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Acquiring a Curse

by: Rikard Prospero

[Ed. Note: Only the parts of his article dealing specifically with the Red Curse have been included. The rest was deleted for brevity.]

Nuwmont 13, AC 1014

The LB Trading Company's ship had put into port at Smokestone City, finally dropping me off at the Savage Coast. The captain had warned me to be careful what I do, as insulting the wrong person will likely get me dead, shot from a Smithy and Westron wheellock pistol. Also, I was warned to visit the local priests regularly to ward off the Red Curse.

I decided to instead let this dreaded Red Curse affect me, curious as to what might happen. I asked around, discovering that the Curse used to be isolated in various remote locations throughout the Savage Baronies. During the dreaded week without magic back in AC 1009, which caused the destruction of Sundsvall, the capital of the former Empire of Alphatia, the Red Curse was let loose and expanded to cover the entire Savage Coast. No one seems to know the cause or how to remove this strange curse which changes those it affects.

Nuwmont 24, AC 1014

It seems that the first indications of the manifestations of the Red Curse are upon me. The tip of my fingernails have turned red, and my hair is more of a blondish-red now. From what I have managed to learn, this is where the beneficial side of the Red Curse will start to take effect. It will give you a strange and magical power called a Legacy, apparently related to your soul and fate, or so claim the priests, anyway.

I have also learned that I do not need to depend on the clerics to keep me safe. A strange mineral called cinnabryl can also keep the negative effects of the curse at bay. The advantage of cinnabryl over the priests is that it will not prevent me from using my Legacy, but the disadvantage is that if I ever run out, I will supposedly suffer from the "Time of Change."

Nuwmont 27, AC 1014

I can feel the power in my hands! I am not sure what it is, but it is something very useful. My fingers tingle with the energy they are now storing, which I will be able to release at will according to my Legacy.

I am now within what the local sages call the "Time of Grace." This period lasts about a week, in which I will believe I am now a super-human, undefeatable because of my powers. They claim it is but an illusion, a negative effect of the Red Curse. I tend to believe them, seeing how at the moment, I feel powerful, yet I still cannot do anything.

My skin is darker than its usual light olive colour. I believe it has been tinted slightly red, but not enough to be visible on itself, just the darkening of the usual colour.

Vatermont 1, AC 1014

My Legacy has finally shown itself, although it required a life and death situation to activate. I had done something - what exactly, I am not yet sure - to offend a gaucho at the Red Steel Saloon, and was forced to a duel. Although handed a wheellock pistol by the man, I hadn't a clue how to use it. Just before the battle started, my clothing ripped as quills sprouted all over my body. I must have looked like a giant humanoid-shaped porcupine. Even more to my surprise, several of the quills shot out, striking my opponent.

I was then arrested for cheating in a duel, but was later released when they discovered I had no idea what I was doing and that the gaucho himself was already wanted by the local authorities.

The authorities urged me to find some cinnabryl before the "Time of Loss" started. I listened to them, but refused to wear it, deciding to see and experience for myself what this big fear is all about.

Vatermont 3, AC 1014

I have now mastered my Legacy. I can summon it when I need, but I seem to only have the energy to call it at most three times before needing to rest and recuperate.

My skin is now a reddish-olive colour, while my hair is almost completely red. The only real big, and usual sight, would be my completely red fingernails.

According to my local contacts, the "Time of Loss" should be starting to affect me now. The funny thing is I have yet to notice anything.

Vatermont 5, AC 1014

This is ridiculous! I have just bought a useless piece of land, in an area I have no intention to travel to, simply on the words of a merchant. I have also noticed other such activities, such as my inability to stop drinking when I want, gambling away all my money, or to make decisions and stick to them.

How naive I have been! All the while, I have been looking for a physical effect during the "Time of Loss," unable to believe that the Red Curse could possibly affect my mind. It seems that this porcupine- missile shooting Legacy is sapping the energy from my willpower.

I have decided to still not use the cinnabryl. Now that I am aware of its detrimental effect, I believe I can be more careful with what I do.

Vatermont 7, AC 1014

The pain is unbelievable. I have started to grow quills throughout my body. Unlike when I used my Legacy, these quills are permanent. Not only that, they pierce my skin as they grow through. Often, I will find that I am bleeding or just fall over in pain. I have started what is called the "Time of Change," and I can no longer take the pain.

As of now, my cinnabryl talisman shall not leave my person.

Vatermont 11, AC 1014

It took an excruciating four days for the quills to disappear and for my body to return to normal. The reddish colouring is still present, however. During those four days, I was bed-ridden in my room in the Red Steel Saloon.

From what I heard, I was lucky. Had I waited any longer, the changes might have been permanent, and I would have become one of the Afflicted. As of now, I am one of the Tainted. I am forced to wear cinnabryl for the rest of my life or suffer even more than during my first "Time of Change." I have also been told to never leave the Cursed Lands or the bordering Haze, as the effects of the curse being purged out of the body are unpredictable and often fatal. This time, I think I will heed their words.

Vatermont 26, AC 1014

I have since learned, through research and careful questioning, that everyone of the age of maturity eventually acquires the Red Curse if they enter the cursed area for more than a week. A border area known as the Haze is sort of a neutral zone where those with and without the red curse can mix freely, without suffering any side effects.

Most Legacies have a name of some sort, although mine is unknown by the people here. They recommend I find an Inheritor, those who master the Legacies and somehow manage to acquire several of them, who can explain more. Perhaps I shall, as I would like to learn more of this mysterious curse.

For those who read this, if you travel to the Savage Coast, listen to the natives, and find a priest or cinnabryl as soon as you arrive. The process of change and transformation is painful beyond belief and I do not wish it upon anyone.