In the war with Deadhaus, the Thacean Empire has utilized every resource available to them. Brave men-at-arms, machines of war, sorcery, and pleas to the divine were all employed with varying levels of success, but for every victory there were two defeats. City by city, land by land, the Thaceans were pushed back, driven northward by the ceaseless march of the dead. Routed to their innermost territory, they devised a new strategy in desperation. They would turn the strength of Deadhaus against itself. They would oppose the dead with the dead. At the behest of his Grand Inquisitor, the Emperor called upon the most skilled and learned alchemists of his nation. Together with the Grand Inquisitor’s research, they developed the capacity to create an undead entirely under their control, a construct of interwoven limbs and parts animated by alchemy, a Wight.

The impact on the war was immediate. Wights, like the undead they had been created to face, were tireless. Assembled from multiple cadavers, their variegated bodies could be disassembled and reconstructed to fit the needs of their assignment. A wight sent to the frontlines could be grafted with heavy armor plating to absorb blows intended for the living. If city walls needed defending, a Wight’s arm could be replaced with a gunpowder device that its other arm could fire and reload. So long as the material wasn’t silver, a Wight could be fitted with a myriad of tools, weapons, and apparatus.

When it became apparent that the use of Wights was beginning to turn the war, the Emperor demanded mass production, and soon Wights began to appear on nearly every battlefield. Even when struck down, a Wight could be repaired so long as its core remained intact. But their bodies could not consist entirely of mechanical parts. Some portion of flesh was required to contain the essence of a Wight, for flesh is the housing of the soul, and that was the secret with which the Grand Inquisitor had built them. Through alchemy, he had learned to artificially create the substance from which souls are made, and so the essence of a Wight’s creation became the essence of its undoing.

Without any sign or warning, for reasons unknown, some Wights began to awaken. The essence in the cores that animated them spontaneously gave rise to sentient souls. Whether standing guard, hauling weight, or in the midst of battle, these Wights simply stopped following commands. In some instances, they turned on their masters, tearing them apart. In others, they simply wandered from the battlefield. Some roamed alone, ranging until their limbs failed them, or until they reached the sea and then kept walking. Some stood unmoving, neither reacting to, nor even acknowledging, the Thaceans who came to disassemble them. But a portion of these awakened Wights marched south, and there they found Deadhaus waiting with open arms.

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