From the dawn of time, ever since Man crawled from the seas and the mud and looked upon the mountains of his world, awe, reverence and fear was born in his soul for the wondrous and terrible volcanoes, the Pillars of Ash and Flame.
Before Mokkus the Trickster drew out Vog the Mighty from his slumber with honeyed, sycophantic words, before the Age of Vog descended on Man, there were cultists who worshipped the volcano god. And after the Age of Vog passed and the smile of Oluu Sun-Disk returned to the earth, the cults were reborn. For the devastation, which Vog caused, and the sheer power he exuded convinced some men that Vog was the greatest and most powerful of the Divine Brethren.
As others worshipped the aloof Divine Pantheon, so did the Aspegoi worship the dormant Vog. A sort of collective, social memory of the primal earth reverberated in their hearts and subconscious minds. They somehow knew that Vog’s eruptions would return, despite never seeing much more than smoke emanating from lifeless craters in their lifetimes.
The cultists were known by many names. ‘Asper-Goi’, literally meant ‘Ash-Eater’ in their native tongue, but they were also known as Vog’s Children. Every so often they would gather at the lip of some sleeping volcano and chant prayers and odes to Vog. Their credo centered around the idea that someday soon, Vog would return, and destroy the Kingdoms of Man. Only the Aspergoi, they believed would be spared Vog’s wrath, and they ensured their own survival by singing of the time of Vog’s reemergence, sacrificing their own kind, and waiting for the time when they would become the chosen ones and inherit the earth, being in their minds the favored of Vog.
Vog finally came when Mokkus the Trickster called him out, as the Divine Brethren were sleeping, and the Aspergoi danced with fanatical glee when the first rumblings emerged from deep within the earth, and the smoke and ash spewed forth. Vog’s children ascended to the very cusps of the stirring craters convinced that Vog’s lava and fire would spare them, the Devoted Ones.
But Vog was an uncaring god. He cared naught for the race of Man, and even less for his own worshippers. When the Age of Vog fell upon the earth, the Aspergoi were not only not spared, but became the first victims of Vog’s eruptions. As the world exploded with fire and ash and magma blew forth, the Aspergoi were wiped out instantaneously, much to their own dismay.
So fervent were Vog’s Children in their love for the Lord of Volcanos, and so believing in his love for them were they, that something unexpected and miraculous occurred when the faithful were encased in Vog’s fire. They, unlike the other humans somehow attained an unlife, in lieu of outright death and destruction. They became the Lava-Oil Symbiotes as sages named them a thousand years after the Age of Vog. Instead of dying out, the Aspegoi became akin to spirits or ghosts, that lived on due to their own unbelief of their own demise. They could not fathom that Vog’s flames would slay them as it would the ‘other’ mortals, and their dithyrambic faith sustained them.
For a thousand years no one knew of the Aspergoi’s existence, but when the Age of Vog passed and Oluu Sun-Disk returned to smile upon the earth again, Man made his way to the summits once more, and encountered these monstrosities for the first time. For their part, the Aspegoi bided their time, haunting the craters and calderas of the mountains, wandering their lifeless basalt kingdom, and awaiting Vog’s return once more.
Presently the Aspergoi have two forms. The first form is that of a semi-corporeal ghost like creature. The only trait that differentiates them from their better-known kin…the ghosts, poltergeists, and spectres of the known world, is their appearance. Their transparent forms glow with waxing and waning rubicund embers, as if they were studded with red-hot coals, that are not visible unless the Aspegoi are angered or approached by a living being. When faced with hated humans, who remind the Aspergoi of their previous forms, these embers grow cyan and red-hot. Smoke seeps from their bodies, and in darkness they light up the their environment like beacons. The Aspergoi are capable of causing grievous burning wounds at a distance, by simply choosing to heat up. As the embers in their ghost-like bodies redden and burn, mammalian adversaries feel various parts of their own bodies heat up and within seconds turn to third degree burns. Prolonged exposure to a nearby Aspergoi, will even cause various parts of the human anatomy to burn from within and without, leaving horrible scars, if the victim somehow survives the flames.
The second form of the Aspergoi is even more deadly. Occasionally, with no rhyme or reason, an Aspegoi will choose to "engulf" a victim. The Ash-Eater will simply fly toward the victim and shroud him or her in its own essence. When this happens, the Aspergoi vanishes and the victim will at first feel nothing more than a slight burning sensation in their stomach and heart. The insidious attack only manifests itself days, weeks, or even months later. A victim of the engulfing will assume that he or she has survived the encounter with the Aspegoi, and eventually return to the lands of civilization. The Aspergoi, unbeknownst to the victim has seeped over his or her body like oil, covering every pore and available inch of flesh, invisible but alive. The victim of a Lava-Oil Symbiote, as they are known in this form, behave quite normally at first, unaware that anything is amiss. The Aspergoi has its own ideas however, and spends its time while the victim is in this state, exploring and examining the world of man, learning what it can of the human condition. What is the actual intent of the Aspegoi is unknown to even the most learned sages, but eventually the the creature tires of this symbiotic existence. That is when the true danger comes. The victim, after some time will begin to develop blistering boils on his or her body, and scalding, searing pains. Dizziness is usually the first sign, and then finally, after several hours of progressing burning pain, the victim erupts in a scorching but short-lived fire from within the bowels, immolating in several minutes, leaving nothing but dust. The Aspergois invisible spirit will then return to the craters of the mountains, from whence it came, to join its bitter brethren and relate what it has learned. The legends of spontaneous combustion among the Kingdoms of Man have derived from the Lava-Oil Symbiotes, the more insidious form of the Aspergoi.
The name given to the condition of an Aspergoi immolating his host after completing their parasitic relationship. In areas that border volcanic zones and have intermitten contact with the Aspergoi, though they do not know it, have records of this. The disease as they know it is thankfully non-communicable and has no known antidote. A few techniques have been tried such as liquid water/ice immersion, treatment with herbs all to no avail.
The only thing that can halt Lava Fever once it has started is the timely intervention of a cleric, applying at least a Cure spell in conjunction with Dispell Evil spell. In theory, a gifted pryomancer could possibly divine the nature of the fever, while an equally gifted cryomancer could chill the victim enough to end the burning and then attack the aspegoi with directed ice magics that might drive the creature away or cause it to shatter into ten thousand pieces which will take 1000 years to reform.