A deadly plague spread throughout kindred society in the late 1910s, reaching its height in 1919. Its origins are unknown and many leaders of kindred society perished. Elders were hit hardest, but it seemed that no one was safe from its deadly clutches. The disease usually manifested in the following way: first, a kindred would develop necrotic lesions somewhere on their body accompanied by a blackened tongue. Within weeks, the affected kindred would experience muscle atrophy, decreased sensation, immobility, and eventually a painful final death.
Kindred scholars now believe the Withering Plague to be related to the concurrent Spanish Flu, which killed nearly 9% of the world’s human population*. Estimates of Kindred deaths were uncertain, but some said that anywhere from 30-80% of all Kindred were eliminated by the Plague. One reason for the confusion is that many older Kindred attempted to enter torpor to escape the Plague. As such, it was impossible to know how many died and how many simply went missing. In recent years, estimates of the mortality rate have become more accurate as scholars discover evidence that torpor did not protect infected Kindred from the plague’s lethal effects.
Scholars still argue about the origins and decline of the Plague. Although it has been nearly a century and nothing like the Plague has existed before or since, Kindred still fear its return.
*Yes, in real life, the Spanish Flu only killed 3-5% of all humans, but this is the World of Darkness and things are horrible here.