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Apocalypsal Fear

Written by EmperorCharlesII

You are wondering through one of the many plazas of Lerdelore when you first see her. An older vidashlar woman, with ragged clothing and leaning on a walking stick, her eyes wandering through the crowd of passerby. You assume she is looking for someone in the mass moving across the plaza, and you begin to ignore her.   Suddenly, she spots you with her wrinkled eyes and dashes out of the crowd towards you. You watch as she shoves a person out of her way, causing the fruits the person was carrying to scatter and roll across the ground. She runs right up to you, and you immediately put your hand on the pommel of your sword.   "No, please! You have to listen!" She falls to her knees, which brings her down to the level of your shins. "I come bringing ill omens!" She throws her hands out, where you can see scrawled symbols that you don't recognize. "She is coming! The chains..."   A guard comes and lifts her off of her feet. "Get a move on! Leave this grakonlar alone, miss." She tries to shout over the guard, something about a temple and the open ocean, but the guard takes her away before you can make it out clearly.   Another guard comes up next to you, and he looks up at you. "I wouldn't mind her. She's been 'predicting' the end of the world since she was little, bless her. It's the Fear, you know?" And you have heard of the Fear, but the woman seemed pretty clear if she was suffering from the Fear...  

Roots of the Fear

The constant cycle of apocalyptic events is well known among the people of Orkanis, and there are a few who are still alive who remember the most recent one, the Drowned Years. Anyone well versed in history knows that these events are spaced 500-750 years apart, not counting minor events. As it is now been 380 years since the Drowned Years, the next event could be in many longer-lived races lifetimes.   As such, and news or predictions of this event would be very important to know. And this is the root cause of the Fear, as it is known among the peoples of Orkanis. Anyone who claims to see the horrors to come would be traumatized and would be quick to spread the word, whether the sufferers were mistaken or not.

Symptoms

Any analysis of the Fear has been controversial, as mental diseases are difficult to study without invasive spells and procedures. What is known, though, is that those struck by the Fear know the apocalypse is coming, it is soon, and they must warn as many people as possible. They will harass people on the street, in taverns and inns, and generally ignore social conventions to get the word out. They often act crazed or insane in their fervour, and their friends and family are often quick to turn them out of the home.

Treatment

Treatments for sufferers of the Fear are rare, but when it is available it is usually rest, restraining or attempts to calm emotional outbursts. Mental institutions exist across Sedesta for those who need to be removed from society in order to recover, but most do not.

Cultural Reception

Those suffering from the Fear are often shunned. Mental illnesses have a very heavy stigma on Orkanis, and many of them are also very poor or come from a common background. In addition, reports of apocalyptical events are bad for business in many areas, and the constant yelling and prophesying done by the ill make it hard for them to make friends.   That being said, if the person is in a position of authority or already receives visions, their words are much more likely to be heeded. Many would not consider them suffering from this disease, but rather having actual visions of the future. Diviners are rather well-regarded, and many are not even aware of their abilities.

Type
Mental
Cycle
Short-term
Rarity
Extremely Rare

History

Records of the Great Sundering show very few cases of this illness, as many records of that event have long since been lost, but there were recorded cases of the Fear even then. An entire village of vidashlar were apparently struck by the Fear en masse early in the First War, which may have been a gift by Pa'ilver based on a cryptic text recovered from the village.   The Five-Hundred-Day Fire was preceded by a large amount of hysteria among the peoples of Orkanis, although this may have been due to the Arrival as well. Visions of consuming fire and falling buildings were common in the later years of the Second Era, with one important Bomsian noble having been afflicted.   The Drowned Years was also heralded by a sharp rise in the sufferers of this disease. Visions of drowning plagued many who later died in that event, and many powerful mages also sensed the destruction that arrived at the coastal cities of Orkanis.   Other minor events have been recorded as having had reports of the Fear, including the Bloodmoon War and other regional conflicts.
Art Credit: emperorcharlesii (me!)

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