Prologue : Flesh Abscission

First Posted by : Winteroak on Mar 4, 2018, 1:16am

Dusk - 17th August - The Sprawl

Lucas Eli sat in the dirty hovel looking at his surroundings. He kept rubbing his hands betraying how nervous he was. He was starting to doubt ever asking to come here. All around him the small room was full with strange machinery and instruments. A small stove burned in the corner and the acrid smell of Flagesium permeated the air. Chirurgeon Mavromichali Mortimer stood over a basin washing his hands. Lucas noted how tall and thin the old man was. His grey hair was unkept and he looked unsteady on his feet.

The old man practiced his arts in secret after being struck from the Epistemological Society of Savants two decades ago and consequent imprisonment in the Black Gallows for 10 years. Mortimer had explained that the procedure was far from safe but if successful could extend Eli's life span for 5 years or more. It could increase his resistance to handling raw Flagesium and inhaling its toxic and noxious gases.

Lucas had agreed to it quickly. Rumours abounded that the Overseers of the Green Rail were developing some sort of automaton that could replace all dock hands within the end of the year. That would mean no more stable income for him and his family. The bloody procedure he agreed to submit himself to was to last three long agonizing days. It felt longer.

For three days Lucas lay in the surgery, strapped to the wooden table, wriggling against the restrains, moving inches only side to side. Most of the time he swam in glutinous dreams. The chirurgeon kept him drugged as much as possible without seriously damaging him. On the first day, as Luca lay deep in chymical and thaumaturgic sleep, Mortimer opened him. He scored deep gashes on the sides of his neck, then lifted the skin and outer tissue, gently wiping away the blood that coursed from the raw flesh. With the exposed flaps oozing he turned his attention to the inside of Luca's mouth. He reached inside with an iron chisel and slid into the pulp of the throat, twisting as he pushed, carving tunnels into the flesh. Constantly vigilant that Luca was not choking on his own blood, the chirugeon created new passageways in his body. Runnels linked the back of Luca's mouth to the openings in his neck. There the orifices opened behind and below his teeth. Mortimer ringed them with muscle, stimulating them with intricately positioned hexes and small sparks of electricity.

Mavromichali Mortimer stoked the fires of his analytical engine, feeding it programme cards. Finally he wheeled into place a small tank holding a dormant salamander and linked the sleeping animal to Lucas by a cryptic and unwieldy construction of valves, tubes and wires. A small tube ran smoke from his nearby Flagesium burning stove through the salamender's gills into the ragged wounds that would become Luca's. Mortimer muttered archaic words as he operated the levers, he was rusty with biothamaturgy but he was methodical and precise...

The next few hours would decide if Lucas lived or died.

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