The Story So Far

Five strangers, or at least so they thought, received summons from strange, mechanical birds to meet the Baron of Labaryth in Ancuan, along with the local head of the Order of Truth. There, they were brought into the maze-wrapped city, treated like Kings for a day, and given a very attractive offer.

These Strangers were:

  • Daesa, a Nano from Navarene.
  • Taelan, a Jack from Malvich.
  • Dexil, a Jack from the Weal.
  • Jaeda, a Glaive from the Black City .
  • Lofwyr, a Nano from Pytharon.

Where once graze land was held, a city had appeared in Ancuan, close to the border with Milave along the Kelen river. A large, ruined city, ancient by appearance, over which hovers a massive, perfect, jade-black pyramid, untouched by time. Newer, untested heroes were being recruited to be the first to explore it. The offer was overly generous: for every minor artifact or bauble sent back to the Baron's men, 3 shins to split. For every day spent in exploration of the city below, 5 shins per member. And whichever team (there are 3 others you know of) finds entrance to the pyramid, another 20 per member.

The group has found they are not fully strangers — with the exception of Daesa, every other member of the team has discovered a common connection with a single member: Taelin. As well, the Order has confirmed that the reason that they, and the others, were recruited and actually found was due to a query to the Datasphere. References were found to symbols associated with ancient terms for Mother (the city), Father (the party members), and Children (currently an unknown association). This connection came when Dexil accessed the Datasphere remotely, and another voiced asked through him "Are you the fathers?"

En-route to The City in Shadow, the group discovered a mangled trader's cart, and the bodies of the trader, and presumably his wife and child. The wife and child were killed by what appeared to be some sort of bladed weapon and burns, while the man's midsection was carved open. A mistake on Taelan's part burnt the man's body before true investigation could occur, but as the group leave, they do so with a new member, a small, furry passenger of the trader's who seems to have survived the slaughter.

The team eventually reached the city proper, and met with the members of the Baron's army there. Their captain, Kae'leon, indicated to the team that the other three teams were already working, and were each assigned to their own quadrant of the city. This team would be covering the southeast quadrant, which was completely unmapped at the time of their arrival. Each were given a wristband containing compact tracking beacons that would be placed in an area once it was confirmed to be cleared out. Found errata the team wishes to sell to the Baron (at the rate agreed upon before) were to be left near the beacons.

As the team was finishing up their initial conference with the captain, another ghost from Taelan's past arrived in Tor the Younger, a teacher and adventurer from Taelan's home city. He claimed to have been sent by a Child to the city to find the other Fathers. Having joined the group after some tension, the six then headed into the city proper, took a full rest, before heading into their quadrant of the city to explore.

Within the city, they found themselves in an area that, despite clearly being ancient, showed traces of more recent activity — specifically, the more modern currency, shins, was found everywhere. The dangers were minimal at best — indeed only a few instances of combat occurred during the three days. In the end, they began to suspect an ulterior motive, especially once an unfortunate co-connection to the Datasphere by both Dexil and Daesa revealed additional actors involved — specifically the Convergence, a dark offshoot of the Order of Truth known to sow seeds of Chaos to increase their own Order's power.

They also learned that Taelan's weapon was the key — again reinforcing his odd connection to all involved. Through this, the team was able to finally gain access to the pyramid above, and an audience with the Caretaker, an aspect of the Mother.

Within, many of their questions were answered, but more are being created with every answer. Every person designated a 'Father' is from a single bloodline, so seeded by the machinations of the Mother. They are all distant cousins, of a sort. The Mother is an ancient construct, an amalgam of billions of individual minds collected from those of the Second World who were not able or unwilling to 'evolve' with the rest of their race. She is a slave, a gestalt collection of knowledge and power greater than any single entity within the Datasphere, but confined to Xan'orak, her prison, the pyramid above the city. Any who control her, controls the greatest repository of Second World knowledge, technology, and understanding in the world.

But the Mother wants to die. She was cast aside by the Second World well before the Third World rose from the ashes of the Second. Since then she has been alone, able only to indirectly influence the outside worlds through her connection to constructs called the Children. The Fathers, the Caretaker explained, were the genetic offsping of the Stewards of Xan'orak, collaborators who, unable to evolve, chose to serve those who moved on by collecting, enslaving, and converting over to the Mother all minds of those unwilling. They alone were genetically able to control, manipulate, and thus provide the Barony and the Convergence direct access to the Mother. They can also free her, allow all the minds she maintains to dissipate into the Datasphere. There, most would die, their memories lost… but after billions of years in lonely captivity, they would be free.

The team now faces a new choice: do what they were paid to do, and provide the Barony and the Order access to a repository of knowledge that could raise the Ninth World to the levels of the previous Worlds, and out of their current state, but risk it getting into the hands of the Convergence, or destroy it altogether by giving the Mother her final death.

Having been given this choice, Lofwyr has abandoned the group, choosing to take what he found in the City below and seek his fortune elsewhere. Tor has gone missing. The others find themselves completely separated, teleported to individual locations within a week's walk of a new destination: The Gtharren Crystal, near which rests one of the Children that can set them on the path to save the Mother, should they so choose.

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