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This is for a crime/mystery novel with a religious antagonist. He’s trying to cure people of their psychological issues, by creating a “nightmare world” inside their mind and hoping that their ego is strong enough to overcome the issue(s) (manifested as five demons and four puzzles). If the person gets killed by a demon, the shock of appearing to be killed combines with the implication of the demon overwhelming the ego to stop their heart.

In his culture, this ritual would take place in a meditation pool. Because he doesn’t want his culture to die with him, he’ll pose the dead body in a bathtub. He puts on a happy song for those who survive, and a dark cover for those who die, because he doesn’t want the media to only notice the deaths and call him a deranged serial killer. He never does things “just because my religion says to”.

(I haven’t fully committed to the hemoglobin extraction bit, but I figured I should ask a question just in case I decide to go with it)

He has access to magic that can teleport matter from Magic Circle A to Magic Circle B, and magic that can allow the user to possess any electrically-conductive thing within approximately three miles. This second magic is mainly used to “possess” a person by interfering with their nervous system, but also to make the song play. The electricity-powered magic circles can be horizontally flipped to affect things either above or below the surface the circle is drawn on (which is how a tattoo on the outside of the skin can affect the hemoglobin below it).

There isn’t any magic that specifically requires hemoglobin as an ingredient, but the extracted hemoglobin can be used in hemoglobin supplements.

Some ideas I came up with:

• No hemoglobin means no way to transport oxygen; an evil magic-user wouldn’t be able to do anything with a hemoglobin-less corpse...however, that sounds like something reserved for nobles/elites. The healing ritual is for anyone, not just the elites.

• Red is associated with passion/vitality, so the extraction symbolically represents “this person lacked the will to overcome their inner demons”. This might dissuade him from using extracted hemoglobin for supplements, if for no other reason than it seems disrespectful to whoever buys the supplement.

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closed as off-topic by StephenG, Mołot, JBH, Renan, Ender Look Nov 30 '18 at 1:55

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  • $\begingroup$ seems story-based. $\endgroup$ – theRiley Nov 29 '18 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ I'm confused how your magic works, you know hemoglobin is non conductive right? Also very confused how he should not be considered a deranged serial killer, he is torturing people with their inner demons in a way that could result in their death, covering the body doesn't change that in the slightest $\endgroup$ – BKlassen Nov 29 '18 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "extract hemoglobin?" When you say that, I think of a highly involved chemical process that removes all non-hemoglobin parts of the blood. Do you just mean "drains their blood," which is a far simpler task to do? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Nov 29 '18 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ He’s kind of like Jigsaw. He puts people in a situation where they might die. And he uses magic circles (magic type A) to teleport a victim’s hemoglobin to a location outside their body, leaving everything else intact. If in the form of a tattoo, the circles’ power is derived from (pseudo)science about nerve endings giving skin an electric charge $\endgroup$ – Mitch Blatt Nov 30 '18 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ It's been proposed that "Why would someone X?" questions are off-topic as either too broad or primarily opinion-based These kinds of questions are difficult to answer because they're often a function of plot and not a rule of worldbuilding. Please remember, SE is not a discussion forum. $\endgroup$ – JBH Nov 30 '18 at 0:13
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Perhaps your religious antagonist believes that even the dead must be purified of their demons. After all, they wouldn't want their meditation pool to become tainted. So, they extract the hemoglobin from the deceased (and maybe even the survivors!) as a way to "flush" the demons out of their bodies. The effect of this would be that the victim's blood would turn from red to blue-ish, so perhaps they also associate this change with the purification of the body and soul.

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EVIDENCE

The McGuffin leaves traces on the hemoglobin. So you remove it to keep the other people to do a forensis exam and comparing that vs the successfull guys hemoglobin cells.

Alternatively, it could be an Expensive/Scarse McGuffin, and removing the failed ones to recycle is the economically sound approach.

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The device used to introduce this dream state could require something in the hemoglobin. Possibly the trance could be introduced by an excess of oxygen, but something about the method requires something that the body has a lower chance of rejecting. Another solution could be that his religion forbids something related to pumping in oxygen (something like "You may not introduce into a body something completely foreign to it?"), and the wording allows using additional hemoglobin as fuel.

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