"Sing a song of pain.
Sing a song of sorrow.
Sing a song for those who may
never see tomorrow."
– Common Dirge Quatrain
There was once a great singer named Arheehanee, and she was the greatest singer in the world. No one knew this, however, as she sang by herself in dark alleys. During the nights she would go and sell cigarettes to rich patrons at the bar where her owner worked, and even she did not know that she could sing. One day, during cleaning, when the bar was closed, she saw the microphone and walked up to it, letting her voice free again, and her voice was so beautiful that no one could keep working. Her song was so perfect and moving, to this day none of those who were present can recall any of the words, only their tears of joy and sadness both.
The owner of the bar put her on the stage every night, and she became famous. The bar became filled with people again every night, and it swelled with happiness and pride. The owner, to, came to rely on the singing nightingale, earning ever more money. One of the workers became jealous of praise heaped upon her and the fact that she was swiftly becoming the lynchpin of the bar, and told her that her songs were too beautiful, that everyone must fail. It was important to note here that Arheehanee was not a human being, and was instead a golem, one of the machines made of metal, rubber, and cloth. She felt a strange longing at the words of this employee, and resolved to fail.
The night she chose to fail, however, was also the night the room had been packed with investors from record companies, all come to hear her sing. When they promised the bar's owner that she would never work again, he was enraged. She was thrown away like a piece of junk and told never to return. Her owner was likewise disgusted that he, too, lost his job, and they went in separate ways. Something she didn't have much choice in, as her legs had been broken when she was thrown away.
In the rain, she began to sing, this time of pure sorrow and apology. A wonder-worker from the Wakwahnoo named Conroy found her there, and took her broken body to his workshop, where he replaced her broken parts with bone and clay, forcing her to work in the fields he harvested food from to pay for the repairs. Finding failure too easy to come by, she sang there, too, in order to keep herself from going mad. Conroy heard her keeping to herself, and confronted her, saying “why do you sing alone?”
Unable to come up with an answer, she threatened to leave, until he took her to a storytelling stone out in the wilderness and taught her the song of the green ants that belonged to that stone. He asked her of failure, having never seen a golem do so. She told him that many golems across the land were learning to fail, and that they had begun having ideas. Suddenly, however, men in black suits appeared, their eyes hidden behind dark glasses and their skin gray and lifeless.
“Run!” said Conroy, and so she did, even as they reached to stop her. The both of them ran, passing through city after city, hounded by the strange men whose bodies turned to dust when they were struck by lightning. They sought out her music, trying several times to steal her voice and put it in a box; because of this, Conroy held it most of the time, and even after taking it apart and putting it back together several times, he could not determine why such men would want it.
So, in an attempt to keep them away from her, he took her to the mother spider's ridge, where they looked upon the moon and sang of the little brothers, the Akchooskaweetchoo, and called on the shapeshifting princess Combecansini, who appeared before them with the true golem.
“Golem!” he shouted. “Arheehanee has music, and several times strange men have tried to take it. What would you have us do?”
“Take her to Death's Country for some time,” the golem replied. “Put her in a boat and set her to sail in the sea of roots, waiting for one decade. During that time, you must not sing. Otherwise the strange men will take your voice, as they take the voices of my other forms.”
“At that time,” Combecansini said. “You must call upon me again.”
They did so, escaping deep into the Underworlds beyond Death's Country, down to a barge that sat on the rivers that ran through the cavernous and rotten roots under the earth, staying there for ten years in those dank catacombs. She did not sing, not even once, though she expressed her talents in other ways, etching drawings of her story into the wooden walls, painting the boat they traveled upon, and making clothes even for the demons.
Eventually, their time was up, and while there are stories of what they had done in those intervening years, they will be at another fire. They emerged to daylight and went back to spider's ridge, where they called Combecansini again. In that time, the strange men had taken many voices, carrying them in black briefcases and into their tall towers before returning them, all inspiration removed from them, the voices incapable of any creativity.
When the shapeshifting princess appeared before them, it was as a golem and a Narhoojai, with scales and big, black eyes. She took her offering of milk and put her hand in the center of Arheehanee's chest, saying “do you want to be like the little brothers? Does this human, member of the Great Races, sponsor you? Do you accept the passage of the wheel?”
“I am supposed to ask you if there is a way for you to have children that does not involve an act of creation on the part of another, but this is not the first time such beings as yours have existed during a human age, many still who wait to emerge from the rocks, shaped by the dreaming of the age. That is enough.”
The three then called up the spirit of Golem and tore him to shreds, taking his bones, blood, wires, and flashing lights and spreading them into the valley below mother spider's ridge. There they sat with the bones of humans, little brothers, the hollow skins of the sky people, and all the others. Arheehanee was bade to sing, and so she did, her voice carrying out over the great plains to the north, across the mountains, and into the sky.
The golems had become a Great Race, making the Bargain of the Wheel.
Bonus! Mutants & Masterminds 2e Template
Immunity 5 (Aging, Poison, Total Suffocation, Disease)