From The Jackals To The Shepherds 37: Jack of Clubs


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Battlebards Tracks used:

Elven Dirge – Farewell – Score Music – Philippe Payet

Elven Dirge – Undome ar lomin – Score Music – Stephane Lorello

Forgotten Chamber – Power Unfaded – Score Music – Dimitris Vachaviolos


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.

Occasionally, we lack verse for our stories, as the events of life do not sync with poems or songs.

The shovels dig into the frozen earth as we burrow deep for our food store’s foundation. The steel scrapes against the icy dirt and we chisel downwards and downwards in the frigid fall air. Soon it will be winter in earnest and although the river still runs, throwing mist into the air to create halos with our shadows, the ground remains as hard and unmoving as stone.

That is, until we breach through the layer of solid ground and into an opening. We had nearly forgotten all those months ago, of our friends lost in the mines when we ventured deep to confront The Creature. Yet, when we set about to dig our base we had moved far away from the hill. No distance, it seems could put us away from the burrowing halls and carved passages underground. As the first shovel breaks through the crust and sends it wielder flying, we start back, prepared to flee or to be devoured. And yet, no movement ekes its way up from the crack. The frozen shell of the earth does not give way to a scaled eye in this moment. And we breathe a sigh of relief.

The opening we have found was long ago sealed off from the rest of the mines, it seems. As we widen the hole enough to get a good view inside, we notice a cave-in further down; long wicked roots weaving through crumbled dirt. The lack of any motion inside the cavern emboldens us enough to cautiously ease down into the space, where we find a hermetically sealed cavern. Some of the roots near the cave-in glow a soft blue when we brush dirt from them, however no signs of life other than ourselves fills the cave. Our foundation is completed with barely any effort.

As the last days of autumn crystalize away into the cold afternoon of winter, we gather around a celebratory bonfire to share songs and enjoy a warm meal. Between celebrations, we load up our new storeroom with hearty roots and jars of food to keep during the cold days to come. We discover something new as well, as small black flowers bloom from underneath the snow. The color of the petals looks like the night sky, but as Yuen steps on one to crush it under her boot, the bud bursts and a deep red oozes into the white snow. She giggles and kicks some of the snow at Ezekiel and Safwan, who both scamper away laughing.

And a week passes.

Thank you for joining us for the thirty sixth 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 T.E. Hulme. 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 needs doing in the world, and 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. You can also use ResistBot, a free service that emails or faxes your representatives based on text messages you send through the service. Calling makes the biggest difference, but it’s a smart strategy to cover your bases. A polite and persistent approach across multiple mediums is the way to go. Today I’m calling to urge my representatives to protect the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which Congress passed in 1990, is designed to provide people with disabilities equal access to employment, government services, public accommodations and businesses, and transportation services. Title III of the ADA requires businesses to proactively remove obstacles that prevent people with disabilities from accessing their establishments. However, businesses have resisted Title III for decades and have now pressured Congress to pass a law, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, to drastically limit Title III enforcement.

The ADA Education and Reform Act, H.R. 620, would eliminate all incentives for businesses to proactively ensure their businesses are accessible to people with disabilities. Instead, people with disabilities would have to notify businesses when their rights are violated, wait six months for the business to act to address issues, and only then bring the matter to court. The bill further exempts businesses from facing any penalties for noncompliance, as long as they can show “substantial progress” in fixing issues. Thus, people with disabilities could be forced to wait to access necessary services for months or even years while waiting for businesses to decide to comply with the ADA.

By shifting the responsibility of ADA compliance from businesses to people with disabilities, Congress is essentially destroying a key element of the ADA. People with disabilities already face substantial obstacles to full participation in public life even with Title III in place. It would be unacceptable to weaken this provision further.

H.R. 620 has passed committee and now awaits a full member vote on the House floor.

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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