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Clohdus's Touch

Clohdus's Touch is a legendary divine affliction associated with the Tekel god of chaos and madness. Ancient practitioners of Tekel did not understand how mental illness worked and concluded that it was due to the interference of the mad god.    Most fear contracting the disease, but there are some who seek out Clohdus's favor in the hopes of gaining what they see as transcendence from the mundane realm.

Causes

In its divine origin, Clohdus's Touch can be transmitted through the attention of the god. His interest in a person and subsequent meddling in their mind can cause the mind to shatter. This results in a complete break from reality and the person was said to become a servant of Clohdus.    The disease could also run in families, although it is still considered acquired. Those who contract it later are said to have had an ancestor who bargained with the god for something and thus the disease was bestowed on their family line, with Clohdus coming to each one to meddle in their thoughts.

Symptoms

The symptoms vary from person to person, but the most common denominator is the "ability" to see, hear, smell, feel, etc things that are not perceived by others. More modern thoughts state that these sensations are not the product of greater perception gifted by a god, but instead hallucinations and delusions brought about by decaying sanity.   Auditory and visual hallucinations are the most typical symptoms. Ancients believed that these blessings were prophecies or the words of the gods and listened intently to the Touched. Essence magic also grows more powerful in the afflicted, which is another reason some seek out the disease.    Other common symptoms include depressed emotional expression, grandiose delusions, paranoid delusions, depression, loss of the sense of taste, insomnia, catatonia, graphomania, and word salad.

Treatment

There is currently no cure for Clohdus's Touch and given that some actively seek it out, this sect has tried to destroy any attempt at treatment.   Calming the symptoms has proven to be the only way to assist the afflicted in living normal lives. Such treatments include:
  • Teas made from calming plants to reduce mania and delusions
  • Ginkgo biloba for hallucinations
  • Low doses of the drug Celestial have been found to be effective, but the risk of addiction is extremely high 
In extreme cases, the afflicted is restrained to prevent harm to themselves or others. Some temples to Clohdus will take in the Touched to study them and what caused the god to bestow his favor. The religious orders inhabiting these temples seek to encourage the disease rather than stop it and thus their treatment involves indulging the symptoms instead of suppressing them.

Prognosis

The prognosis of the disease depends on what, if any, treatment is administered.    Those who are given treatment as soon as symptoms start are generally able to keep recognizing the disease as an issue. They continue with the treatment for their entire lives, but often continue with few impairments and keep the symptoms manageable.    People who did not begin treatment until after the symptoms have progressed often have difficulty understanding that they have any issues at all. Once they can be convinced to begin treatment, they often are able to function in society, but have more difficulty than those who started treatment earlier.    Lastly, those whose symptoms are either encouraged or never treated have the worst prognosis. They are very often unable to reenter society at all. Temples are the safest place for these people as they can be protected from themselves and are given the direction offered by organized religion. Any who are not so lucky generally end up as recluses in the forests or homeless in major cities.

Prevention

Prevention is almost impossible as Clohdus is seen as random in who he bestows his favor on. People in families with a history of the disease will often pray to Padka, the chief god, for protection and to Clohdus himself begging to be spared. Amulets have been sold infused with void essence which is thought to pull any imbalances in a person's magical core and stabilize them. Chaos is said to draw Clohdus to a person and this reestablishment of balance is thought to help deter him.

Cultural Reception

The Eoion Empire and Yzel Kingdom both tend to see Clohdus's Touch as a disease rather than something purely divine. Eoin people in particular do not believe in the existence of Clohdus at all, practicing Bolugama instead. However, the name has crossed cultural barriers and stuck.   In Yzel, most of the population has pity for those affected and tends to avoid or treat them. When treatment is not possible, the Touched are highly encouraged to find a temple. The increase in essence magic ability has led to some who are able to remain more or less stable to becoming essence magic researchers and some have even become highly respected in the field.   Devout followers of Tekel have mixed feelings depending on their understanding of Clohdus. Most see him as the universe's balancing force against Padka. He is not necessarily malicious, but not a god whose attention should be drawn. Those who do so are pitied if they did not seek out his Touch, but reviled if they did as greedy and stupid. They are ostracized from the mainstream practitioners.   Those who devote themselves completely to the worship of Clohdus see the Touched as partly divine and aspire to learn how they obtained the god's favor.   In Eoion, where there very little belief in the gods of Tekel, the Touched are seen as imbalanced. They believe that their madness comes from a disruption in their marker. Mina Hishu, the current head of the Public Health Department of the empire has begun a campaign of treating the touch not as divine but as an illness born of the mortal world, which can be studied and treated like any other. Some in the empire believe that Clohdus's Touch is the exact name for the madness that has affected the Shiroko Dynasty for the last several centuries.
Type
Divine
Origin
Divine
Cycle
Chronic, Acquired
Rarity
Rare

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