Ela Oarich Yu

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In the Arid Wastes, known as the Ngahe by those who live there, a plague of the mind is spreading. Day by day the Lsakia fall prey to it as their people endure insanity-inducing nightmares, suicides the victims never return from, and other mysterious disappearances. Those afflicted who remain lucid long enough to speak at all scream about profane geometry and the perfection of flesh, but even those desperate cries represent danger, a contagious madness that burns its way through the isolated desert tribe. Old Kyanan rites and blessed tinctures have managed to still the worst nightmares of the tormented and even offer some protection to those unafflicted, but all know these are but stopgaps, not cures.

Now an encampment has appeared in the Ngahe on the long trade route to Ashta Harrud, swarming with black-clad guards and diverse scholars alike. Though tight-lipped, rumors abound of an Isetatan infestation unlike anything ever seen by any living void scholar, and with it the looming threat of a power capable of transforming the desert and every living thing in it into twisted mockeries of flesh. Even the most power-hungry void scholar would pause before treating with such a power, but the lure is great, and tensions mount as word spreads.

But disquieting rumors of flesh-eating insanity in the desert are not the only things pushing people to discontent. The continent of Avendar and the lands beyond it have begun suffering from food shortages due to years of increasing crop failures and livestock death. Fruit withers and rots on the vine while curious blights scythe through fields of cereal crops, leaving them black and desiccated in the span of days; entire herds of cattle go rabid and starve themselves to death and birds lay eggs full of blood or pus. As food prices skyrocket, something felt even by the well-off, the common people starve. Though nothing to clearly link it to the problems in the Ngahe have been found, some begin to wonder if they are connected, and if this is but an omen of what is coming.

As ever when out of options, people begin to look to adventurers to craft solutions. But what can adventurers do about hungry people and hungry demon lords?

What indeed.