Lyrics for the Song of Silver?


Hell's Rebels

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

My group is seriously loving this adventure path so far. The fourth book looks particularly excellent, but one thing that would make it even better would be actual lyrics for the titular "Song of Silver." I know the bard in my group would love to actually perform it for the table.

We're told the original Silver Ravens reworked an old local mining song into an anthem for Kintargo during the Chelish Civil War. Any creative folks want to take a crack at writing the lyrics?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Not being able to include lyrics and sheet music for the Song of Silver is my main disappointment with this adventure—I was fully intending to create both for the adventure but didn't have the chance. I'd love to see what folks come up with though!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Hopefully by the time I get to this AP, someone will have come up with some. I'd have loved to see what Mr. Jacobs came up with, but his time is worth a bit more than we can ask.

Maybe a Kickstarter? ^_^


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

You could always modify "Song of Oppression" from Skyrim. Here are its lyrics below:

We drink to our youth, for the days come and gone.
For the age of oppression is now nearly done.
We'll drive out the Empire from this land that we own.
With our blood and our steel we'll take back our home.

All hail to Ulfric! You are the High King!
In your great honor we drink and we sing.
We're the children of Skyrim, and we fight all our lives.
And when Sovngarde beckons, every one of us dies!
But this land is ours and we'll see it wiped clean.
Of the scourge that has sullied our hopes and our dreams!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Kalindlara wrote:

Hopefully by the time I get to this AP, someone will have come up with some. I'd have loved to see what Mr. Jacobs came up with, but his time is worth a bit more than we can ask.

Maybe a Kickstarter? ^_^

It wasn't a matter of time, frankly. I sort of chickened out... the Song of Silver needs to be something heartstopingly beautiful and powerful, haunting and uplifting and with a touch of melancholy and a dose of stubborn anti-establishment rhetoric. All of which needs to be communicated via the music even BEFORE the lyrics come along. I'd come to think of it as something that might just work better NOT being defined... sort of like how it's better if we don't know the exact contents of the Necronomicon. What we imagine in an undefined way is always going to be better than reality, since what we imagine customizes immediately to each person.

Sovereign Court

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I see. Very well thought-out. ^_^

Shadow Lodge

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Tangent101 wrote:
You could always modify "Song of Oppression" from Skyrim.

I don't get the impression that "The Song of Silver" is supposed to be a folk song, as it were. It's more high-art, operatic, anthemic than that, and definitely the product of specific authors' artifice. The traditional inspiration for such songs is "La Marseillaise," but that song is more vigorous than the haunting tune Jacobs describes.

Two songs that do fit at least the melodic mood that he describes are "Die Moorsoldaten" and "Zog Nit Keynmol," both fundamentally about resisting Nazi oppression. While I consider Cheliax more like 16th-century Spain, others have drawn the comparison to 1930s Germany, so at least to them I guess it's apt enough.

Here's a pass using "Zog Nit Keynmol's" melody (and most of its English lyrics, because they're actually quite good, and to the point):

* * *

Never say that you have reached the very end
Though leaden skies a bitter future may portend
||: For soon the silver shining hour will arrive
And our marching steps will thunder 'we survive!' :||

From western forest and the mountains white with snow
They will be marching, whip in hand, to Kintargo
||: But everywhere they spill our blood upon the earth
They'll find our courage and our spirit blooming forth :||

The early morning sun will set our day aglow
Our evil yesterdays will vanish with the foe
||: But if the time is long before the sun appears
Then let this song go like a signal through the years. :||

This song was written with our blood, and not with lead
It's not a caw from crow or raven overhead
||: It is a people by the silver riverbanks
That sing this song of ours in files and in ranks :||

So never say that you have reached the very end
Though leaden skies a bitter future may portend
||: For soon the silver shining hour will arrive
And our marching steps will thunder 'we survive!' :||

* * *

Since the "Song of Silver" has Shelynite and Milanite influences, I tried to include them. Spot the imagery!


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I may just rock some Edith Piaf when the time comes.

"Non, je ne regrette rien," maybe.

"No, this isn't it, they don't speak French in Cheliax, but shut up and listen."

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I immediately had that song from the DUNE movie in mind:
It's from Toto, called PROPHECY THEME
I really think this nails it for the music part. Unfortunately it has no lyrics...

Prophecy Theme

I can imagine silver streaks flowing out of the singers body, waving through the hall with silver magic, filling bystanders with sorrow, grief and sadness, but also with happines and hope.


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
You could always modify "Song of Oppression" from Skyrim.

I don't get the impression that "The Song of Silver" is supposed to be a folk song, as it were. It's more high-art, operatic, anthemic than that, and definitely the product of specific authors' artifice. The traditional inspiration for such songs is "La Marseillaise," but that song is more vigorous than the haunting tune Jacobs describes.

Two songs that do fit at least the melodic mood that he describes are "Die Moorsoldaten" and "Zog Nit Keynmol," both fundamentally about resisting Nazi oppression. While I consider Cheliax more like 16th-century Spain, others have drawn the comparison to 1930s Germany, so at least to them I guess it's apt enough.

Here's a pass using "Zog Nit Keynmol's" melody (and most of its English lyrics, because they're actually quite good, and to the point):

* * *

Never say that you have reached the very end
Though leaden skies a bitter future may portend
||: For soon the silver shining hour will arrive
And our marching steps will thunder 'we survive!' :||

From western forest and the mountains white with snow
They will be marching, whip in hand, to Kintargo
||: But everywhere they spill our blood upon the earth
They'll find our courage and our spirit blooming forth :||

The early morning sun will set our day aglow
Our evil yesterdays will vanish with the foe
||: But if the time is long before the sun appears
Then let this song go like a signal through the years. :||

This song was written with our blood, and not with lead
It's not a caw from crow or raven overhead
||: It is a people by the silver riverbanks
That sing this song of ours in files and in ranks :||

So never say that you have reached the very end
Though leaden skies a bitter future may portend
||: For soon the silver shining hour will arrive
And our marching steps will thunder 'we survive!' :||

* * *

Since the "Song of Silver" has Shelynite and Milanite influences, I tried to include...

'Die Moorsoldaten' is exactly the song you'd need. Excellent suggestion


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I was thinking a re-worded version of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from Les Miserables would work really well; since it's already very operatic and already has a big revolutionary feel to it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Before the phrase "Song of Silver" was published, I re-worked the lyrics of an old Scottish Jacobite song, "Cam Ye O'er Frae France" into an anti-Thrune/pro-Davian song called, "Hail Ye Chelish Lords" from the first Chelish Civil War.

The post is written as if it were an excerpt from a book on ethno-musicology by a Chelish scholar in exile in Magnamar.

If I ever run "Hell's Rebels," (ir "Hell's Vengeance") I'll be including that song in my game.


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Bobmuffin52 wrote:
I was thinking a re-worded version of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from Les Miserables would work really well; since it's already very operatic and already has a big revolutionary feel to it.

The bard's player in my group has already been using that... as a joke. Glad to see not EVERY group is composed of wiseacres.


Bobmuffin52 wrote:
I was thinking a re-worded version of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from Les Miserables would work really well; since it's already very operatic and already has a big revolutionary feel to it.

ooh, I like it; I found a reasonably clean copy if anyone wants to use it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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In fact, using real-world songs and changing the lyrics is a pretty good way to handle the Song of Silver... and not one we could do in print. Good solution for home games though!


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Traditional folk tunes are public domain...

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Haladir wrote:
Traditional folk tunes are public domain...

But also recognizable and thus break verisimilitude for me. If I were running the game for my group, I'd rather have a unique song with unique lyrics so it doesn't feel like some real-world Earth influence got in there.

I suspect I'm not alone there, and therefore didn't want to go this route in print. It was either something brand new or nothing at all—and the nothing at all version certainly doesn't prevent folks from doing what folks are doing in this thread.

Working as intended, in other words.


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Fair enough!

Shadow Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
Haladir wrote:
Traditional folk tunes are public domain...
But also recognizable

Well, that's good to hear. I was under the impression that no one recognized them anymore.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Haladir wrote:
Traditional folk tunes are public domain...
But also recognizable
Well, that's good to hear. I was under the impression that no one recognized them anymore.

Depends on the person and on the song whether or not it's recognizable. If you know your players, and you know which songs they will or won't recognize, using one that they WON'T recognize is a great trick to pull.

Again, since I don't know any one GM's players, I'm not in a position to do this for the GM by publishing it as part of the adventure.


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Our group uses backgound music and I always try find a piece of music to open my games with. Twice (Jade Regent and Iron Gods), I took the time to create 'opening credit sequences' for the game.

We'll be starting Hells Rebels this weekend and I was disipointed to find out there were no actual music or lyrics for the song of silver. However, after looking at this forum, I decided to write my own, though I think my version will be less beautiful and more haunting.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Had I all the money in the world I would have hired Lisa Gerrard to create the Song of Silver, but I don't have that, and I didn't want to half-ass it on my own, since I know my limitations.

But I'm still also quite disappointed there's no music or lyrics for it. :(


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James Jacobs wrote:

Had I all the money in the world I would have hired Lisa Gerrard to create the Song of Silver, but I don't have that, and I didn't want to half-ass it on my own, since I know my limitations.

But I'm still also quite disappointed there's no music or lyrics for it. :(

Don't be dissapointed, I've read through the 'lyrics' I drafted for our table several times now, and, while they may not be beautiful when sung, I made sure they had a lot of meaning in them and, more importantly, sound like a folk tune.

I've put the draft lyrics behind spoiler tags

:
Would you buy my silver, the Chelish miner cried,
Twas for these lumps of silver, I saw my brothers die,
In deep and dark tunnels, far from Aroden’s eyes,
Where picks ring like music, hidden from the skies,

I’ll strike a note of silver, a shining, ringing tone,
Earn my wage for those I love, who wait for me at home,
A constant sound of silver, in a world of dark and dim,
And if I fall, I’ll go knowing, I did it all for them,

I’ll sing my song of silver, to help my city thrive,
Through the flames and dark times, will silver city rise,
When the queen comes to see me, I’ll give her my reply,
With silver steel, for silver steel, will cut through all her lies

For a tune, it will probably sound like an amalgamation of Ranken Bass's song of the Misty Mountains, God Rest Thee Merry Gental Men and the Hanging Tree from the Hunger Games Movie.


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James Jacobs wrote:

Had I all the money in the world I would have hired Lisa Gerrard to create the Song of Silver, but I don't have that, and I didn't want to half-ass it on my own, since I know my limitations.

But I'm still also quite disappointed there's no music or lyrics for it. :(

While I can admit I was very much looking forward to seeing what Paizo could do with the Song of Silver, I can see why you would leave it out. I feel like one of the biggest obstacles in writing something like that is no matter what, it won't match up with someone's perception of what it should be. I'm not personally musically talented, but I definitely had a vision in my head of what the Song of Silver would feel like.

This way, GMs can create their own SoS, and tailor it to the feel of their campaign.

Mr. Reo wrote:

Don't be dissapointed, I've read through the 'lyrics' I drafted for our table several times now, and, while they may not be beautiful when sung, I made sure they had a lot of meaning in them and, more importantly, sound like a folk tune.

I've put the draft lyrics behind spoiler tags** spoiler omitted **

For a tune, it will probably sound like an amalgamation of Ranken Bass's song of the Misty Mountains, God Rest Thee Merry Gental Men and the Hanging Tree from the Hunger Games Movie.

OOOOOH Reo, this is awesome. For giggles, I put this to the tune of 'The Hanging Tree' (because I'll admit, I've been kind of wanting to use it for SoS) and it fits so very, very well. Essentially, repeat each verse twice (sing verse 1-3, then do so again), then repeat the last verse, with the potential for some minor tweaks.

Thank you so very much for this gift :D


Might also be worth it to check out Steeleye Span's "When I was on Horseback."

I'll probably use this one if I decide I don't want to use a song that my PCs are familiar with, and since I'm planning to use Haladir's "Hail Ye Chelish Lords" this fits quite well.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Another thing about traditional folk tunes is that they tend to get re-used over and over again with different lyrics.

For example, "The Mad Fiddler of the North Country" by the Adirondack folk-singer Chris Shaw uses the same tune as the traditional Appalachian folk tune "Shady Grove", which itself uses the same tune as the traditional English folk song "Matty Groves".

And none of the above songs really sounds all that similar to the others! That's the beauty of them: they're adaptable and timeless.


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Thank you Wolf. I was driving between towns yesterday and sang about four different variations of the song the whole trip.

I'm doing something a little silly with mine. As I said above, I like to use a common song to open my game with a piece of music.

For example, I found a lyricless version of 'Arabian Nights' from Disney's Aladin for Legacy of Fire, for King Maker, I used Dvorak's 'New World Symphony, 4th Movement.'

For Hell's Rebels, I recorded myself singing the lyrics I posted, added some reverb so I don't go crazy listening to my own voice, and I'm going to use it at the start of every game session to try and get my players a little more familiar with the tune.


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I'm working on my own version of "The Song of Silver." I'm thinking of using the tune of the 15th-century "The Agincourt Carol" (without the chorus).

(This Sunday at church, we sang a hymn set to that tune. I couldn't help thinking, "That tune would be perfect for 'The Song of Silver!'")


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I always imagine the Song of Silver to be like a nightwish song, deep, grand, uplifting, powerful.


Mr. Reo wrote:

Thank you Wolf. I was driving between towns yesterday and sang about four different variations of the song the whole trip.

I'm doing something a little silly with mine. As I said above, I like to use a common song to open my game with a piece of music.

For example, I found a lyricless version of 'Arabian Nights' from Disney's Aladin for Legacy of Fire, for King Maker, I used Dvorak's 'New World Symphony, 4th Movement.'

For Hell's Rebels, I recorded myself singing the lyrics I posted, added some reverb so I don't go crazy listening to my own voice, and I'm going to use it at the start of every game session to try and get my players a little more familiar with the tune.

Doesn't sound silly to me. I've been talking about seeking out someone to record a couple of songs for me, mostly because I'm pretty shy about my own voice.

I am doing something similar though. I'm assigning a song to each part of the AP. It can be a modern song, a filk/folk song, etc. For example, I'm using Woodkid's Iron for Turn of the Torrent because it made me think of the Order of the Torrent Hellknight's.

I also use theme songs for major NPCs and will even talk to players about a theme song for each player.

I definitely feel like music is an important component to a good game, but any game in Cheliax especially.


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Actually, I might give you a quick edit to the song. I'm going to continue to use spoiler tags because my players are active in these forum and for raisins below:

:

The changes are in bold

Verse 2, line three:
A constant sound of silver, in a world SO dark and dim,

Verse 3, Line two:
Through my gift of silver, will silver city rise.

I have a couple of versions of the song which I'm going to use in my game. The first is one above which is the 'adapted' version. There is also a 'traditional' version which is slightly, only slightly, different. I also want to include a draft 'freedom' version hidden somewhere with the words written in red pen: 'Not Subtle Enough.'


Mr. Reo wrote:


I've put the draft lyrics behind spoiler tags** spoiler omitted **

For a tune, it will probably sound like an amalgamation of Ranken Bass's song of the Misty Mountains, God Rest Thee Merry Gental Men and the Hanging Tree from the Hunger Games Movie.

Really love this music. I will try to translate it to portuguese (since I'm Brazilian) and use it on my games. Just it someone to sing it for me...

Since no-one of my players is a bard, I guess it will be Shensen who will perform it.


Been thinking about this a bit since one of my players brought up the topic of finding a song that might be used to represent The Song of Silver. As James mentioned, it's hard to think of an existing song that has appropriate lyrics without any real world references to throw off the tone. Scouring my mind for songs I like and keeping in mind the desired tone outlined above I think this is my favourite choice so far.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFQvJr4_uiY

English Translation:
Deluded, I believed in my inexorable strength
And inevitably I became weak
Now I can feel the changes of events
And I already know the emotions that bring back distant memories

From my soul I find hope that within my tired body
Had stopped beating, like a fire extinguished by the tears
In my hands a trickle of water I will carry with me
And in the desert a blade of grass will survive

I do, I do, emerge from the depths to fight and then
rise higher than ever
I do, I do, look toward the future and smile
without fearing anything any more

In an instant, I find new aspirations, even if in front of me
A new scenario of wins and losses opens
In the silence, reflection of forgotten ages
Breathing, I sense their circular motion, and then...

Time has stopped to draw new boundaries, and I
Press further on, gathering my strength in the wind
In my hands, reflections of forgotten ages
Walking, I find their indelible traces

I do, I do, scream against those lifeless and cold eyes,
To become better than ever
I do, I do, go beyond impregnable worlds
Without fearing anymore...
I do, I do, emerge from the depths to fight and then
Rise higher than ever
I do, I do, look toward the future and smile
with a new identity
Until the sun rises...

I do

I do


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That video isn't available in the U.S. apparently. :-)


Strange, I tend to expect videos to less accessible in Canada by default. The song is I Do by Ilaria Graziano

Let's see if this link does any better

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTRI3qac0F0


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Nope, evidently Victor Entertainment doesn't want their stuff watched by us. :-)

I'll see what I can find on it later when I'm not on my phone. :-)


This thread has been very interesting to me. I love how everyone seems to have their own views on what the Song of Silver should sound like.

I think I'd like to keep the Song of Silver a bit mysterious and haunting. Between all the bloodshed, heroic deeds and high stakes of Book 4, I want the performance of the Song of Silver to seem like a haunting, yet invigorating breath of fresh air.

With that in mind, I fell in love with the Hanging Tree song from Mockingjay, and I found a no-vocals version I'm planning on using.

Here it is.


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I trust you've seen this thread as well.


Ralphrius wrote:

With that in mind, I fell in love with the Hanging Tree song from Mockingjay, and I found a no-vocals version I'm planning on using.

Here it is.

Ralphrius, check out this violin cover as well. It's one I'm seriously considering.

Shadow Lodge

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Been thinking about this some more, and it occurred to me that the Warszawianka fits remarkably well for the Song of Silver, even better than the two songs I mentioned above. Mostly this is for historical and political rather than musical reasons; all the songs I've talked about are fairly similar and can be made to fit James Jacobs' description. But Die Moorsoldaten was a form of passive resistance and Zog Nit Keynmol was a memorial, and both only became popular well after the events that inspired them. The Warszawianka, by contrast, was always a call to action, and more importantly, existed for a long time underground before becoming popular after events made it apposite. I've gone on at length elsewhere about how I view the events of 4715-16 AR in Cheliax as analogous to the events of 1905 AD in Russia, and I'm sure that's influencing my thinking, but as long as there's more lyrics (the melody can be found on Youtube easily enough) out there for GMs to use, what's the harm?

Whirlwinds of danger are raging around us,
Furies and dragons and darkness assail,
Still shall the world hear resounding in chorus,
Bright song of silver that yet shall prevail.

Then forward Kintargo, freedom awaits you,
Over the world and the land and the sea.
On with the fight for justice and beauty.
March, march Kintargo and the world shall be free.

Brothers and sisters in hunger are calling,
Shall we be silent to their sorrow and woe?
While in the fight see our comrades are falling,
Up then united and conquer the foe!

Then forward Kintargo, freedom awaits you,
Over the world and the land and the sea.
On with the fight for justice and beauty.
March, march Kintargo and the world shall be free.

Off with the crown of the tyrants of favor!
Down in the dust with the prince and the peer!
Strike off your chains, sons and daughters of labor!
Wake to the struggle, for victory is near.

Then forward Kintargo, freedom awaits you,
Over the world and the land and the sea.
On with the fight for justice and beauty.
March, march Kintargo and the world shall be free.


Stirring words.

I'd suggest that the lyrics are a bit off from the default adventure; The point is to rebel against Barzillai, not to revolutionise the entire system of government of Ravounel. In part because that is a much bigger fight, and would almost certainly not involve getting a bunch of the very nobles you're attacking to sign on in Book 3.

It's less of a revolution against the monarchy/feudal system of government, and more a "Down with the Tyrant Prince!".

I'm also not overly convinced by the parallels with 19th century Russia. Russia had systemic issues that were entirely internal. Ravounel's problems are being imposed upon them by the rest of Cheliax - an empire it is an unwilling part of.

Personally... I would up rewriting the entire background of the Silver Ravens and the Song of Silver.

For those interested:

My beef with the initial pitch of the Silver Ravens "fighting oppression during the civil war"... was that it was never stated who they were fighting internally. If they were only opposing the conquest of the city/region by Thrune or other contenders for the throne of Cheliax, then they weren't rebels and had no need for secrecy. After trying to wrangle a sequence of events that somehow created a scenario where the Silver Ravens were as described... I gave up as I was unable to convince myself that it worked.

It also instilled the fundamental issue that the PCs were walking in the footsteps of giants. Giants who wind up feeling like a PC party the players can never match the achievements of. This being the personal bugbear of at least one of my players, it needed to change.

Instead, I used Ravounel's unusual political structure - having no ascendant noble family, but instead a council of powerful nobles who nominate an executive - to create an organization which would come to be known as the Silver Ravens. Best described as a hybrid of the Tolkien rangers and the Jedi knights, the Silver Ravens were founded a millennia ago to be an independent peacekeeping force intended to hunt down dangerous creatures in the wilds, and with the power to muster militia and request the aid of the various nobles to combat threats to Ravounel as a whole. The order was one of warriors, nobles, knights, scholars and even reformed criminals, whose charter was granted by unanimous vote of the Board of Governors and the Lord-Mayor, and can only be amended or dismissed by the same.

The Song of Silver was an ancient musical tradition carried by the Silver Ravens, who used it as a weapon and a shield against evil that threatened the people of Ravounel. It was adjusted and modified to suit the needs of the era, but its form was typically a three-part vocal performance; Lyrics in Taldane (common), with Azlanti and Celestial backing vocals. My inspiration was more works by Thomas Bergersen, Two Steps from Hell and Doyle W. Donehoo. No, it isn't appropriate to the medieval period, but given that modern classical music doesn't remotely resemble medieval period music, I would argue it is no more or less anachronistic.

By the end of the civil war, the order had waned from its once one-to-two-hundred strong membership to a paltry few dozen, mostly due to various noble families withdrawing much of their support as they secretly allied with one of the competing factions for the crown... and the Silver Ravens mostly tried to keep Ravounel neutral. Rather than fight Thrune in the last battle, they shielded the city with the song of silver to force a truce period to negotiate with the Thrune invaders... and at the end of which the city surrendered.

Rather than go out in a blaze of hellfire (though some of the Ravens did attempt to fight the invaders, with minimal support), the leaders of the order instead created a number of caches throughout the city - one of which was beneath the Livery. Each cache had a set of documents, a store of equipment, a copy of the Silver Raven charter, and an open letter constituting a call to arms and an invitation to the order; Citizens finding it need only sign their names onto the bottom of the charter to legally join and resurrect the order. The song of silver was divided into its three component lyrics and hidden throughout the city, to be discovered as the adventure progressed.

The Silver Raven charter basically gives the PCs technically legal permission to do what the AP requires, though under no circumstances would these legal rights be recognised by Thrune or the church of Asmodeus since all such records are long redacted (but not legally repealed). This also means that when dealing with the Hellknights, the PCs are coming from a position of legal strength, and offering legitimacy to the Torrent's desire to oppose Thrune.


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I'm thinking about using the old Bundist anthem "Di shvue" (the oath)


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These are the lyrics I wrote for the Song of Silver in my own Hell's Rebels game, below. I tried to integrate imagery from the faiths of Milani and Sarenrae, as well as a metal motif both for the titular Silver Ravens and because the Song of Silver was supposedly adapted from an old mining song:

Oh, they forged us chains of iron
In Hell's blackest depths
With devil's wiles they bound us
With contracts for our deaths
Iron binds and weighs us
Child of Hell's darkest fires
But silver are the blades
That cut the tongues of liars

In Egorian, wicked Abrogail
Spun webs of finest silk
With lies and whispers spoiled
Human kindness' milk
Silk is fine for nobleborn
Who pay their debts in gold
But honest folk trust silver
That burns the lies so bold

The Yolubilis lies dark
With no moon floating o'er
The Arcadian ocean churns
To the beat of Chelish oars
Where now are the heroes
Who with their blood our freedom won?
In the dawn the river shimmers
Silver ribbons in the sun

In the fields the roses bloom
With gentle rains that fall in sheets
But in Kintargo roses grow
From blood soaked in the streets
If Devils hunger for our souls
If Thrune says death or slavery
In the beat of silver wings
The Raven's flight will set us free

Shadow Lodge

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Raynulf wrote:
My beef with the initial pitch of the Silver Ravens "fighting oppression during the civil war"... was that it was never stated who they were fighting internally.

Not in Hell's Rebels itself, no. Cheliax, the Infernal Empire, however, establishes that House Sarini were Archdukes of Ravounel. Mark Moreland, et al., Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Cheliax, the Infernal Empire 3 (2015). They are no longer the Archdukes of Ravounel, despite the House and the Archduchy still existing as such, and despite representatives of the House living in Kintargo. Their dispossession is specifically called a consequence of the "shakeup" that was the Civil War. Id. What probably happened was that Sarini was expelled from Kintargo itself fairly early in the Civil War, though retained their grip on the countryside of Ravounel and possibly the support of Vyre. The Silver Ravens are mentioned as having fought off conquest, inter alia, " … five times by power-hungry noble families [and] four times by agents of Thrune." Crystal Frasier, Pathfinder Adventure Path #97: In Hell's Bright Shadow, 27, (2015). At least some of those attempts would have been attempts by House Sarini to reassert its power over the city.

In the end, as we know, the city was subdued not by its Archdukes, but by the new central authority. This goes a long way to explaining Sarini's status as "fools of Thrune." Cheliax, the Infernal Empire, supra, at 3. They were in fact dispossessed by events (by the popular uprising in Kintargo), but their dispossession was legally ratified by their new liegelords as punishment for needing to be bailed out. And they were never replaced because really, who cares about the backwater that is Ravounel, at least, between the cessation of the Everwar (where Kintargo would have been a major logistical hub) and the foundation of the Arcadian colonies? There is precedent for this; the unproductive and depopulated Hellcoast wasn't given new Archdukes after House Davian was exterminated either.

Raynulf wrote:
The point is to rebel against Barzillai, not to revolutionise the entire system of government of Ravounel.

The thing about revolutions is they get out of control. The only way it stops at dethroning a tyrant prince is if the revolutionary leaders themselves turn on and indeed massacre their supporters.

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In part because that is a much bigger fight

Which is exactly why I continue to conceive of Hell's Rebels as merely the opening move in a much longer campaign. The Adventurer's Guide backs me up on this, when it describes the Silver Ravens as committed to revolutionizing the whole of Cheliax.

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and would almost certainly not involve getting a bunch of the very nobles you're attacking to sign on in Book 3.

The nobles have very good reason to fear less from a popular revolution than they do from the existing order of things. Barzillai's already massacred one House on pretextual grounds. And even if they can't be appealed to as romantic nationalists (which most of them canonically are), they can be coerced. The Records Hall is nothing if it is not the repository of feudal rights, and it is kept out of their hands throughout the AP, first by Thrune and then by the Silver Ravens.


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Raynulf wrote:
My beef with the initial pitch of the Silver Ravens "fighting oppression during the civil war"... was that it was never stated who they were fighting internally.

Not in Hell's Rebels itself, no. Cheliax, the Infernal Empire, however, establishes that House Sarini were Archdukes of Ravounel. Mark Moreland, et al., Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Cheliax, the Infernal Empire 3 (2015). They are no longer the Archdukes of Ravounel, despite the House and the Archduchy still existing as such, and despite representatives of the House living in Kintargo. Their dispossession is specifically called a consequence of the "shakeup" that was the Civil War. Id. What probably happened was that Sarini was expelled from Kintargo itself fairly early in the Civil War, though retained their grip on the countryside of Ravounel and possibly the support of Vyre. The Silver Ravens are mentioned as having fought off conquest, inter alia, " … five times by power-hungry noble families [and] four times by agents of Thrune." Crystal Frasier, Pathfinder Adventure Path #97: In Hell's Bright Shadow, 27, (2015). At least some of those attempts would have been attempts by House Sarini to reassert its power over the city.

In the end, as we know, the city was subdued not by its Archdukes, but by the new central authority. This goes a long way to explaining Sarini's status as "fools of Thrune." Cheliax, the Infernal Empire, supra, at 3. They were in fact dispossessed by events (by the popular uprising in Kintargo), but their dispossession was legally ratified by their new liegelords as punishment for needing to be bailed out. And they were never replaced because really, who cares about the backwater that is Ravounel, at least, between the cessation of the Everwar (where Kintargo would have been a major logistical hub) and the foundation of the Arcadian colonies? There is precedent for this; the unproductive and depopulated Hellcoast wasn't given new Archdukes...

Credit where it is due, yours is probably the best attempt I've seen to uncover the historical background for the Hell's Rebels campaign within the published material.

That said, I will add the following comments:

  • As a matter of window dressing, Ravounel wasn't an Archduchy prior to the civil war, as that title was invented by Thrune.
  • Ravounel is listed as having not had an archduke for "nearly half a century" (Cheliax: The Infernal Empire, p3). The civil war ended 75 years before the "the present year", suggesting that Ravounel had an archduke for at least 25 years after the end of the civil war.
  • At the end of the civil war, Thrune appointed Nemnen Sarini (Turn of the Torrent, p5) as Lord-Mayor.
  • To add to the confusion, "This rendered the castle dungeons one of the few places in Kintargo where even the city's lord-mayors had no right to go. Often, Ravounel's archduke lived in the castle, but the last two archdukes before Barzillai opted instead to live in the Chelish heartland.", Song of Silver, p31. This implies Barzillai is the current archduke, but that might just be sloppy language.
  • After ousting House Sarini from Ravounel and seizing control of the city, secrecy and hideouts become redundant. In essence, they would transition from rebelling against an internal to an external threat, and while both are "rebels", they are substantially different in how they function. Silver Ravens in control of Kintargo and defending it from reoccupation would need a militia/army and to occupy the military strongholds - watchtowers, Castle Kintargo etc... not the basement of an opera house.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
The thing about revolutions is they get out of control. The only way it stops at dethroning a tyrant prince is if the revolutionary leaders themselves turn on and indeed massacre their supporters.

The story of Hell's Rebels is intended to be a war of independence from Cheliax. This doesn't necessarily mean a change of governmental systems, merely a change of who is in control. Indeed, given that maintaining the old system is enforced by the presence of the Kintargo contract, I don't think "revolution" is actually an appropriate term for Hell's Rebels.

That said, the adventure path is very liberal with its use of language and bandies around "Rebel" and "Revolutionary" interchangeably. I suspect largely because of the emotional reaction it achieves with a US audience.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Which is exactly why I continue to conceive of Hell's Rebels as merely the opening move in a much longer campaign. The Adventurer's Guide backs me up on this, when it describes the Silver Ravens as committed to revolutionizing the whole of Cheliax.

I'm 99.9% sure that's not what the intent of the adventure path is (because Paizo don't want that great a change to their campaign setting)... but it would be a better use of the scenario presented, I agree.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
The nobles have very good reason to fear less from a popular revolution than they do from the existing order of things. Barzillai's already massacred one House on pretextual grounds. And even if they can't be appealed to as romantic nationalists (which most of them canonically are), they can be coerced. The Records Hall is nothing if it is not the repository of feudal rights, and it is kept out of their hands throughout the AP, first by Thrune and then by the Silver Ravens.

Good argument, though I would suggest it less of a call to declare independence from Cheliax, and more a call to assassinate the mad tyrant Barzillai. Then beg forgiveness from his cousin, and declare undying devotion to the empire to avert her wrath.

Which in and of itself could be an explanation for the events in the campaign; where independence only occurs to most of the city after Barzillai is dead and the Kintargo Contract is revealed... but that is absolutely not what the language of the first four books suggests.

Shadow Lodge

Raynulf wrote:
As a matter of window dressing, Ravounel wasn't an Archduchy prior to the civil war, as that title was invented by Thrune.

It was certainly not. It could not have been, as it predates the civil war. "As archduke is a hereditary title, the ruling family of each archduchy rarely changes, though the Chelish Civil War did shake things up a century ago," Mark Moreland, et al., Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Cheliax, the Infernal Empire 3 (2015), "and "In Arodus 4608 AR, the chaos finally descended into all-out war. A dispute arose between two noble houses, each ruling neighboring counties that were in different archduchies." Id., at 6 (emphasis added). The titles invented by Thrune are the non-heritable Paraduke and Paracount titles that exist in parallel (geddit?) with the older and hereditary ducal and county titles.

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Ravounel is listed as having not had an archduke for "nearly half a century" (Cheliax: The Infernal Empire, p3). The civil war ended 75 years before the "the present year", suggesting that Ravounel had an archduke for at least 25 years after the end of the civil war.

At the end of the civil war, Thrune appointed Nemnen Sarini (Turn of the Torrent, p5) as Lord-Mayor.

It is not clear that Cheliax, the Infernal Empire, or any book in the Campaign Setting line, advances time past the "default" year of 4707 AR. What's more, dates like "a half century" are imprecise, though the "nearly" suggests that Ravounel has been without an Archduke for slightly less than, rather than slightly more than, fifty years. With this information, I'd put the last days of the Ravounel Archdukes between 4660 AR (47 years before 4707 AR) and 4665 (50 years before 4715 AR).

I have to agree that calling Barzillai an Archduke is sloppy wording, and can be discounted. A Song of Silver is the only place that even implies he has that title, and that only once. Elsewhere, including in that same volume, he is called "lord-mayor" or "paracount." See Pathfinder Adventure Path ## 97-102, passim. I also have to wonder if Nemnen Sarini was Archduke either, because he is never called such, but because there are no other adult Sarinis named at the time, let's assume that he was. The reasonable deduction is that the Lord-Mayoralty of Kintargo and the Archduchy of Ravounel were separate offices before him. We are told that House Thrune "placed a particularly odious sycophant named Nemnen Sarini in the role of lord-mayor" and that for him this was a "new role." Mike Shel, Pathfinder Adventure Path #98: Turn of the Torrent, 5 (2015).

We are also told that Nemnen had a son, Alvek, who was kidnapped in 4644 by the militant Silver Raven Brakisi and rescued by the Hellknight Reya. Id. While the organization was broken after 4644, Kintargo hardly seems like the kind of place he'd want to stay if he had a choice, and he may have begun the absentee tradition of the Sarini Archdukes. That absenteeism, and not their performance in the Civil War, was probably the reason for their dispossession, though dispossession is not the only possible consequence of absenteeism. On the one hand, the Vashnarstills worry that their distance from Anchor's End might be used as an excuse to take their barony away, and Eldonna Aulamaxa wants to use her absenteeism as an excuse to move her barony's seat from Cypress Point to Kintargo, but on the other hand, Canton Jhaltero remains absent from his holdings and is under no threat. Richard Pett, Pathfinder Adventure Path #99: Dance of the Damned, back inside cover (2015).

Taking all this, and your point about the Silver Ravens' supposed underground expertise, into account, I'm going to call my sketched history of the Civil War above incomplete and incorrect. It puts the Archdukes' ouster from the city much too early and posits an incorrect and also too-early version of their dispossession. But 34 years of civil war plus four years of aftermath is a long time, indeed too long for all of the Ravens whose names we know to be active through the whole thing. Brakisi in particular would had to have been very young in 4606 AR if he was still capable of derring-do kidnappings and street fights in 4644 AR. See Turn of the Torrent, supra, at 5.

Jackdaw, however, predates the Civil War, as does her guise as a masked folk hero. Consider, then, the following possibility. Ravounel, being ruled by the Serinis, is a strong factor on the side of Thrune from the early days of the war. I see on the wiki that House Thrune instigated the Civil War by disputing a claim with another noble house whose name has been "erased from history," https://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/4608_AR, though the books the wiki cites for this proposition don't actually say that. See Amber E. Scott, et al., Pathfinder Companion: Cheliax, Empire of Devils, (2011) and Thurston Hillman, Pathfinder Adventure Path #104: Wrath of Thrune (2016). It is nevertheless suggestive that the former Archdukes of the Heartlands are described using very similar language. C.f. Cheliax, the Infernal Empire, supra, at 3 ("House Thrune usurped not only the throne but also control of the Heartlands from its hereditary rulers during the civil war; that family's name was among the first to be redacted from Chelish history books.").

Anyway, in these early days, Sarini surely outranks Thrune, and thus becomes the target of the nearby House Davian, which sails an army up the coast from its seat in Narona. It lands near Kintargo, and puts it to siege. The Lord-Mayor remains loyal to Sarini, but some on the Board of Governors and the Court of Coin would prefer to open the gates to Davian rather than endure a siege, and most of the people agree. The Lord-Mayor imposes martial law to secure his rear while he waits for relief from the Archduke. All the customary abuses of martial law crop up, and Jackdaw begins to gather followers protecting citizens from overzealous soldiers. By the time Sarini arrives to break the siege, the infrastructure we're told about (hideouts under the Opera House and elsewhere, caches, etc.) are mostly in place.

The siege is broken with little physical damage to the city, but even people who were willing to bear wartime exegencies with an army camped on their stoop, imposed by local rulers, begin to lose patience with their overlord. Sarini keeps martial law in place and begins taking levies of men to replenish his army and goods (particularly salt, useful for preserving food on campaign). While his army's around to keep order, this discontent remains at a simmer, but after he takes it out on campaign, it boils over. The Lord-Mayor is weakened by the period of Archducal authority, and a faction in the Board of Governors takes the opportunity to move against him. This sets off a cycle of coup and countercoup that sees the Silver Ravens gain more and more support as a stable faction. It is also around this time that the Song of Silver is written, though not yet used.

Finally, after years of preparation and of their opposition subjecting themselves to a circular firing squad, the Silver Ravens are able to seize power. They proclaim Kintargo's neutrality in the ongoing Civil War, and with it, the abolition of the salt and manpower levies. Their figurehead of a Lord-Mayor is not ratified by the Board of Governors, but is popularly acclaimed and so gets away with exercising power, a la Jilia Bainilus.

This is a disaster for Sarini, which loses its major logistical hub and must therefore retake it. Its attempts to do so (characterized as attacks by Thrune agents, as the latter have ascended in power, if not in rank, over the course of the war), as well as the later attacks by the skum, vampires, and Rivozair (for the order of events, see A Song of Silver, supra, at 5) are met with the Song of Silver. The Silver Ravens later relinquish power for the same reason they took it; to preserve Kintargo from the Civil War.

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The story of Hell's Rebels is intended to be a war of independence from Cheliax.

The story of Hell's Rebels is intended to be that of a popular uprising, not a war of independence. Independence (or rather, autonomy, because post-treaty Ravounel is about as independent as Isger), as you point out, surfaces as an idea late in the AP, as a means of securing the gains of the uprising, not as an end in itself. Those gains, as presented in the AP, are 1) the overturn of Barzillai's oppressive proclamations, 2) the reinstatement of a popular leader, and 3) the disestablishment of the Church of Asmodeus. They may also include the abolition of slavery, though more as a matter of course than anything else, given the preexisting near-nonexistence of slavery in Ravounel. They may also include any other reforms that occur to the PCs or that the GM wants to put in the mouths of characters or of the masses, though radical groups will chafe more against the constraints in the later books than moderate groups will.

The means of securing Ravounel's autonomy (means to means!) are foisted on the Silver Ravens by circumstance, and are surely not their first choice. How could they be, when they don't learn of them until Book 5? In any event, the Board of Governors is not an independent actor. Its members are variously coerced, bribed, and packed into ratifying the leader the people have already demonstrated they wanted. The institution may hang like a millstone around Ravounel's neck, but real power has long since shifted elsewhere.

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I'm 99.9% sure that's not what the intent of the adventure path is (because Paizo don't want that great a change to their campaign setting)... but it would be a better use of the scenario presented, I agree.

I shouldn't have used the word "campaign" on a TTRPG messageboard. I meant it in the sense of "long-term strategy or operation," not in the sense of "events meant to be played by PCs." Paizo's clearly-demonstrated intent was not to have Ravounel isolate itself from Cheliax. In the Adventurer's Guide, again, the Silver Ravens have spread their organization throughout that country and beyond, have allied with the indigenous Bellflower Network, the Andoren Eagle Knights, and factions of Korvosa's Gray Maidens, all in the name of exporting their revolution. Crystal Frasier, et al., Pathfinder RPG Adventurer's Guide, 171, (2017) ("With the battle for Kintargo behind them, the modern Silver Ravens have turned their attention to Cheliax. Although Kintargo is ostensibly at peace and allied with Cheliax, the hearts of the Silver Ravens long for freedom and justice, not only for themselves, but for all those who suffer under tyrannical rule. The organization has dedicated itself to fostering rebellion among the other archduchies of Cheliax, aiding their neighbors to the east and south in the hopes that they too might find the strength to break away and forge destinies unencumbered by infernal rule."). In other words, they're acting like we'd expect universalist ideological revolutionaries, and not mere nationalists or separatists, to act. This goes to support my view that the events of The Kintargo Contract and Breaking the Bones of Hell are foisted on the Silver Ravens by circumstance, rather than their aims from the outset.

Paizo also puts the culmination of the Silver Ravens' campaign (okay, I couldn't think of a better word; "mission?") far in the future, and in some doubt. This goes to support my view that Hell's Rebels does not neatly wrap up events, but feeds into another, deferred confrontation. It may never be published, and even if it is won't be for another decade or so, but history marches on.


Dot!


zimmerwald1915 wrote:


It is not clear that Cheliax, the Infernal Empire, or any book in the Campaign Setting line, advances time past the "default" year of 4707 AR. <snip>

Cheliax, the Infernal Empire, page 9. "4715 AR The Present Year", is reasonably convincing. Plus Paizo have been steadily advancing the timeline of the world at a 1-to-1 rate with each AP.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Taking all this, and your point about the Silver Ravens' supposed underground expertise, into account, I'm going to call my sketched history of the Civil War above incomplete and incorrect. It puts the Archdukes' ouster from the city much too early and posits an incorrect and also too-early version of their dispossession. But 34 years of civil war plus four years of aftermath is a long time, indeed too long for all of the Ravens whose names we know to be active through the whole thing. Brakisi in particular would had to have been very young in 4606 AR if he was still capable of derring-do kidnappings and street fights in 4644 AR. See Turn of the Torrent, supra, at 5.

I'd noticed the timing as well. On one hand, it was suggested that the five most famous who rose up were the named five, and it might be the intent that most of them only rose to prominence late in the civil war, or it might be that the humans were simply in their mid-fifties at the time and getting old. I think they named them like a PC party to make it seem more reasonable to players that their PCs could take over the role and follow their footsteps... but ultimately I think it did more harm than good.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Jackdaw, however, predates the Civil War, as does her guise as a masked folk hero. Consider, then, the following possibility. <snip>

That actually works quite well as a history for the region.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
The story of Hell's Rebels is intended to be that of a popular uprising, not a war of independence. Independence (or rather, autonomy, because post-treaty Ravounel is about as independent as Isger), as you point out, surfaces as an idea late in the AP, as a means of securing the gains of the uprising, not as an end in itself. Those gains, as presented in the AP, are 1) the overturn of Barzillai's oppressive proclamations, 2) the reinstatement of a popular leader, and 3) the disestablishment of the Church of Asmodeus.

And of the three, it is the third that is actually the most incendiary. Killing a deranged Barzillai and installing a Lord-Mayor who had previously caused Abrogail no real offence is likely to annoy Abrogail as it ostensibly undermines her authority, but hardly going to spell the doom of Kintargo. Especially if Abrogail is presented with evidence of what her psychotic cousin was attempting to do - a clever party could even spin a royal reward from it.

But taking down the Church of Asmodeus? That attacks the very foundation of Thrune rule of Cheliax. I haven't found any published "laws" of Cheliax (that would be too convenient), but from what I've read I'm reasonably sure that attacking the church of Asmodeus pretty much falls on the "Instant death sentence" realm of offences.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
I shouldn't have used the word "campaign" on a TTRPG messageboard. I meant it in the sense of "long-term strategy or operation," not in the sense of "events meant to be played by PCs." Paizo's clearly-demonstrated intent was not to have Ravounel isolate itself from Cheliax.

Ah. Misunderstanding cleared up :)

Edit: Hitting the post button by accident instead of preview is a bit of a pain. Memo to self: Coffee THEN typing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

New version, courtesy of Gallivant:

"We will march and we'll fight
For the cause of good and right
Though the odds of us surviving
Are ridiculously slight
And we'll stand proud and tall
'Till they come to kill us all
Then we'll beg and plead and soil ourselves
As one by one we fall

Some they'll slash, some they'll hack
Some they'll bludgeon blue and black
Some they'll gut from top to bottom
Some they'll mangle front to back

And we'll all realize
As they're gouging out our eyes
That tomorrow we'll regret it
But today we rise!

And our corpses will rot on the plain
Leaving only a gross, bloody stain
Then the world, it will see
As will all of history
Sid + Peasants of Valencia: We had truth on our side
Sid: But we still died in vain

And the brave and lucky few
Who will somehow make it through
Scarred for life and missing limbs
And need help to pee and poo

They can stand 'neath these skies
Begging change from passerbys
Is it hopeless, yep you said it
We might as well forget it
Tomorrow we'll regret it
But today we rise!

Oh my God, will we regret it
But today we rise!"

(Just kidding, folks!)

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