Once, a young girl had an older brother who was determined to become a doctor, and so she wilfully became his patient.
laurence, one of the byrgenwerth students, is the aforementioned brother who aspired to be a doctor, which makes his blindly optimistic interest in a magical blood from a hole in the ground that cures all your ailments much more understandable. this passion drove him to leave byrgenwerth with some of his associates in order to form their own research hall/church/punitive colony. he did not, however, totally abandon the eyeball-based research of byrgenwerth.
but first, he needed support. after establishing the church of the good chalice in old yharnam to show off his cool new chalice and blood, the church became wildly successful. the wealth of the church was such that it built an entire new yharnam to replace that old shitty one. the grand cathedral would act as the headquarters of the church and all of its eventual subsidiaries. above and behind the grand cathedral, a research hall of extremely dubious morality was built.
it seems yharnam has a lackadaisical approach to human rights and torture: the subjects of the research hall are criminals or heretics who cry out that they’re “guilty, they know” and they “won’t do/say it again”. i dont think there’s any reversing what they do to them, based on what you harvest out of them:
In the early days of the Healing Church, the Great Ones were linked to the ocean, and so the cerebral patients would imbibe water, and listen for the howl of the sea. Brain fluid writhed inside the head, the initial makings of internal eyes.“
“imbibe water” is an incredible innuendo for “pour dirty, parasite-filled ocean water inside of their skulls” (likely using the techniques seen in the skulls of the fishing village from the previous post. just get a funnel and see what happens). makes me a bit queasy, honestly lol. also it was a huge bust, except in a handful of cases. the most significant discovery came from the aforementioned doctor’s sister.
on the left is a research hall patient stock enemy. they have the emaciated, pallid bodies associated with those who experience The Eldritch Truth™ (they are, in fact, reskinned labyrinth pthumerians). some have grown into giants, some are only heads, some are friendly but insane, most are hostile.
on the right is laurence’s sister, blood saint adeline. a blood saint is a woman (apparently, as all of our samples come exclusively from women) whose blood has been specially treated and cultivated to be superior in healing. adeline and another blood saint found in the main game named adella both serve up blood with bonus healing (adeline’s effect is superior by far). arianna’s dirty vileblood increases stamina regen instead. here’s all the bloods side by side with the brightness blasted up so we can see. i included iosefka in here for good measure but she is not a blood saint. it doesnt seem like the blood from the vial is hers.
blood saints are “vessels for blood“, which i take to be literal. i think they are the results of a full blood transfusion of old blood. i mean, you run into some of these guys with the transfusion bags still attached to them so its a fair assumption. whatever the process, there are enemy patients with rotten track-marked arms that spew slow poison at you (as opposed to rapid poison, a different mechanic) whose transformation was unsuccessful. poisons are found in story significant places and enemies; most relevant at this moment the weapon obtained at the end of the DLC, the kos parasite, that spews slow poison. lore note: black and white healing church doctor armor sets protect against poisons. poison might have been a big problem in day to day life in that shithole of a town yharnam.
anyway, look again at the two lumps up there. adeline’s head is paler than the enemy versions. the more frenzied an enemy is, the redder their head (…). check out the difference between the patients that attack you with their fists and the ones that run on all fours and growl.
remember this simple rhyme:
if its eldritch and true:its pale and blueif the blood is red,its a beast ahead.-shakespeare
this will come up a lot more later.
all this shit lead to at least SOME kind of information. the experiments lead to results such as the notable failures of the experiment who survived a grotesque transformation of their body but their eyeless heads collapsed. there’s also the patients in the lumenflower garden who have arcane magic and cast spells of “slow down your ps4’s frame rate”. there’s some heads just oozing around without bodies. all in all, just created some weird freaks who were on the precipice of scraping something otherworldly, but fell just short.
after partaking in multiple helpings of “brain fluid” (…), adeline hears/see something and transcribes it; a rune that reveals a sliver of the eldritch truth and what it means to be a “celestial attendant”.
milkweed. something to be cultivated and consumed to facilitate transformation.
when milkweed is equipped with the kos parasite, the hunter takes on a bizarre transformation.
okay, it’s a reference to matango, but it also turns your ass into space broccoli for parasites to eat. the hunter moves jerkily like the parasite is piloting them ratatouille style. we can assume the brainsuckers operate on similar principles; parasites have some agency in this world.
following the events of the fishing hamlet, lady maria abandoned the hunters and took up residence in the astral clock tower above the research hall. while beloved by the patients for her compassion, she was unable to ease their torture induced suffering and was driven to despair. when the hunter finds her trapped in the hunter’s nightmare, she is forever in her final horrible moments. her wrists are slit.
lady maria’s suicide drove gerhman over the edge. his “curious mania” for her was such that he buried her in his workshop (the grave is where you find the old hunter bone, which allows you to do maria’s quickstep. its also. where the doll sometimes prays and where you enter the hunter’s nightmare). that’s kind of normal i guess, but he also made a porcelain doll of her, and dressed it in weird frilly doll clothes completely unlike her real duds. and like. combed its hair and groomed it and shit. hey i have an idea. let’s kill him.
in his manic, feverish, obsessive grief, gerhman’s sorrow was heard. perhaps, it was the numerous echoes in his blood that drew it to him. or, maybe, it was placing the umbilical cord on the memory altar that called out to it. or a combination of both.
something stirred. and it also understood the agony of loss
Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate.
The Third Umbilical Cord precipitated the encounter with the pale moon, which beckoned the hunters and conceived the Hunter’s Dream.
you, the hunter, find this umbilical cord (kos’ umbilical cord) in an abandoned workshop beneath the official healing church workshop. this is the site where a deal was made between a nameless unknown spirit and the healing church. the hunter’s dream is a perfect replica of this workshop in its heyday, except in the hunter’s dream something resembling maria lives in quiet submission to your desires. the exchange was surprisingly equitable: maintain my dream, love my doll, never die, and i will teach you to take the echoes from the blood of these beasts that plague you and turn them into power. all i ask, in return, is merely what every great one years for.
its a weird detail, but the english translation is the only one that says that laurence and co. “beckoned” the moon. the others actually say the opposite, calling it a “chance encounter”. this inconsistency is repeated in a note you find later. i’m pretty sure it was not a deliberate act. the note just calls it “laurence and his associate’s moon monster”. like they’re responsible for it, but they didn’t necessarily want it. it just happened and they rolled with it.
we’ll catch up on most of these guys again when the hunter (you) bumbles in.