Grasp of Sothesh

The Grasp of Sothesh is a rogue planetoid or stellar remnant with a number of anomalous properties. It has piqued the interests of astronomers - and raised superstitions - throughout the Sealed Kingdoms Region since its discovery around the year 700.


The Grasp of Sothesh is unusual in part because of its composition. Comprised almost entirely of smooth, dark iron with traces of carbon and surrounded with a wispy atmosphere of oxygen and neon isotopes, the Grasp is believed to be the cold, dark remnant of a star which had long-since gone nova: a black dwarf. What is unusual is that there is neither a remnant nebula found along its flight path nor any clear indication of how it managed to reach its final, cold state within the lifetime of the observable universe. What few records remain of the Upper Late Arcopel also hold no explaination despite their incredible technological advancement and knowledge of the surrounding galaxy.

Natural Resources

On it's way out of the Sealed Kingdoms, the Grasp of Sothesh is covertly redirected by the Harkinite Matrioshka brain for use in projects relating to power generation. Undetectable as it is, the Grasp's intense gravitational field has been siphoning in a thin atmosphere of fusion fuel and other useful debris that might later find use in the construction of more computing power. The other races of the Sealed Kingdoms are unaware that the star's course has been altered by stellar engineering projects originating in the Matrioshka Multiverse, bringing it into peripheral sphere of influence of the Matrioshka's central black hole alongside other objects like rogue brown dwarves.


Since its discovery by Chitiquish Consortium astronomers in the early 700s, the Grasp of Sothesh has been shrouded in mystery. As a dark, cold, matte body that constantly moves through space, directly observing the Grasp after it moved away from chitiquish holdings has proven next to impossible. The mystery surrounding the Grasp has inspired dark legends among both the Chitiquish and human-adjacent populations whom have observed it in the rare cases where it transited a star or otherwise became visible for a (always relatively short) period of time.   The name of the Grasp of Sothesh is an Evermornan corruption of the Lepidosian Setesh, the shadowy adversary of Raikep in Lepi Monotheism. The supposed ability of the Grasp to stir up extinction-level asteroid showers without ever being detected by a culture has lent the body to be associated with Shank Moswen within the lore of Ancestral Patronism; indeed, at least one 'lost colony' of near-humans discovered by Wurth Harkin and the Harkinite Expedition may have been snuffed out by such close transit of the Grasp. The famous ecological disaster at the Alpha Xymeria System, while possibly the result of similar close transit, this was likely the result of a black hole and not, as many extranet memes suggest, the result of the Grasp changing course out of inherent, supernatural malice.


In every culture that has detected the Grasp of Sothesh, taboos surrounding close exploration have arisen despite differences in culture and biology between the mythologizers responsible. Because the black dwarf is dark, difficult to track, and likely of little use to even the most advanced modern cultures, direct expeditions to the Grasp are also generally not regarded as responsible uses of time or capital. Scientists in the Sealed Kingdoms Region share sightings with their peers, especially at Valleybridge, but mostly think of it as an unusual curiosity rather than as a target of physical exploration. This reluctance has ensured that, when the time comes, no one questions it when the star seems to disappear from its route in the dark of interstellar space - captured by the Matrioshka brain for its own clandestine purposes (see Natural Resources).


Cover image: by Beat Schuler (edited by BCGR_Wurth)


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