First published: June, 2003. Posted Online: May 15, 2006.

The subject matter and timing of this strip are kind of apocryphal, actually, but ancestral legends and myth are good for that.

This episode has had considerable cleaning up and some modifications, and it still isn’t our greatest work. Sorry ’bout that. As 2003 bumbled violently along, it became clear that the visions of Yamara going to war that Chris had driving home from GenCon 2000 were another one of those annoying prescient things we weren’t going to escape, so we decided a step into this wider story arc was a good idea.

In the end, it’s cute, but a bit of a muddle. We’ve always known that the halflings throughout modern fantasy only exist because of one Oxford professor’s creation, and we’re just fooling ourselves to pretend otherwise. Seriously, dwarves, elves, goblins, gnomes– these are all ancient folk tales. “Orcs” are pushing it, but evil monster armies have been around for centuries. But halflings? No, no, no: they come from just the one hole in the ground. So we figured there must have been some Great Halfling Diaspora from Middle-Earth at some point, plopping these fat boggies down all over the bloody multiverse.

They never did find out what happened to Smeagol’s clan, after all.

Plus, spreading the blame for halflings around to all the cultures of Earth is upending their invention as part of a “mythology for England”. Still, the entire incident portrayed above shouldn’t be treated as strictly canonical. For instance, as we will reveal in the coming weeks, there is a Tooke family gathering planned, but Arky wouldn’t be flaunting her cyber-swizzlestick at it… The last character to appear above, Kafira, is a member of Arky’s band, Alcott Squad, and was (theoretically) known to Valkyrie readers as a character from the strip that they rejected, hence her dismissal by Stress. Kaf is a freedom fighter from Space, and will actually appear in subsequent episodes of Yamara. Though she’ll probably meet Stress before a moment like this at the party, so this never really happened. Like we said, apocryphal, non-canonical. Time travel’s likely involved. Make of it what you will.

Meanwhile, back on real Earth, Valkyrie was continuing its uneven publishing schedule. It certainly wasn’t coming out quarterly. The nature of much of Dave Ryan’s business was in wargaming, rather than paper and pencil RPG, so we were sympathetic; prioritizing is difficult when you have so many things you want to say and do. But we stopped expecting having to really get a strip together every three months; hence our surprise when we were told an actual deadline loomed for the next issue.

Chris called the UK to confirm that this strip arrived okay. Apparently it had, and editor Jay Forster commented on the positive reactions Yamara was getting, and looked forward to running the strip well into the future. He concluded by saying, “You guys are family.”

We never heard from them again.