1. Races




Carrion, an article by Galen Tibuta



With the recent invasion and occupation by Leodamite forces, it is prudent to foresee the transferral of common diseases between the populations. As senators, we are aware of the importance of the fungal parasite known as Carrion in the perfumery, but we may be at risk of more intimate meetings in future. This article accumulates the gathered knowledge of medical professionals and is succinctly parsed by the accredited physician, apothecary, and academic, Galen Tibuta, as well as making recommendations of grants for further research.


In the swamps and marshes of Leodama, there is a tribal law in rural parts of the country, that one is not allowed to live beyond a certain age. The elders are intoxicated with the pus of a Lumped Boletus and allowed to pass away peacefully from dehydration. One would rightfully ask the question, why? The answer to which is simple, Carrion.

Unlike its namesake, the rotting and decaying corpses of animals and livestock, the Carrion parasite is very much alive. It is given its name for a variety of reasons. The first is the pungent aroma it emits, often likened, incorrectly in my opinion, to the scent of decay, and the second, rather more apt, is that the presentation of Carrion is often that of meat, flesh, and muscle. Finally, Carrion often appears on the deceased, be it tree, beast, or man, should it not be suitably buried.

Carrion, singular, is also something of a misnomer, it not being a single entity, but instead being collective of various parasitic species. Not all Carrion infectees will host all species and the singular idea of Carrion, although helpful in scaring small children, does detract from the nuance of the ‘creature’.

As alluded to prior, Carrion is most commonly found in the saltwater swamps and marshes along the northern coastline. It is unclear whether saltwater has any true connection to the species as a whole and my research has not proven conclusive on this. Carrion can certainly survive in saltwater, but freshwater also, perhaps saltwater and the ever changing borders of the marsh provide it with a means of movement?

Aside from this, Carrion is endemic, if rare throughout the north, often near the coast, and often where there are trees within a few miles of the sea. Much more rarely, more robust samples can be found inland, again in forests. Much to the cheer of many an urbanite, Carrion appears to avoid the plague pits that cities inevitably become.

Many have suggested that some southern fungal infections may also be Carrion, but this simply holds no water. My research has clearly demonstrated that most Carrion cannot function for prolonged periods in higher temperatures, and even if an infected did carry their affliction south it would soon die out, (more on this in the section regarding treatment).

Carrion does not favour the sentient species over others for the purpose of growth and while there is mystery surrounding the precise nature of transmission, it can be safely assumed that it is easier for it to take root upon a corpse, than upon the living creature.

Carrion, as such, can most frequently be found within and upon the bark of the decaying vegetation. Most striking is the view of a tree, home to an abundant Carrion colony in its sickening beauty. Next, it will be found on the dead of man and animal, feasting on the vestiges of the flesh that the mortal soul leaves behind. Finally, and in the most extraordinary cases, Carrion may sometimes present in a living host. Occasions are rare, oft overstated in the urban legends of the north. The only society in which Carrion infection is purported to be common being that of the Leodamite swamp dwellers, although this is impossible to substantiate.

None have been able to demonstrate a method of infection for Carrion, only helping to stoke this misguided legend that it may strike at any point. I confess, I have no answers here, but there are a few theories that would seem plausible.

Firstly, it seems obvious to suggest that it is aerosolised, the liquid it exudes if inhaled would be a prime candidate for fertile cultivators to be hidden. Second, it is undoubtedly waterborne. I have often examined the advantage to speed that benefits samples when in water, I would not be surprised if a common method of entry into the body would be to submerged cuts or bruises, or even entry via other parasitic creatures such as the mosquito or leech.

In addition, once established, a Carrion colony does possess rudimentary motor function, although I would advocate that there is insufficient intelligence behind this movement for the colony to actively seek a new host. One only need look at the grandest of Carrion colonies and how, even with the abundance of potential hosts, even those to be taken by force, they remain stationary except to protect themselves, ultimately destined to collapse under their own weight.

The different species of Carrion are typically grouped under the single heading, however distinct physiology is present. While these have been colloquially termed ‘organs’ of the Carrion parasite, they are in fact separate species. Putting my academic mind to the task of categorising these has been difficult, given that living hosts are hard to come by, yet I believe I have gathered enough evidence to present a complete list of such species.

The common thread between each species is two fold. They all have a certain compatibility between one another, each able to interconnect, and execute movement collectively if need be, and each is able to swell to grand proportions. None would shy from the suggestion that the smallest examples of Carrion may be beyond the sight of mortals, and yet, at its greatest mass, even the ancient and mighty Eiks, can be completely encased by a colony, organs are large as a person.

Reproduction is unclear, but I am swayed by the argument that Carrion is a fungi, and thus would do so through spores. These spores mature quickly once interred, quickly forming the recognisable organ provided ample nutrition is available. Once associated with the host, the organs do not leave, and unless treated will consume anything they can sustain themselves on. Many have theorised Carrion will consume any organic material, which would mean complete consumption, although I have not witnessed such a feat. Observing dead hosts, remnants of bark, bones, teeth and hair or fur alongside the deceased colony suggest that this would be a falsehood.

Pungea Organ


The first and most iconic of the Carrion species is that of Pungea. Aptly named, it produces the aromatic scent of rot that is so frequently associated with the parasite. I maintain however, that this is not the same fragrance as the cadaver. The Pungea organ’s excretion can also provide an excellent base for many perfumes, once distilled and mixed, adding a robustness and longevity to the fragrance. The Pungea organ is generally not found in living hosts, as the unrefined fumes it produces are toxic to inspire. Reports of such are to be treated with scepticism, and are often the result of those who fail to follow principles of basic hygiene or, in other words, simply smell bad.

The Pungea organ often presents as a red, irregularly shaped oval. It visibly glistens with its excretions and, if touched, will depress before returning to its original form, akin to sponge. The smell is said to attract other Carrion species to affix to the colony.


Vulcanus Organ


Another well known member of the Carrion family, the Vulcanus gets its name for its ability to detonate. While many know of this for the infamous old wives tale of an unfortunate infected with a Vulcanus under the cranium, and subsequently had their head explode, it is unlikely that one would survive with such a large organ internally present. While the detonation is certainly spectacular, the true danger comes from the fluid that this spreads, that being incredibly acidic, to the point of causing burning to those who handle it unwarily. Likewise with above, this organ is extremely rare in living hosts, although can appear externally on the body.

Vulcanus organs present as pseudo muscular soft tissues, often with globules of what, had it been an autopsy, would appear to be yellow-white fat. This of course is not the case, with the ‘fat’ restricting the growth of the ‘muscle’. Once the pressure has suitably built up, the fat ruptures, unleashing the acid into the surroundings. If need be, a colony can trigger this response quickly as a result of danger.


Labefact Organ


The Labefact is the most uncommon species and the most little known. The oily chemicals produced in the Labefact act as a clotting agent for blood and a depressant for other bodily functions, giving it practical application in medicine. eIn my experience however, one should refrain from informing the subject as to the origin of the medication as adverse reactions to this knowledge are frequent.

The Labefact presents as an orange, sometimes dark red, and softly pulsating organ. When on the exterior of a host, the pores at which the chemical is excreted from tend to crust over, forming ‘thorns’. When utilised in conjunction with the Vulcanus eruptions, these can be particularly hazardous.


Paralyctus Organ


The Paralyctus, leads to both numbness and relaxation of the muscles in living hosts and is the most common organ to humanoid infections. Often, patients present with limpness in the arm, leg, or other body part.

Confusingly, the Paralyctus looks very similar to the Pungea organ, the primary difference being that the Paralyctus has faint rings across its surface. Without the feedback from a living host, the best advice one can give to distinguish between the two, is to gauge the intensity of smell when approaching the organ. If one is unable to approach more than a few metres without severe discomfort, then it is a Pungea organ.


Obscura Organ


Another rare organ, the obscura is known to emit a fine grey misted liquid from various pores upon its surface. It does not follow the normal conventions of typical Carrion appearance, which potentially has led to its under-reporting in witness accounts. It does not appear damp, unlike the others, instead almost akin to dung, stippled with holes that are often puce or orange in colour. In my experience, I have never come across an Obscura affixed to a living host.


Amentia Organ


The Amentia organ is another favourite of the legends surrounding the Carrion parasite. The tale suggests that those who ingest the potent concoction that this organ harbours are liable to become overwhelmed with lust. In truth, the chemical induces a relaxed mindset, lowering inhibitions and calming the subject, akin to alcohol intoxication. It can function as a minor aphrodisiac too, but only if one is desperate as reports suggest the taste to be unpalatable.

The organ shares the theme in appearing to be spheres of humanoid soft tissues. Often these vary between muscle, fat, and, in cases where part of the colony has died, a fanciful viewer may perceive bone.

While briefly touched upon when referring to the organs, it is necessary to reiterate these in relation to diagnosis, something that bears great importance when moving on to treatment. Invariably, as with all illness, diagnosis can be challenging as there are a set of symptoms that can lead one astray, believing the affliction to be other diseases.

The first issue arises as the common symptom of all Carrion species is tumorous growths. In the later stages of infection, these will burst from the skin of living hosts, although external growths appear much earlier on the already dead. When beneath the skin, these can often be mistaken for cysts, inflammations, or cancerous tumours. One can distinguish by touch, as Carrion organs are all spongy in texture, or by the rate of growth with the parasite growing far faster than most other diseases. This, of course has its risk too, as it allows the colony to develop, it also cannot help if the tumour is completely internal.

The most common location for the tumour is in and around the lungs, which leads to shortness of breath in the short term. Depending on the size of tumour and the rate of growth, it can also lead to an irregular heart beat, bluing of the extremities, stomach pains and digestion issues, and jaundice. If particularly unfortunate, the colony may develop around the stomach, which leads to consistent vomiting if action in the diet is not taken.

The most difficult of symptoms are presented by Carrion that settles in the brain. It is extremely rare, fortunately, but leads to erratic behaviours and bouts of insanity. Of course these again are not solely the domain of Carrion infection, also being the result of possession or simple madness itself.

In the vast majority of cases, Carrion manifests under the skin and as such, surgical removal is always an option and only rarely sees recurrence. For those without the skills a popular home remedy is to apply scalding water or a heated iron to the lump. With this, it is unlikely that there will be any permanent effects of the infection, beyond discomfort and minor injury as a side effect of the treatment, the exception being Vulcanus infections which can lead to severe nerve damage if the acid within ruptures. Care should be taken to probe the tumour to assess any fluid within and Vulcanus organs should be removed by professionally licenced surgeons.

In this case of internal colonies, however rare, treatment is more complex. Where invasive surgery in inadvisable, medicinal remedies must be examined, apothecaries recommend concentrated distillations of citric acids as a preliminary treatment, drunk or inhaled, depending on the location of the infection. If symptoms of the infection do not abate, the inducement of competitive, but more manageable fungi has also proven effective. The Hag’s Cloak mushroom’s spores can be inserted beneath the skin, these parasites feed solely on other fungi and so kill the Carrion, before dying themselves. This can be uncomfortable for the host however, as the body must then evacuate the detritus, this commonly is in the form of vomiting and diarrhoea which can in turn lead to dehydration. Provided the regimen is prescribed suitably, the host will live with severe discomfort for an acute period. Permanent damage can be caused if Carrion begins to feed upon vital organs, and those who have had sub par treatment often suffer from chronic conditions subsequently.

For Carrion infection in the brain, treatment is virtually impossible. It has been attempted to raise the core temperature of the body in order overheat and stifle the infection, but this is flawed in that strains that have established internally are already more resilient in higher temperatures. It is recommended to seek those capable of miracles, but otherwise only the symptoms can be treated. For those in pain, euthanasia is advised, while others may experience a peaceful passing over a number of months, the interval within which Carrion becomes lethal.

While one may draw a conclusion here that Carrion is only a minor threat to society, I posit to our senate that there is a dire need for the allocation of further funding for research in this area. Transmission from individuals is a criminally under explored area in medicine, and one should be guarded against the potential for the parasite to adapt for more efficient infection. Furthermore, the reliability of treatment is still sorely lacking compared to others. ‘Effective’ treatments usually have thirty to forty percent success rate as curatives, and seldom are without side effects or serious discomfort to the individual. When compared with other diseases, even of the exotic kind, these remedies should be viewed poorly.

A tale I had been sceptical of was the claim that there were those who cultivated Carrion upon themselves with an aim to control it. While Carrion often manifests in a manner similar to that of soft tissue, there is nothing to suggest that one can influence its will. That being said, interrogations of captured Leodamite individuals has affirmed such people do appear to exist, and indeed, to have some measure of immunity and mastery of the parasite. I would recommend such claims be investigated, given the clear and apparent threat of the weaponisation of Carrion.

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Created by Goldweight 11 months ago. Last modified by Goldweight 9 months ago