The Bluetongue Plague caused one's tongue to turn blue and swell. Soon the sufferer was unable to speak.
In Deadhouse Gates
In The Bonehunters
As part of her alliance with the Crippled God, the goddess Poliel unleashed the Bluetongue Plague upon Seven Cities. Ganoes Paran told Apsalar that the plague had first broken out in epidemic form on the subcontinent "somewhere east of Ehrlitan" during the latter portion of the Whirlwind rebellion in 1164 BS. Subsequently the plague, extremely contagious and deadly in its ferocious virulence, had swiftly spread far and wide throughout the cities and settlements of Seven Cities — "west, east and south". The plague was specifically referenced to have stricken Ehrlitan, Kansu, Lothal, G'danisban, Otataral Island, and every northern port city east of Ashok. Paran found the countryside empty of life and the stench of death was everywhere. Every city, every, village, and every caravan camp was littered with bodies up to the tens and hundreds of thousands.
The plague's spread made the Malazan Empire's attempts to pacify the Whirlwind rebellion difficult. Adjunct Tavore Paran was forced to rush the Last Siege of Y'Ghatan and did not allow her army to linger once Leoman's forces were defeated. The 14th Army hurriedly marched northward hoping to find a location on the coast where Admiral Nok and the Malazan Imperial Fleet could extract them. Adding pressure, Nether warned that Poliel's plague was growing more virulent and it hunted them. Nok's fleet had a difficult time as it could find few if any ports in which to dock or resupply food and water. Eventually, the 14th Army and the fleet were forced to rendezvous on a beach thirteen leagues west of Sotka.
High Fist Dujek Onearm discovered that the plague originated in the Grand Temple of Poliel at G'danisban. The majority of his Host camped outside the city while he led a company of veterans to assault the temple and strike at the disease's heart. He expected to face no more than a High Priestess, but instead found the Goddess herself. The company was forced to retreat back to the Army's camp, but Dujek and the survivors were all wracked with plague.
The Crippled God used the plague to install Felisin Younger as the head of a new cult of the Apocalypse at Hanar Ara. Soon hundreds of maimed survivors from throughout Seven Cities were guided to the city by the god's Whispers. Sects developed among the faithful that were defined by the damage the plague had delivered each survivor. These included the Broken, the Scarred, and the Unmanned. The most precious and rarest were the Carriers — those infected by the plague who did not show outwardly symptoms. These were recruited as pilgrims to travel about the world spreading the disease and gaining adherents among the survivors. The new faith taught that self-sacrifice and abject servitude would be rewarded with paradise after death.
Ganoes Paran finally put an end to the plague by confronting Poliel in her temple in G'danisban. He used a shard of Otataral to pin the goddess in place while Shadowthrone used the Hounds of Shadow to lure the monstrous Deragoth to the temple. The Deragoth tore Poliel to pieces. Then Paran used the Deck of Dragons to summon her sister Soliel and force her to lend a residue of her healing powers to Poliel's former followers so that they could bring relief to the subcontinent.
The Tanno Spiritwalkers of Otataral Island pronounced that the plague was broken and lifted the island's self-imposed isolation. Soon traders from Rutu Jelba crossed the Otataral Sea to the mainland only to find empty villages. By the time the plague was contained, Pearl estimated the number of deaths ran in the hundreds of thousands to millions. And as there had been no one to bring in the harvest that year the survivors faced starvation.
- "...there was no mercy in this plague...Swollen glands [as well as tongues]...closing the throat...narrowing the air passages, making every breath drawn agony...in the gut, gases distending the stomach...eventually burst[ing] the stomach lining, allowing the victim's own acids to devour them from within. These...were the final stages of the disease. Before...there was fever, so hot that brains were cooked in the skull...Eyes wept mucus, ears bled, flesh grew gelatinous at the joints - this was the Mistress in all her sordid glory."
- ―Symptoms of the 'Mistress of Pestilence and Disease', Poliel's Bluetongue Plague
Notes and references
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.67-68 Cite error: Invalid
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- The Bonehunters, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.505
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US HC p.209
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 16, US HC p.511-512
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.257
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.275
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.348
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.518
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.373-374
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.550
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.548
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.518-519
- The Bonehunters,Chapter 14, US SFBC p.590-592
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.807-810
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.616-630
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.759
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.637