From The Jackals To The Shepherds 28: Eight of Clubs


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The poet this week is Christina Rossetti:

The Woods:


The Map:


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Battlebards Tracks used:

Elven Dirge – Farewell – Score Music – Philippe Payet

Underground Lake City – Whispers of the World Below the World – Score Music – Marko Gugic


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.

Our hearts are like a singing bird whose nest is in a water’d shoot; our hearts are like an apple-tree whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit; our hearts are like a rainbow shell that paddles in a halcyon sea; our hearts are gladder than all these because my love is come to me.

Paint a mural of cities silk and down; hang it with vair and purple dyes; carve it in doves and pomegranates, and peacocks with a hundred eyes; work it in gold and silver grapes, in leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys; because the birthday of our life is come, our city is come.

As Eileen works over the mural of our city, she reflects how our quiet year passes quickly and we sometimes lose sight of its progress, lacking gratitude for the moments of Spring and Summer. We should have come to the cuckoo’s calling, or when grapes are green in the cluster, or, at least, when lithe swallows muster for their far off flying from summer dying. Fall brings the apples’ dropping, a time when the grasshopper comes to trouble, when the wheat-fields are sodden stubble, and all winds go sighing for sweet things dying.

None of us in the community die this week, but death comes for a dream.

Come to us in the silence of the night; come in the speaking silence of a dream; come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright as sunlight on a stream; come back in tears, o memory, hope, love of finished years.

The mural spiraling up on the wall of a shelter now drips with a vandal’s paint.

Oh dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet, whose wakening should have been in Paradise, where souls brimfull of love abide and meet; where thirsting longing eyes watch the slow door that opening, letting in, lets out no more.

Yet while the mural drips ruined, the image of our city comes to us in dreams, that we may live our very life again tho’ cold in death: comes back to us in dreams, that we may give pulse for pulse, breath for breath: speak low, lean low, as long ago, our love, how long ago.

A fool we were to sleep at noon, and wake when night is chilly beneath the comfortless cold moon; a fool to pluck our rose too soon, a fool to snap our lily. Our personal gardens we have not kept; their shoots now faded and all-forsaken. Eileen weeps as she has never wept: oh it was summer when she slept, it’s winter now she wakens.

Oh why is heaven built so far, oh why is earth set so remote? We cannot reach the nearest star that hangs afloat. We would not care to reach the moon, one round monotonous of change; yet even she repeats her tune beyond my range.

We never watch the scatter’d fire of stars, or sun’s far-trailing train, but all our hearts are one desire, and all in vain: for we am bound with fleshly bands, joy, beauty, lie beyond our scope; we strain our hearts, we stretch our hands, and catch at hope.

Safwan does not weep, nor Djuna, nor her cousin Heru. The newcomers who hail from another city over feel no attachment to our towers and why should they? Safwan falls asleep, pretty one, warm on Djuna’s shoulder: sleep soft, small one, through trouble and treasure; sleep warm and soft in the arms of your carer, dreaming of pretty things, dreaming of pleasure.

The remorseful girl who has been with us a long time mourns with us the loss of our monument, the tie back to our old life. As the sun sets over the glint of the river waves she lilts a song to the rapids, soft and sweet. She stays on the river all night, we never see her leave the bank.

Where sunless rivers weep their waves into the deep, she sleeps a charmed sleep: awake her not. Led by a single star, she came from very far to seek where shadows are her pleasant lot.

She leaves in the rosy morn, she leaves our fields of corn, for twilight cold and lorn and water springs. Through sleep, as through a veil, she sees the sky look pale, and hears the nightingale that sadly sings.

Rest, rest, a perfect rest shed over brow and breast; her face is toward the west, the purple land. She cannot see the grain ripening on hill and plain; she cannot feel the rain upon her hand.

Rest, rest, for evermore upon a mossy shore; rest, rest at the heart’s core till time shall cease: sleep that no pain shall wake; night that no morn shall break till joy shall overtake her perfect peace.

To replace the vandalized mural, we will need to come together as a community first and identify why it was ruined in the first place. A project begins, planning a tribunal. Eileen, Clovis, and Drach take responsibility as artist, elder, and worker of the community. Suspects will be listed, motives unearthed, and restorations made. But time must first pass.

And as Spring and Summer passed, Fall trudges on, and as the leaves begin to fall in earnest,

A week passes.

Thank you for joining us for the twenty eighth 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. Some people have been curious as to the poetry that gets woven into each episode. I’ll begin putting the poet’s information in the show notes, and in hindsight I should have done so from the beginning. As I’m able, I’ll go back to old episodes and include this information. This week’s poet is Christina Rossetti. 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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