Jan 13, 2023
This episode carries content warnings for slavery and indentured servitude, kidnapping, discussion of taxidermy, blood, injury, physical harm, death, and the discussion of sports-related injuries.
Here, in Somerset House, drama of the most unlikely kind is afoot. With the family fortune withering away, the Solstice clan plays host to a pair of powerful Pact dignitaries: the data-magnate Exenceaster March and the notorious Admiral Bel’Agos Bloom. They aim to draw March away from his loyalties to the Columnar with an exquisite retreat prepared by the house’s staff, featuring hunting, fine dining, and other entertainment. But one after another, the unpredictable has become the occuring: A terrible accident among the hedges. The discovery of an explosive device. And next, the return of an absentee member of the household…
Can Solstice House’s staff turn the situation around and save the day? Or is something—like the mysterious, dark pall that surrounds the estate—due to break?
The Bilateral Intercession: This faction, made up primarily from Stel Nideo and Kesh assets, was formerly known as the Curtain. The rebranding comes as part of a “civil coup” performed by Cynosure Whitestar-Kesh. In a move that surprised no group more than the Curtain themselves, Cynosure spent years growing in confidence and power, until that intelligence organization could be once again reduced to a tool. Still defined by their traditionalism, they wield their control on culture, religion, and history as a weapon—and the extensive spy network for which they are named when those come up short.
The Pact of Free States: While the Bilateral Intercession’s name change reflects a shift in leadership and posture for the Curtain, the shift from “The Pact of Necessary Venture” to “The Pact of Free States” is simply the public acceptance of what was already widely understood to be true. Led in name by Dahlia, the Glorious Princept, and in day-to-day operation by senior members of Stels Apostolos and Columnar, the Pact paint themselves as liberal reformists whose aim is to increase the degree of autonomy in each of the Stels, such that they become in reality five separate nations.
The Branched: A post-human culture from the Golden Branch star sector who have transformed their bodies into spectacular forms, but who are now weighed down by an endless war with the Principality.
Kaliope: A planet at the very periphery of the Golden Branch star sector. Once, it was known for cutting edge genetic modifications, avant garde fashion, and a streak of anti-authoritarianism. Now it is just one jewel on the bracelet of the principality.
Somerset House: Estate of the Solstice family, deep in the forests of Kaliope. It’s hidden away and defensible, but some say that it carries a dark past connected to the Branched..
Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west)
Music by Jack de Quidt (available on bandcamp)
Text by Austin Walker
Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)
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