One late summer morn the faithful metal Guardians of the outer-lying city of Ankou suddenly shut down, unbeknownst to the citizens until a legion of Forsaken came down upon them. Only the city's queen survived as she was visiting Lugus during the slaughter, negotiating terms for her assassins on loan. The organization of these so-called mindless beasts as they moved towards the capitol was astounding, accustomed as the soldiers were to the slobbering infected hordes from the stories of old. None were prepared. Seeing the smoking wreckage from afar, the surviving rulers gathered together the priests to make pleas unto the gods in their desperation as it was discovered that all Guardians in each of the cities were out of commission and none were left alive who knew their inner workings. Surprisingly a response was received, quickly and with clarity, from each of the city's patron gods and communicated to their rulers by the chief priest and mighty prophet, Avarus: "Eleven children of royal heritage will be born. To these children celestial powers shall be given, so that in them we might be saved. And they shall be to us as gods amongst mortals, as strangers amongst their own people, as living sacrifices to purge this horrendous blight from our land."
The next day I choose a different scroll from behind the hundredth brick in the temple archive. I have to be more careful. Someone hid these for a reason.
Due to the massive loss of information from the time of the original infection and following wars, we have had to largely begin our research anew. The following is some of what we have been able to glean from the Kashish journals your scoping team provided: "In the family of Forsaken there are many varieties but two genera stand out: The Cranks, and the Revenants. In looks and predatory characteristics, the two are obversely related yet they are products of the same insidious plague said to have been brought down as divine retribution. The Revenants are often dark or even purplish in color with astounding mental fortitude and physical speed. The Cranks are generally pale, appearing bleached, with impressive physical strength and tough leathery skin. Nothing but the greatest force or direct sun can damage a Crank. In comparison, the Revenants are quite fragile. However, they are considered the greater of the two genera. While the Revenants are less appreciable to the naked eye, they are highly organized, with many being capable of speech. The strongest among them can even possess other creatures for a limited time, allowing them to amass entire armies as Cranks often follow a herd mentality, though many times full possession is unnecessary. When an infection occurs, what determines which Forsaken the victim shall become depends upon their strength of will, genetic coding, and the amount of venom they were exposed to. Those who become Cranks were determined to have a predisposition for the XPC and ERCC genes numbers two through five. For Revenants, the singular POLH gene. For those obscure Forsaken from whose charred remains I have examined thoroughly, the rare XPA and DDB2 genes. Testing the population for plague susceptibility is advised." Authorization and funds for controlled infection trials to confirm these results would be invaluable at this stage of our research. Subjects donated from the Matrona asylum would be simplest to hide. In answer to your question regarding the prince's samples, a meeting between us would be wise. ~from the Excavated Personal Studies of Merak, Executive Belenusian Assistant to His Greatness, Eucairost Avarus in the Year 1006.
The breeze outside is soft and sweet. The cherry trees must be in bloom. Fineas' heart flutters against my ribs excitedly. "I think mine looks like a dragon. Can yours beat a dragon, Caty?" His cloud looks more like a half-birthed potato to me, but I say nothing. He bangs his head on my abdomen, until I roll him off. "Fine. My cloud is that one to the right, over the hanger. It looks like a knight to me. A great and fantastic knight to slice your dragon limb from limb save us all from his fiery wrath." "Oh yea? Well my dragon has laser eyes and vomits parasite barnacles whenever he gets mad." "Well my knight's armor is made from atomically rearranged graphite. It will shatter your dragon's teeth, claws, reflect his lasers, and repel all barnacle suckers. Hah! Now that I've won, I believe we are through here." Looking at his face I realize it isn't about winning for him, like it is for me. "Ah, but how could I have forgotten...", I frown exaggeratedly. "Forgotten what?" I point to the swirling indistinct mass of white over the glider bay. "Can't you see it? My knight and your dragon are negotiating a treaty if your dragon will share his mountain of gold. I'm afraid I have lost after all." I endure him patting my head. If this is the price of peace, I can handle it. "Don't be sad. Be happy. I have a surprise for you!"