Spring in Hieron 01: The Touch of Others

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Background[edit | edit source]

Episode Description and Opening Narration[edit | edit source]

It is still winter, yet.


Months ago, the Heat and the Dark emerged from the long sands of Rosemerrow, bringing terror and destruction to Hieron. And though the sun has returned, and though the vicious blizzard that battered the North West has weakened, and though Adelaide’s so called curse has vanished--the warmth of spring has not yet arrived. The people of Hieron have faced calamity, and now they look to their leaders--to you--in hopes that they may recover and rebuild.

Ephrim, Prophet of the Unwavering Flame. Golden Lance Throndir, the Ranger--you two joined the traveler of worlds, Red Jack, and Corsica Neue, Queen of the Unstill, in leading thousands of refugees and survivors towards a new home: The ruins of the Last University.

Besides your motley collection of loyal friends and allies--like Devar van der Dawes, Uklan Tel, Emmanuel La Salle, and Ephrim’s loyal Kobbin, Highwater--you bring with you ten distinct groups, each with their own leaders to this new settlement in the center of Hieron.

  1. Corsica Neue’s own Unstill come along, of course--now equals in unlife with everyone else, just one fatal error away from annihilation.
  2. Joining them are those who Red Jack called his companions: Rosette, and the moths of Old Man’s Chin have arrived along with their weaver companions, and the remaining Oni boys who once sprouted from Red Jack side.
  3. Mee Kosh, the Goblin Elder, and the Snow Elves of Auniq--joined in temporary and precarious alliance came too.
  4. And Balion Wythe, the once romantic hero of Rosemerrow, and on-again-off-again lover of the late Chancellor Gilbert Lutz, has come with those halflings who were willing to leave their supposed ancestral home after it was hit so badly by the Heat and the Dark’s arrival.
  5. They arrived soon after Chatterchin and the Gnolls--those who Fero left behind in the woods outside of Rosemerrow.
  6. Morbash came with you, too, just behind, along with those archivists who understood that sometimes, in the face of chaos, maintaining the Pattern requires movement, not complacency.
  7. An old ally of yours, Throndir: Carrot the squirrel, arrived too, along with entire ecosystems behind them. With the north west devastated, the many animals who lived in the environs of Twinbrook, the woods between Velas and Auniq, and the forests surrounding Rosemerrow all need a new place to forage and flock, somewhere less threatened by the heat, the dark, and the stars. They live now in the wilds on the outskirts of the university.
  8. Keeping within the walls of the school’s campus, but still on the edges of society is the professional scoundrel Blake Bromley, along with their loose guild of people who knew how to find things… and how to get things done, often in the shadows where others were too precious to travel.
  9. Surprisingly, perhaps, was the arrival of Jerod Shiraz--the leader of the Ordennan Dissent, nearly one third of what once made up the nation’s war machine, now turned open objectors to the imperial ambitions of the Impetus. Though she once travelled along with the living star, Obelus, as well as with Stornras Glasseye and Sunder Havelton--who were given the Blade in the Dark by Samol--when she arrives, Shiraz is flanked only by everyday Ordennan citizens and soldiers. And she makes no mention of the sword… or her absent companions.
  10. Finally, there is Rosana, who has become the lay-leader of the Creed of Samothes in this part of Hieron. Though given no specific title, she has become the de facto head and heart of the group in this dark moment--providing counsel, concern, and condemnation, when appropriate. Neither she, nor her son Benjamin, know what has happened to their beloved Hadrian--yet both live on with strength in his memory.

With these groups, you’ve built the first workings of a real community here in the shadow of the college’s towers and in the depths of the neglected ruins of the Last University. And, as is often the case in moments of dire need, some have already risen and found basic solutions to the most critical of problems.

Perhaps most importantly, those with academic and magical acumen--the semiotician Uklan Tel, increasingly obsessed with his dangerous studies; Jerod Shiraz, living blood of sea and smoke; you, King Ephrim, and a handful of others--spent weeks scouring the Book of Life that Throndir brought, as well as the other magical texts of the University in an effort to establish the shimmering shield of starstuff that the--now undead--wizard Arrell once proposed.

And with the power of the book of life, you succeeded, enveloping not only the University’s campus but also the wilds around it in a scintillating gleam, a translucent sphere which ripples and waves in the wind. And which--for now, at least--protects the entire settlement from the ever encroaching flames of the heat and the dark.

And with this existential threat held back, many other needs could be addressed as well:

Rosana and the refugees of Velas immediately set to rebuilding the dorms, kitchens, and other necessary structures of the university, while Blake’s moonlighters and and Morbash’s archivists scoured the the school’s remaining stores for food, fuel, and medicine enough to last at least a year. All while in the campus’ courtyards, Rosette’s mothkin have begun the agricultural processes necessary to at least subsist, if not to thrive, in this new home.

Balion Wythe and Corsica Neue have risen as military leaders, the queen of the unstill and the uncrowned leader of the halflings each bringing their tactical strength to bear, offering those who wish to defend the encampment a role and a duty appropriate to their skills.

Throndir you are joined by Chatterchin’s gnolls, Mee Kosh’s goblins and snow elves, and the wild animals who have pledged their coy loyalty to Carrot, in an effort to map out the still-snow covered forests, hills, valleys, and wastes surrounding the University.

And some--like Red Jack, Victoria Solomon, and Dr. Gloria Lake--travel even further, exploring beyond the university’s protective cloak of stars, deep into the ongoing cataclysm of Hieron, all in hopes of finding other survivors. Partly, they seek to offer shelter to any who lived through the winter, and partly, they seek the most important thing of all: An answer to survive the impending collapse--a swift breeze, a cooling shade--anything to hold back… the summer.

This week on Spring in Hieron: The Touch of Others

Plot[edit | edit source]

The episode switches between different themes; a game of Do Not Let Us Die In The Dark Of This Cold Winter, by Cecil Howe, played by Dre and Sylvi, as Ephrim and Throndir attempt to establish a community in the ruins of the Last University. Turns of this game are interspersed with more narrative pieces detailing the events of both Fero, who left the group to explore the Mark of the Erasure after the events of the last episode, and of the Forest Party, who were trapped within the Blade in the Dark after the last episode.

The Last University, Turn 1[edit | edit source]

The episode opens in the ruins of the Last University, where Ephrim and Throndir have journeyed from, after leaving the New Archives. Explaining the rules of the system they will be playing----to cover the events of 10 years of the group's attempts to establish a community inside walls made of living starlight.

In normal place, each player begins with 5 people in their building, though in this hack, each 'player' represents a larger community, such as the Gnolls, or the Orcs.

The Mark of the Erasure[edit | edit source]

Fero has been journeying for about 6 weeks towards the Mark of the Erasure, a far journey made far longer than that originally travelled by the group who visited in Autumn due to the complicating factor of both the Heat and the Dark, which is spreading from the west across Hieron, and also the arches of Starstuff, which are also expanding across the same area in an attempt to hold back the Heat and the Dark. Because of this, the usually shorter journey has been made far longer, even in light of Fero's druidic ability to go without food or sleep.

Eventually, he finds himself at the Mark of the Erasure[note 1], where he sees a man standing in front of a large white orb (notably not a sun, and referred to in Austin's notes as Hieron's Breath), and attempting to work it in the same way that a potter might work clay. Unable to do so, the man--Samol--transforms himself into a dragon, and continues his attempts, before being interrupted by Fero's shouted offer of help.

Samol turns, and remarks that he was wondering when Fero was going to show up, before calling him over. Fero, reluctant to do so, asks why, and Samol asks him for aid. Upon Fero's relief of hearing this (he expected something more dangerous), Samol leaves the orb and turns to Fero, getting very close to his face and responding, "if I wanted you hurt, you'd be hurt." Returning to human form, Samol leads Fero into the fallen Tower of Samot, to the Five Temples for food (after Fero reassures him that, though he does not need to eat, he does enjoy it).

Samol asks which kind of food Fero would like, Fero asking for 'salty' food, which Samol finds in Severea's temple, where he pulls it from a past sacrifice made to her. The two talk about Fero's past actions, including the disappearance of the Long Sands, which saddens Fero. The halfling then asks Samol how his knowledge about the world works, and whether or not he can feel the dragon wings when he is in human form. Samol then reveals that Fero's gift is not only the ability to turn into creatures that already exist, but also to create creatures entirely, and that this was why Severea and Galenica had given him his "gifts".

Samol eventually departs, telling Fero to come and find him when he wants to talk, and arranging to meet up the following week for another meal--"a Tasting Tour of Samot's Tower".

The Last University, Turn 2[edit | edit source]

Aubade[edit | edit source]

Cast[edit | edit source]

Other Appearances[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. It should be noted that Fero walked the entire journey, and did not transform himself into an animal in order to make the trip more quickly