Delilah dipped her hands in the ceremonial bowl and rubbed the water across her palms and fingers, but it was difficult to get them clean. The water was stained with dirt and blood from previous washings but it would have to suffice, fresh water was in short supply right now.
Her patient moved and reached for the empty pail once more. He groaned in pain from the cramps in his torso as his stomach heaved but the retching was now dry - the poor man had already filled the bucket twice and now his stomach had nothing more to give up.
She took the bucket from him as he fell back onto the pallet, still groaning from the pain of his cramps. She held the candle to his face, to try and see if his palor had improved but if anything his condition was worsening. His breathing remain deep and laboured, and his skin retained the unnatural grey-blue tint he had shown when he came in but now the skin weas losing its turgor and his eyes seemed like they were receding into his sockets. Delilah was doing everything she could for the man, but the tent was over-crowded with soldiers suffering and her physic's sense told her that this one was not going to recover. She put a hand on his forehead and muttered an invocation to Courage, it was the best she could offer him.
"Physic - the Commander wants to know how soon these soldiers will be fit for duty."
Delilah turned to stare at the young messenger framed in the entrance to the tent. She ground her teeth and reminded herself that it was not the young girl's fault that their commander thought she could just cast a spell and make everyone ready to fight.
"Go and tell Commander Hiram that nobody from this tent will be fit for duty in the morning. But tell him we would gladly welcome his help here in the physics quarters where we have many buckets that need emptying."
The soldier was so young, Delilah wondered how on earth she had managed to pass her Test of Citizenship. She stood staring at Delilah, her mouth aghast. Was she mortified by what Delilah had said or the prospect of having to repeat them to the Commander? Taking pity on the girl she tried again "Tell the Commander that their condition remains critical, but I hope that some of them will recover within a few days. Tell him I urgently need more clean water for them to drink and ask him to spare up to five people from the watch rota to help me tend to their needs."
The girl nodded and looked relieved but only for a moment. Delilah handed her the full pail filled with the noxious clear waste her patient had passed earlier. A strange fishy odour hung over the bucket... could it be this illness was connected to the sea she wondered? "Empty this - into the pits mind - and be careful not to spill a drop on yourself."
She looked down at her hands and realized she had failed to follow her own advice. She sighed and reached for the bowl.
The Druj in Reikos appear to be falling back before the Highborn advance, and instead attempting to drive the Empire back with foul magics and pestilence. Two weeks before the Summer solstice, a terrible disease strikes the Valiant Pegasus and despite all the precautions taken, the Granite Pillar and the Quiet Step are both soon also affected.
The plague is virulent and noxious in the extreme. Those who catch it suffer tiredness and the most appalling diarrhea and vomiting lasting for days, in many cases the symptoms are so bad that many of the victims succumb to the effects. The outbreak is not confined to the armies - it is clear that the inhabitants of Reikos are also afflicted - but as is so often the case the problems are significantly worse for the soldiers billeted in close ranks.
The population of Reikos is suffering badly from the effects of the disease, and those brave souls who own property there will experience significant problems. Civil servants estimate that every resource in an affected territory will produce only three quarters of what could normally be expected for as long as the plague endures. Much worse will be the impact on the soldiers of the Imperial armies - the three forces affected by the disease are expected to lose one-in-ten of their number each season they suffer.
At present the contagion appears to be limited to Reikos, but long experience with outbreaks of disease have shown that the three Imperial armies currently stationed in Reikos will certainly carry the disease with them wherever they travel. If an affected army leaves Reikos then any lands they pass through will become infected with the disease.
The Empire will naturally be keen to solve the plague quickly. If the disease is a spontaneous outbreak, then the Empire can hope it will run it its course within a few seasons but if it is caused by some malignant scheme of the Druj then there is no saying how long it could last. What is clear is that the quicker the healers of the Empire can find some way to deal with this plague, the more lives will be saved.
If your character has been present in Reikos this downtime, then you may have contracted the flux. You do not need to, not all characters present in Reikos have been affected, but some have, especially those working with one of the the Imperial armies present in the territory.
If you want your character to have contracted the sickness, then please ask in GOD when you collect your pack - they will give you a symptoms card giving you the rules and effects for the disease.
Resolution (After the Summer Solstice)
The flux continues to ravage the beleagured territory. In combination with the continuing thunderous rains, the effects are particularly savage with regard to farms and businesses. The armies of the Granite Pillar and Quiet Step have withdrawn from Reikos. The flux has apparently been burnt from the soldiers of these two armies by potent rituals of the realm of Day wielded by Imperial magicians and focused through the generals. The Valiant Pegasus remains, and will surely suffer the full effects of exposure to the flux - as will any other Imperial army entering the territory until the scourge is finally defeated.
So far, the flux does not appear to have spread outside the borders of Reikos.
OOC Note: You can read about the effects the flux had on the Imperial campaign in Reikos prior to the Autumn Equinox here.
During the Autumn Equinox, a herbal cure was uncovered for the Reikos Flux. The territory of Reikos was filled with Spring magic, using the Urizen army, the Citadel Guard, as a focus. Cleansing rain quickly washed away the remaining signs of the flux. While a few individuals still have the sickness, the armies and citizens of Reikos have been cured of the disease.