From The Jackals To The Shepherds 30: Six of Clubs

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The poet this week is Isaac Rosenberg:

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Battlebards Tracks used:

Elven Dirge – Farewell – Score Music – Philippe Payet

Crypts Of The Undead – Where The Dead Dwell – Score Music – Wilddog Productions


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.

Striking in the night with wounding pain and ruthless might. The marauders push to camp, taking food and supplies from storage. Few of us rise to stop them, but the fight is rough. Night cacophony rings through the hills and wakes those sleeping in our homes. The need for warmth and nutrition keeps the marauders coming, they know if they run they will starve, but we know the same of our community, if we let them off with too much we’re doomed, especially with all the extra mouths of Djuna’s Newcomers.

The bandit leader propels them through the darkness, skipping through trees like turnstiles, sickly branches snapping and rotating in the night. She whoops loudly, to encourage their momentum and to drive our fear higher. We stay indoors, mostly.

The first one outside is Drach, his wrench held high in the night, but his spirits low in his heart. Working as our mechanic and carpenter allowed him to repurpose his strength from violence to creation, but now his building tools become weapons. He fells the first bandit with one swing, and inspires others to step up as well.

He stops when he sees the face of the bandit leader. He recognizes the scar across her forehead, and he knows that the Jackal that gave it to her lies in a ditch with his bullet in the same place. They both stand still as violence bursts around them. Quietly he shakes his head at her, and she meets his gaze with sadness. As more of us pour from our homes she whistles and calls back her marauders into the black of the night and as the sun rises we’re left with tattered ruins of the houses in progress for those new among us.

The marauders had torn down the buildings closest to the area of their descent, the freshest structures they could find while looking for resources. All of Drach’s work to set foundations and raise walls torn down in an evening of violence.

As the marauders had struck our homes, we hear The Beast strike them in their retreat. Muffled roars and a single scream echo into our camp as we pick up broken trusses. The Beast has a meal tonight and we shudder at our relief that it was not one of us. Eileen hums a dirge and we all join in as we pick up the scattered pieces from the ground.

Sombre the night is, and, though we have our lives, we know what sinister threat lurks there. Dragging these anguished limbs, we only know this poison-blasted track opens on our camp— on a little safe sleep.

But hark! Joy—joy—strange joy. Lo! Heights of night ringing with unseen larks: Music showering on our upturned listening faces. Death could drop from the dark as easily as song— but song only dropped, like a blind man’s dreams on the sand by dangerous tides; like a girl’s dark hair, for she dreams no ruin lies there, or her kisses where a serpent hides. The Creature, woken again by the scent of violent purpose, stirs undetected in its underground lair.

We discover something new today, as small skinks stir in the leaf litter on the forest floor, come out to hid under the large bits of debris, and as the autumn sun lights on their hiding holes they scamper to and fro to find larger bits of shade. Up high in the mountains, the bandit leader wakes to find one of her marauders slipped away in the night, the small skinks lightly licking their bandaged wounds.

The darkness crumbles away. It is the same old druid Time as ever, Only a live thing leaps to her hand, a strange sardonic rat, as she pulls a frosted poppy to stick behind her soldier’s ear. Droll skink, they would shoot you if they knew your cosmopolitan sympathies. Now you have touched this bandit hand you will do the same to Drach’s soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure to cross the sleeping green between. It seems to inwardly grin as it passes strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes, less chanced than it for life, bonds to the whims of murder, spawned from The Creature’s lair, sprawled in the bowels of the earth, the torn mountain valley. What does it see in our eyes at the shrieking iron and flame hurled through still heavens? What quaver—what heart aghast? Poppies whose roots are in man’s veins drop, and are ever dropping; but hers in her soldier’s ear is safe— just a little white with the frost.

Thank you for joining us for the thirtieth 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. This week’s poet is Anna Seward. 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.

Listeners, I have a favor to ask of you. In these times there’s a lot that scares me in the world, but we have to stand up as a people and make our voices heard. I ask that you make a few phone calls to your representatives about issues that matter to you. I’ve been using a great website at 5 Calls dot org which provides critical issues, background information, contact info, and even scripts to read while on the phone. Thankfully my representative’s offices have been polite and personable when I call, but if you’re worried about it, or if you experience phone anxiety, there’s an app you can download called Stance, which allows you to pre-record your statement, which it will then deliver straight to the representative’s voicemail. Today I’m calling to demand that congress protect the Clean Power Plan:

On October 9th, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the agency will take steps to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era policy aimed at reducing carbon emissions from power plants and combating climate change. There is no question that increased carbon emissions have led to climate change and the rise of more and more floods, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes that have put populations in the US and around the world in danger. It is irresponsible for the EPA to roll back policies that curb carbon emissions under false promises of reduced costs or a coal industry comeback.

Please make your calls to help make our world a better place. Thank you, I love you, and I’m proud of you in advance.

And until next week, I hope your week goes well.

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