Caroline's Catalog of Curious Conditions: The Lethal Lichen
As I approached an unnamed village on the edge of the Tuulikello Forest I was struck by the curious lichen covered formation that I saw on the edge of the road. All appeared to be made of the same lichen, but i would hesitate to call what they had grown on either plants or boulders. As the village drew nearer and the features of these growths grew more distinct I realized with dawning horror that all the formations that I had been passing were the victimes of the plague I had been directed here to study. Lucky I am indeed that the unique nature of my body renders me immune to ailments such as this. Upon making it to the town I found that the surviving 37 people had already been infected by the disease, but from their reports I was able to deduce that they first noticed somethign was wrong when numerous people who ventured into the forest complained of a tingling in their limbs, progressing to general numbness in their hands and feet. They also claim that their vision blurred around the edges, and candles and fires "appeared as stars" when people looked at them. About half a year later They noticed the first victims presented with the symptom that I found the village survivors in, that is to say, a series of white bark-like growth along the spine. They were also rather anxious, jumping at the slightest bit of unexpected sound or movement. Whether this is from the infection, or just a general state of living in a frontier town where nearly 600 people have died, I can't be sure. Another rather curious thing, everyone left appears to be emaciated, their skin drawn tight. Upon inspecting their feces I found out why. Through some mechanism or another the lichen appears to process and remove all the bodies fats into a liquid oil, causing the stool of all surviving members of the town to be what I con only describe as a appearing like whale oil, with a sheen to match. From what I have been able to discern, the first deaths happened roughly a year and a half after a person presents with the bark like growths. The growths spread across the back and down the limbs, causing paralysis and death. As I interviewed the final villagers in their last days, I was stricken by a thought. None of them were in any pain, the only symptom they were displaying at all was extreme anxiety at not being able to turn their head, constantly asking where I was and what caused varoius noises. Though I could save none of them, at least I know that they did not suffer a painful death.