I actually find myself admiring you in this moment, Templar. You and I will create the most beautiful of Nightmares together. Rather the hallmark of God, isn't it? Let me show you what a real god can do!
I've followed your performance, my anti-hero of hubris, and I've very much enjoyed it. Now you and I will create the most nightmarish of finales together. We're going to make your death really count for something.
You have certainly had your work cut out for you with Lioneye's Legion. Do not concern yourself with Marceus' complaints. Our Emperor is fully aware of the General's fickle nature.
As to your need to accelerate the implantation process, I can recommend a quite simple alteration. Dip the gem in a boiling solution of six parts blood and one part thaumetic sulphite for no more than thirteen seconds. Any longer and you invite the crystal's wrath.
Once the gem is withdrawn from the solution, you have but a few seconds to install the gem in the prepared flesh and close the wound. Should the gem cool too much prior to implantation, it will become inert and your patient with it.
Trust in that bountiful talent of yours, Shavronne. My thoughts are with you.
If you attempt to transmogrify a virtue gem without the proper mental preparation, you will be a puppet master working strings made of vipers. Remember, these gems are phantasms in crystalline form, alive, with volitions inscrutable. Master conscious dreaming, as I instructed you. Your death would mean little to me, Maligaro. It's what your demise could unleash that concerns me.
Remain in the warehouse until I personally send for you. In the unlikely event that Chitus should fall, you and your fellow legionnaires will be safely beyond the perimeter of his heart gem's influence.
You men and women are my finest work yet. I would not lose you all to some aberration of chance.
I awoke, feverish, and barely conscious I set to drawing these maps through the sable hours. By morning my fingers ached, my eyes burned, yet still I found no rest. The Reverie commanded its rendering.
The Reverie Device now stands completed. I have placed the first of my maps within its receptacle. I have taken my maiden voyage into Nightmare.
I know now that which sent me this precious gift. It knows me, expects my return. It would be foolish to disappoint.
Tear down the walls that imprison the mind... that is what the gems do. That is their true 'virtue'.
The moment my fingertips brushed the cool, silken planes of that first gem, I felt it. My skull ached, as if its contents were growing, pressing against the bone, searching for a way to break free.
That night, once the wine had dulled the pain enough to allow the onset of sleep, the dreams began. I have not been without them since. Nor would I be. Every spark of thaumaturgy that I wield, every device that I forge, every creature that I transfigure, I owe to these lessons cloaked in Nightmare.
From whence do these precepts hail? Certainly not the mundane grey between my ears. I possess only one reference that bears faith. Translated with unquestionable clarity by that idiot savant, Icius Perandus. "The Beast". Doryani of the Vaal knew the truth. Soon now, so shall I.