The Market Gate was unusually busy. Then again, reports from the other outlying gates were seeing an increase in foot traffic for a fall afternoon. It was impossible to check everyone, to look everyone in the eye. Your typical farmer, vagabond adventurer type among caravans rambling through at a sedate pace. The increase in traffic had been going on for some time now. More wagons, more caravans. Just more people. A typical day, until I locked eyes with her. The lack luster look, the far off glare. The half awake glaze in her eyes. It wasn't vacant. No not vacant. But it lacked a life, like lacking a soul.
"Hold there. Young Miss. Wait! You there, the bricky woman following the hay wagon. Stop."
The explosion knocked me into her. Her cold eyes bore into mine and said countless things, none of which were understandable. I felt a void to her; as if she had no care, no love, no feelings. No soul. The hot burning pain I felt in my stomach by a knife she was carrying was intensified by the running and screaming from all around. It was dizzying. I watched helpless as farmers and vagabonds, women and soldiers were cut down. Everyone took up arms and began slaughtering random people in their vicinity. If a weapon was not handy, they bit and clawed them. Forcing them to the ground with numbers before bludgeoning or choking, or simply biting them to death. Soldiers and caravan guards took up their weapons and laid into them fervently, yet the injuries and wounds seemed not to bleed nor slow them. Uselessly. Were they alive? Could they not die?
I lay in the packed dirt now turned thick and muddied from the blood and bile, wishing for death as I watched dozens of feet calmly walk past me and into the city. All their eyes, vacant and uncaring. All of their eyes had the same far off stare, not alive but not dead either. They ignored me as I laid there wishing for the end as I heard the city put to the death by these dead eyed creatures who looked and moved as if alive but unable to die. I watched hours later as hundreds of them ambled past me, bloodied and burnt. Some missing limbs, none of them bleeding or showing any signs of slowing due to their injuries. I saw horrible things. They drug women and children behind them. Some struggling while others were in to much shock to realize what was happening. Later I learned that the explosions were wagons placed with tar and oil by these mobs of creatures earlier in the week and then set ablaze while the population thronged for market. This had been planned well in advance. It sickens me to wonder why I survived where others did not.
The Lexicon of Soulcursed Convergence - Penned by Decanus Kormack
Creation Chapter/ Undead Creation/ Exemplified Living/ Difficult, Extreme
Living Haunts, or Dead Eyes as they have been called, are a masterpiece in creation for the wickedly insane Necromancer who intends his conquests well in advance. The preparation required is not just on the creation of the creature but on the utilities required to make them work. While any necromancer who dabbles in the creation occult can bring forth a semi life to an undead being or creature, a Living Haunt is a creation of near perfection. It is not by any means a complete Animashtal, which is more a gift from Shivenhusk than a full creation, but it is an evolutionary step among the creation of the unliving that is so perfect it is like creating life among the world of the non-living. A dichotomy in the world of necromancy but a beautiful construct none-the-less.
A haunt is in need of three things to be complete. The Anadem of Kormak, Dark Mantle of D'Geen, a completed recreated body of a corpse invigorated with the soul. The younger the better as older souls tend to fight for control harder and longer, sometimes even gaining up to full and complete control again. The havoc with which they can cause in such a short time is frightening. The life force of a baby is much stronger as age tends to sap the strength of the soul but their fragile minds usually do not transfer over control enough to make motor skills complete and useful. Children ages seven to sixteen are best for these types of creations as their youth is still pure and strong but their ability to fight back for control is weak. The are perfect as they tend to take commands very well and have the motor skills to compliment them.
Two living specimens are required for each automation. One to become the creature and one to power the creature. This may seem unnecessary as most lowly automaton needs only a husk for a vessel and the essence from the Void puts the needed energies into the shell thereby creating the unliving. This however, is more complex. Due to the desired nature of these constructs, they are made to blend into the world of the living and seek out and hide in plain sight. Once they are in the desired location to complete their task they are commanded to do so and are not suspected until it is too late. Their motor skills are much more advanced as they move as if alive with limited or no hasty or jerky movements. No shambling or shuffling. Perfect specimens can even be commanded to make verbal noises to mimic speech. More than an animal or bestial moan but more of the grunt associated with non verbal communication.
With the increased motor skills that add natural movement back to the usually ungainly creations, the addition of the Dark Mantle makes for the perfect camouflage as they look alive and natural. The magick of the skin mantle melds to the dead flesh giving them the appearance of life. Color returns to their body, flesh is made to cover and heal over, and a slight form of intelligence returns to their eyes. Again, one or the other does not grant the complete inclusion of life but the appearance of life. Close scrutiny would find the falsehood in the creature but they are made to pass even more than a cursory inspection.
With the inclusion of said creator using the Anadem makes controlling a group of the haunts more easily manageable. A task that normally even a skilled purveyor of the death arts would find taxing on a normal group of undead creation. These crowns of bone allow access to instantly command a large group with relative ease, even a small army if one has the metal fortitude to withstand the strain. Being as their purpose is to make control of the dead easy, often times a powerful mind can control a veritable army of the dead. A simple form of commands can be issues so as not to sap the strength from the necromancer, or they can be used as issuing tactical commands on a battlefield. On the fly commands for a better marshaling and atypical tactics not normally seen and used by the undead. While these commands can be given and there is no real range to its use, on the fly commands require some form of view of the undead and the area to make the commands accurate and unfallible.
Side Note: The preparation involved is on a massive scale, as simply creating one or two of these are pointless. A horde of your basic undead can wreck havoc on a much larger scale. Faster to create, fewer tasks to complete beforehand. Read Creation Chapter/ Undead Creation/ Non-living Automations/ Difficulty, Novice for a more indepth look at easier creations that are less time consuming and less taxing. In order to successfully make a group worthy of their use the necromancer would need a full supply of the living, two per body needed. Not to mention a child needed for each Anadem intended to be created and used, one for each Haunt. Now the children that are used for the Anadem as well as in the sacrifice for the soul transfer can be used in the creation of the Mantles. Waste not a fresh living so that the dead may rise.
Once all of this has come together, the creation of the Haunt with the infusion of the youths soul. The addition of the Mantles as well as the Anadems, you have a group, if not an army, of undead beings that look alive enough to pass cursory inspection to be inserted into any environment undetected and wreck as much havoc as needed or desired.
- The group is in a city where the Living Haunts are beginning to be placed in their respective positions to attack or assault the city. One or more of the group spies something unnatural and unnerving about them and on closer scrutiny notices that they do not look 100% normal.
- The group is outside the city walls (Inside the city walls) when the Living Haunts are given their orders to attack the city. Suddenly random villagers begin attacking the party and everyone around them. Trying to make sense of the chaotic mayhem and either not be killed or help defend the assault should be a task of confusing and deadly proportions.
- While travelling in the countryside the group comes to a village or populated way-station that they have visited before on occasion only to discover that the population is gone. Some are murdered in the streets but mostly the fighting men. The women and children are apparently missing. They have stumbled across a necromancer who is gathering his supplies to create his army.