Friends at the Table

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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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Takin’ a Snow Day

Sorry for being so late to announce an off this week but we need a little extra time to make a big special thing a little more special. We tried to make this a fun one for you in the mean time, so be well and see you next week! 

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Winter in Hieron 10: Fire and Blood

It's been four days since His sun left us, Tutor.

On the first morning without it, I woke early--before its light would have graced us on a normal day--and, when I found sleep too hard to return to, I put on my sandals and took to the empty streets of Velas. The soft shuffle of my steps echoed with the other pre-dawn murmurs of my seaside city.

The gulls called, and they called for me, so I followed past the lingering smells of a rowdy night before. And they called for me, so I stepped through the sand blown threw the gardens. And they called for me, and so I walked, and as I walked, my mind drifted, and I tried to recall if we ever listened to the gulls together, and I wondered if you had ever called for me.

I found an old stairwell hidden, etched into the wall by time or ancient ambitions or both. It led from the plaza to the shore, and the shore brought water, and the water brought wind, and the sound of gulls was caught in a swell, and the sound of the gulls was breezed away.

I sat and waited for His sun. And when it didn't come, I felt my most selfish thought--that this was your work, and that I had failed to stop you. That somehow I could have been He Who'd Saved The Sun, if only...

The stars lit, bright the way they are only in memory, never in sight. And I looked, for just a moment, to see if I could see you there, in their light perhaps, or in their configuration.

Instead, I saw a second darkness. Drifting, sputtering, smoke clouding on the western horizon, covering the stars there. The softest cliff face. Progress coming for our throats.

In the face of that soot-stuff, I let you go with a wish, Lion's Tooth on the wind.

Do not write me. Do not study the sound of my name or the curves of my hand. Do not grieve--we are too busy for grief now.

Gather yours, and I will gather mine.

This week on Friends at the Table: Fire and Blood

Flee.

-T.A.

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art 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 09: Warm Assurances

Cider-Brew Conveyance 

Departure: 2TE,3M / Arrival: 4OL,3M

Received By: Exarch Alyosha, Church of Samothes, District of the Sun, Velas

Articles of Shipment:

Four (4) Large Enhydro Crystals (Smokey, wrapped & crated)

One (1) Painting on Canvas (Sun cresting over cross-section of a rabbit warren, rolled)

Three (3) Leather-Bound Books (Manners and Preparations for the Aspirant, Practical Models for the Fostering of InquiryA Candle More Wick Than Wax)

Two (2) Wood-Bound Books (Treatise on the Whites of Eyes, Skein's Ephemeris)

One (1) Bannister's Harp (Wood & baleen, crated)

One (1) Copper Retort (Cracked, crated)

One (1) Copper Retort Stand (Intact, crated)

One (1) Ox Horn Comb (Simple, oiled & bagged)

Six (6) Seeds (Bleached Coast Flax, bagged)

One (1) Letter (Sealed)

This week on Friends at the Table: Warm Assurances

Mr. Cider-Brew,

Please find attached the letter of receipt (as requested by sender). I have also listed the address from which you may collect the sender's belongings, also as requested.

However, and I write with no haste, I am afraid that the church will not be needing your services in the future, nor will our parishioners.

Promises are made to be broken, sir. But seals are not.

-Ex. A. 

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art 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 Janine Hawkins & Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

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Winter in Hieron 08: The Meeting House

Do I yet write to an empty room? An empty desk? An empty page? Or do you remain, too busy with your work to respond? Or, perhaps I can lure your eyes from your sense of duty, as I learned to do years ago.

Let me try, at least, with another story from my childhood.

As you know, the Grand Tour makes endless, circuitous route across the east with no regard for what is below it. Water, earth, air, blood--it strides over each with little regard, so determined it is in the necessity of its pace.

The first time I saw it appear on the horizon, I pulled on the prelate's sleeve and found only the sort of questions children ask. "Is that a new sort of sea?" It sounded like thunder or a flood; a braying beast for each speck of dust kicked up, a speck for every moment of every life expired in the history of Hieron.

The prelate yanked me back by the wrist--perhaps he was worried I would fall in--and he shouted to the others to pack their things. "No, my son," he told me. "That is the oldest sea there is."

Had you heard that one, already Arrell? Do I bore you? Yes, I know my effort to keep your eye is narcissism. Yes, I know that you'd tell me (if you weren't so busy) that I risk admonishment. Have you not considered that my misbehavior has always been by design?

Ah. The sorts of questions children ask. But I will not throw this letter away. You are not yet gone, I know that much, they've told me. So let us at least carry on correspondance until you truly leave. I dare not wait for you, but will anticipate your response, nevertheless.

Yours Faithfully,

Alyosha

This week on Friends at the Table: The Meeting House

 

 

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Andi Clare (@captaintrash), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Nick Scratch (@drevilbones)
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 07: Two Hands

Pupil, 

Alyosha.

I promised you once that I would not ask the question ever again. That whatever our differences, however foolish your faith, I would respect your wish and let it rest. You told me that if I did not relent, you would stop responding all together, and I feared...

No. That is not why I gave up on you. It is because you made the case clearly, with strict logic and rhetoric curved sharp: If I did not accept your decision to remain in Rosemerrow—and now, in Velas—that I would be betraying the most fundamental of the precepts I teach: That we are each of us a world unto ourselves, sacrosanct, complete.

But now, in the face of this morning, I must ask again. One more time, and forgive me this sin: Please, Alyosha. Accept my offer. What comes next is grim, and we could both be gone by the end of the week. And then we could help others do the same. Please.

Your Tutor, always. 

This week on Friends at the Table: Two Hands 

 Arrell. Once, back in the shadow of the Grand Tour, I found the prelate who raised me sitting alone in his tent, crying. "What is wrong, sir?" I asked. "I lost a locket, Alyosha, in the last battle." He said. "I miss it. That's all. Do not worry about me, son." 

Have you ever thought about what it means 'to miss' someone?  It is the admission that you are unfinished, that some part of you—a center or a corner—is empty. And we are all of us incomplete, mosaics missing embellishments. 

I will remain. I must, now more than ever. And I will see you again, under the sun. But please Tutor, next time, just say what you mean. 

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Art 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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