The Accretion Gospel
Episode 3: The Earth Sister
A few days after their departure from the valley, the six travelers entered the coastal city of Harfax (but not before being delayed by a duo of belligerent troscs, a type of troll like creature). During their travels, Mauta had explained that the black stone, which the travelers called orexisite or lure, was a valuable mineral used in the construction of a sorcerer’s tools. It was as valuable as gold to the two-eyed of Arkova, and the mining of the stone had grown into a prosperous business in the past century. Armed with this information, the group split up. Arro instructed everyone to gather as much information about anyone unusual seeking out the black stone as possible.
Arro himself wandered about the town for a while, and found out very little. He learned that the city’s ports were currently closed due to some sort of religious event, but could find little more.
Janet, being a good drifter, used her keen senses to find a bar. While enjoying a local drink, she helped herself to a great sum of information plied from the bar’s patrons. She learned that the ports were closed for the arrival of a woman called the “Earth Sister”, who was supposedly one of five prestigious sorceresses who held some sort of extralegal authority over much of the world’s government. Sister had come to collect a taxation of black stone in the name of her patron, which was a relatively unusual action on her part. The The Earth Sister, named Halrees Vascon, was called the Earth Sister because it was said that she derived her power from a being who’s name Janet could not immediately translate. The closest translation her translator allowed was “dragon”, although the accuracy of the term was contested at a mere 37% relevancy. Still, she found it to be particularly noteworthy, and after polishing off her drink, she went to find Arro and the others.
Tuona, Mauta, and Roth didn’t manage to find much information, with Mauta deciding on a whim to go shopping instead. He purchased a fur trimmed cloak and several pieces of jewelry. During their time out, he also learned of Halrees’ arrival, but was less than concerned by it. Roth, on the other hand, seemed to be experiencing a great deal of discrimination at the hands of the two-eyes, who referred to him as Tuona’s slave. Both of the valley dwellers were shocked to learn that the Chirotrani were treated as property by two-eyes outside the valley, but Mauta merely brushed it off and explained to them that much of the world is a cruel place to many people.
Meanwhile, Tesla was about to become embroiled in a great deal of trouble. While searching for information, she came across a shady individual who told her he could get her a great mass of black stone if she was willing to do something for her. When asked, he told her all she needed to do was watch a certain ship in the dock, and tell anyone who asked that the ship was being repaired.
Tesla, eager to get her hands on some stone and impress Arro (who had been more than critical of the heiress’ performance up until now), agreed. She followed the individuals as they broke into a large, majestic vessel. Several passers-by stopped out of curiosity, but Tesla lied and told them exactly as she had been prompted. Apparently, the owner of the ship was known for having an entourage of strangely dressed individuals under her employ, and Tesla’s alien apparel was highly reminiscent of their style of dress. The individuals within the ship began to make a great deal of noise, making Tesla a little suspicious, but within a few minutes, they re-emerged with a large barrel. They told her to meet them outside the city at sunset, and they would give her a portion of the stone. Eagerly, the robotics specialist skipped off to find her companions and gloat about her reward.
At this time, Halrees Vascon returned to her ship- the same ship Tesla had been monitoring earlier. The sorceress found that an entire barrel of the stone had been stolen, and she became enraged.
Meanwhile, the six travelers had reconvened to discuss their findings. Arro speculated that the taxation could be influenced by the off-world infiltrators. Mauta then explained that the Sisters were a magocratic society that held a sort of hold of most of the world’s politics, but they had never before shown an avarice for the stone- in fact, he explained, their stronghold was an island in the center of the ocean said to be made entirely of black stone. At this point, Tesla interrupted enthusiastically, saying she had obtained a sum of the stone herself. Everyone was a little perplexed, but once Tesla explained, that confusion quickly changed to a mix of shock, anger, and annoyance.
Tesla shrugged it off, and ran off to receive her reward. Outside the town, she was startled to find her contact dead, apparently killed by being immersed in some sort of caustic liquid. The others caught up to Tesla, only to be shocked by the discovery of the body. Mauta analyzed it, and stated he believed he was killed by sorcery- most likely at the hands of Halrees herself.
Just then, the sorceress materialized from the shadows, and stated she would exact her divine punishment on those that would steal from the mouth of the Silver Dragon. However, before she could continue, she was puzzled by the appearance of Arro, Janet, and Tesla. She paused for a moment, before asking them if they, too, had come to continent on wings of an “iron bird”. This causes the off-worlders to believe that the sorceress has made contact with their quarry, but before any further dialog can occur, Halrees sprang into action.
A massive battle occurred, with swords flashing, grenades detonating, and blast after blast of potent sorcerous energy being flung in every direction. Arro was badly wounded by a cloud of acid Halrees had conjured, but Tuona blew it away with a gust of wind, allowing Mauta to strike her with a bolt of lightning. Seeing she was outnumbered and perhaps even matched in strength, Halrees called out with her power, causing a blond woman to appear. The woman, who introduced herself as Vasin, was another Sister, who was skilled in the use of teleportation magics. She delivered her wounded sister back to her vessel, but not before she informed the travelers that the “advocate” had already warned them of their coming.
Vasin departed, stating that she was not as quick to judge as her sister, but told them all that if they insisted on harming the “advocate”, they would be punished severely. The team, battered and even more confused than before, tried to figure out the strange happening. Tesla then shared that she had been singled out to aid the thieves because she was said to have the same style of dress as the Sisters’ entourage, which lead Janet to believe that whoever was encouraging the sisters to gather orexisite was most likely an off-worlder like them. Tuona and Roth were particularly confused, not yet being enlightened as to the origins of the strangers. The team spent a few days trying to gather more information, and after Halrees’ ship departed, they made plans to travel to another continent with hopes of finding more information.
Several months then passed, with the travelers moving from port to port, town to town. In this time, it became quite clear that the Sisters were being influenced by an off-world presence. Apparently, the Sisters believe that all two-eyed people were brought to the world many centuries ago by a being called, as closely as can be translated, the Silver Dragon. This being was a sovereign entity from beyond the moon itself, who carried the people to the world with the hopes that they would live in peace on the new paradise of the world of Arkova. The Silver Dragon then left, but not before imbuing several beasts of the world with his power. These beasts, also translated as “dragons”, were revered by a select few, who were somehow touched by the beasts and granted a special talent- the talent for sorcery.
Tesla speculated that this talent was actually a form of mutation triggered in part by exposure to the lure-rich environment of the planet and in part due to natural evolutionary processes. She also theorized that perhaps the process was initiated by these “dragons”, if they even existed. Mauta assured her that they very much did exist, as he had received his power from a patron at birth.
The team then began to think that perhaps the off-worlders had fooled the Sisters into thinking they were allied with the concept of the Silver Dragon, or something to that effect, in order to discreetly obtain orexisite from the planet. In this way, they could bypass actually mining the world, and as long as the illusion was maintained, they could claim that they hadn’t violated the PTEA in order to do so.
Seeking to test this theory, the team traveled from continent to continent, until finally, they followed the trail to the kingdom of Larcald…