Dyscrasia plagues both the insectan elders of the Underworld and the Land-dwelling, human artisans that worship them (the Picti). Desperate to save the elder race from extinction, the golem Doctor Grave extracts the soul from the Queen’s carcass while retreating from her collapsing colony. The Doctor infuses her soul into the Picti leader, Ante Lysis, for safekeeping as he prepares to resurrect her. The Lysis bloodline emerges as the exclusive carrier of the Queen’s soul, and it is passed from generation to generation via a Rite in which Lysis descendents drink their ancestors' blood. The Prologue introduces the reader to dyscrasia and to the antagonist Doctor Grave as he harvests corpses required for his necromancy.
The story begins with Endenken Lysis, the sole surviving descendant of Ante, deciding between (a) assuming leadership over the Picti by imbibing his deceased father’s blood, and (b) abandoning the Picti to start a new life. The adventure begins as Endenken chooses the latter, many Picti members dying as their Inheritance Rite goes awry—the Queen’s soul left without a proper carrier.
Lords of Dyscrasia explores the choices humans and their gods make as a disease corrupts their souls, shared blood and creative energies.
Historically, dyscrasia referred to any imbalance of the four medicinal humors professed by the ancient Greeks to sustain life (phlegm, blood, black and yellow bile). Artisans, anatomists, and chemists of the Renaissance expressed shared interest in the humors; accordingly, the scope of humorism evolved to include aspects of the four alchemical elements (water, air, earth and fire) and psychological temperaments (phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic and choleric). In short, the humors are mystical media of color, energy, and emotion; Lords of Dyscrasia presents them as spiritual muses for artisans, sources of magical power, and contagions of a deadly disease.