"The Whyte Revolt"
A Flintloque Background Article by Gavin Syme
When Wylde Magicke was annulled the Undead servants of Aleksander the Star Wraith crumbled to dust. He set upon using the new laws of science to create a new type of Undead, all went well until the first Whytes appeared...
I ache. I ache all over. My mind tells me I ache but why can’t I feel anything? Its so dark and its so very cold. Where am I…who am I ?….
A light flashes, flickers in my mind and the blackness in my eyes suddenly lifts and in moments I wish that it had not. I am stood upright and tethered tight to a wall; only my head can move. I feel sluggish and very odd like I am floating over my body but the scene in front of me forces my mind to snap to attention as witness to the horror that is unfolding all around.
A room with stone walls to which dozens of seemingly dead soldiers are tethered to as I am. They circled the whole room. Blood pooled around their feet in great clotted puddles. In the middle of the room stood a strange machine which pulsed with electrical energy and sparked continually. As I watched two Dwarves in dirty off white coats dragged a dead body to the machine and flung it onto the wooden table which made the machine’s centre. It was then that I spoke. I did not mean to but it just escaped from my lips, a moan, a word? I am not sure but it certainly got their attention. They abandoned the corpse, dropping it like so much rubbish, and scuttled over to my place on the wall.
“Zis one spoke. I am sure of it. Call herr Doctorov”
I tried to speak again but I could not, only what felt like dust fell from my mouth and a weird wheezing sound came forth. The two Dwarves grabbed a hold of me and began to loosen the straps that fastened me to the wall. As they came away I fell forward, my legs not responding to my minds command. I saw my hand, at least the arm it was attached to reached back towards my eyes, it was a deathly white the nails broken and cracked.
“Doctorov vill not be pleased if again ze process hast failed.”
The Dwarf who had not spoken grunted his agreement and they stood me straight, hands at my waist and lower back, holding my legs like props. We were waiting, waiting for someone who must be in charge. Again I tried to speak, to tell them I was alive and in need of the attention of a physician.
“Zer, again mit der speaking. Doctorov will make ze order for him to be put mit der other
Whytes; ze other failures. If so zen this will be der eighth this week.”
The less talkative Dwarf spoke for the first time;
“Jah. Ze process must be flawed. Zo many Whytes unt failures ist nicht good. If ze master makes this one der eighth then I think ve must be disposing of der Whytes later so that ve do not get shot jah?”
The brief conversation stopped dead at that moment as the door to the room opened and a terrifying figure entered. Ashen of face with intense yellow eyes and a head too large for the seemingly puny body that skittered skeleton like under it. The two Dwarves greeted their master and explained my actions which had caused them to remove me from the wall. Doctorov listened in silence and then stepped forward and gripped me by the throat. He spoke with a voice like a thousand lice crawling amid an open wound.
“So, perhaps another Whyte. The process must be flawed, this is happening too often and the K.G.B Liches will not take kindly to it. I, of course, will tell them it was you two imbeciles who caused the failure.”
The Dwarves nearly dropped me as they shuddered with fear. Doctorov continued.
“Draining the blood is vital. Of this we are sure. The process takes better on vessels that are drained. But perhaps the crystals are so much weaker without the Magicke that the Czar used to use to create his minions that they do not complete the process. The charge of electric energy can be higher, this assures success, but it does cause greater decay among the vessels. Again perhaps it would be better only to create the normal reanimated creature with its shorter span than to continue in this effort to create creatures that will last far longer and be capable of more complex tasks. It’s the colour of the flesh that troubles me. As we know among the cruder results the skin turns a mottled green to grey colour but these failures stay the colour of the newly dead; hence our little name for them.”
Squeezing my throat this thing, this being of a perverted science, stopped my breath. I expected to suffer, to be unable to breath, but to my surprise and horror I no longer seemed to breath and all his throttling achieved was to induce a fit of dry coughing once he let go.
“Good. That should have you tattling. Now tell me what is your name?”
I had no idea. No idea at all. My mind was a swirling mass of nothing and had been since I had awoken. But there was some salient among the whirlpool and I again tried to speak. This time I gave voice.
“Where am I….I need to report to the Colonel…that’s my…my..I don’t know. I want….”
I trailed off, my voice sounded dead, it sounded without tone or depth. A flash of memory, Suesy, she had loved my voice. But who was Suesy?
Doctorov snarled and kicked out, landing a solid hit on my left leg. I felt it, I think, but no pain came.
“Number eight it seems after all. Take it away. You two will have to hide this from the Liches. Here and in the other re-animation sites; this is occurring too often. It must be stopped. Like the others this one is remembering his past life. What use are Undead troops if they starting to think for themselves!”
Turning on his heels Doctorov left the room, pausing only to briefly examine one of the bodies hanging from the wall.
“Take this one next. Try the process on a Nepolise corpse. Perhaps we will have more luck than with that Orc.”
The Dwarves led me out and at the end of a dank stone corridor they put me in another room. This one was filled with white faced creatures, Undead in ragged uniforms of a dozen regiments, whose mouths were open and who screamed and screamed without ceasing. As the door closed with a shriek of hinges I realised that my mouth was open, my face must also be white and that I was screaming too.
The Whytes and a Revolt against the Dark Czar
Before the Grande Armee du Norde reached the charnel city of Moskova the Witchlands had faced its first real challenge to the vice like grip of the Dark Czar Aleksander and his bickering Vampyre nobles. With the breakdown of the powers of Wylde Magicke the Witchlands had been faced with a huge problem. It was true that the end of Magicke destroyed the Necromancers and allowed the Dark Czar to seize power but it had also put an end to the vast horde of labourers that kept the endless stretches of the Witchlands running. All of the Zombies and Skeletons who performed all the tasks that Vampyres found beneath their honour to do simply crumbled to dust as their magicke bonds dissipated into nothing.
To bring back the status quo and to avoid a terrible possible civil war among the Vampyre families over the remaining sources of slaves such as the Werewolves of Diberia and the lucking Ghouls of the city underworlds the Dark Czar used his own influence to fashion a solution. He would use the new laws of science to create a new mindless army to do his bidding. With invisible fingers of influence he drew sinister creatures from all over Valon to his city of Moskova. Creatures who could use science to harness the dead to walk once more. Foremost among the hundreds of despicable wretches who came was Doctorov, a creature of malignant and evil ways that outshone even the most depraved of the Vampyres.
The Dark Czar bound these evil scientists to his will with promises of riches, of willing concubines and of course with promises of power and influence. Within weeks they had built the first re-animator devices. These devices used a combination of darke magicke and harnessed electricity to literally infuse the recently deceased with a new Unlife. The re-animators would become the key to the mastery of the Star Wraith over his Vampyre nobles and, if he has his way, the whole of the world.
As the largest army ever assembled made ready to cross into the Witchlands the order was given to Doctorov and his assistants, along with other teams such as that led by Surgeovitch, to kidnap and kill hundreds from the advance scouting parties that were dispatched into the Witchlands ahead of the Grande Armee. These Elves, Dogmen, Ogres and others joined the unwilling 'allies' that had come to the aid of the Dark Czar against the Ferach Empire such as Orcs of Albion and Bog Orcs from Guinalea. These few thousand would form the first nucleus of a deep frozen and endless army of Undead with which to crush the Emperor Mordred.
Like all experiments are want to, this one went partially wrong. The newly built Graviski Re-Animators were temperamental and often failed. Only Doctorov seemed to have fixed the problem and once he had passed the solution to the other ghastly teams the work continued apace but Doctorov and the other scientists began to keep a terrible secret from the K.G.B Liches, in the employ of the Dark Czar, who came to inspect the castles, crypts and other structures being used to create the army of the dead. The secret was the 'Whytes'.
During early attempts at creating Undead soldiers it was realised that while it was relatively easy to infuse the dead with enough unlife to make them into mindless drones fit to march and perform the rudiments of loading and firing a musket it was impossible to make these shambling heaps capable of the complex tasks of commanding others like themselves. As well as being unable to command in battle these mindless and short lived Undead could not manage to ride a mount making vital cavalry impossible and they could never remember the many steps of loading a large artillery piece as a team. Having no junior officers, no cavalry and no gunners would make the Army of the Witchlands too weak to beat its foes in a blackpowder war. So in addition to the mass of shambling Zombies and Skeletons that the re-animators were now able to churn out with little trouble a second process to create ‘savants’ was begun. These savants would be smarter and able to carry out their masters bidding upon these vital but more complex tasks.
Creating savant Undead was far more difficult and time consuming for Doctorov and the other scientists. This was not least due to the fact that it could not be done in a hurry on the battlefield but only with static devices and preparation but also that to become a savant a corpse had to be very freshly dead. Indeed it often did not succeed if the body was more than two days deceased. By the time the first thousand savants had been shocked into unlife the Whyte problem became apparent and numerous.
To those looking at a Zombie from a distance the typical shambling heaps and the savants did not look any different. Both had a lurching gait, both had greenish grey skin and a stricken facial expression. But when you looked more closely (not wise unless you were in the service of the Dark Czar) it became apparent that while the rank and file Zombie was little more than a machine, incapable of thought, and often just stopping dead until a Liche drove it on the savants were so much more. Their skin was greenish grey but they required no Liche to drive them, they acted on their own and could speak, not well, but well enough. Savants could load a musket and fire it far better than their ‘mass produced’ brothers and they were perfectly capable of commanding other Undead and riding as Zombiski Cossacks, of operating the cannons of the Dark Czar’s armouries. These savants were daubed with red paint (sometimes blood) across their chests and faces to make them discernable amid the growing mass of shambling dead.
However not every savant re-animation was such a success for the vile teams that carried out the task. In an average day perhaps a third of the newly infused savants would awaken confused and screaming with their faces white as snow. As smart and strong as the other savants these Whytes did not obey the command of the Dark Czar as all other Undead did but instead gradually regained the memories of their previous mortal lives. Of course this was a disaster as troops who do not implicitly obey the will of their master are, in the Army of the Witchlands, useless. Every Whyte was a waste for the Army, a mistake, and the mistakes were piling up in locked rooms and tombs all over the Witchlands but especially in Moskova.
Despite efforts to cover up the growing numbers of Whytes it was not long before the Liches of the K.G.B noticed the lack of savants being supplied to them and suspecting treachery the order was given for the Vampyre nobles near to each re-animator site to take their troops and conduct a peaceful ‘investigation’ of the work the scientists like Doctorov were undertaking. In a few places the Whytes had already been exterminated or had already escaped from their imprisonment but this massed investigation by the Vampyres began the Whyte Revolt proper.
Blaming their assistants, their handlers, the weather and anything else they could think of most of the scientists escaped punishment (they were needed after all and self perseveration was a skill common to them!) as the Vampyres and their Undead soldiers filed into the castles and crypts they were using. It has to be said that none of the Vampyres expected to find Undead soldiers who would not only refuse to do their bidding but would actually take up arms against them and try to escape out into the frozen tundra. Confusion and violence reigned as Whytes attacked other Undead, stole their weapons and fought their way outside. Many were shot to pieces or torn apart by Vampyres but an awful lot were now free and intent on revenge on those who had created them and those who had tried to exterminate them for seemingly no reason.
The Grand Armee was nearing Vilnau and while a lot of the Army of the Witchlands was readying a trap for them, the Whytes were conducting increasingly successful raids against the rest of the Undead. Some of them had linked up outside Moksova where most of them had been re- animated and decided to try and reach the advancing Grand Armee or to even escape the Witchlands into Diberia proper. The Whyte Revolt was now turning into a vicious intercine feud among the Undead...
...Slavery or Freedom for those of Unlife.
This article was originaly published on Alternative Armies' content portal, Barking Irons, and is reproduced here with permission.