The guild of necromancers, the Usokufa, produce Bodyservants at a scale of thousands every year in a vast factory beneath the Gleaming City known as the Mortuary. The Usokufa is controlled by the Fire Lord Mallius. Beneath his leadership, there are a strange and mysterious network of merchants and mages, who specialise in the creation and marketing of the Bodyservants.
I've seen the factories beneath the Gleaming City. The endless procession of the dead being brought in from the river port, collected from across the deserts. The quiet rows of stone plinths with them all laid out, like they were asleep. The cold lights shining down, the cold air so at odds with the heat outside. Occassionally an Usokufa attends them. An Emblamer removing their fluids into drains at their feet, and stitching up their wounds while they hum a dirge. Or the Morphologist inserting the crytal lattices where their innards once were, sounding chimes and shuffling their feet in a strange ryhthm. The bodies are eventually moved to a final chamber, where the Vivifiers dance around the them in long sinewy and graceful movements. And they sing as they dance, to their Lord Mallius who resides far above in the Heights of the Gleaming City. There is power in their movements and their song that makes the dead eyes open, sparkling with a fey light. When they are done, the corpse arises, imbued with a new and unholy life. It is unnatural, and all done with a grace at such odds with the horror of it all.- from a report to the Academy at New Lafaelle, from Delegate Valios Del Morne
The Usokufa has a strong heirarchy, and is controlled by the Fire Lord Mallius. Beneath his leadership, there are a strange and mysterious network of merchants and mages, who specilaise in the creation and marketing of the Bodyservants.
MorticiansThese are workers in the vast factories of the Mortuary that lie beneath the Gleaming City, keeping the secrets of embalming and magic used in the process. There are the Embalmers who prepare the bodies on arrival, the Morphologists who engineer the Uhd lattices and implants that will power the bodyservant, and finally the Vivifiers who perform the rituals that imbue the prepared body with a semblance of new life.
MerchantsThese are the public faces of the organisation. First, the Gatherers are the merchants who scour the lands for the recently dead. They will trade with families, tribes and even the warlords of the plains for anyone who has died of sickness, old age, accident or through conflict. They pay well for the bodies they collect, and more for those in good condition, or from rarer and exotic places such as the Protectorates, Uferbrech or the icey expanses of Shadowside and the under-ice. Handlers are the more pleasant face of the Usokufa. These are the salespeople, who sell the bodyservants to thos that will buy. Most are sold to the rich and pwerful within the Gleaming City itself, and others to communities up and down the Godswollen River. Some of the more adventurous Handlers will sell their wares to the rich and eccentric within the Protectorates and beyond.
There is a very strong sense of dispassionate pragmatism that drives the day to day functioning of the Usokufa. The members prize aloofness and a curt efficiency in all their dealings. They pride themselves in offering a useful services that allows for the protection of vital resources for those still living. They do not care for those who might see what that do as monstrous or evil - they see such attitudes as ignorant and foolish. Ultimately, they are interested and value good deals, and those which make the Usokufa money as they sell their product.
Publicly they proudly state that they provide the wealthy across Shadowfire with affordable and practical labour force. They are also not secretive to their desire to make profits and increase the wealth of their own and their master. Rumours do abound that they actively seek out more exotic peoples to source their dead from, and that this has led to covert partnerships with organised crime across the globe. Many believe that the brutality of the Warlords of the burning wastes is due to their long relationship with the Usokufa - the more dead they produce, the more money for the survivors. The League of Shadows is also suspected to have particularly strong ties, killing and trafficking the dead from as far afield as the Protectorates and the many rumoured disappearances of goblinkin from Uferbrech. Mallius and the Usokufa deny this, and will silence any serious conjecture of their involvement.
The Usokufa had their origins as one of the many tribes of kin that struggled to survive in the deserts of Ardi-kokufa. Over long generations, struggling with a lack of resources, they developed a harsh pragmatism and desensitisation towards death, which was a common occurance among their people. While this did not extend to the hastening of death, it did mean that preventing the death of those beyond their prime was not a high priority. Instead the ancestors of the Usokufa saw the dead bodies as nother resource to be used. They would embalm the boides to prevent rot, and imbue them with implanted UHD crystals in order to power the bodies well beyond death. They became guards and servants to the families they had left behind. Over the centuries, the Lords of Fire, under Mallius, took the ancestors of the Usokufa into their own protection and guidance. Mallius set himeslf as their personal god, and imbued the Usokufa with a desire for profit. Under his leadership, the Usokufa developed the large scale industrialisation of their techniques, and the creation of the Mortuary beneath the Gleamin City.