“I was a child during the Spice Wars. I didn’t understand what was happening: one day I was in school, learning arithmetic, and the next seven red monsters fell from the sky and spit lightning and steam and killed half my friends and my teacher and my uncle Obert and my mother.
“I swore on their graves – we were poor people, there was no question of them coming back Undying – I swore that I would make sure none of my family ever suffered like that again.”
(Iacath, explaining herself to the Perfected Justices)
Iacath grew up to claim the mantle of Stormbringer of the Southern Peaks, but that was not enough for her. With witchery and magic, she conjured up divers demonic tutors and scholars, who initiated her into the power of the Dark. Her scholastic emphasis – defense and protection – did not align perfectly with the purer destructive/necrotic energies of that wellspring (see the ACID SWAMPS OF MISERY ISLAND), but her principal desire was for control, and Control is a desire the Dark understands and strengthens.
In the year 1341, the prodigious – not yet Undying – Iacath revealed her Bronze Men, the guardians of the Southern Peaks, to the civil government. Each of this legion of five hundred clockwork soldiers can fight tirelessly, march without rest or sleep, ignore the cold of the blizzard and the heat of the jungle. Iacath oiled them with fat rendered from the corpses of innocents and painted them with runes in ink from the blood of albinos.
After Iacath’s attempted takeover of the Perfected province of Southerly Rivers Diverging and her small war begun, fought, and concluded, the legions were scattered but not so easily destroyed. By the time of Iacath’s execution, the Bronze Men had not only learned to oil and maintain themselves, but regrouped and occupied the citadel of the Stormbringer. There they yet dwell – the Perfected Empire believes it would be a waste of money and manpower and lives to send a force up into the mountains to route them out.
Zully the Liar claims to have spent a month in their company, telling them the history of the world and learning of theirs. He claims they worship Iacath’s memory as a creator-goddess, and that they are building more of themselves. He claims further that before 1550 a force of thousands of Bronze Men will pour from the caverns under the fortress, and swarm into Southerly Rivers Diverging and beyond.
Zully does not explain from whence the Bronze Men are taking the fat of innocents, with which they lubricate their joints.
SEE ALSO the Acid Swamps of Misery Island, the Empire of Perfection, Zully the Liar