The Eternal Searchers

By James Walker


You can find them in all sorts of places - wandering the desert, mountain ranges, the bottoms of lakes. Rarely in the cities; on the few occasions when they are in inhabited regions they are normally sitting in cellars, practicing scales. Usually they are on private property; they often frequent farms, testing the notes of the Symphony.

They are all zombis, and they are engaged in the largest research project in the history of the Symphony.

When millionaire Douglas Rendell became a Vampire, he assumed that he would be a mover and shaker in the world of the supernatural. To discover that vampires were the lowest of the low, and that he was considered insignificant by everybody (even mortal Soldiers and Sorcerers!), was a bitter blow. Furious, he set about changing that. He will never be able to learn Sorcery, Enchantment, Alchemy or Necromancy; will never be considered for a Word; is dependent on Demons for Rites and Attunements.

The only powers he can develop himself, and control, are Songs. Fortunately, any Symphonically Aware being can attempt Song research. Even Vampires. Even Zombis.

Rendell possesses Saminga's Zombi attunement, so creating them isn't difficult. As a skilled businessman, he has the skills to organise feeding them regularly (and has built up his financial empire using zombis in his sweatshops). The difficulty is finding zombis who have the skills necessary to have even the slightest chance of successfully researching a Song. Singing/6 is essential, and even then the zombi has only the slightest chance of finding a useful chord - and only if the zombi would have a bonus to the final Song. Finally, the zombis lack the Perception to follow a specific chord through to completion, so they have to slowly work their way through every possible combination of notes. So far, the only thing they've found is an Ornamental Numinous Corpus that creates scabs.

Rendell doesn't mind - it's early days yet, and he isn't interested in Songs unless he'll gain a bonus for them. Those Songs will increase his personal power, and will hopefully attract a rich reward from Saminga. What he does mind is the Disadvantages that highly proficient singers tend to possess - after spending weeks ensuring a secret grave rob, it's irritating to see the singer's picture on the cover of the latest tabloid, just because the wretched zombi feels the need for publicity. Even given the amount of his resources he's redirecting to creating fake Elvis sightings, it's only a matter of time until the Malakim come knocking.


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