Sailing across the Black Sea is associated with many dangers.
The beasts lurking beneath its surface, the invisible border where the influence of The Tree doesn't reach anymore, and almost no life can exist, and terrifying Captain Fliegel and other pirates.
But the beasts can be scared away, the pirates can be avoided, and as long as one stays far away from it, the border is harmless.
However, even the most careful sailor cannot avoid becoming a victim of elemental mosaic, they can only diminish its symptoms. Once in a while, on the layers where the Black Sea is located, elemental storms start to form.
They are invisible, moving areas, filled with all of the Elements, tangling themselves, warping and pulsing. Those areas are way too rough and chaotic to form into Elemental Crystals and will only disperse after some time. The name of the sickness comes from strips and spots of the body transformed by those Elements, turning the human body into a mosaic of different colors and textures as if one was rebuilt from hundreds of different parts, some glowing, some shining, some matte, and even some consuming the light.
Depending on the strength of the storm, all of the symptoms described beneath can show up between a few seconds and a few months after entering the storm.
Similar to its less aggressive "cousin" - Elemental Sickness, the short contact with the Elements that form the storm can cause small changes in the human body. Those changes could include patches of the changed color of skin and hair, simple growths related to the Elements, such as sprouting flowers or branches, or local changes of the temperature, weight and other properties of the affected area.
Any longer contact with the storm causes more severe transformation, often affecting the insides of the afflicted and even completely changing their body shape or functions of some organs.
As for now, the possible symptoms include (i.a.) the change of body height and weight, growth or waning of the limbs, and gaining the ability to perceive the heat waves or vibrations of the air (at the cost of normal sight). They can be almost beneficial or painfully crippling. Additionally, bodies of most of the victims can start to manifest two incompatible Elements next to each other. This leads to a quite explosive reaction, the result of which are the remains of the sick one being spread in the radius of few hundred meters.
Opposite to the normal Elemental Sickness, it is impossible to be born resistant to all of the Elements at once.
Right now, humans don't possess the knowledge needed to create hazmat suits that would protect them from more than 2 Elements. And even if they would, even standard models go for a small fortune, so no sailor would be able to afford the upgraded one if it ever comes out. It has been discovered that filling the ship cargo hold with Collector's Crystals can almost completely stop the effects of the elemental storm.
Same goes for taking a few Homunculi (Homunculus) on the deck. However, if they aren't produced specifically to resist storms, most of the normal models can overflow with energy and explode, leaving the crew on the mercy of Elements. The only sure way to prevent becoming a victim of this sickness would be to completely avoid the storm, something that would require costly instruments operating at all time and possibly luring the predators swimming in the waters of the Black Sea.
"Two days ago we were tasked with transporting the cargo consisting of hundreds of empty Collector's Crystals to the settlement located farther north.
At some point, our deckhand started screaming about a mysterious sound coming from our cargo hold.
Captain sent me to check it down there.
Just like the deckhand said there was a weird sound coming from there as if thousands of small bells rang at the same time. When I opened the door, I was blinded by a rainbow of shimmering colors. All of the Crystals were filled with Elements!
As I came back to the deck to report what happened, all of the crew members started to warp and change.
Even now, as I'm writing it, I can feel that my body begins to change, too...
- Elemental Sickness
- Chronic, Acquired
All of the changes caused by the Elements are completely irreversible.
Some of them can be quite painful, and various herbal wraps are used to relieve some the pain, with wraps made out of Glistening algae being the most effective.
It is rumored that during one of his journeys, Dimitris, the First Sailor of the Black Sea was fishing to relax.
While he put his hand overboard to catch one of the fishes with a net, it was affected by mosaic.
It's unknown how true is this rumor, however, he always wore gloves on his hands.
Cultural receptionAfter years of research, it is known that it's impossible to contract the mosaic by touching or being near one afflicted by it.
Still, outside of port towns of the Black Sea, people warped by this sickness seem to disgust others, even those who normally don't mind those afflicted by Elemental Sickness.
That's why most of the sick tend to wrap their bodies almost completely in cloth, shrouds or bandages. Because of that, some fishing villages are full of completely bandaged people, while in the others, the inhabitants walk uncovered, not minding their mutated bodies being seen.
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