From The Jackals To The Shepherds 14: Seven of Diamonds


Manage episode 181360567 series 1412651
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Battlebards Tracks used:

Elven Dirge – Farewell – Score Music – Philippe Payet

Heavenly Plane – Crystal Arch – Score Music – Ian Fisher


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.

We have survived the Spring and Summer’s rays shine down on our community. We play in the river. We harvest our fish, and plant seeds in our fields. Food is no longer a scarcity of ours as our once meager collection shelves in the town center now brim with offerings. Eileen returns from a morning spent in the sickly trees with an armful of small berries and herbs which grow in small clumps here and there between stumps and twisted shoots. Old Miley pulls fish after fish out of the river in the morning, and spends his afternoons filetting them to be eaten for dinner or stored in our icebox. Llyana tends to the fields, soon we may even have an abundance of food once the crops start coming in.

The generator hums away, its noise a backdrop for the community, so pervasive we never really think of it. We continue to feed it fuel to power our lights and keep our perishable food from spoiling. Every few days we talk about venturing across the river to get thicker logs, to take heartier trees for fuel. Every time we have this conversation, we look to the Jewel of Gerrard, the small flower growing atop the weeping boulder, and we hear the growls of The Beast in the woods.

Drach’s work to repair our shacks is impressive and sturdy. Despite not having the best lumber to work with, he’s made significant improvement to our houses and now when the summer storms roll in, only mild leaks and drips interrupt our nights. The shade from having completed roofs over our heads protects us from the worst heat so far.

Beyond the limits of our houses and community square, and a short hike from the banks of the river, one solitary pine tree stands amidst the thin trunks. We did investigate the copse of short pines Yuen told us about after her fight with Ezekiel, but this single tree dwarves the ring of pines. The towering trunk stretches up to the sun and the needles from its branches blanket a ring around its roots. We’ve given it berth since we arrived, but recently it’s been a topic of discussion in the community. The roots of this tree have begun to swell, more than roots do in the course of natural growth. These roots pull themselves up to the surface of the dirt, snaking for hundreds of feet and rising completely out of the earth in some places.

One section of exposed roots leads to a new discovery that divides the community in gossip and speculation. The exposed roots pull up a chunk of earth with them, revealing a system of dirt tunnels, just large enough to crawl into. These tunnels could lead to the mines, perhaps they were exit tunnels or maybe even a system for ventilation. The bravest of us, Micah, ducks his head into the tunnels, but recoils quickly. The scent of rotting meat fills the dark earth. As he recoils, his shirt catches on a splintered fragment of root that tears away a chunk of earth. Exposed to the air for the first time in who knows how long is the knobbed end of a human femur, chips and gashes running down the shaft of the bone.

We begin a project. Two weeks from now we will have excavated the mouth of these tunnels, and will have prepared breathing masks of pleasant herbs and florals to keep the stench from our noses. The shock white bone serves as a warning for us to be cautious, and we dust off the cloth covering the ancient weapons we found near the river.

And a week passes.

Thank you for joining us for the fourteenth 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. Please consider supporting the show on Patreon at patreon dot com slash Riverhouse Games. Music for this episode was provided by Battlebards dot com. Until next week, I hope your week goes well.

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