From The Jackals To The Shepherds 31: Three of Clubs


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The poet this week is John Donne:

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The Woods:


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Battlebards Tracks used:

Elven Dirge – Farewell – Score Music – Philippe Payet

Crypts of the Undead – Festering Heart of Evil – Score Music – Novak Cuic

Druids Grove – Life Answers – Score Music – Richard Daskas


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 live in a little world made cunningly of elements, and an angelic hope that violent desperation has betrayed to endless night and of our world, both parts, no, all parts must die. Our lives, which beyond that heaven which was most high have found new spheres and of new lands can write, pour new rivers in our eyes, that so that we might drown our world with weeping earnestly, or wash it, if it must be drowned no more: but oh! it must be burnt; alas the fire of lust and envy burnt it heretofore, and made it fouler; let their flames retire, and burn with a fiery zeal and, which does in eating heal.

Drach sleeps outside, giving his bed to Djuna’s cousin, Heru, wounded seriously in the marauder attack on our community. His sleep is restless, tossed by the chill of the autumn dew and of his dreams. The embrace of she whose face shocked his during the attack. In his dream they fight, holding off Jackals. Those nights in the city they shared together and as his dream pushes them to one another in an ephemeral kiss he wakes to a quiet snowfall. She too wakes in the night, dreaming of closeness, and as the wet snow silently drifts across her camp she pulls her blanket closer and runs her thumb over Drach’s name monogrammed on the wool.

So, break off this last lamenting kiss, which sucks two souls, and vapours both away; turn, ghost, that way, and let me turn this, and let ourselves benight our happiest day. We ask none leave to love; nor will we owe any so cheap a death as saying, “Go.” Go; and if that word have not quite killed either, ease the two with death, by bidding them go too. Or, if it have, let the word work, and a just office on a murderer do. Except it be too late, to kill them so, being double dead, going, and bidding, “Go.”

Heru dies in the night. In the morning Djuna employs Drach to help bury the body, the work warming the autumn frost from his muscles. His silence betrays his feelings as her vengeful rage pours in mourning.

Unheard, she gathers her newcomers. Never treated like members of the original homes, those of us who found the mining camp first, Djuna and her family find hardships and setbacks in integrating into community life. Djuna warns the newcomers that our community will never be their home, maybe not through malicious intent, but through oversight, limited resources, and now the misguided sentiment Drach harbors for the marauders who beat down our homes, our community is not the haven they sought to find. She gathers those close to her, as well as some vital supplies, and sets out into the woods. As she leaves, she notices a small letter tucked into her pack, with a map and directions into the woods.

The letter reads: Come live with me, and be my love, and we will some new pleasures prove of golden sands, and crystal brooks, with silken lines, and silver hooks. There will the river whispering run warm’d by thy eyes, more than the Sun. And there the enamored fish will stay, begging themselves they may betray. When thou wilt swimme in that live bath, each fish, which every channel has, will amorously to thee swim, gladder to catch thee, than thou him. If thou, to be so seen, beest loath, by Sun, or Moon, thou darknest both, and if my self have leave to see, I need not their light, having thee. Let others freeze with angling reeds, and cut their legs, with shells and weeds, or treacherously poor fish beset, with strangling snare, or windowie net: let coarse bold hands, from slimy nest the bedded fish in banks out-wrest, or curious traitors, sleavesilke flies bewitch poor fishes wandering eyes. For thee, thou needst no such deceit, for thou thy self art thine own bait; that fish, that is not catch’d thereby, alas, is wiser far than I.

At the bottom of the letter is a signature in an unintelligible script, and the symbol of a snowflake.

We begin a new project this week, for as the night brings snowfall, our generator ticks itself nearly into exhaustion to keep up with the cold. If we salvage what unused technology we have, we may be able to duplicate the device and increase the power available in order to better heat our homes. A freeze will surely kill as well as a spear, knife, or gun. As we approach the dark night of a cold winter, we do not want to die. No, Death, be not proud, though some have called you mighty and dreadful, for you are not so; for those who you think you overthrow die not, poor Death, nor yet canst you kill us. From rest and sleep, which but your pictures be, much pleasure; then from you much more must flow, and soonest our best with you will go, rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery. You are cursed to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, and do with poison, war, and sickness dwell, and poppy or charms can make us sleep as well and better than your stroke; why swell you then? Soon, the Shepherds wake eternally, and death shall be no more; Death, you will die.

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 John Dunne. 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 rush to SUPPORT THE ALEXANDER-MURRAY ACA STABILIZATION BILL

In a deliberate move to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Trump recently decided to stop payment of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies to insurers selling marketplace plans. These payments help insurers provide lower-cost health insurance plans on the exchanges. In anticipation of the lost CSR revenue, insurers have already increased their rates dramatically. Some insurers may even exit the exchanges entirely, further jeopardizing health insurance access for the 18 million Americans who buy their insurance plans on the ACA individual market. However, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have announced a bipartisan bill, the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017, to attempt to stabilize the ACA’s individual markets by reinstating CSRs for insurers for two more years. The bill would also create a low-cost catastrophic coverage exchange plan and reinstate funding for ACA enrollment outreach, funding which the Trump administration has slashed in yet another attempt to undermine the ACA. In exchange, the bill would give states more flexibility to let insurers offer new types of insurance plans that are comparably affordable to existing ACA plans. Most importantly, the bill would preserve ACA standards for what exchange plans must cover preventing the erosion of protection for those with pre-existing conditions. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a score of this bill and concluded that it would not negatively affect insurance access and would, in fact, reduce the federal deficit by about $3.8 billion over the next decade.

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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