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Brynwain Fever

"By the gates, Ruby, what is going on with the trees!?" Ruben Severlin resisted the urge to touch the black veins covering the bark of the elm in front of him, each dark, jagged strand erupting from a strange growth that had the apparent consistency of a mushroom and the shape of a lily-like flower of purple hue.

His sister grabbed him by the shoulder: "Step back, Ruben! Something is happening to the forest!" Fear quivered in her voice.

As he looked about, the blackness suddenly pulsed, permeating their surroundings, and the forest, once so friendly and inviting, now dark and foreboding, suddenly collapsed all around them, each tree turning into a tiny heap of ash. There was no brush, no leaf, no blade of grass left, and to his horror, Ruben could see several strands of Ruby's beautiful black hair whiten as the blight licked her soul. In her terrified gaze he could see that he, too, had not been spared this horrifying fate. But the worst was yet to come: the forest, now turned into a barren plain, revealed to them the war band of Kaltani they had tried to outrun. They could no longer escape their pursuers.

— The final moments of Ruben and Ruby Severlin

The Disease

Brynwain Fever is a parasitic fungus that can gorge itself on soul power1

Soul power is the latent energy that souls generate just by existing. It is used to resonate with the Great Clockwork to unleash magic into the world. A soul has, according to modern soul theory, two quantities attached to it: soul power and soul flops, the latter measuring its computational power. Soul power has been quantified using the unit Kunibert, which is based on De Vries Cluster Field Theory.

. It was developed by the grand druid Brynwain of the Kaltani in 114 AH to decimate the crops of the Middlish and Yamato people.  

Special Incidents

An infamous epidemic of Brynwain Fever occurred when the magical storm Asteria Magna carried infected pollen all the way to the Glade of Druith2

North of the Brammenwoods lies the Glade of Druith, just past the great Lake of Glazglubin that is squeezed between the two forests. Druith is home to the Schamani of Druith, who stayed neutral during the Great War, much to the dismay of the other Nordmen and Old Gods. However, the whole Glade of Druith was declared a nature and culture preserve when the Null Concord was signed in the Age of Awakening, a point brought forth by the technocrats of the UOBT during the negotiations, and during the war efforts, the Nordmen were prevented from invading Druith by the Allied Forces.

, which had been declared a cultural and nature preserve during the signing of the Null Concord3

Near the end of the Age of Awakening, just after announcing themselves to the world, the Brotherhood of the Null forced the nations of the Great Land to the negotiation table, hammering out that any wars involving large scale magic must be waged on the Untamed Meadows on the ruins of Estverde, creating a 'balance of repercussions' that woud force all other signing nations to act immediately against offenders who broke the concord. The Null Concord additionally severely limits or forbids the development and deployment of high tier desctructive magic and technologocal weapons of mass destruction, counteracting a potential arms race between mages and technocrats to break out and a second Estverde to occur.

in 143 AH. The infection fatally spread to a large population of winterwhite willows4

Magical weeping-willow-like trees that grow around the perimeter of the Glade of Druith. They grow ice crystals on their long, hanging twigs, which fall to the ground as snow, suffocating other vegetation and creating a ring of snow around Druith.

that ringed the glade, causing them to wither away. This almost caused the Schamani of Druith5

Mages of Druith are called "schamani" and are closely tied into nature and magic that manipulates and empowers it. The word "druid" is used for such mages that do not belong to the tribe of Druith and is actually based on the word "Druith". No druid would call themselves schamani, but sometimes Nordmen in awe of a magus's power will call them such to show their reverence.

to break their ironclad neutrality and retaliate against their Kaltani brethren, a turn in the war only averted by Brynwain herself, who went to Druith to help the efforts to regrow the perimeter of the glade.

Transmission & Vectors

Born from powerful animancy6

The colloquially demonized magic art of “necromancy” stems from a field of research actually named “animancy”, the study of manipulating and transplanting souls. Since the power of a soul has been connected with extraordinary longevity since before the Reshaping of the World, many powerful druids and mages have sought to attain immortality by manipulating their souls or even by bending others to their purpose. The latter has caused much fear among ordinary folk for all of human memory, as souls could be used to augment one’s powers and even raise the dead in a way, though this was usually tied to certain complications. Additionally, pursuers of the darker venues of animancy tended to suffer gruesome fates, causing people to believe that the Great Clockwork frowned upon such practices.

, brynwain lilies, the tiny, flower-like corpora of the fungus that cause Brynwain Fever, bloom out of the stems of all plants in the vicinity of the magic ritual of Brynwain. None but herself have ever been able to reproduce the sickness.   Once the brynwain lilies bloom, the infected plant becomes a carrier, and bees and other pollen-carriers transmit it to close-by plants. However, the fever has a set gestation time that is carried into new generations, a gestation time that is global, not local, meaning two trees infected by the same wave of Brynwain Fever at different times will follow a simultaneous progression. This limits the potential spread radius statistically and was intentionally included in the disease by Brynwain to prevent a mass-extinction of all plant-life on Aqualon.   The full progression of Brynwain Fever takes eight days, after which all infected specimens will wither into piles of black ash.

Treatment

Brynwain Fever caused a lot of problems for the enemies of the Nordmen. Entire crops were lost in the Middle Lands and the Yamato Mountain range, and orchards were ravaged left and right. In order to combat this pressing issue, the margraves of the Middle Lands called a special magus council into session to research counter magic that could combat the condition. In addition, the grand druid Brynwain was declared enemy #1 of the Allied Forces, even before Allfather Odin, the most feared general of the Nordmen.   In the end, a time intensive treatment was devised where a Brother or Sister of the Null has to completely nullify all magic within an infected area; then workers have to cut the brynwain lilies diligently out of the infected plants.   A more common treatment, though costly, was to simply burn the fields or orchards down to reclaim the soil, which would otherwise have been tainted for some time. This of course still caused huge loss of crops, putting the food supply during the war time in danger.

Affected Groups

All flora was affected: trees, grasses, brushes, even algae. In the wake of sudden, deliberate outbreaks of Brynwain Fever, whole patches of land would take on the form of gray and black barren patches of death.

History

Developed in 114 AH, the Brynwain Fever ravaged many crops for several decades, until its creator and proliferator, grand druid Brynwain Jarlsdytr, was killed during the Odenwald Battle in 178 AH. By then, much of the war effort had been made possible by her persistent attacks on the enemies' food supply.

Cultural Reception

The Brynwain Fever was feared by the population. As black discolorations would grow in intricate patterns from the brynwain lilies, the vegetation would grow darker and more threatening, and people close to large outbreaks would grow sick and feeble; some of them would even develop spellblight, the most stigmatized sickness in all of Aqualon. This was caused by the fungus absorbing latent soul power from not only the plants and animals in the area but also the people to gorge itself and ultimately run its course.

There were also unconfirmed reports that larger effected plants, such as old trees, emitted an aura of malice and even attacked people before ultimately turning to ash, so fear of Brynwain Fever was prevalent throughout the Age of Heroes.7

Gruesome tales of the animancy forced into those trees and how they developed a thirst for blood are told to this day and actually inspired a new sub-genre of horror fiction in The Middle Lands


Age of Awakening

5700 ARe 5900 ARe

During this age, the mages began to realize the scope of their power, and they helped the populus of the Middle Lands to construct fortified positions that would slowly grow into the five cities of Aquaris, Lumina Aka, Fulgrath, Arda, and Aerialis. They did so to resist the regular raids of the Nordmen and to create a bulwark between the North and the Saltplains, which had always been extremely fertile and were largely responsible for the wealth in the center of the Great Land. The Yamato Kingdom also attempted to create a more militarized force of mages, even though their location atop the Yamato Mountain Range was significantly safer from the Nordmen than the Middle Lands; still, they feared the rising power of the Middle Lands as well. During these attempts they employed the mad magus Hestia (at the time still a respected master of fire magic) to train and lead their forces. She held this position until the anexxing of Estverde, which was planned by the Yamato Kingdom but went horribly wrong, and the lands of Aqualon held their breath in terror for a year or two after the city had gone up in flames. In that time, the technocrats arrived from the Seventeen Yonder Islands, having completed their manifesto, trying to spread the benefits of science, and having scholars in positions of power rather than nobles or city councils. They found a land still in shock and turned to accuse the mages of reckless abuse of power, and for a time, political power shifted away from the mages of the Middle Lands and towards the technocrats, who founded the great city of Altonar in the west. While the people of the Great Land had believed that the Nordmen had stayed off their relentless raids for the same reason the mages had stopped hostilities, this proved to be wrong, for the Old Gods had made plans to take over the Great Land, arming the Nordmen with powerful magic weapons, forged by their most beloved servants, the Angel Saxons. This invasion, accompanied by the rise of the Brotherhood of the Null, which had quietly arrisen out of the figurative ashes of Estverde, ultimately lead to what is now called the Age of Heroes.

  • 155 AA

    2
    /1
    156 AA

    24
    /3


    The Null Concord
    Political event

    Sign of the Eclipse.png

    Near the end of the Age of Awakening, just after announcing themselves to the world, the Brotherhood of the Null forced the nations of the Great Land to the negotiation table, hammering out that any wars involving large scale magic must be waged on the Untamed Meadows on the ruins of Estverde, creating a 'balance of repercussions' that woud force all other signing nations to act immediately against offenders who broke the concord. The Null Concord additionally severely limits or forbids the development and deployment of high tier desctructive magic and technologocal weapons of mass destruction, counteracting a potential arms race between mages and technocrats to break out and a second Estverde to occur.

  • 200 AA


    The first Invasion
    Era beginning/end

    When the hordes of the Nordmen, the Angel Saxons, and the Old Gods marched into the Middle Lands, the Great War began and with it what would later be called the Age of Heroes.

    Additional timelines

Age of Heroes

5900 ARe 6220 ARe

The Age of Heroes was the most turbulent age since the First Age as the five great factions, the Mages, Old Gods, Technocrats, the Brotherhood of the Null, and people of the lands were at war with each other, leading the world from one bloody and destructive battle to another.   Because the great factions of the world were waging war against each other indiscriminately due to the Old Gods' refusal to recognize the mages and technocrats (and others) as their autonomous equals, this age brought about quite a few changes in Aqualon's geopolitical power structures and even its geography, as many battles involved extreme use of elemental magic, ancient weapons, and new devastating technologies.   While it can be said that ultimately a compromise was reached, historians generally agree that the age ended with the surrender of the Old Gods, withdrawing to their homeland of Asgard.   Because many people were born into the Age of Heroes and quite a few died before its end, while almost none lived entirely through its over 300 year long span, many took up calling the time the "Endless War", or the "Great War". No contemporaries are known that ever called it the Age of Heroes.

  • 0 AH


    The first Invasion
    Era beginning/end

    When the hordes of the Nordmen, the Angel Saxons, and the Old Gods marched into the Middle Lands, the Great War began and with it what would later be called the Age of Heroes.

    Additional timelines
  • 114 AH


    Grand Druid Brynwain Creates a Terrible Disease
    Plague / Epidemic

    Using dangerous animancy, the magic that deals with manipulating and twisting souls directly, sometimes called "necromancy", Brynwain, grand druid of the Kaltani, develops a potent plant disease called Brynwain Fever. She has to use a special ritual to spread it and uses this to decimate enemy crops, damaging the food supplies of the.

    Additional timelines
    Related article
  • 178 AH


    Grand Druid Brynwain Dies
    Life, Death

    Brynwain Jarlsdytr is killed during the Odenwald Battle fighting against the Keeper of Earth Delfina Akçay. With food supplies in the Great Land stabilizing due to the end of Brynwain Fever, the Great War turns once more in favor of the Allied Forces.

    Additional timelines
    Related article

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