The nomadic Coronan monks wander the M’Qaran desert, studying the sands and the stars to illuminate the mysteries of the universe that Corona has set before them. They research and analyze everything they can discover, and record their findings in volumes of parchment that fill the floors of their massive tents. When the monks shift from one location to the next, these scrolls often pile high upon the backs of an entire herd of their pack animals.

One young woman sought to alleviate the burden that paper was placing upon the monks and their herds. It took far too much space, far too many resources, and paper, like all physical things, is destined to return to the sands in time. She began to research what she believed to be beyond physical, and the most appropriate method and convenient method for storing information: human memory.

After years of study and human dissection, this woman, now in her middle age, assembled a smooth stone skeleton, bound together with soft leathers, and plated with dull, resistant metal. In this body, she placed a grand vesper, carved over the course of half a year and inlaid with conductive threads, and she surged power harvested from an energy well through it. When it was done, she approached the artificial body with careful steps.

Its fingers twitched, its head turned, and it faced its creator.

“Hello,” she said to it.

“Hello,” it repeated back.

The advent of the arlam had arrived. As mobile archival units, these memory machines were capable of retaining information more efficiently than a human would. At an unprecedented speed, they learned about their world, learned to speak, learned to communicate with humans and harathi alike.

They sought and consumed new knowledge on behalf of the Coronan monks, but within years they began to seek more on behalf of themselves. They, too, developed sapience. Some sought freedom from their creators, who they saw as having enslaved them. Others embraced Corona and his followers on their own terms. Many arlams chose to create new arlams, chose to pursue pursue careers, chose to develop relationships. Many arlams chose their own path, and today they navigate the whole of the vestige as inquisitive as children stepping out of the home for the first time.