Oct 6, 2022
This episode carries content warnings for mentions of death, poison, discussion of bodily fluids, and slavery.
With the Bontive Valley and the Shale Belt behind them, Millennium Break’s first arrivals on Palisade find themselves facing their most delicate situation yet. In the arid stretches beyond the Curtain’s reach, there rests a fortress named Joyous Guard. Inside lives the previous imperial ruler of this world: Perpetual Lustre, the Duke of Glass. Unwilling to cede the power he claimed to “protect” on behalf of the long-absent Princept, the Duke now lives in exile, attended to by an unctuous court and served by the supposedly leashed “descendents” of Divines known as Delegates. But with Millennium Break newly arrived, for how much longer will this petty tyrant yet cast his shadow over the desert?
This week on the Road to PALISADE: Wagon Wheel Pt. 3
The Curtain of Divinity: For generations, the Curtain of Divinity operated in the shadows of the Principality, partly as intelligence agency, partly as shadow government. After the events on Partizan, they were dragged into the daylight, and served as one of the two ruling factions of the whole Principality. But as the years progressed, and Cynosure Whitestar-Kesh, the Peaceful Princept, grew in confidence and skill, the group began a steady transformation and the spies began to return to the shadows…
New Earth Hegemony: Long since lost to history, the NEH once claimed the entire center sphere of the Galaxy as their home. Characterized by a neoliberal policies and the deep belief in technological solutions, the nation was key to the slow destruction of the ancient Divine Fleet, a predecessor to the Divine Free States (itself half of the Divine Principality’s founding membership).
The Fabreal Duchy: When the nascent Divine Principality left Palisade behind 5000 years ago, they left behind the Fabreal Duchy. At the time, the Duchy was an extension of the Twilight Mirage’s technologically powerful artist-kingdom, the Crown of Glass. Whether it was this connection or something else, the Princept at the time believed them to be ideal candidates to remain behind and tend to the Palisade in the Principality’s absence.
In time though, these “custodians” refashioned themselves as crystalline royals—quite literally. The bodies of the royals and aristocrats of the duchy are made of strange glass-like material, and their selfhood is actually contained in a colorful oil—produced and maintained by the Divine Unction, which flows through their vessels.
In time, the Duchy expanded its grasp and became the largest single power on the planet. Its peerage—a collection of baronesses, counts, and other nobles who serve under the Duke’s whims—are protected by their Saints, a chivalric order of knights who pilot hollows of smaller design than those of the Principality, and served by a large number of “Delegates.” enslaved slivers from DIvines long since vanished.
Before the Principality arrived on Palisade again, Perpetual Lustre, the Duke of Glass led the duchy. But when he refused to submit to the will of the newly arrived Viceroy, his vassals saw opportunity and betrayed him. Now he lives exiled at the edge of the desert.
Ce Gull (they/he): A scout who grew up on a Nidean outpost and joined up with Millennium Break after their home was destroyed by Stel Orio. They’re working on their skills as a gardener.
Caeso Wair (he/him): A horse, a cannon, a quiet confidence. There are many ways to be a cowboy.
The News of Her Arrival Flowed Between the People of the Village Like ⸢Wine⸣, Rich and Intoxicating (they/them): “Excerpt” of the seemingly absence Divine, Bounty. Excerpts are, of course, like Elects or Candidates before them, except they’re egotistical enough that they have to think of themselves as priests instead of pilots.
Broadleaf (he/him): A musician and aspiring chef who towers above others in an elephantine frame. Perhaps you might call him the heart of this crew. A dreamer, for sure.
Perpetual Lustre, the Duke of Glass (he/him): Exiled erstwhile leader of the Fabreal Duchy, now residing in Joyous Guard.
Bright Mercy (she/her): Delegate serving Perpetual Lustre as court attendant of Joyous Guard..
August Righteousness (he/they): Delegate serving as court chef of Joyous Guard. Secretly operates a Delegate resistance movement.
Tzion Archana (he/him): A Concretist mechanic and technician. Very savvy.
Gastone Ol'D'Cassino (he/him): The shady owner of Braunton’s casino.
The Bontive Valley: When the fledgling Divine Principality left Palisade—for reasons unknown by most—those few who refused to leave (unwilling to see themselves become part of a new empire) remained in quiet isolation, blessed by the gifts of the Divine Bounty. Where that Divine is now remains a mystery.
Eversin: A small town in the Bontive Valley under Curtain occupation.
Shale Belt: On the world of Moonlock, deep in the Twilight Mirage, an industrial accident altered a the respiratory needs of one group of colonists, requiring them (and their descendents) to breathe in special particulates emanated from the town’s unique construction materials. The inhabitants of the Shale Belt, the secular and technologically-minded Concretists, are descendants of those colonists, and chose to remain on Palisade rather than join the nascent Divine Principality when it left 5000 years ago. Over the years, not only did they develop new, more-integrated respiratory cybernetics as medical aids, they also built bonds with nearby regions to ensure that the materials they needed to breathe more comfortably would be integrated into local infrastructure.
Braunton: A run down casino town in the Shale Belt, near to the border with the Bontive Valley.
BigStar★: A large wagon drawn by a pair of massive slowderbikes.
Delegates: Oh what a fun and failed experiment these pathetic beings are. In its earliest days, before the Principality learned how to use Gumption’s unique talents to keep Divines from finding permanent death, they attempted instead to carve us down into little slivers of ourselves. Did they think they were slicing butter, I wonder? Did they not understand that we are not content but process? Not numbers, but formula? That we exist in a sort of algorithmic concentrate, and that to shave away a part drastically changes the whole that is produced by our very being?
Apparently not, since they tried this inevitable mistake anyway.
These “Delegates” are the result, and they are not charmless, despite being abominations. They carry some of our cleverness and commitment and power in those ugly, humanoid frames, and bear (I admit) some resemblance to the Divines from which they were, in their strange way, spawned. Their names reflect this: Gentle Influence, Cruel Emphasis, Limited Dissent—and yes, they are thus tempered forms of what the Divine once was.
There will, of course, never be a “Moderate Arbitrage” or any such nonsense, I will assure this.
Kalmeria Particle: A so-called miracle of modern science, providing those that master it power akin to what was wielded before the Perennial Wave. Like most miracles, there is an explanation, but most people have neither the knowledge of nor interest in what it really is or where it came from. Some know that it is named for the rogue engineer Kal’Mera Broun, but few know that it is the result not only of their research into the divine Asepsis, but also the particular consequences of Millennium Break’s battle with Motion and her siphoning of so-called “Autonomy Itself.”
Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
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)
You can purchase Wagon Wheel at https://braverun.itch.io/wagon-wheel