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The Breathless Dead is the name given to the victims of the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 and 1919, during the closing years of World War I. Although wraiths created from plagues and pandemics are nothing new, the Breathless Dead play an important role during the Great War in the Shadowlands.
The first is the numbers of wraiths that the nature of their death provides to the Skeletal Legion during the Great War. It is the numbers of Breathless Dead that enables the numbers of the Skeletal Legion to become a force to be reckoned with, especially compared to the population of the Grim Legion during this time period. Although it takes time to acclimate them and train them properly, they nonetheless make an impact on the battles between the Legions.
The second is more puzzling, but equally important. A large number of the Breathless Dead exit their Cauls calling out prophecies as an Oracle might. They predict an end to the war that will be successful for the Skeletal Lord, and all that he has to do is let the victims of the flu fill out his ranks. Why the victims of the Spanish flu seem to be more gifted in Fatalism than any other plague victim is a mystery, but the Skeletal Lord takes it seriously anyway and does just as he is advised.
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