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Sometime in early 1124, an unknown trader appeared near Tashkent, staggering slowly toward the gates. A witness, most likely Aziz ibn Hafeez, wrote:
"At noon, a man was seen stumbling toward the city gates. He appeared ill, almost lifeless. As he approached the gates he picked up speed, before vomiting blood which spewed over one of the guards. The guard, in his anger, immediately ended the man's life with his spear."
That night a massacre occurred in the town. Many fled the city, amongst them was Aziz, who wrote:
"The moon was full and bright. The market square was in utter silence, which was suddenly interrupted by loud screaming and the sound of flesh being ripped apart. Before anyone knew it, what appeared to be an angry mob was frantically running through the empty streets, breaking into all the buildings. The civilians of Tashkent, fearing this was an attempt to sack the city by invaders, left their homes and ran for the gates. There was a brutal bloodbath like the world had never seen before. Truly, this day belonged to Iblīs."
It is believed that 10,000 people were killed at what has become known as the Tashkent massacre.
From there the plague spread like wildfire.
What is the plague?
The plague can be carried by most if not all animals, but is purely asymptomatic. The plague symptoms only occur in humans, rabbits, hares and some dogs. The first stages of the plague tend to be relatively harmless, though 1% of those infected die during this stage. The second stage makes the person behave violently and recklessly. Just under 1% of people are completely immune to the plague whilst around 14% recover after stage I and never enter stage II, after which they become immune.
The initial symptoms (Stage I):
- Chance of vomiting
The key symptoms of the plague (Stage II):
- Vomiting blood
- Partial blindness/bad sight
- Enhanced hearing - a later trait that appears amongst the infected
- Heightened sense of smell - a later trait.
- Haemophilia in the eyes ("crying blood")
- Chance of haemophilia elsewhere (occurs in a small percentage of those infected)
- Partial or complete insanity
- Hunger (not necessarily cannibalistic)
- Death (62% of those infected die)
Stage II infected will violently attack most living beings they see/smell/hear. In the event that an infected individual is already eating, it will ignore any other creatures unless approached. The level of insanity varies, though all infected are dangerous and hostile and should not be touched and it is important to keep a safe distance at all times. One way to distract infected is to present them with livestock (such as pigs), those this does not necessarily prevent them from attacking you instead.
It is believed there is no cure for the disease, though some accounts suggest people can slowly recover (whether this is fact or not is disputed). Most infected will succumb to the disease after a few months.
The War of the Forsaken
Main article: The War of the Forsaken