Scarlet Sky Conspiracy
Akashan's Jadeborn Friend
Tall, swarthy, brazen haired, lapis eyed; every description of Stratum could be applied to many men from the South East. Yet some quality of the combination makes it clear that the Artisan is no man. He keeps his curly hair closely shorn, dresses in loose garments that leave a great deal of skin bare, and adorns himself with no jewelry. He moves with the utter confidence of a young god and the inhuman grace of the noblest fey, yet these do not destroy the humanity of his face or lend inhuman distance to his eyes.
Ascending Stratum was interested in a very young age with the ancient glories of his people. This was nothing unusual, many Artisans agitated for war or expansion to reclaim what was lost. The realities of the endless war and the tedium of rulership grind away these ambitions. Long frustration turns the youthful dreams sour. For Stratum that day of acceptance never came. He saw the fractious selfishness of his fellow Artisans and blamed it for his frustration. Without friends or mentors he came to rely on a deep faith in the Great Maker, an attitude that made him yet more unpopular.
While all Artisans amass great riches and authority, Stratum spend a great deal of his time cultivating the sorts of alliances and favors that support such influence. It was in the course of one such favor, deep in the archives, that he found the record of an abandon expedition. Shortly before the Diminishment and the departure of the Maker, the People of Adamant had begun preparations for closer relations with the Exalted. They prepared new settlements near the surface, retooled their industry to support the still primitive human populations, and prepared to negotiate trade agreements and defense pacts against the holdout races. While such efforts proved disastrous in the end, the record told of one colony that had nearly been completed. After a particularly acrimonious session of the conclave he proposed leading an expedition to reclaim the lost manses, though all understood what he really meant to do. Though he lost much political capital he got his wish.
The site he found was less finished than the records had lead him to believe. The main cavern had no housing or agriculture while the telluric forge was half cold and underpowered. Worse, the engineering of it all was beyond even him, a fact he has been very careful to conceal from his followers. Now he directs settlement efforts while studying the esoteric workings in the hopes of learning what he needs to before it does him no good.