The Yorkman/Issue 012
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This issue originally published on 28/01/07
Guild Launches New Assault
The fragile peace of York has been shattered as hostilities have erupted anew between the Mercenary's Guild and the Colonial Police and their allies. Mercenary troops have attacked members of several pro-York clans, as well as others they hold a grudge against, leading to a resumption of York’s perennial civil war.
Many had cautiously hoped for a peaceful new year after some previously anti-merc groups had agreed to allow the Guild to visit York, on the understanding that Guild members committed no crimes. This truce lasted less than a month before Colonial Police officers, acting on a tip-off, apprehended and executed Mercenary leader The Malice. This decisive action was not sufficient to prevent a hit on CCTU leader Bauer, but enraged the Guild so much that their command decided an invasion was in order.
Initially claiming they would only attack the Colonial Police, Colonial Militia, and, oddly, the York Protestant League, the Guild swarmed into town and exacted a heavy toll upon the defending troops, killing over a score of them in a matter of days. Running out of targets, they quickly turned upon civilians who have previously angered or resisted them, settling old scores against a populace that has repeatedly repulsed their attacks.
Although caught off guard, the Colonial Police soon recovered, launching a decisive counter-attack in which nine mercs, including the infamous ‘Butcher of York’, Tom Failur, died in a matter of hours. Critical to this recovery was the support of groups such as the Colonial Militia and the Order of Patriots (strangely excluded from the Guild target lists, perhaps to discourage their intervention), and the arrival of a relief force from the Derby Hospitallers.
Crippled, the Guild forces fell back, swearing to return in greater numbers. In the two days since, little action has been reported, but this fight is far from over, and shows every sign of once again spilling over into indiscriminate murder on our streets.
As the fighting raged in the streets, a battle of words was being fought as the two sides struggled to gain the moral high ground and public support. Claiming the invasion as retaliation for the attack on The Malice, and for CP leader Kjendlie’s public denunciations of copper-turned-mercenary Zydd Soral, the Guild commanders are presenting themselves as a purging force, fighting a corrupt authority in order to free the town. The Colonials portray themselves as the chosen champions of the people of York, defending them from the attacks of a “criminal gang” desiring only destruction and anarchy.
Following heated arguments with the Police, Guild leaders have cut off all communication, dashing hopes for a peaceable end to the conflict. With so much pride at stake it seems this will last until one side is utterly defeated. Remembering the 3rd Invasion, The Yorkman urges all parties to refrain from further attacks upon civilians. Enough lives have been lost already.
|Fear not, Yorkman readers - MG rule of York will not become a reality anytime soon, nor will they succeed in forcing their will upon us and making Yorkpeople into virtual serfs. York will prevail.
|What this is right now is nothing but a funny little test of power, to see how the CP yields. We just got angry at the CP's complete disrespect, unauthorised and unprovoked attacking of Mercenaries, and insults, so we decided to head in a little bit earlier than the actual hit to make our point - our point being that we WERE capable of dealing mass damage. Once again, York is caving in on itself just because of our presence. It was still reeling from the last time we went in.
|Patriot patrols are currently scouring the area for the enemies of York. If these scum set foot on our peninsula, we will know, and we will kill them. The Mercenary’s Guild have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, and will never be tolerated in York again.
-Order of Patriots Spokesperson
Headhunters Surprise Everybody
With the Great Durham Headhunt now firmly behind them, the headhunting community have been preparing for their next contest with a bizarre combination of suicide and resurrection rituals, shocking and confusing outsiders across the island and throwing law enforcement into complete disarray.
Few natives were willing to talk to us about the ancient “embrace death” rites of the headhunters, and most of those that were willing spouted large amounts of gibberish, with a notably tendency towards hard consonants and energetic gesticulation. Fortunately, we eventually located an intelligence source in Wiksik who explained the purpose of this bloody ritual.
The “Embrace Death Contest” is an ancient tradition which has lain dormant for years until it’s recent revival. By confronting the gravest of dangers and laughing in the face of death, participants are believed to gain great powers and near-magical capabilities. Protected by their shamen, they fanatically seek out the most life-threatening situations to gain the acclaim of their fellows and further realise their power and potential.
Initially the contestants insulted travellers, goaded wild beasts, and according to one unconfirmed rumours meditated in the swamps with slabs of raw meat strapped to their buttocks. Before long, however, they made their way to York, harassing and provoking the locals into attacking them. Once the Colonial Police got wind of their intentions, they attempted to discourage the headhunters by refusing to respond to or execute them. This policy ended in tragedy when a group of participants robbed the Imperial Bank, killing a hostage, and then attacked and mutilated Czechy in his tavern across the street.
The ritual is now concluded, with Warboss Grimteef honoured by his fellows for requiring an impressive twelve resurrections during the contest. Armed with a new sense of invulnerability and a new Heavy Sword, he will be joining the other headhunters in february for the Derby Derby, a new contest in the tradition of the Great Durham Headhunt.
Nationalists Announce Campaign of ‘Targeted Violence’
In a brief and uncompromising press release issued yesterday, the Durham Nationalists, a ‘network’ claiming to represent the Durham populace, has claimed responsibility for the “utter disruption” of “the mechanisms of Pirate Hegemony in Durham”. Over the space of several days, the Nationalists have assassinated Dennis Kujit, leader of the Pistoleers, described as “the puppet king of Durham, who rules by fear and repression”, Rozen, the “envoy of our northern masters”, and at least one other Pistoleer.
After several months of rhetoric, the Nationalists have decided the time is right to strike, and are declaring this the start of a campaign of “targeted violence against the enemies of Durham, without and within”. In practical terms, this seems to mean the overthrow of the Durham Pistoleers, undisputed masters of the town since the early days of the colonisation, and enforcing stricter rules on the influence and presence of non-Durhamites.
In particular, the Nationalists begrudge their opponents’ controversial links to the shipwreck. The Pistoleers have given honary memberships to the three most influential members of the Jolly Roger Gang, a ‘pirate power’ group who participated in the Third Invasion and have a declared intent to overthrow the existing order in York. The Nationalists accuse the Pistoleers of furthering pirate interests over those of the Durhamites; the Pistoleers insist they are merely being fair and impartial.
Whatever the moral value of their crusade, the Durham Nationalists are hardly in an enviable position. So far all actions have been carried out by a single member, one Nathan Hale, who claims to be speaking and acting upon the wishes of a larger group but has yet to back up those claims. With the Order of Patriots alienated in an early discussion and the CCTU refusing to become involved, the Nationalists’ only ally is Serious Sam’s Colonial Militia, currently bogged down in the latest attack on York. Nathan’s foes allege that he stands alone, an insignificant irritation soon to be crushed before the might of those he opposes.
Interview – Eliza Bellamy, Proprietor of the York Dating Agency
- I used to manage ‘Eliza’s House of Spouse’ in Shadwell, East London. It was a grand establishment where an unmarried gentleman could rent a wife by the hour. For their fee the girls would perform typical marital duties, such as darning their ‘husband’s’ socks, ironing his clothes, or planning dinner parties on his behalf. We had some particularly busy gentlemen clients who would often hire two or three wives at once.
- It was the religious types that did me in, with their constant hymn-singing and their chants of “Whore of Babylon!” Honestly, I’ve never set foot in Babylon in my life.
- One day the entire congregation of Saint Andrew’s descended on me like a swarm of biblical locusts. They bundled me into a small rowing boat and pushed it out into the middle of the river Thames. The last thing I remember, before falling into an opium-induced coma, is the sight of them lined up on Shadwell Stair, singing ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful.’
- When I next opened my eyes, I was lying on a pristine tropical beach. That’s the god’s honest truth regarding how I came to be on Shartak. No one should believe anything they hear about hijackings and mass murder on the open sea.
Could you give us a quick overview of the York Dating Agency and how it works?
- It costs one gold coin to join. First time customers are required to undress behind a screen so that I can take their measurements. Contrary to what you may have heard, I do not secretly take photographs of them in their birthday suits and then turn these images into saucy postcards.
- As soon as I have recorded a client’s vital statistics, I ask them to fill in a punch card questionnaire, designed to reveal key aspects of their personality. Once completed these cards are fed into a tabulating machine that was been specially developed by eminent scientists to calculate best matches between sets of data.
- I do not take kindly to suggestions that this complicated piece of precision apparatus bears a strong resemblance to the manual typewriter that was stolen from the trader’s hut a fortnight ago.
- Also, while we are on the subject, I would like to quash the persistent rumour that my Marvellous Matchmaking Machine is hoax and that I pair people off by drawing random names out of three-cornered hat, with a skull and crossbones on the front. That is a disgraceful slander against the good name of Bellamy - a name that has long been associated with decency and fair play. Any man or woman who doubts me should take a moment to consider the motto adorning my family crest: “Proditus quod Deceptio.” As far as I am concerned, these are words to live by.
What has the general public response been like?
- It’s started off rather slow, but I predict that business will pick up once my boys get here. Very caring and considerate young lads, they are. Always ready to help a person in need. When I was running my Knocking Shop in east London, I lost count of the number of men they brought through the door, sporting black eyes or broken limbs. Some of them were also bleeding quite profusely, but they would all insist on paying to spend time with one of our girls, before being carted off to hospital. I think of a lot of my clients see me as a mother figure.
Have you had any notable successes so far?
- So far we’ve been successful in attracting clients from the upper echelons of Shartak society – academics, establishment figures and the like. However, we are equipped to cater to the needs of the less reputable lady or gentlemen. Common thieves and ne’r-do-wells are all welcome. As of February 10th we will also be able to meet the requirements of rapscallions, vagabonds and cads.
- On the native front, I am delighted to announce that a delegation from Raktam has requested that we find a suitable candidate from Dalpok, who will be sacrificed to Huolowloah - the vengeful island god of volcanoes and tigers- at the end of March. I’ve never had a god on my books before. If only my friends in Newgate prison could see me now.
Pirates Hunt Rare Bears on Mt Shartak
At midday yesterday four intrepid hunters set out from the shipwreck in search of one of the elusive mountain bears that inhabit the central uplands of Shartak. Funded my Maevar Ralnik, the wealthy maverick mayor of Dalpok, a prize of 100gc is to be awarded to the first hunter to kill a bear and return with it’s valuable pelt.
Subcommandante Marco of the Shartak Preservation Front has condemned the contest as “barbaric destruction of innocent lives in the name of sport”, and has called for the inhabitants of the area to sabotage the hunt.
Violence Continues in Raktam
Although the Imperial Bank has declared the village once again safe for business, killings in Raktam continue apace. The Raktam Tavern, predictably, has been torched, and its owner’s corpse found , badly chewed, in the ashes. So far, the scavengers themselves appear to have suffered no further casualties. The conflict is expected to continue for quite some time.
Community Leaders Criticise “Irresponsible Digging”
The once safe streets of York, and several other towns, have become dangerous and unpredictable following a spate of random excavations by members of the public. According to the latest figures, less than half of the holes dug in York are properly filled-in, leaving potentially deadly falls littered around our fair town. Civic leaders and considering plans to reward responsible excavation with drinks vouchers, in conjunction with a “fill it up!” public awareness campaign.
Giant Squid Sighted Near Wreck
Pirate Defence Force leader Patch has reported sighting a Giant Squid just north of the shipwreck, within “’bout a minute, may’aps minute an’ ‘alf, o’ swimmin’, if ye be goin’ fas’. Which ah were, believe ye me!” Patch wounded the beast before managing to escape, but fears that it will make its way to the shipwreck, in a scene similar to the squid attack in York last year. He urges all pirates to stay indoors, or risk being attacked in the night.