Thorn Child

"In his eyes I saw fire. Just mere days ago, they seemed to be freezing slowly"
— Wife and victim of a man intoxicated with Thorn Child poison
  For those unaware of the history and effects of the Thorn Child plant, its most distinctive feature will probably be its notorious lack of any thorn to be seen anywhere on its surface. Some people say it is a pretty plant, "despite it looking like an old, withered man", because of its pale lilac color, and how its big, round-shaped leaves sport coloured edges and dots, signaling "Do not mess with me" to the world.   And people did not mess with it, for a long time. If consumed, the Thorn Child could either cause a Societarian to make funny facial expressions as they spit out the leaves, or something much worse. In around a third of the cases, consuming enough of a raw Thorn Child leaf causes the societarian to get intoxicated and develop symptoms such as strong hot flashes, auditory hallucinations, and even temporary blindness.
The ocurrence of these intoxications appears to be absolutely random, and while furry and feathery races are less prone to get intoxicated than others, there seems not to be any other pattern, and people that got intoxicated could go without symptoms if consuming again and vice versa (though eating that plant more than once, or at all, is not advised)
  While the origins of the plant's name are uncertain, it is said that it refers to "acting like a capricious child" that hurts others randomly, and for the hot flashes feeling like one has been stabbed by heat.  

The Cure

  Just half a decade ago, on the year 3002 E.Alz, an epidemy of Blackout, a deadly and sudden disease characterized by cold, insomnia, and shriveling of the body, was greatly affecting the populations of the Ruh and Stunveldt islands, and threatening with expanding to other islands.   Since the Blackout disease most immediate symptom was making people feel flashes of extreme cold and be unable to recognize heat, a small group of people started trying to make concoctions with Thorn Child leaves, to at least make their suffering relatives able to feel heat again before their almost inevitable death. To their surprise, not only did that returned their ability to accurately feel the temperatures, but their other symptoms decreased as well, and a many of them survived after drinking the leaves juice for several days. Herbalists and doctors put their hands to work on perfecting the concoction, and quite quickly they were able to develop a mix that effectively and consistently cured the disease, which became relegated from a terrible death sentence to a very uncomfortable inconvenience.  

The Consequences

  The Thorn Child remedy for Blackout was quickly and effectively spread around the achipelago, but soon it showed another facet of the capricious characteristics of the plant. While the concoction was perfected to turn the effects of the normal intoxication into a counter to the Blackout's deadly consumption, a small amount of people, which settled at around 1% of the ones receiving the medicine (or more, for poorly-made concoctions), developed an entirely new, terrifying condition.  
Condition | Jan 2, 2023

A horrible, potential side effect of the medicines created with the Thorn Child plant

  For those unfortunate enough to develop Thorns, it would seem as if the Blackout turned itself inside out: First, a period of extreme hot flashes, sweating, and auditory hallucinations, similar to a normal Thorn Child intoxication, and then... sleepyness. Then, most of them (specially the ones that give in to the sleep) would get into what has been descibed as "being possesed by the sudden urge of violence". The person, abeit being completely aware and wanting to resist the urges, becomes unresponsive to external stimuly, and extremely violent, even being capable of hurting and killing their own family members. This "possession" can go on over an entire week, after which the person will go back to managing their impulses, but their eyes will hurt terribly, and look dry and dull.   The only upside of Thorns is that it is never fatal, and it usually happens when the person is already out of life risk from the Blackout. However, the scars from it run a lot deeper than those from fighting the people trying to hold them back, and psychological sequela can carve deep into the minds of those that had to battle the urges to hurt their loved ones, and deeper into the ones that lost the battle.
White Plant
7 years
Average Height
Special thanks to Kisater's amazing roleplaying story for bringing the inspiration for this plant and the condition it causes, and allowing me to give a place to Varric in this world. You are awesome!

Cover image: Vines by Naelin


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