The Power of Souls (SC'20)
Written by Steve Tremblay
Almost 80 years ago when the city of Uman' Yiro was still at ground level on Ellara, the decision was made to create a group of guardians to help defend the city. One of the Archmages, Ellannan Duskwalker proposed an idea he had been pondering for some time. He and the other Archmages agreed and began working on the concept and plan. The guardians were called Essai (formerly on the podcast, warforged) which would take come pains to create. The constructs would need something special to animate the wooden frame armored extremities. A dark plan was hatched that is only known to the surviving Archmages of which there is only a handful. The criminals of the city were gathered in small groups, only the worst to start with: murderers, slavers, abusers. They were fed almost assembly line style through a series of magical wards, spells and implements that separated the body from the very soul of a person. This process had several after effects: The soul was moved from the criminal to the construct, animating them and giving them "orders" that set them to protect the city and in most cases gave them something of an anger issue. The essai also had no memory of its previous life but they did retain free will and memory going forward. It also destroyed the body in the process eliminating the evidence of what had happened and strangely made the city safer. Over 1000 victims of this process gave their lives and by the time the project was complete, the 'criminals' given to the system were far less hardened and travelers were being reported as missing from nearby villages. In the end, the process became fruitless as criminality dropped and the essai had nothing to protect the city from. They were used as entertainment in gladiatorial games and as town guards but within a few years it was deemed inhumane to keep them within the city as a new security plan had emerged. As the essai were sent packing and given their 'freedom', the Archmages began a new ritual, this time to rip the city out of the ground entirely and loft it into the sky! This was not the end of the project though. Another of the Archmages, a Sekal Loreweaver was contracted by the city of Overwatch (now Overdale) after his eviction from Uman' Yiro. Overwatch was building an army and normal recruitment methods were becoming harder to do. Loreweaver resumed the essai creation, again eliminating the criminal element from the city and building an army of thousands. Nearly 20,000 essai would be created for Overwatch, this time more strictly controlled by a beacon within the city. The actions they took were not of their own decision, they were forced to obey and internally deal with the inhumane things they were forced to do. When Overwatch marched to war with the city of Winterhaven, Archmage Duskwalker gave a fail-safe device called the Diara'Sieeai to Malchus Grimnas who in turn activated it to destroy 95% of the essai and turn the tide of the war. With the essai nearly eliminated, the souls of those used in their creation can once again rest, at least those who were not judged by the Gods to be tormented for eternity.