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The Sarkic empire was the superpower of the ancient world, spanning the globe across multiple continents and subjecting their people to their benevolent rule. Although they were an authoritarian nation that is involved in the slave trade, they also embraced the free market principles of capitalism and private enterprise. Their influence extends from technological advances combined with magic to create arcano-tech. This technology is infused with mana, a form of energy used to perform rituals. This combination gives technology their magical properties and attributes, increasing its power and dexterity. This forms the base of their power and has made them the most dominant empire in the world. The creation of magical texts is a different matter. The Sarkics use a process called Anthropodermic bibliopegy, the practice of binding books with human skin. This rather macabre practice is used to make parchment to store rituals and instructions for spells, such as the Necronomicon. When a book or scroll is needed, a slave, often a prisoner of war, is killed and their remains are used as material to create the parchment. These are then sold to mages for their personal and private use.

The most important aspect of a free market system is maximizing efficiency. Increasing output while reducing costs is the goal of any corporation, as it helps them to remain competitive with other businesses. The advent of arcano-tech has led to many advances in knowledge, new kinds of products, such as E-books. Information can be downloaded or uploaded with a click, increasing access to information. The amount of money and power that stems from this to the wealthy is usually enough to override foolish traditions and excuses such as " We have always done it this way ". However, the process of bibliopegy is very inefficient, as it wastes valuable resources and is time consuming. Maintaining a slave population is also expensive, especially when the benefits of arcano-tech is on display to all, and would make a suitable replacement as opposed to this ancient practice.

What would make this form of storing texts more preferable to more efficient methods?

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    $\begingroup$ "The practice of binding books with human skin": Please note that there is a very great difference between binding books with some material and writing on that material. A book bound in leather does not mean that it has leather pages. It would be very highly unusual to find a book bound in parchment, event if the pages are made of parchment. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 3, 2021 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ burnt bone makes a very good black pigment. perhaps combined with a protein based binder such as blood. to make ink. $\endgroup$
    – Jasen
    Sep 4, 2021 at 8:42

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Human mana permeates the parched skin and ensures that the spells written in the books do not consume themselves.

The human skin in this acts like a sort of sacrificial anode, which gets slowly consumed instead of the object it is meant to protect.

Books which use synthetic materials simply fade away over time, while animal skins tend to alter the writing, damaging the content.

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Human souls can handle a lot of the AI and mana issues.

It's very easy to bind a human's own soul into the parchment. This supplies mana and leads to longer battery life, superior AI, and a much thinner finish than other solutions.

It just makes sense to use human skin.

It's also cruelty free, unlike more modern solutions which involve abusing often hard working Sarkics to work in poisonous and dangerous factories to produce the components for modern technology. No Sarkics are harmed in the making of it.

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Containment plus.

Mana flows freely in the natural world but only in very small concentrations, like a single drop of perfume in a lake of water.

The books contain a greater concentration, and this wants to leak out, to flow freely in the world, like any concentration of vapour, it will spread if given a chance.

Given the freedom to do so, it will leak, become weaker in the book, leaving unwanted traces in nearby objects, tainting them - other books, bookshelves, desks, sleeping cats - and can generate "unwanted side-effects", no need to go into details here.

The only effective barrier found to this is the skin of humans which are naturally endowed with a sort of opacity to magic in one direction (it's important in the binding process to ensure that the skin is on the right way round, or it defeats the purpose).

The additional advantage to this is that the faint concentration of mana from a book's surroundings can pass through the skin - into the book. This might make a book stored in a particular place, at a specific time of renown have the added value of provenance. Over time, like a fine wine ageing, the book's potency can increase. None of the tech-substitutes can make this claim.

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Smell

The mages have a such sophisticated sense of smell that they can recognise a person or their pet wolf. But with other animals it's not enough. They can't tell a cow or a sheep from one another. To protect the books they put no title on the cover, the mages carefully choose the right skins to for the parchments and eventually each book has a very distinctive smell, at least for the mages, and the smell will be used every time the need to pick a book from the library.

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Gravitas

A mage study inspires much more respect and awe if it is filled with books bound with chains and human skin than if all it has is an Amazon Kindle on a table.

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Binding books in human skin is a real thing, verified by DNA tests: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropodermic_bibliopegy

If we're counting magical justification, it could be the skin of enemies as a warning to not mess with the owner of the dæmonic texts because you don't mess with people who kill their enemies and wear their skin. Similar to this magical principle: "These nine lamps were originally candles made of human fat, the fat of enemies slain by the Magician; they thus served as warnings to any hostile force of what might be expected if it caused trouble."

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Magical texts are instructions and contracts read by daemons.

Contract with daemon written on medium from human skin makes daemon respect you, and prevent them from altering it

If you offer them something on cheap paper made from plants or parchment from animal, powerful daemons will consider you to be an amateur, and sometimes will simply refuse to read instructions and obey them.

Junior daemons will probably obey instructions written on non noble mediums, but employing them can be not worthy. If senior grade daemon can easily power and control magical factory or gigantic golem, basic grade daemon can maximum power small steam engine, control alarm clock or act as small janitor automaton.

Also its worth notice, that plants, animals, stones - are made by oldest and most powerfull daemon which name we are not allowed to speak.

This daemon can simply alter things he created, so magical texts on non honourable medium can be simply altered by daemons, to help them not perform their job, but to enslave humans who tried to control them. Senior grade daemons has some degree of power of oldest daemon, so they can alter instructions and orders on non honourable medium, only weakest daemons cannot do it.

But humans, including their parts like bones, blood and flesh are made by Great-Builder-The-Creator-Of-All-Things, so human skin is considered as honourable medium, and it cannot be altered by any of daemons. Sometimes, using human blood as ink can be used for magical contracts, but it is not so durable. Sooner or later, daemon will try to abuse this contract.

That's why only human skin can be used as medium for writing magical contracts with powerfull daemons.

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The very fact that something valuable was used to create the book makes it work better. Sacrifices of valuables are important, and therefore the magic they make is important. (Law of Similarity.) Very valuable texts therefore use slaves in the prime of life, or otherwise distinguished such as being very learned. Especially valuable ones pick of slaves of great value, such a slave in the prime of life, extremely strong and good looking and intelligent. Run of the mill ones use sickly children who won't grow up and elderly slaves who have been used up.

Besides, the daemons like the murder. It predisposes them to like

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The source of the mana explains the need for human remains in the ritualistic literature. It should also be noted that very powerful spells require not only human remains, but specific and anatomically scarce remains of very important humans to work properly. Even lowly spells can be enhanced by combining the remains of multiple victims and harvesting those remains in painful ways from their still living owners.

The source of mana is demonic. The devils and demons who provide it within the human world have an unfathomable hatred of humans, God's favorite pets. They were banished from paradise and forced to live in a lake of fire, while those pathetic humans got to live on a planet which (long ago) was almost as nice as heaven.

It is rare that the demonic forces will deal with humans directly. Most of the power they pour into our world is used to manifest earthquakes and hurricanes, to slowly poison our world almost as effectively as we have learned to poison it ourselves. But on occasion, a creative (and morally bankrupt) human mage comes up with a way to entice demonic assistance. The human skin books are one of the best ways that have been found so far.

It is rumored that an atrocious, tremendously powerful tomb exists which was made from the facial skin of dozens of kings, saints and willing martyrs. No one is quite sure what magic it is capable of performing, but few alive would be willing to open it should it ever be found. Some demonic blessings are just too much for mere mortals.

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Ritual surrender

A kingdom gets invaded by invincible deamons, therefore they win. The document containing the deamonic conditions of surrender will be written on papyrus cured from the skin of the defender's heir to the throne, and written with his blood. His father the king is forced to sign the document.

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