The Fearless Five

Fear has no hold on us! The dark is no barrier, the unknown no shield, and we bring light where there is none!  
— Fearless Five Motto
  A veteran team of Kaia from Mharaji, the Fearless Five have campaigned throughout Araea for many years. They've seen the blighted light of the Surface and braved the dark of the Far Deep, fought both monster and men, faced the threat of starvation and eldritch terror, and survived. As an elite part of the Seekers, the Five have defied death for longer than almost any other team of Kaia.   Now, they've come to Patala, eager to change the blank, empty map of the region and dispell fears of those who've only scrawled 'here be dragons' on it. Though the Five have been bloodied and battered by the Plague of Dreams, they remain unbowed and fearless.    

The Five

Five is a lucky number. We made it so. We'll make it so again.  
— Matak Ite, first of the Five
The Five operate as a standard team of Kaia, five members strong and each with their own specialized role. After all their years together, the Five operate almost on instinct, knowing what their long-time companions will do without a word spoken. Professional explorers, they take contracts from wealthy clients for their wages, and the Five have earned a reputation for taking the kind of dangerous work that even other Kaia balk at. Outside of their expeditions, the Five are part of the Seekers, a large guild of Kaia out of Mharaji, the same city-state where they make their base.   As a group, the Five are equals. Decisions are made as a whole, with deference given to those with specialized knowledge about any particular topic. When there's disagreement, votes are held and considered final. Those who dissented before are expected to trust their companions to have considered all their arguments and that there is value in their judgement. Trust is valued above all else, and never regained once lost.   After the battles of the plague, the Five are no longer so, with two of their numbers slain, but it isn't the first time the Five has suffered and replaced losses, and they know it won't be the last. As a moment of peace, however brief, falls on Patala, the Five recover and replenish their numbers.  

Matak Ite, First of the Five

by Unsplash (Jaroslav Devia)
One of the original Five and the longest-serving member still part of the band, Matak is the beating heart of the Five. A short, scrawny woman never quite at ease with sitting still and a gaze that could pierce stone, she has been the Five's Kaia-Tene, or Light-Bearer, since the beginning.   Makat does nothing half-hearted, approaching life with an intensity that both thrill and frighten - and occasionally, makes her friends despair. Nothing can simply be for Makat, and she usually has a strong opinion about everything.  
In particular, the right way of preparing Chnagahn, a task she trusts no one else to perform for the Five.
  Makat keeps small, unkempt mop of brown hair and regularly paints her dark skin to decorate herself when at leisure to do so. Mutated by some unknown bane during an expedition, Makat's left eye has turned into a stone in its socket, the surrounding skin showing protuding veins of metal. She claims her cursed eye allows her to see what evil lurk in the heart of men, and the Five have used it more than once during tense contract negotiations.  
Matak Ite, first of the Five
Character | Jul 14, 2022

First of the Five, Matak is its light and its beating heart. A short, intense women with one eye and absolutely no patience for fools.

 

Kaih Ohk, Second of the Five

A recent part of the band, Kaih became part of the Five after an unexpected death left one of their numbers empty. Now, the same fate has claimed Kaih, once more leaving the role of the Second empty. Always thoughtful and always worrying about something, Kaih served as the Five's Kaia-Gai, or merchant and quartermaster. He took care of logistics, made sure the team had what they needed, and generally fussed about them between expeditions. As a talented polyglot, he'd often act as the face of the Five.   His relative youth made him uncertain at times, but Kaih was braver than most gave him credit for - something he proved in the final moments of his life, giving it to save others from marauding Shrikes. No doubt remains of his martial skill either, as he did not go alone.
 
Though mourned, Kaih and his sacrifice is honored. In a family saved by his deed, a child will soon be born, bearing his name and, the parents hope, his legacy.
 

Thekal Kawa, the Traitor of the Five

Gregarious, outgoing, and artistic, Thekal served the Five as their Kaia-Ahere, or navigator and map-maker. He used his talents as an artist to create detailed maps of their journeys and illustrations of their finds. Always eager to be part of the conversation, Thekal could be overbearing and display almost a need for control.   When the Plague hit and the same shared dreaming struck the Five, it expose Thekal's treachery. He had been selling their discoveries to rival clients or Kaia, even when such act could - and did - bring great danger to the Five. The reason was unremarkable - he wanted more than his wages earned him, and didn't care enough about those he hurt in the process.
Thekal was spared from immediate death on this revelation only by the worsening plague. In the end, he would not survive it, slain while attempting to protect the Five and their allies. It was an act of heroism that has not yet earned him redemption, and the surviving Five still refuse to speak his name.  

Astor Bata, the Fourth of the Five

The blood-splattered Kaia-Koara, or medic and doctor, of the Five, Astor is a red-headed mountain of a woman, boisterous and loud even when arms-deep in entrails. Originally from the Abyss, she replaced another Five as they retired many years as a means to escape and found she liked the life of a Kaia.   Out of the Five, none of them can match Astor's brute strength or startling speed. When called upon to do so, she can amputate a leg in less than thirty seconds or keep a struggling patient pinned to the operating table with a single hand.  
Time me!  
— Astor
by Unsplash (Jaroslav Devia)
  After the Plague and the haunting Shrikes, Astor has found herself struggling to remember aspects of her past and childhood. No matter, she says, if I can't remember it now, it couldn't have been that important. Despite her bravado, her companions worry she might carry deeper wounds, out of the reach of any treatment or cure.  
Astor Bata, the Fourth of the Five
Character | Jul 14, 2022

One of the Fearless Five, Astor is a mountain of a woman, with a grip like iron and a good, boisterous mood undiminished by anything the dark has thrown atthem.

 

Junum Dhoor, the Fifth of the Five

by Unsplash (Jaroslav Devia)
Another original member of the Five, Junum is its oldest member. Though his hair has greyed and his body is beginning to fail, his mind remain as sharp as ever. As much as he might complain that his eye-sight isn't what it used to be and his reflexes have become so slow, he continues to serve as the Five's Kaia-Heoa, or Warrior. Again and again, he has proven that he is still quick enough, though it is a closer cut every year.   Junum is gnarled and hard like old leather, forged like iron by the blows of a hard-lived life. From a wild youth, he has come to enjoy being the old man of the Five, and the free reign it gives him to gripe and complain. Beneath the act, he cares deeply for his fellow Five, and the betrayal from within wounded him deeper than any blade.
 
As the years go by, Junum sees his growing weakness as an asset. He's not as strong or as fast as in his youth, and so less tempted to pursue force where guile might do. The less danger he puts his young companions in, the better - though they'll never hear him say it.
 
Junum Dhoor, the Fifth of the Five
Character | Jul 14, 2022

The old man of the Five, delighting in the right his age gives him to complain and gripe about nearly anything and everyone.

 

Today

We've seen the bones of those who came before us, and tasted the fangs of those who killed them.  
The Five were maimed by the Plague, but not broken. Together with allies made during the frenzied battles of the Plague, the Five have made a temporary home in Nindra in hopes of finding the truth behind the plague. With Aldara the Dream-Eater, they are looking deeper into Patala's past for ways to secure its future. Quiet, forbidding experiments take place in Nindra and its dreaming mist.   Once more, the Five find themselves in unknown territory, now battling an enemy that hide within their own thoughts and dreams. Despite their wounds, the Fearless Five refuse to let any mystery best them and have sworn to bring light to the dark secrets of Patala, no matter the cost.

Kaia, the Explorers   Kaia are professional explorers of the dark, hired to do everything from find the lost to map new routes or scout a new source of food or water. As a result, Kaia are popular figures throughout Araea, often depicted as dashing heroes or fearless, clever adventurers.   In truth, the motivation for Kaia vary as much as with any other profession, but they all share a desire - a need - to know what's out there in the unknown dark.   Read More About Kaia
by Rawpixel.com (Freepik)

Patala

A recently discovered region of the Inner Shell, Patala is a cavernous realm of vast canyon halls, plains of glass, and abyssal descents into unknown darkness.   The Five came here on contract to explore the lower grey halls and find out what lies beyond them, but scarcely had time to begin before the Plague of Dreams broke out.  
Patala, the Descent
Geographic Location | Jul 28, 2022

An expanse at the edge of the known world, beckoning the brave and the ambitions.

The Plague of Dreams

The plague began with dreams, shared between the slumbering minds of Patala. In them, unsure and unguarded, every secret and scheme, every illicit affair or true feeling was brought to the surface. People learned what was truly in the heart of their fellow kin, and violence followed.   The bloodshed drew predators from the depths of Patala, none more feared than the thought-eating Shrikes. Humanity in Patala stood at the edge of extinction when it was finally stopped.   The wounds are still fresh and the blood has barely dried, but the plague has receeded back into the black abyssal pits of Patala.  
Plague of Dreams
Military Conflict | Jul 26, 2022

A plague of collective dreams that soon turned into a living nightmares and invited monsters into the minds of every dreamer afflicted by the Plague.

 
With the plague, the Five's mission in Patala has changed. Ancient charnel pits and sealed chambers filled with bones have been found already, hinting of a past visited by such disaster before. Like any good mystery, the Five need to solve it.
 
by Midjourney

The Seekers

A guild of Kaia based out of the grand city of Mharaji, the Seekers always strive to bring light into darkness and knowledge where there is ignorance. Though their presence in Patala is recent, they have already begun to establish themselves in the crowded city of mercenaries and cutthroat competitors.   The Five is one of many Kaia employed by the Seeker, though few can compare to them.  
The Seekers
Organization | Mar 11, 2019

The Seekers are one of the largest Kaia guilds today, with headquarters in many different city-states.

by Wikimedia Commons ( Petr Lyubimov )

Retinue and Followers

Though the popular depiction of the Kaia are of them against the unknown, they know that without preperation, doom is certain. Many bands of Kaia keep specialists and crafters with them as they travel to new regions, and the Five are no different.   In total, the Five have about a score of camp-followers, doing everything from packing and carrying to forging or repairing equipment. In Patala, the Five have expanded their retinue with survivors from the Plague, among which is supposedly a warlock.  
by Midjourney

Nindra

Established in the heart of Patala's grey halls, Nindra was once a humble outpost for those looking to go further in to the unknown. Now, it has become the central hub for those who seek the truth behind Patala's past and the ravages of the plague of dreams.  
Nindra, the Dreaming Cage
Settlement | Jul 27, 2022

Half-way between real and dreaming, Nindra is a light in the darkest part of Patala, searching for the truth to its ancient past and the well-worn charnel pits it left behind.

With no way of knowing how long the peace will last, the Five tend their wounds and look to the heroes of the plague to refill their ranks. Are you one of them?
 



Cover image: by Darkest Dungeon

Comments

Author's Notes

Do you fear the dark, or does it tempt you with what may lie with in?   Does the mysteries of the past scratch at your mind, demanding answers?   Do you want to join the Fearless Five and find the truth?   If you want to try and join the Five, leave a message about it in your comment! Include what Kaia role you want (in the Kaia article), and what your character is real good at in there? Who knows, maybe it'll be fun!


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15 Jul, 2022 23:48

I want to join the Fearless Five and find the truth! I could be a good Kaia-Ahere. I'm good at observing details and connecting clues. Do I have a chance?

17 Jul, 2022 06:50

Do you like to eat mushrooms and hang out in dark tunnels all the time? :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
17 Jul, 2022 12:32

sure!

19 Aug, 2022 19:54

Just a bit different to the Famous Five, ay?

20 Aug, 2022 06:03

Aye


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.