One of the blackest of black magics is the binding of a human spirit. In occult circles the abhorrent rituals required to place a soul under the control of a necromancer are rightly feared, both for their immediate and long term consequences. More often than not the practitioner who dares to experiment with such matters finds their own spirit at risk.
We present to you today a talisman used for that very purpose, crafted from the heart of a suicide. Traditionally, those who took their own lives were viewed as a spiritual risk to the community as a whole. Their restless souls could trouble a town or village for years. In most cases they were mere annoyances, but particularly bitter or angry ones could be terrifying, lashing out at anyone nearby and slowly growing more powerful over time. Preventing such occurrences required burying the heart of a suicide at a crossroads.
Unfortunately, not everyone viewed a restless spirit as a liability. For some they were a precious resource with significant magical power.
The heart used in this binding talisman shows the characteristic distortion of one placed inside a box while fresh. The moist tissue molded to one corner of the container and then dried out, displaying a distinctive ridge. At some point the heart was recovered from it's resting place at the intersection of two roads and the spirit ritually bound. During the ceremony iron spikes were nailed into the desiccated flesh, allowing the necromancer to trap the soul within. Only through service to it's new master could the victim gain some measure of freedom and avoid the torments of punishment.
This was a fun little project. Technically, it's just a variation of the vampire heart I did back in 2010. You can check out the build notes in the archives- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
I'm pretty happy with where it is now, but I think I might add a layer of dust. The wax-based schmutz does a great job of bringing out the textures and griming it up, but I think it would look better with just a little more filth. And, yes, I realize how odd that probably sounds. Heh.
Here's a closeup of the surface texture under even illumination. I spent way too much time working on those damn spikes not to show them off. They were old store stock from Ebay and arrived looking like they'd just come out of the drop forge. That shiny, fresh metal just wasn't going to work. First I scrubbed them down with hot soap and water to remove the protective oil coating. To induce surface pitting and rust they were boiled in a vinegar and salt solution and then air dried. To get the buildup of crud where they entered the heart I drilled out every hole, schmutzed the spikes, and then drove them in to the heart. That produced a nice little ring of material where friction peeled the wax off the shaft.
Now I just have to come up with an appropriate container.