From The Jackals to the Shepherds 18: Nine of Diamonds


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Battlebards Tracks used:

Elven Dirge – Farewell – Score Music – Philippe Payet

Portents of the Future – Glimpses of Pasts to Come – Score Music – Ben Chandler


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 are beset by storms. They crash over the sickly trees, they crack a live branch and split a bough to show the wood beneath the twisted bark. The branch is white, the green crushed. Each leaf is rent like split wood. The storm burdens the trees with black drops.

As we remember those lost in the tunnels we storm within ourselves as well. The short project begun to shore up the hole under the tree and bar the doors of the mines has completed. Yet anger and arguments flare to who is responsible for the loss in the first place. We should never have allowed or encouraged, the excursion beneath the earth. Were we so fresh from the Jackals that we strike up against any threat to come our way regardless of the danger? As thunder peals through the rocky mountaintops and rolls through our mining camp, the shouts of anger rumble through the wooden walls of our shacks.

The storm breaks one tree clean in half, snapped like a weighted leaf in the wind, it is hurled out in the wind to crash into the river, foaming and black, the branch whirls up and sinks, a green stone.

The community is in two minds, there are those spurred on by the spilt blood who quiver for vengeance and are pushed by anxiety and the spectres from the woods, the ground, and the water. In opposition are those unmoving for fear, as a rabbit stops in the field to be snatched by an eagle, those who would do nothing rather than violence, but whose trepidation is not unfounded. The Jackals inflicted tragedy on tragedy and a life ended prematurely yet unstained further with blood is preferable to continuing the horrors of war.

The storm rages on. Shadows in the night sprint around the camp. Some shadows have legs and arms. In the gale it’s difficult to tell if the shadows are attached to bodies or if they’re tricks of the storm, tree limbs moving as our own. Who knows if it was by hand or by wind that the walled structure carrying our food was toppled.

The wind breaks, scattering pink-stalks, snapping off spiced heads of fruit, to fling them about with dead leaves— spreading the paths leading to the shack with twigs, limbs broken off,
trail great pine branches, hurled from the far wood across the river, right across the melon-patch, to break pear and quince— leaving half-trees, torn, twisted, but showing the fight was valiant.

We do not wake to find this, as the storm rages far too loudly for us to sleep, but as the clouds part and we walk from shelter into the open camp, we discover that food, once in abundance, now has become a scarcity once more.

We begin a project over the next week to clean the shore of the debris, to pull branches broken from the roofs of shacks, and to remove the wasted food from the muddy dirt of the camp. The hot summer sun will cause rot if left to bake, and the trashing of the spoiled food serves as an insult to our injuries.

And a week passes.

Thank you for joining us for the eighteenth 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 visiting our website at Riverhouse Games dot com, or supporting this show and other Riverhouse Games work 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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