Dec 31, 2021
This episode carries content warnings for insect infestation of a human body, death, hanging corpses/gallows.
The season has turned in the time since the Blackwick Group last stepped foot in the nominal hometown. The heat fades; the brisk air of heartland winter sweeps in, and with it: visitors. A cousin come to retrieve her kin. A fellow student of the path, at crossed ends. And, of course, the yet unreckoned with consequences of action long past.
This week on Sangfielle: Just Returns Pt. 2
The Almanac of the Heartland Rider
Sapodilla: One of, if not the, largest city inside of the walls of Concentus. Sapodilla rests on the western shore of the vast lake that takes up much of southeastern Sangfielle, and prizes itself as the rare hub of culture in the bloodfields. In recent years, the powerful witch hunting organization called the Glim Macula has grown in power there, owing to the city’s focus on furthering “civilization.”
The Sleeping City: Every 13 years, a metropolis wakes with the buzzing sound of life. Do not cross its borders uninvited, especially not when it and its inhabitants are at rest.
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.
Zevunzolia: Who the hell knows. A miraculous city waiting to be built? A utopian dimension adjacent our own? "The Seventh Sun Itself," I think I heard one of those fools call it. All I know is, however prime and pristine it is in promise, the pricetag keeps going conveniently unmentioned...
Facts and Figures
Alekest san Geraint, the Margrave of Tescano, the Porcelain Knight (he/him): If you’re a long time reader of this publication, Alekest needs no introduction. You know him from his past adventures, like the slaying of the UnSevered Beast or his solitary stand at Cedartree Station. Maybe you forget some of the details, his angst-filled childhood, the fraught years after his mother’s death, his uncanny dreams. Well, Knight Pickman seems not to be a reader, if her confusion at the Margrave’s arrival is any indication.
Felix Hollowfield (he/him): Once, Hollowfield was the genius behind the Glim Macula's technological supremacy in Sapodilla. A single push, though, and he's little more than a memory.
Aterika’Kaal (it/its): An ambivalent and ancient spirit. Offers the sweet smell and sublime beauty of roses and the sturdy foundation of a root structure. In exchange: Feed it.
Alaway (varies): Last seen as the waxy, vampiric minister of Yellowfield, Regan, whose generations-long study of technology led him to dream of (and work towards creating) "The City of Lights," a place of flameless fire, energetic implements, and the safety and freedom to live as one wants. Disposed of, for now at least. But the dream yet lives.
The Ojan: To call it "The Ojan River" is not only to misspeak but to advertise your distance from knowledge. Ojan itself means "running water," and in Ojantani it is the word you attach to other words to mark them as rivers--each just an faint echo of this paragon of waterways.
The Jade Moon: A luxurious vessel, the Jade Moon glides up and down the Ojan. You have to work to find its exterior wooden hull, so covered is it in silken, green banners and curtains. Dining, Dancing, Gambling, Live Music, plush living. An engine that churns below. 250 feet long, 50 feet wide. It’s a beast, but in the width of the Ojan--in some places over 2 miles wide--it pales.
Teak: First mate of the Jade Moon.
The Course: There is debate about the true nature of the Heartland’s Truth, the power that turned Sangfielle into what it is today. But the Cleavers call it the Course. Part river, part lesson, part direction traveled. Entirely beyond the grasp of mortal minds.
The Structure: Reason, logic, sense. The world is, fundamentally, a place that fits together and functions. We may not like that, say the adherents of the structure. And sometimes, the world may move in ways beyond our particular ken. But there is something holding it together, and that, they say, is the Heartland’s Truth: The Structure.
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?
The Broken Quartet: Cello, viola, violin, clarinet. That’s all it takes to make people move. Well, that and some skill.
Wrights of the Seventh Sun: A secret society dedicated to the construction of Zevunzolia, whatever the cost. Their motivations are many: Some believe that the Devils ought to have continued climbing whent hey escaped hell, that this was not the paradise earned. Otherse believe that Zevunzolia is telos of telos, the end-cause of all end-causes, and thus will inevitably bring itself into being. And given that, to do anything but aid it is to risk exclusion from it, or worse.
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.
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.
Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Produced by Ali Acampora
Music by Jack de Quidt (available on bandcamp)
Text by Austin Walker
Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)