Winter in Hieron 29: Slow Justice

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Background[edit | edit source]

Episode description[edit | edit source]

I write this with no knowledge of where you are, or if you are. Yet, still, I write.

And as I write, my words are overtaken by memories. Your finger pointing at verse in some ancient text—I have forgotten the book’s name in favor of remembering your eyes, bright. Your voluminous generosity, as you led me into inquiry I dared not pursue. Your voice, angry, confused, and honest in the face of terror. And then, for the last time, your stark figure silhouetted against early moonlight on that hill south of Rosemerrow.

Has the paladin protected you, I wonder? Could I have offered my own protection instead of simply suggesting I hide you away like I did the others? I thought I was presenting you a gift, but in retrospect, I fear I was too vague: Perhaps you believed that I felt you were important in general—like the others I saved—instead of important to me.

I’m moving now, Pupil. I'm retrieving the book and with it, I will build us a home. All of us. I’m moving now because I must. Because I will not let your memory be still stone in my mind, but will treat you instead as a river in my heart, a path to follow towards a bright, distant sea. 

Perhaps I will lose myself on the way. Or, perhaps, I will find you.

Your Tutor, Always

This Week on Friends at the Table: Slow Justice

Plot[edit | edit source]

Fero is at the wall made of starstuff. Examines it. Talks to a vulture (the heat is always hungry, unlike me. the light is always moving, and always flapping, while as the heat moves, it doesn't flap). Feeds it some rations instead of feeding it Uklan Tel.

Throndir and Ephirm are fighting Arrell. Subduing him, Ephrim takes back the book of life from the Collector-Curator Kall Fer.

Fero attempts to talk to something near the boundary of the Heat and the Dark and the Starstuff, and gets the same garbled sound that the Star that Hella killed in Rosemarrow emitted. He then hears the sound of horses, and sees the army of Coscia New. Calling across to Fentil, Fero and Uklan Tel head across to the caravan, which is then revealled to contain refugees from Rosemarrow, including Redjack and Hadrian's wife, Rosanna.

Back in the library, Arrell reveals to Ephirm and Throndir his plan to protect them from the Heat and the Dark--using the Book of Life, he believes that he can animate the Starstuff, using it to create a wall that could hold back the heat and the dark around the ruins of the new university. The two party members, however, do not trust him, and wish him to recover Hadrian's sun from the pocket/bubble universe. Ephrim's hand continues to dissolve through contact with the heat in the dark, which Arrell communicates to Throndir using telepathy. Arrell agrees to release Hadrian's son from the bubble universe, but needs to leave the room to gain more space. The two, together with Morbash and Arrell, leave the room in order to perform the spell.

Inside the bubble is a simaculrum of Velus, where Benjamin is on a boat with his parents. He falls into the water, and then leaves the bubble universe. Throndir comforts him, while Arrell tells Throndir his plan. Throndir covers Benjamin's eyes, and Kodiak rips out Arrell's throat. However, Arrell, due to the Nacren Curse, lives on. Grabbing his staff, he prepares to leave, but not before Throndir throws his Ordennan steel sword at him.

Ending Narration[edit | edit source]

Okay, so I think we get just, a slow zoom out to a super wide, high-angled shot of you, miles and miles away, walking away, through the melting snow, back, westward. Towards the Mark of the Erasure, into the depths of the forest, where the snow is still heavy. And the camera slowly pans around and down until it’s behind you, and you can literally see Samot’s fallen tower in the distance. Which is now sort of cradled by the huge arches of the muted white star-stuff. We get a close shot of your face as you stop to look up and consider it, and then there is the loud sound of a roar, and then a shadow, covering you.

And then we cut to another face in shadow, and it’s Arrell’s. His neck is torn to shreds. His hair is long and messy, his face is dusty, his eyes are fallow. The camera zooms back slowly, and we realize we are looking at his reflection as he stands over a water basin in the corner of that little study that Fantasmo had hidden in a friend’s attic back in Velas. There’s a quick montage of him cleaning himself, reaching a cloth into the water, wiping dust from his face and cheeks, stroking a comb through his hair. He steps past piles of books, covers up his neck and the wound there with a shawl, picks up his staff, and heads down the stairs to a bustling operation center. Robed figures, each wearing the icon of the Disciples of Fantasmo, move here and there. Stopping to bow their heads at Arrell as he passes. He pauses at a window and we see what he sees: the ruins of Velas, now surrounded by a large, but thin wall, built from the star-stuff. There is a flash of light in his eyes, then, a smirk.

Then we cut from his face to another. Eyes drawn tight with focus and simmering anger. It’s your face, Throndir. And it’s blocked, suddenly, by a brownish red shape. And the focus shifts, and it’s revealed to be the Book of Life that you took from the Collector-Curator Kall Fer. Behind you, in the distance, is the caravan, resting for the night on its way towards The Last University. We then get a shot of Victoria Solomon and Doctor Gloria Lake. And Solomon nods her head to you, as if to say “I knew you could do it.” She slips a small, carefully carved, milky, yellow crystal from a pouch, and hands it over. And we get a close-up of you as you lift it to your face. It glows slightly, with a dangerous energy.

And then, three more faces in quick succession, each lit up by a faint, waver light of their own. First, the weathered, bearded face of Stornras Glasseye. Then, the grinning mage, Sunder Havelton. And then the concerned, yet knowledgeable eyes, of Vicerene Jerod Shiraz, leader of Ordenna’s Civic and Spiritual Institutions. The three stand in the captain’s hold of Shiraz’s temple-ship. A dimly-lit room of wood and Ordennan steel. The Vicerene’s visitors have each placed a cloth-wrapped package on the table: One long, and thin, and the other a small square, and each emanates a shimmering light. It is the two parts of the Blade in the Dark. The hilt and the sword itself. We get shots of their faces, again, and a shake of Sunder’s head as if to say “Welp. Here we are.”

Then we get a close shot of you, Ephrim, moving with purpose through the ruins of The Last University. But your focus breaks as you begin to run into people cleaning and organizing the central hall of the school’s largest tower. We get soundless images of you catching up with the survivors, all of them hard at work. Devar and Fentil taking orders from Corsica Neue as she arranges the armory. Rosana leading a sermon for her flock. Red Jack nodding from behind the bar as he pours Throndir a drink. Uklan Tel at an alchemical table, his own focus, his own obsession clear as he works carefully with samples of the star-stuff and the black and purple blaze.

And then, finally, you find your way to your personal quarters. You stand in front of a mirror and you begin to unstrap your armor and then your eyes focus in on the sigil of Samothes’s Holy Church etched into metal. You rip the armor off of you and you lift your unwrapped hand to it, ready to call forth a cleansing fire. But you hesitate. And instead, gather a torch from the wall, a hammer and chisel from the table. We see your face lit by this orange glow as you kneel on the floor, armor draped over your knee, lit by the fire of the torch as you work away his symbol.

And, finally, the camera cuts again. To another face. Just barely lit. This time by a very soft purple. In the eyes at the center of the shot look like Arrell’s did: empty and lifeless. And then those eyes seem to catch something on the ground, and we get a shot of him kneeling. It’s Alyosha. Reaching down to the body of Maelgwyn, and tenderly lifting up his hammer.

And as he does, blood drips from the metal head of the tool, and as it hits the ground it glows with a bright green. It blossoms upward into a flower. And then the second drop hits the pool of blood and a vine sprouts there. And then we get an image of Alyosha at the anvil, hand up in the air, the blood of Samothes behind him, blooming into a garden with each strike. Whoosh, clink. A row of tulips emerge out of the forge’s bloody floor. Whoosh, clink. And now a row of hedges, with bees and butterflies buzzing and fluttering to and fro. Whoosh, clink. And now the vines from before spread even further, pink and orange buds popping out down their lengths. Whoosh, clink. And from the anvil itself, a tree sprouts upwards, breaking the faucet where his now-dead god collected the Heat and the Dark to work on. And the oozing black and purple evaporates as it touches the tree’s leaves. Whoosh, clink. And then a wide shot of the entire forge, now a jungle. Floating in the nothing, and slowly, slowly, pushing back on it. Filling it with Samothes’s own life, replacing the void of emptiness with the breath and force[note 1] of Ingenuity Alive. Whoosh, clink. And then we see his face. His brow, furrowed. His mouth, turned. His eyes, furious. Whoosh, clink. Whoosh, clink. Whoosh.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Other Characters[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. The plan set out by the original Samothes had been to replace the void with the breath and love of Ingenuity Alive