Blights are mindless beings formed from malicious Ether. Driven purely by madness, they mindlessly seek to devour more Ether. Under normal circumstances, Blights are cannot interact much with the material world, and will eventually dissipate if left alone. However, to other Ether sensitive beings, such as Crossers, Strays, and Panzers, they are a very real threat.
If a Blight is left unchecked, they can absorb more and more Ether and negativity, eventually growing into terrible monstrosities.
Birth of a BlightEdit
Every sentient living thing will, at one point of their lives, harbor negative emotions. These dark thoughts can be picked up by pockets of Ether floating around. In most cases there is not enough natural Ether in any given spot to result in anything of consequence, but when these negative emotions happen to hit a particularly large concentration of Ether it can begin to corrupt the Ether. If left to fester, the corrupted Ether will grow to become a Blight.
Depending on the nature of the thoughts from which they are formed a Blight may or may not have a specific form. In general, they appear as dark, menacing shadows, constantly shifting and twisting due to their unstable nature. These are called Formless blights. However in certain cases, a Blight may develop a more concrete form. For example, if they were born from a person's hatred for someone, the Blight may appear to resemble them. These are Material blights.
Whatever the case, a remains Blight a relentless and violent creature. Regardless of their outward appearance, one should always be on guard against a Blight.
Dangers of BlightsEdit
While a Blight might not seem like much of a threat to the Linked Stray and Crosser, their existence can cause a great deal of trouble to an unprepared population. Blights grow on negativity, and thus also have the means of drawing this negativity out of others. To normal humans, this presents itself in the form of negative emotions when a Blight is nearby: depending on the type of Blight, they may feel anxious, depressed, angry or jealous, often irrationally, to the people around them, literally corrupting their emotions. To Strays and Crossers, who, being Ether-sensitive beings, are even more susceptible to this emotional duress, it may also cause them to suffer debilitating effects in their vicinity.
As Blights feed on negativity, they grow to become more in tune with some types of emotions than others, eventually serving to define the type of negativity they inflict on those around them as their domains: a Blight may use fear as a medium, while another may seek to inflict despair, and a third jealousy on humans and supernatural beings around them alike. As such, one may find powerful Blights at the root of events like mass hysteria and riots, or responsible for turning even the most upbeat work environment into a draining affair. Of course, the reverse may also be true, with a Blight merely chancing upon a negativity-laden environment and feeding off it.
While Blights normally draw their strength from groups of people, there is the rare occasion where a single person embodies an aspect of negativity to such an extent that the Blight is able to draw most of its strength from them: this grants the Blight greater autonomy with its manipulations, such as subtly influencing a Chief Executive Officer of a company towards greedier and greedier acquisitions: while the Blight itself is not capable of rational thought, its mental influence gives it some degree of possession over its host, making it a far more dangerous opponent.
Domains and BanesEdit
Most Blights are too weak to do more than grasp at what negativity they can obtain to sustain thenselves. However, strong Blights can grow to encompass specific domains: specific circumstances and emotions which the Blight gains a preference for, both in terms of feeding and manipulation. The stronger a Blight becomes, the larger an area its domain can cover. Thus, the strongest Blights have very broad domains: the Train, for example, has Regret, a whole spectra of emotion and motivations, for a domain. On the other hand, The Thousand are limited to a specific fear.
Fortunately, this strength comes with its own weakness: as domains are tied to the very nature of a Blight, its acceptance of its nature also curses it with a bane, a means with which to render its domain useless. Such banes, as with their domains, are conceptual in nature. The bane of a Blight with a specific domain tends to be obvious: The Thousand are averse to Light, which runs counter to its domain, preventing it from fully exercising its powers.
However, the broader domains of the more powerful Blights make it more difficult to determine their specific banes; indeed, the broader the domain, the more specific the bane tends to be. This is largely because the Blight, at that point, has begun to conflate its own meaning with that of the domain it has power over. In essence, its domain is no longer a mere idea, but the root of its existence. Thus a Blight like the Train, with its domain of Regret, would only be put to rest upon finding the town it originated from and ensuring that its inhabitants were living happily and peacefully without it.
As a result, Blight hunters are aware that discovering banes are most useful against powerful blights, with many conducting research on their targets before attempting to take them on. Weaker blights generally have domains that do not cause too much trouble for the experienced Crosser, and thus the time spent on research is generally less efficient.
As beings of pure Ether, Strays are also liable to become Blights if they become stricken with negative emotions. Although they are immune to wayward emotions, a Stray can become corrupted from within. Negative emotions stimulated by memories of the past can overcome the consciousness of a Stray, effectively transforming them in what is known as a Stray-Blight. Just as mindless as a normal Blight, a Stray-Blight will retain the awesome ethereal powers of their former selves, becoming more dangerous than ever. A Stray-Blight may even be able to assert control over a lesser Blight, utilizing them to attack in an instinctual manner, as the leader of an animal pack orders its group to attack.
Unlike most Blights, which manifest their powers in their respective domains, a Stray Blight's domain is always that of Corruption: the Stray's transition into a Blight is usually painful and maddening, enhancing their ethereal powers beyond what they would normally be capable of, but stripping them of reason in the process.
Linking with a Crosser can save a Stray from "blightification", as the stream pure Ether from within the living can serve to suppress negative emotions. Like a normal Blight, if left to their own devices, they can consume additional Ether and negativity to grow continuously more powerful.
Blights in PebbletonEdit
- Main article: List of Blights.