Be sure to read Cassus Phasmatis before this.

I awaken gradually, my consciousness alive like the faint light of a dying ember. My eyes open slowly. After a few minutes of prolonged effort, my eyes are focused enough to tell me that I am in a hospital, one that seems an anachronism in the 21st century, with old-fashioned beds and tables with restraints. All around me, I can see people, men and women alike, milling around me, appearing to be doctors, all of them a sort of grey color that matches the rest of the hospital. Their eyes, or lack thereof, are all focused intently upon me above their surgical masks, even as they go about other chores and duties. After a few minutes, one of them walks over to where I lay. I try to speak, but find I cannot, and I also discover that I am restrained, strapped down to the bed. The attendant wordlessly grabs a bloodstained hypodermic needle from a tray on the table next to me. I feel an irrational fear at the implement as the nameless attendant drives the needle through my skin… my skin… skin! A wordless moan escapes me as I see that my armored ceramic carapace has disintegrated, only a pathetic coat of skin left over my bones. I moan again in despair as the doctor draws blood from me, the liquid filling the syringe all the way. I lose consciousness again to the sound of my own inarticulate cries.

I wake up again after an indeterminate amount of time to see a few of the ghoulish, eyeless doctors standing over my bed, staring at me. They are all silent, save for one that is drawing blood from me with an ancient-looking needle. All I can manage is a weak gurgle. The doctor puts aside the syringe and picks up another, drawing more blood from me. She picks up another, and repeats the process. And another. And another. She stops after the sixth needle, simply setting it down with the others and walking away. My vision swims, threatening to black out. Without warning, my eyes suddenly focus again, and I can see the figure that now stands at the foot of my bed.

Edo Edi Essum.


This is my sanctuary. It is neither in this world or another, it simply is. Its location is never constant, always shifting, safe from any interlopers. I brought you here, to be rebuilt.

“WEhDaOt… hEapDpeIned…? ReEbSuSiUlMt…?”

Yes. Yochanan, one I thought could be used to my advantage, has outlived his usefulness. He sealed most of my energy away, stripping you of your power entirely. You are now as you were: a weak, pathetic human. I shall rebuild you as a vessel for my power.


My vessel. It had been my plan to transfer my power to you someday, but Yochanan’s meddling has pushed it forward. With a vessel, a focus to my power, I will at last be able to reign as I rightfully should, and all will be in my grasp. Do you want your power back, pathetic weakling? Do you want all of it and more? More than you can possibly imagine?

My answer scarcely takes a second’s thought. “PEleDasOe, maEstDeIr….ESSUM…”

My master turns around, exiting the room. Before he leaves, he leans over to one of the doctors, one of his thralls, and whispers something. The thrall nods, and walks over to my bed. Others gather around. Fear mounts inside me as they begin tightening my restraints. I struggle and kick, but either I am too weak or the restraints are too strong. I am held fast.


The fear surges inside me as one of them selects a scalpel from the tray next to my bed. The scalpel slowly descends to my chest.


The scalpel sinks into my flesh, and I grit my teeth as it slices a slow, agonizing, perfect circle around my sternum. The doctor grabs the circular flap of flesh. He pulls it away with a sickening rip, the sound causing bile to build inside my throat.


The doctor continues cutting, occasionally pulling away chunks of red that must be muscle. I moan in agony. After a few moments’ time, I feel the scalpel cut into my sternum.

“No…ESSUM…” I plead one last time, but I know it is no use. The pain is unbearable, but my consciousness is now razor-sharp, feeling the scalpel split my sternum in two. I struggle vainly as the doctor tries to use the scalpel to cut away one of my ribs, making the cut at the edge of the circle of my exposed bone. I lie there in horror and my attempts to escape intensify as the doctor sets aside the scalpel and I realize his intentions. He puts one hand on my rib at the sternum, and the other on it where it is at the edge of the circle. He begins to bend my rib back, toward himself. I feel pain. Pressure. I scream. Snap goes my rib as it splinters and breaks in two. I scream louder, the sound coupling with the agony and horror, making my mind crawl with revulsion. Tears roll down my face. The doctor does not care. He snaps another one of my ribs. And then another, and another, until they have all been snapped off, exposing my organs. My screams die down to soft whimpers as the doctor tears forth a mass that must be my heart. For some twisted, damnable reason, I retain my consciousness as he pulls forth other organs, eventually completely hollowing out this circular hole in my chest. I give up on making sound, my head lolling to the side as I weep in futility.

After a few moments, the doctor takes from the table a blade with wickedly serrated edges. I make no reaction to the implement; I no longer care. I stiffen as the blade cuts into, and through my spine, continuing on to saw through the ribs connected to it. I am wracked with agony, but my eyes remain half-open, tears falling from them. The doctor puts down the saw, taking the scalpel in hand once again. I feel him cut through the flesh in my back. Eventually he removes the circular flap of flesh before stepping back to inspect his handiwork: a perfect, circular hole all the way through my body, with the organs and bones around it completely untouched. Finally, I sink into unconsciousness.

I awaken later, hoping against hope that it was all a nightmare. I try to move and struggle, but I quickly realize it is futile. As I move, I see my master walk into the room, accompanied by the doctor who performed this sick surgery on me. Edo Edi Essum regards me for a moment before speaking.

The preparations are complete. It is time.

There is a blinding light. I scream in pain before blacking out.

When I regain consciousness, I feel something surging through me, something I have never felt before. It makes me feel almost... incomplete. Empty. I shift my arm, and the leather restraint snaps instantly. Looking at it, I can see that my arm has changed, becoming once again the white ceramic, almost insect-like in its appearance, my fingers ending in wicked, sharp points. Pleased, I easily snap the other restraint, flexing my arms, admiring them. I look down at the foot of my bed, only to see Edo Edi Essum’s cloak on the floor, as if it had been vacated suddenly. I look down at the hole in my chest, and at its center I can see a perfect orb of a sort of black flame raging silently. I snap more of the restraints, becoming acquainted with my new, powerful body. An eyeless attendant comes in, evidently to check up on me. I touch him, and he is obliterated instantly, not even having time to register surprise. As he dies, I feel full, complete for a brief moment before the surging, empty feeling comes back, stronger than before. I stand, picking up Edo Edi Essum’s cloak, my cloak, and wrapping it around me. Suddenly, it dawns on me: I know what this feeling that pervades me is. I know this sensation that coalesces within my being, permeates all that I am.


To be continued in Velitatio.

Part of the series Ieiunitas, Infectus, Talius.
Last modified on 2009-06-18 13:13:08Viewed 6381 times

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