Friends at the Table

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Winter In Hieron: Holiday Special 01: Homes and Promises

There, in hidden village of Old Man’s Chin, the mothkin gather around the dry well at the center of town, look to the stars of the southern sky, and begin the midnight sermon. They praise those distant, flickering speckles of white for the light they provide—distant, and safe, yet bright enough to bring the world into focus. They praise, too, the messages written in the sky: Each star a word, each constellation a parable.

Red Jack finds his parables elsewhere: In his own history. And now, on this holy night of possibility, he gathers together the visitors from Velas so that he may tell them one.

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry) 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 06: All Violence, All Brains

Several years ago, Arrell, I made a low shelf of wood and attached it to the wall above my bed. Before retiring to bed, I would draw some water and place it in a glass, so I might reach it in the night were I to awake and find myself thirsty.

As time passed, I found myself adding to the shelf with things you might scoff at, knick-knacks, nothings. During an afternoon’s walk and study, I might uncover a fragment of pottery by the side of path. A bird’s nest, undisturbed. Two coins stamped with a mark I scarcely knew. I do not know why I kept these things, teacher. I do not pretend that I had aspirations of assembling an archive or a museum. They simply pleased me, I suppose, and I was happy to find a use for my handiwork beyond supporting the weight of a single glass of water.

I have kept you too long without explaining the purpose of this digression. One night, I awoke, as I sometimes do, and sat up in bed to reach for the water on my little shelf. I must have been caught in that moment, Arrell, between waking and dreaming, for the strangest thing occurred. The moonlight through my window illuminated the shelf, and I saw with utmost clarity that my fragment of pottery was in fact a complete plate, a man’s face smiling in its paintwork. To its right was the bird’s nest, but it was now wound so finely in silver twine I knew that to touch it would break it at once. There were the two coins, and beside them a lit candle I never ignited, and beside them a dagger, and beside them a goblet…

… and beside them my glass of water.

You are far from a dream interpreter, teacher, and I do not expect that of you. But I was caught in a moment, a crystalline moment that night, when I was not sure which was real, which was truly real. Was it the little shelf I awoke to see the next morning, nondescript and sturdy? Or was it the one lit by moonlight?

This week on Friends at the Table: All Violence, All Brains

Alyosha. There are only two natures of things, and no more. There is the nature of how something is, and there is the nature of how something will be. Your shelf is as it is. Empty it. That is how it shall be. The people of Hieron are as they are. We must determine what they could be.

 

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 Jack de Quidt

Music by Jack de Quidt

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Winter in Hieron 05: Blood Doesn’t Run

It's time I leave Rosemerrow, Alyosha. All sorts of cockroaches scramble through this city, now. And while I am used to the cretinous locals--who can blame them for not ascending to their highest potentials in this town--it is the new arrivals which distract and anger.

A fascinating thing, refugees. There is no limit to the reasons that drive them from their erstwhile homes: War, famine, disease, faith.  But regardless, when they leave, however strong their so called "collective will," they are stripped of their culture, alienated from the world--even from each other.

For these souls, I do not know that even the New University would offer much education. They are best regarded of runoff from the storm of history.

This week on Friends at the Table: Blood Doesn't Run

My Tutor, you bear no malice in your appraisal of the world, I know. But you forget: We are both refugees too--and though we too were stripped of our nations, we found our own culture, no?  Strange bedfellows indeed... In the life of an exile there is despair. But in the life of two, there is hope

 

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 04: A Combination of Notes

The library kept by the New Archives here in Velas saw its final day, Arrell. I walked past its corner today, and it was gone, vanished. Does that make you happy? That their presence in this place was destroyed?

I'm sorry, teacher, the quill and ink make me bitter on days like this. The storm has grown strong today, and though I never visited that library, I went out of my way each day to walk past it. It felt like I was helping.

Though your scholarship dismisses their pattern magic as more luck than skill, I believe that their "semioticians" are miracle workers, though they do not know it. Their unlikely effects are not magic at all, but are His Holy Intention, reaching into the world and re-arranging it just so. The way I understand its working, the Orcs wait for the proper alignment of circumstances, offering a tap or a pull, here or there, until the world and its sacred inhabitants address each other just so. Once the arrangement is complete: A miracle. Does that not sound like ritual, like prayer to you?

Because of this, the archives are filled to the brim with records: How much rain fell on Rosemerrow this year? How many doves with black wings were spotted above the Southern Barrows? How many priests walked by our libraries in the last week?

So, every day, I made my steps from the church to the Garden District a little longer, a my path a little wider. I walked past it, gave the archivist at the door a nod and a smile, and went on my way.

I wonder now how many of their "spells" I was part of? Will a hard rain, six months from now, bear my imprint? A conjured mound of gold and silver reflect my face? What beauty have I helped create? 'Tis His will, regardless, and I am blessed to contribute to the spectrum of his light.

This week on Winter In Hieron:  A Combination of Notes

You are as naive as your faith is strong. Their magic is vulgar, not holy. You would know that if you'd seen it, if you'd felt it. Or perhaps you have. Consider, Alyosha, the possibility that your ritual pacing was the final component part not of a vivid creation, but of an plain and simple erasure.

 

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 03: You Haven’t Kept Up, Have You?

Have you read these so-called “broadsides” from Ordenna yet, Alyosha? They’ve been distributing them here in Rosemerrow. One of them, “A Letter From Impetor Fela Malle,” gets passed around by the young and angry here, youth desperate for a firm hand, for order.

It’s apparently a transcript of a speech delivered by the head of Blood Malle—a rallying cry or an apologia, it is hard to tell. Regardless, I’d scoff at the the arrogance if the paper could hear it. Still, I wonder what you think of it, child.  So, I’ve sent it along for your eyes to labor over—and they will grow weary, I know, but pay close attention to this, at least:

"There are, I understand, fears about our new soldiers. There are whispers and rumors of witchcraft, and forbidden magic. Dispel these from your mind, just as these new soldiers will help us dispel those obstacles from the continent.

These warriors are not a threat. No. They are our Anchor.

Built of Our Steel, they connect us to our soil and our culture as the Ordennan Impetus moves eastward. They will march onto the fronts too dangerous for our children to travel, invulnerable to the dangerous magic of our foes, a symbol of our progress and strength.

And they carry our message: Civilization in Hieron is not lost in the past. Nor is it in some ever-distant tomorrow. Civilization is today. And Civilization is Ordennan." 

With words like that, Alyosha, how can you still believe the best of collective humanity? What new evils will be wrought in the name of ‘civilization.’ Who will you damn next by refusing to stand against this? Or… perhaps, you are convinced now, child, that there is evil not in man's heart, but in men's. 

This week on Winter in Hieron: You Haven't Kept Up, Have You?

Arrell. The hammer will strike hot steel whether we wish it to or not. It is our duty not to interfere, but to turn the smith’s hand such that they build shields and spades instead of spears and blades.

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 02: A Museum in the Distance

Has the news reached you, friend? A group of merchants form Rosemerrow told me today that a new wing to the Old Museum in Westshore-Upon-Sea is opening next month. (How I wish we could walk its halls and debate the merits of its exhibits—but ah, it’s more than snow that separates us these days.)  So instead, let me ask you a question, dearest Arrell…

The Creed of Samothes is clear that Truth is a reflection of His Holy Light, and should be pursued above all else. Yet I recall from our early lessons that you hold a case for falsehood, too. ‘Even His Sun,’ you told me ‘is a well-meaning deceit, as it appears above us, celestial, yet was built from (and some say, remains in) the ground itself.” I will not open old wounds—I do not want you to convince me of this heresy—I only wonder: Do you still believe it?

Yours, always, in heedless faith…

This week on Winter in Hieron: A Museum in the Distance

Alyosha, in your ardor (for me or Samothes, who can say), you have misremembered my lesson. I never said that a false history was preferable. I simply said that all histories are false, and that it was our duty to choose the ones that suit us best.

 

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) and Austin Walker

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)

Episode description by Austin Walker

Music by Jack de Quidt

 

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Winter in Hieron 01: An Arrow Let Loose

In the early days of the New Archives, the philosopher and historian Krent Kava wrote that the first sign that Hieron was on its way to recovery was the return of roadways that connect coast to heartland, city center to distant university. "There," he wrote, "Is civilization back again, drawn together by the eternal will of survivors trying to connect, one to another." Some of the roads, he reminds us, were highways repaired from the days before, and others were wholly new--as our times require paths that the past did not.

It is noble thought, of course. But we know now that by the time Scholar Kava wrote those words, Hieron's road system had been rebuilt and destroyed dozens of times by fledgling--and eventually, failed--settlements. The truth, friend, is that our roads neither reflect nor protect any civility we've found. They are merely our footprints turned to stone and gravel, waiting to be covered and lost by the coming snow.

This week on Winter in Hieron: An Arrow Let Loose

Perhaps, Arrell, perhaps. But we walk them anyway, don't we?

 

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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Hieron: The Months of Autumn Pt 2

For a long, long time in Hieron, it was autumn. Crisp branches snapped under foot. Still lakes caught the reds, yellows, and oranges of the leaves overhead, stuck eternally between life and death. The waves taunted children and elder alike, a step too cold for all but the bravest of swimmers. And there was laughter, and planning, and good food. People would stand around bonfires--out on the beaches of Velas, in the communal pits of Rosemerrow--and trade stories. Old stories, the kind passed down from parent to child. They bent in new directions with each telling, but they never fully changed. They were trust worthy and familiar, but like a poor cider, dead on the tongue. But it is winter now. Snow has arived in Velas, and it is time for cold tongues to learn new words.

 

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)

Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Keith J Carberry (@KeithJCarberry), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Nick Scratch (@drevilbones), Andrew Lee Swan (@Swandre3000), Art Tebbel (@atebbel)
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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Hieron: The Months of Autumn Pt 1

And so the season turns, and the cold winds sweep in, and candles and fires and stoves are lit. Black branches against a white sky. There are more stories to tell, though. There are always more stories to tell. It’s not long before we meet our old friends again, I promise. They’re waiting, right now. They’re kicking the frost off their boots, cold fingers on metal buckles. Before we find them again, though, there is an old story to tell. Perhaps you’ve heard it before. Perhaps this is the first time you’ve heard it. There’s a small island, you see? Waves crash around its rocky coast. There is the silhouette of a tower. It’s better, don’t you think, to bring everybody up to speed?

Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Keith J Carberry (@KeithJCarberry), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Nick Scratch (@drevilbones), Andrew Lee Swan (@Swandre3000), Art Tebbel (@atebbel)
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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A Message From Ali

Hey everyone! Here we are again with no new episode. We really really hate doing this and promise that there will some real and true and good content for you here next week. Marielda ended at the best and worst time because someone is launching a new website and that's taking a ton of time, so at least this interruption is happening inbetween seasons but we still don't feel good about it. We're really sorry!

We'll still be doing season 1 recaps the next two weeks. They're going to be very, very good but we just need a little more time to make them perfect. 

If you're looking for something to tide you over for the next week Austin was a player (I know) on a new episode of RollPlay: One Shot GM'd by Adam Koebel (author of Dungeon World) and with a bunch of other cool people.

Thank you so much for understanding, thank you for your patience, thank you for all of your support.

See you on the other side!

~Ali Acampora (@ali_west) on behalf of the whole cast: Keith J Carberry (@KeithJCarberry), Andi Clare(@captaintrash), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart), Nick Scratch (@drevilbones), Andrew Lee Swan (@Swandre3000), Art Tebbel (@atebbel) and our host Austin Walker (@austin_walker)

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