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The practice of Grafting basically describes the depositioning, the altering and the enhancement of living or dead bodies and is forbidden by law by the Blind Judges. The only exception to this rule are the laboratories and scientists evolving around the Spiral with the goal to get to know the enemy better and eventually overcome the constant threat of the outsiders.
After many, many failed attempts from the outsiders to level the Black Fortress and the loss of a large amount of Mortal Gods and Black Fortress Sentries (the guards), the Electorial Congregation brokered a deal with the Fortress and nearly every country in Koria.
The deal - a sixhundred pages strong tome - basically said that scientists of every direction are allowed to perform surgeries or autopsies of any kinds (there is an exhausting list of those attached to the tome) including the performing of the forbidden craft of Grafting. To perform that said scientists - surgeons, alchemists, geneticists and medical personal in general - have to undergo various tests, interviews and write a documentary on how they want to perform their experiments and what kind of goal they have in mind. If the Electorial Congregation approves, one gets a Certificate of Approval. Without it you are working outside the law and therefore you are performing illegal activities.
This means that Mortal Gods, Black Fortress Sentries and other participants are allowed to capture the outsiders or pick up useful bodies - if they are dead - and perform any kind of ritual, surgery or experiments they see fit. Their goal is to find weaknesses in their enemy or a way to produce useful techniques to overcome enemy forces, be it with weapons made from their bones or alchemic tinctures from their body fluids (stomach, blood etc.). Sometimes, when the captured being is still alive and responsive, some scientists perform brain surgery or expose them to nightmare-inducing substances to fiddle with their mind for non-lethal results.
A look inside
The most common scientific practice is to determine how different types of enemies react to various methods of engaging them. For example there are the Beastfolk, Demonfolk and Bugfolk. Those are more kin to beasts, demons or bugs with mandibles, teeth, horns and scales, but there are some other folk which haven't had a descriptive naming convention right now. They are the outsiders which look like large humans or at least humanoids, like the female-lookin one who lead one of the charges against the Spiral in the past.
The scientists and the Black Fortress Sentries know that every outsider coming out of the Spiral reacts or dies to blunt or piercing force when enough of it is applied. But until that threshold is reached (sometimes one arrow suffices, but there are others...) they can close in to the Black Fortress, the Mortal Gods down the Spiral or to the walls. But piercing damage or blunt force is sometimes not enough, so other methods need to be applied.
Beastfolks are one of the more common enemies the Sentries have to face. Most of them look like a rare and large variant of the common wolf, but some have four eyes or more teeth then a wolf even can fit into their jaw. Some have a kind of natural armour instead of fur, others appear to have a love-hate-procreation-period with a rabbit, a cat or a bird because some have beaks or hop like rabbits. That might sound funny on paper, but if a wolf can jump at you from twenty meters away to sink their pointy teeth in your shoulder or abdomen, you reconsider.
The three captive beastfolks reacted the same way as we applied our new acid to their skin: they screamed and started to bleed. Not as fast as we hoped, but it is a good start. They didn't like our noise-inducing Glowballs either, but they appear to have some sensory shutdown and they are ready to charge again after a few seconds. How applicable it is, is not ours to decide, but it is not a safe practice from our point of view.
Since they lack a scientific name the more humanoid foes or outsiders are just that: Outsiders. They are a bit larger than humans and sometimes appear just as a normal human being. Others have a few more legs or four to eight arms, two or more eyes and sometimes four jaws which open to the sides. You wouldn't notice until they grin or gnaw at you. Their skin is most of the time the same as human skin, but there are different kinds which have scales mixed in just like a second armour. Their eyes are those of predatory beings, with vertical pupils.
They appear to be the dominant species from those the forces of the Black Fortress and Mortal Gods had encountered to date, but they are way more lethal and more rare than one anticipated. Normally they seem to fill in the role of an officer or a commander, since there where never more than four in one of the larger invasion forces.
A group of Mortal Gods managed to capture two of the humanoid outsiders, a male and a female. As an unprofessional sidenote: both are somehow beautiful in a strange way.
We stripped both of that what appeared to be reinforced clothes. We bound them to our tables with strong leather-cuffs and chains. We tested the flexibility of their skin, the reflexes of their eyes and the pain receptors of their primary and secondary reproductive organs. The organs and subjects reacted the same way a humanoid from our world would, with pain, screams and curses. Since we had to be careful not to accidentally kill them during our research, we connected them to our life-preserving system before we opened their skulls and their abdomens.
At least for those two we can say that they have one brain which is close to that of a human and with various organs none of the Koria races have. Right now we made sure that they do not bleed out and impregnated the female with the semen of the male via transfusion. Through the open skin we can see how the child is developing.
As soon as the female one realised what we had done, she got into a frenzy and tried to kill herself by biting off her tongue. Luckily we had a magician with us so we could intervene. We don't know if it was to protect the child or because we had robbed her of her choice. Or both.
Bugfolks are basically giant bugs. Some of them look like giant bees or hornets or ladybugs, but nothing about them is cute or helpful. Their sting is deadly, they have a knack for flesh and blood and the spider-things will do what a spider does: capture you, bring you in their net and either use you as a living breeding chamber to keep their spawn warm or as food. And food is what most of them want. Some of them take a liking in eating living prey. Once one of the forces had a few bugfolks with them which looked like giant praying mantis with four front limbs. They gobbled up an entire squad of infantry before archers and scorpion artillery shot them down.
We have developed an acid which might help us against the bugfolk. It is a violent alchemic substance which "explodes" on contact with chitin. To an unknown viewer it looks like the same effect as highly corrosive acid, but in reality it breaks the chemical composition of the chitin with the small explosions from the reaction and shatters the armour as efficient as a strike with a hammer. In a few cases this causes the specimen to crumble and die, but for the most part the specimen are vulnerable against all types of incoming damage. At least one success after months of research.
Demonfolks are the last ones in the list of the foes Mortal Gods had discovered. Most of them have the ability to fly, their teeth are pointy and sharp, they have claws and tails of various kinds. Their skin is hard and somewhat flexible and is utilized as some kind of weak armour. They come out of the Spiral screaming and hungry for hot flesh and blood, tear through defenses as they were paper and fly away to wreak havoc elsewhere. Even larger wounds or even lost limbs can't stop them for long.
Apparently a huge amount of the demonfolk isn't as rude and dumb as they appear when they attack us while screaming. They follow a plan which evolves around terror and intimidation. For this they "hype" themselves up and indulge into a fiery frenzy until they cool off, die or are finished with their task. If they are cooled off or knocked out and awake again, they can even speak. They are not really intelligent, I would compare them with a twelve-year-old human. Most of them have leathery skin and wings. They are easily killed with overwhelming force, but have highly regenerative powers. We even had the head of one seperated from their body and even without lungs it started to regenerate. The body was dead, but the new one built out a nervous system, blood vessels, organs, bones and so on.
After the lungs developed, it started to breath again and looked around, started to speak and cursed us, at least it appeared that way. We still can't understand much of their language. As we poured some acid on the dead body, it didn't react. Maybe with a pity for itself, but it reacted with screams to our touch on the new skin. It died for good as we destroyed the brain.
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From one to another
Outside of hospitals or specialised labs with royal permission it is strictly forbidden to conduct research in re-growing limbs, organs, even hair. There is a tome of a Formulist which describes a successful re-growing of different parts of a human, elf and a dwarf, but it has vanished a few years ago.
The labs around the Spiral are outfitted with everything they need to re-grow and/or transplant organs for different experiments. This includes large amounts of a blood-like fluid and a equally large amount of a liquid which resembles the fluid inside a female womb. They are also supplied with a lot of glass tubes from Pisocenia and Hulwar in all sizes, from small vials to huge coffins fit for an Orc.
During the times of the Spiral the labs are task with re-growing organs and limbs for the injured Mortal Gods and Sentries, if they are lucky enough to survive long enough. That those tasks conduct not only good experiments or results is bascially part of the description. And sometimes a successful transplantation ends more tragic than expected.
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Transplantation 28 & Follow-Up
Transplantation successful. The uterus of the outsider was accepted by the female humans body. After six weeks we could say that she was missing periodic cramps, but her monthly discharge was still in place.
After half a year the healing process was concluded and we proceeded with procreation. The natural process was the best way for all parties included and not long after she was pregnant.
The course of her pregnancy was in tolerable parameters, no abnormal reactions, blood pressure in set parameters, lactation a bit later than expected, developing of the fetus a bit faster than expected.
As the cramps started, they were different, more intense. We had to sedate the woman and used chirurgical methods to deliver the child safely. It looked like a human child, but with pointy teeth and cream-like skin a bit harder than human skin.
A day after the woman woke up and tried to nurse the child. It bit her in the breast, but it noticed that it hurt her and started to suck without biting.
Two years after the child is healthy, looks like a human with partly Dragonborn without being one. More research is necessary, but the transplantation was successful.
Successful, but painful nonetheless. The problem is that this is only one case in a hundred which is successful and the patient still lives. Modern medicine has made it so far that the success- and mortality rate went under hundred against one. It all started with failures, try & error and a lot of willing and unwilling participants.
Transplantation 6 & Follow-Up
"The Mortal God was enduring the pain we inflicted on him. He was a Dragonborn, nearly three meters tall with green scales and golden eyes. He had suffered the loss of his left arm, neatly bitten off by one of the demonfolk. We had managed to scavenge an arm from one of the corpses in proximity of the entry down the Spiral. It was not as long as his former arm, but equally heavy so his body wouldn't need to adjust as much as otherwise.
At first there was pain in his shoulder. Even heavily sedated he still felt pain. His flesh didn't want to heal and apparently the nerves fired false pain information.
After we purchased one healing potion suited for Dragonborn the inflammation vanished, but had no other effect. We had to remove the arm again because his body won't accept it. After three weeks his body was healed again without the arm. There was naught we could do."
Curiosity kills the cat
There are other people (including all races) who are just curious. Sure, there is a lot to find out about the bodies of the Koria citizens and the forces of the outsiders, but there are people who can't just quench their thirst for knowledge and move on. There are scholars, surgeons, medical personal or just curious people who want to encrypt the workings of our and their bodies and are risking everything to do so.
To do so and to encrypt the workings of bodies one need to tackle it on three sides: the mechanical, the biological and the chemical side. To tackle the chemical side you need potions and maybe spells. For the biological side - including genes - you need potions and spells to see what the potions are doing. And for the mechanical part you need sharp knives and the knowledge of muscles, bones, blood vessels and nerves of every body.
It is safe to say that this knowledge isn't coming out of thin air. It has to be gathered, tested, iterated and tested again. This sounds like some neat little project, but it requires a strong stomach, a high tolerance of nightmares and a lot of
victims subjects to experiment on. Since nearly every subject has to be alive your curiosity should outweight the cost of your own sanity. Or you are just a psychotic arse, then it works too.
The best place for those experiments is in solitude or with Garladans. This species is curious by nature with a high sex-drive, so every experiment of them is motivated by it. That is not a bad thing because they are close to mastering the chemistry of the brain with their potions and made great progress on body-reactions. Especially what can you stick where inside a body without breaking bones or muscles. Their focus is more on bone density, flexibility of muscle tissue and healing capacities of various organs of the various races in combination with a lot of wounds caused by acid, potions, magic or (blunt) force.
Since most of those experiments are illegal, you need a supplier of living bodies so your results come in immediately. Legal experiments are concluded in hospitals and labs sanctioned by nations or the Electorial Congregation.
"Ugh, what is that smell?"
"More than one?"
"We found at least two dozen in the backyard and six in the lab, three of them frozen due to a coolant spell. We estimate at least four more bodies, but we can't be sure."
"What do you... oh. Those are lot of glasses. This organs... they are not only human, aren't they?"
"No, Captain. Some are elves, Garladans and one is a Troll. We are working on identifing them."
"Did he conduct Grafting?"
"Can't say. Looks a lot like surgery to me, but I'm not an expert."
"Ok. Set a reward for him, alive."
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Digging in deep
But there is only so much one can see with the naked eye. But how can you dig deeper, slowly lifting the veil of how one is built and functioning?
The answer is pretty simple: you ask an Orc. Why an Orc? Because they can craft lenses and microscopes which are needed for this kind of work.
Then you get blood. A lot of blood from every species. Then you research with the blood. Getting blood is not a problem, with a bit of payment everyone is more than willing to give you a phial of their precious life juice.
Now comes the tricky part. If you do not care about regulations and laws you can just order equipment and go to work. If you are not working on curing conditions and illnesses and just doing it out of curiosity, it might still be illegal, but if there is no harm done, the executive can't do much except for a fine and robbing you of your equipment and maybe your license.
But if you are doing it because you want to create another species like Bob & Elijah with their Dragonborn and you conduct those researches without permission, it is considered Grafting. Even when you build a mechanical replica of a female womb and combine different blood types with each other, it is still Grafting.
"I know it hurts, but can you stop screaming, please? I need to assert if the potion is working. Wouldn't it be a miracle and a blessing when my research is giving you your fertility back? Imagine, a human being with the capacity to decide if she can get a child or not..."
"I WAS DOING THIS ON PURPOSE, YOU PRICK! I NEVER WANTED CHILDREN AAAARGH!"
"Is that so? Oh well, then I give you the choice back and you can decide a second time. A gift, if you want."
more screaming and swearing
"These lenses Master Oghrin had developed are outstanding. I can literally see how things are evolving in the mixture. It is not on a genetic-level, I think, but we can combine various genoms without having to guess a great deal of the procedure. Amazing. Lets take this. It is a mixture of an Elf and a Dragonborn. My goal is to have a Garladan which is protected by scales and can change their sex everytime they want. The result shall be a Mortal God who is able to withstand a lot of foes in the Spiral. And the sex-change is for fun. Their fun, mostly. Good, open up." hours later "The result is... interesting. Not what I was hoping for. For some reason the Garladan managed to develop a new pair of eyes. One sits on their forehead, the other one on their breastplate directly between their breasts. They react to light and to motion, so for now they are fully functional. The other thing: there are some scales on their male procreation organs, but not as skin. They appear more like spikes. And apparently hurt. Good, lets reverse it and try again. Hopefully it doesn't kill them."
"I did it... no, we did it. The potion worked, the transplantation of genetical properties seemed to be successful. Both elf and human specimen are both covered in scales like a Dragon or Dragonborn. After a few tests we can safely attest that they are invincible against bows and normal crossbows. It hurts them nonetheless, but neither bolt nor arrow inflicted any wounds onto them. This is a great day for the Mortal Gods and the Sentinels. We can reinforce them. Now to determine the lethality rate. Both specimen survived because they are sturdy and have a lot of willpower. Maybe weaker specimen could just die before the process is even finished. Our specimen bought their new armour with a great deal of agony."
Forbidden Practice & Consequences
Outside of the Spiral, the laboratories there and associated labs around the continent, it is totally forbidden to perform any kind of Grafting. Exceptions are for saving peoples life like attaching an arm or a finger and fix it to the limb. This practice is mostly common in hospitals, houses of healing, in the hut of a Vael or with wandering healers.
Necromancy is one of those practices which are considered Grafting as well in a more broader sense. The research and effort to be a successful necromancer (this also includes animals!) are considered Grafting in its definition.
At this day the court of the Black Fortress stands against Choralamar who performed techniques of the Grafting in his laboratory without the consent and the certificate of the Electorial Congregation.
The accusations are that the accused Choralamar performed the forbidden art of Grafting on four females, six males, three elves and one Garladan to combine their bodies, mind and soul with the bodies of outsiders from the Spiral.
All fourteen victims died in the process. The accusated Choralamar is to be sentenced to death by fighting in the Spiral. He will be given basic armour and weaponry. May he never see the light of day again.
Order in the court! We are here today to address the heinous crimes of these individuals. They stand accused of engaging in forbidden grafting practices that have wrought havoc upon our realm. The accused are as follows: Alaric Darnell, Roderic the Bloodletter and Lady Elara. These three individuals have committed unspeakable acts.
Alaric Darnell, a former physician, is responsible for forcibly grafting the venomous fangs of a serpent onto unsuspecting victims, leaving a trail of bloodshed and misery.
Roderic the Bloodletter, a deranged butcher, is charged with luring innocent travelers to his abode, where he brutally murdered them and harvested their organs for dark rituals.
The last accused is Lady Elara, a former noblewoman who, in her lust for eternal youth, conducted vile experiments to graft the organs of innocent victims into her own body.
Alaric did not exuse himself. He claimed that it would be for fun and the enhancement of humanity, to be - and I quote - "stepping out of the shadows of other species".
Roderic only stated that he wanted power from the dark gods, whoever they might be.
Lady Elara stated it was for her youth, for her wealth and her subjects so she can love them as long as she is able to rule.
Since we heard all of their reasons and consulted, we will now speak their sentences.
Alaric: twenty whiplashes with the ninetailed whip and twenty years of service in the prison of Hulwar. They will see you to your tasks. You brought this upon yourself with your grafting and unnecessary racism.
Roderic, for your crimes we sentence you to death in the laboratories of the Spiral, so you will die at the very crimes you comitted.
And Lady Elara, you will be sentenced to be of service to the royal labs for their research and to remove all of your additional organs from you. You are not allowed to come back to the surface ever again after you have transported to your new location. If you do, your life is forfeit.
Court is adjourned.
-replacing organs with foreign organs
-transplantation of limbs
-performing altering magical rituals on a living being
-performing altering magical spells on a living being
-construct a living being from parts of other living beings
-growing foreign organs inside a native being
-incubating a pregnancy with outsider genes
-get send off to the Spiral laboratories as a specimen
-sentenced to death
-sentenced to death inside the Spiral
-if the patient is in danger to losing a limb
-only hospitals or official surgeons are allowed to do that
-official research on diseases and conditions