The Survival Of Sadie Holbrook

“Sadie Holbrook! Don’t you go wandering too far now, you hear?” She heard, but it was already too late to bother answering. As it was whenever they came out to the fern forests of Belphegor, Sadie was running through the thick growth before her parents could begin to unload the animals. Every third cycle of Tellara, Sadie’s father was granted some time away from the markets, so loud and populated, the complete opposite of Belphegor. Every trip involved the packing of copious amounts of survival gear they would never need and every trip Sadie would avoid unloading and setting up camp by wandering off. She always came back with kindling to appease her parents, but that effort was well worth some freedom.

Being only 19 years of age, the young girl with the raven blue hair wasn’t expected to do all that much as it was. Next cycle, she would see her 20th name day and, as with all Zarkosi, enter into one of the academies where she would have to work and study almost every day. Today, she was still a child, with not a care in the world. The prinka sundews were in full bloom, flowers towering all around and providing a heady, spiced scent that co-mingled with the sickly-sweet aroma of the plant’s sticky droplets to create what was, to Sadie’s mind, the most relaxing scent on any of the moons. Foregoing all pretense of helpfulness, this year she was going to just lie down on the moss and take it in. When father called she’d gather what she could, but until then this time was hers…

Just over three years later, Sadie sat in her dormitory silent and brooding. Not only had she been rained out of what may have been the greatest archeological dig for students in decades, but her birthday package had arrived from Tellara. Normally the highlight of the “study-season,” she dreaded receiving any word from her family. The trade on Tellara was in a record downturn and many merchants were turned away, their employers more willing to sell product themselves then to lose any more gold paying others to do it for them. Those who lost their jobs, like Sadie’s father, were forced to go out into the sulfurous wastes to harvest precious stones and powders. This package included an update on her father’s health, deteriorating like many who spent their lives in the wastes.

If that wasn’t bad enough her father had sent Sadie a candle, one she lit to try to relax herself. It was an expensive scent from her childhood: the blooming season of Belphegor’s prinka sundews. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she realized what the cost must have meant to her parents. Sadie was a clever girl, though, and those tears quickly turned to rage at what the reckless spending meant. Rage that her father was fired, rage that he was forced into the wastes, rage that he could no longer go out there to care for his family. Through the tears and anger, surrounded by the aroma of blossoming prinka, the young lady packed up her most prized possessions, donned a leather jacket, and quietly left the academy for home.

“Now, now, now. I know this concoction elicits a sedentary reaction from most material beings but please. This is not the time to sleep.” The voice was harsh, almost grating on her mind, as if it was unused to such ponderous methods of communication. Just memories then, triggered by whatever this thing stabbed into her. Sadie could swear she once again smelled prinka, but looking around there was nothing but pain and discomfort. She must have dozed off with the drug, because she suddenly remembered being strapped down by the tall black-clad figure standing over her and injected with many different fluids.

It happened right after she was saved from annihilation by the strange man with antlers. The ancient wreck, Nostromo, was having some issues. These issues only became exacerbated when the ifrit, simply referred to as Boom, summoned a pit of magma on the bridge of the derelict. It saved the group from some rampant sentry bots, but caused a destabilization of the ship. Being the only one with any knowledge of Cyrelian technology, Sadie sent the group away, claiming that she would be right behind them. She trusted them to be heroes, hoped for the first time in many years that they were true heroes, and as such they couldn’t know she had committed her life to save them. Otherwise Ashbane and the little one would certainly stay, try to save her, and die. In the eye-blinks between rigging a containment shield and the explosion of ancient technomagics, a man appeared and saved her. He claimed it was for her friends. He claimed he would see them suffer. She wondered if he knew that she too would suffer, if he even cared.

It was shortly after this that she awoke in the near monochrome of the Ethereal Plane, a place she had only visited a few times. Massively tall, gaunt creatures with featureless masks and armor like pottery had found her and carried her to their leader, denoted only by his black armor and tyrannical presence. It was only recently that the creature talked to her, and he was the only one who did so out loud. For the longest time questions simply bored themselves into Sadie’s mind. It was what seemed like an eternity that she resisted, but it may have been weeks or perhaps only minutes. Eventually, she revealed the names of her companions on the Nostromo and what they sought out. With that betrayal on her mind she breathed deep the lingering smell of prinka blossom and tried to put herself back on Belphagor, hoping that her end would come before the heroes would find out what happen. Before her friends, caught up in something bigger than they knew, were also captured…