance here, but the field remains relatively untested.
Incarnadine by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

Cultural Reception

RUN!
 
Incarnadine by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
The Incarnadine are viewed through the same lens as the Starsear itself: sheer fear and panic, except by those who would use them.   It isn't uncommon to hear rumours of enemy armies across Takawaoku featuring immense hoards of Incarnadine, often intentionally created - and often led by a newly-descended Scourge. These rumours are often true; Shiar, Sareshan, and Tzoltekan have all maintained Incarnadine forces in the past.   Scourges are somewhat different, As they're relatively challenging to control and yet possess mot of their senses and humanity, they are often treated with far greater care.   When a Scourge snaps into their revealed form, they typically draw greater notice and fear than even their monstrous kin.
Type
Magical
Origin
Magical
Cycle
Chronic, Acquired
Rarity
Unique

Incarnadine Scourges

  Scourges, the most intelligent and powerful Incarnadine to exist, are not granted their full strength immediately. They must gradually sink into their new affliction. When it reaches a critical point and they have developed some mastery over their powers, the Scourges often gain the ability to utterly transform themselves - much like their lesser Incarnadine brethren.   A transformed Scourge is not a foe to trifle with. Their forms are largely invidual, but highly twisted with strange magics and often resembling the Scourge's deepest desires, however secret. Beings of a thousand eyes and wings of flesh are a common manifestation.
 
Incarnadine Scourge by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

Comments

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20 Aug, 2022 19:46

This article is fantastic, Nothing more needs to be said, Really enjoyed reading this article !

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