{AUTHOR'S NOTE: This article was created after an extremely stressful attempt at an interview with my colleague, Finley Greenhopper. Truth be told, I was present during an unfortunate discovery of an infected staff member wandering the lower halls of the station. H1-C-FIN101 (a.k.a. PINWHEEL) was put into lockdown. You'll find my pathetic attempt at a podcast below.   Sue me...it was the best I could do.}    
Adventurer beware.
It creeps upon you invisible, waiting for the perfect moment.
…when you least expect, and when you are the least prepared to defend yourself.  

Finley Greenhopper

   

Biology of Terror

The Fungal Horror is a total anomaly of extreme adaptation within the deadly environment of the Dragons Chasm. Its specialized gene mutation grants abilities unlike anything previous discovered: the occupation of scavenged remains to use as frames for hunting.  
Fungal_Symptoms-symptoms.png
Infected Gnome
The young form of ‘Kammorianas’ act as parasites on a living host until strong enough, using special muscle-like fibers to enter the skin, granting access to the internal organs as a food source. Once the organs are consumed, the parasite wraps around the bone structure of the host (now dead prey), enabling it to use the shell in a limited capacity.   Soon after its victory over the host, the fungal horror will fall into a hibernation state. This is when something truly extraordinary occurs, and previously thought impossible: the parasite analyzes and mutates small amounts of the hosts DNA!   In mundane terms—it copies the biological blueprint of its host to better use its body!!   This distinct fact has allowed the fungal horror to rank high in the food chain of animals for hundreds of years.    

Colony Creatures

The Fungal Horror isn't a single organism, but a highly complex and organized colony of sub-species in the kammorianas family, connected by neural 'veins', used to transport nutrients and information to the various units. Each of a Fungal Horrors limbs and other individual units can function independently.   The colony receives its nutrients from its one and only 'internal' organ--a large stomach-like cavity located in its upper abdomen. this stomach houses a special fungus, which breaks down and absorbs any food that is provided.  

Infestation on H1-C-FIN101

Growth rates and eventually the extermination of the fungus were found within the walls of the science station H1-C-FIN101 within the Dragons Chasm.  
Fungal_Symptoms-arm.png
The crew brought back a sample of the FH to be studied. Finley said their first mistake was during the decontamination process, assuming the same preventative measures used daily would counter this lifeform.   They were wrong. It took two weeks to discover who has been infected, the last being a male down in mechanics. The moisture content of the pumproom created a perfect environment for the spores, which grew at an explosive rate once the incubation period was comeplete.   Unlike the rest of the crew, the Kutollum insisted on amputation. Doctors severed the arm before the fungus reached the shoulder, then administered a combination of Lapse and Narcophoseren to both sedate the crewman and place him in a coma. Eleven of the staff died to this abomination before a successful method of treatment was discovered.  

The Magical Cure

Fungal_Symptoms-bed.png
The only method known to eradicate the Fungal Horror at this point of research is intense heat. Open flame will destroy any residue of the spores existence--but how do you apply heat to infected blood?   That's where the brilliance of the Techno-Mägo came into play. Finley's resident gnome mägo suggested they send for a Fire Warden. Specialized mägo used to control fires in larger cities, yes--but the more skilled were known to transfer heat in specific ways to...'encourage' compliance during interrogations.   Though the process is painful, the monitored use of Lapse allowed for the process to succeed. Patients were extremely weak for nearly a month before full recovery, and in two cases a blood transfusion was required before recovery occured.   Staff is now tested weekly as standard protocol. No new cases have been found.  

Cultural Significance

Right now, there is none.   The general population of the world doesn't know the Fungal Horror exists. There's so much we have yet to discover about this adaptive parasite--but for now, the damn thing is contained in a geographical region no one can, or wants to venture into.   With the exception of the refined blood, still being tested by Finley Greenhopper's team, the only good Fungal Horror is a dead one.
Stages of Growth
{cl. Animoytamycologene Kammorianas}
The Fungal Horror first infects its victims.

INFECTION

{avg incubation time: 2-5 days}
Parasites infect a host in a multitude of ways using airborne tactics. Spores can infect through inhalation or through direct exposure to open wounds (scratches/cuts). We have discovered infection rates depend largely upon atmosphere/temperature.
The Fungal Horror causes death in its host.

DEATH

{avg rate: 3 days--at the peak of spore growth}
Feeding off the blood cells of the host, it hides its presence by encouraging minor symptoms of illness. These include repeated fevers, bladder infections, lung infections causing coughs and difficulty breathing, and mouth sores. As the feasting advances, this will cause fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, increased heart rate, intense headaches, and a loss of skin color.
Consumption is next for the Fungal Horror, eating flesh and organs, then going into a dormant state.

CONSUMPTION

{avg rate: 6 days--depends upon size of host}
Once the host is dead, the fungus then consumes most types of skin (with the exception of dragons), organs, and muscle, animating long enough to put down 'roots' to seek further nourisment for up to 14 days.
Lastly, the Fungal Horror uses the DNA to learn how to use the hosts shell to hunt and grow its colony.

FULL ANIMATION

{avg rate: 14 days--fugus becomes a lvl 1 predator}
Falls into a dormant state where it replicates fractions of the DNA of its host 'shell'. With enough tissue replicated, the Fungal Horror will now use the host shell for its own purposes--mainly to hunt and increase in size, so it can spread its spores and obtain further hosts.    
Forms of Fungus
Though we fear the end result of this creature, taking over the bodies of hosts, it should be noted that both growth and dormant states are equally dangerous...
The Fungal Horror has been found to collect on stalactites and grow slowly on minerals until prey can be found.
A) Fungus on stalactite
  (A) Fungal Horror's don't always move. When a host cannot be found, the fungus will seek a nutrient-rich supply to feed upon until another option is located, such as mineral packed stactites, stalagtites, and stagnant deposits.  
Fungal spores will adhere to and attack any host it can come in contact with through both air and touch.
B) Fungal Horror Spores
  (B) ...under the microscope, we've seen the progression and sheer agression of this dominating species.  
The moment conditions are optimal, the fungal will attack the cells and living tissue of its host.
C) Aggressive Mutation
  (C) The level of aggression we witnessed was unlike anything we'd seen before. When conditions are right (temperature and the lack of Narcophoseren), these spores will mutate and attack both the red and white blood cells of the host.  
Analyzing useful portions of a hosts DNA
D) Assimilated DNA Strands
  (D) Once the host has been dispatched, the Fungal Horror will analyze and assimilate portions of the hosts DNA.
"It wasn't a hard decision to make.
End up screaming like the poor bastard from Deck 4?
Hell no.
Take the arm."
— Kaden - Mechanic
   
Medicinal Blood
The super adaptive genes in the nutrient-rich "neural" veins of the Fungal Horror, are probably the most effective 'non-magical' medicine discovered to date.   The regenerative properties of this liquid are incredible!   It copies the cells of whatever it is injected into--person or animal--and copies the cells of the patient it is administrated to, regenerating their flesh at an alarming rate.  
 
 
fire-warden-3.png
With Reluctant Assistance

  The extreme danger of this discovery has led to the approval of experimental magic being performed.   The University of Magic has gone against its established protocol -- vetting and approving a short list of mägo adept in the rare arts of heat exchange.   These four individuals (who shall remain unnamed for their sake and the reputation of our beloved University) have been of great service to our lord and king, the honorary King Robert III and have his approval in their change of service.   We have come to the conclusion that Fire Wardens are best suited to address this crisis.   Our hope is to prevent the spread of this fungal abomination into the world. If we can train those with the gift to control fire --we may be able to provide a line of defence (and healing) in later generations.  
University of Magic
   
I wanted to make sure I shared this terrifying tidbit I gleaned from my adventure of doing that interview with Finley...   Apparently he has been prepping and working on solutions for this species, developing a containment suit and some forms of decontamination--because the kingdoms are going to send adventurers INTO the Dragon's Chasm.   ...on PURPOSE.   For those too young to remember, every fourteen years is the The Race of Seven Sons--a tribute to the original sons of Arödrin. This race, which is some serious competition, grants the winning kingdom a 'favor' from the losers, which has been prised for centuries.   Problem here, is that the races are always tough as hell, and nasty.   Finley tells me that the race this coming winter will be IN the Dragon's Chasm...and is one of the reasons he's been striving for a solution with this damnable fungus.   MY question is--who in the 'right' mind would ever WANT to go into the chasm?  
Höbin

 
Fungal_Horror_Dragon.png

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
25 Mar, 2021 07:37

Hi! Glad to see this new publication! This is quite the horrific lifeform.   As always with your article, the format and artworks are great, and there isn't much to say about these.   I just have a few questions/suggestions:   How long does the whole process take? It seems this is a sort of mushroom, so I suppose it would take a few days at least to take over its host, but this seems a bit unclear in the article. Perhaps you can add a time information somewhere?   You didn't give any geographic indication on where this creature exists. Do you plan on doing so - so that I can avoid going there? Or can it be find virtually anywhere?   I really liked the fact that given enough time to study its properties, the fungus could actually be used for medicinal purposes: it definitely adds a good bit of depth in the entry.   Finally, I just noted a typo at "the occupation os scavenged remains...": should be of.   That's it for me! Keep up the great work.

With love,   Pouaseuille.   I finally participated to The Costume Challenge: here's an entry if you like!
25 Mar, 2021 14:41

Thank you, Pouaseuille - this is precisely why I ask for feedback, so I know what I might have missed. The good news is that the article isn't complete yet...so your suggestions are awesome =)   I will get those time periods inserted--have notes right here.
Not sure if you noticed, but the geographic indication on where this creature exists was in the first sentence of the article: The Dragons Chasm (with link).   Now, we have not uploaded the massive ecosystem contained in the Dragons Chasm--but fans of the books know what it is. However--I agree with you--and more information should be both given and made easier to find.   Thank you for he feedback!

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
25 Mar, 2021 08:23

Now that's creepy. :-o

25 Mar, 2021 14:43

EXCELLENT!!

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
25 Mar, 2021 14:54

Also I like all the drawing you made. Awesome article. Besides it being creepy. :D

26 Mar, 2021 08:34

Even BETTER!!

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
25 Mar, 2021 09:13

Amazing fungi! And so very creepy, I love it XD   And your art is amazing too! It's both very pretty and compliment well the article. I especially love the header, it really highlight how creepy your fungi XD   I know you said you're not finished yet, but I'll still highlight a few questions I had while reading.   What I'm wondering right now is if the fungi is specialised in certain kind of animals, with maybe different subspecies of fungi specialised in different type of prey. You say it analyse the host DNA so it probably have a degree of adaptation, but it would be easier for it to have a certain number of specimen memorised, and then when it goes in to a new host it recognises a gene specific to that species and go on with its metabolism.   Or if you don't want to limit the abilities and dangerousness of your fungi, you can always says that if it does keep previous host in memory and that when it encounters one again, it recognise it and the infection is much faster   And the option question: is the fungi able to attack a human? How long does the infection process take? Is there anyway to stop it once it has started?   Though, I'm also wondering why this fungi has not taken over world by now, with how dangerous it is. What are its limitations? It needs prey of course, but it could go on until its prefer species dies off and then either die to or switch to a new one.

25 Mar, 2021 14:51

(...takes a deeeep breath)
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.......   This is the kind of response I live for.   Correct, the article is not complete--mainly because we are having to determine what information will fit into the limited 2500 word count. If I had free reign, I'd likely be done about now. What do we cut? What questions do we address so that the article is well rounded until AFTER the competition?   Not easy.   We DO have information to address all your questions--and one of the next segments is how the FH both affects humanoids, as well as growth rates/memory/cure.   So stay tuned...because your questions helped me solidify what needed to be addressed.   Thank You!

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
26 Mar, 2021 11:38

I love the new additions! I like the details that it's a colony (although when you sat "he Fungal Horror isn't a single plant", technically fungi are not plant at all") and the fact that its scientific expedition that found them.   Just a few comments: " after two weeks we discovered who has been infected, with the exception of a member of mechanics" this sentence is not very clear. Is the mechanic the only one infected or the only one not infected?   " They lost eleven of their staff to this abomination before this method was discovered." Is the "they" the rest of the crew of the member of the medical staff? If that's the later, you need to say that they became contaminated during the procedure.   " in a geographical region no one can, or wants to venture" is missing an "into" at the end.   I love " to...'encourage' compliance during interrogations."

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
26 Mar, 2021 11:38

Oh and I love the new drawings!

26 Mar, 2021 15:41

You are amazing...thank you for the feedback.   Corrections made--clarity achieved!

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
2 Apr, 2021 06:53

And you've added a lot more cool things! I love this interview in the closet XD It answers a lot more question – I love the explanation for dragon fire! – and the atmosphere of the interview of great with all the screaming and dying in the background XD   And love the new drawings and parchment unrolling. The people who looked at it under a microscope were very brave and foolish, I wouldn't want my face close to that thing!

2 Apr, 2021 13:10

"The people who looked at it under a microscope were very brave and foolish, I wouldn't want my face close to that thing!"   .....that goes for both of us!!

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
25 Mar, 2021 14:26

Ewwwwww, I love it. The sidebar with the different growth stages is fascinating. I really like the hidden section too. Great job, Jaime! :D

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
25 Mar, 2021 14:52

Thank you so much, Doc!   ....more to come.   (Just trying to finish up the artwork...)

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
26 Mar, 2021 11:22

I love the new art!!

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
26 Mar, 2021 15:42

So glad!   ....now it's time for the audio.

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
25 Mar, 2021 15:00

Fungal HORROR indeed! It's a parasitic zombie mutant aaahhhh! I love the growth stage sketches--just the right side of terrifying transformation. How long does it take to achieve those steps on something mouse-sized? Is...is there a cure?


You can do this! I believe in you!
To Do List Adventures: RPG + interactive fiction for your goals
Luridity (Luridity's romance, so unlike TDLA, 18+ and nsfw)
Höbin Luckyfeller
Höbin Luckyfeller
26 Mar, 2021 08:46

Oh dear, you have NO IDEA how scary this thing is!!   Had a hard enough time writing the article, but when they discovered some of this stuff, I was locked away in a containment cell, trying not to wet my pants...or BREATHE! The entire station was on lockdown as they dealt with the infection.   Got a part of it on audio--trying to clean up the recording, so I can put it on the article...   In the end, the poor buggers from mechanics had to be put down, rest their souls...but they were able to save Dr. Nutclank from research, thanks to a clever idea by King Robert III and assistance from Dax.   ...I'll explain more in the article later today. Promise.   I guess I should say cure? Not so much. Can the Fungal Horror be killed? Yes.

26 Mar, 2021 20:42

That sounds like an excruciatingly rough time! Being trapped while an infection goes on a rampage must have been horrible. Proud of you for facing the memories so bravely; the FH may not be beyond Dragons Chasm yet, but sharing the information on such a threat is vital! I'm glad you escaped with memories only, and nothing worse, like the poor affected folks who caught it before it was discovered (and after, really) that the FH could be successfully...disarmed.


You can do this! I believe in you!
To Do List Adventures: RPG + interactive fiction for your goals
Luridity (Luridity's romance, so unlike TDLA, 18+ and nsfw)
29 Mar, 2021 16:05

Oh don't listen to Höbin, Dani--he's just complaining.   When he got back, he was laughing when WE talked--because he LOVES crazy adventures! You know he's got cybernetic parts for a REASON...   He loves traveling to places other researchers won't go--and will take risks the rest of us would turn, and run full speed away from!!

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
25 Mar, 2021 15:25

Ooo DELIGHTFUL!!   Now, while I think over this WONDERFUL bit of information, I do have a question!   Plants are efficient, plants are great... they also are incredibly adaptive. So, as this is a colony creature ... would one moss colony try to consume another moss colony if there was no other food source?   And!   Most species fall into both "prey" and "predator". It is quite apparent what this ADORABLE Fungal of Doom here uses as prey and a food source. After all, everyone has to eat. But what considers this fungus a tasty snack in the food chain?   Does this Happy Little Fungus work in symbiosis with any other moss or other species in its native habitat? Something that works with the Fungus to better enrich life for both... because, no matter if Fungal of Doom or Delightful Murder Moss...   ... everyone needs a friend!

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
Höbin Luckyfeller
Höbin Luckyfeller
26 Mar, 2021 08:53

"...would one moss colony try to consume another moss colony if there was no other food source?"   Not that I understand. If the fungal lacks a food source, it will go dormant once it expends its energy--and then go into a final stage where it produces spores to release into the atmosphere.   ...as for the food chain question, I'll ask with Finley and get back to you.   Or the article.   HAHAHAHAHA! 'Delightful Murder Moss',....love that.

25 Mar, 2021 16:50

Cooooooooool! And creeeeeeeeeeepy! I love the artwork of the hosts/corpses! (Though that poor lil adorable mouse!)   At first I thought this fungus would only take over smaller hosts, like mice, but then I saw the image of the dragon corpse at the bottom :O Now THAT'D be terrifying. Once a fungus-corpse starts walking around and hunting, how does one kill it? Since it's a colony, and not a single entity, I imagine it's a lot harder than simply "destroy the brain/heart" or anything like that?   I'm also curious as to whether or not there's a limit to what kind of host the fungus can take! Are all organic beings with blood susceptible to this fungus?

Cathedris, the world of God-Husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
Höbin Luckyfeller
Höbin Luckyfeller
26 Mar, 2021 08:59

Excellent questions...   The only known method to truly 'kill' the Fungal Horror is heat.   Simple, basic, but effective.   The other things you'll need to understand is that the whole area of Dragon's Chasm is a unique ecosystem, where a humanoid would be overcome very quickly just from the salt content in the air, drying them out in a matter of hours.   We don't know if the spores would even survive in our natural atmosphere--but we do know that this fungus cannot survive OR goes completely dormant when exposed to certain areas of the Chasm.   I have no idea what limit the Fungal Horror has when it comes to hosts. Thus far we have seen this species adapt to all animal forms we've offered it.

26 Mar, 2021 07:43

Neat zombie fungus! I'd love to know how widespread it is and how it can be killed. I particularly liked the stages of growth of the fungus, showcased on the rat. Both the text and the images are spot on.   PS: In this sentence "the parasite analyzes and mutates small amounts of the hosts DNA replication", you can leave "replication" out. So the final bits of the paragraphs read as so:

the parasite analyzes and mutates small amounts of the hosts DNA! In mundane terms—it copies the biological blueprint of its host to better use its body!!

Höbin Luckyfeller
Höbin Luckyfeller
26 Mar, 2021 09:01

Appreciate the assist on the correction.   As for being widespread, we have zero cases on record outside the Dragon's Chasm.

Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
28 Mar, 2021 07:15

Yikes. Perhaps this was not the best article to read while having breakfast. I was too intrigued to stop reading though. Your artwork is as always so good. I love the stages of growth section, but that poor rat! I enjoyed reading. :)

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
29 Mar, 2021 16:08

Thanks Runn19, but don't feel bad--Finley's known to eat peanut butter sandwiches while dissecting his latest beast discovered in the Chasm.   Grosses me out just thinking about it.

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
28 Mar, 2021 16:19

Great illustrations, as always. Loved the States of Growth sidebar. And the podcast interview was a great touch! Your stuff just gets better and better, and it was already great!

29 Mar, 2021 16:09

Awwww, thanks Chris. Sure appreciate compliments from those I admire.   I'm trying to do better. Trying hard.

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
2 Apr, 2021 12:15

Such a nice article and creepy fungus! Love the art, layout and writing style you used here. Also kind of interesting that a torture method actually can be used as a cure XD Those hidden parchement spoilers are a nice addition as well.   I have seen one possible issue with a sentence though: "Fungal Horror don't always move". Is Fungal Horror also the plural because otherwise it seems strange with the verb.   I still have a question as well. You said that it actually has a large stomach like organ. Could this part of the fungus actually be destroyed in order to starve it?   In all great article!

Feel free to check out summer camp overviewif you want to see what I am up to!
2 Apr, 2021 12:40

Welcome Kefkejaco =)   Thank you for that catch--will fix ASAP--and good question. The answer is "no"--you cannot, at least PINWHEEL has not been able to, starve the fungus. Though Finley calls it an 'organ' it's still a collection of fungi and can repair/adjust/reset any damage to it.   The biggest problem is getting TO the stomach--just attempting to get within the vicinity to attempt such a feat puts a person at great risk. Not advisable.   Just torch the bugger is what they tell me.

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
2 Apr, 2021 16:28

OOOF. the style is always perfect with your articles and the content is always a joy to read through. Well done once again! I particularly enjoy the extra bits of information in the spoiler like drop boxes. Not sure what to call those, but I love them. The shear amount of work put into this is baggling. The illustrations are awesome, and you clearly took your time and thought this through. Great work and good luck. This is one of the strongest contenders I've seen thus far.

2 Apr, 2021 23:58

That's quite the compliment coming from you. I'm a fan of The Web--and anyone who reads this and has not read your opening statement of the world in your signature, is ignorant of it's existence, or a fool.   IMO   ...and those drop boxes are exactly what they look like: Scrolls.   I wanted to have some extra info Höbin could pour his heart into and have it look cool---something fun to click on and to discover something fun and new for readers.   Strange---I'm NOT a competitive person by nature, but I hope I have a shot at winning this particular challenge because I loved doing this one so much. =)   ...but I've always agreed at who has been picked for winners so far---so crossing my fingers. I found a few that made my jaw drop.

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
3 Apr, 2021 03:05

OOOO yess indeed. scrolls would be a perfect description. why didnt i think of that?! I appreciate the kind words. The web is among one of my fav worlds to write in. Im glad it's enjoyed by you as well. While not generally competitive, i cant help but hope as well. It's certainly a good way to test skills though. Everyone is always bringing their best, you included. I usually agree with winners as well, and wish you luck! its certainly deserving of it.

3 Apr, 2021 12:31

Scrolls.....just wanted to add a little fantasy flavor to the look. =)

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
5 Apr, 2021 08:13

The artwork is just incredible on this one - I especially like the poor dragon at the bottom :D Awesome stuff

5 Apr, 2021 22:59

Thanks, Qurilion!   Loved making it =)

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
11 Apr, 2021 22:51

.. Zombie-plant?! Burn the damn thing down with fire! Set the entire chasm ablaze!

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
12 Apr, 2021 08:15

HAHAHAHA.....   I was sitting down for dinner and my son asked, "Did we get any new comments after doing the podcast audio?"   Read him your comment.   He burst out laughing.   (grin)

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
Powered by World Anvil