Apr 9, 2021
This episode carries content warnings for discussion of cigarettes, rotting flesh, animal corpse, aggressive animal, knives, gun use.
One year after the people of Blackwick County (then Eastern Folly) broke a curse that had plagued the town for generations, a group of strange and determined professionals arrived. Explorers, investigators, wardens of nature and culture and everything in between. They’d come to answer the call for folks just like them, people who could ensure the town wouldn’t fall under the sway of any other supernatural threat.
And just a few days after they arrived, they got their first job. Janek Polyte, one of the town youths who wandered down underneath the Abbey a year ago and found the egg sac (which now rests nestled and pulsating near the mine’s entry), has gone missing. And witnesses place him at the Abbey’s underground entrance before he vanished.
And so, the Blackwick Group heads off to their first job. Explore the under-ruins of the Abbey, locate the missing Drakkan kid, and figure out what in the name of the heartland is going on down there to begin with...
This week on Sangfielle: The Hymn of the Mother-Beast Pt. 1
The Almanac of the Heartland Rider
Caprak (cap-ROK): The goat folks of the northlands, where they put up with dust, ash, snow, and the unilateral “justice” of the Pale Magistratum.
Carpana (car - pahn - a): They’re little folks, three to four feet tall or so. A little like capybara, I suppose.
Devils: Once, they were contained by (and made to administer) some vast network of hells. But they fought their way out, took over Aldomina, and nurtured a fledgling empire into an expansive one.
Drakkan (drah-KAHN): I’ve always thought we look like seahorses. Skin pulled across spiny, exo-skeletal armor. Bright colors. Good looking.
Heritrixes (hare-uh-trixes): Heritrixes are immaterial beings, sometimes confused for ghosts, demons, or other sorts of supernatural spirits, who enter into contracts with physical hosts.
Human: A smooth-skinned, hornless type of person, mostly found in the Heartland and in the Unschola Republica these days. Unremarkable. “Except in variety,” you’ll often hear a human say, revealing only that they’re more prideful than wise.
Ojantani: The Ojantani, who share traits with buffalo and water oxen, are as often melancholic or timorous as they are the loud, stereotypical minotaur sort.
Blackwick County: From the mines to the lake, the hills to the flats, the town once called Eastern Folly has felt a little more expansive now that it’s out of the hard grip of the old curse. It’s people aren’t perfect, but they’ve made it through some dark times, and that’s more than most can say.
Aldomina (al-doh-mee-nah): What once stood as the name of the whole continent is now only the name of the Confederation that runs across the eastern half of the territory surrounding the Sangfielle, currently constituted by three sub-states called Cantons.
The First Canton, aka the Throne of Dominion: Once a fledgling human empire but nearly 1900 years ago, a minor duke of some great hell led an effort to take it over. And once they did, they pushed what was an already spreading empire even further in that direction.
The Second Canton, aka The Pale Magistratum (ma-juh-strah-tuhm): The Second Canton has ordered itself around its Magistrates—holy marshals given weapons blessed by Fulmina, goddess of immediate justice, and the right to use that power as they see it.
Unschola Republica, formerly the Third Canton (oon-skoh-la): For a millenia, the alchemists, mage-practitioners, and cryptotheological scholars of the Third Canton complained in secret about the leash kept on them by Aldomina’s distant leaders. They’ve since slipped that leash, and whether that’s for better or worse, time will tell.
Free Seas of Kay’va, formerly the Fourth Canton (kai-vah): First established after Cecile Cartine’s revolution over 300 years ago, today Kay’va is home to a collection of aligned communes who swear that the only way to prosperity is through the defense of equality.
The Fifth Canton, the Protectorate Kingdom of Ojantan (oh-JAHN-tahn): Ojantan was once a kingdom to rival Aldomina, and a solid place to live to boot, if a little over-structured for my taste. But the Devils got to the nation’s leaders, and now it’s been reduced to another Canton in the Empress’ collection.
Sangfielle, the Heartland: Once, it was a breadbasket for the whole Dominion, now this is territory haunted twice: first by a bloody, buried past, and second by an uncanny, indifferent future.
Concentus, the Ringed City (kun-CHEN-tus): A vast ringed city surrounding (and containing) Sangfielle. Covered in magical wards, filled with those eager to delve into the heartland or to push back its most fearsome creatures. The gaslit city of Concentus is now the most technologically advanced metropolis of the continent.
The Residuum: A realm of vibrant color, where the things of the world go when their time in the material world fades away. A plane of death, but rendered in glorious light.
Facts and Figures
Janek Polyte (he/him): A Drakkan member of Blackwick County’s youth community, and a member of the group who went beneath the Abbey’s ruins a year ago. Quiet in public, and little kept in his humble home.
Proctor Ekashi Wolff (he/him): A leading member of the Triadic Pyre in Blackwick County, whose heritage and faith have led him to close communion with the Arinpata, the Ojantani “Smiling God of Death,” who also serves as the Triadic Pyre’s God of Ashen Remains. Ekashi is an Ojantani himself, but was born and raised here in Blackwick, and has spent his life trying to keep it safe and stable. Though if you ask me, I have to wonder if he really cares about Blackwich, or if he just sees it as a place of sturdy form that can usher the world into fire peacefully.
The Shape: Are the trains that run across the Heartland bound to the Structure, or do they direct it? Is the overlap between the two even real at all, or might two machinic forces be at work here in Sangfielle?
Arinpata (they/them): A slim being of joyous countenance and many heights, whose painted face guides souls to the Residuum. Or so they say.
The Disciples of the Triadic Pyre: Appropriately devoted to a trio of gods, the Triadic Pyre believe that entropy is the only certain thing in this world, and as such aim to master it. Recently began to mark workers willing to do their tasks in the mines with their brand.
The Telluricist Union: Made up by a mix of peoples driven to the hills by Aldomina, this group of knife sharpeners, herbalists, geologists, and all around investigators have made it their job to keep their old wisdom and see it used to help those in need. The best among them are called Keen.
The Shape Knights: It took people with clear minds, great ingenuity, and implacable spirit to face down and defeat one of the living trains of Sangfielle. In the time since, they’ve crafted armor from their slain foe, and with that have come to be experts of all things train. They herd, they breach, they redirect. But they haven’t yet killed a second.
Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Sylvi Clare (@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 and Austin Walker
Music by Jack de Quidt (available on bandcamp)
Text by Austin Walker
Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)