When Strafe was a child, his mother was kidnapped by slave traders (colloquially referred to as "slavers" to the people of Aereus). Despite the best efforts of his father Lock, she couldn't be found and eventually the two were forced to admit she had likely been sold into slavery; they refused, however, to believe she could be dead.
Many years later, Strafe is a member of the Scavenger's Guild, a group of scavengers who gather resources for and protect the settlement of Noah. One night, a group of bandits attacks Noah, utilizing secret entrances which only the Scavenger's Guild knew of the existence of. The Guild checks each of their members and finds that Sear, a member involved in the administration of the guild, had been communicating various information about the settlement to various bandit and slavers groups in the area; in return, he was promised access to Oestalis, a supposed underground "city of gold".
Before he can be punished, Sear escapes into the wasteland. Strafe takes it upon himself to track down and interrogate him, as he believes the reason Lock was unable to find his mother was because she had been taken to Oestalis.