As joyous news of the recent retrieval of a powerful divine artifact of Isis spreads across the plague-stricken islands of Jaern, celebrations quickly turn to barely-controlled mobs. Soon after the abilities granted by the artifact begin relieving wearied clerics, the plague changed. Worldwide, the disease worsened in its effects, accelerating to kill in half the time as before. Researchers who had been warning and preparing for the possibility of mutated strains of the illness have been baffled at how quickly the new version has spread, as it seems the change was nearly simultaneous across the world. This has led many to believe that the plague’s cause is not like any other, but they are unsure as to what may be the cause.
Public outcry at the temples for raising false hope has seriously damaged relations between the people and the priesthoods. Many are turning to alternative sources of healing, most significantly the nomadic potions recently released. Isolated villages are turning sometimes to charlatans from off-world offering their own healing in return for the peasants serving their purposes, often dark.
Resentment against the CMG and other organized wizard guilds has grown as well, as the recent sudden and unexplained changes to the plague have, in some minds, solidified the idea that the plague is entirely their fault, not just for breaking the quarantine, but perhaps part of a greater plan to increase the public’s reliance upon mage guilds. The announcement of the new core healing spells has been a double-edged sword in this regard, as their beneficial healing has saved many, but has increased the fervency of those who say it is a ploy of the guilds to gain power.
Still others are convinced that the plague is a punishment for the many that have lost faith since the leaving of the gods. Sects of former priests of Tarus, Isis, Atena, and Ra have been denouncing populations worldwide for their faithlessness. Many have returned to the faiths, either out of shame or a newfound zealousness. Priests of Anubis, who were never re-ordained, gather in celebration as some claim the plague to be a symbol that their god has finally come to collect the worthy. Other priests who never converted to the returned versions of their gods point to the disease as proof that the returned versions are false gods.
There have also been numerous reports of attacks against isolated priests of gods that have recently come to prominence. Even priests of Zeferin, one of the few gods effective against the plague, have come under fire, with many saying that they are responsible for the current trials.