The Peking Homunculi were the robotic members of the Munificent Army of Peking. It was composed of about 300 military automatons and twelve commanders. They were made by artisans of the 50th century and presented as a gift to King George III as part of House Lolita's invasion of 1762. (AUDIO: Sabbath Dei)
Their creator believed in astrology and therefore created twelve commanders, each with a cerebral cortex taken from one of the twelve animals that visited the Buddha, hoping that the interplay of the attributes would attain a balance and unity unprecedented in warfare. Each expressed its traits differently: for instance, the Tiger was eight feet tall, whereas the Ox was as fat as the eponymous animal.
However, the commanders fell away, one by one. The Dragon became crippled and idiotic. The Pig forgot his station and, as a result of his rebellion, he was separated from the rest. (AUDIO: In the Year of the Cat) The Dog, not meant for swordplay, was killed by Lady Justine, (AUDIO: Sabbath Dei) as was his more skilled brother the Snake; the rest were killed by Cousin Eliza, the Sieur d'Eon, and Lord Sandwich. (AUDIO: In the Year of the Cat)
Behind the scenes Edit
Lawrence Miles' notes for Sabbath Dei described the automatons as "The 'monster' of the story. A kind of walking, talking Chinese mannequin, created as a war machine but engineered with a kind of delicate, well-sculpted grace. It speaks with a pronounced, almost over-played, oriental accent: it's essentially a sentient fortune-cookie, which can deliver words of Buddhist wisdom even as it beats the shit out of its opponents."