Æneas comes from a wealthy family. He’s raised up at the best and given a good education. When he is fourteen his parents are slain by thieves who enter their mansion overnight and cut their throats in their bed. Æneas is spared and his uncle takes his custody, bringing him to his mansion. Æneas spends a lot of time with his cousin Betta in the great park of the mansion, but apart from her he grows oblivious of the world and develops a reserved character, which in part he always had.
A handsome and well-off young man by now, the affluent girls in town continually court him in the few social gatherings he’s forced to attend, but he seems to have no interest in them. He manages the legacy of his parents quite well: money brings money in.
When he’s 24 he sells everything out without any apparent reason. His uncle is not happy with that. He volunteers to Maark’at war and leaves Earth. He goes straight to the front line, distinguishes himself, climbs army's ranks up to Captain. He’s still a reserved man. His men reckon he’s a strange guy but don’t question him. He leads a platoon to gain Ismala’s fort, a quite irrelevant enemy position. The mission succeeds, but costs the life of the best part of his men. His superiors question his operate, but since he’s a decorated soldier, they just put him on hold.
While on hold in Petullah, the capital town of the occupied province, he develops a morbid interest in women, and he starts spending all his time whoring. He passes from brothel to brothel, especially the houses where Metules are. Metules are a cast of native prostitutes, a weird kind of being. They are blindingly beautiful girls, with traits comparable to earth’s odalisques; legend has it that sometimes, in the night, they shapeshift to mermaid form; the only difference with earth’s mermaid being that Metules, instead of having the bottom part of a fish, have the bottom part of an octopus, with soft, sensual tentacles.
Soldiers avoid Metules because they can transmit Taraplesis. Taraplesis is an STD caused by the strong amount of feminine hormones secreted by Metules. It is loosely comparable with syphilis: poisoning from Metules’ hormones causes a strange kind of addiction with symptoms similar to rabid and D.T. Taraplemanics have shakes, abnormal and deviated sexual hunger, narcolepsy episodes, fits of rage and, at the later stages, impaired sight and insanity.
Æneas is soon rumored of having TP. His superiors don’t close an eye this time. He's dismissed from the army and sent home. Back in the Earth, he finds out that his uncle is dead, and that a man is living with his aunt and with Betta. Just by glancing at him he instantly realizes: the man is a soldier back from Maark’at. And he has TP. And TP is mostly fatal when contracted by a terrestrial female...
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