Qetichnixik Condition in Qet | World Anvil



I can feel the seeds sprouting beneath my cracked skin, twisting and turning through my flesh to pierce the surface. It is unbearable...
— A qetichnixik victim
  Qetichnixik, literally meaning "skin of seeds" is a condition that afflicts those who consume a particular potion as treatment for heatstroke, or as a preventative measure against it.  

Staying Cool

Within the searing heat of the Cipou Canyon and its surrounding deserts, heatstroke is a deadly affliction. It is an unfortunately common cause of death for farmers tending to their crops, or anyone who must work outdoors for long periods. It comes as no surprise that they would turn to alchemy in order to prevent it. A core component of this particular potion is the seed of a local variety of fir trees. This concoction allows one to stay out in the sun for significantly longer, by more efficiently ejecting heat from their bodies— as the seeds do to survive the heat. This also serves as an effective treatment for those who have already fallen to heatstroke. However, if ingested in too great an amount— one will begin to develop an unpleasant condition.
Chronic, Acquired

The Sprouts

Some Hontualieu believe the condition to be a method of connecting to the world around them, a pure form of worship.   They will purposefully acquire qetichnixik, and flee into the wild— hoping to become one with the world they live in.


First, one will experience chills as their body temperature drops dramatically. This is manageable so long as they stay in the sun, but once it sets, and the cold creeps in— hypothermia becomes a very real threat. In worse cases, the skin of those afflicted begins to harden and split into segments— akin to the seeds used within the alchemical brew.   And worst of all? This change is typically permanent. Mutation is a very real concern when it comes to alchemy, but rarely is it one in medicinal brews— however, the properties of the fir seeds used here are particularly well suited to mutation, making it a more common occurrence.  


For those who continue to ingest the heat-stroke-preventing potions after their skin hardens, their condition will worsen dramatically. Sprouts will take hold upon their skin, and if they are not careful and neglect trimming— they may find themselves host to miniature firs, which sap the majority of nutrients consumed by the victim— like a parasite. Assuming one is able to survive like this for long enough, roots will puncture a vital organ, killing the host.
  Yet the brew continues to see frequent consumption, as it is the most effective way to prevent and treat heatstroke— a practical miracle to those who must work beneath the searing sun to live.  

Cultural view

Those who contract qetichnixik are seen as weak by the Lliaqeu— as to their eyes, one should not need to rely on potions to work in the heat, they should be stronger in body and mind than the sun itself. Those who cannot have failed.   As a result, many of those who contract qetichnixik are unable to find treatment or aid— becoming ostracized from society, and often dying in squalor.  
Chin up, child. All will be well, know that the sun will shine upon your face once more. You need not worry any longer.
— A Hontualieu healer
Fool, you suffer because you did not train yourself to live in the heat. I will not help you, find a Hontualieu healer if you want sympathy.
— A Lliaqeu healer
  The Hontualieu, however, view it in an entirely different way. Those who become afflicted with qetichnixik are unfortunate souls, and are carefully looked after by their family until death.   In some cases, the family— or a family friend— will put down the afflicted, though this is only done should they request it. Those who are killed are buried in forests, as the trees that may sprout from their bodies would not allow for a traditional burial.

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Author's Notes

Feedback is very much welcome! Whether on the content, or the formatting! Please, point out typos if you spot any!

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Jul 4, 2020 23:30 by TC

This was really interesting to read! I can imagine the horror of the seeds sprouting quite well. I can't wait to delve deeper into this world!

Creator of Arda Almayed
Jul 4, 2020 23:36 by Grace Gittel Lewis

Thank you! Hopefully it won't disappoint!

Jul 6, 2020 22:47 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Yikes! D: The idea of seeds sprouting out of my skin gives me the shivers. I like that different cultures have different views on the condition too.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 7, 2020 01:25 by Grace Gittel Lewis

Thank you! Yeah it's fun to write things around Cipou Canyon since there are two starkly contrasting cultures there that tend to view everything differently!

Jul 14, 2020 19:46 by R. Dylon Elder

Found a little typo, "...who haven already fallen to heatstroke" have or havnt?     I don't like the idea of becoming one with the world like those guys... it sounds remarkably painful.     I love how a major problem of overconsumption is the potion working a little too well. Hypothermia gained by avoiding hyperthermia is just A+   Yeah definitely no. I don't want tree parasites at all. Lol   Love how you set different cultural perceptions, especially the quotes. It's important. Not many show how some medical solutions are seen by different cultures. Birth control comes to mind as a real world example. Great work once more!

Jul 14, 2020 21:44 by Grace Gittel Lewis

Should be "have"— fixed that, thanks!   Oh yes it is very painful, I don't want it either.   Thank you! As both cultures involved here are so starkly different I end up writing their differing views on everything they encounter.

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