Soulsickness, or Re'thash in Kalka'shar, is the name given to a series of illnesses associated with crossbreeding between Kalka'shar and other species. The sickness is heavily stigmatised, seen to be a sign of the Gods' disapproval towards the child's inception.
Soulsickness is thought to be caused by the Kalka'shar's noncorporeal nature conflicting with the corporeal nature of other species. While they are capable of taking corporeal form, those borne of one Kalka'shar parent often experience difficulty shifting out of this form and experience physical illness which seems to be a rejection of their alternate form.
From most to least common the symptoms of Soulsickness are:
- High fevers
- Difficulty breathing
- Inability to conjure flame
- Nausea and vomiting
Fortunately, Soulsickness is treatable to keep symptoms to a minimum. Bed rest and keeping cool are the most effective treatments, but certain alchemical treatments have been devised to keep pain and discomfort to a minimum. There is no known cure to Soulsickness, but with regular healing to balance the body's internal temperature and settle the immune system the return of symptoms can be minimised, and most can life full, happy lives.
In the early days of Kalka'shar's ground-dwelling life, Soulsickness was a highly common disease. Records say that up to 40% of newborn half-Kalka'shar did not survive past infancy, and this struck a deep fear in the hearts of them all. With their children dying in droves, many believed the Gods were punishing them for choosing to mix with other species, and interspecies relationships were banned as a result. Any parents who lost their children for many years were considered to be tainted and ostracised from society, a stigma which remains today; though more subtly. Though families with interspecies children are not overtly punished now that treatment exists for the condition, many still think of the horrors of the past and keep a wide berth from those who might be tainted.