The Road to PARTIZAN 02: Dialect Pt. 2

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Episode description[edit | edit source]

For millennia, three rules guided the Hypha as they traveled across the galaxy. First: Follow the light of the strand through the stars, stopping only on worlds marked by its color—and even then, only temporarily. Second: Never leave behind the bodies of our dead. And third: Protect at all costs the mystery of the Chorus Bond, that which connects us to each other, to the Strand, and perhaps to something even greater than that.

But now, these rules—and the way of life they protect—have come under threat. The Divine Principality, a vast and hungry empire, has arrived.

This week on Friends at the Table: The Road to Season 6: Dialect Pt. 2




The sound of an excavator’s claw striking clay ground. Voices with Stel Kesh dialects discuss early findings at an archaeological site. [See Conversation 850MM.SK.ASHEN01]. Metal strikes metal, and the heft of something is raised from the ground. Near the microphone, there is the electronic beep of an incoming message, but none arrives. Then, from the distance but growing louder, the high pitched sound of resin shattering accompanied by human screams. Finally, the sound of a single pair hooves walking towards, and then past, the microphone, and the sound of the communications channel closing.

Contents[edit | edit source]

Opening[edit | edit source]

I discovered something interesting while walking your halls today, Past. It is something you know already, of course, something you’ve known a long time. But I remain your elect, so humor me.

Apparently, years before our noble Principality encountered them, before they—before we—were marked with ash, when we were still called the Hypha, my people had a different name for you. For the past. You were the Verb.

And I think it’s a more honest name, actually. When something is in the past, it’s gone. You’ve moved past it. But nothing gets past you, does it?

You have always been an action, a verb, an echoing reverberation. A wake left behind by the roaring engine of history, yes, but a force in your own right, too.

And I cannot help but to wonder: Who got caught up in that wake of yours? If one were to think of you as a verb, then, well, which objects might you have taken?

Do not worry, my verb, I will, of course, do my service as your elect. But know this: If I must aspire to your erudition, then I will learn to capture your gravity too.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Having discovered the Divine Principality’s animosity towards the Hypha–specifically those that are Chorus Bonded–the members of the Hypha fleet are less eager to voluntarily undergo the procedure. Many with the Chorus Bond are removing their antlers to make themselves less of a target, and there is now a shortage of Bonded individuals.

The Hypha come to land on a new planet, and those bringing up the rear of the fleet witness the arrival of Divine Principality colony ships being escorted by a massive suit of armor–the Divine Unity. Unity disperses the Strand. Worried about what this means for the fleet, Timea asks Sabil whether this has ever happened before. Sabil is not quite sure, but acts as if everything will be okay. Asper counsels Timea who recalls a time when her brother was bullying her planetside. She ran into the woods to escape and scare him off. While she made it home, he did not. She takes comfort in the fact that she found his body and it was used for the Chorus Bond.

Asper begins to take notice that materials from bodies are not being use and that there has been change in the way that the Chorus Bound are experiencing things due to the presence of the Divine. They want to meet with Sabil to ask her if she has anyway of adjusting the Chorus Bonded to protect themselves from the noise of the Divine since she has obviously augmented her own Chorus Bond in non-standard ways. Asper and Timea have a brief argument over whether or not to ask Sabil to change Timea’s Chorus Bond, before Sabil interrupts. She is willing to do it, but warns Timea that the effects may not be pleasant and that she is not sure exactly what the effects will be for someone other than herself. Timea signs paperwork saying she agrees to the procedure.

Sabil brings Timea in front of a panel of individuals similarly educated in the practice of forming the Chorus Bond. She passes out papers to the panel members with new intel that Timea couldn’t possibly know–information on ship locations on the fringes of the fleets’ range. Given the same coordinates, Timea is able to pinpoint what ships are present there and what they contain, admitting that she could not have done this before the additions to her Chorus Bond. The augmentation to the Chorus Bond is considered a success.

A Candidate is assassinated in one of the non-Hypha villages earthside during an attack. The Hypha were expected to visit the village, but did not show up because they foresaw the attack. The Divine Principality come to understand this and are upset with the Hypha for not warning them and essentially allowing the Candidate to die.

The Hypha realize they need to get off-planet, but need to use the Strand which has been largely disabled by the Divine to do so. They need to figure out how to maintain the power of the Strand by isolating the base components (compared to spores) of the Strand and spreading them out themselves.

A few years in, Timea has received more and more augmentations to her antlers until she has a beautiful combination of precious metals, cuts, designs and jewelry that hangs from them. At long last she “cracks” the Strand, so that it can be spread and used to navigate to other planets, but in a way that removes the color from it. She becomes known as Asche and the new, gray version of the Strand becomes known as the Ash. Despite the Ash working, it is unable to guide the entire fleet, and so Asche and Asche alone makes it to a beach-like planet. Using the Chorus Bond, she signals to the rest of the fleet that she has landed, but she’s far away and is not sure she can make it back.

In the wake of the Candidate dying, brightsky becomes taboo as the Hypha use it as a way to say look at the bright side, but the Principality comes to associate the word with the Canidate’s death. Similarly, the Principality and other outsiders hear the Hypha using the word Divine as a sort of curse, and become disgusted with their use of it. They shun the Hypha whenever they detect that the word has been used. This becomes a catalyst for the Hypha leaving the last worlds that were a part of the original Strand.

In the end, the Hypha have been scattered thanks to the Ash leading them in different directions and constantly being sent away by outsiders. These smaller communities are unable to process their dead and Chorus Bonded skulls (and eventually regular Hypha skulls) become a cottage industry for collectors and those seeking to enhance their Stratus abilities. They also leave behind a lot of the larger ships that are pilfered by the Divine Principality for tech.

Many, many years in the future, the descendants of the Hypha who took this original Ashen route create a new, different nomadic culture. They wear ash on their skin and do a lot of the work the Hypha originally did–communications, courier service, etc, but they also try to carry forward the spiritual and Stratus-related techniques carried out by the Loesse–despite a somewhat cruder understanding of the technology and techniques. Now the surgery does not necessarily involve the hollowing out of the antler, but instead just a filigree inlaid in the bone. The Hypha never forget their devotion to their dead.

Cast[edit | edit source]