A Plagueling is a parasite that grows inside of a human's throat. The plaugeling outbreak is a major issue in the area surrounding the Gallwood Outpost, due to the increased dealings of Colipsum. The Gallwood officials are unsure what first caused the parasites to appear. However, Janzo was able to discern a cure that has worked on several humans.
In "Strange Bedfellows", the plagueling epidemic is spreading rapidly. Those infected either turned themselves in or were turned in after being seen being infected. Garret killed one that was in a cage as it would have infected everyone else. After consulting with Janzo, Garret learned more about how the parasite is spread. The injective venom from the parasite contains the larvae that then develops into the fully-formed parasite. However, if the venom causes a secondary infection, Janzo believes that it will help them identify the host.
In "The Colipsum Conundrum", the plaguelings sealed in cages to prevent contamination, sway one of the guards closer to the rails. One then attacks the guard and the rest of the infected manage to break the lock on the cage. The group is set free and both kill and infect several people. Garret, Raelius, and the other guards managed to kill all the plaguelings and infected. However, Garret was stung in the leg and doesn't tell anyone. Instead, he self-quarantines and chains himself up in Janzo's lair.
In "Beyond The Wall", Janzo does his best to find a cure for Garret. Both Garret and Janzo are adamant that no cure exists and it is a futile effort, but Talon and Gwynn are convinced it's possible. Janzo realizes that he's never had a living subject before and takes this as an opportunity to clarify some of the symptoms. Because Garret was only infected two-days prior he still has time before the tentacles reach his brain. In an attempt to cure him, Janzo pours dumbcane (rodent poison) down Garret's throat - enough to kill the parasite but hopefully, not Garret. While the process is brutal and painful, it seemingly works as Garret shows no symptoms in the days to follow.
In "The Vex Rezicon", Garret isn’t infected and doesn’t turn on day four, despite Talon and Janzo believing he would. Janzo finds this extremely concerning and questions numerous times why Garret isn't turning. When the trio is captured by Greyskins, Garret is the only one offered colipsum. Janzo realizes that this is because the Greyskins can smell the plagueling venom in Garret's blood, meaning Garret won't be eaten.
In "Where You Go, People Die", Janzo and Munt are still working their theory on sunlight and plaguelings. When they reach the plaguelings, Janzo is stunned to find that one woman is completely cured. However, the remaining three men aren’t. She doesn’t remember much except choking on the creature next to her. Janzo realizes that she expelled the actual plagueling. Janzo ponders about what this could mean. He isn't sure if she was only cured because she’s a woman or if it has something to do with the flowers that only open in the day.
In "The Only Way", Gwynn, Tobin, and Elinor unleash an onslaught of Plagueling's onto Milus's camp as a way of ending the siege. While most died, Janzo was certain that he could come up with a cure for the bitten humans. Elinor was later bitten by a loose Plaugeling in Janzo's lab. Janzo deducts that the cured ones ate tong-long root, an extremely bitter substance. Janzo deducts that maybe the plaguelings' need tong-long root in their system in order for the Trayly flower and the vine to react. He creates an elixir to give an infected man, but while the parasite reacts the host dies.
Colipsum is key in the creation of Plaguelings. Colipsum is Diptera, fly eggs. When a human ingests colipsum they are essentially ingesting dozens of fly eggs, which enters the bloodstream. When the plagueling parasite, a male fly, infects a human carrying colipsum, the venom fertilizes the Diptera eggs. The fertilized effect is the parasite that grows inside a human's throat. However, if a human is injected with the venom but hasn't ingested colipsum, they won't develop the parasite as they are lacking Diptera eggs.
Humans who are turning into a Plagueling exhibit certain signs that those who know what to look for can spot. They become sweaty, fatigued, pale, and hungry, with an accelerated heart rate. Some plagulings take up to three days to manifest a creature, although others can take as long as six days. The parasite gestates deep in the throat or stomach, but it's unclear exactly where. As it grows, the parasite will grow long tentacles. The tentacles will grow and they’ll start to creep up inside the victim's brain. Soon, all the human will be able to think about is killing or infecting others.
- Dumbcane: A newly-infected parasite is still weak enough to be affected by poisons. Because they are small creatures, the rodent poison kills, or at least temporarily debilitates, the parasite without killing the host.
- Mouth Impalement: Even when the host dies the parasite can still survive. The only way to kill a plagueling is by impaling the host through the mouth and simultaneously striking the parasite.
- Sunlight/Daytime: For unknown reasons, plaguelings don't manifest during the day. Janzo deducted that a wild orange flower that only blooms in the day could have similar scientific reasonings to the plaguelings.
- Stinging Flies: The venom in which the flies produce is lethal to Plaugelings, and forces the host to projectile the creature out of their body completely. The process is painful and results in painful stings on the hosts skin, however, this is the only known cure.
Notes and Trivia
- According to Janzo's studies, one in thirteen infected people didn't turn into plaguelings. This could be because one in thirteen people didn't use Colipsum.