The War of Horrors
Plague of Skoulos
The Plague of Skoulos is an aberrant disease devised by the eponymous half- daelkyr archmage from the Great Black Salt Marsh. It begins with a “parent” parasite which forcibly enters a host via the throat. This parent organism resembles something between a severed octopus tentacle and an earthworm, and is roughly the size of an adult ferret. After passing the esophagus and entering the stomach, the parent rapidly births a plethora of smaller “child” parasites, which in turn convert the host into an ideal delivery system for the contagion.
Those afflicted with the plague adopt reptilian, amphibian and/or insectoid traits. They instinctively seek to infect others with the disease, which is accomplished by expelling a blue-green excretion containing thousands of parasitic worms. The gestation time for this infection is measured in hours, and the effects are both pernicious and irreversible.
In some cases, the contagion can be cured by killing the daelkyr (or daelkyr-kin) that initiated the plague. The parent organisms are created using the flesh of a daelkyr or daelkyr descendant, along with a ritual to channel the energies of Xoriat into them. Since the parasites feed on these energies to sustain their preternatural metabolism, severing their link to Xoriat (the daelkyr or kin) starves them in short order. However, only those who have been very recently infected are likely to recover.
During the Daelkyr War, manifest zones to Xoriat existed in multiple places on Eberron. Within those zones, the infected remained completely incurable and self-sustaining, as the energy of Xoriat surged forth in a raw, unfettered form. Should Xoriat ever become coterminous with Eberron again, the Plague of Skoulos might become a serious, widespread pandemic.