Next to the corruption, the most devastating event of the second era was an outbreak of this disease. Although the disease hasn't been a problem in Malen society forever, it's easily detectable and pretty easy to cure, Humans have had trouble with it until only a few centuries ago.
SymptomsThe Zhaka has pretty horrible symptoms, although these vary from species to species.
HumansHumans have the most 'standard' reaction to the plague. Not the worst, but probably the widest range of symptoms. Symptoms include:
- High Fever of at least 39-40 °C with frequent chills
- Feeling ill
- Muscle Cramps
- Tissue death, mostly on extremities. (due to contested blood flow)
- Painful Buboes
BuboesThese painful lymph nodes are probably the most well-known symptom of the disease. They are usually found in the areas fleas bite themselves in like the groin, armpits, neck, etc. They come with symptoms like heavy breathing, and the vomiting of blood. They are extremely painful and look about as gross as they sound.
MalenFor all Malen, except for Wood- and Sun-Malen, the Buboes range from slightly smaller than the ones on Humans to barely more than a mosquito bite. They mostly do have the same symptoms, except for Wood- and Sun-Malen who barely feel the disease at all, only feeling very ill. They might get nauseas and puke, but the only thing separating it from a normal flu would be some black spots that cover the area around a flea bite. Because of their amazing bloodflow, Snow-Malen are basically immune to the tissue damage that the bacteria causes. They will however be more vulnerable to suffer from the fevers, due to their lower body temperature.
Dharian's and GrittmenDharians have roughly the same symptoms as Humans, except for the fact that their hard bony skin won't support the growing of buboes. Instead, their skin-plates will start to turn black and after a time, fall off. Grittmen, not having the same bone-plates on their skin while still having very thick skin, will get pockets of puss and blood-forming underneath their skin. Untreated, Grittmen will survive much longer than Humans, but the treatment is much harder. This makes it so that Grittmen will often find themselves suddenly feeling very ill, only to then realize that they have been infected for a while.
CauseAlthough the plague is usually associated with rats, it is transmitted through blood. Usually, infected fleas will bite subjects who will then get infected. But then again, these fleas usually travel on the backs of rats or other vermin. It is pretty rare, but sometimes it can also be spread by the touch of a bubo on the infected's skin. And in even rarer cases, blood can be coughed up, resulting in a slightly airborne spread. Infected fleas don't have to always cause an outbreak. Fleas only jump host when their original host dies, meaning that if the rat population is stable, the fleas will most likely not jump onto Human, Malen or any other sapient host.
Treatment and DetectionIn the Malen world, healers will often administer various potions and substances, before observing the bodies reaction to it. Through this, a trained and experienced professional can diagnose a sick individual with remarkable accuracy. In Human cities, rich people can let blood be analyzed with Fount spells and devices. Various antibiotics and potions can be used to fight the disease, but one should be administered these within one or two days to prevent death. Dharians also usually need to have their infected bone plates removed. This is, without sedation, incredibly painful. Although a skilled surgeon will only have to take part of the plate. Unlike in Malen society, the Human detection method is way too expensive to be used by the common people. This is why Humans rely on the prevention of massive outbreaks way more than Malen. Too bad for them that their cities are also a lot less clean than those of the Malen. Because of this, Humans often still make use of Malen to help with the curbing and containment of Plague outbreaks.