Foul-Blood, Serpentine Sickness, Snake-Worm Sickness, etc...
The "Foul-Blood", as the church of the Archangel chose to call it, is a strange disease that appeared in Entheria around the times when the Wood Elves started their raids against the Obsidian Elves, and this particular parasite only served to strengthen their beliefs that the elves they hunted were indeed demons.
Some rumors began to spread, about some immortal beings that decided to hunt the hunters, tracking back into the territory of the Wood Elf raiders, and leaving behind corpses whose entrails had been ripped open and consumed. At first they seemed like just stories to scare the children at night, but as more and more occurrences like these started to be reported, the hunters of the church decided to look into it, thinking it could be simply another case of vampires or were creatures.
Following the trail, they found something they did not quite expect. A coven of sorts, with captives, half eaten corpses, and a group of people from various races feasting and engorging themselves in elf flesh.
The hunters were horrified, vampires would be only be draining them of their blood, and were creatures would transform before they feast, this was something different...
The hunters of the church have long since applied brutal tactics against the prey they hunt, especially because their prey will be much more brutal than a regular foe. Carrying pistols and cleavers, they shot and hacked at their foes, but it didn't seem to phase them. Ones who had their limbs chopped off, their stomach split open, and their entrails impaled by bullets and spikes simply regenerated those wounds in the blink of an eye, and fought back with as much ferocity as they had before.
The hunters were losing ground, till they began attacking with oil and fire. The fire burned their skin much more than it would burn a regular mortal, and they didn't seem to be able to regenerate the wounds caused by the fire. By exploiting this weakness the hunters managed to wipe out the whole nest, or rather, they thought they did.
As they delved deeper, they found more and more of these creatures, and they became more and more foul. Some of them mutated, became larger, monstrous... The common denominator between all the aberrations was clear however, none of them could resist fire.
There was only one hunter who resurfaced from this den of nightmares. He reported that the threat had been wiped, then hanged himself a week later. One month after that, more cases similar to the one that happened before started to happen, and the Foul-Blood was deemed as dangerous, if not more, than lycanthropy and vampirism, and the hunters of the church found a new prey.
Due to their extremely fast regenerating factor, 'twas difficult for the church hunters to dissect and examine them, since as soon as they cut their flesh, hundreds of small, snake like worms quickly scoured and pulled the tissues and skin back together.
This dilemma was solved when the surgeons started heating their knives before slicing open their live subjects, and using hooks to keep the snake like worms from pulling the flesh back together, as they learned that even the burn marks could be recovered over time.
The surgeons found that their biology depended on two nuclei that kept the body alive, even if one of the was destroyed. It was a bigger, fuller worm, that delved inside their brain, and the other in the core of their heart. With weaker subjects, destroying one of the nuclei was enough to kill them, as the other one would quickly start to wither. Removing the head from the chest was not enough to kill even the weaker subjects, as the head could survive on it's own, and even disturbingly crawl back to the body and reattach itself. They discovered that the cores could sustain a full day away from the other before starting to wither and fade.
Most disturbingly however, were the stronger subjects, being not only able to reattach a missing limb, but even regrow it over the course of a few hours. Alongside further mutations, the strongest specimen ever captured was actually able to regrow its heart, its head, and the nucleus within. This particular specimen mutated into something horrendous, escaped its cage, killed many on his way out, but was hunted down in the next few days, and burned to ashes.
There seems to be two stages reported of this disease, with the first stage resembling to a certain extent the natural, accelerated healing factor that is inherent to most were creatures, and some vampire clans, but much, much more potent.
The hunters of the church have come to notice that even on the first stage of this sickness, there are multiple levels of strength and control. Recently turned ones, even if still nothing to let your guard down towards, didn't have their regenerative abilities developed to the point of having a significant impact in a quick skirmish, but enough of the parasite's weaknesses to warrant applying the same hunting tactics as those used to hunt more developed prey.
While the intolerance to fire is the better known weakness of the Foul-Bloods, it is not the only one. The parasite is very aggressive, and very, very potent. It will violently expel any other viruses, parasites, bacteria, and even healing alchemical solutions, such as healing potions and antidotes. Disease causing agents like virus and bacteria, even more potent strains of vampirism and lycanthropy are quickly expelled by the Foul-Blood.
The trigger to evolve further into something that ceases to be mortal seems to be the simple act of feasting and gorging oneself in mortal flesh. The Awoken, as the name suggests, have their parasite's nucleus go through a process of awakening, which seemed to follow a few different variables and scenarios when it came to their mutations.
What was observed in the first scenario of Awoken mutation ever to be recorded was an extremely disturbing control over the body, specifically concerning the joints and the bones. Awakened beings who exhibited this type of mutation were able to extend their limbs by dislocating their joints and tearing their skin. One example of this was when one of these beings stabbed a hunter from across the room through his throat with a dagger. Another bizarre example of this particular mutation was when an Awakened being grew an extra set of arms, and slashed four hunters at once. The last example recorded in this particular strain was perhaps the more cringe worthy of them all, one who could quickly dislocate many joints in his body at once to avoid a hunter's blade.
The second observed strain of mutation to be discovered in awakened beings, and more often than not the ones that are hardest to bring down. This strain is known for two things, tearing their muscle tissue and recover it to make it rapidly expand. The monstrous strength given by this ability is nothing to approach without caution, as an awakened being of this strain can easily crush a man's skull with his bare hands. Another known characteristic of this strain is a peculiar hardening of the muscle tissue, where the mutated creature purposely damages his own tissue, forcing his healing factor to act in creating thick scabs under his skin, often times hard enough to deflect a blade with ease.
The third and final observed strain is often times considered the most dangerous one, especially because it is the hardest to detect. This strain does not exhibit any outward mutations, but instead focuses on changing the blood of the awakened being into a deadly, acidic toxin. This strain tends to be the most resistant to all possible ailments, but as a result suffers no effect from any beneficial solution.
As the writer of this book I feel obliged to provide the maximum amount of information possible, as a single detail can save the life of a hunter. Our prey is much stronger than us, so we must use our wits to bring them down. With that being said, I found myself in doubt as to whether or not to include a piece of information that found itself to my possession. The reason for such, is that this particular piece was found in the records of an Elder Mage, which following the logic of my faith, the logical path here is to simply ignore them as ramblings of a heretic. However I personally think this is all the more reason to at least shed some small light to them. I beg of those who read the next few pages to be wary, as they could be proof that something even more dangerous than a vampire lord or an alpha lycan prowls the night, or could simply be a frightening story.
Taken from the records of Elder Mage Romulus, after his apprehension:
"The Foul-Blood have always been a fascinating study for me, something that time and time again I have even considered infecting my own self with, but without knowing the full extent of what this parasite can do, it would be foolish to act on this change. Like the beast blood and vampirism, the Foul-Blood comes with it's own weaknesses, and those, of course, aren't simply something to push to the side and ignore.
Like many of the diseases that the church of the Archangel sees fit to brand as unnatural and heretical, the Foul-Blood acts much like vampirism and lycanthropy in the rejuvenation of living tissue, preventing death by aging. This state of undeath has not been studied as in depth as vampirism and lycanthropy however, and while it might be similar, the doubt as to it being the exact same fills my mind. While the church believes that the un aging that afflicts vampires and were creatures is the same, that is not true.
The fact that vampires are eternal, or at least, live by millennia, is not to be disputed. Castle (name) has been standing in the east of Entheria even before my kind landed and formed their Empire. Because of my, well, reputation, I have once been invited to the castle, and I admit that I felt tiny in the presence of a being such as Queen Anaisse. She truly is the living proof, of the vampire's eternity.
Were creature society and behavior was a thorn in my research for countless years. The violence that is inherent of their culture, feeding habits and pack structure stops me from being able to obtain proof that they are un dying, or if they're simply long lived. I will spare further details on the pack structure as I have discussed these on a previous record, but I think that the constant infighting to decide the next alpha are enough reason to explain why lycans don't tend to live any more than a regular human. This tendency however, is purely cultural, as their biology gives me a much clearer answer.
Lycans possess an extremely potent healing factor, but of course, this is old news. This healing factor, while no match for what makes the Foul-Blood so unique, is apparent enough in their regular form that it warrants proper study. Through my research, I have concluded that if the were creature was able to spend his entire life in a shifted state, he would be able to live as much as a vampire. But, that is of course not the case, and the healing factor that is present in their regular form is enough to sufficiently triple their expected life-spam. I also feel obliged to say that this, is a theory, and as I've stated before, the pack culture prevents me from discovering the fact.
This tangent was necessary to make a comparison between the lycans, vampires and Foul-Bloods, and the simple fact that the latter have not been present for the amount of time that the previous two have, lead me to believe that their longevity could be closer to the vampire, but if the unfortunate discovery is made that in fact it resembles the lycan, I would have doomed myself to the depraved lifestyle of a cannibal.
Now that I have properly addressed lifespan, I would like to speak about something that has not been addressed before, information that I have confirmed as fact, and have seen happening firsthand. It is common knowledge by now that the Foul-Blood sickness has two stages, a first stage where the victim is constantly being put back together, a limbo of immortality where fire is the only way out. There is also a second stage, where the victim starts to suffer mutations, and eventually this superior body becomes something difficult to kill even when being subjected to the ailments used to hunt his kind down.
There is however, a final stage, and the only other living creature in this world beside the Great Queen Anaisse, that I would call a god. I've taken to calling these beings the Abyssal Ones, and they seem to be derived from what they were in their awakened state, but to a level magnified to a point where a small army would have trouble against these creatures. I've been musing the thought of what sort of tragedy would befall upon the world if a being such as this would find itself in conflict with Queen Anaisse... Tis's a very amusing thought indeed.
The process from which this seems to occur is when the mutated flesh is allowed to feast on those who are as twisted as them. An awakened being in his full strength would need to consume other awakened beings to achieve this state, truly, an interesting aspect to their evolution."
I pray that the extract above is the furthest from the truth as possible, and I pray that the hunters have the strength to best them even if these nightmares are out there.
Extract taken from Father Isaiah, Bishop of the Church of The Archangel
The Foul-Blood have many natural weaknesses that hunters have exploited over the years to kill them. Foul-Bloods can't heal with potions, instead of healing for the amount the potion provides, they take that much damage instead. Antidotes also do not work with them, simply having no effect. Other alchemical solutions work just fine. Foul-Bloods have a very strong weakness to fire, taking 50% additional fire damage from all sources.
A Foul-Blood can use his Swift Action each turn to regain health, this is apparent, as his skin will stretch and tear so that the hundreds of serpentine worms that make up his internal tissues can properly stitch his flesh back together. Regenerating with this template is VERY noticeable, keep that in mind. The First Stage has 5 ranks, and with each rank gained in this template, you recover one additional health with your recovering action, 1-5.
The second stage is the first awakening of a Foul-Blood, and it Foul-Blood creatures may mutate into three different versions.
Beings of this strain are able to forcibly dislocate their joints, elongate their limbs, and in their final stage to grow extra limbs.
Beings of this strain are able to tear their muscle tissue to force exaggerated growth, and are able to force their skin to harden into durable scabs to increase their defense.
Beings of this strain are unaffected by any alchemical effect, be it potions or poisons, their blood also turns into a potent toxin, allowing them to breathe out clouds of toxic venom, and use their own blood as a poison.
Rarest breed of Foul-Blood, beings of the third stage develop characteristics of two second stage scenarios at once. Third stage beings are truly a sight to behold, nearly invincible, and quite possibly the rarest creatures in Entheria.