The Plague of Scalding Dread
"No one should be enslaved, I am convinced of that. Still, knowing that this is one of the things I was originally meant to protect, that I was meant to be both prison warden and caravan guard to my labyrinth.... it is, at times difficult. I know very likely exactly where the plague that killed millions originated, and I was created to keep it from escaping. That is just one of many burdens that are mine to bear." - Maze Walker
Transmission & Vectors
Skin to skin contact with an infected individual.
As the world was birthed from chaos, there were things made that the Gods deemed to dangerous to be allowed to come into contact with mortals. Be these magic spells, artifacts, or diseases they were contained and locked away in Labyrinths, guarded by traps and other, more active, methods. One such labyrinth, now called the Annussi Necropolis, contained, among other things, the Plague of Scalding Dread.
Stage 1: Patients experience a slight fever, accompanied by increased thirst and are easily startled or frightened by unexpected movements or noises.Usually lasts about 2 weeks. Stage 2: In addition to the above symptoms, patients exhibit a sense of lingering dread. Many described a feeling of being watched or stalked by a predator. Patients experience vivid dreams of an impending doom. It is at this stage that the Plague of Scalding Dread is believed to become contagious. This stage has been observed to last up to 1 month. Stage 3 (Terminal): This is the stage where the magical nature of this plague is revealed. Patients experience terrifying hallucinations. While these visions are individual in nature they share 2 commonalities across all cases that have been successfully documented. First, whatever danger being imagined is something that can be successfully avoided by fleeing. Secondly, the danger is something that others can and should be warned about. Once the hallucinations start any moisture that comes in contact with the patients skin, including the patients own sweat, will be turned into steam. This phase change happens slowly in the first week or so of this stage, but as the disease progresses eventually the transition becomes instantaneous, water beading up and skipping along the skin as it does on a sword fresh out of the forge.
There is a reason that the Gods locked away the Plague of Scalding Dread. Even divine intervention can not stop the diseases progression. Once an individual is infected, death is the only release.
Hosts & Carriers
The plague can be carried by all known sentient species.
Moats have been known to work, as have lakes and rivers. The elves found that certain leaves made an effective barrier to prevent the spread while handling corpses of the deceased.