Derby Evening Press/Issue 16
Eastern Federation Declares Operation: Rhino Drop Success
Forecasting a potential holy war between the Shartak Deforestation Movement and the Gospel of Simon over whether Shartak animals evolve or are created by the famous discoverer of the island, the Eastern Federation recently chartered 20 dirigibles and purchased numerous rhinoceroses from the Durham Utility. The Eastern Federation silently lifted the rhinos from the Utility's ship under the cover of night to the grasslands. There were a few unfortunate accidents as the hydrogen in the bladders vented and dragged the crates containing the rhinoceroses as well as from opening them. Despite the injuries (including impalement), no Federation deaths occurred.
When the conflicting groups made inquiries into where the rhinos came from, the Eastern Federation revealed that they had brought them to Shartak and neither of them were right after all. Even before the inquiries were made, the Eastern Federation had already contracted the Durham Utility again for the delivery of goats and turtles (the turtles' resemblance to the Deforestation Movement's objective tortoise is believed to be a joke).
The Eastern Federation had planned to contract a competitor of the Utility for the production and delivery of chimeras. Inadvertently, the Utility revealed the existence of the programme to the public before the shipment of chimeras could arrive. Operation: Chimera Drop was instantly aborted and the Utility implied that the revelation of don't-call-us-a-government secrets was just as much a ruthless corporate technique as a gesture of interest in public safety. The Eastern Federation's lack of non disclosure agreements left them unable to press charges.
The Great Shartak Race
A race competition was recently held. There were several stages, each including the completion of a set of objectives. Some were based on distance, others on accomplishments. Contestants scored a certain number of points based on how they placed in each stage.
Ultimately, Oktavius was the winner. Sofaking, the King of Raktam, tied second place with Maxillion Pike. Infamous Wicksick Headhunter Lama took third.
Spring Games Begin
A new headhunt contest has begun in Durham, called the Spring X-Game One. This time, rather than being scored only on the number of kills, the contestants are being scored on the type and manner of the kills. As before, only targets of a single town (Durham) are valid. There are only a handful of contestants, but they include some of the most proven killers on the island; Tom Failur, the Butcher of York, and Jesus are both among the contestants. Contestants have often aimed for particular targets, most commonly members of the Durham Government. Ron Burgundy has been a popular choice of victim.
Tomn's newly formed Durham Model Army, in particular, appears to regard this contest as a proving ground and a way to begin to test and codify tactics for use in future defence.
At the time of this writing, Tom Failur is in the lead.
Creedy Disaster Stagnates
Last issue we reported on an emerging crisis between the 1st Colonial Militia and the inhabitants of Fort Creedy. The conflict has now degenerated into protracted war, with reports from the area few and mixed. The Viet Cong and Creedians report having inflicted far more casualties than they have suffered; Serious Sam, leader of the Militia, claims that he has forced Creedians out of their homes. Ultimately, the conflict appears to have become nothing more than another example of unproductive warfare.
Chaos in York
York, which had shown signs of becoming one of the most open and best-protected settlements, suffered a severe backslide recently. With the disappearance of Lexus, current leader of the Colonial Police, the absence of the Colonial Militia, and the dissolution of the York Coalition, law enforcement seems to have become an on-and-off matter.
Killings in the medical hut are common and only occasionally avenged by anyone besides the victim. The Criminal Fraternity of Shartak, York Branch, has been running rampant over the town, killing nigh-indiscriminately. Shamans are able to last for a day if they are lucky; they are often prime targets, causing the populace to live in fear of spirits. (The DEP believes this fear to be unfounded, but many appear to have sadly died of it.) As reported elsewhere in this issue, Archbishop Blackburne, the administrator of the Templar Bank, fed up of dying daily, plans to move to Derby. An internal attack by a group of young individuals, known collectively as the "Pathetic Bills," has raised cries of zerging, to which the Pathetic Bills have not responded.
News coming out of York has also been limited; the DEP has heard of recent invasions by both the pirates and the Necromancers' Guild, but has been unable to confirm either. No York groups appear to have asked other factions for help, so it is possible that these invasions are indistinguishable from the rest of the anarchy in York.
In the light of outside attack and xenophobia, pirates and natives have once again become unwelcome. The pirate Kutless, fed up with dying simply for his origin, has recently called for another mass pirate attack on York.
However, things appear to be on the way to improving. Lexus has returned, and Serious Sam, leader of the Colonial Militia has announced plans to return to York. Sam has also mentioned instituting a system of licensed bounty hunters. Also, Mr. Bungle, an Order of Patriots member and a former member of the York Coalition, has created a new police group, the Defender Corps of York. The blend of Bungle's experience and moderation, Sam's hard-right conservatism, and Lexus's open-mindedness, will hopefully be exactly what York needs to return to more prosperous times.
Queen of Raktam Dies Permanently
After a disappearance and long absence, Blue Hummingbird the queen of Raktam arrived in her palace to announce that she could no longer be revived if killed. She soon summoned members of the court to tie up loose ends. Reaffirming her last will and testament given shortly before her disappearance, the queen began referring to herself as 'I' and 'Goddess' and stated that she would soon be departing for 'the sunless lands of Valram'. Several members of the court responded with reverence or enthusiasm, a few offering gifts of gold coins, poetry, and crabs. The queen finally succumbed to slow acting poison from darts blown by Booble.
Shortly after her death, many individuals came to desecrate the remains and her tomb as well as wreak havoc on the mourners. Large quantities of herbs were burned, dartberry juice was consumed, and several of the notoriously dangerous shargles were brought inside the tomb for sacrifice. Arriving from the amazingly great Shartak race, Sofaking began the queen's funeral and his coronation by killing a shargle presented by Pythagoras and painting himself and the tomb with its blood. Ezekiel Jones then proceeded to fashion a brush from the late queen's hair and paint the blood mixed with dartberry juice and herb ash on Sofaking, Achoo pichtu, and Dappled Shadow as he distributed their material inheritance. They cut their hands and rubbed their own blood on the tomb.
Sofaking is now the King of Raktam (and probably still king of sofas) and will likely dedicate the former queen's palace as a tomb for Raktam monarchs and build a new palace for his court elsewhere. Achoo pichtu (known locally as 'The Fool of Raktam Court') has been designated to maintain the tomb and the village of Raktam. Dappled Shadow has started the Black Legion of the Commonwealth in the name of the 'Goddess', apparently with the purpose of conquering territory for Greater Raktam. Blue Hummingbird is reputably 'on the journey to Valram', a place vaguely resembling Hades with a Charon like figure who charges crabs instead of coins and requiring much magic imbued shargle blood for Valhalla numbers of battles to reach the throne of the skygods, the equivalent of Elysium. Her daughter Natalia Hummingbarne left the privacy of the Derby Academy and is now a prominent and influential court member.
Shartak Summer Camp to Enter Third Season
Edward Grey's notoriously dangerous summer romp through the jungle with students has returned for the third year in a row. So far the camp has injured, lost, and accidentally killed numerous children without changing a single safety policy, stating "This is a camp, not a penal colony. If children think prodding alligators and hugging tigers is entertaining and their parents are willing to spend money for 'alone time', then a summer camp on a wild tropical island is a viable enterprise."
Some native groups oppose the camp. One noted "These kids are worse than those blokes from York who fiddle with our owl statue. I may not be able to comfortably offer a sacrifice to one skygod, but all of the other temples are covered with crayon scribbles and various wooden dingus. Often, they break pieces hundreds of years old and defile everything in their path. Their taste and texture is horrible, even for outsiders, too."
The decision to avoid York has prompted the attention of the York Tourism Board. The board issued that "Our Tiki putt is a safe family activity. York is not at all dangerous or obsessed with inanimate objects. Durham Utility has grossly overstated the recent York crime inconsistency, though we will not be filing an injunction or libel case."
The camp promises that it will be an educational experience, many activities featuring aspects of Shartak history and biology. One activity, made possible by the Eastern Federation's recent Operation: Rhino Drop and the proximity of grassland to Durham, demonstrates rhinoceros aggression and the camp's recklessness. It is difficult to speculate how a schedule of so many possibly terminal activities is expected to be completed. Some critics argue that it isn't, "Willy Wonka needs to find an heir to his chocolate factory sometime. There aren't many Charlies on Shartak." By the time he was asked to clarify, Rob Zombie had already imbibed another pint and offered anecdotes about goblins.
A new feature is the camp store. Utility Bank offers parents accounts for their children attending camp for the purchase of various supplies. Counsellors are expected to carry these supplies for the camp store. The prices of these supplies have not been specified, but the tuition for attendance is set at 10 gold coins.
Princess Natalia Hummingbarne, daughter of the late Queen and the missing James Barnes, endorsed the camp and asked the Court of Raktam to sponsor local youth on the trip. King Sofaking and several senior court members approved the request, though it is unknown which children will benefit.
Interview with Kutless, Pirate Rights Activist
DEP: Good evening Kutless.
Kutless: Greetings Brother.
DEP: What brings you way out here to Derby? This isn't really a popular place for pirates to hang around.
K: I'm on a trading run. Have been for the past weeks. I must say its a very delightful job.
DEP: I must agree. You get to see a lot of places and people don't you?
K: Indeed I do. For the most part, people would ignore me since I cause no harm. Well, no harm when they're present. But there are still those who think that pirates are little scumbags who deserve to be killed when found.
DEP: What makes you say that?
K: For example, I was in Dalpok several months back. I got verbally assaulted by some wildly colored insect of a human. I talked back and left Dalpok the same day. I was then assaulted during the night by the same violent person. Of course, I never harmed the person. That would be sinking down to their level.
DEP: I am amazed. You were already abused, yet you did not retaliate. How come?
K: As I said, those kinds of people who assume pirates are barbaric and naive are greatly mistaken. They should be given time to learn. Now, a similar incident happened in York. Just recently. I was assaulted and gravely wounded in the York Medical Hut. Now, this is a different case. I had heard nothing verbal concerning me prior to the attack and only after the attacker had washed his weapon did he say "Filthy Pirate".
DEP: Racial prejudice has done great harm to our island relations hasn't it?
K: Yes. It has. And this is the basis for my plans to invade York.
DEP: So, you issued this invitation to invade York because of this attack. What purpose do you hope to achieve?
K: If my pirate brothers will stand with me, then I know that York can still learn what it was like to be invaded by pirates. I just need the media coverage and the funds necessary for a large event such as this.
DEP: So, who would be targeted by this attack on York?
K: I don't know yet. Probably Yorkmen only. But others who choose to side with York shall be taken into consideration as well. I'm considering asking the natives if they will join my crusade to end this silly discrimination spearheaded by the Yorkmen.
DEP: How will you get the necessary support for this?
K: I still don't know. I'm thinking about it. You're going to publish this right? Yeah, I thought so.