The Empty Children seem to be ordinary children, somewhere between the ages of four and nine. At first glance, the only odd thing about them is their incredible paleness. However, after spending a little time around them, one begins to notice other slightly unnerving aspects about them.
They never speak, and their complete obedience is odd enough for anyone of their age to excite comment. They do not play, either amongst themselves or with other children, unless they are asked or told to do so by someone else. When they *do* play, they do so very badly, as if they do not know how.
They are very cold to the touch, and if they get hurt, they don’t seem to notice it. If they recieve a cut or something similar, they do not bleed.
The Empty Children are an experimental form of undead created by the necromancer Edrea Solon. She created them from children she killed at her orphanage. She has developed a way to keep the bodies preserved in a state relatively close to life and does not interfere with necromantic magics, and makes judicious use of it. (It makes it so much easier to hide them when they don’t look undead, and they don’t drip all over the floor.)
Empty Children primarily find use as spies, saboteurs, thieves, and assassins, since no one would ever suspect a child of such things. Edrea does a profitable (but by no means steady) business supplying some of her associates with Empty Children specifically for this purpose. There are, however, a few unscrupulous or terribly unbalanced wealthy people who somehow come to Edrea’s notice; through convoluted channels, she provides them with "perfect children" to bolster their image or "returns" beloved children who died.
Empty Children will follow any order or request completely and without hesitation. They are intelligent, but lack any sort of free will. They can and do find the best way to carry out their current orders, but they will do as they’re told. They are unable to speak, but can be taught to read and write, which is how information is passed from an Empty Child to their master.
The only sound Empty Children are capable of making is a sort of heart-wrenching wordless crying. They do not do so unless ordered to- for example, an Empty Child used as a spy will often be ordered to cry if detained; very few people can stand up to such an assault. However, if any one is paying close attention to a crying Empty Child, they will notice there are no tears. This is the most effective form of self-defense the Empty Children.
They feel no pain; actually they barely feel any sensation at all. It is unknown if they feel emotions, but those who use them don’t tend to care about that. Edrea certainly doesn’t. Since they are undead, they don’t bleed. They are no stronger than normal children, but very hard to destroy.
The process to make an Empty Child can only be done with a relatively fresh and intact corpse (the preservation takes care of that), and the necromancer must be able to bind a soul to it (not necessarily the one that belonged to the body) to make it intelligent. Only Edrea currently knows the secret of creating them, and is still refining the process. For some reason, she’s only managed to create Empty Children; attempts to use the same process with adults have not ended well.