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The Scourge is the largest tragedy that has ever befallen our people. Both my father, the founder of our order, and my mother succumbed to it. I was lucky to escape its maddening and lethal grasp but I fear when it would return. This my fellow Keepers is why we must always be vigilant and kill any feral dragon we can find.
The Dragon Scourge was a disease that wiped out the majority of the Dragon and Dragonborn population in the period 347 BF to 333 BF. It is thought to have originated from feral Dragons that lived in the more remote regions of the world, presumably Avak'am. Before the Dragon Scourge the Dragonborn were the second largest population group. At the end of the Scourge however, only few survived and only the most isolated settlements managed to remain healthy. In Farlis the oasis of Adroon became the sanctuary for most of the remaining Dragonborn in central Farlis. The largest remaining groups of Dragons and Dragonborn can be found along the Oneraga east coast. After the Scourge any feral Dragons were hunted by mercenaries employed by Dragonborn out of fear that a new outbreak might arise. Feral Dragons are immune to the disease but can be carriers. The ones that are carriers appear to be more resilient than the other feral dragons.
Lasting EffectsMadness, Death
CarriersThe main carriers of the Dragon Scourge are the feral Dragons but they themselves appear immune to its effects. Strangely enough, the feral Dragon carriers of the disease appear to look even stronger than non-carriers. Why the feral Dragons are the main carriers is unknown. It is even possible that they are also not the original source of the disease but rather survivors of it.
TransmissionThe reason why the disease spread so easily in ancient times was because of the 20 day incubation period between the infection and the first appearence of symptoms. A settlement could therefore already have a large amount of infected even before the first symptoms start popping up. The main method of transmission of the disease is thought to be direct contact although other methods are not fully ruled out. Most of the info comes from historic accounts since possible carriers, mostly feral Dragons, in current times are often killed on sight.
Environmental factorsFrom what little information is available the old disease is assumed to thrive in the warmer climates since the most of the Dragonborn in the warmer region of Niorath were hit the heaviest. Dragon and Dragonborn further from the equator seemed less affected. But due to new cases from feral Dragon carriers in northern Idravil it is believed that the disease could likely have evolved into a new strain.
PrognosisAfter infection it takes 20 days before some light symptoms will start to appear. At this stage it is rather indistinguishable from a regular disease like the cold. It is only after day 25 that the larger symptoms start to arise. Generally this stage lasts until the 32nd day of the disease when the infected will either go into a coma and eventually die due to lack of food and water, or pull through. After 40 days the infected individual will start to recover in case they survived the peak stage of the disease. Some will suffer major damage to the brain and turn into completely different persons.
SymptomsBefore the 20 day incubation period is over the only way to detect the disease is through magic. Afterwards the first light symptoms start to appear:
- Light Fever
- Severe headaches
- Severe dizziness and difficulty to walk
CausesThe disease has such a big effects because it targets the brain and causes major damage among the neurons. The infected will first display erractic behaviour and will start to have difficulty walking as the headaches become stronger. The coma state signifies that the neurological damage has become severe and only very few recover from this stage. Those that manage to pull through this stage always become feral. This started the theory that the first feral dragons came into being because of an old comparable virus. Feral Dragons themselves appear to be immune to the disease.
TreatmentThe Dragon Scourge is not effectively treatable by any means other than advanced healing magic. No medicines have been found to heal it and any medicines that are used will only alleviate the symptoms. Only during the coma stage the infected can be somewhat helped by giving fluidlike food and water. This however puts the administer at risk of becoming infected as well and since any survivors from this stage become feral, this is never done.
The lasting effects of the Dragon Scourge are quite different for Dragons and Dragonborn. Some neurological damage is always present in the brains of the survivors of the disease but for Dragons the problems are often more severe. A Dragon that survives the Dragon Scourge will almost always become feral and a carrier of the disease. If this is the case they are killed. Those that were not killed but set loose into the wild often infected new populations or decimated non-Dragon ones. For this reason many Dragon and Dragonborn countries have issued laws that feral Dragons should always be killed.
To me this seems like something that could have been engineered. We tried to do the same against the Selefer, unsuccessfully.This Dragon Scourge disease seems very peculiar to me. Before I went into cryosleep the Dragons and Dragonborn were still very influential in the world and one of the only species able to hold back the vile Selefer. But this disease made an end to all that while not affecting any other race.