The Croschen Clap

Also known as Tulips. This is the oldest magical sexually transmitted disease known to exist on the continent. It has a scientific name now thanks to the recent medical documentation push, Treponima floridus, but frankly nobody bothers to remember it and it is little used. The colloquial name is generally assumed to have been adopted after a district in our very own fair city, where the malady became prevalent in the sixth century due to an unusual concentration of prostitutes near the Magicians District of the time.

Symptoms

The sufferer typically becomes aware of the disease with the gradual onset, some twelve to fourteen days post-infection, of brightly coloured spots dancing just within their field of vision. These are often assumed to be floaters or the result of eye problems, and in fact bear an unfortunate resemblance to a harmless condition known as the Alchemists Squint, resulting from a mild exposure to alchemical fumes. This has led to many misdiagnoses on the part of both illnesses, and was used to great hilarity by the famous comic playwright Yan Van Dannes in 'The Wizard's Daughter' (895).

This confusion normally clears up after about a week of eye spots, as the patient enters the second phase of the illness. The patient, during sexual intercourse, will suddenly begin coughing up tulips. Nobody knows exactly how or why this symptom comes about, but it is often reported as being very distressing for all concerned. After the first outbreak intercourse is not required to trigger a flower shower. The floral stage will gradually abate, until several months later the patient merely needs carry a small container around into which s/he may discreetly spit the occasional petal.

In the majority of the afflicted this is as far as it goes, however in approximately 0.01% of cases the disease will apparently spontaneously mutate into a variety called floridalitum in which the patient literally, eventually, 'takes root'. If within a few months of the floral phase the patient shows a tendency to chew on linen, typically in their sleep, they are almost certainly among the unfortunate few. Their movements will gradually slow and they will spend more and more time outdoors, and often refuse to wear shoes. Eventually they will begin to photosynthesise and their feet will grow into the earth. They are normally still capable of conversation and by all accounts quite happy with their lot.

Treatment

Unfortunately there is no 'cure' for this disease, although its progress can be significantly arrested by a period of celibacy starting in the first phase, pre-tulips, and lasting at least a month. The families of sufferers are advised not to leave a known sufferer alone during the early stage of the illness so as to be available during outbreaks of tulips. Maximum comfort and safety is achieved by placing the patient in the recovery position and keep the airways clear, removing the flowers as they build up.

Cases have been known where the 'rooting' patient taken to the woods and abandoned by their well-meaning family has starved to death in the period between the onset of the lethargy and the beginning of photosynthesis, so be sure to check up on them just in case.

Notes

The sexually transmitted nature of this disease appears to be entirely arbitrary, so much so that it is speculated that the plague was cooked up by a sorcerer's apprentice as a prank or a revenge curse and got loose. It is most infectious immediately prior to the start of the tulip cycle and thereafter waxes and wanes in tandem with frequency of floral symptoms.

-Captain Obermann

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