Crystal Man Disease
It's like being entombed inside of your own body, a shiny prison made out of your own flesh.
Amongst some of the Oreads exists a genetic disease known as Crystal Man Disease, turning one's flesh and bones into crystallised matter. Although it is relatively rare to have, those who do have it find themselves to be slowly encased in a cage made from their very own flesh and blood.
A Glass Prison
Few Oreads actually know they are born with the disease, some even unaware of having it their entire life. Only when the first cuts and wounds happen one begins to notice the effects.
Whenever they get injured, the area around the wound starts to crystallise instead of clotting up. The body begins producing crystal structures that seal the gashes, leading to protrusions from the skin. While this might seem as nothing severe at first, serious wounds can end up growing inwards and cause internal bleeding, only exaggerating the problem.
One's joints start locking up as a result, preventing one of from moving their limbs and inevitably making them be immobilised. Death is not guaranteed however, as one is capable of surviving for years even when they can't move at all.
A Crystal Goldmine
For as twisted as the effects of the disease might be, some races have found a way to exploit their condition. Amongst Dwarven strongholds where Oreads reside, people have found ways to surgically remove the crystal protrusions without triggering worse growths, giving many a second chance in life.
However, some more illegal markets keep these victims alive through unethical means, forcing them to crystallise even further and chipping away at their bodies. From such Oreads they harvest Blood Crystals, which are then sold to be used in dark rituals.
Gemma, the Pillar of Krestfall
One of the most noticeable legends regarding the disease comes from a small city known as Krestfall. After long periods of mining weakened the structure of the bedrock, the settlement was threatened by cave-ins and a collapse was inevitable.
However, one Oread known as Gemma came along to help the settlement, suffering from late-stage symptoms of the disease. Knowing her condition couldn't be cured, she offered the city a solution by sacrificing her own life in the process: Going into the mines, she and several healers would inflict wounds to the Oread, only to heal them back and let her body crystallise.
Over the course of days, the crystals protruding from her body had spread across the caverns, like pillars stabilising the city above the caves. With a mercy kill her soul was put to rest, giving Krestfall another chance.
Crystals that form upon the bones of living creatures, holding the essence of life within.
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