The Yorkman/Issue 015
Greetings, and welcome to the fifteenth edition of The Yorkman - now weekly! As always, feel free to contact us via e-mail, especially if you have some news to share with the world. Also, feel free to discuss the articles on the talk page. We are also currently looking to recruit more reporters and columnists.
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Thanks - The Yorkman Team
This issue originally published on 19/02/07
Fighting Continues in York
As the fourth invasion enters another week, it seems likely to become the longest and bloodiest conflict in southern history. With the Jolly Roger Gang now fully deployed in support of their Mercenary allies, the pressure on the York Coalition has greatly increased, and attacks in the center of York are becoming increasingly frequent.
Former Pirate Defence Force leader Rozen, executed by the Order of Patriots after claiming he was present as a healer, has joined his brothers in the raid. Likewise, legendary Jolly Roger leader Michael Edwards slew respected barkeep Czechy in his own tavern a few days ago. Other pirate attacks have been reported, especially between York and the swamp.
Despite Colonial Police diplomat Nighter’s attempts to broker a truce, the Imperial Privateers have also joined the fray in force now, attacking civilians in an attempt to undermine the authority and respect of the Colonial Police. According to our sources, at least one member of the Privateers has been attacking Kahuni, hoping that his death will temporarily level the playing field by forcing York casualties to use the nearest roaming shaman.
As the fighting escalates, the overstretched Police are finding it increasingly difficult to deal with domestic crime, such as the frequent attacks on exorcists by anti-native extremists. After a period of relative peace following the end of the Third Invasion, York is once again becoming a dangerous and unpredictable place to live.
Colonial Police Declare Victory in York
In the last few hours, CP leader Kjendlie has declared the Mercenary’s Guild to be routed from York. Citing the recent lack of mercenary sightings or attacks in the area and the public withdrawal of several prominent mercenaries to pursue other projects, Kjendlie says that the Guild are no longer a threat to the people of York.
Next issue: In an attempt to make sense of the increasingly confusing Fourth Invasion, we take an objective look at who’s involved, why they’re involved, and which side is ‘winning’.
Derby Derby Begins
As midnight struck on the morning of Feb 15th, eager headhunters flooded into Derby for the second event in the Winter Games Series. In a flurry of excitement and violence, most of the competitors took their first contest heads. According to some reports, there were 13 heads taken within the first 24 hours, although judging decisions have caused several heads to be discounted, as they were not of Derby origin.
After the first three days of the hunt, it seems that the defenders have been overwhelmed to some extent. Our source in the Eastern Federation tells us that although most of the Federation patrol routes are working well, and most of the headhunters in the area have been located, the lack of international assistance has left the Response Battalions critically undermanned, and several headhunters have escaped from lack of troops to engage them.
The Eastern Federation have started a new recruitment drive, with posters and carvings all over Derby calling for citizens to join the defence force, if only for the duration of the headhunt. Hospitaller Jack Molay has been seen in the medical hut directing unaligned Derbymen towards recently sighted headhunters. The success of this strategy has yet to be seen.
The success of the headhunt so far has come as a surprise to many southerners, who were reassured by the Federation’s confidence in their defence. If the kill rate for the first day were to continue throughout, we could expect over 250 casualties, causing even the Great Durham Headhunt to pale into insignificance. Fortunately for the Derbians, the kill rate does seem to have dropped.
But despite the claims of those who spent the Great Durham Headhunt arguing amongst themselves in the medical hut, the headhunters remain a force to be reckoned with. At a time when the indigenous community is increasingly marginalized and rarely considered a factor in, or a threat to, the island’s politics, the Wicksicks and their friends continue to remind us why the first settlers lived in fear of native raids.
The Evolution of War
Shartak’s history is a history of war. From the initial clashes between the settlers and the native communities, through the Battles of Dalpok and the Shark Island Wars, to the Invasions of York. Alongside these major events, a score of smaller conflicts have been fought with no less bitterness and determination. Uprisings in York, Durham and Raktam, missionary violence in Wiksik, headhunters in Derby, the struggles of the CHS and SPF – our island is a battlefield, and there are few who can say that conflict is not part of their everyday life.
As the Royal Expedition’s Minister of Military Affairs, I make a point of following the progress of these wars, their combatants, causes, and tactics. And whilst combatants come and go, and causes stay essentially the same, the last year has shown a dramatic evolution in the tactics and methodology of our wars.
The early conflicts are characterised by decentralised, disorganised command structure, and a widespread failure to share information and coordinate even amongst members of the same clan. Such wars were often little better than riots, with both sides descending upon the disputed area and killing as many as they could before they themselves were killed. Such wars were won or lost by luck and sheer weight of numbers, not by military prowess. A perfect example is the Battle of Dalpok, where pirates occupied the center of the village for weeks in a constant battle with the native inhabitants, with combatants roaming freely around Dalpok slaying each other and civilians alike, until the pirate forces were finally routed south.
Over time, as people have accepted the inevitability of conflict, increasing numbers are joining organised groups to combine their efforts more effectively. Through the extensive use of scouts and information exchange, it has become possible for a clan to claim and defend an area, locating intruders and despatching troops to deal with them before retreating to escape retribution. Wars for towns are no longer fought in the towns themselves, but in the surrounding jungle. The main task of an attacker in such a conflict is to find a place beyond the reach of enemy scouts from which they can still strike at the defending forces. A smart invader uses scouts themselves to locate enemy troops, and attacks them in groups to allow for swifter retreats. To win such a fight, they must cripple the enemy scouts so that they cannot locate their attackers.
Without scouts and an efficient system of reporting and coordination, the modern army is blind. And regardless of numbers and individual abilities, and blind man stands little chance against a man who can see.
LessThanLethal is the Minister of Military Affairs for the Royal Expedition, and has fought in a commanding role in a number of conflicts, including the Shark Island Wars and the Third Invasion of York.
Shamen; whether pioneer, native, or pirate, they keep our communities going. Everyone knows the shaman in their own little colony, chained to the spot and frequently surrounded by corpses. Derby has Balchig, Durham has Kamador, York has Kahuni. Even the pirates have determined the value of a shaman in their rare sober moments and have captured an aged native known as Jakota.
But those of us who don’t stray far from the villages may not even know of other shamen. There are a few native souls that wander the jungle, providing free resurrection services to any spirit that contacts them. However, due to their migration through dense, uncharted jungle, procuring an interview with one of these wandering saints has been impossible…
It was with no small trepidation that I approached Zakano, a young, bright-eyed wandering shaman that had agreed to speak with me.
Hello, Zakano. Thanks for talking to me.
- It is no trouble. It feels good to have someone to talk to for a change.
Your English is very good, Zakano.
- Thank you. I actually wanted to use this (holds up GPS unit) and so I decided to pick up some outsider knowledge. After that, I figured I might as well learn the language.
I see. So, where did you learn your mystic abilities?
- I, along with several other shamen, was taught by an old master named Jakota. He told us that death is a common encounter on our island, especially if you don’t watch your ak-shunn points. It was our duty to keep the people alive.
Indeed, it is. What are these ‘ak-shunn points?’
- That is a word passed down among us Enn-Pee-Sees. It has many mystic connotations I do not wish to get into.
- Animals. Traders. Shamen, like me, though not most of the shamen. We Enn-Pee-Sees are long-living and continuous. I will not get into it. If your readers learned the truth of our existence, it could bring great disaster.
I see. So how did your training conclude?
- That would be when the ship crashed against our northern shore. Master Jakota was taken prisoner, and forced to resurrect fallen pirates.
- Not really. To be a master means Jakota has maxed out his skill tree – he’s learned all he can – so he doesn’t have much to do except sit in one place anyway.
So he wouldn’t try to escape even if he could?
- Nothing’s stopping him. He can always move, and if he’s killed, he can self-resurrect.
Indeed. In any case, what is it like, being a roaming shaman?
- Well, it’s a rewarding experience. I’ve been heading in a generally south-east direction through solid jungle, but I don’t need to worry about animals so I can explore as I please. And I gain experience every time I resurrect someone, so I’m not really minding this war going on.
Do the people you resurrect show appreciation at all?
- Generally not; they get just get up and leave. Of course, sometimes they want to lie down for a while after resurrection, so I may be gone by the time they’re up. Usually it’s indifference, but occasionally I’m hacked to death by an outsider or tribesman.
- Well, I can self-resurrect – it’s an Enn-Pee-See thing – so all it does is take some of my ak-shunn points. It’s really worse for the killer, because he has no one to resurrect him now. It’s more of an inconvenience, really, though I really would prefer people not do it.
You travel to a lot of places. Have you seen anything unusual?
- Once or twice. One time I went all the way out to sea and saw a fully-grown giant squid. I found a heavy sword once. There were some unusual rabbits several moons back, but that’s it.
At this time, the sun was setting and I had to get back to camp. I bid my farewell to Zakano with regret, but walked away knowing I had learned something deep in this great crazy world of ours.
Derby Evening Press Launches
Shartak’s third newspaper, the Federation-run local affair from the up-and-coming town of Derby, has now published it’s first issue. The launch issue features a commendably even-handed dual interview with the outspoken Durham anti-pirate Nathan Hale and Durham-based pirate Rozen.
The Derby Evening Press aims to give a voice to those who feel under- or mis-represented in the mainstream press (we do accept and print letters to the editor, you know…) and to promote the many grand schemes of the Eastern Federation for the further development of their town.
To The Soapboxes!
Yet another division has emerged in the southern colonies, as former Shartak Rebel Forces leader Che launches his Shartak Communist Party to a mixed reception. Colonial Militiaman Arminus responded to this with the launch of the Shartak Anti-Communists, which seeks to demonstrate the superiority of capitalism by offering 20gc bounties on all Communist Party members.
This split could have profound consequences for the York Coalition, as a Colonial Militia member is now offering bounties on a Colonial Police and CCTU officer.
Shipwreck Crime on the Rise
With the mass exodus of experienced pirates, including almost the entire Jolly Roger Gang and Pirate Defence Force, to join the Fourth Invasion of York, what little semblance of order there once was at the wreck has now disappeared completely. Internecine fighting has continues unchecked, and is slowly but surely escalating.
The wreck is home to a number of violent killers such as Grimmig and Long Fin Killie, whose rampages have been the ends of many an unsuspecting pirate. With the inception of the Pirate Defence Force, many of them were drawn into lengthy conflicts with their hunters, drastically reducing attacks on unaligned pirates and visitors. Now, with their foes gone, the “mutineers” have turned back to the civilian population.
All travellers are advised to avoid the Shipwreck / Dalpok area altogether, if at all possible.
Indie Music Promoter Launches
Save Your Money Records is Shartak’s first homegrown record label, and hopes to be promoting and producing some of our island’s finest talents. They have already signed two bands, including Headectomy, a multi-cultural Jungle Rock band who hope to play their first gig after the end of the Derby Derby.
|None of our contacts have heard the conch in the last week, which leads us to assume that it is either lost or being horded by some greedy treasure-hunter somewhere.|