The Nine Kingdoms: A History
A shambling, rotting once-person.
What once was a person, now a walking corpse.
The Afflicted are the victims of a rare poison spread by the Deathwatch parasite, a creature that makes its home in damp, dark places near large bodies of water when not living in a host. The Deathwatch is more common amongst sailors, naval officers and so on as it makes its home in the damp, rotting places amongst the docks.
Those who contract the parasite decline quickly as the poison slowly rots the flesh and causes the blood to decay. The affliction progresses as the poison spreads through the body, eventually reaching the brain and turning the victim into one of the ‘Afflicted’.
Those with the parasite never actually die, their bodies simply rot until they’re no longer able to move around at which point the parasite leaves and returns to a dark, damp place until it can reach another host.
The Afflicted are drawn to corpses and are commonly seen in the House of the Dead, standing watch over the bodies interred there. They are never aggressive but people avoid the more rotted ones for fear of contracting the Deathwatch from them.