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Author Topic: EP529: Of Blessed Servitude  (Read 6074 times)

eytanz

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on: May 04, 2016, 04:54:49 PM
EP529: Of Blessed Servitude

By A. Merc Rustad

read by Trendane Sparks

---

The sacrificial cross threw a long shadow across the road at Bishop’s dust-caked boots. He halted sharp at the sight of it. Wind hummed through wildseed bushes strung along the ditch, yellow buds as bright as radiation seals. Bishop clenched his jaw and looked along the shadow to the cross itself. It gleamed in the sunset, a steel post with a fused crossbeam, packed dirt the color of old blood at its base. And the cross wasn’t empty.

_Well, shit. _

The offering was a pretty one—young, work-muscled body, a day’s stubble scuffing his jaw. He’d been shackled naked to the cross, arms spread against the top beam. The dusty wind tugged unkempt hair across his eyes.

Bishop slapped the film of red dirt from his duster, his shoulders tense, and checked his knives from habit. He knew he shouldn’t have traveled past Providence Circle. If chokevine hadn’t overrun the only bridge across Unrepentant’s Canyon, he’d never have come near this territory. He’d never have come within sight of the town of Blessed Servitude.

He hadn’t been home in ten years.

“You should get off the road, stranger.”

“Mighty courteous of you to warn a man,” Bishop said. He shouldn’t look at the man chained against steel, shouldn’t stir up old memories. He never saved the offerings, and he didn’t try.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!



Thunderscreech

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Reply #1 on: May 04, 2016, 05:32:39 PM
The story and narration on this was fantastic, what a lovely thing to find waiting in my player. 

This sounds like a not entirely pleasant world in which to live.  It sounds fascinating, though, I'd like to hear more.



Frank Evans

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Reply #2 on: May 05, 2016, 11:02:17 AM
The story and narration on this was fantastic, what a lovely thing to find waiting in my player.

Agree 100%. This was excellent. One of the best I've heard yet.



Father Beast

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Reply #3 on: May 06, 2016, 12:27:56 AM
This is a curious world, which we are only given the minutest glimpse of. I'm tempted to say, "Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it".

This one had me hooked. You've got Bishop, who realizes it's a bad idea to stop and look at the offering, and then to talk to it, but he still keeps making these bad decisions against his better judgement. And then we get that "Oh Crap" moment when he realizes just how much trouble he has dealt himself. His computer systems then underscore that with their official calculated odds of, "you're screwed".

Through all this, he sticks to his guns and does his best. Kind of the definition of a hero.

Yes, I really liked this story. :)



matweller

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Reply #4 on: May 06, 2016, 01:25:44 PM
This is a curious world, which we are only given the minutest glimpse of. I'm tempted to say, "Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it".

This one had me hooked. You've got Bishop, who realizes it's a bad idea to stop and look at the offering, and then to talk to it, but he still keeps making these bad decisions against his better judgement. And then we get that "Oh Crap" moment when he realizes just how much trouble he has dealt himself. His computer systems then underscore that with their official calculated odds of, "you're screwed".

Through all this, he sticks to his guns and does his best. Kind of the definition of a hero.

Yes, I really liked this story. :)

At least it's our second minute glimpse of this interesting world...
http://escapepod.org/2015/02/07/ep480-knife-cold-stars/

Side note, I'm of the opinion that this world could easily cross over with Jake Bible's Dead Mech, so I had to Tweet both and put the bug in their ears. https://twitter.com/Mat_Weller/status/727512673831768064
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 01:43:05 PM by matweller »



velocity

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Reply #5 on: May 09, 2016, 01:27:32 AM
I liked the names of his knives: peace and mercy



Lionman

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Reply #6 on: May 09, 2016, 07:54:47 PM
I'll have to chime in too, Trendane did a really great job as the narrator, and he had some really good material to work with.

We should have more from both the author and the narrator!

Failure is an event, not a person.


Unblinking

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Reply #7 on: May 12, 2016, 02:15:00 PM
Oh hell yes.

This was great.

Badass protagonist fighting against long odds to make the world a better place, and at least succeeding in this one small step of it.  Main characters I could root for, evil villain to root against, lots of good action.

I'm glad someone pointed out the related story because I hadn't picked up on the connection--that one makes a good companion piece because that one takes place in the city, right?  And this one's in the country.  The two settings of the same world are so vastly different. 

This was one of those where the voice acting took some great material and made it even greater--very very well done, the character's were well differentiated in the acting which made it easy to keep track of who was talking and to empathize with each person separately.




Zelda

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Reply #8 on: May 13, 2016, 07:03:26 AM
The stories are more than just located in the same world. This one is a prequel to EP. 480.




adrianh

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Reply #9 on: May 13, 2016, 12:40:22 PM
Just super.



TrishEM

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Reply #10 on: May 14, 2016, 08:22:32 AM
I was very pleased when I realized we were getting another story from the world of To The Knife-Cold Stars!
It was a slight letdown when I realized it was a prequel, so that I had a pretty good idea of how it was going to turn out for the protagonist and the sacrifice. However, it was still good to visit that world again and have some more light cast on the fascinating yet oblique events of To The Knife-Cold Stars. (Looking at Merc Rustad's website, I see that Of Blessed Servitude was actually written and published first, in text form anyway, so it wasn't really a prequel, more that I'd listened to Ep. 2 first.)
Anyway, I'd love to hear a sequel to these two stories someday, but I've loved every story of Merc's that I've heard via Escape Artists, so whatever Merc wants to write and y'all want to produce is fine by me!



bounceswoosh

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Reply #11 on: May 22, 2016, 04:39:14 PM
Loved this story and the prior one in this universe. I'm still left a little fuzzy on the culture and the realities of this world - we know that love between men is forbidden, but are there even any women around? I don't think we've seen any. Are there a precious few kept protected/confined for breeding purposes a la Mad Max Fury Road? I realize that's not necessarily the point of the story and I don't think every story has to be inclusive; it's just what I wonder after reading.




Trendane

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Reply #12 on: May 22, 2016, 08:48:55 PM
Bishop mentioned/remembered that the man he loved, Prudence, was married and that his wife caught them together.  So there are definitely women in the universe.



bounceswoosh

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Reply #13 on: May 23, 2016, 12:58:54 AM
Bishop mentioned/remembered that the man he loved, Prudence, was married and that his wife caught them together.  So there are definitely women in the universe.

Ah, yes, thank you! I forgot that.



Fenrix

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Reply #14 on: May 26, 2016, 01:26:46 AM
Again with the Trigun feels.

"Gee Mister that cross is awful heavy."
"That's 'cause it's so full of mercy."

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Devoted135

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Reply #15 on: May 26, 2016, 02:29:12 AM
Fantastic narration!

This was a tough listen, I had to continually fight to remember who was who. But, the payoff was definitely worth it! For me, the story won me over when the plan for Bishop to "distract" the demon while Grace would actually deal the death blow actually came to fruition. Until that point, it was looking like they had badly lost the battle!


The stories are more than just located in the same world. This one is a prequel to EP. 480.

Oooohhh! Now I need to relisten to both, but in the right order. I have a feeling that EP 480 will make a million times more sense now..



That Hirschman Guy

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Reply #16 on: June 01, 2016, 09:00:28 PM
Great combination of a western and a sci-fi.
The voicework was flawless and perfectly fit to the characters and moods.
I kept wanting to yell at the voice in his ear, each time it announced the likelihood of success:

"NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS!!"



Aliquid Novi

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Reply #17 on: July 17, 2016, 04:54:01 PM
Great story. The world is so very hard, but so beautifully imagined. Thank you. I went back and re-read EP-480 and it did make more sense now.

Beautifully read too. Trendane, any time you decide to return to being a werewolf phone sex operator, let me have your number ;)



Trendane

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Reply #18 on: July 21, 2016, 05:56:01 PM
Beautifully read too. Trendane, any time you decide to return to being a werewolf phone sex operator, let me have your number ;)

HAH!  I'll bear that in mind.

And thank you. I'm really glad you liked it.



CryptoMe

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Reply #19 on: November 21, 2017, 08:07:41 AM
Thank you so much forumites for connecting this story to EP480 for me. I had no clue.

I felt this story worked much better as a stand-alone than EP480. The backstory seemed more clear and comprehensible. The writing, while dense, didn't leave you feeling like you were missing part of the story. With EP480, I just felt completely lost. (Going back now and re-reading EP480, I can see why I was so lost then and why it made way more sense now). This story definitely made me want to know more about this world.