"No! Not my child. This will pass - it will pass! She isn't Soul Touched, not - not yet!"Regarded as something of a catch-all for inexplicable or incurable illnesses, 'Soul Touched' refers to any patient exhibiting signs of listlessness, fatigue, dramatic lack of appetite, pain without source, or general malaise. It is believed to be a kind of illness or injury not to the body, but the soul beneath. To be 'Soul Touched' is not something that can be transmitted to another, nor is it guaranteed a parent will pass it on to their children. There are as many theories as there are storytellers as to the 'why' of the condition, with several smaller medical circles debating whether it is one condition, or many. What is regarded as common knowledge is that some people are simply born Soul Touched. Others become that way, sometimes with an inciting incident or accident, others for no obvious reason at all. The condition shows no pox-sign nor blood marks. Physicians and Mages alike can find no cure to the ailment. For many, to be labeled Soul Touched is to be declared beyond saving. Common theories as to why specific individuals suffer the condition while others do not range from the soul attempting to leave the body, to the wrath of The Stone Man, to afflictions of various organs. One region recommends dietary changes; another, fervent prayer. Oftentimes, those afflicted will commit themselves to a lifetime of scholarship or solitude. As it is perhaps 1 in every 200-300 who will show symptoms in their lifetime, the condition is considered a tragedy when it strikes, and rarely as a threat.- An aggrieved father at a physician's diagnosis
Transmission/VectorsWhile no true transmission vectors have been verified, common beliefs with regard to the condition being catching fall into one of three categories. 1. Divine Transmission - a surprisingly common belief, that one afflicted has somehow invoked a god's anger (usually the Stone Man) or else their mercy (Again, typically the Stone Man) and by associating with the afflicted individual, one may fall to the same fate. 2. Vermin - Since it is known that various diseases can be carried by animals and insects, a common household pest is a convenient scapegoat. The exact pest varies from flies to lice to mice. 3. Touch - Though most in this category acknowledge it is more complex than a simple game of stop-tag, the thought that touching either an afflicted person or something they've touched routinely will pass on the condition does persist.
CauseAs with much of this disease - there is no known specific cause. Public opinion favors Divine Retribution or accident of the soul, while some scholars and theologians insist it has a physical cause. Given similar symptoms appear in the elderly or terminally ill, it is thought that the illness reflects a distant call beginning to take up the soul's attention. Namely, the call of the winds, or death. Some individuals are born Soul Touched, and in this line of thinking, are explained by near miscarriages or difficult births. For those who exhibit symptoms later in life, public opinion will either determine a causing factor (such as a recent severe illness or blasphemy) or put it down to the soul wearing out more quickly. That the condition does not herald death seems to be irrelevant.
TreatmentPrescribed treatments for the condition vary dependent on the diagnosing physician's beliefs. Some patients are encouraged to spend their waking hours in fervent prayer, or dedicate themselves to a god's service in the hopes of gaining their aid. Some still attempt new concoctions or medicines, with varying degrees of success. More still encourage patients to simply try and find their joy at life again. The treatments with the most success are those that combine multiple approaches. Recently, a treatment approach published by Lady Mari, Sensory Stimulation, has begun to circulate in groups related to the Soul Touched. Whether it will be adapted widescale or not is yet to be seen.
Chronic, Acquired & Congenital
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