During the First War, the gods of the various pantheons eventually took a much more active role in the mortal realm than they had previously, or would since. After years of little more than helpless observation, and then misinterpreting instructions from the Two, they devastated the forces of the One. Unleashing the destructive capabilities of their magic, the pantheons slaughtered nearly all of their enemies in a single attack that lasted but a few moments. If not for the swift intervention of the Two, all would have been killed.
The leader of the One’s forces and operations, a Dark One named Rissil, recognized his imminent failure. He knew that he would be captured, have his powers stripped from him, and be imprisoned until the eventual return of the Two or destruction of the Wards. With only moments before his capture, he stripped his own power from himself, embedding it in his few remaining followers. When the gods arrived ready for a fight, they were puzzled to find him already crippled.
His empowered followers, later known as the Blighted, did not enjoy Rissil’s powers quite as he had. Unable to use it as Rissil had, they merely carried it with them like a parasite, unable to harness or purge it. The potent destructive magic wreaked havoc on their mortal bodies, warping them in some ways, strengthening them in others. The Blighted do not die of old age and are much harder to kill than their non-Blighted counterparts, but are not immortal. The Blighted, for all their long life, live in constant pain made all the greater by any exposure to magic. They also suffer constant deep-seated rage and resentment. Those who held magic before their transformation found their magic warped as well, twisting to darker purposes.
The Blighted remain linked to Rissil. Severance of this link, which can only be achieved by the gods, results in the immediate death of the Blighted. Since the gods are unsure what happens to the power or to Rissil at that point, they have stopped attempting this until they know more. Despite this reprieve, the Blighted are typically disillusioned with their New God and have no appreciation for Rissil’s gift of power. They prefer solitude, and any encroachment on this solitude is met with outraged violence.
The Blight can be shared, adding to the risk of any contact with the Blighted. Victims to this secondhand infection are less affected than true Blighted, but still suffer the pain, misery, and ill-fortune associated with it.
It is understood by the Blighted that their New God has abandoned them to suffer alone, bearing no love for them, but that one day he will recall his curse and allow them death at last. This is the best they have to hope for from the Rissil God.