Rune Curse

A curse that will really bug you.

"I now believe I have made a dreadful mistake when I took that artifact from that ruin site. My body has been doing strange things. It is wracked with pain, and my body has mutated terribly. I've grown antennae, my back is morphing into a hard shell, and I fear it won't be long before my hands can no longer hold a pencil."
Professor Garrison Anderson
  The Rune Curse is a magical protection on the the Fossil Stones to keep them from being taken by turning the thief into a Miinu.

Transmission & Vectors

The curse is transmitted through direct physical contact with the a fossil stone by a human. The stones are required to stay in place for the Miinu's magic to work, so if they are moved, an emergency spell is activated to discourage the would be thief from taking it.

Symptoms

The first sign of being cursed is the initial feeling of bugs crawling under the hand that grabbed it, which is usually enough to discourage continued contact. However, if the stone is actually removed from is placement, a rune will appear on the victims hand.   The victim will start to feel ill within days. They will feel aches and pains all over, which will gradually increase until they are no longer ignorable and actively effect their ability to move around. They will also develop stomach issues as they will likely be unable to keep down normal food, and instead developing cravings for off things like plant sap, leaves, insects, or even rotten food.   Over time, their body will start to undergo painful physical changes, that make them more insect like. i.e developing mandibles, antennae, extra limbs, wings, compound eyes, etc. It tends to be a pretty ugly and messy process, and will make the victim appear monstrous. The mutation process depends on the Bug kin that has been assigned to them, and they will develop the physical traits of that insect. The bugkin also influences how long the mutation process takes, referencing the time the insect spends as a nymph or larvae. For example, a moth would have a significantly shorter transformation than a cicada.   The victim will also likely suffer reoccurring dreams and nightmares demanding them to return the stone to it's rightful home, or else suffer a terrible fate. They will often have very distinct visions of where the stone is supposed to go. Paranoia and auditory hallucinations stemming from the stone are also common.   If the victim suffers through the long, ugly, and agonizing mutation process, their body will eventually stabilize and take on the form of a Miinu. More often than not, the new miinu will have suffered a anywhere from a mild to severe case of amnesia. In more mild cases, they will not remember ever receiving the curse, where in more extreme cases, they will forget entire parts of their identity and personal history.   These memories can be resurfaced though, especially if the miinu is capable of activating the telepathic properties of the fossil stone.

Treatment

Once a human is cursed, there is not much, if anything, they can do to stop it. Medication and other forms of magic are entirely useless. The only cure is to return the stone to it's proper location. If the victim manages to pull this off, the curse and all the mutations with it will vanish.   It's unknown if this is still as effective once the person has already fully transformed into a miinu. The amnesia or the small size has prevented most victims from accomplishing this goal.

History

It's likely that the curse is a side effect of the spell the Paruparo used the stones to cast. It's believed the spell was designed to turn their enemies into insects to protect their home, from invaders and colonizers from other regions, but the spell went out of control and effected the entire area at once, turning everyone in the area into Miinu. This effected both the tribe and the invaders alike. The side effect of memory loss meant that none of the new species could remember their origin, but felt drawn to the stones as a source of great power and importance.   Some very few Miinu who regained their memory, opted against making the information public, as to not collectively traumatize their whole society. These few took on the burden of watching over the stones to keep them safe and disperse their magic to others. These original inflicted miinu became known as Rune Keepers, a titled that would eventually be passed down to generations of non-inflicted miinu.   The curse lingers inside the stone as a side effect of the original spell, but now it is used as a defensive tool, effecting anyone who would put a miinu society in danger by stealing their primary magic source.
Type
Magical
Origin
Magical
Cycle
Chronic, Acquired
Rarity
Extremely Rare
Affected Species

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