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Histosis, commonly referred to as the Terror Sickness, is the most feared disease of Dakai, with good reason. Practically nothing is known about its cause. Some believe that it is genetic, while others think it is an extreme strain of lemmis. It is thought to be contagious, although isolated cases have occurred. Aragam’s hypothesis, far and away the best-proven, attributes it to a microscopic parasite, but there are significant counterexamples to even this theory. Our lack of knowledge about the disease means that we are far from finding a cure. The research is slow, as very few are willing to expose themselves to the illness. Meanwhile the disease, while rare, has horrifying physical and psychological effects on entire communities. Histosis has a fatality rate of 417%, a statistic that would be impossible with any other disease.
The first stage of histosis is indistinguishable from lemmis, a far more common and completely harmless illness. Symptoms include unusually low body temperature, exhaustion, pallor, and aches. These symptoms last just one cycle before going away, and leave victims feeling just as healthy as before.
The second stage begins anywhere from three to twenty cycles after the first stage ends. It is marked by increasing paranoia and super-Dakian strength. Victims, over a period of about two cycles, become convinced that everyone is conspiring to kill them. As they become more and more frightened, a chemical which increases muscle growth and removes the subconscious limits usually imposed on exertion of strength is released in their bodies, giving them super-Dakian strength. Near the end of the stage, victims panic, often killing those around them in the belief that they are defending themselves. Their strength at this point makes them practically unstoppable. On average, each victim of hystosis kills 3.17 people during this stage, thus causing the impossible fatality rate. Attempts to console the terrified victims simply cause them to panic earlier.
The third stage immediately follows the second. In this stage, victims begin having vivid and terrifying hallucinations. Within a phase, these hallucinations drive the victims to mindless terror. They begin running, believing they are chased by their worst nightmares, and do not stop until they collapse from exhaustion. They remain where they collapse until they die.
Most victims, during the third stage, run away from civilization and collapse in some wilderness place—such as the Bfolyorn wastes or the Hakamagin Desert. Very few are recorded to have died in towns, but the most famous example of what happens when they do is the town of Kheti. Kheti lies in the Cravanooke region, and was a minor stop along the trading route from Poscente to Molk. Its population was 3,984 in 211 DC, when the mysterious victim of hystosis staggered into town and collapsed in the middle of Mak Street, not far from the town’s center. His body was emaciated, and his feet were worn bloody from running. No one had any idea where he had come from, but they knew of the Terror Sickness and would not go near his body. Those living nearby moved out of their houses, and after a cycle or two, a wall was built to block off that section of the street. The whole town waited fearfully to see if any among them had contracted the disease. Then a few sentences appeared on the doors of the town hall. They read, “Seven among us have the Terror Sickness. If they are killed, the rest of us will be saved.” Within a cycle, every inhabitant was dead. To this day it is unknown whether any of them had actually contracted histosis. Today Kheti is a ghost town. The trade route veers around it, and only the most foolhardy adventurers walk its streets.
Kostrzewa 18:23, October 25, 2010 (UTC)