The Doom That Came to Sarnath
Gods dwell in the lands of Maynar. From the tiny hive gods that pollute the Undercity to the towering Wild Gods of the Greening Yawp, no stretch of the continent is untouched by the gods and their accompanying auras, which the learned of Sarnath call “radiance”.
Radiance exudes from a god like heat from a fire; unseen, and capable of being both blessing and curse. The radiance of smaller gods is a creeping, small thing that can eat at both body and mind. It is mistaken, very often, for a simple cancer, although it may be accompanied by more desirable side effects: strength, vitality, foresight, or keen perception. Sometimes the afflicted is given to euphoric fugues or will speak in tongues with unseen beings. Sometimes those beings exist, and other times, it is the beginning of madness.
Radiance can escalate into Greenlung, the most advanced condition, if exposure continues. Greenlung is marked by extreme lethargy and a gradual lignification of the body. The afflicted can suffer any number of physical symptoms, but usually the extremities stiffen and the fiber in their muscles toughens. Often, the bronchioles of the lungs will transform into a root like network that can grow until it bursts from the chest.
Radiance in the general sense is usually picked up from the environment of the afflicted. Many scholars contest that it can be carried through vapors in the air, and so Sarnathi wear scented silk scarves over their faces, particularly in the spring and summer when Greenlung is most common. Other scholars claim that it can be carried in the water, although this is not a popular opinion among the knowledgeable. Of course, among the laymen, there is a persistent belief that radiance is a divine punishment, earned by misdeeds. This furthers the ostracization of those already doomed to a short and likely painful few months, but there seems to be little that can be done to uproot this myth.
The relationship between those who suffer from radiance and the god-touched is unclear. Some, notably the now defunct Apothecary Guild believed they were the same, while the Church holds this as heresy. In the public imagination they are two very different phenomenon, at any rate.