Friends at the Table

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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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Winter In Hieron: Holiday Special 02: Pits and Ladders

The mothkin do not remember why years ago, they decided to worship the stars of the southern sky, specifically. Perhaps it is because that is the direction the weavers first arrived from. Or perhaps, becaue looking south from their forest home, the they face the sea, a vast mirror that reflects the night sky. Or maybe, some time ago, the living constellations of the south did the mothkin some favor, yet returned.

But now, the stars recede as the first fingers of sunlight break through the branches of the eastern treeline. And in the village of Old Man's Chin, Red Jack continues his story.

 

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: 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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