The Treatise on the Causes of Disease is a book in Arcanum. It can be found in the library of Tarant, which requires membership to access. The book weighs 30 stone.
A PHILOSOPHICAL TREATISE AS TO THE CAUSES OF DISEASE UTILIZING NEW FINDINGS IN NATURAL SCIENCE IN ADDITION TO DRAWING ON THE ADVICE OF THE ESTEEMED MASTER BARNHAUS AT THE HALL OF APPLIED MAGICKS IN TULLA
By Sir Thomas M. Hennessey
In these fine days of reason, which we today find ourselves, many things often trouble us. Likewise with these wondrous tools that wisdom has given us we try to solve them. 'If we can create a steam engine that does the work of fifty men, why can't these sniffles be dealt with similarly?' The problems of the sniffles it would seem are more difficult to overcome than those of engines. Though this may be glib it is in fact true. Thus people today are faced with a curious quandary. Do I miss another day at the Banking house or visit the practitioners of the art at the University?
Why is it that today, while we leave behind useless superstitions and try, as a civilization, to raise ourselves up higher, is it that we must still bow to him of the bats blood and crushed herbs when dealing with what ails us? (No offense intended I assure you to those esteemed practitioners of the Arts.) To clarify what has held back a systematic and reasoned look at our very health?
Needless to say this is a problem that has concerned me since my days as a student at dear Tarant University. My dear mother in fact passed away from an illness only months before my arrival there. It was then that I decided to focus on the healing sciences instead of the chemical that I had previously endeavored. Shocked was I to find upon my arrival that compared to the chemical sciences the therapeutic sciences were enormously under-funded! Perhaps because the science of health had less monetary worth than the science of the blunderbuss.
Despite this I forged ahead in my studies with a drive that impressed both my fellow students and my professors. But I think they eventually became tired of my voice ceaselessly asking 'why?' Why is it that the fluid built so quickly in her lungs? Why was he fine just this morn but in the evening had developed advanced consumption? Why don't you have responses to questions that concern the health of every living thing in the land?
With a lack of information available from the realms of science I turned instead, in desperation, to the realm of the arts scouring every tome they had (but unfortunately there were not many) on disease. Most unfortunately most of this information was less than helpful. It was then that I encountered by chance the esteemed Master Barnhaus, who was at the time studying at Tulla and vacationing in Tarant. It was he who told that these works were indeed useless and that what I needed was not the practice of practicing the Art but the Theory.
It is now that I must give my deepest thanks to Master Barnhaus, for I could not have made these discoveries without him. When I had told him of my difficulties in attaining works such as that in what I thought was the massive Tarantian Library he chuckled, saying 'Would you purchase swords in a butcher's shop? Then why search for spells in a place such as this?' Then with a muttered word and a sweep of the hand he whisked us both to the Hall of Knowledge in Tulla. There I gasped at the sight of a truly massive library, and devoted in large part to the theory and application of the arts.
Here my studies became earnest, and though I spent only a few months there my heartfelt appreciation must go out to everyone who helped me there, but mostly again to my dear friend Master Barnhaus. What I learned was fascinating to say the least. In this grand library I learned of Mystikal Chirungens who had spent centuries studying diseases and their cause.
Most of the texts focused on one thing I found to be particularly illustrative. That when the will is focused to heal a person inflicted with a plague such as the pox or consumption, the will must drive out daemons which seek to destroy the body. At first I dismissed this as superstitious hogwash, but on further examination the texts explained that since the daemons could not be seen, even under magickal examination, they must be far smaller than could be seen with the naked eye.
It was that phrase 'smaller than could be seen with the naked eye' that sparked a thought in my head. It was a friend of mine from the university who had mentioned that his professor (a learned man who had devoted much time to the science of chemistry) had developed a clear curved looking glass that could make far away things appear much closer. Could this looking glass make small things appear larger, too?
With that thought I returned with all possible haste to Tarant (to some bereavement to the good Sir Barnhaus who by this time thought I could become an excellent mage) and sought out the professor. Fortunately I found the professor to be more than interested in the task I told him and preceded with much haste to construct the contraption we were devising (his name, I should mention to give him due credit, is Sir Francis Crick).
When I looked through this contraption the first time I must confess I was amazed. Before me I had placed a small cross slice of animal tissue above a mirror to reflect the sunlight, but when I peered through the view hole I saw row upon row of tiny ovalish objects (to which I shall refer to from now on as cells, a name that carries an important meaning). I was further stunned when I realized that many of these cells still moved. The tissue I should point out had been removed only minutes beforehand. Then I had a proverbial brainstorm. They were taken freshly from a dead animal they moved, and where it seemed the principal makeup of the rat they had come from. They were alive! That stunning thought nearly threw me from my ladder, but even had I broken all two-dozen lenses I looked through and every bone in my body it would not have mattered. For now everything made sense, like why cuts heal and children grow. All living organisms must be composed of these I reasoned later that night. We are not single beings, but a multitude all working in concert.
Within scant days I had published my findings and opened my discovery to scientific questioning. (Refer if you desire to my previous paper, A Philosophical Treatise as to the nature of living organisms and the role of viewing lenses in discovering this with the advice of the esteemed Professor Crick.)
At this point I must confess that under my newfound fame and admiration of my discovery I let my original desire of investigation languish. Now that I was living an easy life I was not so concerned with that of my fellow man who still languished in the grip of fluxes, but soon I returned and began a detailed explanation as to the causes of sickness. In addition to honor she who gave me life I devoted this study to disease that took my mother, consumption.
The first step was to recover fresh tissue from those recently deceased of this disease and this step was unfortunately easy. All that was necessary in fact was to visit a nearby hospital where citizens of every stripe were dying of it, despite earnest help from both surgeons and sorcerers.
After this I began an earnest examination of the tissue with the Cricko-Scope at the university. What I found was disturbing. In the lung tissue particularly there was much to see. In these tissues I could see that the cells were in ill-repair, chocked with fluid and blood. Some had even burst, and it was these I examined most intently, but in them I saw nothing.
Such a dilemma this, how was it that cells could go from healthy to dead in hours? But the answer was there stark as the moon, only waiting for my eye to notice. When I observed entirely healthy tissue (supplied by an unfortunate bout of drinking and attempted spell casting) that came into contact with infected, a fascinating change occurred. The once-healthy tissue began to warp and then burst exactly like that of the infected tissue.
However it is at this point that I must confess my failure. Though I have come this far, to the point of pinpointing their methods of infection, I have reached the limits of the Cricko-Scope. No matter what dies and amplifications I use it cannot see deep enough into the depths of the cell. Not until a new revolution occurs in the realm of viewing lenses, to allow examinations at unprecedented depths, will we look upon these daemons face to face.