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Veiled-vestal-by-monti-marble-at-chatsworth

The Pristine is the fear of monotony, boredom, and stagnation. Unique in that it operates entirely through the will of its servants, the Sculptors, the Pristine is less a sentient, antagonistic entity than an idol of worship, a monumental statue -it conveys power to those that serve it through the very nature of their routine proximity to it. Being close to the Pristine, for most people, is fatal: beginning with a cold numbness, the eventual affliction is an irreversible calcification of the skin, effectively coating the person in smooth limestone.

The flesh beneath is unaffected, and death is agonizingly slow. Breath can still be drawn through the nostrils and the back of the throat, though the chest cavity is constricted. It can take hours of the quiet, tortured whistle of air sucked through stone lips for a statue to fall quiet and 'settle'.

It's only a few weeks later that the smell becomes noticeable, as the very limited exposure to air slows the internal decay of the corpse dramatically. Though the hollowed-out church where they keep the Pristine is spotlessly, obsessively cleaned, the stench of a thousand slowly rotting bodies fills the air so thickly it can be difficult to breathe.

Only one of every hundred people brought to the feet of the Pristine by its servants is turned into a Sculptor, and there are, to date, only a handful of these. How they operate, with what purpose and design, is largely unknown -as is the extent to which, beyond granting them its sordid gift, the Pristine is truly in control.

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