The Eight Crimes of The Iconodules
“I appreciate, Mr. Morroweigh, your interest in the work we are doing. Herein is contained everything we know about the diseases that assail your district. If we had more information about their vector, transmission or origin, I am sure we could do more of the work you suggested my cabal ‘get to’ during our stay here. I appreciate your reminder as to the scope of my presence here and will give you, in response to your clear appreciation of such things, a similar gentle reminder:
Mind your own damn business. Keep your people away from my hospital unless they are dying. Put one of your Council’s toes into my domain and I’ll have the Translator down here to personally to tear out your throat.
I’ve seen him do it."
Gail Spencer, responding to the Dramanaks Council’s request for more information concerning progress researching the district’s diseases.
The Yellow Squirt
There is ample reason to fear the water that passes through the district of Dramanaks. It is well-understood to have been, both on the surface and in the sewers below, actively infected with the Yellow Squirt, the first of the diseases to strike the district. Water boiling has become terribly common in Dramanaks, but the relative rarity of wood for burning (which is illegal) and the slightly more common and just as expensive fat-based oils prevent the entire supply from being purified, so those in Unclean portions of the district play roulette with ground water every day.
Those unlucky enough to come into contact with the infected, or those who are forced to drink contaminated water are almost guaranteed to contract The Yellow Squirt, which is the most pervasive and difficult to avoid diseases in the district, though thankfully not the most lethal. Symptoms, however, are relatively debilitating, including vomiting during the initial infection, followed by days of nausea, culminating in what is usually several weeks of dehydration caused by buildup of a viscous, yellow mucus in the intestine, produced by the bacteria, which is acidic enough to cause occasional damage to the infected’s intestinal tract.
The people of Dramanaks may be more afraid of the Flensing Rot, but they hate The Yellow Squirt. Forty percent of the population of the district has survived infection. Some more than once. Survivors of the Yellow Squirt, occasionally called Hardened by their peers, are frequently employed in positions that have high risk, such as waste handling. They often band together to commiserate about their experiences, but the Hardened are at least blessed in that nobody seems capable of contracting the disease twice.
The Flensing Rot
The onset of the Flensing Rot was originally believed to be a permutation of the Yellow Squirt, but in the consideration of the Researchers they were split into two seperate categories. Whereas the Yellow Squirt is a viral infection generally spread by healthy hosts, the Flensing Rot survives by killing its victims from the inside out, and spreading from their corpses in an airborne fashion.
The disease is generally considered to go through two life cycles, one active and one dormant. The dormant cycle is undergone after the Rot has killed a host, and generally spreads through inhalation of the air surrounding the original victim. This sharp smell of death is the most feared thing in the district, and many who have died to the Flensnig rot have done so after only momentarily smelling a corpse, sometimes just passing an alley or investigating the disappearance of a neighbor. It is only after this smell that the disease begins the grim work that gives it its name.
During the active cycle, the Flensing Rot travels quickly through the bloodstream and begins to pool in the highest-density tissue it can find, usually muscle or fat. From there, the disease begins to consume the tissue, converting it into more of itself, which manifests as a slick buildup of clear fluid in small packets under the skin of the infected. Victims of the Rot rapidly weaken and itch helplessly at these cysts, which are too deep to drain without surgical intervention. This is usually the point where a victim is isolated or burned to death, as though the effects of the Rot are apparent, they have not yet become contagious. The disease is unfailingly lethal once it has passed that stage, though it takes longer in some individuals. Prior to death the buildup of fluid inside the infected begins to burst, causing the skin to split into long strips that hang off the body in loose, bloodied strands. As soon as the first cyst is ruptured, the victim is contagious, and the rot can spread to another host.
The Flensing Rot is considered the most foul of the diseases that affects Dramanaks, and by far the most lethal. Neighbors have been known to band together and burn down the houses of those infected, presumed infected, or those that are suspected to die of infection. It is worth showing your neighbors that you are healthy at least once every couple days for exactly this reason.
The most insidious and least well-understood of Dramanaks’ diseases. The Pallor is more of a social phenomenon than a medical one, leading to listless, moody individuals whose dull appearance belies a strange strength. Some consider it a response to the Troubles changing the people of the district, as those suffering from the Pallor are always extraordinarily healthy otherwise. Symptoms, where they appear, include paleness, listlessness, a violent temperament towards others and often, after a few weeks, the infected disappear entirely. The Asklepian Hospital claims to have kept victims in isolation safely for much longer, but has had no luck preventing them from disappearing. The Pallor is, thankfully, rare, but its mystique is such that it is well-understood in the district. Some individuals seek out infection in the hope of becoming immune to the far more unpleasant diseases in the district.