Rainbow Plague Condition in Tiyu Amara | World Anvil

Rainbow Plague

I have seen much injury and disease in my time, but no affliction so strange as this. I am only trained to cure that which harms the body - the soul is beyond my reach. The sweats, the boils, the blood... who would have thought that what gives us life could hurt us so drastically?
— Local healer
The Rainbow Plague is a bizarre condition, attacking first the body and then the soul. Responsible for the devastating Era of Famine, and possibly for the long ago Era of Plague, it was once considered fatal.


Rainbow Plague begins with a faint wooziness and general nausea. While initially mundane, their severity escalates over time, resulting in high fevers and vomiting. Sickening purple boils and pustules will appear all over the body, notably on the chest and joints.   Roughly a week after the boils appear, the nausea will subside, though discomfort remains high. This is a short lived reprieve, as the fever will return days later with a vengeance, bringing with it a burning sensation in the brain that can lead to bouts of delirium.   During this second stage, the afflicted will rapidly decline, with their skin turning strange colours in the vicinity of pustules, and their eyes taking on a faint glow that persist even when they are closed. The afflicted will doze briefly and fitfully, and will have difficulty eating and drinking. By the disease's end, the patient will have wasted away to a muted rainbow husk.


For most, Rainbow Plague is a fatal acquisition. If caught early enough during the first stage, some action can be taken to reduce the severity of the second, but this rarely happens. For those who somehow survive naturally, their skin will never quite lose the staining of colour, nor will the glow of their eyes truly fade. They will be physically and magically weaker, and highly susceptible to other contagious diseases.

Causes and Acquisition

No-one is sure where Rainbow Plague first originated. Some suspect it began in dragons as the result of some curse, spreading to humans and later elves by way of infected dragons meat and blood. Once present in humans, it spreads by way of the oozing boils and pustules, and possibly through smaller creatures such as fleas.   While the ground zero of the disease is not known, the cause of the actual suffering is. According to merfolk experts, the first wave targets the physical body, while the second stage targets the soul. It causes the soul to bloat and swell, "spilling over" into the physical and causing the sudden decline of the second stage.
Affected Species


For many eras, Rainbow Plague was considered incurable and very fatal, with only a rare few surviving. This changed with the arrival of Merfolk in ThurĂ¡sin. Their healers, experts in necromancy and related soul magic, were able to detect the cause of the plague and offer solutions shortly after they made contact.   The current treatments require early intervention. The afflicted will be brought to a waterfront hospital, and given teas and blankets to encourage them to sleep. Once unconscious, the mer healer will temporarily remove their soul from their body, taking it into their hands to mould and shape. After whispering spells into it, the soul will be returned, now unable to contract the second stage of Rainbow Plague. The first stage will continue as normal, but can now be treated as any other outbreak of boils would be.
Merfolk cover
Merfolk by Nsey Benajah

Cover image: Bed by Free-Photos


Author's Notes

This article was written for the "Describe any condition or disease for which a cure has recently been developed" prompt of Summer Camp 2020!

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Jul 28, 2020 12:00 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

The description of the symptoms is so vivid. I like the the colour changes linger even after the people are cured.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet