He was gone for so long and in that mist. I can't imagine what horrors he's endured. Or the state of his mind. Poor bastard.
Transmission & Vectors
A deep violet fog fills the valley near the Orwalt Mausoleum on a nightly basis. Those who enter this fog for more than a few minutes are reported to see strange apparitions and begin to feel a chill overcome them. The fog appears to be the only means of transmission of this malaise.
Unknown. But it is believed that the fog has a magical origin and that it is a warning sign to any who try to enter the mausoleum and crypts after dark. The mausoleum sits in the bottom of a depression in the land west of Tremer and the Aca Forest. At nightfall, the fog begins to creep in, low-lying and hugging the ground. However, due to the shape and depth of the depression in the surrounding land, the fog fills the area after a short time until the mausoleum itself is engulfed. From areas above the mausoleum's elevation, all that can be seen of the area is the fog.
Those who breathe in the fog begin to have hallucinations. They see and hear things, most often things they fear deeply. These apparitions are specific to the individual, and multiple individuals may see apparitions simultaneously, but not the same apparition. For example, if one individual sees a great beast, their fear may trigger in another the vision of a family member dying at the same time. A mild cough is the first sign that the fog may be taking effect. This is most commonly followed by a "jitteriness" or anxiousness that manifests itself in physical tremors and a tightening of the chest, limiting the ability to breathe deeply. Finally, the manifestation of the apparitions is the final stage.
Generally, this condition disappears on its own, with the duration being proportional to the time an individual spends breathing in the fog. As a rule, the condition will last twice as long as the exposure. FOr example, a 30-minute exposure will cause the symptoms to last approximately one hour. For some (approximately 5% of the population), symptoms will last up to four times the normal duration, and the effects will be more difficult to shake off. The apparitions will seem more real and more intense. There is no treatment available, and it will wear off over time. Another 5% of the population is susceptible to long-term effects. These effects may last for months, years, or even permanently. There is a treatment that works for some individuals that involves respiratory therapy, daily inhalation of steam infused with a form of fungus that grown as the edges of the Aca Forest near the mausoleum. It is believed that these fungi have adapted to the fog and can neutralize some of its effects.
For most individuals, the effect goes away without any long-term harm. The experience while the fog holds sway can be challenging to deal with, but most will recover easily. For those few who do not, long-term effects can leave them shaking and wary, fearing the next apparition at any moment. For these individuals, fungal steam therapy is their best chance at recovery, but there is no guarantee. If there is a magical means of treatment, it is currently unknown.
The simplest form of prevention is to avoid the fog. If, however, that is unavoidable, there are rumors that some doctors at the Lawcrane Royal Infirmary are working on a breathable gas created from the local fungi that may provide some measure of protection. It must be pointed out that a small percentage of individuals (another 5%) seem to be immune to the effects. At this time, it is unknown why or how this comes to pass.
The condition is not contagious, per se, but those affected by it can trigger others who are also affected. The condition has an emotional component and seems to work with empathic forces to transfer emotional levels between affected individuals.
The Legend of the Orwalts is deeply ingrained in the region's lore. The family was powerful and wealthy but lost everything, and nearly everyone, in The Cataclysm While an exact timeframe for when the appearance of the fog began is not recorded, it has been present long enough that the locals cannot remember when it was not a feature of curiosity. But not all locals fear it. For example, many point out that animals do not seem to be affected by it. It appears that creatures and beings with higher intellects are the most affected, while farm animals are not. Most individuals are happy to let their animals stray into the area at night, grazing on the fertile lands of the valley, then retrieve them in the morning. They are unafraid of the animals being poached or stolen as the consequences to those who would act as a deterrent. Lawcrane Royal Infirmary. All manner of treatment has been tried, but none have had any effect. His most wild ranting (although he seems absolutely lucid in those moments) is that of a "sea elf" hiding in the mountains at the north end of the valley. However, these mountains are nearly two weeks' trek from the ocean.
All Images created BY Kahuna the Elder, with source materials from Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash, Artbreeder and public domain sources.