- 1 Background
- 2 Cities
- 3 Other Points of Interest
- 4 Hearsay
- 5 Weird
- 6 Miscellaneous
- 7 References
Along the southern border of the Beyond rests two bodies of water, connected by a channel called the Imoros Strait. One body - Sere Marica - is heavy with blue salts. The other - Navae Marica - has enough freshwater to sustain the entire population of the Beyond for years to come. The two inland seas are so unlike in every way that they mist as well be situated a whole world apart.
At 1,600 miles across and 1,500 ft. deep, Sere Marica is more than twice the size of her sister. The source of Sere Marica's salt is something of a mystery, for the water that enters the sea from the surrounding waters and through the Imoros Strait is fresh water, changing only when it reaches the Sere. Creatures of many sizes and colors live in the lake, from the gigantic and aggressive cerulean octopi to the barely visible duandas, floating bubblefish that attempt to implant themselves in openings on a body.
The cultural sensibility of Sere Marica is a s varied as its creatures. Salachia, the Salt City, is buried deep beneath the surface of the lake, and the Salted Marshes lie along the northwestern shore. Many of those who live along and within the Sere Marica depend on salt for sustenance and daily living.
One thing noticeably missing from the Sere Marica area is mechanical beings. The salt is too harsh on them, rusting and corroding their internal and external elements without remorse. Travelers in the area, especially those who plan to enter the water, would be wise to protect any technologies, including prosthetics and artifacts.
The much smaller and shallower Navae Marica is a source of fresh water, fish, and game for all who live near it. Many who dwell on the shores are boaters and divers. Here, towns focus on turning the numenera into diving equipment, portable flotation devices, and various forms of water transports.
Our Order of the Lady of the Salt Way
Our Order of the Lady of the Salt Way, sometimes called Our Lady of the Acrid Tongue by those outside of the group, is a non-affiliated religious order established at least four generations ago by Saint Eseld. Members believe that all life springs from salt and the salted places of the world, and they feel blessed that their center of worship is just such a place.
Situated on a long, thin, unnamed island in the Salted Marshes, the order consists mostly of women, although gender isn't a requirement. In fact, members take only three vows:
1. Worship salt as god and as life. 2. Offer shelter and succor for those in need. 3. Never leave the island unless called upon to do so for great and grievous reasons by a vision of the late Saint Eseld herself.
There are whispers of a fourth vow - a willingness to be encrusted with salt and something (this word changes in the telling, but "cure" and "eaten" are two common ones) upon your death - but no one has been able to verify these rumors.
Members of the order, known as halites, are skilled in the use and creation of all forms of salts. The order supports itself through the sales of various salt products, including fireworks, cured and pickled foodstuffs, dyes and pigments, and medicinal remedies.
Halites of both genders wear comfortable clothing of bright, salt-dyed colors, usually red, yellow, or blue. They wear their hair long and braid it with a salt-and-herb mixture that crusts the twinings in place and gives them the perpetual look of going grey. They smell of brine and sea water.
While halites believe all other religions, (especially the Order of Truth) to be horribly misguided, the order doesn't consider itself to be at war with them. Rather, the halites lie low and wait, having faith that eventually everyone will see the truth - that salt is the life and the way - and then the ranks of the order will swell, as they should.
Currently, Halite Gabra heads Our Order of the Lady of the Salt Way. She's a firm-handed woman whose salted crimson braids fall past her knees and then loop back up to the top of her head. She layers her skin with salt, which over time has built up to give her nearly ethereal glow. Both of her ears are covered with small manufactured circles, and if her dark green eyes seem slightly too large for her head, it's because they're not the ones she was born with. Once a loyal member of the Order of Truth, Halite Gabra was eating a platter of salted fish when she saw the vision of a woman in white among the bones. Believing it to be test of her faith, she quickly stabbed at her eyes to remove the sight. When the vision began speaking, she punctured her own ears as well.
Blind and deaf, she believed she would wander the land until she died of her own religion. When she awoke some time later, she was in a large castle, surrounded by the smell of salt and sea, being cared for by loving hands. Taking it as a sign that this was the faith of her destiny, Gabra devoted herself to Our Order of the Lady of the Salt Way.
Over the years, she rose through the ranks and used some of the earnings from salt sales to buy a rudimentary pair of mechanical eyes and a couple of rudimentary hearing aids. Although generally considered a fair but tough leader, Gabra is known to have a soft spot for those who come to her claiming that their faith has been tested, as hers was.
The Landscape of the Island
A low seawall runs along mist of the island's border, with a single gate docking area on the shore farthest from land. The island has five stone buildings, all of which are believed to have existed before Saint Eseld's time. Based on the structure and layout of the complex, it might have been the home of someone rich and well protected, perhaps a military leader or ruler. Due to the high salt content of the marshes, the buildings, walkways, and statuaries are covered by thick layers of salt, giving visitors the impression of hulking, misshapen grey creatures.
The largest building, which resembles a basilica, houses a large kitchen and storage area; gathering rooms for games, community activities, and worship; an enormous cellar with a store of goods; and a variety of other amenities. Members of the order live in the upper levels of this building. Each has a private room, and the order doesn't shun monetary goods or gain, so the decor is fine than one might expect.
The second largest building, a long, flat structure with a single story, is the crafting and production space. Here, halites pay fealty to salt by turning it into a variety of useful items. Some of this work is done by hand, and some with hand-cranked and numenera-based machines.
Next to that building , slightly more than half the size of the craft space, is the storefront. Here the halites sell their goods and wares to the public, including fireworks and sparklers in various colors, brined pickles and salted fish and beef, paints, dyes and pigments in bright hues, salt remedies and potions, salt rock candies, and more. Shins are always accepted in payment, but buyers find that an offer of fresh vegetables and fruit - rare delicacies on an island buried in salt - leads to a better exchange.
The final two buildings are crumbling and rarely used, except perhaps illicit rendezvous or storage.
At the far end of the island, there's a door in a hill, barely noticeable for the crust of salt upon it. The lock and latch, however, appear free of crust, and look as if they're used often.
Halite Mafil, a long-standing member of the order, recently fell ill with fever for no obvious reason. Even in his agony, he maintains that it's nothing, a poor choice of fresh foodstuffs, but Halite Gabra believes that he sneaked off the island and that his illness is punishment for his betrayal. She refuses to heal Mafil until he confesses what she believes to be the truth. A newer member of the order, a woman named Veneta, seeks aid for Mafil despite Halite Gabra's orders, risking her own standing with the group.
One of the most skilled members of the order, a broad-shouldered woman named Chatta with clear blue eyes and a short, tight braids of pure white, recently discovered a way to harness the electricity conduction of salt electrolytes. She's eager to sell the plans of the process to someone who can implement them, but she wants to keep the transaction secret from the rest of the order.
Everyone knows that saint Eseld is long dead, but halites often see her visage in the layers of salt that crust the buildings and the land. Members of the order also regularly claim that they see her figure walking along the island's shore. To honor the saint, they leave shins and food among the rocks where she's most often seen; the offerings are always gone in the morning.
Other Points of Interest
War of the Machines:
Ormakal of Astaria wants to conquer the Weal of Baz - or rather, he wants his people to do it for him. First, however, he needs some explorers to find the refuge. Any travelers who stop in Astaria are likely to be asked to do so.
Our Order of the Lady of the Salt Way has a standing agreement with Gweneal Der, a trader on the outskirts of Seshar, for a shipment of fresh fruit and vegetables at regular intervals. However, Gweneal recently arrived at the island without her wares, claiming that she was attacked along the way by dark, sinister creatures of mist and muck, barely escaping with her life. She refuses to continue working the trade route until she can be promised safe passage.
Large swarms of gorjans, freshwater amphibians with large, strong jaws and a habit of spinning grey in the water to strip off their skin, have started crawling out of the Navae Marica. They seem to be heading west and are largely aggressive in their migration.
The Scent of Memory:
A woman named Lororme lives aboard a floating machine int he Sere Marica. She goes form shore town to shore town, offering to play the machine, which she calls a scent organ. She promises that she can play any scent - from a favorite food to an ardent affair - and it will evoke a memory so vivid you will feel that you relived the moment.
Along the outskirts of Queslin, the outline of a prone body is drawn in white. Wires hang in the air, jutting out at odd angles as though still attached to the person who might've been there.
Symbols and Shells:
Fishers have been pulling shelled creatures out of the Navae Marica that have odd symbols inscribed in various colors on their shells. If the creatures are killed, the symbols transfer to whomever or whatever caused the demise
Some mechanical beings and other machines in the proximity of the Sere Marica have developed means to protect themselves from the high salt concentrations. The details on these processes can sometimes be purchased or traded for.
The salt formations along the northern edge of the Sere Marica are strange and beautiful, sometimes appearing like fungal growths or even weird creatures. This is an inhospitable environment for most life, but creatures called pale worms riddle the formations with tiny burrowed holes, feeding on insects that thrive on the high mineral content. Naturalists that study these insects speculate that they might be more mineral-based than any other known type of life.
- Cook, Monte, et al. “The Beyond.” Numenera Discovery, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 187. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-77-3
- Cook, Monte, et al. "The Beyond." Numenera Discovery, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 187-189. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-77-3
- Cook, Monte, et al. “The Beyond.” Numenera Discovery, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 193. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-77-3
- Cook, Monte, et al. "The Beyond." Numenera Discovery, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 187. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-77-3
- Cook, Monte, et al. “The Beyond.” Numenera Discovery, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 188. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-77-3