Sifr

Keep Starting Fires
Season One / Episode Eleven
In which a building burns down, an assortment of artwork is destroyed, men turn themselves into wolves, and rubies are actually really expensive . . .

Naedas, Sitani, Taga, Tim, and Margot leave Robert, Robert, and Jeremy at Anne‘s apartment for the day and make their way to the Market Ward. When they reach Abacus’ apartment smoke is pouring out of the windows. Sitani scales the building and chases a feral-looking woman he sees climb out of Abacus’ window, but she escapes him.

Abacus escapes the fire but loses his collection of artwork and detris. One of the arsonists is captured and taken back to Madame Sanguine’s for questioning, where it is discovered that the arsonist is a werewolf. The arsonist identifies their leader as Voirra Redclaw, and explains that his group are mercenaries that were hired to light Abacus’ apartment on fire while ensuring his survival, but he does not know who hired them. The werewolf is released in exchange for his information.

When Abacus speaks with the Harmonium about the arson he claims all three of the arsonists were able to escape.

The group is unable to extract information of worth from the Hall of Information’s excessive bureaucratic procedures, but find Ras’Aziz Saif-Al-Rusul, a merchant known for importing spices from Faerun. The spice merchant shares the portal he uses to travel to Amn, the Triona Statue in the Clerk’s Ward, a portal that can lead to a variety of different Prime Material worlds. They will need a Ruby for the Triona to open a portal to Faerun, which they cannot afford. Abacus suggests robbing his parents, and Virus and Evania Rex.

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A Time for Tea
Season One / Episode Ten
In which ruffians aggress, footwear is frisked, hooligans are held captive, and an ultimatum is served alongside splendid teas and cakes at Madamme Sanguine’s . . .

Abacus, Naedas, Sitani, Taga, Tim, and Margot leave the Crimson Harpy and are accosted by ruffians. The ruffians attempt to mug the group but are handily defeated and, save for two that fled during the melee, are beaten into unconsciousness. Abacus and Naedas search the fallen bandits’ possessions, and eventually a consensus is reached to tie up their attackers and take them somewhere private for questioning.

The group travels by Pony Cab up to Dancer’s Court in the Market Ward, and at Abacus’ suggestion, they rent a private room at Madame Sanguine’s, a discrete cafe-slash-BDSM dungeon specializing in exotic planar teas. Utilizing the equipment available at Sanguine’s, the muggers are restrained and brought to consciousness. Sitani questions them on their motives, families, and life choices, before informing them that they will all be living with him from now on, while he teaches them responsibility and helps them to find honest work.

Abacus returns to his home alone, while Sitani, Naedas, Tim, Margot, and the three muggers – Robert, Robert, and Jimmy – go to Robert’s sister Anne’s home for the night. Naedas and Sitani sleep in shifts, and Naedas stops Anne from stabbing Sitani in his sleep.

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Appointments Aplenty
Season One / Episode Nine
In which city clerks are made cranky, unsound investments are counted up short, many many miles are marched, a fickle fiend sacks her security, and a sultry singer’s assent seems to have slipped her mind . . .

The group sleep in Abacus’ flat, but Naedas and Sitani wake up in the night to a commotion in the lane outside, where Abacus harasses street children while intoxicated. After abusing them verbally, calling them lazy wastes and unworthies, Abacus gives the children a handful of jinx and tells them to run off. Back in his apartment, Abacus shares the story of how his parents, factioneers in the Fated, met and romanced one another.

The next morning Abacus, Naedas, Sitani, Taga, and Tim go to the Hall of Information in the Clerk’s Ward. After making an appointment with the Portal Registry for the following day to pick up information on portals to Faerun, the group walk across the Cage to the Lower Ward to check out the Crimson Harpy, the bar Dolly arranged to meet at that night.

As the Harpy is closed until the show, the group explores the Lower Ward and visits the Foundry, where Sitani learns about the Believers of the Source. Walking to the Lady’s Ward for their meeting with Shemeshka the Marauder, they pass by the City Barracks and Sitani attempts to inform the Harmonium posted at the Barracks gate about the Rehabilitation Centre on Arcadia. Unfortunately, the guards do not believe him, and threaten to arrest Sitani for slander, defamation, conspiracy, and similar crimes. While leaving the area, they notices an air genasi woman that had watched their exchange with the guards, and though they attempt to pursue her, she is lost in the crowds.

Arriving at the Fortune’s Wheel gambling hall in time for their appointment with Shemeshka, Abacus and Tim get a table while Sitani and Naedas speak with Shemeshka’s gate keeper, a hideous tiefling woman named Margot. Margot is briefed on the information Sitani and Naedas possess, relating to their imprisonment on Nemausus, and the pair are granted an audience with “the King.”

Shemeshka, dressed in her fine silks and razorvine headdress, is seated at a private table with many tiefling men attending her. She asks Sitani and Naedas to restate their information, making a callous offhanded remark on Margot’s incompetence. Sitani attempts to defend Margot, insisting that she did a fine job, but Shemeshka takes offence and immediately discharges Margot from her employ.

Margot is forced to leaves the Fortune’s Wheel immediately, but Sitani follows after her and offers her a job at the same wage she received from Shemeshka in order to make amends for causing her loss of employment. Meanwhile, still inside, Naedas re-explains the information they possess on the Harmonium and strikes a deal with Shemeshka to receive details on a way back to Vidalok in return.

The group plus Margot return to the Crimson Harpy, arriving in time to catch the end of Dolly’s show. Abacus orders a plate of larvae chips and, though they prove disgusting, he finishes them in order to get his money’s worth. The group waits for Dolly after the show, and though she leaves them waiting for a long time, she does eventually emerge from the back. While happy to see them, she seemed confused by their visit, claiming not to remember offering them help find a portal. She states that she has looked for Nerissa and hasn’t found her, but isn’t concerned about it. She asks the group to remind her what they needed and offers to help them find a portal again, but Naedas tells her not to worry about it. Dolly tells the group about a show she is putting on the following week in the Clerk’s Ward and encouraging them to come see her again before leaving the Harpy.

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Steps in Sigil
Season One / Episode Eight
In which debts are repaid, accoutrements are acquired, appointments are made, and doors are traversed . . .

Abacus, Naedas, Sitani, Taga, Tim, and Loopwyn pass through the portal, with busy streets and the cacophony of a crowd greeting them on the other side. Loopwyn is eager to make his way to an appointment in the Clerk’s Ward, though he refuses to elaborate on the nature of the meeting. Unwilling to lose contact with the gnome completely, the others follow him.

Loopwyn leads the group to a dimly lit alehouse called the Screaming Hand, and though Sitani and Abacus are reluctant to enter, they eventually follow through the door. A redheaded woman with horns shimmies on a stage, singing in a dusky voice with a band playing behind her. Loopwyn sits at a table by the stage and looks quite irritated, though refuses to explain what he is doing there or why he’s upset. After finishing her song and leaving the stage, the woman returns some five minutes later in less flashy clothing. Addressing Loopwyn as “Loopy,” she invites the gnome and his friends back to her dressing room.

The woman introduces herself as Dolly. She is vivacious and playful in conversation, and much about her manner seems to get on Loopwyn’s nerves. Though she laughs off most questions, she states that she was already made aware Loopwyn was escorting a group of primes through Mechanus, and she gleefully shares name of the winged woman opening the planar breach: Nerissa. After offering to speak with Nerissa on their behalf and to look for a portal to send Tim back to Faerun, Dolly tells them to meet her the following night at the Crimson Harpy, a bar in the Lower Ward she’s scheduled to perform at.

Abacus, Sitani, Nadeas, Taga and Tim leave the Screaming Hand without Loopwyn and go to Abacus’ home, a one-bedroom apartment above a barbershop on Turtle Lane in the Market Ward, regrouping before making their way to the Lower Ward to deliver the package. Sitani, Naedas and Tim go outside to the Great Bazaar where they purchase new clothes for Naedas and Tim and offload Barbara‘s kukri for 151 jinx and a silk coin purse. They ask some of the merchants about Shemeshka the Marauder and learn that they are an information broker and an important figure in Sigil’s cross-trade.

When the group arrives at the Oarsman that evening, the barman appears to have been expecting them, and furthermore, expects them to hand the package over to him. After some deliberation, the group gives the package to the barman, but insist they have information Shemeshka will want to hear. They are told to go to Fortune’s Wheel the following day at eight hours after peak.

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In the Spiral City
Season One / Episode Seven
In which civilization is found, spoils are sold, citizens are questioned, and slavery strikes . . .

Abacus, Naedas, Sitani, Taga, Tim, and Loopwyn discover that the spiral tower is the planar metropolis of Axis. The group enters the city, sells their Quill spines, and looks for a portal to Sigil. Abacus warns the others that slavery is legal here and the city is home to many Tso slavers. Sitani is outraged by this news and declares that he will put an end to the slavers; the others attempt to dissuade him, and they all agree to investigate the slave market before proceeding.

The group sleeps at an inn for the night and in the morning they continue their ascent of the axle. They lose Tim in the crowds, and unable to find him, they decide to continue making their way toward the market. As they get closer they are approached by a tall, gaunt blue-skinned man with an unusual number of fingers. The man convinces them to speak with him privately, though he is deemed extremely suspicious.

Once alone, the gaunt blue man explains that he knows they’re looking for a slave recently acquired by the Tso. He offers to buy Tim back for them and additionally direct them toward a portal into Sigil in exchange for a small service: the delivery of a package into the City of Doors. After some deliberation, the stranger’s offer is accepted.

The gaunt blue man produces the package with a flourish of magic; it is small, wrapped in a colourful cloth, and does not appear to be magical. The group is instructed to deliver the package to ‘Shemeshka the Marauder’ at ‘The Oarsman’ in Sigil’s Lower Ward, and warns that his client will be upset if the package is opened before they receive it.

The group waits in the meeting room while the gaunt man leaves, returning shortly thereafter with Tim. He advises the group to leave Axis before they encounter more trouble, then escorts them to the portal that will take them into Sigil.

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Beyond the Labyrinth
Season One / Episode Six
In which friendships are formed, gears are crossed, dangerous divides are leapt, and many darks are discovered, divulged, declared, and demanded . . .

Naedas, Sitani, and Tim rise in the morning, finding that Loopwyn forewent sleep to keep watch at night. With Abacus still in bed, the escapees agree to keep an eye on camp while the little knight gets some rest. Naedas summons Taga and the pair catches up privately in an adjacent corridor.

When Abacus wakes up, the group breaks camp and explores the corridors, sharing Abacus’ small stores of food and water between them. They question Loopwyn on the events of the previous day, but Loopwyn is unwilling or unable to answer most of them, firmly restating that he is a protector and was there to protect people. He eventually confesses that he does know the flying woman with rainbow wings, but refuses to share information about her. They find a group of Quills, which they kill, skin, and harvest for meat and quills.

Leaving the Maze, the group reaches Mechanus’ surface and encounters a hostile group of Formians. During the battle, Loopwyn brandished his Holy Symbol of Baravar Cloakshadow, a literal cloak and dagger, which is deemed suspicious for a god of protection. When they reach the edge of the gear, Loopwyn, Sitani, and Abacus jump to the next gear, while Naedas and Tim are carried by Taga one at a time.

As they march, the group continues to question Loopwyn, who becomes agitated and sharply warns he will abandon them to fend for themselves if they continued. The sky turns dark and eventually, the group spots a strange axel-like tower in the distance, connecting their gear with a second one in the sky. Small, dim lights glow all along the tower. The group makes camp for the night, deciding to approach the tower in the morning.

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The Collapse
Season One / Episode Five
In which one dedicated to order makes a stand against order, chaos is wrought in the lawful planes, and new allies are found . . .

Sitani, resolved to make a stand against Gulbrand’s oppression, approaches the paladin when he enters the mess hall in the morning, handing over his sash and badges and declaring that the badges are meaningless. Gulbrand orders him to return to his seat, but Sitani is defiant and begins removing his uniform. Guards take him to a solitary cell.

Sitani refuses to put his uniform back on. When Adelle is unable to persuade him to re-dress himself, and he goes several days without food, Alim Sushen attempts to use powerful magic to compel him. Sitani remains defiant, allowing the spell to sap his energy instead of complying. After two days Amalia sneaks in, urging Sitani to wear the uniform, saying the spell will kill him if he doesn’t. She also offers to disguise his old clothing as a uniform that will satisfy both the guards and the spell. Sitani accepts, but when he notices his strength returning, he quickly removes the uniform again for as long as he can safely manage. Months pass in this manner, with Sitani taken into solitary confinement each day he removes his uniform. Pontus Varjo does not return and Amalia states that he died.

Just before Sitani and Naedas’ second full year in the rehabilitation facility, they wake up in the dead of night, suddenly and simultaneously, to an unusual sensation. They can see their bunkmates are also awake. Ned gets out of bed to investigate, but is knocked to the ground as the wall smashes apart, bricks flying across the room. The cell door jumps in place impossibly before it is knocked ajar, hinges grinding loudly as the door swivels open.

Ned leaves the room first, followed shortly after by Jeremy and Sam. Out the window, there is only darkness. When further crashes and explosions are heard, Sitani, Naedas, and Tim leave to investigate. Naedas discovers the facility is no longer Dimensionally Anchored, and is finally able to resummon Taga.

As the four explore the facility’s empty halls, they see a small flying creature with a single large eye; it clearly looks at them before flying on, and Taga identifies it as an Inevitable. They make their way to the solitary rooms and search every room they can access, finding them all empty. Amalia appears, offering the group a bag of supplies and activates a Portal Beacon scroll to lead them toward their escape. Another small Inevitable flies past and Amalia quickly stabs it with a concealed dagger, killing it in one blow. She casts a See Invisibility spell and, after looking startled, quickly flees. The group follows, hearing heavy metal footfalls chasing after her, but lose her in the maze of crumbled walls and broken doors.

The building begins losing its form, the ceiling tearing off and walls smashing to pieces. The outside is chaos. A winged aasimar woman floats above the facility casting a complex spell, surrounded by four snake-tailed women, each with a mask and a pair of rainbow-feathered wings, who protect her while she concentrates. A handful of warriors tear into the Harmonium guards and an alien-looking bowman assists them from the air.

As Naedas, Sitani, Taga and Tim manoeuvre through the hectic battlefield, the aasimar finishes her spell: Precipitate Breach, a spell that creates a tear between the planes. A host of monstrous creatures spill out of the planar tear and Gulbrand immediately turns his attention on them. Though he is able to make quick work of the beasts, there are too many for him to drive them back alone.

Deep fissures cut into the ground and steep, sudden cliffs rise out. Wreckage can be seen everywhere, with twisted metal doors sticking out from the earth and piece of blown up walls and ceiling covering the ground.

A group of red-plated insectoid creatures leap up from one of the chasms, blocking Sitani, Naedas, Taga and Tim’s escape, and a bizarrely-proportioned tiny swordsman suddenly appears to help beat them back. Taga sweeps the swordsman up onto her back and together they all safely reach the portal. The swordsman introduces himself as Loopwyn Nacklebell, and he adamantly insists he is a knight and a protector. He activates the portal and all five of them rush through.

Exiting the portal, the five bump into a stranger who introduces himself as Abacus Rex. He shows an unusual interest in Taga before inviting them all back to his camp. Though Loopwyn warns Sitani and Naedas not to be too free with the details of what they just saw, they vent to Abacus about their experience with the Harmonium and everything that’s happened. Abacus offers to help them start a new life in Sigil, and they all rest for the night.

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The Paladin
Season One / Episode Four
In which the weak give up their friends, administrations are changed, and a volatile wizard is beaten bloody and dragged away . . .

The trio endures in the Arcadia Rehabilitation Camp; Sitani works toward earning merit badges, while Pontus expands his dust smuggling ring and Naedas remains deliberatly defiant. They continue to protect Tim from Nedarilth and Samilda’s torment, and Tim finally confesses the circumstances under which he was taken by the Harmonium.

Pontus is caught engaging in sexual activities with a fellow patient in the mess hall and is taken to a small square room to sit by himself. He yells and screams to the guards, then to himself, and is left in the room for the full day.

The following morning, Naedas, Sitani, and their bunkmates are woken a half-hour ahead of schedule, and the entire facility is gathered in the main hall. A heroic-looking armoured figure bearing the Harmonium’s symbol on the clasp of his cloak announces that Ms. Adelle is no longer in administrative command of the facility — he is. He gives a brisk speech, stating he will cure his patients and they will thank him once they can think healthily, then exits. Sitani and Naedas speak with a guard on their way to breakfast and learn that the new commander is Gulbrand, a Paladin of the Cudgel called in from the Abyss. The guard is very impressed by Gulbrand, gushing that Gulbrand could wade into the Blood War and emerge victorious over both sides. Later, Naedas asks Amalia for information, and though she is willing to answer some of his questions, at the mention of Gulbrand she stops and pretends she has been attacked. Other guards intervene and forcefully return Naedas to his meal.

Around midday, Naedas, Sitani, and their bunkmates (with the exceptions of Tim and Pontus) are relocated to new accommodations, as Pontus’ earlier disturbance has prompted a room search. When Tim returns he has earned a new badge, and though he tells Sitani he earned it by preventing a riot Sitani knows this is not completely true. After further questioning, Tim admits that he informed on Pontus.

Meanwhile, once Pontus has settled down, Adelle opens his cell door. He tells her off several times, prompting her to leave each time, but he eventually agrees to behave. Adele makes him change into new clothes, and though he attempts to change only his pants, he is foiled by Arcane Marks on the new garments.

When Pontus is finally released from solitary confinement, he is shown to the new room, and becomes highly agitated about the move, frantically asking if the guards found his burrs or collected his dust. Naedas confirms the guards found only two burrs inside his mattress and Pontus begins scheming to retrieve his remaining burrs from the other room. Tim, with encouragement from Sitani, confesses his betrayal to Pontus. Pontus is enraged and insists that Tim has doomed them all. Tim weeps pathetically.

The following day, Pontus refuses to behave in an orderly fashion, exhibiting poor posture and self-control and talking back to the guards. He is returned to solitary confinement. As he is taken away, Pontus calls out to Naedas, saying they must carry out his plan. Tim disappears again, and when he returns he confirms that he was questioned again on Pontus’ activities.

Over the following days, Gulbrand begins making changes to the way the facility is run. The guards become less familiar with the inmates, a seating plan is enforced at meals and in classes, and punishments grow harsher. Patients can no longer sleep in and miss their meals and classes. Pontus is constantly in and out of solitary confinement until eventually he is taken to “Special Education,” where he remains for over a month.

Upon his return, Pontus is unusually calm and complacent, seeming to enjoy following directions, but his sleep is unsound. One day a fight between patients breaks out in the mess hall, during which Pontus’ chair is broken. A guard comes to take the broken chair away, assuring Pontus they will bring a new one, but Pontus obsesses over having ‘his chair’ and loses control of himself. He attacks the guard with his Burring Hands spell, forcing him to drop the chair. The guards move on Pontus to subdue him, who fights back, casting Burning Hands repeatedly until he is brought down. Other patients swarm the guards during the chaos and are all subdued. Pontus’ body, unconscious and bloody, is rushed from the mess hall.

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Rehabilitation
Season One / Episode Three
In which companions are separated, achievements are charted, and a dust smuggling ring gets underway . . .

On the morning of their second day in the rehabilitation camp, three guards and a woman with a long braid escort Naedas, Sitani, Pontus, and Taga out of their room, stating they will be served breakfast privately.

They are taken down a small number of long, straight hallways, and shown to separate interview rooms, each containing two guards and a folded white uniform at the center of a table. Naedas changes into the new clothing, while Sitani wears the uniform over his own outfit,.Pontus also dresses, though he had been nude previously. Taga is not offered a uniform, and instead has a short conversation with Alim Sushen, the bureaucratic man who Planeshifted their group to Arcadia. After questioning Taga on what she is and where she comes from, Alim Banishes her back to her home plane.

The three boys are returned to their room after breakfast. Pontus has a small confrontation with the guards, who hold him down when he casts a Prestidigitation. Naedas, aggrieved by Taga’s loss, resolves to become as contrary to the treatment as possible, while Sitani remains certain they will be released soon.

Time passes and the trio gets to know their bunkmates. They learn that Jeremy, a half-elf, is from the plane of Arborea and is a member of a group called the Society of Sensation; Samilda Gyllenfalt is from the plane of Ysgard, and prescribes to the belief that anything she can take should be hers; Nedarilth is a tiefling from Plague-Mort, and is something called a Xaositect, which is not entirely uncommon here; and that no one believes Tim Ocher is from Sigil. It becomes evident that Ned is a bully and especially targets the comparatively defenceless Tim. Sitani and Pontus intervene on Tim’s behalf. They tie Ned up in Naedas’ uniform and Sitani takes Tim under his wing, teaching him philosophy and martial arts the same way his master taught him.

Their grasp of the new language improves and while Sitani works hard toward earning task-centric badges to pin on his sash, Pontus begins smuggling dust and dirt into the mess hall to change the flavour of their repetitious meals.

The trio encounters Barbara again in their group therapy sessions. Every week, Barbara delves further and further into the tragic story of her life, beginning with her origins as a foundling. She speculates that her father was an unfaithful noble and her human mother was forced to abandon her to conceal the affair. Barbara continually adds to her story, and though she began modestly and small, she begins monopolizing extravagant portions of the group’s session time. When Barbara begins to apologize gratuitously for everything she’s done wrong in her life, thanking the Harmonium for their part in her reformation, Sitani calls her out as a liar. Barbara is stripped of her Considerate Citizen merit badge and it is awarded to Sitani.

A year later, they are still receiving treatment from the Harmonium. They notice a new, strangely behaving guard named Amalia following them and watching their classes. Pontus’ dust smuggling empire has expanded to include grass, dirt, and other fauna he scrounges up during field time.

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Preface
Season One / Episode Two
In which Good and Just Ideals are fought for, peace is strived toward, and unlikely persons are forced together under unfortunate circumstances . . .

The foreign warriors escort Naedas and Taga to their temporary base, a large tent encampment. They carry Pontus, Sitani, and the unconscious bandits, and add four more ruffians to their retinue during the march. Sitani and one of the bandits, both of whom were injured fatally, are taken elsewhere while the rest of the group is put under a light guard. No efforts are made to strip them of their possessions.

Upon regaining consciousness, Sitani, Naedas, Pontus and Taga exchange threats with the bandit crew. Pontus begins taking aggressive action and is restrained by the guards. A a robed woman is brought in to assess the situation, determining that Pontus’ spell had been non-threatening. She orders soup to be brought for the detainees. Naedas staggers his consumption, suspicious of potential contamination.

The group sleep in shifts, wary of the bandits, and during Naedas’ watch the bandit leader Barbara suggests a truce. Believing she can speak freely in front of the foreign guards, she offers to give up both her weapons to Naedas if he and his friends help her crew escape. Naedas refuses.

At drawn, a long-faced bureaucrat addresses the group in Auran, informing them that they are being transported for processing. Believing they are being taken to a trial, Naedas and Sitani convince Pontus to comply. The buraucrat cats a spell, transporting himself and all detainees to a foreign land identified by Pontus as the Outer Plane of Arcadia. Deeply disturbed, they attempt to plan an escape, but the bureaucrat (able to understand their language) suggests they don’t try anything lest he be forced to stop them with his magic.

Taken to a military base, they are interviewed by a silver-haired elven woman, who uses a communal share language spell to communicate. She claims that her people, a group called the Harmonium, have intervened in order to help them. She explains that their world was full of strife, war, and suffering, all of which the Harmonium aim to end. Though gentle, she is nonetheless convinced of her virtuousness, even when faced with outrage from her charges.

Following the interview, Naedas, Sitani, Pontus and Taga are separated from the bandits and provided temporary accommodations. They are taken to a large dining hall for evening meal and learn that the others here are primarily criminals detained against their will.

A gong sounds the following morning, and Pontus oversleeps, missing breakfast. When the elven clerk arrives midday, she is outraged to find Pontus in bed. Averting her eyes from his naked form, she orders the guards to dress him, then insists he must tidy his bed before the group can be shown to their permanent quarters.

The rest of their day is highly regimented and filled with numerous tedious tasks, including lessons in the foreigners’ language, drills in proper posture and forming orderly lines, group therapy, and running laps before bed.

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