Somerwood Sickness

Somerwood Sickness, named after the small glade near Elysian City's Western Forest, is a phenomenon of strange hallucinatory events in Somerwood Glade, attributed to reports from Novari soldiers during the Occupation. A report compiled by the Elysian Informer on October 12th detailed these accounts.

"Somerwood Sickness" Baffles Keepers, Keeps Novari Awake At Night

EC - OCT 12 - Elysian Informer -

Somerwood has been a favourite picnic spot for generations of Elysians, that up until the war conjured friendly images of the full bounty of baumy Southern summers. But recently, the name has evoked fear and trebidation in the city instead as reports of a "waking nightmare" experienced by soldiers come flooding in.

During the last campaign of the Occupation War, rumours began to circulate of a strange effect on Novari and Arrym soldiers that fought against our own Peace Keepers on the scenic grounds. These effects lie in the supernatural imagination to say the least, and even the most senior Magister Scholars of Elysian City have been left baffled and dismissive by these claims. Difficult to ignore, however, is their numbers. After the Battle of Somerwood this spring, census-takers reported similar claims from over 600 Novari soldiers, with similar numbers in the Arrym medical camp. Many of the claims described spectral horrors inflicted on their minds; living nightmares from which they could not escape, and, some Peace Keepers say, were the only explanation for their dark horse victory over the combined Horde during the two-week campaign to secure the forest.

" We had several Novari men surrender directly to us," said Eli Sykes, Constable of Elysian City, who was Forward Commander during the Battle, " They offered to let us take them prisoner, if only we could 'give them the antidote' to what they claimed we had poisoned them with. One individual if I recall, uh, was convinced that his, uh, squadmate was a large, winged wood stove, if I recall. He begged we offer him sanctuary, and that the wood stove was, uh… trying to… to inhale his gonads."

Sykes, a well-known soldier and decorated veteran, seemed off-put by the questions. Upon asking more about the origin of these strange hallucinations and visions, he said " I wasn't sure about providing an antidote for whatever, uh, substances… the Novari were, uh… consuming at that time. The men and I had it figured they were all out of their minds on giggle-grass, since we knew the Arrym had been getting into that… Needless to say, these events turned the tide of the fight."

But Novari voices have not silenced in the year and a half since the decisive but surprising Elysian victory. They demand the individuals responsible in the Elysian military be brought to justice for war crimes, under the newly-established War Crimes amendment of the Coalition Agreement.

" I think if the Colonials expect to have the War Crimes stuff upheld in all cases, like they pushed for to get it added to the Coalition… They [Elysian Colonials] are going to have to put their money where their maw is and apply it justly in all cases."

Words spoken by Tella Pragsson, Military Liaison for the Novari Party, pointed the blame squarely on some element within the Coalition Government on the Elysian side. Pragsson feels, like some others in the lesser known Novari Separatist movement, that elements in both government conspired, through the use of experimental new magicke techniques, to inflict these bizarre effects on soldiers, in order to bring the war to a timely end.

" We had guys thinking their dead childhood pets were crawling out of their underclothes and gnawing at their extremities… We had soldiers reduced to humiliating delusions, thinking their parents were chasing them, dressed as clowns, with kitchen knives." Pragsson paused, taking in the severity of the events with some disbelief.

" We want the individuals responsible to know that these sorts of tactics will not be tolerated. They violate the sanctity of the bodies of soldiers and go against the terms of engagement agreed upon by all Kingdoms and nations. I think this is the first big test of the Coalition Agreement… whether it really holds the water that the Colonials say it does."

Several front-line soldiers from the now-disbanded Novari Expeditionary Force report first-hand their experiences. Nord Flagstur, infantry says " It was the most God-awful thing I ever seen. The ground dropped from underneath me… I was runnin' on nothin' and then it felt soft, and I looked and I fell in and I was chokin' and drownin'… An' it was a big lake of loogie.. An' I hate loogies……" Young, Flagstur's long stare sunk his face with shock " How did they know bout my brother loogeyin' on me when we were kids?"

Another soldier, Rex Thorm, reported being able to stave off the assaults through a strong use of "willpower", reassuring himself of the illusion of the events " I just kept tellin' myself as I ran across the trench… ' There is no poisonous hydra burstin' from my anus.'"

Strong, and stern, but visibly disturbed by his experience, he described the event in terms few proud soldiers would admit, let alone make up, " I was lookin' around at my mates, and I saw them losing it, an' I just kept repeatin' it to myself, tellin' myself it wasn't happening… "

Meanwhile, voices on both sides are attempting to sort through the cloud of rumours concerning the event. Newly acclaimed Mayor-elect Gudrin Osterlund declined to comment, despite his recent media friendliness.

But where do these strange hallucinations come from? There are other isolated reports throughout the war detailing similar experiences, all in and around Elysian City. However, the regions indicated, as well as Somerwood itself, have been quiet from all unusual activity since. Some have pointed to a strange spike in psychotropic activity in the nearby runestone deposits, known for causing magickal calamity before in the early Colonial days. The Magisters Guild have openly implicatedLithius Kensen. " If you want to know about spook stories, look to the West Woods, and the biggest spook story of all. We have been forthright many times before in warning of the dangers of 'rogue magicke'… If the Mayoress had deigned to investigate this issue in a timely manner, some years ago, then we would know now, and bring the.. individuals, to justice", said a Magister's spokesperson who preferred to remain unnamed, " Our hopes rest on Mayor-elect Osterlund to not play politics, and correct some of his predecessor's… inequities."

But the Guild has not been the only one, despite their well-publicized dislike of the former Duke and enigmatic socialite. Some other voices in the rumour circle have pointed the blame in the same direction.

We reached Balestarius, a senior Constable in the Peace Keepers and high-ranking officer during the war. He attributes it all to "scapegoating".
"Whatever it was has come and gone. With all that happened in the war, I'm disappointed to hear this sort of nonsense while we're all still trying to mourn our lost. We all know it's disrespectful to try and cook up these stories and try and play the blame game… Not to mention all this talk about witchcraft… It's un-Templar if you ask me." The large Daruni paused, seeming to weigh whether to take the issue seriously, and wore a more severe look. " But, I suppose people find ways of dealing with it."

Kale Ausa - Elysian Informer - Oct 12

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