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Friends at the Table
By Friends at the Table
About this podcast
Friends at the Table is an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends. Find us (and a listener guide) @Friends_Table on Twitter.
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Episodes (Total: 10)
yesterday · 01:09:10
“Thirteenth” by Declan’s Corrective, Co-Governor of Seneschal, former Ace Pilot of the New Earth Hegemony Before these clinquant peaks And Quire-fashioned streets And shimmering cataract falls Before this was home Before Seneschal   There was me   Stiff shoulder muscle Knotted, bloody, scarred And chess table politics And cricket yard brawls And father’s frantic calls To lessons he’d swore I’d need To seed a future year With countless victories   Before we walked together gleaming Before Drifting, my reprise Before diarchy and comedy Before Cadent beaming: Me   Before Notion Before violence Before Vanguard, Apogee Before Evening Before promise Before vision from dark sea   I walked down courtyards, and looked to spheres And whispered treacherous dreams To peers who’d disappeared No schemers left to scheme Just me and castle Just me and hope Just me, naive, and mouth of soap   This is not apology This is dedication writ in flesh No more “fighting spirit” No more streets, bent No more “what I really meant” This is Tender wound   Me, threshed   On a dusted windowsill An ant lifts a sugar grain Plodding under false sunlight Through spotted windowpane And on the other side a child Runs through a sprinkler stream And screams And laughs And worries what’s to be   Stiff shoulder muscle Knotted, bloody, scarred A dedication the a world-to-be To victory To fall   This week on Twilight Mirage: This Year of Ours: The Mystic Mind over matter is magic I do magic Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Episode description by Austin Walker Music by Jack de Quidt
Jan. 16, 2018 · 01:19:42
Feedback by Janus, Red Equity of the Golden Clause, on a term paper exploring the the emerging legal jurisdiction of the Quire System. Please Note: The grade you’ve received here reflects your successful ability to follow the assignment’s instructions, cite relevant academic and practical work, and build an argument supported by precedent. For that, you should be commended. But I am disappointed that you would take up this line of thought. As you’ve written politicians of certain persuasion point to moments of crisis, to freshly mapped worlds, to technological frontiers and say that the law does not apply in these places. That that those in power rule arbitrarily during these states of exception. But if you take one lesson from me or from this seminar, let it be this: There is no such thing as a lawless place or a time outside of jurisdiction. Deep below explicit legal precedent, unlisted in any codex, there lie unspoken rules by which society functions. They are fluid, yet bottled by the shape of culture. From the racist resolution of border-region land disputes to the public opinion pardoning of war criminals, a cultural paradigm of gestures and sensibilities guides action. The so-called “state of exception” is an alibi. If tyranny rises and the people of Quire do not stand to stop it, that is a not a sign of the oppressor’s strength, but a memorandum on the population’s capacity to love a despot. Jurisprudence simply follows suit. Fourteen Fifteen, you are a good student, and I hope you grow to understand our role in this system: We are as adjudicators on the verge. Our role is not simply to interpret the law as written, it is to translate attitude into index. And, in instances where indices are incomplete, to passionately propel the world towards justice. This week on Twilight Mirage: This Year of Ours: The Speaker Oh I see the lines, there's two lines You'll live a life anew Tell me what you need from me? Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Episode description by Austin Walker Music by Jack de Quidt    
Jan. 15, 2018 · 01:12:57
An entry from the journal of the former excerpt “To the prince, we offered twelve thousand flowers, Blooming in an untouched field,” leader of the Beloved Nights. How did I get here? How did I find this home? Pain. Pain was my guide. For the first half of the year each second was a dozen or more. I have buried my kin, my peers, and myself. I put my love to rest and lived in a marionette corpse for months. Yet I never knew a pain like this until I looked up from Volition’s surface and saw a beautiful new world with no place for me in it. I knelt before the so-called Cadent Under Mirage and waited for an answer. Where could I best serve her? Lacking her own answer, and without her advisor, the priestess, in sight, she deferred to a bureaucrat. I remember the ship they put me on. It smelled of bleach and rust. it was crowded with those who would I would manage. A cleanup operation. The remains of Privign Station, which Volition’s monstrous retainers had crushed into crumbs, and which the pull of the Mirage and brought to us like galleon driftwood. They all speak of miracles, but the only one that matters to me is that in this broken place, I found reason to live again. We found her in a pod and when we brought her to, we were moved by the force of her sadness. She looked out on what the Mirage had become, how our leader had shrunk from duty, and vowed to find a place for all of us. She lifted me with a finger and stared through me from behind her veil, and she had my loyalty instantly. And I had a home and a purpose, here, beside the Waking Cadent. Signet… I wish you had been there. Just so you knew I wasn’t a fool. This Week on Twilight Mirage: This Year of Ours: The Stitch And I believe you when you say that you've lost all faith But you must believe in something, something, something Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Episode description by Austin Walker Music by Jack de Quidt  (@notquitereal)
Jan. 14, 2018 · 01:05:02
A letter from Kent Brighton to the Lineage’s Matriarch, the Lady Lyme. Dearest Aunt, I hope this message finds you well. Our vessel has just now entered textual communication range, and though I could wait to see your face in just a few days, speed is of the essence. As you know, my ship, the Wakerobin, left New Independence a month ago to secure diplomatic relations with each of the new governments throughout Quire. The crew and I felt at home with the crooning of our ship’s hull as it settled.Though we moved through suntouched sky, it was familiar as the surging sea. But unlike Old Quire’s ocean, the aether offered us an opportunity unknown to the Lineage in generations: The chance to explore the uncharted! Each new port brought new discoveries: technologies yet unseen, delicacies fresh to my palate, songs, and theater, and friendship! Every diplomat, every merchant, every cleric, they were all charmed by our charisma and, of course, taken with the affability of our great ally, Gig Kephart. (And yes, our allegiance with the Crown was secured by bringing them the boy, worry not). But there is more too. Our foes in the Rogue Wave can be beaten. They launched an attack as we passed through a craggy shoal, the vessel twisting between blasts from their fleet. I could sense their hunger for victory in their aggressive formation, and so too I sensed their surprise when, with each volley, it was their fleet which was wounded in the waking dream. From the prow I watched their cannons blossom into rose and rouge and coral. And Aunt, you know I have no tongue for poetry. I mean what I say: Their cannons blossomed into rose and rouge and coral. Gig captured the entire exchange and has already begun broadcasting it out. The whole system knows the truth: All their strength is for naught in this new world. Brigands be gone: Brighton rules the Wave. This Week on Twilight Mirage: This Year of Ours: The Mechanic But there's no erasing and the best advice I got Was keep writing, and keep living, and keep loving Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Keith Carberry (@keithjcarberry) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Episode description by Austin Walker Music by Jack de Quidt  (@notquitereal)  
Jan. 13, 2018 · 01:10:16
An excerpt from an address to the high council of the Qui Err Assembly by Annex Iota Pretense, reconstituted leader of her people.. I have heard the murmurs, and I have seen the images. They’re calling their bandits heroes. The bored rich like Joan-bee. Invaders like Templeton’s Faire. Soldiers like Echo Reverie. Do not misunderstand. We are the heroes of this story. Their talking heads will tell you that history is more complicated than that. That everyone is complicit in some misdeed. That by our own logic, what we call ours was the planet’s first. That we are colonizers, too. But do not misunderstand. We are Qui Err Vi Qi-Em, The Soil With Memory. Their petty historians hold matchsticks and think they wield the sun. Their propagandists will take our pain and twist it into lessons for their children, our struggle into entertainment for paying customers. They will turn sites of violence into souvenir shops, and in their little voices demand from us personalized baubles. Do not misunderstand. They will ask you to give them a name like ours. They will ask to touch your bone and branch. They will, with no understanding of their sacrilege, call all this curiosity. They will call themselves “friends of the people.” Do not misunderstand. That touch is colony ship. Their interest in our ways is not curiosity, it is a hanging rope not yet taut: a whip, a lasso, a noose. Do not misunderstand. We do not have friends among them. We have only those who deign to speak to us. The so-called Free States walk on our bodies, toes mingling in soil, without sending so much as a delegation to meet with us. Even the Hegemony, which recognizes our sovereignty, does so as an addendum at best.Do not misunderstand. We are not a appendix. We are the body itself. This week on Twilight Mirage: This Year of Ours: The Muscle Wish I was there, wish we'd grown up on the same advice And our time was right   Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Andi Clare (@captaintrash) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Episode description by Austin Walker Music by Jack de Quidt  (@notquitereal)
Jan. 12, 2018 · 00:52:25
Hey, It’s Cascabel. I know you’re probably zipping between planets in some sort of experimental ship right now bud, but once you get back just let me know you got this, okay? I wanted to let you know that I got back from Skein and some of your old colleagues wanted me to pass on a hello. And, I know it’s weird to have them be working with the NEH now and I know it can be hard to hear, but they’re doing good work, man. You should check in on them. Quire is bleeding and they’re the closest thing to medics. I’ve seen it across every world I’ve been on, but on Skein, it’s bad, man. There’s a gash that cuts down to the core. Deep in the jungle, about a day from Terncage… that big city by the beach. It’s a wound that pulses. It groans. With each new beat, it finds and and breaks a new reality. So.. I guess I’m just not surprised that it attracted every scientist in the sector. The Skein? The Garden? They were already deep into this stuff on Old Quire, man. And your people from the Ever Forward? From what I understand, y’all have always been pathfinders, some of the best field researchers ever. So I get why you’re not thrilled with it but I’ve spoken to these folks. The New Earth Hegemony offered them a lot: resourcing, protection, time. They could do more good unified as Ternion than they ever could alone. In any case. I’m glad you’re doin alright. Test pilot seems like a good fit, you always liked to be on the cutting edge, after all. I never told you about the first time I saw the Amp Runner did I? The way it broke through the atmosphere? I saw through the trick, the screeching, the fake rust. But then I saw you inside and I was terrified. I’m glad we’re on the same side, Even. I… Well, if you ever need anything, you just let me know. After what we faced down together? Independence, the iconoclasts. Volition… A year ago, I was just a mercenary for hire. Now I’ve seen the world shatter and put itself back together. And I wouldn’t have made it out without you. If you’re ever around my neck of the woods, promise that you’ll let me know. This time on Twilight Mirage: This Year of Ours: The Pilot   The sun's going down Time to start your day bruh   Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Episode description by Austin Walker Music by Jack de Quidt  (@notquitereal)
Jan. 11, 2018 · 01:16:25
An excerpt from the journal of Grey Gloaming, Co-Owner of the Brink space station and clearing house, and former agent of the Rapid Evening. I used to wonder if sometime, deep in the future, far away from the here and now, someone would look back from a more perfect world and write about this year we've had. It has been 11 months since the Miracle of the Mirage. 11 months since the living world of Quire split itself eight ways and enveloped us in the Twilight. 11 months since millions disembarked from their generational homes in search of hope. 11 months since the secessionist ploy was foiled. 11 months since a man of great reach was forced to confront the limits of his grasp. Once borne across the stars, the newly renamed Divine Free States now sprawl across three worlds: Thyrsus, Gift-3, Altar. Across three others, the New Earth Hegemony has colonized en masse: Tens of millions spread across Skein, Crown, and Moonlock. The pirate world Brighton recognizes no authority--not even its own. And on Seneschal the NEH and DFS live alongside each other in an experiment whose success is even more unlikely than the twisting of time, the distortion of space, and the horrors of Volition. And between those world, things must move. People, supplies, contraband. They move in silent exchange, with lookouts and passwords and bribes. And that is how I know that whatever words are put to page, no one will ever really write about this year of ours. Because this year was not only made by politicians and soldiers, by spies and scientists. They were built by the hands of those who came from little and those that fell from grace. Those like... This week on Twilight Mirage: This Year of Ours: The Scoundrel I don't believe my hands are cleanly Can't believe that you would let me touch your heart Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Art Martinez-Tebbel (@atebbel) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Episode description by Austin Walker Music by Jack de Quidt
Jan. 6, 2018 · 04:01:34
While the other strike teams move in bursts of heroism to to confront their foes--Independence and Sui Juris respectively--the remaining group has a more protracted task at hand: Ensuring the safety of millions evacuating to the surface of Quire. Commander Pure Cascara leads the effort from above, while broadcaster Gig Kephart, pathfinder Echo Reverie, and the living ship Myriad--all knowledgeable about Quire’s surface--begin to educate and organize evacuation groups. Unfortunately, they have to do this in the face of secession, military invasion, and the first public encounter with one of Volition’s Axioms, a being beyond easy comprehension. While they can rely on the Beloved Ivy’s military specialist, Waltz Tango (Cache) for some support, they’ll need more help than that yet. And they find it from an unlikely source: Former New Earth Hegemony ace pilot Declan’s Corrective. There's a bull and a matador dueling in the sky, Inhale, in hell there’s heaven This week on Friends at the Table: The Miracle of the Mirage: The Siege   EMERGENCY HEARINGS REVEAL NEW INFORMATION ABOUT INVADERS DAY AFTER WARSHIP’S ARRIVAL Newly declassified documents and expert testimony have brought both detail and confusion about the NEW EARTH HEGEMONY. Memorious, Quire System BY ACTIVATION STEVENSON, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT For years, the so-called “Earth Cult” was a common figure across two prominent genres: children’s fiction and conspiracy theory.  Yesterday, the arrival of the warship Season’s Juniper changed that, sending shockwaves through the fleet, and confirming the existence of a long rumored nation and the strength of its attendant military.   Today, after a seven hour public hearing held in the Grand Hall of Memorious, the citizens of the Divine Fleet know the truth behind the legend. “Though commonly referred to as ‘the Earth Cult,’ the group in question is a sovereign nation called the New Earth Hegemony,” said Scholar of Galactic Nations Callum Enli, whose presentation bore the speed, clarity, and practice of an academic who long hoped their work would find mainstream relevance. Enli and the other presenters outlined the nation’s key characteristics: A population of trillions spread across the body of Earth, space colonies throughout the system; a complex and bewildering relationship between government, business, and faith institutions, all of which places a great deal of power in a single executive figure called the Hegemon; a great deal of technological strength, but no known Divine population to speak of; a generally strong quality of life for the nation’s massive population, but a fault social safety net. If children expected monsters and the conspiracy theorists expected puppet masters, the truth is all the more disappointing--and all the more real: The New Earth Hegemony seems to be filled with people a lot like us. Which does little to explain this new act of aggression even more surprising. While it was common knowledge that a force claiming allegiance to the planet Earth--humanity’s ancient home--had harried the fleet a number of times over the last millennium, there was little common knowledge about the group’s identity. Partially, numerous Cadents and other state officials kept information about the attackers carefully controlled and protected. For nearly an hour, attendees pressed the sole governmental official, information specialist Sierra Sienna, about those past attacks. She responded with droll wit, which only seemed to agitate those demanding answers. “They have always sent the hornet, never the nest. Their attacks have always been seen as anomalous,” she said. “ Despite its imposing name, clearly capable military technology, and a population in the trillions, the Hegemony has stayed within its borders for thousands of years, never making move to conquer any of their galactic neighbors, let alone the Divine Fleet.” The scholarly experts attending the event confirmed this analysis, though bent their assessment towards the concerns of those gathered. “Ms. Sienna is right, of course,” said Enli. “But if they have sent only hornets, we have been only flowers.”   Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring  Keith Carberry (@keithjcarberry) and Andi Clare (@captaintrash) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Episode description by Austin Walker Music by Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal)  
Dec. 29, 2017 · 03:24:13
With the possible union between the Divine Independence and the Iconoclastic god Volition disrupted, the Twilight Mirage--and the universe at large--has been granted a reprieve from annihlation. But for the members of the Divine Fleet, there remains crisis and confusion and chaos. The By and By, largest ship in the fleet by size and population, has been split in loyalty by the sudden, secessionist proclamation of Sui Juris and the revelation that they held captive the Cadent Under Mirage. Now moving to rescue her are members of The Beloved: Fourteen Fifteen, digital, dying assassin; Acre 7, remnant of a living world; Sho Salon, faithful of the 300; Massalia d'Argent and their mech, Melodica; the boy out of time and place, Morning's Observation; Tender Sky, architect, priestess, and former partner of Open Metal, leader of Sui Juris. These are the Fleet's--and the Cadent's--best hope for survival. Inhale, inhale there's heaven This week on Friends at the Table: The Miracle of the Mirage, Pt. 2 EXCLUSIVE: ON EDGE OF TWILIGHT, CIVIL WAR ERUPTS INSIDE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE Interview with survivor reveals details of mysterious conflict. Shorlidge Asteroid Belt Station A8, Quire System BY ACTIVATION STEVENSON, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT From the observation deck of the Shorlidge Station A8, Camilla Canter watched as pinkish-red spheres burst into vision. Just three hours later, Canter was pulling the body of a spy from an emergency ejection capsule. "I knew they were explosions, of course. But I assumed it had to do with what was going on in the By and By. I certainly wasn't expecting to learn about a whole new galactic civilization and that." Though the woman that Canter rescued, Siela Shade, was taken into custody by Fleet authorities only 30 minutes after her rescue, the Signal was able to conduct a short interview before her detention. The facts of that interview have been since confirmed through a combination fo DIA Request and archival research, and though a judge-ordered stay prevents the Signal from running Shade's words as they were delivered to us directly, this publication retains the legal right to publish, in broad terms, the shape of that conversation. According to Shade, a civilization set towards the galactic south known as the Principality of Kesh is currently embroiled in its own internal conflict, one that has landed right on the door mat of the Divine Fleet. At the heart of that dispute is the question of intervention and self-determination, two topics well-trodden inside of the Fleet in recent days. While the Principality itself has not splintered, one of its most important arms--the Rapid Evening, a group of intelligence agents, saboteurs, and enforcers--has entered into a civil conflict. On one side, an increidbly powerful, predictive AI known as Crystal Palace who is tasked with maintaining the stability of life in the Principality and the safety of its citizens above all else. On the other, the rebels Demani Dusk and Grey Gloaming, former agents of the organization who now lead a faction of deserters and objectors against an encroaching armada of Rapid Evening forces. The root of this conflict, per Shade, is a debate over how (and whether) the Rapid Evening should have intervened into the Divine Fleet's own constitutional crisis. While Shade offered more context for the battle, additional reporting could not verify her claims. Fleet officials did not respond to comment regarding these or other questions. But the fundamental truth remains the same: On the edge of the Quire System, as the Twilight Mirage collapses inward, yet another fight rages over the autonomy of the Fleet and freedom of our people.   Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring  Ali Acampora (@ali_west) and Jack de Quidt (@notquitereal) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Episode description by Austin Walker Music by Jack de Quidt
Dec. 21, 2017 · 03:07:17
It is a moment of crisis, with many threats coming to bear on the residents of the Twilight Mirage all at once. Sui Juris, a separatist movement, has kidnapped the Divine Fleet's human leader—the Cadent Under Mirage—and is demanding the fleet recognize The By and By as its new capital. Meanwhile, military perils from the outside—including military vessels from both the New Earth Hegemony and the Rapid Evening—charge towards the fleet at speed. And as they race closer and closer, the Twilight Mirage itself collapses inwards, towards the Quire System, where every major remaining ship in the fleet rests... and where the Iconoclasts' machine god Volition threatens to shatter the walls of reality. And now, in this moment, the divine Indpendence—driven by pulsing Heart and housed in crystalline Body—has landed on that false moon, searching for its Mind. If it is successful, it will join with Volition and bring on an impossible age, where even materiality itself is threatened. But unlikely heroes race towards Volition too: The excerpt ⸢Signet⸣ and her recently revived Divine, Belgard, who seek to confront hopelessness itself. Korrin Kim, mercenary recently released from Contrition's Figure, determined to make right by the world. ⸢Blooming⸣, who has spent the last six months hiding the death of the divine Empyrean. The technologist and soldier, Even Gardner, who wounded Independence and took from it its pilot. And Grand Magnificent, the artist who built Independence's Body, pristine and powerful, a perfect mirror of personal accomplishment and failure. It's hell on Earth and the city's on fire. This week on Friends at the Table: The Miracle of the Mirage, Pt. 1 DIVINE FLEET READIES WARSHIPS, LAUNCHES FIRST EVACUATION VESSELSCount Nideo: 'We must make landfall with or without The Cadent.'SEANCE, Quire BY ACTIVATION STEVENSON, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT Thousands of evacuation ships launched today from the lowest levels of THE BY-AND-BY, carrying over 100,000 citizens of the Divine Fleet towards the surface of the planet Quire.  The ships are expected to land and establish preliminary camps within the next three days, per a statement released by the evacuation committee, and millions of additional refugees will be transferred across the next week. Yet, given the occupation by Sui Juris, such an effort will face many obstacles which will challenge the speed or efficiency of the operation. Note Shimmering Sea, interim leader of The By-and-By, addressed these concerns during a press conference earlier today, stating that “Any evacuation that leaves behind the Cadent Under Mirage would be a failure that dooms the future of the Fleet. Like the Cadent Herself, we must be clever, wise, and careful in this moment.” Note Sea has reportedly split her resources between three internal teams: One in charge of evacuation, one which readies an active-responses to Sui Juris’ actions, and a third which prepares for an unspecified “external threat,” which may be connected to recent phenomena observed on the edge of the Quire system—phenomena that the Signal believes to be related to confidential military action. Critics say this is not enough, though. Count Aram Nideo, who has sprung into prominence in the days since the Cadent’s kidnapping, has argued that Sea’s primary concern should be the evacuation: “We must remove every lock—budgetary, bureaucratic, or otherwise—from this effort. This evacuation effort must be funded and supported with everything The By-and-By has to offer. Every other vessel in the fleet is giving its all. As much as it pains me to say this: We must make landfall with or without The Cadent.” Others in the government have gone further, calling for an investigation into Note Sea’s actions. “By failing to support the immediate needs of the people during this crisis,” said By-and-By Level 2 Alderman Brisk Bronze, “the Note is offering credence to the terrorists who have taken her Ship and our Cadent hostage.” Whether Alderman Bronze’s accusations hold water or not, it is a reminder of the open-endedness of action in crisis. As the Signal continues to report from the front lines of this emergency, we vow to bring you the truth as best as we can find it—and to consider our own culpability, potential, and reach as we do so. Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker) Featuring Art Tebbel (@atebbel), Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart), and Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000) Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west) Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot) Episode description by Austin Walker Music by Jack de Quidt