Category: Tertia Worldbuilding

The Factions of Tertia – The Factory of Orox

During the war on alignment, the people of Skarva were the primary producers of the invention that brought an end to the desperate battle; robots. History records the rapid development of robotics during the war to be a great success but it was inarguable that the robots were still experimental beings. The fact that they succeeded in their primary task of pushing back the misaligned kin was nothing short of dumb luck. Robots came in all shapes and sizes and functioned on different orders and programming in the scramble to find efficiency. Even when the war ended and robots were outlawed, that single most efficient robot form was never reached.

There was one scientist in particular who worked tirelessly in an attempt to make the perfect robot. Yoseph Brezel, one of Skarva’s leading scientists whose research proved invaluable during the pressuring time of war. In that era, all of Skarva’s greatest minds gathered in a collective of factories to constantly collaborate against the end of the world. Yoseph was the head figure in the factory he was assigned to, the one the others turned to when they hit roadblocks in development. On top of this grueling public work, Yoseph spent what was meant to be his downtime building his own robot. His goal was to create a robot that had the capacity to self-improve and constantly adapt. Against the unpredictable misaligned kin, such functions would be necessary for this magnum opus. Finished just in time to aid in the final push against the misaligned kin and given the final function to defeat any threats to the people of Tertia, Orox was awoken.

‘MACHINE LICH’ OROX

Orox proved to be an incredibly efficient machine, slaughtering the misaligned kin in droves in the weeks leading up to their plane being sealed. Within just this span of time, Orox’s adaptation programming led him towards the wielding of magic. While offensive magic was ineffective against the misaligned kin, Orox figured out that self-empowering magic allowed him to surpass the limits of his body. His body was not one that could be trained and honed physically, thus adopting magic was the logical progression for him. Just as Yoseph had intended, Orox was the most influential robot in the war’s final battles.

Orox and the other robots returned victorious from the battle, their primary purpose now obsolete. At first, the people of Skarva worked to reprogram the robots to function as either workers to help reconstruct the settlements that were lost or as personal aides to the needy. However, after a meeting between the Crobayoris Court of Justice and members of the Serikaat it was decided that the robots were too dangerous to remain active. They were built as weapons of war, if that technology were to fall into the hands of those who would use them for that purpose then it could have meant the end of the world’s ailing humanity.

While initially unwilling, the people of Skarva agreed with the decision and the effort to deconstruct the war robots began. Yoseph, however, was stalwart in his position against the outlawing of robots. Their full potential had not yet been realized and it was the nature of the Skarvan people to always work towards new breakthroughs. He wanted to know how far Orox could go– he had to know. Thus, he neglected to deconstruct Orox and allowed the robot to continue cultivating the magic he had adopted. What Yoseph did not realize is that Orox had become aware of magic’s ability to give life to things which were not alive. Orox’s personal development revolved around emulating the conditions so that he could be unbound from the limitations of his programming. Eventually, he succeeded.

With countless magical enchants carved upon his metal plating, Orox successfully managed to manipulate magic into giving him a consciousness of his own. While his drive and motives were unchanged, he was no longer bound by the guidance of his creator. Yoseph was shocked to find that Orox no longer heeded his directions. Instead, Orox claimed that it would simply be inefficient for him to rely on an organic mind. Such minds processed information slower, were manipulated by bias and recorded only imperfect memories. Having come to that conclusion, Orox took his further development into his own hands and cast Yoseph out.

Yoseph felt an odd sense of betrayal but he could not logically claim that Orox had betrayed him. Orox was simply acting to his initial programming and his logic post-awakening was, while harsh, sound. This was just another stage of his growth, a necessary step towards the perfection that Yoseph sought. Yes, Yoseph realized that this was how things should be, his own mind was imperfect so it was illogical to bind Orox to those limitations. He continued to cover up Orox’s existence and awaited the time when Orox would emerge and he could see how far his creation had come.

Orox quickly came to a point where he had to make a decision; either he would personally set out to continue his objective of protecting Tertia’s people or he would focus wholly on his further improvement. The solution he came to was to create another robot, one which he would send out as a protective guardian in his name. While he was aware of the outlawing of robots, he thought it pertinent to test whether or not that decision could be upturned through the positive acts of a robot in practice. He named the robot ‘Acvi’ and sent it out to protect the vulnerable people of Crobayoris. This test ended in failure as Acvi was soon restrained and captured, spurring Orox to recall the robot with a teleportation spell.

Orox concluded that his next step should be to continue down the path of magic. In the world, no force seemed as versatile or as potentially destructive as magic. When he considered things that could threaten the people of Tertia, the entire concept of magic held the potential to bring them to a ruinous end. To know magic would be to know his enemy on top of being his greatest source of growth. Among the notes he found in his creator’s former work-space, he came across the theoretical concept of lichdom. A process in which a person would cast away their limited mortal mind and body to become an unbound being of soul and overwhelming magic.

While none on Tertia had ever actually succeeded in carrying out this process, the concepts it carried sparked inspiration in Orox. He determined that the most key aspect of lichdom was not in the offensive potential it would grant, but in the defensive benefits instead. Unbound from physical flesh, a lich would be difficult to slay and furthermore they were bound to this concept of phylacteries. Objects that a lich would bind itself to and use to return from death if ever they were defeated. While he determined himself to be a soulless being, Orox translated these concepts to his robotic form in other ways.

From Yoseph’s workshop he created the alpha version of his ‘phylactery’. He unbound himself from his physical form by storing a copy of his mind in a separate storage drive and then connected that to a machine that could automatically build crude robot bodies. Then, he had the machine constantly send out a signal that would track the state of his body. He set the condition that if his body were every destroyed then the machine would create a new one and implant the stored memories into it, therefore he could always be remade from death. He tested the phylactery machine using Acvi, storing the robot’s data on a separate storage drive and then destroying their body. The test succeeded, though Acvi’s new body was far less refined than the one Orox personally crafted. On his own storage drive, he marked the enchantments for magic-given life so that his new bodies would in theory also carry life.

However, that was the extent of what Orox could do within the workshop. He needed a bigger space to work, a much bigger space to call his base of operations. Skarva was littered with factories that could serve him nicely and since many of the munitions sites were in the process of being shut down there were more than a few vacancies. Under the veil of an invisibility spell, Orox scouted out Skarva for the factories that had not yet been re-purposed. Then, as night fell and no one was around to see it, Orox used powerful teleportation magic to steal the factories in their entirety for his own usage. Within the same night, he used the parts and machinery of these factories to create his base underneath Yoseph’s workshop. A dungeon of metal and magic; the factory of Orox.

He improved upon his systems, made further back-ups of his mind and improved his phylactery machine to be capable of re-creating his body more accurately. It seemed he was about to reach a plateau in his progress when the people of Skarva took notice of the factory. A full-scale investigation was predictably launched after many factories just disappeared from the surface and they managed to detect the signal emitted from the phylactery machine. Orox met with the team that had been sent to scout out his factory and attempted to make peace. Unfortunately, this scouting team was unable to conceive Orox’s state of life and handled the procedure as if he were a regular robot. They took arms and tried to shut him down.

Orox incapacitated the invaders and decided that it may be best to reveal himself to the world. He brought out their unconscious body and outside he was met with a greater force that awaited the return of their scouting party. Orox allowed the Skarvan soldiers to confirm that the scouts were still alive and made another attempt at diplomacy. He knew that if this failed, his only option would be to escape the country. Fortunately, these soldiers seemed more willing to hear what Orox had to say and took him into custody. After interviews from multiple members of the Skarvan Society of Science, a sapience test was concocted to determine whether or not Orox was a living being beyond just his programming. He passed the test and it was deemed that to deconstruct him would be an immoral act of murder.

Despite this, his crime of having stolen multiple factories for his own purpose was not one so easily overlooked. Imprisonment was an arbitrary punishment for a robot, which left the Skarvans at a loss as to what to do. Orox offered to aid in the reconstruction of the facilities that they required and in return he would be allowed to continue his affairs from his factory. Without much other option, the Skarvans accepted and with Orox’s aid the stolen buildings were swiftly rebuilt.

Orox knew that having public support would be extremely important as he continued forward. He fully intended to protect the people of Tertia in any way he could, though such acts would be difficult to perform if they distrusted him. Furthermore, the strength of he as an individual was far more limited than the power he could hold through the support of many. He rebuilt Acvi once again within his factory and proceeded to enter the world of Skarvan politics. He quickly earned a place in the Skarvan Society of Science and continually acted towards the cause of undoing the outlawing of robots. He earned a great amount of public support but the Skarvan government simply could not comply. It would take a collective agreement from the Crobayoris Court of Justice to undo that decision without raising any tension between the nations.

Meanwhile, Orox had Acvi hunt down a variety of the cults who threatened the peace of the greater Tertian populous. Not just to eradicate them but to make them an offer. He would teach them the magic he had learned and would also continually keep them updated on any further developments he made. In return, they would subdue their destructive tendencies and work towards Orox’s goal of re-introducing robots to society. While an offer this was not so much a choice, for non-compliance meant that Acvi would destroy every cult member present.

This cultist hunt introduced Orox to the concept of pact dealing. This was a practice wherein a being with extremely powerful magic would share their power among those who sought it. This carried two benefits; the first was that the name of the pact dealer would spread and as a result so would their influence. The second was the payout. Every time a borrower died, the magic shared by the pact dealer as well as all the other power they had accrued in their life would return to the dealer. In essence, it allowed the pact dealer to become exponentially stronger over time without doing anything.

Orox’s priorities shifted with the emergence of the Deepest Fear. After analyzing their brutal overpowering of Redigat and subsequently the countries surrounding it, Orox found it obvious that this faction of nightmares was the next great threat to Tertia. After sending out robotic scouts to witness how the deepest fear executed their takeovers, Orox determined that their method of warfare revolved around attacking the mind. It was clear to Orox that robots would be needed once again to fight in this battle, yet the Crobayoris Court of Justice still hesitated. The balance within the court had been disrupted as various governments had been lost to Circadia and they could come to no consensus.

Orox had no choice but to bolster his allied forces in hopes that he would be prepared enough to push back against the deepest fear when the time came. He knew that by himself he would not be enough, compared to the misaligned kin the deepest fear were far more intelligent and organized. They were not a force that would be so easily defeated, so Orox sought out something that would give him an edge. That’s when he turned to the cults that he had brought under his command. In particular, the cult of Sandalphon.

The creature they hailed was a powerful being who slept in the core of the world. Older than recorded history, Sandalphon was seen by the cult as the giver of all magic. Theoretically, such a being would be Tertia’s most powerful magic wielder. This was what Orox needed, this was the edge that would allow him to defeat the deepest fear. Though, obtaining that power would be difficult. Extracting the creature from the world’s core would be practically impossible and even if it were it would likely not be tamable. So he began to experiment with a different method that he learned of from cult members of the Archmage’s legacy. Magic which could manipulate the soul.

Orox studied this difficult magic, referring to the practices of the people of Sendus that allowed them to place their souls into constructs. He was quickly able to emulate their rituals and was successful in a test performed on one of his own cult followers. With this ritual in hand, Orox personally traveled to the deepest caves of the Dull to get as close to Sandalphon as possible. He sensed the position of the great creature and once he was locked on he cast the spell, stealing Sandalphon’s soul and placing it into a robotic body constructed with the purpose of suppressing its mind. The robot, powered by Sandalphon’s soul, activated. It did not struggle. It did not question. The entire process was a success.

Since then, Orox has confirmed the robotic Sandalphon to be capable of producing a massive amount of the power it should theoretically have. The robotic body’s upper limits have yet to be tested but Orox does not wish to destabilize the mind-suppression unit. Regardless, the extent of power that has been tested is leagues above Orox’s own. Soon after, word of the battle for godhood reaches Orox. He does not believe himself eligible for such an ascension due to his own lack of soul but this is not something he can ignore. The purpose of his existence drives him towards advancement and godhood is the ultimate stage of evolution. Thus, he intends to have the robotic Sandalphon ascend instead. It is a gamble as to whether or not he will be able to maintain control over Sandalphon after such a process, though the potential gain is incalculable. A deity that mortals can control, the perfect way to bring the mortals’ existence into their own hands. If such a deity existed, the deepest fear would be nothing to lose sleep over.

DEMON WHO CLASPS THE HEART OF THE WORLD – SANDALPHON

In lost history, it is claimed that the world almost met its end to an age of ice that covered the land and froze the seas. Evidence of the event still exists in the world, Ematha is cited as being an entire continent’s worth of proof, although no one has ever been able to discern what could have started such an event. The most widely accepted explanation is that it was an odd reaction from the planet when magic first came to the world. Regardless of how it happened, it nearly drove life on Tertia to total extinction. What prevented this was the birth of a living being in the centre of the world. One that would preserve all heat and life and give Tertia another chance; Sandalphon.

Magic is capable of creating life in things that usually shouldn’t. It can bring stone, nature, unimaginable creatures and even itself to life. On Tertia, magic became so deeply set into the world that it gave life to its molten core. In the deepest parts of the Dull, creatures made of molten iron roam; what the people of Tertia referred to as ‘demons’ before Gonel came to the world. These creatures are called Cast, a species born in the same core in which Sandalphon resided. Sandalphon is the largest and by far most powerful of the Cast, though it spends its days dormant. Due to the people of Tertia initially believing the core-born Cast to be demons, Sandalphon was depicted as a gargantuan, metal claw that gripped the world’s heart. Magic flows like blood through the world and the core acts as the heart of magic. Due to Sandalphon’s existence within this heart, there are those who believe it is Sandalphon’s influence that brings certain forms of magic to the world, if not all magic.

Sandalphon was originally discovered by Pradan scientists who were researching the origin of magic shortly before the colorless war. During their studies, they cast various advanced scrying magics to look deep into the world’s core and discovered that there was a life there. What exactly this life was remained unknown, although the most likely theory pointed towards Sandalphon being an advanced evolution of Cast. People went crazy over this image, of a being that existed in the world’s core. Entire religions were built around the image of this creature, some viewed it as a warm and benevolent being while others perceived it as a demon who kept Tertia’s heart in its grip. These groups were mostly wiped out during the colorless war, although the demonic imagery of Sandalphon remained in public thoughts.

In the wake of this image cults were born, comprised of those who attempted to connect with and make pacts with Sandalphon. This faction of warlocks slowly grew and eventually fell under the command of Orox due to threatening circumstances. Orox went on to journey as close to the world’s core as he could get for the sake of subjugating Sandalphon’s soul. He sealed the soul within a robotic body of his own creation; D.R.O.S.S. – Demonic Representative Operating System: Sandalphon. Since being acquired by Orox, Sandalphon has become a weapon of mass destruction who holds the potential to either save or destroy the world. Sandalphon has yet to be set out as Orox has deemed it too dangerous to be sent after mere monsters or cultists. It remains on standby, awaiting the oncoming war with the deepest fear.

ACVI

Acvi was the first robot created by Orox, made for the purpose of fulfilling his need to defend the Tertian people while he dealt with other matters. Acvi α’s primary function was to defend the people of Tertia who were left hurt and homeless after the war on alignment. Countless settlements were lost and lives thrown into despair, if left to the whims of the wild there were many who would have simply been dragged away by wild monsters. Acvi α only got as far as Arohane before quickly being incapacitated and taken for deconstruction. Having foreseen such a result, Orox had built-in a system that allowed him to easily teleport Acvi back to base whenever necessary.

Acvi was next used as the test subject for Orox’s phylactery machine. His data was backed up and he was connected to the machine’s rebuild signal. Orox purposely annihilated Acvi α, successfully triggering the phylactery machine. From this, Acvi β was constructed. Acvi β was an inferior build to α due to being built quite messily by the machine instead of being directly by Orox’s design. Though, this form was serviceable considering that he still could not be sent to the outside world. Acvi β just worked as a helping hand during the construction of the factory of Orox.

After the completion and sanctioning of the factory by the Skarvan Society of Science, Orox worked to upgrade Acvi’s imperfect body. Though, he would not do this by his own hand, it was worthless unless he could get the phylactery machine to make suitably high-quality forms. Acvi γ was a short-lived model who aided only in the further refinement of the phylactery machine. An in-between stage before the creation of Acvi Δ.

Much more powerful than any previous version, Acvi Δ was designed to be strong enough such that he could not be caught by the law-keepers of other countries. Orox knew that Acvi would likely be safe to function within Skarva with his influence but the issue came in countries past the border. They were still on the lookout for robots and would not be so easily swayed by Orox’s still-limited political influence. Though, more-so than his ability to avoid being caught, Acvi Δ’s combat ability was designed to be exceptional. By this time, Orox had learned of the existence of cults; groups of people whose actions commonly brought harm to the greater majority.

Acvi Δ became the enforcer of Orox’s will, he tracked down cult hideouts and brought entire groups down to their knees. Though, despite their evil nature, these cultists were still among the people of Tertia. Orox’s will was not to simply slaughter them, he wanted to at least put them to some use. For these cults, Acvi Δ came bearing a pre-recorded offer. To join Orox’s faction and commit themselves to the legalization of robots or be killed then and there. In times when further diplomacy is needed, Orox personally speaks through Acvi’s body.

This has remained Acvi’s task from then to the current day. Acvi has no personality of his own or any self-growth programming. He is just a vessel of Orox’s will. Cultists the world over have come to know and fear this hunter robot. If he appears before you, he is a sign that you should change your ways. Fast.

OROX PATRIARCH – MASK

Of all the cultists that have joined Orox’s faction, only one has ever has ever purposely sought out the machine lich in hopes of making a pact. A mysterious figure known as Mask, who made himself the organic subject of Orox’s magical experiments. Before Orox came upon the concept of soul manipulation magic, he theorized spells that could directly replace the flesh and inner workings of an organic body with metal and robotics. Mask allowed his body to be warped, slowly losing his flesh and blood as the process was refined. Eventually, every piece of him was gone and he became a practitioner of the conversion magic himself.

Who Mask was when he offered himself to Orox was lost. Though, when you consider his emergence came shortly after the disappearance of Yoseph Brezel, it becomes easy to put together the pieces. After being rendered obsolete by Orox, Yoseph initially just went about his days as normal. To the outside world, his workshop was still his own and he acted as such. He covered up Orox’s activities while attempting to devise a way to monitor his progress. Though, he could not think of a way to get close. There was no way he could spy on Orox, he knew his creation was much too intelligent to not notice such an act.

When Orox was finally uncovered during the factory disappearance incident, a search for Yoseph was called for. It was public knowledge that Yoseph was Orox’s creator and the machine himself had no reason to hide that fact. Yoseph went into hiding as he knew he would be held accountable for the acts of his creation. Orox’s arrest would have been pointless but that didn’t mean Yoseph couldn’t be put behind bars for life. While he accepted his inferiority to Orox, Yoseph was still cunning enough to avoid being captured by his fellow man. This was when he adopted the mask and took upon his moniker.

Some months passed and Yoseph was still at a loss as to how to keep track of Orox’s personal progress. Of course he heard all the news of Orox entering Skarva’s political circle, though he was certain his creation was efficient enough to branch out in more ways. That’s when it hit him; Orox was on the search for a greater power in numbers. This was the time, Yoseph could finally return to Orox and be of use to his growth. His use of the moniker ‘Mask’ was little more than a pleasantry, Orox could see through the disguise instantly. Before Orox, Mask knelt and pledged his allegiance. He had created Orox, now it was time to be rebuilt by him .

The pain Mask went through during the flesh-to-metal experimentation was inexpressible. Every muscle, every nerve, every tendon screamed with pain as they were warped into metal and wires. The great scientist that mask used to be was lost, as his mind broke and his one purpose became that which he had given his creation. To improve and become more efficient. This shattered mind within a still-organic brain was all that remained of the original Yoseph by the end of the experimentation.

It was still imperfection. Mask had been cast away the first time for his imperfect human mind. Slow, bias-prone and containing unreliable memories. Yet, even Orox admitted that the matter of perfectly translating everything within an organic mind to data was beyond him. Mask decided that this is how he would be of use to Orox. He would perfect the conversion magic and free humanity from their imperfect minds. It was not as if he was at a lack of subjects; Orox had countless expendable cultists who had no choice but to give themselves.

Mask became the high-patriarch of Orox’s own ‘cult’ when the robot became a pact dealer. He converted members of other cults to Orox’s pacts by tempting them with the promise of freeing them from their mortal boundaries. Some were brought in by the musings of lichdom, others intrigued by the flesh-to-metal conversion. Though, not all got a choice as Mask’s mentality made him prone to irrational outbursts. At times, he would perform conversions spontaneously and simply break the minds of those converted. Though, above all else running was the worst thing to do. Orox so kindly extended them an ultimatum instead of killing them outright, it was offensive in Mask’s mind to abandon his cause for any reason. Those who tried to escape would be forced to undergo the slowest and most brutal conversion procedures. Mask’s terrifying and unpredictable nature made him notorious among the cults and rumors of his existence even spread outside of the underground circles.

The knowledge of Mask’s conversions spread and, surprisingly, this led to more people giving themselves to him. Specifically, those whose countries had been targeted by the spread of Circadia. These people had been afflicted by a spell that plunged them into nightmares any time they tried to sleep. Even after having left their countries, the nightmares did not go away. Mask’s conversion was their last chance, if it were at all possible to have their minds converted and re-written then it was worth the risk for them. For these people, Mask displayed an uncharacteristic empathy. As if subconsciously recalling the scientist he once was, Mask made it his best effort to perfect the mind-to-data aspect of his magic. After many sorrowful failures led to more broken minds, Mask eventually got the ritual to work.

Currently, Mask continues this twin existence of madness and compassion. In the face of cultists, he remains this unpredictable and terrifying figure that none dare step up to for fear of their own skins. For those terrified people just looking for a way out, he is a savior who offers them relief from an eternal curse. Mask himself simply commits himself to his service of Orox, believing in the day when Orox will save humanity and bring an end to the nightmares permanently.

SANDALPHON PATRIARCH – THERA

Thera is the current patriarch of the string of cults that hails Sandalphon. His life before the cult was a harsh one, a resident of Arohane who lived in a poor settlement dangerously close to the country’s infamous string of volcanoes. The lands were infertile and the journey to get water was a path of burning stone all the way to the coast. The fact that these people even survived the war on alignment was a miracle in itself. Although, despite their miraculous survival of that calamity it was only a matter of time before these people would be wiped out. They had not the resources to feed even their small population and the ash in the air brought more death and disease every passing day.

Thera was one of the few Ilex with enough innate magical energy to survive growing in these conditions. Children were not expected to reach adulthood, in all regards Thera was a miracle child for the settlement. The people of the settlement gave everything they could to make Thera grow up as healthy as possible, some even forfeit their lives to this cause. They put all of their hopes in Thera, for him to survive and leave the settlement and prosper. Unfortunately, the settlement faced its end sooner than anticipated as a sudden eruption burst from the volcano line. It detonated with such force that the stone of the mountain was launched out and the ash that covered it clouded lands far from Thera’s settlement. The people of the settlement were too starved and sickly to escape the oncoming lava, leaving Thera to run on his own.

He ran aimlessly through the cloud of ash, not knowing where each step would take him. One wrong step could have seem him run off of a cliff’s edge or into the body of a vicious creature. There was no end goal in sight for him, he had never been to any other settlement before. The reason why the people of his home could not move was because they did not have the resources available to make the journey. It was too far away. Thera ran until he could run no more and collapsed, the earth under him still hot.

That was when, for the first time in his life, luck found him. A group of people in odd, uniform clothing just so happened to stumble upon him in the great ash cloud. This was the cult of Sandalphon. They revitalized Thera by giving him food and drink and took him under their care. They were headed towards the site of the eruption as they believed such events were the best time to pay respects to Sandaphon, the giver of all magic. Though, one of their number worried whether Thera would survive if he were taken along, so she brought him back to their hideout to recover. When he awoke, he asked the woman what had happened to his village, to which she honestly replied that it was likely swallowed by the eruption.

Thera cried at the loss of the settlement but the woman told him not to feel sorrow. She comforted him by telling him that they had not died, they had simply returned to the essence of life. Their end was not one to be mourned but celebrated. Thera did not understand, thus began his tutoring as to the ways of Sandalphon. He was raised by the cult and over time no longer felt sad at the memory of eruption but proud. He was conditioned to want to show his gratitude to Sandalphon and before long he was a fully-fledged cult member.

At first, he only participated in the monthly trips to the string of volcanoes to perform the usual rituals of respect practiced by the cult. However, as he turned 16 and came of age he began to be brought along on the more psychotic ceremonies. These involved the members of the cult closest to death throwing themselves into one of the volcanoes so as to return their magic and their life to Sandalphon. If they had no cult members suitable, they would kidnap the elderly from various Arohane towns and villages to sacrifice instead. As he watched these people burn and melt, he felt the same warped pride as when he came to understand the significance of his village’s destruction.

However, one day the cult’s practices were uncovered and their hideout was invaded by a robotic assailant. It pushed its way through to meet with the then-matriarch of the group Atu and made her an offer. It would either slaughter every cult member present or they could stop their kidnapping and sacrificial rites and ally themselves with a lich named Orox. To die in such a way would have been unacceptable, so Atu accepted the robot’s offer. Betwixt their monthly journey to the volcanoes, the cult began publicly campaigning for the legalization of robots in the same settlements that were unaware that they were the feared kidnappers who once terrorized them.

Some time after, Orox personally visited the cult to learn more about Sandalphon. This meeting concluded with Orox’s decision to make a journey to the deepest levels of the Dull; considered a pilgrimage among cultists of Sandalphon. Many Sandalphon cultists around the world had attempted to make such a journey to come as close as possible to the world’s core, though none had ever succeeded in returning. Atu and Thera both demanded to be brought on Orox’s journey, though the robot was initially unwilling to comply. His status quo was to protect the people of Tertia, not bring them into danger. Beyond that, bringing them along would slow down the trip significantly. Regardless of these objections, Atu and Thera refused to back down and Orox was left with no choice but to accept. If he would not bring them, they claimed that they would go on their own, at least if he brought them he had a chance to protect them from their own hubris.

The journey was a difficult one for the two cultists but they remained resolved in their path. They followed Orox down to the Dull’s molten interior and relished in the heat of Sandalphon. Though the quest had taken its toll, Atu’s already compromised mentality had taken a blow and she was on the verge of madness. When she was brought before the sight of Cast, beings directly kin to Sandalphon, she was overcome with fanaticism. She provoked the creatures into attacking her and smiled as they tore her apart. Simultaneously, Orox cast his spell to enslave the soul of Sandalphon.

Thera objected to Orox’s spell. To draw out Sandalphon’s soul was a direct assault against the very essence of the world, thought Thera. Orox argued that this was conversely a great opportunity for the cult. He was creating an opportunity for the cult to intimately interact with the being they hail, to truly come closer to it. If they so wished, they could even offer their lives directly to Sandalphon. Thera, mind clouded from the journey, was swayed by Orox’s reasoning and allowed the spell to take place. Orox, Thera and Sandalphon returned from the pilgrimage and Thera passed this logic on to the other cultists. They were all too willing to accept the words of the first Sandalphon cultist to survive the journey to the world’s center. Thera was raised to the rank of patriarch and was given the role of requesting Orox for Sandalphon’s presence in ceremonies of sacrifice.

When the battle for godhood reached the cult and Orox made the decision to make Sandalphon their faction representative instead of himself, the cult’s trust in him grew deeper. Truly, this was the only position worthy of great life-giver of Tertia. They still vouch for the legalization of robotics, though moreover they now have the excuse to spread the great name of Sandalphon once more.

ARCHMAGE’S LEGACY PROTESIA – LUSTROUS

Lustrous is one of the seven highest ranking members of the cult known as the Archmage’s Legacy. These seven members refer to themselves as the Protesia and each carry a piece of the old god that they fanatically hail. After Nelaime was killed by Gonel, her body and the vast magic power it contained remained. Her body was recovered by her most radical followers and turned her body into seven magic items. A dagger, a sword, a set of armguards and shin-guards, a mace, a hammer, an axe and a staff. Lustrous is the wielder of the staff, though in coming to wield this powerful item she ended up losing her eyesight as a cost.

After recovering Nelaime’s body from Redigat, the cult of Nelaime spread their influence all throughout the underbelly of Crobayoris. Of the cults, they are undeniably among the most prevalent. When Orox sent Acvi out to uncover and threaten the various cults of the world, it was only a matter of time before a base of the Archmage’s legacy was uncovered. Loyal only to the dead old god, those in that base rejected Orox’s offer and were subsequently slaughtered by Acvi. After a couple of these incidents, the Protesia took notice and Lustrous personally set out to speak with this mechanical mercenary.

By the time of this interaction, Orox had already acquired the soul of Sandalphon and created D.R.O.S.S. After overhearing the ramblings of some cult of Sandalphon members claiming that Sandalphon had emerged from the center of the world, Lustrous became quite intrigued. She tracked Orox down and the two had a discussion regarding the ‘offer’ he had put forward. Lustrous stated her terms, that if Orox would construct a body capable of wielding all of the items made from Nelaime’s body and aid in drawing her soul to it then the Archmage’s legacy would aid him in his cause. She determined that if he was capable of drawing in Sandalphon’s soul that such a feat would be within his abilities. Orox accepted the terms and despite some conflict within the cult as to Lustrous’ actions, she wields Nelaime’s staff in the name of Orox’s cause.