The Yorkman/Issue 002
We've had a fantastic response to the first issue, and the entire team would like to extend our thanks to everyone who submitted stories, answered our questions, and kept us abreast of current events. Hopefully this issue will go down even better than the last!
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Thanks - The Yorkman Team
This issue originally published on 02/09/06.
Mick R Retires
One of the greatest heroes of our town, Mick R, has announced his retirement as head of the Colonial Police. During an illustrious career, Mick has played a pivotal role in transforming York from an anarchic and dangerous frontier town to the safe haven and cultural melting pot it is today.
Mick founded the Colonial Police back in April in response to rampant violence and crime. He and his officers have worked long and hard against external aggression, intimidation, and internal treachery to drive many renowned murderers from our town. Thanks to Mick's inspired leadership, a stable and lasting peace was finally reached. By ensuring a force free of corruption and abuse of power and making peace with the Order of Patriots, he helped to usher in the period of peace and prosperity we enjoy today.
The Colonial Police are now one of the most respected and influential clans on Shartak, and the great responsibility of maintaining and building upon this platform has passed to long-time officer Kjendlie. Every group in York and across the island as a whole now awaits with baited breath to see how this will affect the future of our town. Guest, keeper of the York Chronicles, has praised Kjendlie as "a shot of energy", and describes him as "stiff-necked, ready to face a threat", and unwilling to compromise with criminals.
Kjendlie himself has informed us that he intends to continue Mick's work of "keeping York safe and crime-free, and punishing criminals", but suggests that ColPol policy towards some groups may change. "Groups that kill civilians and innocents will not be tolerated", he assures us.
Kjendlie - In His Own Words
You're one of the longest-serving members of the colonial police. How did you first become involved with the clan?
- When I first showed up in York I was shocked to see the extent of the lawlessness. Murder of outsiders by outsiders was rampant, and fanatical killers roamed freely around York. Natives hid in the jungle outside of town and ambushed outsiders at will, uncontested. It was really a disgraceful sight. So, after learning of the existence of the Colonial Police, I felt compelled to join, to help reverse the dismal state of affairs. I started talking to the founder of the group, MickR, and soon after became an active member.
What have your experiences been like? Is the clan close-knit? Any good anecdotes about keeping the peace in York?
- It’s a great group. We stay in regular communication with one another - actually I think that of late the CPHQ has had the best and most interesting conversations of anywhere in York. We help each other out, share information, sometimes even participate in joint operations. I’d say the clan is close-knit. The level of camaraderie is high, if any member needs money we donate some gold to them, if any member is wounded we heal them up, and so forth.
- As for anecdotes, I can tell you about the operation of which I am most proud that didn’t quite end according to plan. This operation was the tracking down, capture, and execution of one of the most elusive of the York murderers, the native JB Aristide. He had been terrorising York for months, and yet always eluded us, despite our high priority efforts to get him. We came up with a new plan that was bold and massive in scope to hunt this criminal down, and the plan was put into action principally by CP member Nighter and myself, with support from several others. On the second day of the operation we got him. Upon finding him I executed him, then paused to celebrate, to catch my breath you know. What a glorious accomplishment, finally finding and getting rid of this criminal. Then, within a minute or two, as I was basking in the glory of our grand accomplishment, out of nowhere comes another native, Elembis, and before I realise what’s going on, he kills me! So my moment of greatest triumph turned into a humiliating embarrassment. I still don’t know if the two of them were working together somehow, or whether Elembis just happened upon that location at just the right moment — though that’s unlikely as this location was pretty remote, or if somehow Elembis had inside information on our operation and was waiting in ambush. Whatever the case, the end result of it all was that JB Aristide, badly shaken by being tracked down and killed by the CP, essentially surrendered. Upon revival, he fled, and hasn’t harassed York again since then, as far as I know.
How did you come to assume leadership of one of the most influential clans on Shartak?
- When I first joined the Colonial Police I never had any ambition of being anything other than a regular officer. It came as a shock when MickR announced to the assembled Colonial Police in the CPHQ, that he was resigning and wanted Arwedda or myself to take over. When Arwedda declined, I was the new leader. MickR had announced two days beforehand that he had a big announcement to make, but I don’t think any of us in the CPHQ that night saw it coming! I think everyone was shocked after hearing his announcement.
- As far as why MickR picked me, I had been one of the more active CP members in the past months, and spearheaded a number of projects and initiatives to improve the effectiveness of the CP and better catch criminals. I was also one of the more senior members of the group - when I joined I think it was only MickR, Arwedda, czech1 (later to found czechy’s tavern) and maybe a couple others.
What is the greatest challenge you envisage in the upcoming months?
- Obviously individual criminals and murderers are always a threat, but I think perhaps a bigger emerging threat to York in the future will be organised group violence, both homegrown York groups and foreign groups. I would like to assure the readers that we are more than ready to meet any new threats.
Mick R, meanwhile, has already headed out into the jungles of Shartak. "Goodbye" he told his former clan-mates. "Good luck. I'll be back again, someday."
Shark Island - Its WAR!
Last issue, we reported on the possible conflict brewing on beleaguered Shark Island, with the notorious Scurvy Crew of the Hell-Born Strumpet becoming the fourth group to lay claim to the disputed isle, terming it 'New Tortuga' and declaring their intent to capture it for all the pirates on Shartak. The Royal Expedition, a powerful group of outsiders from all along the southern coast, who control Shark Island in a recent coalition with the Discordian Cargo Cult, rejected this claim forcefully, and said that such a move would constitute a declaration of war against the crown.
At this point, the notoriously alcoholic captain of the Scurvy Crew disappeared after a night of heavy drinking and has yet to be found. The ship's surgeon, Captain Dan, seized control of the crew and tried to negotiate a compromise agreement with the Royal Expedition, insisting that war would not "benefit either side". At first, the Expedition were open to such advances, but as time wore on through last week, tempers became frayed and words became harsh.
Early suggestions for a compromise revolved around a 'First Strike' clause prohibiting violence, and a list of provisions including bans on littering, deforestation, drinking, and renaming the island (a topic which has been a sore point for many RE members since conflict in the area began).
Negotiations were inconclusive, and low-level violence began to spread across the island. Unaligned pirates were targeted by frustrated pro-war members of the Expedition. One source tells us "You'd see them on the island, but you wouldn't be able to do a damn thing about it, because we were still in 'negotiations'. So if you saw a pirate not covered by diplomatic immunity, you killed them just to feel better about the whole situation."
'Captain' Dan admitted an inability to control the crew, who attacked several RE members. A No-Violence Zone was set up near the crossing from the mainland to allow peaceful talks to take place, but this just generated more bad blood when it was openly vandalised by Captain Dan. Finally, on the 31st of august, with Tyler Whitney still missing and less than half the crew deployed to the island, Captain Dan broke off the ailing negotiations and the Expedition swiftly declared war upon all non-Discordian pirates in the area.
Shortly before the outbreak of war, The Yorkman received a provocative press release from Gandhi, the Royal Expedition's Minister for Intelligence. Although the report stressed that negotiations were ongoing and that the Expedition would not attack the Crew unless they broke down, it was dismissive of the Crew's military capabilities. In a stinging attack he listed the reasons not to expect a pirate victory in this conflict-
"Royal Expedition members have been arriving at the Island each day, bringing FAKs and manpower. If this does come to war, The Scurvy Crew won't stand a chance. Why? Let me Count the ways....
"1.) Où êtes-vous, capitaine? - Tyler Whitney, the Captain of the Strumpet, has been MIA for weeks. He's probably lost in the jungle, reeling from a 24-hour grog-fest with native women and painful blisters all over his body. What kind of Crew enters battle without a Captain? One on the verge of defeat.
"2.) '0.8' is the legal limit in Shartak... - Pillaging drunk is one thing; engaging in Mortal Combat without being able to walk in a straight line is another. Scurvy Crew Infantry Equipment: Rum and Cutlasses. Let's just hope they don't try to drink the swords and fight with the booze.
"3.) "Captain Dan, I got a boo-boo..." - When your surgeon is leading the Crew into the fray, who's gonna heal your men? I seriously question the competence of both Captain Dan and the entire Scurvy Crew. Honestly, what kind of Crew trusts a drunk surgeon on the battlefield? Well, a drunk Crew, I guess. Point being, the Scurvy Crew has COMPLETELY underestimated the power of the Royal Expedition and the treacherous environment of the Western Isle, and don't stand a chance.
"I could go on with the list, but that would require me to think more about the Scurvy Crew, which gives me a horrid headache."
Zeff, Pirate Hunter
|The Pirate Hunters - An Introduction
Everyday I wake up to the sounds of the wild. The rustling of the grass, the early morning calls of the birds and insects, the sound of the wind or the crashing of the waves - every morning the location is different, as I must be constantly on the move, ready to depart at a moment's notice. The opposite is also true - sometimes I must be still, keeping to the same location for days at a time, concealed in the branches of a tree, hiding in a bush, stealthily strapped underneath a rogue elephant or quietly observing my surroundings from the safety of an empty barrel of rum. Everyday I must put myself through such hardship, all for the safety of the good Lords and Ladies of Shartak.
At this point, ladies and gentlemen, you may ask - "What are you?! Some kind of filthy tramp!? Or worse, a native?! Why am I reading such filth?! I demand an explanation! Why do you put yourself through such unspeakable atrocities!?"
Fear not! Your questions will be answered! Although my lifestyle may seem miserable to the much esteemed lords and ladies, I am by no means a tramp or native. If you were to see me, my noble posture and my immaculate moustache would immediately set me apart from such savages.
As for your next question, lamenting the subject matter of the text you are currently reading - that is a question only you can answer. Indeed, why are you reading anything at all? To me and my associates, a newspaper is considered a luxury of the first degree! The uses for a newspaper are countless - a platter for food, a spare shoe, a blowpipe, a deadly cutting weapon (although this is not possible without extensive training), lavatory paper, a bandage, a very small and fragile sail for a raft, an amusing hat, a means of communication - the list goes on! Indeed, the last thing we would do is lament over the quality of the text written within!
However, I do apologise that the tales of my exploits must be shocking and unsettling for you to read, but while you reel at the thought of such conditions now, you will soon be stirred by the nobility of my mission, and swell with joyous pride (and possibly with erotic feelings) whenever you think of me or my associates.
Now, as for the reason why we put ourselves through hell to achieve our noble goal - we are Pirate Hunters.
Yes, I am known as Captain Pirate Hunter Zeff, the leader of a regiment specifically created to protect the good citizens of Shartak and rid the island of what most people call "Pirates". On the rare occasion that I find it appropriate to reveal that I am a Pirate Hunter I am usually surrounded by awestruck questions. After spending some time complementing me on my outstanding moustache and manly buttocks, people usually ask me what being a Pirate Hunter involves. I've travelled both to Durham and York to restock on supplies. People there seem to be under the mistaken impression that Pirate Hunters are merely individuals that do not bathe and carry more jungle foliage in their pants than necessary. This is only mainly true. In fact Pirate Hunters also sometimes hunt and kill the deadly low-life scoundrels of the seas - "Pirates".
At this point you may ask - "Yes that’s all very well and good, Captain Zeff sir my good sir, but what are these pirates thingies?! What do they look like?! Do they eat cake!? What do they do?!"
Well I'll tell you what they are - they are deadly mammals and live either on the sea, in barrels or in small alcoves or those unexplained crevices behind taverns or public lavatories. They are despicable scoundrels and thieves with inferior facial hair, who don't even use an appropriate amount of moustache wax. Their height ranges from 2ft to about 10ft tall. They are a deadly threat to the fine lords and ladies who have come to make their home on the fine (but far too overgrown) isle of Shartak. They live almost exclusively on a diet of rum, kittens and small children. And, no, they most certainly do not eat cake. Unless of course, it is washed down by a few barrels of rum. At this point I must apologise that you had to read through such horrific, stomach-churning descriptions, but, as I'm sure you'll agree, I must continue to inform you of the deep and murky levels of depravity that these "Pirates" sink to. Despite popular belief that pirates spend their time pillaging, drinking rum and generally being a nuisance, I found eyewitness evidence that they in fact spend the majority of their time drawing things in the sand and constructing crude signposts out of driftwood. The reasons for this is unknown, but it is clear that The Pirate Hunters must also work to defend the pristine beaches of Shartak as well as its noble citizens. As you can see, Pirates pose a threat to us all.
But, lords and ladies, I implore you not to fret your admirably groomed heads! For as long as The Pirate Hunters are here, you will be able to sleep peacefully in your beds, as we swing from tree to tree (accidentally collecting numerous insects in our bared teeth) traversing swamp, mountain, tavern, jungle and sea, to rid Shartak of pirates for good!
I must bid you a fine farewell now, as even as I write this on elephant hide, using my own bodily fluids as ink, I am surrounded by pirates! I have been sitting in this barrel for days now, observing pirates constantly getting drunk on their mysteriously infinite supply of rum, whilst silently trying to fend off an amorous monkey that has somehow followed me from the jungle and on to the shipwreck. Although I have momentarily restrained it with a rope made from the hair of my legs, it still seems to be bafflingly intent on its goal of making love to my head. Now all I must do is find a way to get past the pirates and attach this manuscript to the Yorkman's delivery parrot waiting outside, and pray that it reaches its destination.
Your humble servant and protector, Pirate Hunter Zeff
Road Network Nears Completion
After months of back-breaking labour, selfless devotion and unswerving dedication, the Civilized Highway Society and their legion of allies and associates are finally within sight of the goal they set out in April, with almost all major route expected to be completed over the next few weeks.
The Southern Coastal Boulevard now runs all the way from Durham to Derby, and roads probing north into the jungle carry traffic to and from Wiksik and Dalpok, with only remote Raktam remaining isolated behind the imposing bulk of Mount Shartak.
The network represents a great triumph over adversity, with the coastal boulevard suffering constant guerrilla attacks, and the connections to native villages often being resisted by isolationist militants prepared to go to any lengths to prevent contact with the outside world.
South Shartak Trading Company Praises Roadbuilders
Jack W. Spalding, CEO of the South Shartak Trading Company and prominent supporter of the roads project, has spoken out in praise of the Civilized Highway Society on the eve of their victory.
"In the past, I have encouraged members of my company to help in whatever way they could. We saw the economic benefit to the island, and supported it one hundred percent. Now That we have roads, we not only have a way to reach each city quickly, but we also have reference points to help in our navigation."
According to Jack, the roads have brought a new era of prosperity to the peoples of Shartak. "Natives with GPS units. Outsiders with animal necklaces. An increase of goods at the trader's huts. Pirates in York and Natives in Durham. Its there, its slowly happening but its there, and you can thank my boys for that!"
As banditry increases to take advantage of increased traffic, many people have questioned the long-term viability of a road network without effective policing. Travellers on the roads are more easily found and attacked than those in heavy jungle, and many have become targets for the more vicious members of society.
Shartak Preservation Front Condemns Roads
The controversial environmental group the Shartak Preservation Front have long been vocal and active opponents of the roads. Subcommandante Marco has recently condemned the Dalpok - Shipwreck Highway as a "disaster" for the inhabitants of Dalpok.
"Every day, more invaders take the CHS-endorsed road to Dalpok, bringing with them death disease, and starvation. The Dalpok area has become a constant warzone, and the road has played no small part in this."
Despite these allegations, Jack insists that the roads have increased the livelihood and culture of the natives. "Its a strange, and sometimes hostile culture," he tells us from personal experience, "but it is a culture now on the upswing."
The SPF however point to this week's raid by the Jolly Roger Gang as further evidence that the roads are causing irreparable damage to the isle's natural society and ecosystem. "This isn't over" they swore in a recent press release. "We have closed roads before and we will close them again. We will turn our hearts and minds to war and we will wage it with all our might. Our spirits are strong. We will fight until our last breath to keep this beautiful land pristine and free."
As we stand on the brink of a fully interconnected Shartak, we asked Jack how it felt to see so much work, the joint efforts and selfless sacrifice of countless individuals from all backgrounds, come together to create possibly the greatest project our fair land has ever seen. He replied "I'd say it fills my heart with joy, old chap! I have contributed to the development of this island, and to have such a lasting impact gives me a great sense of satisfaction. But if you think I feel good about it, ask the head of the Civilized Highway Society. I bet he's brimming with pride!"
Unfortunately, although we attempted to contact to CHS, they declined to respond.
|Jack W Spalding's Road Survival Tips
1). Always have a means to heal yourself. Carry herbs and first aid kits whenever you can, at least enough to heal you from near death.
2). Always carry a bottle with you wherever you travel. Water will heal you a little bit, and if it's empty, keep it anyways. You can always fill it up at the nearest lake or river. With a bottle in hand, you'll never run out of healing options.
3). When travelling the roads, always camp at least three squares away, but make it 5-6 squares away if possible. The further away from the trail you camp out in, the better. That way, bandits are less likely to hit you when you're AP'ed out, and the less likely you'll be seen when someone passes by on the trail. Never camp in the middle of a trail if you can help it!
Civil War "May Be Inevitable"
The continuing schism of the outsider community is threatening to deepen yet further, with potentially disastrous consequences for the entire southern coast. As anti-pirate sentiment in York and Derby becomes ever more commonplace, many pirates have reacted with threats against the southern towns, and the neutrality that Durham so proudly clings to may yet plunge it directly into the center of the conflict.
Although pirate activity in York is at its lowest since the terrible days of the Invasion, the mood in the town is far from relaxed. Eyes no longer anxiously scan the northern horizon for threats - they turn instead to the west.
Durham prides itself on providing a haven for pirates, and the Pistoleers, who largely control the town and its surroundings, and include several pirates amongst their ranks, have recently allowed the Jolly Roger Gang, a vocally anti-York group, to open a recruitment office for a raid against Dalpok. As the Gang's mettle is tested on the killing-fields of Dalpok, many are asking where they will be headed next. Wiksik? Or York?
Local clan the Pirate Hunters recently attempted to recruit in Durham, only to be informed that their activities were not welcome there. After some negotiation, the Hunters were granted permission to visit and resupply, but forbidden to attack pirates within the town limits.
This pro-pirate stance is a concern for many. The Pistoleers have always had a policy of civil hostility towards the other settlements, but in practice this has rarely been enforced and Durham has remained open to all. In recent days however, rumours have emerged (and been vehemently denied) of lone pistoleers attacking Yorkmen in the area between the towns.
As the ammo shortage in York continues, the potential threat posed by the large and well-armed Pistoleers is very real. Even more worryingly, Michael Edwards, the infamous leader of the Jolly Roger Gang, has declared his clan's full support for any future Pistoleers action against York.
Should it come to war, our victory is by no means assured. If the folk of York cannot present a strong and united front against our foes, we could easily be overwhelmed completely.
The Shartak Crypotozoological Society
Much interest has been generated in York recently over the Shartak Cryptozoological Society, led by renowned English Zoologist John Sevier. The Society has opened an office in York near Trader Harry's and the former Mercenary's Guildhouse, and have already begun the daunting task of cataloguing Shartak's unique biodiversity. We were lucky enough to be granted an interview with the esteemed Mr Sevier in the bar of Czechy's Tavern.
So, how and why was the clan formed, and what are your aims?
- The Shartak Cryptozoological Society was founded by me in order to gather a group of reasonable chaps to traverse the untamed wilds of Shartak in search of affronts to the Creator. Rare species are discovered everyday, be they insects or man-eating thundering giant lizards. Well, monitor lizards aren't exactly gigantic, but that did not stop the creature from eating half of the expedition in their sleep. ...I can still hear its ravenous slurping.
- Ahem, the SCS is dedicated to cataloging the rare species of Shartak, and then blasting them to smithereens if they warrant it (that is, eat more than 2 or 3 members).
What originally brought a world-renowned zoologist to Shartak?
- Well, I was convinced that rare Thames Hippopotamus was about in London, and upon designing an ingenious trap I decided to make a name for myself with its capture. Unfortunately, the Chancellor of Oxford, where I was researching, set the trap off and then had me expunged. I never should have used marmalade as the bait...
- I then got rather hammered and had a vision of the fabled hypnotoad, sitting on a throne in the ruins of Shartak. Since then, I have dedicated myself to finding it and re-establishing my academic career.
And what bizarre creatures have you catalogued so far in your travels across the island?
- I have seen many strange creatures, but unfortunately they only appear after I spend the evening at Czechy's tavern...
- Mainly, there are an awful bloody lot of monkeys...
Do you have any tales of great adventure to regale our readership with?
- After having a monkey gnaw on me on my sleep I dedicated a week to exterminating the filthy beasts. Unfortunately, they are legion and only time will tell if we fall beneath their simian rule or establish our moral superiority to their hedonistic monkey ways.
In the last issue, we reported a sighting of the fabled 3-headed monkey near Durham. Has any further news of this beast emerged over the last two weeks, or has it once again evaded the clutches of civilised man?
- I shot at the beast on the outskirts of town, but only managed to hit one of the vestigial heads. So, the beast is down to two, but as I cannot seem to master firearms I doubt I will be able to bring it down; may God have mercy on us all.
- Thanks for the drinks, and I will be departing soon to the Derby Ruins to search for clues. Anyone interested should stop by the SCS HQ in the next few days and feel free to join!