Sharkhead is an island of unsettling mysteries, cloaked in a grim and acrid haze.
The industrial run-off soils the isle’s coastlines and seeps deep into the bedrock, slowly staining the limestone, minerals, and coral deposits that lie beneath the surface. And on the isle’s fringes, hulking forms lumber along the sharp and jagged coastline.
The Slag Golems are terrifying monstrosities of living cast-off metal, shambling figures composed of crudely sentient dross and detritus, eager to pound anyone who crosses them into compost for the island.
The Slag Golems tend to lurk in the northwest corner of Sharkhead, in the region known as the Crush, where the Hell Forge pumps out much of its effluent. They will also occasionally roam the bowels of the Hell Forge itself, shuffling amongst the rusted scaffolding and the belching sewer pipes.
The Slag Golems’ origins have never been fully discovered. They were first reported as nightmare stories during the 50s and 60s, when mining became big business as the bauxite deposits were exploited.
They would charge out of piles of slag, viciously attack the miners, and retreat back into the waste dump. These attacks were rare, and seemed to coincide with the unearthing of red coral deposits.
The Cage Consortium tended to bury such stories, refuting them as drunken lies and nonsense, but Kirk Cage did slowly increase the presence of armed guards as the mine continued to expand. The Consortium ignored the red coral deposits at first, although early inhabitants of the isle regarded is as a highly treasured substance.
Only recently, as the number of people interested in the coral has risen dramatically, and so too its value, has the Consortium begun selling the coral for a tidy profit.
Over the years, evidence of the Slag Golems became irrefutable. Still, it was unclear where they came from or what they wanted.
Arachnos Mystics who have turned their attention to these creatures observed a base, instinctual level of intelligence directing them, but they also noted a capacity for limited speech.
The Slag Golems appear to operate as a pack, and do not fight amongst themselves. And they certainly regard humans as enemies, referring to them as “pink-skins” and “little persons.”
Slag Golems have been witnessed eating junk – they appear to have an appetite for metal, but whether or not they actually need to eat to replenish their energies is unknown.
Some Slag Golems will rip pieces of their bodies out to hurl at enemies as deadly missiles, so perhaps eating junk is necessary to rebuild their forms. They are tremendously strong, and can create seismic tremors by stomping thunderously upon the ground, and are very difficult to injure due to their inorganic make-up. Sufficient force will disrupt the energies holding them together, however.
One veteran Arachnos mystic noted, “…while fundamentally they should not live, some force animates them and gives them form. It is as if they echo fragments of a much greater sentience, like the smallest reflections of a powerful mind.
These echoes mimic human behavior, such as eating, talking, and so forth, but I suspect an alien spirit unites them all.”
The Slag Golems constantly speak of protecting a Guardian, and suggest that human presence, specifically digging down into Sharkhead, threatens or harms the Guardian. They have only one response to those they perceive as a danger to the Guardian – direct violence.
The mystic’s records also say, “There is no clear indication of this Guardian’s nature, or who or what it protects, nor from whom or what.
It seems obvious that the red coral shot through their frames – and seemingly always concentrated in their core, as a magical heart – must somehow relate to the Guardian.” The mystics suspect a relationship between the Slag Golems and the Coralax tribes that dwell beneath the waters, but cannot confirm any details.
The Slag Golems’ nature is clearly tied into the greater mystery of the red coral. Many forces recognize the inherent power that runs through the living red coral, and wish to cultivate it for their own purposes.
Elements within Arachnos want it. Captain Mako himself has put forth an edict that all deposits of red coral should be brought to his vaults. Various free agents, brokers, and pirates trade it, for it is more valuable per ounce than gold.
A splinter group of the Freakshow called the Cult of the Shaper pursues it, also, and no doubt its secrets involve the Coralax, Mako’s lieutenant, Barracuda, and several powerful mystics.
The Guardian that the Slag Golems defend is the key to the red coral, but can the secrets of the coral be revealed without somehow unleashing a devastating storm upon all of the Rogue Islands?