Conquest: The Abomination und Pheromancer
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“…we lost the sky as it stepped over us, crashing through half the squad. And that sound! At first, I thought it was the men but… I-it whimpered, Sire. It whimpered as it slaughtered. My captain, a veteran of ten years, soiled himself.”
Abominations loom several man heights over the head of even the tallest mortal. Their gore slicked limbs spider out from its bulbous, distended abdomen and thorax. They are instruments of pure mayhem on the battlefield, scuttling forwards and reaping a bloody toll with their scythe like appendages, leaving only bloody ruin behind them. Survivors speak of a keening whine, just on the verge of hearing that pervades their memories, a sound that registers deeper than the cries of their fallen comrades. This is the only sound an Abomination can make, the only sound it is allowed to make: a keening howl to convey the depth of their misery and torment.
Abominations were not originally intended to serve as organic war engines. They were an advanced and cruel form of punishment, devised on a whim by the Sovereign. Ensconced deep within an Abomination lies the body of an Exile who has betrayed his trust or breached the most sacrosanct of Spire laws. Despite significant effort, even the Sovereign’s most ardent opponents have not been able to come up with a more cruel punishment and have adopted this cruel torture for their worst enemies.
Invasive cerebral procedures impairs the cognitive function of the condemned, as chemical and hormonal treatments are applied to make them lose control of their Life-Binding gifts and forcibly bond them to a lower organism. Multiple organisms were proposed and tried but the humble ant was ultimately preferred. While more gruesome examples could be made, it was found that those Abominations bonded to other species were too intractable or self-destructive. The ant’s instinctive hierarchical physiology somehow makes it more susceptible to Pheromonic command, forcing the body to respond to orders while allowing compromised psyche trapped within the hellish amalgam only enough control to wail its anguish even while enacting the will of its tormentors.
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The essential for the Spire Armies Pheromancer.
…while it is true that Biomancy can allow its practitioners to attain the pinnacle of Spire society, not all are deemed worthy of these lofty aspirations. Tribe accounts suggest that raw talent and discipline are considered defining factors in the advancement of a Biomancer, yet the dangerous political games, that the Directorate and the Court play, can see a Biomancer exalted beyond his true means… or crushed despite his talent.
Pheromancy represents the lowest form of Biomancy practiced by the Spires, be it by lack of ability or imposed restrictions. The prevailing theory suggests that while Biomancers use their gifts to weave the strands that bind life itself into new forms, Pheromancers practice a much more limited form. Guiding their gift inwards, they turn their body into a chemical furnace, capable of altering the composition of any compound they ingest. This allows them to create new, tailored compounds, hormones and pheromones with a terrifying degree of precision, far beyond the limited capabilities of the growth vats located deep within each Spire. While the creation of growth hormones and nutrient compounds is critical for the development of the more advanced life forms of the Spires, it is in battle that the Pheromancers truly shine and their use made apparent.
Based on post-mortem examinations, it has been concluded that these precise chemical manipulations allow the practitioner to craft pheromonal commands, by imbibing the blood of their charges. Such commands cut straight through what little self-preservation instincts these creations have been allowed to retain. This chemical communication seems to allow Pheromancers to direct the actions of the lower drones, that a Spire may produce in battle, whose simple, animalistic minds would otherwise make them impossible to control.
Through such methods, a Pheromancer can issue commands across the battlefield, singling out enemy troops for extermination, turning timid drones into bloodthirsty fiends and even force their troops to march until their feet are little more than bloody stumps. If a Biomancer’s abilities might be compared to a virtuoso performance on the field of battle, adapting troops instantly to counter the foe, then the Pheromancers are the conductors, using their talents to guide even the wildest of drones, into a symphony of destruction and slaughter.
– “Caution: Nepenthe” by Aldhelm Novak, excerpt.
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