From the Historic Archive:
** What follows can be found in its original form in the archives HERE.

This is part of the official Illyriad lore on the Melders that I discovered while researching them. My best guess is that the creatures we saw were created when humans ingested (or perhaps perished near) the vines of the Heart of Corruption (which themselves, seem to be a corrupted version of Devil’s Vine, that I have written about before). If true, that would make them part man, part plant, and part magic. A true abomination.

~Scribe

Extract from the Diary of Abremides the Explorer, returned to the Empirium by the Windseekers, apparently found at an abandoned campsite in the far South West of Illyriad

Day 137: We gave our farewells to the kind Windseekers, and whilst we were sad to leave the comfort of Hanlif, we were also keen to get on with the expedition.

Our Windseeker friends have warned us against this journey with increasing agitation as they describe many possible dangers – but seeing how we are implacably set on our path to go they have let us depart, even though their farewells seemed disturbingly hollow.

Our supplies, now fully replenished, should see us through many moons of exploring this unknown area, and we sailed WSW from Hanlif.

Day 142: The camp we have pitched on the beautiful shores of Southern Kumala is sufficient to withstand any of the occasional gales that blow in off the sea.

My good colleague Cartishaw has begun cataloguing the flora, especially the truly wondrous vines – of all colours of the rainbow – that hang their tendrils down from the treeline at the beach’s edge.

Attached please find some pressed flowers, herbs and a couple of illustration of the astonishing visions of nature that we see before us.

It is an amazing and most beautiful place.

Day 143: Cartishaw came back to camp, complaining of a bitter red rash that has broken out on his lower arm, apparently a result of an entanglement with some of the vines.

He is running a high temperature, but luckily we are fully supplied with not only my medical kit, but also various potions and poultices that should rally him for tomorrow!

Day 144: Cartishaw’s tortured screaming kept us awake all night.

The rash had turned – quicker than one could possibly countenance – into a terrible, almost translucent boil that pulsed and shifted under his skin, and moved with almost perceptible speed up his arm.

Friar Matthew feared the use of magic – but none of his abjuration prayers seemed to have any effect.

Eventually, at around Hour 4 past Midnight, we brought all the camp’s oil lamps into the tent, gave Cartishaw a small plank of wood to bite down on, and made to amputate his diseased limb.

The second the knife punctured his skin the boil deflated with a fine hissing, spilling a mist of grey-white spores into the confines of the tent where we were clustered. Luckily, we were all suitably attired for such a dangerous surgery as amputation, and had masks of the finest silk and linen cloths to cover our mouths and noses.

The limb itself came off remarkably easily, like a rotten bough on a diseased swamp tree. We burnt it on the camp fire, and have cauterised poor Cartishaw’s stump.

Day 144 Addendum: Cartishaw is dead – over a period of 6 hours he leaked fluids and malodorous bile from every part. Finally his skin sloughed itself off like a serpent – and his body… I cannot describe it better… simply melted onto the bedsheets – a bubbling, gaseous, horrid sight.

The smallest blessing for us was that his screams stopped many hours ago after he spat a discoloured mass of flesh (his tongue and much of his larynx, we assume) onto the floor.

However, I can neither think nor write clearly, for my brain is on fire and my vision is fading rapidly. I fear the spores have entered my flesh through my eyes.

Looking at the other members of the expedition – who are themselves complaining ever louder about aches, pains, swellings and contusions – I fear the worst for all our souls.

This may be my last entry.

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