The Iron Spiders

Do you like your kneecaps? Would you like to keep them?  
— Typical Iron Spider Negotiation
  The Iron Spiders are hard-bitten mercenaries, famed both for their spider-like armor made from iron-hard chitin and the way they wield brutality like a weapon to cow and terrorize. They work in Patala under Muradov the Merciless as enforcers and brutes, keeping workers and troublemakers in line or making sure they know the full extent of Muradov's considerable displeasure. At least a hundred strong now, with numbers swelling while under Muradov's employ, they've become a considerable power within Patala and it is a fact they are keen to remind everyone of.  
People in Patala treat the Iron Spiders like a plague - best avoided whenever possible.
The true heart of the company are the old Iron Spiders, with arms and armor made of Suryō Spiders chitin and fang. Veterans of countless mercenary campaigns, they are competent fighters, but reckless, ill-disciplined, and infamously callous. Most are scarred by their long life of conflict, becoming brutal by surviving a brutal world.   The second, most numerous part of the Iron Spiders are less trained, experienced, and well-equipped - in many cases, little more than a mob given purpose and permission to do violence. Without the Suryo chitin armor to distinguish them, the lesser spiders wear an arachnid badge to display their allegience.
In the past, the Iron Spiders initiated new members with a hunt to slay a Suryō Spider to craft their gear from, but have found it preferable and quite a bit easier to assault poorly-equipped workers for a wage.
  The Iron Spiders are lead by Shereritochi of Mharaji, an woman whose advancing years have done nothing to dull her vicious cunning. Despite their unruly ways, Shereritochi commands great respect and loyalty from the Iron Spiders, and brokers no dissent to her orders. Even a hint that it might be time for someone else to lead is enough to condemn a Spider to a long and painful demise.   Unknown to Muradov the Merciless, the Iron Spiders and Shereritochi are playing him for a fool. They've begun to also work for one of his rivals, the Merchant-Princess Bhūkha, feeding information and secrets in preparation for... Something.   The only thing the Spiders know for sure is that their betrayal will be well paid.
Patala, the Descent   A cavernous realm of canyon-like halls and abyssal descents into the unknown, Patala is a new land only recently found by explorers. Among the bones of forgotten civilizations, settlers flock to this new land in hopes of making their fortunes.   It is the kind of wild and lawless land that the Iron Spiders prefer, and they've come to Patala both to find new opportunities and avoid judgement from the lands they just left behind.   Read More About Patala

Cover image: by Richard Dorran


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