Swinging from the roof hung a little cage with Garvinger's window-witch inside. It babbled spells to keep Malern alive and conscious on the table throughout the whole operation. Malern couldn't see its mad, warty little face, but now and again, cool drops of its sweat fell onto her fevered skin.

The surgeon kept working, ripping and tearing. He made sure she could see everything.
The God Thieves

Mateo dreamed of overwhelming power, and of hell. Men harnessed power by merging themselves with mutilated monsters, prodded alight the power of insensate gods through fires poked into other planes. Genoa stole the secrets of domesticating the gods from the Venetians. The Venetians stole from Genoa. Always chasing. Always fleeing. Always hunting up new gods with which to destroy each other.

Esoteric beasts were dangerous, even as disembodied brains. Mateo wouldn’t want to be trapped in his own skull with one that didn’t want to be there.