Magic is a disease, you know

They called it an infection. We called it power.

Evil Overlord Games Plague Doctor Mask
Plague Doctor Mask, by Duncan Eagleson.

We don’t know why the infections all happened at once. It was too long ago, longer than history can trace.

They weren’t gathered together when it happened. They didn’t even know each other, weren’t within a hundred miles, or even a hundred years. Timescales were different then: lives shorter, boundaries softer, news much, much slower. They were all in the great fertile cradle of the world, spread out, coming to it from different angles. The stones came to them by chance, by luck, by fate, or whatever the superstitions of the time and place dictated. Someone may have written down their theories, or the prevailing wisdom around such vagaries of chance in the given culture, but those tablets, scrolls, or woven strands were never found.

For ourselves, we imagine the stones moved with slow intent, finding people with power and will, changing them.

A shaman, holding one of the stones,  stepped out of human skin more literally than ever before. A scribe, toying with the power a stone seemed to hold, carved an alphabet that crawled off the tablet. A tender of the dead, laying out bodies for burial, used a stone’s power to raise them instead. Small beginnings, untraceable now.

The words developed through the ages: Werewolf. Mage. Vampire. But the contagions came about without names, without cures. They spread, and for a time, the blessed infected covered the land. But that age, too, is lost to time, and our speculations are just as good as anyone’s, which is to say,  that and $2.50 will buy you a cup at your nearest Cosmic Coffee.

What we do know is this: for centuries – millennia – the plagues we knew grew silent, went underground. Other plagues arose, killing millions, but humans recovered, persisted, swelled and covered the earth. But now…the old plagues are returning, the plagues that come in through the eyes, through the blood, through the skin, the plagues that don’t kill but give life.

Now, you’re one of us. We’ll tell you what we know, what we’ve learned. We’ll do our best. You have new senses now, new limbs, new knowledge, new problems. We wish we could tell you more. But none of us know how it really happened.

But we’re pretty sure that those who do are still alive out there, somewhere.


Susurrus: Season of Tides will be out on browsers in August, 2017. Sign up for our mailing list to receive updates about its development.

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