This episode carries content warnings for insect infestation, detailed description of insect infestation of an enclosed space, detailed description of insects on skin.
A day in the market can be a joy for even those who do not aim to barter. The sights and sounds, the smells, the tastes! A reprieve from travel, even if just from travel through life. But also, it is a way to see the passions of others made material, and of course an opportunity for chance encounters to reshape one’s day, week, even life. What wonders will the oldest marketplace in Sangfielle, the wallside town of Cantbank, offer the Blackwick group? And where will they go next.
This week on Sangfielle: Passage on the Jade Moon Pt. 3
The Almanac of the Heartland Rider
Cantbank: A long time ago, the story goes, Aldnomina set its sights on the heartland. Conquest, colonization, and consolidation. Well, turns out that the Heartland has many a mighty thing inside of it. And one such thing had many a favorite place. And it set out, so it is said, to visit each of them until Aldomina came. And as was its way, whichever it was at when Aldomina finally reached the gates, that place would be hidden from the eyes of the invaders. And so it is, by the blessing of its patron, that Cantbank, a market town built into the walls and caves of an old clifface, went untouched.
Sapodilla: One of, if not the, largest city inside of the walls of Concentus. Sapodilla rests on the western shore of the vast lake that takes up much of southeastern Sangfielle, and prizes itself as the rare hub of culture in the bloodfields. In recent years, the powerful witch hunting organization called the Glim Macula has grown in power there, owing to the city’s focus on furthering “civilization.”
The Sleeping City: Every 13 years, a metropolis wakes with the buzzing sound of life. Do not cross its borders uninvited, especially not when it and its inhabitants are at rest.
Blackwick County: From the mines to the lake, the hills to the flats, the town once called Eastern Folly has felt a little more expansive now that it’s out of the hard grip of the old curse. It’s people aren’t perfect, but they’ve made it through some dark times, and that’s more than most can say.
Zevunzolia: Who the hell knows. A miraculous city waiting to be built? A utopian dimension adjacent our own? "The Seventh Sun Itself," I think I heard one of those fools call it. All I know is, however prime and pristine it is in promise, the pricetag keeps going conveniently unmentioned...
Facts and Figures
Alekest san Geraint, the Margrave of Tescano, the Porcelain Knight (he/him): If you’re a long time reader of this publication, Alekest needs no introduction. You know him from his past adventures, like the slaying of the UnSevered Beast or his solitary stand at Cedartree Station. Maybe you forget some of the details, his angst-filled childhood, the fraught years after his mother’s death, his uncanny dreams. Well, Knight Pickman seems not to be a reader, if her confusion at the Margrave’s arrival is any indication.
Etienne Alize (he/him): Deacon of the Blood in the Triadic Pyre, and de facto sawbones aboard the Jade Moon.
The Ravening Beast (it/its): A howl in the mind of Lye Lyken. A beast on the hunt. It haunts through the course of time, the shape of mind. An echo of a possible future?
Aterika’Kaal (it/its): An ambivalent and ancient spirit. Offers the sweet smell and sublime beauty of roses and the sturdy foundation of a root structure. In exchange: Feed it.
The Ojan: To call it "The Ojan River" is not only to misspeak but to advertise your distance from knowledge. Ojan itself means "running water," and in Ojantani it is the word you attach to other words to mark them as rivers--each just an faint echo of this paragon of waterways.
The Jade Moon: A luxurious vessel, the Jade Moon glides up and down the Ojan. You have to work to find its exterior wooden hull, so covered is it in silken, green banners and curtains. Dining, Dancing, Gambling, Live Music, plush living. An engine that churns below. 250 feet long, 50 feet wide. It’s a beast, but in the width of the Ojan--in some places over 2 miles wide--it pales.
Teak: First mate of the Jade Moon.
The Course: There is debate about the true nature of the Heartland’s Truth, the power that turned Sangfielle into what it is today. But the Cleavers call it the Course. Part river, part lesson, part direction traveled. Entirely beyond the grasp of mortal minds.
The Structure: Reason, logic, sense. The world is, fundamentally, a place that fits together and functions. We may not like that, say the adherents of the structure. And sometimes, the world may move in ways beyond our particular ken. But there is something holding it together, and that, they say, is the Heartland’s Truth: The Structure.
The Shape: Are the trains that run across the Heartland bound to the Structure, or do they direct it? Is the overlap between the two even real at all, or might two machinic forces be at work here in Sangfielle?
The Broken Quartet: Cello, viola, violin, clarinet. That’s all it takes to make people move. Well, that and some skill.
The Covenant of Kaitankro: You’ve seen them, haven’t you? The unsettlingly gregarious priests with the strange, chitinous crow masks? Of course you have, with their stilt-legs and their stilt-houses and their collection of stakes and strings and, of course, the kites. I asked one once if it was a pun: Kite and Crow, chitin crow. Something like that. The priestess told me that Kaitankro was a very real god, if a funny one, and that one day, he visited her. Like every morning, she raised each of the town’s kites up to the winds in daily worship, and Kaitankro landed on the smallest one—a sight to see, she said, since her god is so large a being. And like a carnivalist, Kaitankro walked down the wire, tips of her talons, until he met the priest at the bottom. There, I was told, they whispered in the priest’s ear a single phrase: “Better to live as birds on wires than die as men in the wind.” Chaos, it seems, breeds community, too. (Editor’s note: If these gods are so compelled to grow, grow, grow, why the hell does this ‘bird’ god seem so happy to just bounce from place to place? Isn’t anything in Sangfielle predictable?)
Wrights of the Seventh Sun: A secret society dedicated to the construction of Zevunzolia, whatever the cost. Their motivations are many: Some believe that the Devils ought to have continued climbing whent hey escaped hell, that this was not the paradise earned. Otherse believe that Zevunzolia is telos of telos, the end-cause of all end-causes, and thus will inevitably bring itself into being. And given that, to do anything but aid it is to risk exclusion from it, or worse.
The Disciples of the Triadic Pyre: Appropriately devoted to a trio of gods, the Triadic Pyre believe that entropy is the only certain thing in this world, and as such aim to master it. Recently began to mark workers willing to do their tasks in the mines with their brand.
Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel), Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Sylvi Clare (@sylvibullet), Ali Acampora (@ali_west), Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000), and Keith J Carberry (@keithjcarberry)
Produced by Ali Acampora
Music by Jack de Quidt (available on bandcamp)
Text by Austin Walker
Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)