From The Jackals To The Shepherds 12: Six of Hearts


Manage episode 180570325 series 1412651
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Battlebards Tracks used:

Elven Dirge – Farewell – Score Music – Philippe Payet

Heavenly Plane – Caelum – Score Music – Maria Milewska

Gnome Village – Tinkertown (Short Loop) – Score Music – Kevin MacLeod


For a long time, we were at war with The Jackals. But now, we’ve driven them off, and we have this – a year of relative peace. In this moment, there is an opportunity to build something.

A week has passed.

Clovis begins his day like every other day in the mining camp, by waking up slightly before sunrise to make breakfast for himself and for his husband. While Figueroa sleeps, Clovis gets out of bed, sitting on the side of their straw mattress for a moment and listening to Figueroa’s labored breathing. Even in the city Figueroa had difficulty with his lungs. After decades and decades of life one would anticipate difficulty breathing, but with the old man’s diagnoses first with asthma and then with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease it only grew worse and worse. Clovis breathes in and smells the tinge of forest pollen. Today will not be easy for his husband.

The clatter of dishes in their kitchen wakes Figueroa. He gives a few sputtering hacks to clear his throat, then rises and dresses himself. Every day seems harder for him, but after the long struggle against the Jackals he is determined to make the most of this life in the mining camp. Calm surroundings and an ill body are preferable to health and war. He shuffles out to the kitchen where Clovis has prepared a breakfast of fish and herbs. Stopping near a window, Figueroa pinches a flower from his personal garden, placing it next to his husband’s plate as he sits down to eat.

After breakfast the two men wash up together, splashing their thin hands into a barrel of collected rainwater. Figueroa scrubs the plates clean and washes his hands, then softly runs a washcloth over Clovis’s hands as well. Figueroa feels the knots in his husband’s knuckles, the swollen joints. As they clean their dishes, they marvel at the air around them. Spring is almost over and the mountain valley is getting warmer and warmer every day, yet the air still feels fresh and breezy, not the hot stagnant air of the city they left.

After the short clean up Clovis walks Figueroa down to the river. Despite Clovis’s arthritis and Figueroa’s pulmonary struggles, the journey is relatively painless, and in fact, by the time the two men arrive at the river’s banks, they’re smiling and laughing with each other. We all greet them with hearty hellos and move to lay out the blanket they’ve brought with them. We position their blanket underneath two of the larger trees near the river. On the other side of the water the forest grows thick, with massive trunks larger around than the tallest of us is tall. Yet, the trees on our side of the water are all still scrawny, like wooden bristles struggling to catch hold in the dirt.

The only tree on our side of the river with any size is an old uprooted oak, stretched partly across the river, but broken and splintered maybe ten feet out. Drach lounges on the outstretched trunk, writing in his leatherbound journal. As we play and splash in the water, the cheerful girl who has been with us a long time, lounges near the roots of the oak, playing with some twine, twisting it into a belt for the ancient doll she carries with her always. In our merriment someone asks what we’re most excited about for the summer days that are quickly approaching us.

It’ll be nice to see our farms & fisheries start pulling food! I’m ready to not wake up hungry anymore.

We’re doing it right now! This river is beautiful. Monster, Schmonster, There’s no way anything could ruin this. This is the only place I’d want to be, & the summer heat is only gonna make it better.

I’m excited to finally be able to rest & enjoy our lives. We’ve worked so hard to make this place our home, & I’m just finally realizing that we’ve done it. I’ll be happy to relax & go back to our lives, as normal as we can make them.

And a week passes.

Well phew, seems I’ve been working on roofs since, well, forever but now I’ve got these shacks fixed up into proper houses, it feels like barely any time has passed at all. Looking over at the walls I’ve put up, the floors I’ve set, and the roofs I’ve sealed gives me a real good sort of pride. It’s been about 70 days since we first set up camp here but it hasn’t really felt like home to me without real homes. Maybe that’s shallow thinking on my part. I know lots of people been getting really cosy around here and I’m real happy with that.

I’ve been so busy on these repairs I kinda lost touch with what’s been going on. Heard Clovis & Figueroa talk about some sorts of monsters hanging over us like specters but I gotta tell you, journal, that on this bright day with the birds chirping and the river babbling away it doesn’t feel as doom & gloom as they’ve been making it out to be.

Speaking of the river, let me tell you how great it makes me feel to be here. I’m writing now on a big old tree that must have fallen ages ago, stretched part-way across. That cheerful girl who’s been with us a long time showed me where it was & it’s hard to resist just lounging here now that my hands aren’t busy. She’s alright, that cheerful girl who’s been with us a long time. I can see her watching over Yuen & Zeke now, playing on the bank. They really love that mud now don’t they? I don’t know why it took us so long to get to know one another, she’s been with us a long time but I feel like we just never bumped into one another. Oh well, we got plenty of time here in this camp & neither of us seem to be going anywhere so now’s as good a time as any to meet I guess. She asked if I might wanna have dinner tomorrow & with my schedule free now I might just take her up on that offer. She sure is sweet, that cheerful girl who’s been with us a long time.

Thank you for joining us for the twelfth episode of From The Jackals To The Shepherds. If you like this show please give us a rating on iTunes, tell a friend, or share us on social media. As always the intro for the show was read by Dave Lapru, who is also our mapkeeper. You can find Dave on twitter at plantbird, and I’m at leviathan files. Additional voices for this episode were provided by Rob Abrazado who is at flatvurm, Frankie Garza who is at frankie extra, Vi Brower who is at the fox blood, and Aaron Catano who is at Aaron underscore Catano. Please consider supporting the show on Patreon at patreon dot com slash Riverhouse Games. Music for this episode was provided by Battlebards dot com and Aaron Catano. Until next week, I hope your week goes well.

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