Mar 24, 2023
This episode carries content warnings for death.
The sun rises on Palisade and the work week begins. Delegates move quick and quiet through the back halls of Kesh palaces while their lords plot and scheme. Nidean settlers pray to their Divines and then take up their shovels to do the work of civil expansion. The most determined Frontier Syndicate technologists woke up hours ago, beating the sun’s rise just like Exenceaster March says to do in his popular entrepreneurial handbook. And in a castle on the southern continent, the occupation’s leader thumbs the trigger of her horrible device, as if the sun itself could see the gesture and would leash itself appropriately.
This week on PALISADE: Today Is a Monday
Bilateral Intercession: One of two factions vying for leadership of the Principality, comprised by Stels Kesh and Nideo, and lead by the so-called Peaceful Princept, Cynosure Whitestar-Kesh (he/him), who took control of the faction from the Curtain, a secretive intelligence organization with roots in Kesh’s ancient spy operations. The “Bilats” are a conservative and reactionary force, aiming to return the Principality to its roots both literally and figuratively. After a long campaign against the Pact of Free States, they managed to take control of Palisade.
Stel Kesh: The oldest established power in the galaxy, built around a stuffy (and secretive) aristocracy. They are tied to the Past. History, knowledge, stubbornness.
Stel Nideo: Created the largest faith in the empire, and used that influence to shape (and surveil) mass culture. They are tied to the Present. Faith, coercion, stability.
The Bilateral Intelligence Service: Formerly called the Curtain, the BIS is a Kesh-operated organization which specializes in espionage, subterfuge, and surveillance. Though it is as secretive as ever, it is no longer the true source of power in Kesh territory. Instead, Cynosure Whitestar-Kesh has modernized its structure and operation, and has ensured that it remains well integrated into the Bilateral Intercession’s greater workings—as to better keep one eye on them.
The Frontier Syndicate: A powerful conglomerate with a broad purview, including technology, heavy industry, entertainment, telecommunications, and transportation. Led by Exenceaster March (he/him), the Syndicate betrayed the Pact of Free States and joined the Bilats in order to be part of their colonization efforts on Palisade.
Fabreal Duchy: When the Divine Principality left Palisade nearly 5,000 years ago, they left behind a Duke and his barons as caretakers. In the generations that followed, they ruled as petty tyrants, creating Delegates as their slaves, remaking their bodies into glass and oil, and extending their reach across Palisade’s continents.
The New Asterism: What was once a schism between Received and Progressive Asterism has now been healed by the false prophet Gur Sevraq (he/they), or at least someone in his name and face. The New Asterism claims that to be a citizen of the Principality is to have an obligation to "better the world," in the sense that one invests in property or in the way that a settler “rehabilitates” or “improves” the places they claim by violence.
The Lone Marble Group: Built around a single artifact recovered from an Advent facility, this Frontier Syndicate subsidiary develops the future of Bilat war machinery.
The Advent Group: A group of colonial entrepreneurs, invaders, and professional exploiters. Eradicated 5000 years ago, during an attempt to occupy the Twilight Mirage.
Blue Channel: Both the name of Kalvin Brnine’s corvette-class carrier and the Cause-aligned faction made up by its crew. Upgraded with Kalmeria-era technology to enhance its basic functionality, along with other quality-of-life features.
Jade Kill: Based in Joyous Guard, this military arm of the Cause is operated by the Delegate liberation faction known as Reunion and supported by Kalar Anakalar's Giantkiller unit and a wing of Swordbreakers. Led by August Righteousness (he/him).
Violet Cove: The Dim Liturgy claim to have seen the Divine Devotion's arrival coming in their sacred text: A battered and corrupted backup of Crystal Palace's final predictions for the future. Now the two cults work together to oust the Bilats... and perhaps to do more intriguing things, as well.
Grey Pond: With members of the Oxblood Clan, the Company of the Spade, and the Shale Belt's Concrete Front, these blue collar revolutionaries are experts at getting the Cause the equipment it needs (and maintaining what it has when that's the only available option).
Carmine Bight: From ramshackle additions to the rocky shores of Rifle Island, Captain Skelton Knaggs (he/him) and his fearsome flotilla launch rusted pirate vessels beneath the waves, guided by a coalition of Hyphan navigators.
Rose River: Though they are undoubtedly committed to the Cause, this unique research unit (combining Veronique (she/her), her Divine Fealty (any pronouns), and their followers with an out-of-time NEH Sleep Detachment squad) hope for a day when they can be something other than soldiers.
Lock and Cross Security Services: The largest mercenary unit on Palisade, invited to the world by Exenceaster March. Operated by Maidstone Cross (she/her) and Margate Lock (she/her), a pair of divorcees too committed to their work together to fully separate
Stargrave Elcessor (she/her): Leader of the Bilateral Interecession’s occupation of Palisade, assigned personally by Cynosure Whitestar-Kesh. As a Stargrave, she has been granted the means and “right” to detonate the star at the center of Palisade’s star system if she determines that those here are an existential threat to the Principality.
Connadine (he/him): Commander of the BIS on Palisade. An expert in psychological operations and folklore. A conductor warming his orchestra.
Fool Factotum (she/her): Dedicated member of the BIS, assigned to Connadine’s new executive unit. Difficult to guess her age.
Marlon Styx (he/him): Undercover BIS agent assigned to infiltrate Violet Cove. Has become enamored with the Dim Liturgy’s holy text.
Aram Nideo (he/him): Often called the “The Father of Asterism,” Aram Nideo penned the “Many Stars Argument,” which became the backbone not only for the Divine Principality’s faith but also its governmental structure. Posthumously awarded Divine status. Was part of the nascent Divine Principality’s occupation on the world.
Grand Magnificent (he/him): A complex in the history of the Twilight Mirage. Member of the Notion, Excerpt of the Divine Arbit, and (above all else) an artist.
Exenchester March (he/him): Founder of the Frontier Syndicate and the March Institute, former chair of the Zenith Fund. Betrayed the Pact and Stel Columnar, defecting to the Bilateral Intercession in exchange for territory on Palisade and the freedom to use it as he wishes.
The Witch in Glass (she/her): A former scion of Kesh who, after knitting a bond with the adversary Perennial, came into control of the broken body of the Divine Past, which she has renamed the Reflecting Pool. Rules over the Crown of Glass, a city-state on the southeastern reaches of Palisade. A shaky ally of Millennium Break. Haunted by an old foe.
Gentian (she/her): Elect of the Divine Crusade. Impossibly old, yet a source of power and vibrance. Attended to by her two sword bearers (Ramondre (she/her) and Ignadiah (he/him), Knight of Books (Clawed (he/him)), and Knight of Cups (Perevel (they/them)).
Kenneth Marian Colver (he/him): Former member of the Curtain, now Kesh’s Viceroy on the world. Reports up to the Stargrave. Has bread concerns.
The Lost Duchess, Constantina Malady (she/her): Just as it is said, she arrived on a black horse with white fetlocks.
Gucci Garantine (she/her): A defector from Stel Kesh, who used the remaining wealth and power of House Brightline to help found Millennium Break. Currently a key member of the resistance efforts on Palisade, and the commander of Millennium Break forces there. Codename Watershed.
Candles Penumbra (she/her): Member of Rose River. Reading in a library in the Diadem when she receives a call from Gucci Garantine.
The Diadem: A wide and deep scar dug into Palisade’s equator by the early Divine Principality. It promised to be a vast arcology that people could live and work in. Instead, it simply ruined the world.
Diadem Gravtrain: While the vast trench-city on Palisade's equator lays abandoned, Kesh has reactivated its railway via an operations center in Carmathen.
Tintagel: A city and fortress that marked the Fabreal Duchy’s farthest reach on Palisade’s southern continent. Stargrave Elcessor uses its palace as her operations center and home when she is on planet.
Brecheliant Forest: A vast, mysterious forest on Palisade’s southern continent said to confuse even the most experience of travelers.
The Paint Shop: Sitting atop the central peak of Steeple Catterick, most people assume the Paint Shop to be no more than an artist commune where visiting artists collaborate on eccentric and avant-garde work. In truth, it is both a manufactory and front for the Bilateral Intelligence Service.
Bontive Valley: Blessed by the departed divine Bounty, the Valley provides the Bilats with fruit that never rots and hyper-nutritional grain.
Temple of the Treshold: Built at the center of a massive bridge that crosses the Diadem, this serves as the home of New Asterism and its false prophet, Gur Sevraq (he/they).
The Shale Belt: A low, resource-filled mountain range in the north-central of Palisade. Home to the Concretists and their revolutionary Concrete Front, a secular and technologically-minded group with roots in the Twilight Mirage. They take their names from favorite artistic works and have blended their bodies with a special concrete (and some respiratory cybernetics) that aids in their breathing.
Greenfield: A central territory on Palisade taken over by the Frontier Syndicate. Previously, the fields and streams of this area were home to the Twill.
Composure’s Coliseum: Operated by a revivified Divine who instrumentalizes the data of both the death-sport combatants and bloodthirsty fans.
The Divine Crusade (they/them): Leads Stel Nideo’s occupation on Palisade along with their Elect, Gentian. Crusade is an enormous, bipedal machine covered (or perhaps made with) beautiful stained glass.
The Divine Resonance (it/its): The watchful guardian, doting caregiver, and ardent supporter of Nideo's colonial efforts on Palisade.
The Divine, Arbitrage (it/its): The amoral machine turned de facto treasurer keeps the Frontier Syndicate a step ahead in all matters of commerce. Sole minter of “glint,” a newly popular currency on Palisade.
The Fundament: In the depths of the world, further on even than the Diadem… there is the Fundament.
The Five Afflictions: A group of “monstrous” beings that haunt the dark corners of Palisade. They have been named as follows:
Dust a.k.a Pride’s Mirror a.k.a. The Looking Glass
Refrain a.k.a. Yesterday’s Reprise a.k.a. The Ghastly Chorus
Ravel a.k.a. Labyrinth’s Thread a.k.a. The Hedge Maze
Cleave a.k.a. Whetstone’s Opposite a.k.a. The Sanguine Hatchet
Oversight a.k.a. Hell’s Facade a.k.a. The Empty Garden
BAC Plough: Forged by the Blessed Armory of the Divine Consecration, the humanoid Plough has a statuesque build that it uses to wield heavy weapons, like a bulldozer-sized claw-scoop or a Heavy Arbalest designed to launch roped harpoons. The Plough’s primary purpose is to be Nideo’s frontline unit, but it is as valuable after a fight as it is in one. It is used in the destruction and replacement of “old” or “neglected” locations with new Nideo bases and settlements, and as such serves a propagandistic function by demonstrating that “soldier” and “settler” are two sides of the same coin.
Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Sylvi Bullet (@sylvibullet), 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
Music by Jack de Quidt (available on bandcamp)
Text by Austin Walker
Cover Art by by aurahack (aurahack.jp)
With thanks to Arthur B., chocoube, DB, deepFlaw,
Edwin Adelsberger, Emrys, Greg Cobb, huw, Ian O'Dea, Ian Urbina,
Irina A., Jack Shirai, K. Morris, Katie Diekhaus, Konisforce,
Kristina Harris Esq, L Tantivy, Lawson Coleman, Mike & Ruby, Nich
Olive Perry, Patrick Murray, Robert Lasica, Shawn Hall, TeganEden, Thomas Whitney, viviridian, and Voi for their support
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