Some weeks before her father was overthrown, and she and her two sisters escaped into exile, Aurash, the eldest of the three heirs to the Osmium Court, was sent on an expedition by her father, the king, to a distant site called the Tungsten Monoliths.

The Osmium King had certainly been acting strangely of late, pouring over ancient texts and locking himself in the royal orrery, a room-sized mechanical model of Fundament and its moons. Sometimes he would emerge and quietly wander the halls of his palace talking only to his familiar, a dead white worm from deep beneath the sea that he’d encased in glass. Other times, he would emerge to rant and rave about the orbits of the moons to anyone and everyone who would listen.

His argument amounted to the idea that Fundament’s moons had been shifted out of their natural orbits. That now their paths would cross near each other and their combined gravities would tug on a section of Fundament’s vast inner ocean. As the moons continued along their new paths they would separate, and the massive bulge they had created would be released resulting in a “God-Wave” that would sweep over all the continents spread across the gas giant’s sea. All the civilizations of Fundament, amounting to trillions of lives, would be destroyed.

Some, like Taox, thought the king had gone mad. She arranged his overthrow for just that reason. But Aurash must have still believed her father. Though we are not told exactly what the Tungsten Monoliths were, we can guess they were located at a place of meeting, or a place of learning, or a place of science, since it was there that Aurash somehow confirmed her father’s theories about the moons and the God-Wave. Before she returned from her trip she sent her sister Sathona a message to tell their father that he had been right!

For several months following their exile, Aurash, Sathona, and Xi Ro sailed and explored far from home. It would seem likely that Aurash, the sailor and navigator, would have been leading her younger siblings, but oddly, more and more often it was Sathona’s crazy ideas that saw the three sisters through their troubles. She would hide herself away from the other two insisting that she needed to be alone to think and would come back with insane, risky plans that worked time and time again.

Curiously, she never told her sisters that one of the last things she did as she fled with them into exile was steal their father’s familiar right out of his hands…

In her journal at sea, Aurash wrote that it seemed like Sathona manufactured good luck by sheer force of will. That is probably why after a year in exile, Aurash and Xi Ro followed their sister’s crazy advice and sailed blindly into a violent maelstrom.

Except, Sathona wasn’t crazy and wasn’t blind. Somehow, she knew what they would find inside!

Calcified Fragments: Curiosity
II: The Hateful Verse
III: The Oath
IV: Syzygy
V: Needle and Worm
(Yes… I just referenced most everything up to this point… what of it?)