Sep 1, 2023
This episode carries content warnings for vomiting, mass death/genocide, mind control, manipulation, body horror, forced body modification, and extreme heat.
They arrive in the long rings of the Stellar Combustor to no greeting, and this they are thankful for. The path to their objective is known, but what lies on it (and what they'll find at its end) are not. As they travel the length of the arc, spanning half the circumference of the sun, they wonder: How are their friends, now traveling through lunar shadow, far across the solar system? How are their comrades? Might they find freedom in the dark as we search for it in the searing light?
Futures tricked by the past / Spectre, how he laughs
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. As a composer, his opus is the Adagio, a plan to get everyone on Palisade operating in ways not only predictable, but scripted. As a conductor, his orchestra now turns towards the second movement.
Routine Rennari (he/him): Half-Apostolsian, scion of a minor Kesh noble house, and the Blue Channel's heavy.
Mustard Red (she/her): A cyborg who once served as a member of Brink Proxy, with a speciality in surveillance. Joined the Cause during the Devotees expansion onto Palisade.
Midnite Matinee (she/her): Leporine scout and member of the Blue Channel. She and her trusty Pack-model light AutoHollow Popcorn used to run a repo company, but now are tentatively committed to the Cause and Millennium Break.
Chimera’s Lantern: The second moon of Palisade, shaped oddly like a wasp’s nest or paper lantern. New arrivals to the world find its occasional glow unnatural and frightening. Thisbe and the Figure found evidence that it could be tied to driving the bulk of ancient Divine Principality forces off of Palisade. Home to the Chimeric Cadent (they/them, it/its), along with the warded corpses of a number of Divines, including Sagacity, Dissent, Felicity, Barricade, and Bounty—its newest resident.
Gambeson: The Gambeson is only about 10 meters tall (less than half an Altar), but it is nevertheless a terrifying scourge of the battlefield. Modeled after an iron maiden, except with it's tortorous doors attached to its back serving as wings. Its head features a metalworked face, twisted into extreme and offputting smile. Its skeletal frame serves not only as body, but cage: pilots are criminal conscripts forced to pay off their “debt” to Kesh by the Divine Plight, earning their freedom through combat achievements.
Paramerion: Cori’s new Altar, as designed by her brother Formido. Constantly twitching and rippling underneath the regal embellishments of its filigreed armor. Massive metallic wings stay folded on its back, a smaller pair cover its eyes like a visor and the sickles jut out from its forearms when stowed. A halo shaped like a crown rotates above its skull-like head.
The Stellar Combustor: A weapon of immense destruction, capable of destroying countless star systems if deployed without a firebreak. Has been used in some form or another since the time of the earliest Divines. In current form they take the form of a twirling, 3-ringed space station that rotates around a system’s sun.
BAC Secateurs: Designed and built on Chimera's Lantern by the Blessed Armory of Consecration, an Altar who holds itself in the form of a tortured saint, with sharp, crystaline “holy expressions” emerging from its body, like wounds in reverse. As it pulls these from its body, its form glows like heated glass, then reverberates back into place.
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 Divine Plight (she/her): Plight is a 40 meter tall, humanoid Divine cast in black metal armor, and wearing the of a judge or inquisitor. She conscripts the guilty into her army as Gambeson pilots, compelling their loyalty with terrible, Divine feelings of guilt. Hemlock, whose interest is fundamentally in punishment and not justice, was born heir to a mid-tier Kesh House, but jumped at the chance to become an Elect.
The Divine Consecration: Though humanoid in shape, like most Nideo Divines, its chest is a vacuous cavity that serves a living forge. This open wound burns brightly, and Consecration can reach inside of it to produce a range of objects, or a sort of Divine molten metal which rapidly hardens as it is shaped by the Divine. But this is only half of its fearsome nature. Guided by the hand of its elect, a Sovereign Immunity devoutly committed to his role as armorer, Consecration also operates as Nideo's chief weaponsmith, Altar designer, and forge.
The Divine Souciance: When the burgeoning Divine Principality left Palisade behind, the Divine Souciance carried doubts about the project. So bloody was the Embarkation, so strenuous the objection of those who opposed the Glass Duchy’s rule, that Souciance—ever committed to careful consideration and compassionate concern—never found their place in the Empire, however grand the vision Nideo had presented before his death was. But, devoted to steady study, Souciance played their part for generations. It was not until the Divine Clash that they came to their decision: They could not be part of an empire so vast, so terrible, so cruel. And so they sought out a place where they could do what Divines no longer could. They sought out a grave.
The Iconoclasts: Something beyond the human, desperate to eradicate subjectivity itself. After their messenger, the Usher of Truth, was delivered to The Witch in Glass, they have found themselves serving a new master.
Perennial (she/her): The Principality's so-called 'adversary,' who lives at the center of the galaxy and whose chaotic whims spread through her "Perennial Wave," an ever-present nanoparticle that has recently bonded with Kalmeria.
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 Maragos, Olive Perry, Patrick Murray, Robert Lasica, Shawn Hall, TeganEden, Thomas Whitney, viviridian, and Voi for their support
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