Motivation: Invent a war machine to end the Second Age

Caste: Daybreak

Anima Banner: A charnel explosion of disembodied organs and slimy masses of half-clotted blood burst from the Physician’s anima and swirl around him in gory luminescence

The Seven-Degreed

It is hoped all Dynastic children will Exalt. Only in rare cases, when their parents have unrealistic standards or a child is a true prodigy, showing uncanny aptitude and talent, is Exaltation expected, taken for granted, even demanded.

Ragara Zhayom was of the latter sort, a prodigy developing an obsessive fixation on anatomy and medicine as his peers learned basic arithmetic and the rudiments of classical poetry. By the time he was at primary school, he was better qualified as a physician than the apothecaries and herbalists of many Threshold villages. His parents boasted of their son - the greatest medical prodigy the Realm had seen since his great grand-uncle, Ragara Bhagwei, now dominie of the Heptagram.

As it turned out, only two things distinguished Zhayom from his illustrious ancestor. First, while the master of the Heptagram was motivated by a combination of pride in his own skill and a desire to be the sort of hero that Dragons had imagined when they bestowed their powers upon men, Zhayom lacked all compassion and desire to aid his patients. Human anatomy and the many ways herbalism, thaumaturgy and steel could act upon it seemed like the greatest puzzle ever devised for him. His interest in unraveling the mysteries of the flesh and becoming their master was an exercise in pure academia and ego. He awaited his Exaltation and new vistas of possibility and knowledge impatiently.

And therein lay the second difference between Zhayom and his great grand-uncle: the Dragons withheld their blessing. He was given a cool reception by his parents when he returned from primary school still mortal; they had already "paid" his way into the Heptagram and knew they had no hopes of recouping that small fortune.

By his 20th birthday, he could not stand the sight of them, nor they of him, so he took the earnings from his practice within the family and relocated to the Scavenger Lands - as far from as his money would carry him.

It was not the end of Zhayom’s dealing with the Realm.

He soon discovered there was profit and satisfaction to be had catering to the surgical needs of the very wealthy in that untamed frontier, far from the scrutiny of true civilization. He cured poxes and chased illness from royalty, but also became known as the man to go to if you needed... something special. He "modified" slaves to suit the jaded sexual curiosity of Cynis Exalts and harvested healthy organs from kidnapped serfs and other nobodies for transplant into wealthy clients. These kept Zhayom living in the style he had become accustomed; moreover, they kept him interested and helped him to forget his failure.

At least until he was murdered.

One evening, there came a strong, insistent rapping on his front door. Zhayom opened it, and a gray-faced man, grimacing, drove a knife into his forehead with a sickening crunch. He was left twitching and bleeding on his own doorstep as the stranger turned and walked away. Incredibly, the wound was not immediately fatal. The doctor spasmed and shuddered for hours, paralyzed and in agony, as night spread its cloak across the sky and the moon rose. Finally, as his limbs begin to settle and cool, another stranger came, a massive man in heavy armor.

“I have need of a man with your talents,” he said, and his voice caused the grass to turn brown in an instant. “If you would live and serve me, then rise.”

The Physician found that he was able to do so. That was the beginning of his second life. He used his modest fortune and assistance from the Mask of Winters to refurbish a manse near Celeren, which he renamed the Sanatorium Sepulchral. Here, patients are cured of "life" - allowing him to perform his genius without concern for trivialities like shock-trauma or blood loss.

To this day, the Physician does not know why he was killed. Perhaps one of his clients began to doubt his discretion, or a grieving husband or father managed to track one of his clumsy kidnappers back to him. He is quite sure he did something to deserve it, in any case.

He has recently conceived a desire to produce some wonder of necrosurgery that will seize the horrified attention of the entire world—something to upstage even the grand spectacle of Juggernaut. He considers the conquest of Great Forks in order to obtain the raw materials to fuel his vision.

Physician of Black Maladies-0
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