With a quiet crackly hiss, the gramophone began to play as usual. Twirling his cape slightly, Relius whirled to face his subjects for the day.
"I truly believe man's greatest works come from the inspiration of others." he began, dictating to his audience. "Music is my favourite idiom other than perhaps the sanctity that is the operatic arts. While ageless, it constantly adapts, stimulates new feelings in us again and again, giving more and more, wanting true perfection. I just simply wish to accomplish that goal. Perfection. A word that eludes the greatest minds."
He chuckled darkly, walking past his "audience". All were bodies, still moving, some trying in vain to escape from their bonds, some weeping, some having given up completely. Male, female, it didn't particularly matter towards the patriarch of the Clover family. Ignis followed slowly behind him, silent as always.
"You see, perfection as a concept, by definition, is impossible to achieve. To do so would ruin science to it's very core. It would ruin all of humanity's efforts to pass through the dark void that is confusion. Once you master perfection, what else is there?"
He lightly span around a tightly bound body, wrapped in leather with straps so tightly that not an inch of skin was shown. The body twirled, being connected to the ceiling via a long cord. The occupant said nothing, either bound too tightly to speak or even worse...
"No ability to conceptualise, no adding improvement. After all, how can you remove a flaw of a flawless being? The paradox of perfection threatens all science."
Walking past an ongoing experiment, he gently administered the next dose of the painful and highly corrosive poison to the bloodstream of the man strapped down to the table. Relius always gave him just under the lethal dose, this one was quite resilient. And the screams were ever so delightful. Pain told him science was at work.
"And yet, I find myself enamoured with the idea. I wish to achieve that which would destroy me. An intriguing thought, is it not?"
A weeping woman, bound in chains, was tugging futilely at the base, trying to free herself. With a carefree backhand, Relius sent the woman back into her experiment. With this one, he was trying to gauge how much blood loss a body could take before fully expiring. He always managed to get a different result and his files for the particular test filled several filing cabinets. The woman fell back against the iron slab she was chained to and screams once again rang out as sharp spiked appendages shot out, no bigger than an inch and sucked blood like vampires fangs.
Watching with a smirk, Relius moved on after a few moments.
"Perfection. My wife and daughter were not enough. I crave knowledge, my audience."
The assorted moans, screams, weeping and panic throughout the entire laboratory were almost as beautiful as the piece the gramophone was playing.
"Knowledge for the sheer sake. In it's purest form. All in all, I wish to know. Isn't that what all men desire? Knowledge is power."
Finally reaching the last room, he turned once more to the majority of the room.
"Alas, I have digressed far too much this evening. The night is young. And many more experiments are needed to be done."
The ceiling shook slightly as the corpses of previous "subjects" hung from the rafters, a macabre display of power and desire for knowledge in one hideous piece.
Relius turned toward his latest experiment. A man, optic nerves cut, ear bones welded back together, cheeks and vocal chords slashed to prevent speech, nerves desensitised to even the strongest blow, olfactory senses denied, held completely and utterly motionless in a room with just enough air to keep him from expiring.
Relius wanted to know if that, by removing all the senses of a man, he could pull off an impossibility.
Could the sense be mere distractions from the mind? The electrodes buried deep into the man's skull continued to beep, results coming out of a nearby machine like a printing press. Relius smiled a dark smile. More information was needed.
Ignis said nothing. If she could, she would scream.