To the readers and the curators, I present to you seven stories that begin as standalone character pieces and quickly become entwined with a fairly complex narrative. I speak of:
Together they tell of the life and unlikely rise to infamy of the mage, Spezlaasin Thint Sayadaw.
From my perspective, the order in which they were published is the intended reading order, but this may prove to be an unpopular suggestion. I will straighten the slinky for us all by laying out the events of the stories in chronological order:
- Sow the Wind - at some point in the Oligocene, a demon cruiseliner crashes on Earth. It scatters many objects and Loot bags across its surface which will be discovered later by the characters. Its Captain goes down with the Ship. (My two other stories, ‘Brother, You Are Not Welcome,’ and ‘The Other Shoe,’ as well as Banners’ story ‘The Stranger and the Three Fires,’ follow the path of an item that was part of the Ship’s public announcement system.)
- The Colours of Light - much later, Sayadaw is born in the Realm of Spezlaas. As an infant, she learns how to use a magical Ring to see electromagnetic interactions. This Ring was once part of a set of opera glasses for the passengers of the Ship to view the effects that solar flares made on the Earth’s magnetosphere along their journey. Sayadaw is bright and is schooled in a nunnery controlled by the Order of Vitriol. She is taken in by a research assistant, Ozige, who gives her an Amulet. The Amulet was once the communications interface between the Ship and its Captain, but humans only know how to use it as a scarecrow to startle birds. Thanks to Sayadaw’s mastery of the Ring, she can use it to interrupt and sometimes control the nervous systems of other living things. She graduates from her school and is head-hunted by a Wanderer, Odavwaro, from the Order of Power. She leaves with him to further her education among the grand Academies of Light.
- Fallen Necropolis - some time into the journey from Spezlaas in the far North to the Realm of Hahhukhin, Sayadaw and Odavwaro pass through the Fallen Necropolis near Sukumo. There they discover the Captain, buried in the Loot bag that was the bridge of the Ship. This is retroactively written to be the same location as ‘Something More Than Loot Itself,’ and Tayv’s sinister tree-throne is said to be the backside of the Captain, a feeding apparatus they had built during their long sleep under the ground. Sayadaw uses her Amulet to try and talk to the Captain but she is not built to receive their messages. Together, she and Odavwaro improvise a way for some limited communication, which opens Sayadaw’s mind to possibilities. Odavwaro decides to keep the entire episode to himself and ‘gifts’ the buried bag to Sayadaw, though they do not have the resources to excavate it then and there.
- Reap the Whirlwind (1) - However, after years of training and work for the Order of Power as a Procurer, Sayadaw has the knowledge and the means to dig that Loot bag out of the ground. She interrogates the Captain and is told the strange tale of a Ship that breaks apart, leaving shipwrecked demons, Loot items and bags scattered across the Earth. The Captain begs for her to rebuild the Ship so they may go home. She stashes the bag containing the Captain with Ozige in Spezlaas and decides to investigate this story. Ozige warns her of the dire consequences that could arise from this.
- Fallen Cavern - after some time, Sayadaw discovers two key Loot items that would be perfect for someone who might want to find all of the parts of a ruined Ship and then put them back together - a Crown for finding things and a pair of Gloves for crafting things. Both items are in the possession of a couple of treasure-hunters, and Sayadaw recruits a warrior of Power, Kader, to help her recover them. She badly batches the job and the wearer of the Gloves, Avanesh, escapes after injuring Kader.
- None So Blind - Following the events of Fallen Cavern, Sayadaw is admonished by her superiors and Kader is fired from the Order. Sayadaw goes alone to retrieve the Crown from the fallen cavern, telling her boss, The Judge of the Reliquary, that she will recover a powerful Sword that the treasure-hunters incongruously were carrying. She gets the Crown, but Kader has been recruited by the Order of Vitriol and steals the Sword from under her nose. This causes Sayadaw to also be fired from the Order of Power.
- The hunted did a-hunting go - Immediately after this, Kader runs into Avanesh in the wilderness near Viper’s Peak and is caught in a trap. Sayadaw rushes in with the help of an eagle mount and cleans up the considerable mess she has made. Avanesh is killed, his Gloves taken, and the Sword is recovered. Kader and Sayadaw join forces as fugitives.
- Reap the Whirlwind (2) - With the aid of the Gloves and the Crown, Sayadaw speaks again to the Captain and, with nothing left to lose, formulates a plan to rebuild the Ship. Sayadaw, Kader, Ozige and the Captain hunt down several caches of Loot bags, including the one mentioned in ‘A Cruel Fate,’ raid the Reliquary of Power, and Sayadaw lashes together a partial reconstruction of the lost Ship. On this flying fortress they found the Order of Cataclysm. That can’t be good!
May this chronological order smooth over any cracks that may arise in the reading experience.