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|Genre||Alternate History, Mild Fantasy|
Premise[edit | edit source]
The Pestilence originated near an unnamed river in central China. The disease is carried by a variety of wild animals, which are immune but transmit it among themselves, and sometimes turn aggressive. Insects can also carry the disease. The pestilence is contagious and humans can spread it to each other. Symptoms of the pestilence include discolored skin (particularly on the face and chest), weight loss, and thinning of the hair. As the disease progresses, the lungs and brain become more damaged, leaving its sufferers with a chronic cough and a significant decrease in cognitive ability.
Late-stage symptoms include subconjunctival hemorrhaging, which causes blood to drip from the eyes, and infestation by parasitic stinging insects. Early efforts to combat the plague are fruitless once these symptoms surface and is is lethal at this stage. Natural resistance to the plague does exist, however, plague doctors state that the chances of the body fighting off the disease on its own are "a thousand, probably ten thousand, to one." There are also those who carry the plague but are not ill. To prevent the plague's spread, surviving communities secluded and isolated themselves for protection. Since a variety of wild animals and insects potentially carry the disease, travel between nations is nearly non-existent, or considered extremely risky, out of fear of coming into contact with the disease. Infected individuals who were exiled from cities live in the wilderness until their death, or if they survive, can pose a threat to travelers or communities. Isolated city-states are hostile to outsiders who could potentially be infected. The seemingly-never ending disease instills paranoia and keeps groups of people from communicating or interacting too much. Fear of outsiders, or even hostility to outsiders promote isolationism. The world is now full of tiny communities and small isolationist kingdoms attempting to seclude themselves from the sickness.