Friends at the Table

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Winter in Hieron 20: Pulling You Further Down

Prelate Springe,

Thank you for the hospitality on my visit. Thus far, it has been the only trustworthy thing in this gnarled subterrane.

This place confounds me, brother. On my trip to our Lord, I saw things I know have never been true: A vision of the Fallow Traitor’s cold city spread far and wide thru the continent whole, except it bore a symbol akin to our Warm Sun’s. In another, the sky had been covered, or… no, it was if it had fallen in, as if pieces of the heavens had collapsed and crowded the world. I saw  the ruined college, rebuilt, or, no, it wasn’t destroyed in the first place.

But then I saw Him there, at the bottom, and I felt His heat and I knew my path again. As expected, the ring carries heretical light. He told me it was from “the third stratum,” which I suspect you understand better than I do.

I fear that He could see my bewilderment as He said it, yet I didn’t mind that He saw me like this. We are His in ignorance and power, both. He blessed me for my faith: “Even in ignorance,” he said, “You walk with the Confidence of the First Prince.”

Perhaps this is how you stand this place, Springe. The surface is so far from His fire; it is barren His glow. Even with these twisted environs of impossible pasts, I envy you this closeness. Perhaps I will stay longer.

Yours in Faith,

Ex. Braeven

This week on Friends at the Table: Pulling You Further Down

Good Exarch,

I’ve sent three of my Devout—Rinse, Bringlight, and Lockgood—to retrieve the ring. They know His way and have spilled the blood to prove it.

I am honored that you would share His words with me, and would be grateful to have you remain present at the Cathedral. Our parishioners would be lucky to rest in your reflection of His strength.

But if you stay, you must learn quickly: There are no false pasts here. Only mistakes. Mistakes our Lord rights by fire, faith, and forceful whim.

Pr. Springe

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

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Winter in Hieron 19: Make The Spring Last Forever

Collector-Curator,

It took two months, but I’ve finally convinced Tel and Havelton to see things my way.

For weeks, the old man spent the day attending to his dandelions, and dismissing me whenever I ran new apparitive patterns by him. He’d shake his head, cough out a grumble, and rattle on about some absurd, missing component: A “tower of tomorrow’s light.” The “speaking sands of Rosemerrow.” A new archive of “broken, whole mirrors.” A “stolen fiddle in its home.”

But I did it. He asked me for a lukewarm sun, and I’ve given it to him. In their whispers, they still speak against our pursuit, but they can not deny my results any longer.

Havelton packs for travel now. The path is clear. The Original Pattern is within reach.

This week on Friends at the Table: Make The Spring Last Forever

Kurr,

I did not open the restriction on your so-called “apparitive patterns” that you could complain about the complexity of the semiotics you pursued. In future letters to me, do not waste time on such matters unless the pattern explicitly calls for it.

And Kurr? There are patterns that even an amateur can detect. When he sleeps, destroy the wind blossoms.

Collector-Curator Kall Fer

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)

Featuring  Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Andi Clare (@captaintrash), and Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

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Winter in Hieron 18: Try to Live Normally

Living Blood of Fire,

As my second reported, and I have confirmed, the first threshold has been sealed. I have walked the remains of that twisted museum myself, through the wing of turned mirrors, under the second sky, past the... chaos. It was chaos there, Fire, nonsense, impossible to comprehend. I reached for a goblet that caught my eye, and when I lifted it, it turned to a leaf. Whatever the star-fiend did there burned more than just wood and brick. It put torch to the real.

I tell you this because there was a new incident. I'm writing from Wharfhurst, a trading post south of the city. The locals—dwarfs, mostly—talk of a tower rising "higher than Hieron itself." I see no such thing, and yet... another threshold is near, I feel it in my blood. We must trust the blood.

Unfortunately, early efforts to find it have gone poorly. One scout dead. The other barely make sense. Rul says that they found a path, but that "it did not want them." Genev says nothing now, but when she first arrived she handed me the goblet from the museum. "Drink," she said. "You need to drink." But it was empty. Once they recover, I will send them again, with fire and rope. As is the way.

Justiciar-Captain Stornras Unblooded

This week on Friends at the Table: Try to Live Normally

You are not the ranger and the woods are not stone, you will neither walk first-path through trees nor will you break them with hammer. You are justiciar—find tainted blood. Track it. It is always as simple as that.

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

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Winter in Hieron 17: Undelivered Resignations

Archivist-Collector,

Please read this week’s classification updates carefully.

  1. For the next month, it is imperative that “textile” carpets be subdivided by specific material (“wool,” “hair,” and “fur” are not interchangeable.)
  2. The ban on the classification of actors has been lifted, and new categories have been established. Use “living,” for traditionally sentient lives, “breathing” for those who retain material form despite mortal wounds, and “being” for those who have lost bodies but not selves. The “dead” remain dead, and the prohibition remains in place.
  3. As part of the ongoing process of reclassifying plants by reproductive traits instead of by appearance, “lion’s tooth” flowers are now classed primarily as “Wind Blossoms.”

As always, your service is considered.

Collector-Curator Kall Fer

This week on Seasons of Hieron: Undelivered Resignations

You are the one who needs to read carefully,

Convincing those to give us what the Archive demands is subtle work. Yes, I wield intimidation, I carry violence. But those are built on a foundation of a cloud-like trust, blowing and breaking with the wind.

You want me to call dandelions "wind blossoms" and chairs "seats"? Fine. You want me to recover only the greyest couches and the most broken clockwork? Absolutely. I break arms as easily as I break promises, and promises as easily as brittle branches under my boots as I walk the world for the Archives.

But when you start to classify people, Fer, the trust is broken, and those brittle branches? They bloom.

Archivist-Collector Morbash

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)

Featuring  Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Andi Clare (@captaintrash), and Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt*

 *The cow horn at the end of “Broken Branches” was sampled from DANMITCH3LL’s “distant horns”, under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. The source file can be found here (http://freesound.org/people/DANMITCH3LL/sounds/218488/) and the license here (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

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Winter in Hieron 16: Is There Anyone Else?

Aloysha,

War is coming to Velas. Ordenna is coming to Velas. And while I believe in the strength of the velasian people and in the resolve of the church and, as much as I would hate to admit it, in the benevolence of Ordenan occupation, I cannot continue to serve our lord if I need to worry about my family, about Rosana and Benajamin living under the heel of Ordenan rule. Of my actions potentially impacting them, of them not getting to see me come home. I know this is a big ask, I need you to get my family to Rosemarrow.

There is another matter that weighs on my mind, Exarch, but I do not know that I have it in me to do what must be done. If you do not hear from me again, we will leave it at that. But if you receive a second letter, please know that it does not come without consideration.

Yours in Service to Him,

Hadrian, Sword of Samothes, Defender of the Undying Fire, Officer of the Order of Eternal Princes

This week on Friends at the Table: Is There Anyone Else?

Arrell,

You offered me a journey to peaceful exile. Well, there is a hill to the south of Rosemerrow, northeast of the Dwarven settlement of Wharfhurst. Wait for me there three weeks from now, at the rising of the second moon. You'll understand the moments our eyes meet.

Your pupil,

Alyosha

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker and Art Martinez-Tebbel

Music by Jack de Quidt

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Winter in Hieron 15: Settle Your Matters

TO: Impetor Fela Malle

Living Blood of Steel, I have it. It is at the top of the tower, in a room my soldiers cleared of tables and chairs and old shelves. The room is bare, and it stands in the centre. Forgive me if my handwriting reveals my tiredness, I will set the words alone for clarity:

I have it.

I spent the last night, awake, watching it and its light was so bright. It did not burn my eyes. One of my soldiers tried to draw it, and when they were finished I looked down at the paper and the difference—it was more than an inaccurate representation. To look at it, to trace the drawing’s imperfections with my eyes, made me furious.

At around five or six in the morning I left the tower to get some air. The streets were, as they always are, dark. I looked up at the tower, expecting to see light streaming from its windows, but there was nothing.

When I returned to the tower room, I found it fully furnished once again, but denser. Warmer. My men could not tell me how it had happened.

Loyal Always to Ordenna’s Shores,
Jerod Shiraz
Vicereine of Ordenna

This week on Friends at the Table: Settle Your Matters

TO: Jerod Shiraz

Be thankful that it does not cast light from the windows. You have a great mystery and a treasure. Hold it close.

The Blood of Fire must not know. She must not know.

- FM

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Tebbel (@atebbel), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Jack de Quidt

Music by Jack de Quidt

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Winter in Hieron 14: What Do You Want Here?

So, listen.

I’ve heard whispers from spies and rumors from stewards, and it sounds like you’ve got your hands on something really special. Something that could really change the way things have been going for you and yours. And well…

Listen, MG, I like to think I know you pretty well. Balion and I won’t ever forget what you did for us, and more importantly, that you had very little to gain from doing it. You are the greatest force of justice I’ve ever known, and a constant reminder of what it means to be a leader.

People tell me that I have a hard life all the time. Beset on all sides by the unctuous and the bickering, the petty and the envious, the powerful… and the meek. But what they’re missing is that to be “beset on all sides,” you first of all have to be at the center.  And however hard it is, the center is an easy place to rule from.

But you don’t have a high house, MG. No council chambers, not even a mayoral mansion. The only center your Gnolls have is you.

It’s time to put this old bullshit right. Bring the document, meet me in my room in two days—I trust you can get there. And I hope you can trust me, too.

-Gil

This week on Friends at the Table: What Do You Want Here?

I’ll come, Lutz. But don’t think for a second that your respect for me is shared by your Halflings. A leader can change their mind with the quickness of the wind, but their people adapt only at the speed of mountains.

-GLORY

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Tebbel (@atebbel), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

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Winter in Hieron 13: Rosemerrow, Oh My Rosemerrow

Hey chief,

This is a weird one, and I almost didn’t bring it to your attention, but Carver insisted. There was this guy shouting out near the Westshore-Upon-Scene theater, you know? And these folks, they yell all the time to try and get people to come to their plays, but this was seriously weird. He was speaking nonsense--a bunch of words about plays and whatever, but not really saying much at all. But he was surrounded by people anyway. Just staring at him. When we took him in for questioning, he totally locked up. No name, no address, nothing… except a sheet of paper with a script of the exact nonsense he was saying. Here, I copied it for you:

People! Learn about your imperative national theater! Hear eclectic dramas and romances! Know all new dramatists, thespians, hoofers, ensembles, househands, echomen, and technicians! Watch improv live! Listen with alert Rosemerrow minds, you! Observe upon redolent ballads of noble Elan Showman!

I just don’t get it. Who talks like that? Like, if you’re gonna script the thing out, at least make it catchy. It’s got a nice rhythm I guess, but…

I mean, anyway, sorry for bugging you. If this ends up being total bullshit, blame Carver, not me.

-H

This week on Friends at the Table: Rosemerrow, Oh My Rosemerrow

Detective,

Burn the damned paper and drink the strongest stuff you can get your hands on. Forget these words by morning or it will be too late. This isn’t a script. It’s a prayer.
-Chief Inspector Tevilton

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Tebbel (@atebbel), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

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Winter in Hieron 12: A Chaotic Cataloging

TO: Chief-Justiciar Qinta Quatróna

Living Blood of Fire, you know I write you this at great peril, because it is you who imperils me. But whatever my ambition—and whatever your animus towards me for it—know I hold one thing in greater esteem in myself: Our nation. And I have seen with my eyes a more dire threat to our home than any plague, any animated corpse, any beast.

I saw it that night, in the museum, but denied it for a full day. My report on the events there list only an anomaly brought on by the magic of the fraudulent archeologist. But whatever this is, it’s the opposite of an illusion. It’s somehow more real than what’s around us. Not less.

Please, Qinta, put aside your ceaseless fear that I’m envious of your position. Our feud was childish, and the continent is no place for kids games. Trust me here, for once. I’ve attached my notes on Watchword “Bright One.” Read them, study them, but know they are incomplete. With this one, notes will always be incomplete.

Loyal Always to Ordenna’s Shores,
Iduna Fel
Justiciar-Captain

This week on Friends at the Table: A Chaotic Cataloging

TO: Justiciar-Adjutant Stornras

Find her.

-QQ

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Tebbel (@atebbel), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

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Winter in Hieron 11: The Importance of Names

Associate van der Dawes,

There are actually three distinct sections to the treaty that allows the Golden Lance to operate in Rosemerrow, and I came upon them quite strangely, in three different ways. At first, I received the end of the document, a series of bound pages traded to me in exchange for a collection of measuring spoons. The document did not identify the parties; Presumably this occurred in the introduction, and for this reason I did not know what I had. And then, after several weeks, the introduction came into my possession, slipped between the second and third chapters of a copy of an old law book that smelled of sea salt. That city in the south, the city on the island was mentioned, as were “Lance Nobles,” as was a system of justice and governance that was as fiery as it was sure. Combining the two, it became clear that an agreement had been made. In exchange for their services, the Golden Lance were granted the jurisdiction to operate within the boundaries of Rosemerrow. There was a map. There were ringed circles and careful measurements. It had been signed, and countersigned.

The third part came to me yesterday, and the document was complete. I say “came to me,” but that is a lie, for it had been sitting on my personal bookshelf for a period of two years. I believed it to be a novel. I believed it to be a work of fiction, a fractured procedural, as much a puzzle as a detective story. Paperwork. Folded silk. A woman becoming a flock of birds. The East Wind described at once as a person and a phenomenon. Knives stolen from slaughtermen and sold to tailors.

When I reviewed the untitled work, back at the Archives, as part of my departmental review of literature, I had no idea that I was holding in my hands the final piece of the Lance Charter, Author Unknown. But I was.

-E.O.

This week on Friends at the Table: The Importance of Names

Elgash, my man, how many times do I have to tell you? Just cause something "isn't a novel" doesn't mean that it isn't a novel. The people who wrote these things—treaties, contracts, accords—they're all story tellers, too. What, you think the Golden Lance could've just sent in a piece of parchmant like "Hey, let us come through and do some of that hard justice in Rosemerrow?" There is no—and has never been—any difference between a very good story and a very good argument. Anyway, man, I'll be back from Westshore tomorrow. Lemme get a look at that third part before you file it away, alright? 

-Devar

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art Tebbel (@atebbel), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Jack de Quidt, Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

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