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Oct 11, 2018

It is still winter, yet.

Months ago, the heat and the dark emerged from the long sands of Rosemerrow, bringing terror and destruction to Hieron. And though the sun has returned, and though the vicious blizzard that battered the North West has weakened, and though Adelaide’s so called curse has vanished--the warmth of spring has not yet arrived. The people of Hieron have faced calamity, and now they look to their leaders--to you--in hopes that they may recover and rebuild.

Ephrim, Prophet of the Unwavering Flame. Golden Lance Throndir, the Ranger--you two joined the traveler of worlds, Red Jack, and Corsica Neue, Queen of the Unstill, in leading thousands of refugees and survivors towards a new home: The ruins of the Last University.

Besides your motley collection of loyal friends and allies--like Devar van der Dawes, Uklan Tel, Emanuel LaSalle, and Ephrim’s loyal Kobbin, Highwater--you bring with you ten distinct groups, each with their own leaders to this new settlement in the center of Hieron.

  1. Corsica Neue’s own Unstill come along, of course--now equals in unlife with everyone else, just one fatal error away from annihilation.
  2. Joining them are those who Red Jack called his companions: Rosette, and the moths of Old Man’s Chin have arrived along with their weaver companions, and the remaining Oni boys who once sprouted from Red Jack side.
  3. Mee Kosh, the Goblin Elder, and the Snow Elves of Auniq--joined in temporary and precarious alliance came too.
  4. And Balion Wythe, the once romantic hero of Rosemerrow, and on-again-off-again lover of the late Chancellor Gilbert Lutz, has come with those halflings who were willing to leave their supposed ancestral home after it was hit so badly by the Heat and the Dark’s arrival.
  5. They arrived soon after Chatterchin and the Gnolls--those who Fero left behind in the woods outside of Rosemerrow.
  6. Morbash came with you, too, just behind, along with those archivists who understood that sometimes, in the face of chaos, maintaining the pattern requires movement, not complacency.
  7. An old ally of yours, Throndir: Carrot the squirrel, arrived too, along with entire ecosystems behind them. With the north west devastated, the many animals who lived in the environs of twinbrook, the woods between Velas and Auniq, and the forests surrounding Rosemerrow all need a new place to forage and flock, somewhere less threatened by the heat, the dark, and the stars. They live now in the wilds on the outskirts of the university.
  8. Keeping within the walls of the school’s campus, but still on the edges of society is the professional scoundrel Blake Bromley, along with their loose guild of people who knew how to find things… and how to get things done, often in the shadows where others were too precious to travel.
  9. Surprisingly, perhaps, was the arrival of Jerod Shiraz--the leader of the Ordennan Dissent, nearly one third of what once made up the nation’s war machine, now turned open objectors to the imperial ambitions of the Impetus. Though she once traveled along with the living star, Obelus, as well as with Stornras Glasseye and Sunder Havelton--who were given the Blade in the Dark by Samol--when she arrives, Shiraz is flanked only by everyday Ordennan citizens and soldiers. And she makes no mention of the sword… or her absent companions.
  10. Finally, there is Rosana, who has become the lay-leader of the Creed of Samothes in this part of Hieron. Though given no specific title, she has become the de facto head and heart of the group in this dark moment--providing counsel, concern, and condemnation, when appropriate. Neither she, nor her son Benjamin, know what has happened to their beloved Hadrian--yet both live on with strength in his memory.

 

With these groups, you’ve built the first workings of a real community here in the shadow of the college’s towers and in the depths of the neglected ruins of the Last University. And, as is often the case in moments of dire need, some have already risen and found basic solutions to the most critical of problems.

Perhaps most importantly, those with academic and magical acumen--the semiotician Uklan Tel, increasingly obsessed with his dangerous studies; Jerod Shiraz, living blood of sea and smoke; you, King Ephrim, and a handful of others--spent weeks scouring the Book of Life that Throndir brought, as well as the other magical texts of the University in an effort to establish the shimmering shield of starstuff that the--now undead--wizard Arrell once proposed.

And with the power of the book of life, you succeeded, enveloping not only the University’s campus but also the wilds around it in a scintillating gleam, a translucent sphere which ripples and waves in the wind. And which--for now, at least--protects the entire settlement from the ever encroaching flames of the heat and the dark.

And with this existential threat held back, many other needs could be addressed as well:

Rosana and the refugees of Velas immediately set to rebuilding the dorms, kitchens, and other necessary structures of the university, while Blake’s moonlighters and and Morbash’s archivists scoured the the school’s remaining stores for food, fuel, and medicine enough to last at least a year. All while in the campus’ courtyards, Rosette’s mothkin have begun the agricultural processes necessary to at least subsist, if not to thrive, in this new home.

Balion Wythe and Corsica Neue have risen as military leaders, the queen of the unstill and the uncrowned leader of the halflings each bringing their tactical strength to bear, Offeringthose who wish to defend the encampment a role and a duty appropriate to their skills.

Throndir you are joined by Chatterchin’s gnolls, Mee Kosh’s goblins and snow elves, and the wild animals who have pledged their coy loyalty to Carrot, in an effort to map out the still-snow covered forests, hills, valleys, and wastes surrounding the University.

And some--like Red Jack, Victoria Solomon, and Dr. Gloria Lake--travel even further, exploring beyond the university’s protective cloak of stars, deep into the ongoing cataclysm of Hieron, all in hopes of finding other survivors. Partly, they seek to offer shelter to any who lived through the winter, and partly, they seek the most important thing of all: An answer to survive the impending collapse--a swift breeze, a cooling shade--anything to hold back… the summer.

This week on Spring in Hieron: The Touch of Others

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

Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)