First Blood Tradition / Ritual in Cathedris | World Anvil

Cathedris Themesong

First Blood

The fiery first moments of every soon-to-be Catalurgist

Content warning: Medical procedure, description of pain
Now, don't panic, but in a moment you'll begin to feel a slight burning sensation...
  In order to become a Catalurgist, any would-be magic user must first undergo a dangerous surgery in which the patient's kidney is removed, and replaced with an artificial organ known as a Thymalladus. Should the patient survive, they've got a long road to recovery in front of them, as they force their body not to reject this strange new organ.   Only once the Thymalladus has been accepted by the body, after about 6 months, may the Catalurgist-to-be take in their first Ichor -- their "First Blood", and become a full blown Catalurgist-in-training.

Ichor Types

Ichor comes in three main types, allowing for three main styles of Catalurgy. Transmutive, for modification; Genesis, for creation; and Aural, for personal.


The Fire of First Blood

  "It can't be worse than the surgery was", I laugh nervously. "Almost died on the table."   The doctor stared at me. Peeked over the rim of those far-too-small glasses he wore. I couldn't read his expression through his mask, but I'm sure it was something near to 'disdain'.   "Everyone almost dies on the table." He said, finally. Almost dismissively.   The doctor moved around the table, outside of my field of view. He was blocked by this massive metal contraption the had around me -- hooked into me. It had to be two... three times the size of me? It consisted of a large metal arm that could rotate around the table I lay on, and at the end of the arm, a huge tank of Ichor was attached.   I had made a joke when I first entered the room about how much money that tank must be worth, and the doc had just responded with a curt, simple, "more than your life". So much for humour to ease the tension. I just wanted to get this over with -- the sooner I got my Ichor, the sooner I could get out of this damn town. I'd never have to see this horrid place ever again, I could put all my painful memories behind me and move on.   Once I was a full fledged Catalurgist, I could become anyone I wanted. I could be powerful.   I could be great.       A few minutes later, the doc stopped rummaging around behind the machine.   A moment of silence, then the unmistakable "click, click" of a gun.   "Wh... what was that?" I asked, hoping I had simply misheard.   The doctor came back around and I watched him hide something in his pocket.   "Nothing to worry about. Sometimes the 'First Blood' doesn't go... perfectly," he shrugged as he said this. "And this is just a little bit of insurance to stop it before things get out of hand." He pat his coat pocket carefully. I'm sure there was a sick smile behind that damn mask.   I was starting to really wish this table didn't have restraints on it. Everything about this had sucked, from the moment I stepped into this horrid room. Worst was when they attached that awful spider-like contraption to my abdomen, and ran a tube from it to the tank-arm of this big stupid machine. Of course, it wasn't supposed to hurt, but He'an help me it hurt.       "Alright. I'm beginning the procedure." He reached up to the end of the machine's large metal arm, and flipped a tiny switch.   "W-- wait, already?" Panic began to set in as vibrant thick blue liquid began to cascade out of the machine. I watched it coat the edges of the tube as it raced down, and then up, and then finally down again into the damn contraption stabbing into where my kidney once was.   The sensations began almost immediately.   Fire.   My side was on fire. It had to be.   I pulled against the restraints, trying to get a view of where surely my skin was melting away.   "I told you, it's going to burn. This is normal. Calm yourself." The doctor said, one hand in his pocket.   I grit my teeth and let out a low moan of pain. "This is more than a slight burn, doc."   The pain was almost unbearable, but it was thankfully short lived, as the fire on my skin began to subside a few moments later -- far sooner than I expected. But the departure of one pain brought about the arrival of all an all new torturous sensation, because rather than simply subsiding, the fire had moved inward.   I felt it in my joints as I pulled against the restraints. It burned in my muscles as they flexed and cramped. I felt as if my bones might turn to ash from the internal heat I was surely experiencing. It was agony.   I stared daggers at that blasted doctor.   His hand shifted in his pocket.   I turned my gaze upwards and let out a hiss as I grit my teeth.   My entire body went rigid, drenched in sweat -- I was surely about to combust. I sucked in a deep breath, and let it out slowly as I groaned. The heat seemed to go as I exhaled.   I sank back into my restraints, exhausted.       The whole ordeal was likely less than a minute long, but I felt as if I had just gone 12 rounds with a champion fighter. My muscles ached. My joints were sore. I felt uncomfortable... restless. Like if I stopped moving, the fire might come back.   But under it all, I felt powerful. Like I could do anything. Like I could make things. Make something of myself.       The doctor put one hand on my arm, and one on my head. "Slightly warmer than most, but overall, within expected bounds."   I wanted to punch him. Stupid restraints.  

Cover image: Edited by Stormbril, base image by National Cancer Institute


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Jul 12, 2022 07:22 by Ononomad

You had me at kidney replacement. Nice work!

Jul 12, 2022 16:04 by Stormbril

*takes notes* one... kidney replacement... for... ononomad...   Thank you, glad you liked it! :D

Jul 12, 2022 08:53

Stupid restraints indeed. Nicely done. :)

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Jul 12, 2022 16:05 by Stormbril
Jul 12, 2022 12:09 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Great narration! I can't help but feel that all those would-be-catalurgists are incredibly naive and more than a bit stupid to trust the government/legion and go through with the procedure...

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Jul 12, 2022 13:06 by Aster Blackwell

I'd have to agree!

Jul 12, 2022 16:07 by Stormbril

Thank you! It was so fun to write :D   And definitely! So many of them are either forced into, paid into, or mislead into becoming Catalurgists. Though there are the rare few who choose this willingly.   I was hoping the POV characters naivete would come through clear enough in the text :D

Aug 2, 2022 05:24

Super good article that really captures the ordeal of the ceremony!

Aug 2, 2022 15:28 by Stormbril
Aug 22, 2022 12:33 by Chris L

The first-person account really sells this! Great work.

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Aug 25, 2022 18:04 by Stormbril

Thank you! It seemed naturally fitting and fun to write for this specific prompt :)

Aug 26, 2022 17:28

This really nicely brings across the aspect where operations like this tend to be at least somewhat coerced.

Aug 28, 2022 20:26 by Stormbril

Thank you Frogdrake! I'm glad it worked out like that. So much related to Catalurgy is dangerous in this sort of way, far too little knowledge in the hands of the people who take the most risk!

Aug 27, 2022 18:30 by Han

This prose was so good that you actually got me to complete the Reading Challenge just to talk about it. By now, I hope you know how much I love your work. This is just... it's so good, Stormbril. The way you marry information with prose is a genuine delight.

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Aug 28, 2022 20:28 by Stormbril

Omg, thank you so much, this comment quite literally made my day (now weekend!). It means a lot to hear that from you, so really, thank you :D I'm gonna keep looking back to this whenever I'm having a bout of imposter syndrome or lack of confidence, haha

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