Magicians are known for wearing soft, thin gloves. They do so to hide their hands; to hide the marks of their art. Long, fine, crisscrossing scars. Weird, organic, tattoo-like markings and runes: these are the marks which mar a magician's hands.
Alteration of the hand and fingers is requisite in the pursuit of magic. Each formula requires structures to be implanted beneath the skin. For lesser spells, these are tiny mechanisms, such as rune-lined chips or strings of biological ink injected with needles. For major formulae, however, further alteration is required. Greater access to the magician's nervous system is necessary. Thus, Magicians replace their knucklebones.
Each magic bone is a masterpiece. An alchemical artifice. The product of hundreds of hours of labor in a laboratory. They are made of steel, stone, and marrow; lined with etched runes and tiny plates of precious metals.
ImplantationThe practice of knucklebone implantation is called abscission. It is a dangerous feat. The surgery is usually attempted personally, one-handed. First, the skin must be slit, muscles cut, and tendons splayed apart to permit the removal of the original phalange. Then, ligaments, nerves, and veins must be fused and stitched to the new knucklebone, lest the digit become useless. Failure results in a lost finger, at best. Successful abscission results in the acquisition of new abilities.
As a result of this practice, the gloved hands of magic-wielders are very precious. Magicians eagerly inherit the severed digits of dead relatives. Some will burgle tombs or commit murder in pursuit of magic knucklebones, that they may graft them into their own hands.