The Qarabu Vine is a plantlike, parasitical creature, depending on other creatures for it's nutrients. Originally from the cold forests where the Banbirru reside, it has since been artificially introduced to various regions, serving several uses, most of which punitive.
(Land of Dread Fauna)
Each infection is unique,. Victims do not progress through these stages, as one would with a regular illness (changes are not the norm, if they occur at all, it's in slight increments); the duration of the original exposure and it's location (as well as other circumstances) decide how infected the individual wil end up being.
Stage one: Green skin
At this point the Qarabu has succesfully infiltrated its host, claiming a small spot as it's living space.The victim will display a greenishly tinted skin around the wound. Veins are more noticeable and darker than the surrounding skin. The infection can be hidden in the victim's fur. Often found in clusters across the victim's body. If the connection with the source is cut, the newly introduced parasite is too weak to form it's own roots, and will in all likelihood die out. No treatment necessary.
Stage two: Roots
When the parasite succesfully roots itself into the host, the skin around it will turn greenish brown, becoming thicker and less pliable. Mobility is at this point slightly hindered. Fur in the infected area will cease growth. No cure exists, but simple grooming can keep the infection at bay.
Stage three: Barkskin
If the parasite did not manage to sufficiently root itself into it's host, it will protect what little nutrients it gathers by thickening the skin around it, turning it into a tough, bark-like layer. This prevents the loss of water through evaporation. Once the Qarabu switches to this state, it can lay dormant for many years before any change occurs. Depending on the victim's good luck, the bark will or won't interfere with basic mobility.
Stage four: Vineskin
Once rooted sufficiently, the Qarabu will assimilate the skin around it, it's cells weaving through the skin of the host with increasingly smaller tendrils. The surface of the skin will become light green, changing it's texture to something more plantlike, thickening into a flexible new organ.
Stage five: Tentacles
The vineskin will sprout individually controlled tentacles, which go out and search for more fluids to absorb. This becomes increasingly annoying for the host, as the tentacles become bigger, grabbing more things and becoming difficult to loosen back up. The Qarabu will attempt to link it's nerves to the host's with the purpose of sharing pain, potentially preventing the amputation of the new tentrils.
Stage six: Symbiose
In rare cases, the tentacle's nerves form a connection with the host that goes far beyond the one in stage five. The host feels through the tentacles, but is also able to move them, as if they were limbs like any other. This, of course, is a difficult process, the victim needs to trick his body into believing the tentacle is a thing that can be moved, and they need to practice extensively on this (Kind of a reverse phantom limb syndrome.)
The Banbirru high priests and priestesses are all stage six infected, and regarded as the ultimate connection between the tribe and nature.
fresh vines are a key component in the brewing of Melviridis.