Don't you say it, I swear to god
"I've made this trek a thousand times, what's the worst that coul- Oh my beast. Wait, no I didn't mean it like-- Shit."Fate. Funny old thing, eh? Well, so long as the existential dread of our every action and thought being dictated by a higher power doesn't bother you. It certainly doesn't bother me but I mean; Come on. There's no way that some greater being is controlling me to draft up some weird writings about mortal conditions of a magical world of big snakes and floaty rocks. The same unfortunately cannot be said for the people of Vertinall, who have caught onto the most intruiging of fate's design-- When a person is nearing the end of their life... Almost inexplicably, they will utter a series of words that signal their doom.
Isn't that just coincidence?Sometimes, sure. Maybe all the time, actually. But anything happening in front of a bunch of superstitious morons more than once EVENTUALLY will get confused as a sign of mystical energy. God forbid they learn what a 'narrative tool' is.
"I demand a vow of silence before entering this dungeon. Not a single word is to be uttered before, during or after, lest we fall to the flag of death. By the beast, dying is the last thing we are going to do on this quest." "... Hang on a minute didn't you just--" "--A VOW OF SILENCE"
Transmission & Vectors
It is not entirely clear how this disease is passed onto an individual, but it has become well known that the first vocalisation of someone cursed with the 'death flag' presents an immediate and imminent threat to everyone and everything around them. One way, or another, fate finds a means of exacting it's sick, twisted sense of comedic timing upon the plagued.
Typically the causes of Death Flagging are totally random; It can happen at any time, or any place, but there have been certain 'tells' that have been identified that can help potentially predict an impending death flag, which are:
- Being exactly one day from retirement
- Delivering a grand speech right before entering a dangerous place
- Acting whimsical or blasé whilst entering an incredibly dark and suspicious looking alleyway
- Stepping onto an old rickety bridge that you assume is perfectly up to safety specification
- Saying the exact phrase "Well it could be worse" when referring to literally any personal strife
- Wearing the colour red
The condition tends to become clear at the utterance of a phrase, though can also show itself through actions taken, but this form can be much more difficult to catch. Maybe after years of turning left, you turn right. Maybe after years having the same old porridge in the same old way every morning you have it again because you've just had it so many times that absolutely nothing could be different about how you have it that particular morning, and WHAM-- Death flag city.
There are no known treatments for Death Flagging-- When your number's up, it's up. Some believe that uppending their 'death flag' with inane, random statements somehow circumvents their fate, but most of the time it just means that their last words are uh... Memorable.
"From this distance? They couldn't hit the side of a barn, let alone my vital organs-- Ducks quacks don't echo, gents."
Whilst there are no guranteed methods of preventing a 'death flag' from occurring, some have chosen to welcome a measure of instability to their lives and act on no discernable pattern to themselves. There's nothing to suggest that this works or helps in any way, but they sure seem to make out like they're having a lot more fun than everyone else.