“What makes a man? What unmakes him? When flesh and bone are stripped away, what of the man remains? Are we nothing more than the sum of our parts?”
Aemtrius Sedre, Alchemy and The Modern Man
Easily confused with their cousin, the golem, aegis are the product of an alchemical process which binds the spirit of any creature into a specially prepared mechanical body. This is typically a form that resembles the soul’s original body, but there are exceptions. Many alchemists place favored pets or trained animals into an aegis to serve them in some greater manner after their death. However, when a sapient creature is placed into an aegis that is what creates the controversial aegilond.
Due to the nature of their creation aegilonds come from a multitude of backgrounds. Aegilonds are created through an intricate and costly alchemical ritual usually known amongst only the most achieved of alchemists. The ritual infuses the alchemical components and materials with mana, however the ritual doesn’t create a perfect container. A soul is only able to live within the aegis for a score of years before the magic begins to fade taking the soul into the afterlife..
The art of creating aegises has been around since the days of the Ancients. During the time period known as The Rivening the process of creating aegises was lost. Left behind were only the remnants and empty vessels of a once mighty science. Through research, and some say dark experimentation, the Ancient Tharantians discovered and expanded a small part of this ancient tradition. Aegises created today stem from the breakthroughs made during this time.
Familiarity, new developments and those individuals that push the boundaries of this practice have made the popularity of creating aegises wax and wane throughout the centuries. Recently it has fallen under a bad light because of religious and social persecution as well as taboos that have sprung up in the alchemical community.
Most aegises retain the behavior of their past life, whatever form it may have taken. Often as time passes and as the end of their life in this new form draws to a close, they become grim and jaded, isolating themselves from the rest of society. Many who become aegis often seek a tie to their former lives and become lost in reminiscing about those things they can no longer do.
Aegilonds are usually found in the company of an alchemist, due to their dependence on them for healing. The interplay between them depends on the individual and can vary from master and servant to an older brother and younger sibling.
Most active aegilonds are centered in the Adgaran Empire, for it has the firmest grasp of the science behind its formation. However they do not have any lands of their own and are looked at differently depending on the nation. Some look at them as merely curious specimens for them to investigate were as others wish to destroy all that they find, considering them abominations.
Most of the people who make the change from whatever they were to aegis maintain the same religious or philosophical beliefs. Some use this change to justify a switch from these beliefs, whether for good or ill, to one that better suits their new “life”. Those who worshipped the Old Gods before their transformation often have a special place for Jesper and Icaunus in their hearts.
Aegilonds maintain the languages and skills they had from their past, occasionally learning more to better suit their new role and form. It is not unheard of however for the process to rob them of some of their memories and experience, though rare.
There are two schools of thought on the naming of an ægis. The typical aegis keeps the name that they have always gone by for the first part of their life. Some see this change as a rebirth and choose a different name, usually representing their feelings on the change.
Some examples include: Enigma, Flint, Goliath, Klaw, Razor, Snare, Stoneheart, Thorn.