This ceremonial dagger features several unusual components: a pommel that springs open at the press of an opal button, a hollow hilt into which cartridges of liquid ammunition were once loaded, a trigger beneath its crossguard that looks more like it belongs on a firearm, and an opening near its point no wider than a ballpoint pen. Despite its shape, it was never intended to be used as an implement of death, though some would argue that the amount of life that persists after its use does not make it so different in nature.

During rituals in which it was wielded, an inquisitor would press the weapon’s tip into the torso of an accused blasphemer, slowly and carefully to avoid piercing any vital organs. After only a few inches of depth (at a point marked by the finger of a cherubim engraved in the blade’s iron), the trigger was pulled, releasing a burst of thick, pearlescent serum into the victim’s body. Then the blade was removed, and the wound was sutured shut.

Within a few hours of this injection taking place, the fluid would begin to solidify into a second heart.

In the weeks following this ordeal, those forced to endure it would experience a painful fever as two cardiovascular systems fought for control of their body- one red, and one white. In those days, it was widely believed that this second heart was pure, for it was the work of alchemists, and thus not tainted by a lifetime of sin. If the owner’s original heart managed to outlast this ivory intruder, they were proclaimed innocent. If the new heart managed to survive the old one, however, their guilt was established, and they were sentenced to live out their days in servitude.

While the body could survive the replacement of the heart in this manner, the person inside the body could not. With the loss of red blood came the loss of identity, memory, voice and temperament. The pale beings left behind were baptized once more and given new names, then sent to live out their days at work in the sunflower fields. Rarely did they ever sin again.

Although the generation of a synthetic heart seems extraordinary by modern standards, alchemists of the age were deeply unsatisfied with the formula. It only seemed pure to observers because it was an incomplete replica; the true goal, to imitate nature's crimson, was never achieved.

These alchemists borrowed much of their knowledge from elsewhere.

The next logical step is a heart that fills the entire body.

Invasive organs aren't always so terrible.