April 27, 2001
Fishwrap #38 - "Chocolate Astral Bunnies"



"Use only as directed"

Issue #38: "Chocolate Astral Bunnies"
[April 27, 2001]
Circulation: 154

Fishwrap Magazine is available on the World Wide Web.
You can subscribe here and also read all the back issues.


This issue of the Fishwrap Magazine is brought to you by the following sponsors:
* Clan Rising Claw:
* Babajaga the Sylvan:
* Rael the Squonk
* Thoom Mailing List: Thoom- and ThoomCare-related information and discussions
* Quest Tracker, for all your quest-related information:
* Fishmonger: Puddleby's News Kiosk:

"Fishwrap Magazine: Thoom News You Can Use"

brought to you by Fishwrap reporters:
* Durandal the Thoom, ThoomCare member, now has a caduceus
* Paramedic the Thoom, ThoomCare member, is now a full pathfinder
* Luthic Darkus, ThoomCare member, is now a fourth circle healer
* Thealer the Thoom has joined ThoomCare
* Mysterious worms bored holes north of north farms to new myrm hive and Umbrion's Island
* Babajaga has a new scroll on Tenebrion's Island:
* Marfisa the Fen is back after a long absence
* Cripper the Thoom, ThoomCare member and Senior Fishwrap Reporter, is missing

brought to you by Norm's Diary
* Adventures in lava
* Malkor has a stone
* The Wheels of Justice
* Adventures in Dentistry
* Marfisa uses Norm's kerchief
for more information on the above stories, see Norm's Adventures

brought to you by Koric's Journal
* Nyssa leaving Puddleby?
* Yet Another Full Moon Orga Camp Raid
* Rising Claw defeats the Rat Bastards in a close Dun'ilsar contest
* Tooth trainer Dentir Longtooth arrives in Puddleby
* Foothills update
for more information on the above stories, see Koric's Journal

brought to you by Babajaga's Diary:
* Babajaga stuck in library
* Deep Thoughts from Qual the Wizard
* Excess rats
for more information on the above stories, see Babajaga's Diary


Court records:
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_223_21_33 on 43 Summer, 541 at 22:18..."
Clerus says, "Althea accused Sir Adam of obscenity and annoyance..."
Clerus says, "The verdict was guilty; 105 minutes in jail, 522c fine and 0 days banished."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_224_06_43 on 44 Summer, 541 at 7:40..."
Clerus says, "Althea accused Sir Adam of harassment..."
Clerus says, "The verdict was guilty; 116 minutes in jail, 788c fine and 0 days banished."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_229_07_09 on 49 Summer, 541 at 8:15..."
Clerus says, "Kalle' accused Tyking II of Harassing...."
Clerus says, "The verdict was guilty; 55 minutes in jail, 187c fine and 0 days banished."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_230_01_55 on 50 Summer, 541 at 2:45..."
Clerus says, "CmdrGuard accused Michael of a loss of experience as well as time and a good hunt..."
Clerus says, "The verdict was innocent."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_234_17_00 on 54 Summer, 541 at 17:55..."
Clerus says, "Zeus accused Tenebrion of breaking a contract on a duel..."
Clerus says, "The verdict was innocent."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_237_19_04 on 57 Summer, 541 at 20:03..."
Clerus says, "Bat accused Larloch of selling stolen property...."
Clerus says, "The verdict was guilty; 126 minutes in jail, 800c fine and 0 days banished."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_261_07_37 on 81 Summer, 541 at 8:45..."
Clerus says, "Felicity accused Dobbin of unjust cause of cursing and harrassment..."
Clerus says, "The verdict was guilty; 26 minutes in jail, 0c fine and 0 days banished."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_263_06_12 on 83 Summer, 541 at 6:41..."
Clerus says, "Spazmodier accused Algernon of making everyone miss him terribly..."
Clerus says, "The verdict was innocent."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_265_06_44 on 85 Summer, 541 at 7:44..."
Clerus says, "Lion-O accused Tara of healing snerts...."
Clerus says, "The verdict was frivolous; 116 minutes in jail, 154c fine and 0 days banished."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_270_04_48 on 90 Summer, 541 at 6:08..."
Clerus says, "Achates accused White Wolf of lack of punctuality and being a loafer..."
Clerus says, "The verdict was frivolous; 61 minutes in jail, 0c fine and 0 days banished."

Election results:
#183: What do you hate most about chainers?
2 (3%): They make the world unbalanced.
7 (11%): They expect monetary compensation.
11 (18%): They chain too much and too quickly without thinking.
5 (8%): They take away the challenge of hunts, rescues, raids, etc.
31 (50%): None of the above
6 (10%): Abstain
#184: Did you contribute to the PMC slush fund to have your coins given away to some undeserving newbie?!
4 (6%): Yes, yes I did. I'm an evil Marxist.
1 (2%): No! I wanted my coins to go towards finding the passage. Give 'em back!
5 (8%): Well, I didn't contribute any coins, but I _am_ a worthless newbie looking for handouts… so … yeah!
13 (21%): Why don't we instead give the coins to poor Mystics who need the funds to study advanced training?
29 (47%): None of the above
10 (16%): Abstain
#185: A new cloak has been proposed. Should the cloak divulge one's gender? Details at http://www.cet.com/~tarf/Cloak.html
35 (56%): New cloak should be gender specific: a separate male and female icon (with chest) made for both the tall and the short exiles
20 (32%): New cloak should conceal one's gender, so that both males and females would wear the same cloak icon.
4 (6%): None of the above
3 (5%): Abstain

The Gubara report:
The Gubara report has been put on hiatus until Gubara starts reporting on people whose names begin with letters other than A, B, or C.


Fishwrap Magazine is looking for a few more contributors, reporters and advertisers.

Advertising rates are quite affordable. Your ad will be read by well over 150 exiles!

Sponsorships: only 25 coins
Full ads: only 50 coins


Clans continue to submit their Clan Profiles. This issue we have one from Rising Claw.

A member from each clan can submit an article on his or her clan, describing it in some detail. I'd like to see special focus on:

Origin/foundation story
Clan principles
Future plans
Location of clan scrolls (if available)

These profiles will run in Fishwrap free of charge to exiles as a public service paid for by the ThoomCare Media Network.

Nuba Yo!

- Para


Nevyn asks, "Er?"
Paramedic says, "Readers of the Fishwrap have requested a Nevyn interview."
(Malkor holds a tangleberry pie under Comus' nose.)
Nevyn has not disclosed his race, is male, is a Journeyman Mystic, and is wearing the symbol of the Red Quill.
He is holding an Orb of Caesindre.
Nevyn has 26 good and 1 bad karma.
Nevyn says, "Er? Why would.."
Nevyn says, "Hum."
Malkor asks, "Comus?"
Paramedic says, "Someone even left a note on my door."
Malkor ponders, "Hrm"
Malkor ponders, "Comus must have fainted from hunger."
Paramedic says, "'Interview Nevyn' it said"
(Malkor smiles.)
Nevyn says, "Hm."
Nevyn asks, "Not a case of mistaken identity?"
Paramedic says, "Nope."
Paramedic says, "One cannot deny the signs."
Paramedic asks, "Would this be a good time for an interview?"
Nevyn says, "Give me a couple minutes first, then sure."
Paramedic says, "Excellent."
Bones says, "Ah yes, we need to interview more Thooms like Nevyn here."
Nevyn exclaims, "!"
Paramedic says, "Yes, I hear he's a Thoom."
Paramedic says, "That's the word on the street."
Paramedic says, "'Nevyn is a Thoom' they say"
Bones says, "Thoom on the street"
Erasmus yells, "Thoom!"
Erasmus is a Thoom, is male, is a Healer, and is wearing the symbol of Open Hands.
He is holding a dagger.
Bones says, "Thoom"
Paramedic asks, "'Open Hands'?"
Paramedic asks, "New clan?"
Bones says, "yes"
Erasmus says, "yes"
Bones says, "pretty big too"
Paramedic asks, "Really?"
Erasmus says, "I'm one of the co-founders"
Bones says, "mostly newer exiles"
Paramedic says, "Hrm."
Erasmus says, "Yeps"
Nevyn says, "Ok"
Paramedic says, "Welcome to the Fishwrap interview."
Nevyn asks, "Well, er, thanks?"
(Slyph smooches Bones)
Slyph says, "Hey you"
Paramedic says, "Let's start with some introductory stuff. Tell our readers a little about yourself."
(Slyph gives Bones a fishie treat with frosting)
Bones asks, "where are the bunnies?"
Erasmus ponders, "Nice, a real fishwrap interview"
(Bones munches.)
Nevyn says, "Hrrm."
Bones says, "Slyph, you know Erasmus"
Slyph says, "yes, I have met him a few times now"
Erasmus says, "yeps"
Slyph says, "Hi, Erasmus :)"
Nevyn says, "I'm an avid butterfly seeker that aspires to someday help fight the Darshak Theocracy."
(Paramedic writes that down.)
Erasmus says, "Hi Slyph"
Cassandra says, "chocolate astral bunnies"
(Malkor smiles and munches on a peep.)
(Slyph has a soft spot for Thooms)
Erasmus says, "Bones is my role model :-)"
Nevyn says, "And, well, maybe even help right some wrongs back on the mainland."
(Paramedic nods)
Paramedic asks, "Do you like being a mystic?"
Nevyn says, "Er, I wouldn't know, I haven't made it yet."
Paramedic says, "Good point."
Paramedic asks, "Do you have high hopes for becoming one?"
Nevyn says, "Well, if it happens, it happens..."
Nevyn says, "I'm content helping as I can."
Paramedic says, "That makes sense."
Paramedic asks, "Do you think you are making good progress?"
Nevyn says, "Well, it's hard to say."
(Paramedic listens)
Nevyn says, "I've done a review of fourth circle fighters with the training dummies we used to have"
(Paramedic listens)
Nevyn says, "But in the field the response to my training is markedly less, um, receptive."
Paramedic says, "Hmm."
Paramedic says, "Well, let's shift gears a bit here."
Paramedic asks, "What do you say to the rumors that you are actually a Thoom?"
Nevyn says, "I couldn't possibly refute such a claim."
(Nevyn pulls cowl closed tight.)
(Paramedic tries to peer in.)
(Paramedic has no luck.)
Paramedic says, "So you have no comment on the matter."
Nevyn says, "Well, no."
Paramedic asks, "Do you think that some day you will reveal your race?"
Nevyn says, "I tried that, I don't think so."
Paramedic asks, "You tried it?"
Nevyn says, "Er, no."
Nevyn says, "Well...yes."
Paramedic asks, "What do you mean?"
(Nevyn glares at Xel.)
Nevyn asks, "Er?"
Xel ponders, "Sorry, just sharing healers, jeez =P"
Xel starts playing his gitor for himself.
Paramedic asks, "What do you mean when you say you tried it?"
Nevyn says, "I wasn't concealed originally."
Paramedic asks, "What did you appear as?"
Nevyn says, "Something less concealed."
(Paramedic nods and writes that down.)
Paramedic says, "Ok. next question"
Paramedic asks, "Some call you "Nevyn the Frazzled." Why?"
Nevyn says, "Well, I signed some of my work that way."
Paramedic asks, "Ah, what do you mean by that?"
Paramedic asks, "Are you very busy?"
Nevyn says, "A few articles about Astral Spark or the Ripture War were written..."
(Paramedic listens)
Nevyn says, "when life as an exile was very frantic."
Nevyn says, "People needed to know how to listen to Astral Spark, and it wasn't happening."
Paramedic says, "So you have been in Puddleby a long time, Nevyn."
Nevyn says, "Well, yes."
(Paramedic nods)
Paramedic asks, "Have things improved here in town?"
(Nevyn looks at the mud, the puddles, and the lack of tiles in town square.)
Nevyn says, "Well.... yes."
Nevyn ponders, "Somewhere."
(Paramedic nods sadly.)
Paramedic asks, "How so?"
Nevyn says, "Well, there's more things to do, more of the conveniences of a real city."
Paramedic asks, "Gift shops, tattoo parlors, etc.?"
Nevyn says, "Brewery, Bakery..."
Nevyn says, "Less like a border town or penal colony."
Paramedic says, "High culture."
Nevyn says, "Well, heh."
Nevyn says, "Still waiting for my first batch of mushrooms from the mushroom shop though."
Paramedic says, "Just don't get the poisonous ones."
Nevyn says, "Well, even those would be better than the current foul-smelling hole :)"
(Paramedic nods)
Bones says, "How is the rat killing going?"
Cross says, "I met a creature of poor attitude"
(Bones nods.)
Cross says, "and big teeth"
Bones says, "big pointy teeth"
Cross says, "it stood on two feet"
Cross says, "I thought it was another player"
Bones says, "That's a detached spirit"
Cross exclaims, "!!!!!"
Paramedic asks, "I see you are a member of the Red Quill. How is that working out for you?"
Nevyn says, "Quite well..."
Nevyn says, "I was originally a member of the Laughing Academy..."
(Paramedic nods)
Nevyn says, "Which was good, because I had absolutely no responsibilities, perfect for me."
Paramedic says, "Is Laughing Academy around still? I don't see their members much anymore...."
(Niccolo giggles)
Niccolo exclaims, "hey!"
Niccolo says, "hush up"
Niccolo is a Sylvan, is male, is a Healer, and is wearing the symbol of The Laughing Academy.
He is holding a moonstone and a mounted rat.
(He is Perrin's Brother)
Nevyn asks, "Well, Super Chicken I saw just the other bawking day?"
Niccolo says, "No derogatory comments about Laughing Academy"
Paramedic says, "Oh yes, Super Chicken, and Niccolo here too"
Paramedic says, "I was not making fun, Niccolo..."
Niccolo says, "good"
You just received good karma from Niccolo, good
Paramedic says, "I just hadn't seen a member in a while"
Paramedic says, "I like the Laughing Academy"
Nevyn says, "But... when the Ripture War came..."
(Paramedic listens)
Nevyn says, "I needed to help a little more, that only seemed possible in a different clan."
Nevyn says, "I broke in on a Red Quill meeting and asked for their help to do something..."
(Paramedic listens)
Nevyn says, "and they said 'sit, you're now in the Red Quill'"
Paramedic says, "Hrm, interesting initiation procedure"
Nevyn says, "Well, they'd already voted."
Paramedic says, "Oh."
Nevyn says, "I didn't know that though."
Paramedic says, "How are things with Red Quill these days? Some say some members have left the clan..."
Nevyn says, "Well...."
Nevyn says, "There's always an influx and an outflux."
Paramedic asks, "So you don't see it as anything unusual?"
Nevyn says, "It's like the saying 'May you live in interesting times'"
Paramedic says, "Ahhh..."
Nevyn says, "Ooh."
Nevyn says, "Butterfly, sorry."
(Nevyn runs off.)
(Paramedic watches Nevyn run off.)
Nevyn says, "Sigh."
(Slyph smiles warmly)
Paramedic asks, "No luck?"
Nevyn says, "They died off."
Paramedic says, "Argh."
Paramedic asks, "What is the significance of butterflies?"
Nevyn asks, "Er?"
Paramedic asks, "Why do you chase them?"
Nevyn exclaims, "They're great!"
Nevyn says, "When you're a butterfly you can forget about..."
Nevyn says, "Well, everything."
Paramedic says, "Ah,..."
Paramedic says, "I see."
Paramedic asks, "Ok, where are your favorite places to travel or hunt?"
Nevyn says, "Well, I like to see most anywhere, but it's sort of contraindicated due to health reasons."
Paramedic asks, "What do you mean?"
Nevyn asks, "Er, leave town -> dead journeyman?"
Paramedic says, "Oh."
Nevyn says, "Unless there's mob or a clan hunt pretty much."
(Paramedic nods)
Paramedic asks, "What do you think about Tenebrion?"
Nevyn says, "Hmm."
Nevyn says, "I don't trust his researches at all, they are too deeply into Necromancy."
Paramedic asks, "So you don't trust him?"
Nevyn says, "He makes promises he can't keep..."
(Paramedic nods)
Nevyn says, "He's personable, we might be able to trust him for minor things..."
Nevyn says, "But there's no way I'd let him at a purgatory pendant."
Paramedic asks, "How about this Umbrion guy?"
Nevyn says, "He's scarier."
Nevyn says, "He's more casual with his power, and seems to be more confrontational than Tenebrion."
Paramedic asks, "Have you been to Umbrion's Island?"
Nevyn says, "The Ethereal plane, but not to Umbrion's island."
Paramedic asks, "What was the Ethereal plane like?"
Nevyn asks, "Scary?"
Paramedic asks, "What were the monsters like?"
Nevyn says, "Well..."
(Nevyn scratches head.)
Paramedic says, "They were bad, in other words."
Nevyn says, "Somewhat like the Astral, if I recall correctly, but tougher."
(Paramedic writes that down.)
Paramedic asks, "So what's in the future for Nevyn? Your hopes? Plans?"
Slyph says, "Dannit, Bones, yer so sexy."
(Bones nods.)
Slyph says, "Tone it down a little."
Paramedic says, "Close off that spigot, Bones"
Nevyn says, "Hopefully we'll be able to eradicate this viper's nest of Darshak on Ash Island, and capture some real ships."
Nevyn says, "And I continue to study the mirrors, but that's something most everyone's interested in."
(Paramedic nods)
Paramedic asks, "You are interested in sailing, Nevyn?"
Nevyn says, "Well, I don't like rowing myself..."
Nevyn says, "But...there are not too many ways to get back to the mainland."
Paramedic asks, "Do you think what is beyond the south forest mirror is the same as it was pre-ripture?"
(Bones shows Paramedic a visionstone)
Nevyn says, "I'm not sure, it really could be something drastically different."
Bones says, "I went there after the war"
Nevyn says, "They don't seem to work the same way."
(Paramedic looks)
Paramedic asks, "Was it the same then, Bones?"
Bones says, "Yes..."
(Paramedic nods)
Bones says, "with some additions to the desert..."
Bones says, "a nice oasis"
Paramedic says, "Ah, I miss the desert"
Paramedic says, "trapping the sand tigers...."
Nevyn says, "And Cold and Snowy..."
Paramedic says, "Yes, what a great place to go"
Nevyn says, "We'd uncovered some interesting places there."
Paramedic says, "Ok, Nevyn, to conclude the interview you are allowed to ask the Thoom one (1) question"
Paramedic says, "That's 1 (ONE)"
Nevyn asks, "Can I ask questions about my question?"
Nevyn says, "Erk."
Clyde ponders, "There's your one."
Paramedic says, "That was your question. The answer was yes."
Paramedic exclaims, "Thanks for a great interview!"
Nevyn says, "Oh good."
Paramedic yells, "Thoom!"


To begin at the beginning, I am the third daughter of my mother and the first child of my father, who was the youngest and favorite husband of my mother, a redoubtable woman who remains, as far as I can know from my prison here in the Lok'Groton Islands, a merchant of some renown in my natal town. My father was a fisherman and sailor. He passed into the arms of the She Who Moves the Seas when I was only a young swimmer, lost at sea like great Fishwah. But the story of my childhood is perhaps better left for another time as Thoomish tales are long.

I was apprenticed to Master Storyteller Shellwah when I reached the proper age (ah, noble Shellwah; that is a name that stirs the memories and imagination, is it not?). With him I studied singing, languages, history, cartography, fencing, dancing, netmaking -- in short, the usual. After seven years, my master proposed me for Guild membership, and I was accepted. As a journeywoman I retraced the voyages of Fishwah from his youthful ventures on his fabled ship the Pearl, to the discovery of the Treasurehouse of Lost Akbek, the journeys with his wife, Navigator-Mystic Gellfra, the years as First Admiral and Commander in the Tlane Wars, and finally to study the mysterious and tragic final voyage.

Having unearthed several admirable tales from Fishwah's time (the reader will no doubt remember the popular "Song of Sorrow, Lith'ranael" which was among those I brought back from the sea cave cache in East Jeshtran), I found myself something of a celebrity. Nothing loathe to take advantage of good publicity, I gathered a group of talented musicians, dancers, and swimmers and formed a Thoomish Troupe. For some years we traveled the Empire, among the most sought after of companies.

But how, you ask, did Tuert go from such success to exile? How from triumph to these bleak islands? My friend, times are dark in the empire. Necromancy, undead abominations, and fear are the tools that the emperor has chosen to use to hold his power, though he has hidden the extent of his evil from most of the citizenry. Seeing this, could I be silent? Let us be frank. I am unlikely to be silent on any topic, let alone one of such purport. Invited to perform at the Solstice Celebration by then Viceroy Klegg (a thoroughly unpleasant woman), I accepted with alacrity. "Raela Fletcher's Tale," the story of a young archer who destroyed a Sorcerer Prince, freeing her people but at the cost of her own life was my text. Raela's dying words left the audience silent a moment, almost afraid to breathe. Then some bold soul in the back began to cheer those stirring words, the applause began, and I received a thunderous ovation.

Suffice it to say, the emperor's minions (in particular Klegg) were appreciative of neither my selection nor the reaction it received. Upon leaving the dais I was arrested. With the obscene rapidity that characterizes the Imperial justice, I was exiled to the distant Lok'Groton Islands for attempting to incite rebellion. It gives me some satisfaction to note that the Viceroy did not live to hear that sentence pronounced.

I hope and believe that the spark of rebellion that I saw in city, town, and village in my travels smolders still in our homelands. Here in this unlikely spot I have found many kindred spirits. With them I study, learning new skills and honing old ones in the hope that some day I shall be able to return to the Imperium and join those who fight the Emperor.

I do have a few ideas about how to escape from this place and return to the fray, but perhaps they are best left for another time.


Tenebrion thinks to you, "My smith will not make armor for your people until a complete state of peace exists between us."

You think to Tenebrion, "Ok, That is understood. The main reason the people from where I live attack your castle is to go to the Ethereal plane. Is there some way you can get us there so we don't have to attack your home?"

Tenebrion thinks to you, "There are several other entrances to the Ethereal plane."

You think to Tenebrion, "and they are not on your island?"

No response.

You think to Tenebrion, "I guess you do not want to answer that question... I'm trying to figure out the answer because it will make it a lot easier to keep people away from your castle. Is there an entrance to the Ethereal plane on one of your brothers' islands?"

Tenebrion thinks to you, "The Ethereal Plane is not a playground. I would recommend your people stay away from it."

You think to Tenebrion, "Aye, we have discovered that. I personally will not go back there."


Clan name: Rising Claw, a.k.a. The Disciples of Chil'tak
Established: Long time ago
Number of members: 30+
Scrolls: http://www.risingclaw.com

Rising Claw is patterned after the life of Chil'tak, a great warrior of the People and statesfen. Following his mysterious disappearance very long ago, a priestess, whose name has been long forgotten, created the Clan of the Rising Claw, The Disciples of Chil'tak. Chil'tak continues to be the inspiration and role model of the clan, and to some, even a worshipped hero.

The clan's symbol, that of a reaching People's paw with unsheathed claws, symbolizes our desire to reach above our limits and to grasp greater knowledge and understanding. We do not reach out with soft paws, but use our claws to take it boldly. That knowledge is not kept, but shared with all, so that all may benefit.

The original intent of the clan was to provide unity against other surrounding factions and to give People of all castes a voice. Since then, it has been taken up the struggle against the Ascendency, united against the evil emperor Mobius. With the fall of The People's lands, the clan was forced to splinter and hide. Several different factions of Rising Claw may still exist on the mainland, although it has been many years since any of the Puddleby members have had contact with them.

The Puddleby faction of Rising Claw was founded before the Ripture War (OOC: somewhere around v37), by Aldernon, Bones, Bounty, Cyrus, Dora, Hanako, John Junkar, John the Mighty, Korius, Magus, Pharazon, Priapus, Shere Khan, Rakshasa, and Zilo. To Rising Claw's credit, many of the founders are still active to this day.

The clan is made up of unique people, all maintaining their individuality and not following any specific single path. I think that is one of the greatest strengths of the clan, that we value everyone's voice. It can be a cacophany of opinions sometimes, as we all discuss, debate or argue points, but inevitably from this process the clan grows, learns and thrives.

Overall, Rising Claw's members are a good-hearted bunch, ready to rescue anyone, anywhere, to explore, assist and just plain ol' hunt. The clan, more than everything else, I think, is known for its good humor and sense of fun. We've got a few nicknames that poke fun at us, like "Rise and Fall" or "Rather Chat," but it's all in high-spirits. More than a clan, we are family and care and watch out for each other as we watch over all the rest of Puddleby's exiles.

I can't think of a clan I rather be in.

If you've been laid low
By some nasty creature's blow,
Never fear! Give a howl!
Rising Claw is on the prowl!


Ferals expanding territory

The number of ferals on Loc Groton Island seems to be increasing, forcing them into formerly feral-less territory. Most noticeable is their increase in the Lake and North Plains area. A puddle-year ago, a fighter could spend nearly an entire day in the area and quite possibly not see a feral. Now, ferals are becoming almost as numerous there as the artaks that attract so many pelt collectors. As an example, recently I spent less than 2 hours there, and dispatched four ferals.

Reasons for the increase of ferals are unclear, but do raise concerns. In a region with an ever-increasing exile population, it would seem reasonable to expect feral populations to decrease as their territory receives more and more visitors. Additionally, the expansion of their territory is likely to lead to the decrease of other animal populations, as ferals either eat them or take over their dens. Also there is the noticeable increase in aggressive behavior on the part of some ferals, most notably the grey feral, which I believe to be equally dangerous, but more tenacious, then its slightly smarter cousins.

A number of concerned citizens (all one of me) are beginning to call for an investigation into the reasons for the rise in feral populations and what can be done about it. Perhaps the Puddleby Ornithological Society can expand its bird watching to include the habits of ferals as well. Also, exiles should be encouraged to help control the feral population, allowing the return of better tasting and better looking prey species to the areas ferals have moved into, thereby making the lands safer for new exiles.


[Calti addresses Zan Bountipay as Ippon sees them coming off the dock.]
Calti Pouder says, "You're getting fat."
Ippon asks, "Can I help you?"
Calti Pouder exclaims, "And Skea!"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Oh, hello."
Calti Pouder says, "Nice clothes."
Calti Pouder ponders, "Not."
Dentir Longtooth says, "You seem to be doing pretty well here, Skea."
Calti Pouder says, "We got your message."
Skea Brightfur says, "Oh, good."

Calti Pouder says, "There had better be plenty of kyten here to justify our expenses."
Skea Brightfur exclaims, "Of course there is!"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Skea always was a little strange. Look how she's working out here on the open beach."
Calti Pouder asks, "Yes, Skea -- if you're so rich, how come you don't have a house?"
Ippon says, "No one has houses here..."
Skea Brightfur exclaims, "I enjoy it here on the beach!"
Dentir Longtooth says, "No one? You mean we'll have to work out in the open too? How... barbaric."
Ippon says, "Well, you could occupy a house in the farms"
Calti Pouder says, "There is no way I'm working outside."
Dentir Longtooth says, "There must be somewhere we could set up our business."

Dentir Longtooth ponders, "Without having to stand here with Skea."
Ippon says, "There are a lot of empty huts in the farms"
Dentir Longtooth asks, "Oh, so there are houses?"
Ippon says, "Yeah"
Ippon says, "Hardly anybody owns one though"
Ippon says, "They just sit there empty, except for the rats of course"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Eew, rats."
Dentir Longtooth says, "You know they'll get into the kyten."
(Calti Pouder laughs!)
Ippon asks, "May I ask, what is a kyten?"

Dentir Longtooth says, "Better than bird droppings and sand, I guess."
Calti Pouder says, "Kyten powder? Just one of the most valuable substances in the world."
(Dentir Longtooth smiles.)
Calti Pouder ponders, "Ignorant oaf."
Ippon says, "Sorry, never heard of it"
Dentir Longtooth exclaims, "What!"
Dentir Longtooth says, "But... but Skea told us there was a good supply here."
Calti Pouder says, "Well, peasant, why don't you point us to one of your fabulous homes."
Ippon asks, "What does it come from?"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Mandibles, of course."
Calti Pouder exclaims, "None of your damn business!"

Ippon says, "Your friend seems to be in a bit of a mood."
Ippon says, "The Darkhorse clan would be glad to lend you its hut"
Dentir Longtooth says, "With all the time and expense of getting here, only to find out all you have is raw materials..."
(Dentir Longtooth sighs.)
Calti Pouder says, "Whatever. I just want to rest somewhere that isn't bobbing up and down in the waves."
Ippon says, "Okay :)"
Dentir Longtooth says, "All right, take us to this grand manor."
[Ippon leads the pair east toward town from the docks.]
Ippon says, "If you require an empty building, please say so :)"
Calti Pouder says, "I don't require an empty building now, but I will."

Dentir Longtooth asks, "Well, what are we going to be sharing this house with?"
Ippon says, "Cairo"
Calti Pouder says, "There seem to be lots of people over there."
Ippon says, "He has been here awhile and can fill you in"
(Calti Pouder points east.)
Ippon says, "That is town square"
Calti Pouder asks, "Is everybody there stupid?"
Ippon says, "Some are :)"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Now, Calti, they can't help it."
[Calti is attacked by a small rat.]

Calti Pouder yells, "Ack!"
Dentir Longtooth ponders, "I guess we'll just have to teach them what they need to know."
Calti Pouder exclaims, "That thing tried to bite me!"
Ippon asks, "Would you like to see our tooth supply?"
Calti Pouder exclaims, "Yes!"
Ippon says, "We get some teeth from wurms"
Ippon says, "Our biggest supply is east"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Wait..."
Dentir Longtooth asks, "You mean they're still on the animals?"
Ippon says, "Yeah"

Ippon says, "We have to remove them"
Calti Pouder says, "Oh, that's useful."
Ippon says, "Smack and pluck"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Great."
Calti Pouder yells, "If there's no kyten here, I'm going to murder you, Skea Brightfur!"
Ippon says, "Same way skea gets her furs"
Dentir Longtooth asks, "How does Skea get her furs?"
Ippon says, "People kill wild creatures and bring her the furs"
Ippon says, "Some of us are better skinners then others"
Dentir Longtooth asks, "And she buys them from them?"

Dentir Longtooth says, "Calti... this isn't looking good."
(Calti Pouder nods.)
Dentir Longtooth says, "I don't think Skea was entirely honest with us."
Ippon says, "Skea looks like she is doing well, though"
Calti Pouder says, "Sure, if you like living on a beach."
Ippon says, "That is a 15,000 coin outfit she is wearing"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Oh, sure. Standing out in the open, attacked by rats and birds. She's doing great, huh."
[By this time, Dentir, Calti and Ippon have arrived in town center.]
Ippon says, "Aw, housing here is free"
Calti Pouder asks, "So you have no mandibles at all collected?"

Ippon says, "We can't seem to remove them without destroying them"
(Calti Pouder groans.)
Dentir Longtooth ponders, "Kind of a backward place. We should have known."
Ippon says, "May need a tool or something"
Bean says, "Perhaps someone could teach us to collect the teeth."
Ippon says, "Backwards, but ripe"
Dentir Longtooth asks, "Isn't there anybody here who knows how to remove a mandible intact?"
Bumper ponders, "Merlisk?"
Ippon says, "Afraid not"
Calti Pouder ponders, "We're doomed."

Ippon says, "We are willing to learn though"
Bean says, "I'm sure Merlisk would like to improve his dentistry, too."
Calti Pouder asks, "Is there any hope?"
Ippon asks, "Well, is there a tool or teachings that can help?"
Calti Pouder asks, "Can you bring us the corpse of a large insect?"
Ippon says, "Sure"
Dentir Longtooth says, "We're kind of stuck. After paying to get here, we don't have enough money left to leave empty-handed."
Ippon says, "I'll be right back with a myrm"
Calti Pouder says, "Why don't you bring us a few, and we'll check them out."
[At this point, Ippon and Yor go to the hive, kill several myrms and chain them back to town center.]

Ippon says, "Insects coming"
Dentir Longtooth exclaims, "Aha!"
Calti Pouder says, "Ah, that looks promising."
Ippon says, "Farmer, noble, royal, queen"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Well now, let's see here..."
Dentir Longtooth says, "A little room, please."
Dentir Longtooth says, "This can be a delicate operation."
(Dentir Longtooth bends down near the myrm's head.)
(Dentir Longtooth carefully removes the lower jaw from the myrm.)

[Calti walks over to the myrm farmer corpse and points.]
Calti Pouder says, "This one here isn't bad. Not good, though, either."
Dentir Longtooth asks, "Calti, what do you think you could do with this one?"
[Dentir points at the queen myrm corpse.]
Calti Pouder says, "Much better."
(Dentir Longtooth hands the mandible to Calti.)
(Calti Pouder examinds the mandibles.)
Calti Pouder says, "About 50 more like this and I might get a dose out of it."
Dentir Longtooth says, "Hmm."
Ippon asks, "Might spiders be better?"

Dentir Longtooth says, "It's going to take us forever to earn enough at that rate."
Ippon says, "Well, once you get established, the supply increases"
Calti Pouder says, "Nah, if every one of these peasants can fetch bugs that fast, we should do OK."
Dentir Longtooth says, "It took this Thoom a good part of an hour just to get these four."
Calti Pouder says, "I've got an excellent buyer."
Ippon says, "Well, yeah"
Ippon says, "These are the big ones"
Calti Pouder says, "You'll have to teach them to get the mandibles themselves, though."
Calti Pouder exclaims, "I'm not going to spend my days doing that!"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Seems to be what Skea ended up doing, too."

Calti Pouder ponders, "Ignorant oafs."
Dentir Longtooth says, "Well, okay, but then you'll have to do all the refining."
Ippon says, "We can learn on our own fairly well"
Calti Pouder says, "That seems fair."
Ippon says, "We just have to shown the path"
Dentir Longtooth says, "You always were better at that than me anyway."
Calti Pouder exclaims, "But I need a roof!"
Ippon says, "Take one of the huts"
Calti Pouder says, "My refining services won't be needed for quite a while, I can tell."
Dentir Longtooth asks, "So, these are your corpses?"

Calti Pouder says, "Pay the peasant, Dentir."
Ippon says, "Give us a couple weeks with training and the teeth will be rolling in"
(Dentir Longtooth removes the mandibles from the other myrms.)
Dentir Longtooth says, "Excuse me, please."
Calti Pouder asks, "Is that little one as worthless as it looks?"
Ippon says, "The noids to the east have lots of long pointy teeth"
Dentir Longtooth says, "I can give you 10c for the big one, and 5c for the rest together."
(Calti Pouder pokes Dentir Longtooth.)
Dentir Longtooth says, "Luckily I was able to take them off very cleanly."
Calti Pouder exclaims, "Too much!"

Dentir Longtooth says, "Well... but..."
Calti Pouder exclaims, "We have to make a profit, you know!"
(Dentir Longtooth sighs.)
Dentir Longtooth says, "You're right, you're right."
Dentir Longtooth asks, "Will you take 10c for the lot?"
Calti Pouder says, "We'll pay you folks for any useful mandibles you find."
Calti Pouder says, "And after you've brought enough, maybe I'll even sell you some of our kyten."
Dentir Longtooth says, "But I had to do all the work of removing them."
Dentir Longtooth says, "It's not easy, you know."
Sa'Wrap asks, "What is Kyten?"

Calti Pouder says, "Kyten! Kyten powder! You know, 'kyten makes the world go around?'"
(Dentir Longtooth bursts out laughing.)
Calti Pouder ponders, "Oafs."
[At this point, a mammoth arachne corpse is dragged into town center by Afrit.]
Bumper says, "A mammoth it looks like."
Clyde asks, "Dentir, can you do anything with the bug over there?"
Bean asks, "What about the bug Afrit has brought?"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Here, I'll pay you for these I just extracted, and then if you want I'll teach you to remove the next ones yourself."
Calti Pouder says, "That big spider over there looks OK."
Dentir Longtooth says, "Here, I'll show you on that big blue thing over there."

Dentir Longtooth asks, "Can you get these disgusting myrm corpses out of the way now?"
Dentir Longtooth asks, "All right, Ippon? Is that what you're called?"
Ippon says, "Yes"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Here, come get a good look at how it's done."
(Ippon watches closely)
(Dentir Longtooth points to the right places to remove the mandible intact.)
Dentir Longtooth says, "Go ahead, give it a try."
(Ippon observes)
(Ippon jots some notes down)
(Ippon carefully pulls on the teeth.)

(Dentir Longtooth): The mandible breaks in two.
Dentir Longtooth says, "Ah! Well, a good try. This one looks kind of hard."
Dentir Longtooth says, "But practice what I showed you, and you'll get better at it."
Ippon says, "I'll be sure to keep practicing"
Destian asks, "Can you two remove scales, or is this the entire scope of your abilities?"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Scales? Why would we want those? It's mandibles that make kyten."
Calti Pouder exclaims, "Remember: broken mandibles are worthless!"
Calti Pouder says, "I need them intact to extract the kyten powder."
Ippon asks, "Any other tricks of the trade you need to show me?"
Dentir Longtooth says, "You just need practice now, Ippon."

Ippon says, "Okay :)"
Ippon says, "Thanks"
Destian asks, "Then have you any friends...saying you have friends...who know the arts of scaling?"
Dentir Longtooth says, "I can't think of any who'd want to come to a muddy, rat-infested place like this..."
Ippon says, "Well, we aren't here by choice"
Dentir Longtooth says, "But if anyone springs to mind, I'll be sure to let you know."
(Dentir Longtooth smirks.)
Da Budda Buh says, "Just checking out the new envrions"
Calti Pouder says, "If Skea had told us everything about this place, we sure wouldn't be here now."
Koric says, "Ah, friends of Skea."

Dentir Longtooth says, "Hah, we used to be friends of hers. Don't count on it now, though."
Dentir Longtooth asks, "Now, could somebody please show us to a place to stay?"
Dentir Longtooth asks, "Maybe somewhere near where the mandibles come from?"
Calti Pouder says, "Ah, an Inn would be lovely."
Koric says, "We have some nice empty huts in the north farms, near the myrm hive."
Sala Dragon asks, "Are you more interested in myrm or arachne mandibles?"
Tuzar Bloodblade asks, "How much do you pay for a mandible?"
Dentir Longtooth says, "It depends on how good it is. A couple of coins, usually."
Tuzar Bloodblade asks, "How much would you give for the perfect mandible?"
Dentir Longtooth says, "I'll tell you when I see one."

Calti Pouder says, "The perfect mandible weighs more than you do."
Tuzar Bloodblade says, "Those are big mandibles.."
Ippon says, "There is a hut east that is close to three sources of teeth"
Dentir Longtooth asks, "Well now, Calti. Should we try the Inn, or do you want to be somewhere closer to work?"
Calti Pouder says, "So where is this Inn? We need privacy."
Dentir Longtooth says, "Oh, I say."
Dentir Longtooth asks, "Before I go, does anyone else want to see how to remove mandibles?"
(Dentir Longtooth looks around.)
[Calti begins to walk south toward the Tor Inn at this point.]
Calti Pouder yells, "Are you coming, Dentir, or should I go get a nap without you?"

Dentir Longtooth says, "Oh... we'll need a corpse for demonstration."
Ippon says, "Dentir is busy accepting new students"
Dentir Longtooth yells, "I'm going to show a couple more people how to remove mandibles, so we can have a supply later."
Calti Pouder yells, "OK! I'll come back when there are enough mandibles to make a couple of doses of kyten powder!"
Calti Pouder yells, "Good luck with these... people."
Dentir Longtooth says, "Those myrms worked pretty well, and that big blue arachne was okay too."
Dentir Longtooth says, "It's kyten! Wonderful stuff. Very valuable, too, if you have the right buyer."
Relkin says, "What does it do? :)"
J'nder asks, "What can you use it for?"
Lundar asks, "Kyten?"
Dentir Longtooth says, "That's right."

Dentir Longtooth says, "Oh, we have a buyer already."
Dentir Longtooth says, "It's used for all kinds of things."
Ippon says, "Please tell me it is not an aphrodisiac"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Ah, there we go, something to show you all on."
Dentir Longtooth says, "Bring it on over."
Dentir Longtooth asks, "Now, who wants to see how to remove the mandibles properly?"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Gather around, if you want a demonstration."
Dentir Longtooth asks, "Who wants to learn these exercises?"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Now, let's see here..."
Dentir Longtooth says, "All right, here's how it's done."

(Dentir Longtooth kneels by the corpse and carefully removes its mandible.)
Dentir Longtooth asks, "Did everyone see that?"
[After several more demonstrations, Dentir asks to move to a hut to begin training others.]
Koric asks, "Would you rather stay in a hut by yourself or with some other trainers?"
Dentir Longtooth says, "Oh, I don't want to share a hut unless it's absolutely necessary."
[Koric leads Dentir to Troilus' hut in the North farms.]
Koric says, "This is the hut where some trainers live."
Dentir Longtooth ponders, "Looks pretty run-down."
Koric says, "I'm not sure of any others that are open."
Dentir Longtooth says, "Maybe something in another farm? Off east, perhaps."

(Rafiki points to the east farms... several there)
Koric says, "We have some huts in the east farms, yes."
Dentir Longtooth ponders, "I do so enjoy the sunrise."
Koric says, "This way."
[We lead Dentir to the westernmost hut in the northern half of East farms and he begins training others.]
Dentir Longtooth says, "Hail, Destian. You have much to learn."
Dentir Longtooth says, "I can teach you how to recover the mandibles of some kinds of creatures."
Dentir Longtooth says, "You will learn as you practice."


Winds of Dawn and Hearts of Tan have been hit lately by treasured members leaving the lands. It's quite sad to lose loved ones and we do hope they'll return soon. I hope that other clans are not suffering the same fate right now.

The Winds of Dawn's Membership Coordinator Arteress Lai (better known as Lilly) is taking an extended leave from life in Puddleby. Her post on the clan messageboard can be found at:

The Hearts of Tan is losing Aethelred, seemingly for good (although we're crossing our fingers that it will be temporary). This is also a blow to Winds of Dawn, as Aethelred was our ambassador to Tan and a good friend of the clan. His post on the Tan clan messageboard can be found at:

- Kiriel


(Many exiles have reported that skinning in the Foothills has been quite lucrative. The following is a report from Gorton on his experiences.
- Para)

Gorton's Wendecka Skinning Records

With all the buzz about the Foothills and the many types of wendeckas to be skinned there, several exiles have asked me what some of my records have been. So here is a quick list to give you an idea of what is possible with the right training.

White Wendecka 11c
Night Wendecka 15c
Day Wendecka 42c
Dusk Wendecka 67c
Dawn Wendecka 126c
Midnight Wendecka 133c
Large Midnight Wendecka 161c

Of course, not all will see such results. Only the most dedicated of skinners can prevent ruining such skins entirely. Hunter, my fellow skinning compadre on the last raid, also was very successful. But even he admitted to missing a few. I hope to see some of these records fall over the next few zodiacs as I plan to return on the next raid.

Remember, if ya need training in the art of skinning, I'd be happy to teach you a few of my more valuable lessons.

- Gorton, proud member of the Brotherhood of Independents and a skinning trainer


Q: Dear Mr. Thoom,

Deadmeat the friendly undine sometimes drops some of his body parts on my front lawn on his way to work in the morning. What's the polite way to handle this situation?

Troubled Exile

A: Dear Troubled:

I always wrap the parts completely and leave them at his front door anonymously, to minimize embarassment all around.


Q: Hey Thoomboy:

What is the best way to dispose of a dead exile? And don't forget to help keep your friendly neighborhood witch green.

Prue, er, Brue, yeah that's it, Brue

A: Dear uh, "Brue":

Try the conference room; no one ever goes in there. Just stack'em like cordwood and send Chum the bill.


Q: Dear Mr. Thoom,

Did you steal the idea for an advice column from me or from Prue?


A: Dear "Slif":

Neither you nor Prue ever submitted your columns. So, I decided to revive my old "Ask the Thoom" forum, which used to be broadcast over the sunstone network before the Ripture War.


Q: Goode Doctor Thoom:

Your professional advice will be much appreciated, deare friend. There be this sylvan with whom I am besmitten, but it doth seem that our relationship is to be doomed by the fickle goddess of Fortune. My heart lies broken, torn asunder. Verily, it be true. Alas. Woe. [And so on, edited for length. -Ed.] What can I do to heal my shattered soul and cure a broken heart?

Ye Olde Knighte

A: Deare Mr. Knighte:

Get a dog.


Q: Hey Mr. Thoom!

I keep falling all the time. Any suggestions?


A: Dear Simian:

Hunting with groups and with good healers can help reduce the frequency of those painful mishaps. Remember: ThoomCare recommends never fighting when severely wounded.


Q: Dear Mr. Thoom:

My cloak fits me very poorly. How can I assure a snugger fit?

Turf the Dorf

A: Dear Turf:



Q: Excuse me, Mr. Thoom,

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Wendie Roll Pop?

Rael the Squonk

A: Dear Mr. Squonk:

Let's see. One, two, three...CRUNCH. Three.


Q: Dear Paramedic:

Is Papa Thoom a certified physician?


A: Dear Deadmeat,

Oh, he's certified, alright.


Behind the Mystic II: After the Beatings
Bones Opens Up the Spigot
Malkor: Through the Years
Tarf the Dwarf: Menace or Maniac?
Worf and Worg: Differences Explained
Wendeckas in the Mist: An Account of the Foothills
Clan Profiles: Pogue Mahone, ThoomCare
Five Questions with Alchemist

Fishwrap Magazine is part of the ThoomCare Media Network.

Publisher and Editor: Paramedic

Senior reporters: Crippler, Charlos

Roving reporters and contributors: Althea, Babajaga, Bones, Callia, Deadmeat, Jeanne, Koric, K'Pyn, Mac, Monolith, Norm, Perkusi, Tyking II

A newspaper is only as good as its reporters, and we are always looking for new stories. If you have news you think belongs in Fishwrap Magazine, send Paramedic some mail (mailbox #1047) or email him at his scroll:

Doctor, doctor, give me the news
I've got a bad case of lovin' you
- John Moon Martin

Posted by Para at 04:40 PM
April 12, 2001
Fishwrap #37 - "Crash, Bang, Splort, Yazack"


"Our last, best hope for peace"

Issue #37: "Crash, Bang, Splort, Yazack"
[April 12, 2001]
Circulation: 150

Fishwrap Magazine is available on the World Wide Webscrolly-thingy.
You can subscribe here and also read all the back issues.


This issue of the Fishwrap Magazine is brought to you by the following sponsors:
* Clan Rising Claw:
* Babajaga the Sylvan:
* Sor, for Sun Dragon Clan:
* Quest Tracker, for all your quest-related information:
* Fishmonger: Puddleby's News Kiosk:
* Paramedic's Notebook: Fire Drake battle pictures now available
* ClanLords:

"Fishwrap Magazine: Thoom News You Can Use"

brought to you by Fishwrap reporters:
* Rizal the Thoom, ThoomCare member, is now a third circle healer
* Mystara, Cradlesong, and Tara have become ThoomCare Affiliates
* Gift shop is open
* Room discovered in the Muddy North Forest rose

brought to you by Norm's Diary
* Logs provide a way to escape Umbion's Isle?
* The mysterious Doikk
* Foothills expeditions continue
for more information on the above stories, see Norm's Adventures

brought to you by Koric's Journal
* Exiles travel Dal'Noth Island
* Horus healing and teaching
* Chamelopod Forest rescues
* Gigantic Feral Swarm
* "Two logs of wood and a barrel full of tar"
for more information in the above stories, see Koric's Journal

brought to you by Babajaga's Diary:
* Travels to the Ethereal Plane
* Sutai's workout
for more information on the above stories, see Babajaga's Diary


Court records:
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_172_14_30 on 82 Spring, 541 at 15:29..."
Clerus says, "Alknelt accused Infectus of attempted kidnapping of Algy, a defenceless...."
Clerus says, "The verdict was guilty; 51 minutes in jail, 237c fine and 0 days banished."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_184_14_05 on 4 Summer, 541 at 14:58..."
Clerus says, "Delirium accused Malkor of murdering Bouncy..."
Clerus says, "The verdict was innocent."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_200_17_41 on 20 Summer, 541 at 18:41..."
Clerus says, "Zephyrus accused Richard Simmons of disturbing the town quite a bit..."
Clerus says, "The verdict was frivolous; 116 minutes in jail, 478c fine and 0 days banished."
Clerus says, "Case #pcl_0541_205_10_14 on 25 Summer, 541 at 10:58..."
Clerus says, "Dr Malthus accused Moe of Assault and Attempted Murder..."
Clerus says, "The verdict was innocent."

Election results:
#181: Should the town square of Puddleby be remodeled to look more inviting?
32 (49%): Yes, I'm sick of sitting in mud!
4 (6%): No, I love soiling myself...
21 (32%): Maybe, it depends on how it might look.
3 (5%): None of the above
2 (3%): None of the above
3 (5%): Abstain
#182: What should the Island Umbrion dwells on be called?
7 (11%): "Damn, I Got Killed By an LSW" Island ("DIGCBaLSW"I)
5 (8%): "Island Whose Name We Cannot Agree On Though It Should Be Short and Concise" (IWNWCAOTISBSaC)
7 (11%): "Evil Place of Pyromaniac (not to be confused with the exile Pyromaniac) Brother of Tenebrion" (EPoP(ntbcwteP)BoT)
38 (59%): None of the above
7 (11%): Abstain

The Gubara report:
Gubara says, "The most esteemed citizens are: Algernon, Aival, Amarais Fina."
Gubara says, "The most reviled citizens are: Algernon."


Fishwrap Magazine is looking for a few more contributors, reporters and advertisers.

Advertising rates are quite affordable. Your ad will be read by well over 150 exiles!

Sponsorships: only 25 coins
Full ads: only 50 coins


Clans continue to submit their Clan Profiles. This issue we have one from the Hearts of Tan.

A member from each clan can submit an article on his or her clan, describing it in some detail. I'd like to see special focus on:

Origin/foundation story
Clan principles
Future plans
Location of clan scrolls (if available)

These profiles will run in Fishwrap free of charge to exiles as a public service paid for by the ThoomCare Media Network.

Nuba Yo!



Paramedic asks, "How are you getting along with Tenebrion these days?"
Tyking II says, "I have to admit, it's not as good as when you first interviewed me"
Tyking II says, "He's lied to me..."
Paramedic asks, "Oh really?"
Paramedic says, "Hm"
Tyking II says, "Gotten me killed, and showed no care"
Paramedic says, "That's not good"
Tyking II says, "And he hasn't contacted me in a LONG time"
Paramedic asks, "Do you think something has happened to him?"
Tyking II says, "No..."
Tyking II says, "If something happened to Tenebrion, someone would notice"
Tyking II says, "His guards are fine"
Paramedic asks, "What do you think is keeping him occupied?"
Tyking II says, "Perhaps he is trying to strengthen the spells of protection around his other brother's islands"
Tyking II says, "Which one, I do not know"
Paramedic says, "Hrmmm."
Tyking II says, "Maybe Lugubrion"
Paramedic asks, "What is your impression of Umbrion?"
(Tyking II covers his mouth)
Tyking II says, "Oops"
Tyking II says, "I wasnt supposed to say that.."
Tyking II says, "Ah well"
Paramedic asks, "Lugubrion?"
Tyking II asks, "Umbrion?"
Tyking II asks, "Lugubrion?"
Tyking II says, "Who's Lugubrion?"
Tyking II says, "I don't know any Lugubrion"
Paramedic says, "hmm"
Tyking II asks, "What was the next question?"
Paramedic asks, "ok then, what do you think of Umbrion?""
Tyking II asks, "Umbrion?"
Paramedic says, "yes, Umbrion"
Tyking II asks, "UmBrIoN?"
Tyking II asks, "UMBRION?"
Paramedic says, "Yeah, Umbrion"
Tyking II yells, "DIE UMBRION!"
Tyking II asks, "That answer your question?"
Paramedic says, "You don't seem to like him much"
Tyking II says, "Oh ya, oh ya"
Tyking II says, "I despise his very being"
Paramedic asks, "Is he evil?"
Tyking II says, "Yes"
Paramedic asks, "So should exiles go to Umbion's Island?"
Tyking II says, "In very large numbers, yes"
Tyking II says, "I want him dead"
Tyking II says, "And his keep destroyed"
Tyking II exclaims, "His guards, dead!"
Paramedic asks, "So you think he is that bad?"
Tyking II exclaims, "Worse than bad!"
Tyking II exclaims, "Despicable!"
Tyking II exclaims, "Horrible!"
Tyking II exclaims, "Terrible!"
Tyking II exclaims, "Zipzoopazorrible!"
Paramedic says, "That's not good"
Tyking II says, "He wants to burn down Puddleby"
Tyking II says, "And trust me, he can"
(Tyking II rubs the burn mark on his arm)
Tyking II says, "Umbrion gave me that"
Paramedic says, "That looks painful"
Tyking II says, "You betcha"
Tyking II says, "I'm standing in the conference room waiting"
Tyking II says, "And suddenly..."
Tyking II exclaims, "KABOOM!"
Tyking II says, "A stream of fire hits me and burns me to a crisp"
Paramedic says, "That is definitely bad"
Paramedic asks, "Tyking, have you been to Umbrion's Island?"
Tyking II says, "No."
Paramedic asks, "You consider Umbrion's Island dangerous?"
Tyking II says, "Yes"
(Paramedic nods)
Tyking II says, "Very much so"
Tyking II says, "Tenebrion warned me of it..."
Tyking II says, "Before Puddleby even knew about Umbrion's Island"
Paramedic says, "hmm"
Paramedic asks, "Do you know anything about the other brothers?"
Tyking II says, "A few things"
Tyking II says, "I know their names"
(Paramedic listens)
Tyking II says, "That they each have their own islands"
(Paramedic listens)
Tyking II says, "That they can kill someone beyond departablility"
Paramedic says, "Ack, that would be bad"
Tyking II says, "And that they would have killed me had I been present during the 'brion meeting."
Tyking II says, "That's about it."
Paramedic asks, "So they have threatened you in the past?"
Tyking II says, "Yes."
Tyking II says, "They are not as friendly as Tenebrion."
Paramedic says, "Ah, I see."
Paramedic asks, "Do you think Tenebrion is still conducting experiments with Purgatory?"
Tyking II says, "He hasn't mentioned it lately"
Paramedic says, "That's interesting"
Paramedic asks, "Maybe they never worked out?"
Tyking II says, "I think he's trying to do something about the things we're doing to the Ethereal Plane"
Paramedic asks, "He does not like exiles going to the Ethereal plane?"
Tyking II says, "I don't know"
Paramedic says, "Hmm."
Paramedic asks, "Have you been on an Ethereal Plane trip?"
Tyking II says, "I went on one, but never got to the plane itself"
Paramedic says, "Same here."
Tyking II says, "I have contacts who have been there though"
Paramedic asks, "What did they tell you?"
Tyking II says, "They informed me of what happened during the trips"
Tyking II says, "About the ethereal sword"
(Paramedic listens)
Tyking II says, "The monsters that lurk on the plane..."
Paramedic says, "It sounds quite dangerous there"
Tyking II says, "The pentagon snells, which I think is of a greater importance than they think"
Paramedic asks, "oh really?"
Tyking II says, "It's the small things that make a big difference"
Paramedic asks, "So you recommend checking those out more?"
Tyking II says, "Yes."
(Paramedic makes a note of that)
Paramedic says, "Ok, one last question...."
(Tyking II nods)
Paramedic asks, "Where do you think things are ultimately going with Puddleby and Tenebrion and his brothers? A big confrontation?"
Tyking II says, "One word."
(Paramedic listens)
Tyking II says, "Kaboom."
Paramedic asks, "Do you think exiles are prepared?"
Tyking II says, "Crash, bang, splort, yazack, the basic idea"
Tyking II says, "Nope"
Tyking II says, "Not at all"
Paramedic asks, "Do you think they could become prepared? Do they have a chance?"
Tyking II says, "They have no idea how powerful Umbrion is"
Tyking II says, "They could..."
(Paramedic listens)
Tyking II says, "Maybe the shield holds the key..."
Paramedic asks, "Which shield?"
Tyking II says, "A Tenebrionic shield"
Tyking II says, "Tenebrion has gotten Dan'dura'a to make one for me"
Paramedic asks, "Hm, to fend off Tenebrion?"
Paramedic asks, "Do you have it already?"
Tyking II says, "Nope"
Paramedic asks, "But you hope to get it soon?"
Tyking II says, "Yes"
Paramedic says, "Excellent. Let us know how that works out."
Tyking II says, "And when I do, I'll notify the fishwrap first :-)"
Paramedic says, "Thanks for a great interview, Tyking. As always it was very interesting"
Tyking II says, "Thank you."


Vagile would like to announce a new free naval service.

In the interests of lowering Puddleby's rate of scurvy the Puddleby Navy has launched an aggressive new health campaign.

All citizens are entitled to a free full body poke and check-up, teeth scraping and a general limb tugging to make sure they are still attached firmly. The official Naval Physician, Dr Tessa, will also provide a free citrus thing.

Did Vagile say free??? Yes!!! The Puddleby Navy in underwriting this health issue all out of its own funds. Any citizen is entitled to a free check-up. Vagile will however accept voluntary donations to assist this massively expensive undertaking.

Vagile would like to urge all Navy members to set a good example and get their check-ups done early to set an excellent example to the rest of the citizenary.


Calchas: How did the Hearts of Tan come to be?

Karkras: Before the Hearts of Tan, there was the Tan Team. Five of us newly-exiled bumped into each other one evening and headed off to the hive together. We had fought our way through a nearly endless wave of myrms, when we looked at each other and saw we were all wearing Tan clothes. We were proud of our accomplishment, as bloody and out of breath as we were, the hive's denizens were so much cracked carapace at our feet. At that moment, some common thread in our lives and fates intersected, and as if with a single voice, we all cried "Tan Team!" At that instant, though we didn't know it at the time, was the genesis of the Heart of Tan.

Calchas: You say that as if the Heart of Tan is an entity that was born.

Karkras: I believe that. The Heart of Tan is greater than any one of us; it is greater than the sum of us. The Heart of Tan more even, than a synergy of our collected spirits. It is an ideal; it is an energy; it is hope and optimism; it is fidelity, honor, and fellowship; it is reason and reward. When we declare that our "Hearts beat Tan," it means that we are infused by these principles... A Heart of Tan does more than carry our lifeblood -- it gives our lives meaning, our spirits hope, and our paths direction.

Calchas: After the genesis, how did the Tan Team become the Hearts of Tan?

Karkras: We told each other that we should found a clan but we didn't know the hows, whos, or whats. We had a lot of questions, but few answers. Because of this, the idea languored for a little while, even though we were exploring and discovering together every day. We all wanted the clan to be "democratic," but no one stepped forward with a comprehensive, unified vision. It was then that I realized that the Heart of Tan was what unified us, so I drafted up the original Tan Project scroll which attempted to define ourselves and our principles. Some of the Tan Team thought the document was heavy-handed, undemocratic, and hypocritical, so they left us. The remaining Tan Team ratified the vision and we worked hard over the next couple of weeks to raise the money for the founding fees. We did accept small contributions, but we decided not to ask for coins; we wanted the strength of our convictions to speak for us; with all of us barely-trained newlings it was a daunting quest, but one that brought us together, one that made us very proud to accomplish.

Calchas: I heard that the Tan Team almost had a very different destiny.

Karkras: That's true. At first, with only 7-10 on the Team and no banner to rally around yet, we took a proposal to the Silver Drakes. In response, they offered to make the Tan Team a chapter of their clan, "the Tan Talon." When we inspected this alternative more closely, however, we realized that we had become a distinct entity, and voted unanimously to follow our hearts, to become the Hearts of Tan.

Calchas: You began by wearing tan clothes, and your Clan's name and color is Tan; why don't your members wear Tan?

Karkras: I hear that question so much! I'm glad you asked though. We are "the Hearts of Tan"-- we are not "the Clothes of Tan." For the same reason that the Winds of Dawn do not go naked flying around on gusts of wind, and for the same reason that not every member Dwarven Militia is a dwarf, we do not have to wear cheap tan clothes: we are unified by a Set of Principles and Ideals, not by a uniform. All Dwarven Militia are dwarfs at heart. We are Tan at Heart!

But it is no coincidence that we are "Tan" and our first shirts on this island are Tan. Nearly everyone remembers their first days in Puddleby, when everything was new and the world was endless, full of danger and challenge, with beasts to overcome, and a frontier to explore. That time is what we Hearts refer to as the "Tan Time": the sense of wonder and vital excitement that new exiles feel during that time, the strong bonds of friendship and fellowship that are formed, the exhilarating surges felt in their hearts as they face danger and vanquish foes; all these elements of the Tan Time we hold as ideals, we also hold in our Hearts. Our actions and our Hearts are what make us Tan -- not the color of our shirts.

Calchas: You've talked about "the Heart of Tan" as a guiding force, but how would you describe your Clan itself?

Karkras: Our Clan was founded based on the principles of Fellowship, Fidelity, and Honor. The Hearts of Tan hold the wonder and excitement of the newly-exiled as an ideal, and constantly strive to achieve and maintain this ideal through exploration, embracing and assisting those new to Lok-Groton, and continuously seeking opportunities, pushing boundaries & expanding frontiers in both self development and development of the Clan as a unified, dynamic entity.

Calchas: Does the Hearts of Tan have any special Clan Events or Activities?

Karkras: We hold a Clan Meeting and Hunt every Zodiac, and a General Election every other Spring. Our Chief Treasurer schedules Fund-Raising Hunts, and our Clan Expeditions Leader plans and schedules special exploration expeditions (we're currently focused on the secrets of Devil's Island). We also have three other Events/Activities in the works.

Calchas: What is a cross-section of your Clan's Membership?

Karkras: The Hearts of Tan comprise 29 exiles, including 16 fighters, 12 healers, and 1 mystic. All but 6 of us are Second Circle in our respective Guilds; 5 are still First Circle; the pride of our clan currently lies with Medissa, who just passed into the Healers' Third Circle. We have 3 Lords, one of which is a talented Bard.

Calchas: You mentioned earlier that you have other events "in the works" for the future. Can you share some details?

Karkras: [chuckles] Sure. We are planning a series of HeartQuests for Tanmates. The first is mainly for New Hearts: the "Egg Run," in which the New Heart must retrieve an egg from the Hive. The second involves our "Mirror-Rose Circuit" race. The third involves the "Tan Lok-Groton Lore Challenge." Other ideas we have been throwing around involve a "Gauntlet" run, a Relay-Drinking contest, Scroll-Writing, and Puzzle Challenge. Tanmates who are successful in the various HeartQuests will receive a special medal. Oh, and we hope to take part in the Dun'ilsar competitions one day soon.

Calchas: Where can an exile find the Hearts of Tan Webscrolls?

Karkras: They are easily accessable at http://www.tanhearts.org

Calchas: Thank you for talking with me today, Karkras!

Karkras: My Pleasure, Calchas! May the Tan Light forever Illuminate your Path.


This issue we have two entries of fiction from exiles.

First, "Exiled", Part One, by Odesseus. Then a story by Leogic.



T'rryll cursed quietly as he rubbed the lump on his head. A loud bang had awoken him from his sleep, causing him to sit bolt upright in this confined area, resulting in cracking his head on a low beam. The boat creaked and rolled, as it had done for the past two weeks. T'rryll strained to open his gummy eyes. Dim light filtered through a couple of cracks in the deck above, casting a vague light about his small hiding space. He tried to swallow, his tongue coated and swollen.

More bangs and loud shouts came down to him. A dim hope of getting off this reeking, rocking prison rekindled in his breast. Fresh air! Sunlight! Water by the gallon! Such dim dreams they seemed to be. But the noise died down and his hope died with it.

How he arrived here was a folly of errors. He shook his head at his predicament as he settled down to return to sleep.

Chapter 1

Their journey started out simply enough. He and seven others headed east, the rolling hills of his homeland giving way to open desert. In a couple of weeks, this in turn came to forest that contained small hamlets filled with people of different races. They were so unlike his own. Trryll had seen some before near his home, but very few. It made him uncomfortable. Their hairless bodies and rubbery faces seemed repulsive. Add to that their flat, harsh speech in a language that Tryll could barely understand gave him an impression that these races were unsophisticated, even though he was told otherwise. They had, after all, conquered his own homeland hundreds of years ago, uniting the land in an oppressive monarchy called the Ascendency.

The small band threaded their way carefully though the forests, speaking to those who knew of their purpose, being guided by their information. Their task was a treacherous one, for at any turn sympathizers to the Ascendency might give them up to the authorities. Bounty was to be had for such deeds, vile as they were. They pressed on, cautiously, fearing the worst at every step.

What they sought was straightforward, but not simple to be had. A few of their kin had disappeared, important members of a secret clan who were also part of an underground insurgency to overthrow the Emperor Mobius, the leader of the Ascendency. They had gone out on a journey to meet with other members of the group and had not returned. To find them and, if possible, to help them get back was their goal.

Arr'n was their leader, a middling-aged fen with keen eyes. She alone knew where they were headed, who to talk to. Trryll and the half-dozen others were along as protectors and facilitators. They knew nearly nothing of their mission, only to stand in the way of anything that may try to harm Arr'n and, with their own lives, allow her to escape. If they were captured, they knew nothing to divulge no matter the torture. Arr'n, too, was expendable, for if she were captured she would take her own life to protect others.

For many weeks they made their way east, sleeping in barns and hollows in the ground, their cloaks pulled around them where they approached other people, taking the guise of wandering monks,ever watchful. They kept their distance, hiding their differences deep in their hoods. Fen do not wander these parts idly, and their appearance could easily lead to suspicion. Suspicion would inevitably lead to capture.

Eventually, the trail they followed led them to the east coast of the continent. How far they had come! Trryll raised his nose and deeply inhaled the salt-tanged air. They must be nearing the mission's end. How much further could they go? They approached the outskirts of a small port town and set up camp, meager as it was.

It seemed like a simple task. Slip into town, find a certain shop and obtain a small scroll containing some information and return. Arrn had asked Trryll to do this because he was one of the smaller of the group and may attract the least attention.

Head down and hood pulled over, shuffling his step, paws tucked into sleeves, Trryll made his way along the streets. Some of the inhabitants mumbled greetings, mistaking him for some religious person. He nodded his head slightly in acknowledgement. He kept his tail carefully wrapped about one leg, even though it wanted to twitch with the tension he felt.

Finally coming into the desired shop, he slipped inside the open door. Behind the counter was a portly human male, idly flipping through a small bound volume. He looked up as Trryll entered.

"Ah, good day, friar, how may I help you?"

Trryll replied with a set phrase. "I'm here about the Vethpian orb," he lisped softly in the common tongue.

The man nodded once quickly, slipped from around the counter and closed and locked the shop door. Trryll was instantly alert.

"Just so we won't be disturbed," the shopkeeper said, as if sensing Trryll's alarm. "I have what you seek. But first... are you Fen'neko?"

Trryll winced slightly at the horrible mispronunciation of his race's name, but nodded.

"Please," the man said, "I've never seen a fen. Would it be too much to ask?"

Trryll considered this a moment and looked at the single, small window in the shop. It was shuttered. Reaching up, he pulled back his hood. He raised his flattened ears. His large, green eyes glittered in the dim light. The human gave a slight gasp.

"You look just like a cat!" exclaimed the man.

Trryll raised a lip and snarled slightly as he pulled the hood back over his head. "I come not here be insulted." His eyes glowed at the shopkeeper from the depths of the hood.

The shopkeeper waved his hands to try and placate Trryll, "Oh, I'm sorry, sorry! I know how fen hate that comparison. It was a slip. Your features are quite striking. As I said, I'd never seen a fen before. Your people rarely leave your homeland. I've heard traveler's tales only."

The shopkeeper bowed slightly. "Thank you for your indulgence, and please pardon this foolish man."

Trryll inclined his head as the man slipped back behind the counter. "I have the scroll right here. I must say, things have been odd around town lately." The fellow was in a chatty mood, possibly trying to make up for his egregious error.

"Normally, we only get a couple of trade ships in every zodiac. You know, the usual stuff, food, drink, some metals and the like. Well, lately, things have changed."

The shopkeeper leaned forward on the counter and lowered his voice. "Black ships have been coming into our little port. Quite large ones. They buy up a large amount of supplies and stand in port for a few days. Then, when the night turns moonless, they slip out to sea."

Trryll's curiosity and confusion must have registered even within his hood, for the shopkeep nodded slightly. "Aye, mysterious, eh? And what is even more mysterious is the rumor that the final cargo for the ship is loaded just before it sets sail, under the same moonless dark." The shopkeeper lowered his voce even further, "They say that cargo is people!"

"Err?" responded Trryll drawing back, "Sssslavesss?"

The shopkeeper shrugged. "Some say..."

A muffled knock from the back of the back of the shop interrupted the man's theorizing. "Ah, I'm expecting a small delivery. Please wait just a moment while I attend to it." The shopkeeper opened a door to a backroom and shut it after he passed through.

The young fen was getting restless of this endless chatter, wanting to fulfill his small duty and return to his friends. But he waited patiently, his eyes roaming about the room looking at the dreary goods.

The door was suddenly flung open and Trryll jerked his head up. A strangled cry came from the backroom and the shopkeeper flew backwards through the door, crashing into the counter and knocking it over. A sharp tang came to Trryll's nose as a huge figure ducked through the door and stood as upright as it could. It still crouched in the shop to keep from hitting its head on the ceiling. Now it was Trryll's turn to gape.

The Ghorak Zo glowered at Trryll. Although stooping, Trryll estimated the being to be nearly eight feet tall. These were the creatures that aided Emperor Mobius in bringing about his homeland's downfall, brought from some alien land far away. It was the first time he had seen one. The Zo dominated the confined space. "I'll have a word with you," it rumbled, as it stepped over the unconscious body of the shopkeeper.

Trryll slashed with his extended claws at the arm that reached toward him. The Zo recoiled in pain and shock. "You little vermine!" it yelled, then bellowed an ear shattering roar and tried to grab the fen. Trryll dove under the huge arms and sprang through the small window. Wood and glass splintering as he rolled to his feet outside the shop. Another Zo waiting in the alley spotted him and bellowed "You there! Stop!"

His tattered cloak flying behind him, Tryll let out a raging snarl to clear his way as he ran out of the alley and through the crowds of townspeople. A woman screamed and dropped her load at the sight of him. The people stared at he sped by them. From behind him one of the Zo's yelled "Stop that creature!" but none got in his way.

Pelting down alleyways, Trryll could hear his pursuers hot on his trail. Although he twisted and turned, the Ghorak Zo seemed to know where he was headed. He remembered hearing something abut Zo having a keen sense of smell, as well. They were tracking him.

The alley he was following opened out onto a dock. Piles of goods were stacked, ready to be loaded onto a waiting ship. The ship was black. Trryll cursed silently to himself as he swung up a dock rope and landed quietly on the deck. A few sailors were milling about but none had spotted him. An open hatchway beckoned. He soundlessly sped down the stairs, quickly testing doors as he went. At the end of the short hall one opened to a well-appointed cabin with a wide sweep of small windows set into the back wall looking out over the harbor. Quickly casting about he spotted a small bookcase up on the front wall that was slightly ajar, revealing a compartment behind it. He slipped into the small space and pulled the bookcase nearly closed.

Trryll quieted his breathing and tried to calm his pounding heart as he sat in the gloom, pushing himself as far back from the opening as possible. For the small opening, the space was fairly large, about four times his size, but low ceilinged. Small casks and boxes filled a good deal of the space. Quietly shifting some of the boxes to shield himself from a direct view of the opening, he settled down to wait for a while. He hoped the Zo would lose his trail and allow him to slip back out and away. He will have failed his mission, but kept his life.

Fairly soon he heard footsteps coming his way. Trryll heard the door to the cabin open and close, then a distinct sound of a lock being turned. The occupant distractedly hummed as he busied himself about the quarters. Trrylll breathed very shallowly as he glimpsed the form of a human male pass back and forth in front of the open slit of the bookcase.

From above, Trryll heard the growling rumble of the Ghorak Zo. Apparently they had followed his trace to the ship, or perhaps, thought it was a likely spot he might have hidden. The young fen's heart sped up again at the prospect of meeting up with those giants. Apparently the human had heard it as well, for the humming suddenly stopped.

Hard-soled feet hammered down the galleyway and came up short to the locked door. There was a knock. "Captain!" came a muffled voice, "There are some bounty hunters up here looking for someone. They want to talk to you. They seem like they're in a big hurry."

The captian swore under his breath, "Zos! They'll be the death of me, yet!" Raising his voice the captain replied, "Very well! Tell them I'll be up momentarily!"

"Aye, captain," came the reply and the feet quickly retreated back up the galleyway.

Muttering to himself, the captain hastily moved about the cabin, gathering things up. The opening to the compartment was suddenly thrown wide open, and Trryll quickly ducked down behind the boxes. Books, rolled up charts and a couple of small boxes were uncermoniously dumped into the compartment, then the door shut, enclosing him in near-total darkness. Trryll's breath stopped short as he heard the sound of two locking bolts being driven home and things piled on the bookcase outside. He was in the captain's secret compartment, locked away. Trryll felt sick at his misfortune.

Unlocking the cabin door, the captain's footsteps retreated up the galleyway. Muffled voices of humans and Zo could be heard. Trryll silently crept over the boxes and felt the wall where the opening had been. It was hard wood, the join of the jamb and the door exceedingly tight. Trryll gingerly extended a claw into the tight space. The bolt was deeper than he could reach. He pushed gently against the door. It felt as strong as the wall it was set into. Trryll cursed at himself quietly as he slunk back into his protected corner.

Voices rose in argument from above, and the rumble of the Zos turned into bellows. A large crash sounded and the ship shuddered. The sound of the human voice turned obsequious and the Zos calmed down. Soon, heavy footsteps came down the galleyway. Doors to cabins were thrown open and closed soon after. The muffled voice of the captian explained each of the crew's quarters. The captain came to his own quarters.

"And here," the captain said, opening the cabin door, "are my quarters. I can assure you gentlemen, er, Zos, that there is nothing out of the ordinary." The Zos prowled about the cabin briefly.

"Show us the hold," demanded one Zo.

"Certainly," the captain said, "But my crew has been loading cargo into it all morning long. They would have spotted anyone attempting to enter it, no matter what kind of stealth you say they have."

"What is your business?'" demanded the other of the Zos.

"That, sirs," the captain replied as he closed the door behind the retreating party, "Is between me and the Emperor."

Trryll's heart froze as the cabin door clicked softly shut.


Clan Lord and Puddleby � 2001 Delta Tao

A human named James, like many others, began his life as an exile, not by choice. Through defending himself and his family from band of cutthroat thieves, killing one. James was arrested for murder by the town's Sheriff, an Agent for the Ascendancy, and local crime boss.

After several weeks at sea, James and others, barely clothed, half-starved and with no means to defend themselves, where unshackled, brought on deck of the prison galley, and dumped on the dock of Puddleby Island. Somewhat dazed, he and his fellow prisoners where instructed to report into town, or simply die, preferably the latter. James and the 10 out of 14 others who survived the long journey trudged toward town walls, and past the gates where they where suggested to move as quickly past as possible and to the town square by a large Ghorak Zo. James had heard of these folk, but had never seen one, he quickly followed the burly looking guard's orders. Once he was deeper into town, he was shocked to find how well dressed the exiled prisoner where, and how well fed they looked. He also noticed what a variety of folk there where to behold. He had never even seen a Thoom or a Sylvan or many outside his own species before, having rarely needed to leave his farm back home.

A Halfling, seeing that his group where new arrivals and half starved ushered them over to a nearby tavern and offered the group some food. The Halfling-who introduced himself as Mortimer the Tailor-carried on how horrible how little food they offered prisoners and commented that he was STILL making up for his journey on the boat, patting his rotund belly. Halfway into the meal they where joined by a rather tall well armed Thoomish lady, sporting a rather threadbare black belt to which Mortimer offered to repair, but was politely refused. She joined them for a dinner of fresh rock-cod and greens. She introduced herself as Lelerin, giving assistance to Mortimer on directing James and his fellow new exiles to visit town hall where he could be provided with a weapon and better clothing.

James asked her about the belt, and why it was so threadbare. She explained to him that in her old town, the solder's never washed their belts, and that over time, it grew black. She explained in a somewhat sad and melodramatic manner that 'due to the smell and it being an unwholesome habit' they insisted that she use one dyed black, though she let it grow threadbare to show its age and her experience.

When James arrived at the town hall, Leterin introduced him town officer in charge of local Human relations and bid him good luck. The officer gave him a descent change of clothes tan and sackcloth. The officer also introduced him to the local weapon-master who issued James a club, crude yet effective. The weapons-master further instructed James that the town was constantly under assault by beasts of all sorts. Clubus further informed James that he would be expected to do his part to keep the town running though combat or healing or some other useful skill. His first task was to help maintain the rat towers to the west, which had always had a little rodent problem, though he should first visit master Bodius or Brackus to first learn basic combat.

Bodius, whose main job, when not training Exiles on the finer point of physical fitness and basic dodging and striking techniques, could usually be found maintaining the altar room, which of course was where James found him. Bodius issued James a few basic pointers about how to hold a weapon, basic striking disciplines, how often to perform exercises, and which ones where the most beneficial. James was then ushered out the door, as Bodius seemed preoccupied with a small blue book, though pointing him in the direction of the western guard towers first. To James's surprise these 'little rodents', Clubus had earlier mentioned, turned out to be 2 foot long giant Rats with razor sharp teeth and beady little black eyes, reeking of unwholesome filth and decay.

James maintained the tower for several weeks, learning the ins and outs of fighting rats and how to dodge their attacks. Leaping away and striking out when the rat was off balance making goes at his throat or legs.

A few weeks later, James was eating his supper of fresh-fish and tubers and berries he greeted by an old man by the name of Fistus.

The old man sat down in front of James, who smiled and nodded in recognition, though curious, as to whom this individual was now sat before him chattering on in small conversation about the town, the horrid vermine, and how cheap Mr. Bountypay was.

"You're new in town, though not so new, son" said the old man. "The name's Fistus. Used to be a soldier, from before the times of the emperor. Was a veteran of the Darshak War. I run the fighters' guild round here."

"Why do they call you Fistus?" James replied.

Fistus held up his gnarled hands, to which had looked like they had been broken many, many times

"Because of these, before the inquisitor had me sent here, he had my hands shattered, healed, and shattered again, twenty times over, till they thought they wouldn't work anymore. Not that it mattered, just made 'em tougher." Fistus looked grim, recalling the memory of his torture, flexing his hands slowly repeatedly. James could hear the tendons stretch and bones crackle slightly as the old timer did this.

"I've been watching you lately for the last few weeks, I think you would make an excellent fighter. You got what it takes to perhaps even rival Eveus or myself someday. Here, take this." Fistus placed a heavy, leather-sheathed, ebon handled, knife in James' hand.

"We would appreciate your help as a fighter you will be trained in the art of war and combat, and as a huntsman to retrieve wild game. This is just the beginning, son. A great opportunity."

"Um, ok, uh what do I do?" James looked at his dagger, and hefting it a few times testing its weight and balance."

"Go to the fighter's hall, northeast of town when you can. Show your blade to the guard and he'll letcha' in."

James agreed to be a "fighter" for the town. His new weapon, an 8 inch hunting knife, was rather useful, as well as sharp. He found that rats, as well as myrm where slain with greater ease by its sharp blade. He was asked to help clear myrm a week into clearing rats, much to his chagrin. He was fearful of the dire ant creatures, wanting to keep his hands and arms intact, though he quickly learned that most where slow and stupid. Usually when he saw a one of the rarer-though swift-guard myrm, he would flee like a bat out of hell.

Before he had met Fistus occasionally tried to explore, but was turned back buy a rather stubborn doorman. James displayed his new dagger to the guard, whom nodded his head and pointed toward the large twin wooden door of the Fighters' Guild complex. Inside was somewhat disappointing, several rough looking individuals gave him sideways glances and carried on their conversations. James approached a rather plainly dressed fighter in the back who was picking his sharp teeth with a toothpick.

"Name's Atkus," the man said, "you came to learn?

"Learn? Learn what, sir?" replied James

"I can train you to use that pigsticker you have there, son" Atkus chortled. "Don't want you hacking off a few of your own fingers in combat, do you?"

James shook his head, no and continued.

"Sure, what do I... do?" asked James.

Atkus motioned James to follow as he approached the basement door. Within the basement, Atkus nodded at a few odd looking practice dummies and wielded his own dagger dagger, adorned and scarred by many years of combat, though its blade was still honed, and amazingly unnotched. Atkus told James to stand in front of one.

"First things first, how do you strike at an enemy?" Atkus inquired.

James holding is knife at a downward angle lunged forward at the nearby dummy, missing it entirely as it leapt out of the way!

"Aargh!" James shouted, his blade implanted in the wall behind the dummy. Atkus snickered at James' clumsy strike.

"These new ones are getting greener every year" Atkus chuckled silently.

"Well, kid, you have got a lot to learn, for one thing, you need to be subtle in your movements when approaching an enemy. Try not to give away when you are going to strike."

James climbs to his feet and begins to attempt to pry his new blade from its place in the wall. After a few tries he pulls it free and focuses on Atkus.

Atkus fold his own dagger up in demonstration of a fighting stance, his feet placed shoulder width apart and his blade pointing down. He looked like he was going to punch the dummy, whom was now trying to taunt Atkus by throwing hay at him and banging on its shield with its wooden shortsword.

Atkus then glanced at James, winked, and without looking lunged at the dummy. Before the dummy could react, it found Atkus' dagger planed firmly between the eyes.

The dummy froze and started mumbling 'oww oww oww' before pulling free, glaring at Atkus. The dummy, knowing it was no match for the old timer sat in a corner and began stitching itself up with a needle and thread.

"Its not just about sight, kid, it's about sensing your opponent's position and listening to his movements. Don't just use your eyes and brute strength. You will also find some creatures move a certain way, and that other creatures are just as smart as we are. The later of course being the most deadly." Atkus commented, removed some bits of hay from his blade's hilt, sheathing it silently in its home on his belt.

James nodded in agreement and stepped up to another dummy, which was leaning against a post, looking rather bored. When it saw James, it perked up and stood in an attack posture.

James, imitating Atkus's fighting stance and glanced at the dummy, which was now attempting to poke at him with its wooden sword. James held his blade up and slashed out with its edge at the dummy. The dummy blocked the strike with its small shield and tried to counterattack with its sword. James received a smart thump on the side of the head, but didn't fall to the glancing blow. The strike merely annoyed James whose determination welled up even further, feeling pleased that he didn't ENTIRELY miss the dummy. James stepped back a bit, then edged forward. When the dummy swung at him, James knocked its wooden sword aside with his knife and plunged it into its shoulder, causing the dummy minimal pain. James withdrew his blade, stepping back quickly to avoid a painful stab in the ribs from the dull wooden sword. James was curious as to why the dummy was still standing in front of him grinning like a lunatic.

"It was a wounding strike, not enough points to make it hurt." Atkus, as though somehow he could read James's immediate thoughts, "Ok, that's enough for today, at least you didn't hurt yourself like a lot of newcomers do. More than once I've had to drag some slob out of this place with a concussion or to find that they had cut off their own fingers." James smiled and thanked Atkus for his help.

"Come back tomorrow, we will discuss your career as a fighter. Remember, practice what I taught you."

James left the fighters' training area with a new sense of purpose. All that afternoon he hunted vermine for furs, using the subtle maneuver Atkus had taught him, as well as improvising the skills his father had taught him.

By that evening, he had become confident with his lesson, and looked forward to many more with his new teacher.


Behind the Mystic II: After the Beatings
Clan Profiles: Pogue Mahone, Rising Claw, ThoomCare
Five Questions with Alchemist

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Posted by Para at 09:36 PM