The Newsletter of the World of Where Yamara Has To Live
YAMARA REALLY CANCELLED AFTER ALL
Well, guys, we don't know what to tell you. We were told around Christmas that as a result of your support, Yamara was on the point of being reinstated as a four-panel strip in Dragon. At that time, we were doing our interview for d8 magazine, (#3 if you care to look for it) and we asked, we really really asked the Dragon editors if it was okay for us to mention this in the interview.
Later we heard that the main decision-makers at Dragon had seen the interview, and were offended that we had chosen to publish this information. They felt that we were somehow strong-arming them into bringing Yamara back to Dragon. This was not our intention. We love Yamara, but it's been the rush of fanmail and complaints about the cancellation that led us to campaign for reinstatement at all. In any case, Yamara is no longer in Dragon. We hasten to assure them that we meant no harm by our interview, and in fact tried to clear it through the channels we knew. We earnestly hope that you'll continue to read Dragon, and not send them any more petitions for Yamara (this means you Ki).
But I promised my droogy that if they ever cancelled Yamara, I'd quote that lovely song, They Want A Rock, by They Might Be Giants. Here goes:
They want to stop the ones who want a rock to wind a string around, But everybody wants a rock to wind a piece of string around.
Still, Yamara exists, and enough of you want to see her that we can't let it fall now. We're investigating other means of getting our girl out there, even as you read this. Steve Jackson, in his infinite kindness, is allowing us to distribute his Yamara compilation ourselves, though you can still buy it from him if you prefer. Should you need, really really need, a copy of the Yamara book, please send $9.95 plus $3.00 postage and handling charges to: PO. Box 342, Red Hook, NY 12571. Please include a definite scrawled note, saying "I WANT YAMARA", with your order, or else we may send you something else. We're discussing plans for Yamara activewear, and we may come up with some other goodies as of the next RFW. We'd like to extend our thanks to Vinny Salzillo and Martha Schulze of Double Exposure, for inviting us to their con, and helping us market the book; and to Jolly Blackburn for all his advice on merchandising.
With issue #4 of d8 magazine, we discover that not all monsters come from other worlds. Hob's downstairs neighbor Sandy Charles faces the ultimate nightmare: the boisterous kid sister. Also, Hob rescues one of his own from the driveway.
In issue #5, (out later this summer,) Hob goes to his job amongst the underlit eggs, and the kid sister opens the wrong door.
d8 magazine's website: http://www.voicenet.com/~d8mag
The Yamara(tm) Chronicles
Many years ago, when Yamara was proportionately younger, she lived in municipally underwritten halfling housing in the town called Syllabus, with three other young female halflings. Being the athletic member of the household, she was the one called upon to do the shopping, cooking, mopping and plumbing innovations. It felt like home.
Pigmy would keep them up all night, reciting recipes in her sleep. Latta was an actress, waiting for her first big break, and desperately cramming for her part as "Mistletoe" in "Please! Not the Pin!" Gorgese was older, already past her wighth-- the time in the life of a halfling when your width exceeds your height-- and was endlessly bombarding them with good advice that was hopelessly outdated.
One morning, Yamara was going through some cooldown stretches after serving breakfast. "Hang on, Pigmy, I haven't read that yet," complained Yamara, snatching the greasy copy of the Syllabus Pennysaver from her roommate's mouth. "There's something called employment I've always dreamed about." She gingerly skipped past the elf sex ads, on to the Help Wanteds, and there espied:
Nothing worth stealing.
St. Nobian's Reliquary Annex
"I've got religion, ladies," she muttered under her breath. They paid her no attention, but went on tackling the mounds of pancakes and syrup. Yamara went to her room, put on her most sober and clerical workclothes, and went down to the church.
Being raised in a devout Gastronomist home, like most halflings, Yamara was unfamiliar with St. Nobian's. It was a large, imposing building, with lots of friendly-sounding public service messages posted on billboards outside. "Lost some hit points? Never mind. We'll find 'em again!" The reliquary annex was around the back. Yamara knocked.
The door was opened by a balding man with a featherduster. He wore the threadbare brown cassock of the St. Nobian priesthood; brown, to emulate the color of the rancid eggplant that Nobian ate to attain his martyrdom. He seemed distracted.
"Hello. I'm sorry, but I think they needed the plumber up by the font." Yamara looked at her tool belt. The monkeywrench is a little unsubtle for thief work, she considered.
"Oh! You must be answering the ad for the, uh, the uh-h-h..."
"Yes, I'm a..." She slowly looked over each shoulder, under the pews, and scouted from the roof for a few minutes. "...a locksmith," she nodded.
"Aren't you supposed to have a badge? They told me not to let anyone in without a badge."
"But I am in. So what's the problem."
The man looked as though someone had just erased the tens place from his wisdom score. "Oh. Good point. Well, our problem is over here." The man lead her over to a small brass box with clasp shaped like a heart with a dagger through it. "We have a reliquary we can't open the lock of--"
Yamara popped it open with a flick of her wrist. "That'll be 50 gold pieces-- yugh! What's that?!"
"That is the Sacred Cardiovascular System of the Boar of the Dwarfwood," the cleric said, closing the box respectfully, but with a sour look directed at the halfling. "It's not what you're here to fix."
"Sorry," she grumbled. "How'd they get all those veins in that little box?"
To her surprise, if not shock, he became animated. "Freeze-drying magic! It's the latest thing. You know, like for coffee?"
"In food, it gives a special aroma, but for relics, well, it just keeps them small and preserved."
"It makes your reliquary smell like the inside of a bacon bits jar," Yamara observed.
"Disturbing, but that's the price we pay," said the man, turning his bearded face to look beatifically up toward the light.
"So. The job."
"Oh." He looked at the shelves for a minute. "Here it is. The Reliquary of Utter Contentment." He leaned forward confidentially. "It's supposed to house an elbow," he confided.
"What?" The box was indeed shaped like that flexible joint.
"The elbow of St. Nobian," he clarified. "Other parts of Nobian are housed elsewhere, but we are fortunate enough to have his elbow in our keeping, Or, we were. The box feels very light, and we can't tell if it's a case of pilferage, or if his remains have merely succumbed to Time."
"Are relics supposed to do that?" Yamara wondered if this were a polite question.
"No, they're not, but they usually do. St. Hartovolvulus' femur up there" (he indicated an overhead shelf) " is getting a bit long in the tooth, and this box" (he pointed) "is venerated as the left foot of St. Pthyxnia, but all it contains now is dust. You remember Pthyxnia. She was the second concubine of the King of Shun, back in the years before the Empire of the--"
"Yes, I remember from school. But I charge by the hour. Let's find a better light and I'll get to work."
There was a tidy kitchen in the rectory. Yamara spread out her tools on a cloth, and fiddled with the lock. It was a good lock, but even with stalling as hard as she could, she got it open in less than fifteen minutes. She decided she'd charge time and a half for the Pthyxnia story.
The cleric's suspicions were correct. The box was quite empty.
"Flown the coop," she mused.
"It was quite solid last year," said the cleric.
"No," said Yamara. "No dust, see?' She indicated the clean, if decaying, maroon velvet that lined the reliquary.
"Then what happened?"
Yamara was getting curious. Not very curious. But a little. "Are these things valuable?"
He pulled nervously at his collar. "To the right people," he answered.
"Have you gotten any ransom notes? We have your elbow, don't call the police?"
"No." But the cleric's face was grave.
"I think you have a theft on your hands," said Yamara. "That's my professional opinion, ten sp extra."
"Oh, ...sure..." He went over to the petty cash reliquary and counted out the fee. "I have no idea what to tell the bishop. I was really hoping for a promotion, too."
"Shame," commiserated Yamara, biting down on each coin in turn.
"Careful, you don't know where those have been."
Yamara glanced at the petty cash box, and what is was shaped like. Her stomach slipped a gear. "Can I use your bathroom," she groaned.
"Sure, but I'll need a receipt."
"Never mind, I'll gargle at home. Receipt..." She scrawled across a business card. "Will this do."
He looked it over. "Yondollar Provyde. I only do legit work, in full daylight.'"
"That's me." She had written a short story once, under that name.
"Well, this all looks fine. Here, please take my card. In case you're ever feeling damned, or just a little repentant..." Yamara glanced at the card. "Joe Holy lvl 2 CLE St Nobian LG".
"Nice cardstock. Where's your name?"
"Oh, the first line. Sorry, I don't have my own crystalvox extension or anything."
"But if you hear anything about an elbow, y'know, in passing anywhere--"
"How would I, a mere LOCKSMITH, have truck or knowledge of the arcana of the fencing of joints?" This seemed to leave this Joe guy suitably perplexed, and so she left.
She returned home to find her roommates squalling for their dinner. It was not yet noon. She pacified them each with an apple, and set to work in the kitchen. Lunch in their household was usually soup and sandwiches, the bread being prepared specially for them down the street by an understanding baker who understood halfling concepts of loaf size. She set the magic blender to work on the tuna salad; twenty cups, a bit skimpy but then Pigmy had stated that she was reducing. She rummaged for the materials for the soup. Onions, potatoes, carrots, and the soupbone they'd been using for the last few weeks. Yamara worked hard for her money, and wouldn't throw anything out until it was completely used up. She threw the bone in the pot and started chopping vegetables.
But something disturbed her, and she nearly cut herself. Turning back to the pot, she dug in with a fork and fished out the bone. Holding it up to her own elbow, she flexed the joint-- and then dropped it on the floor with a yelp. Pigmy came trundling.
"What's up, Yamara?"
"Soupbone," Yamara stammered.
"Yeah, it's a good'un."
Pigmy picked it up, rinsed it off, and dropped it back into the pot. Yamara hadn't moved.
"Pigmy? Could you give me a minute?"
"Okay," said Pigmy, seizing three raw potatoes and swaggering out.
Yamara fished out the bone again, being careful not to touch it. She wrapped it in a towel, and carried it out to the porch, where her roommates were basking.
"Say, girls? Where did we get this bone?" She tried to sound casual.
"Present," said Gorgese, with her mouth full. "Latta's boyfriend. What's 'is name."
"Thongo," clarified Latta. "Dropped him last week." Latta was the belle of the household.
"Where did he get it?'
"Church gift shop, he said. They had it in this funny box, but he couldn't afford that, so he just gave me the bone. I don't mind, the bone's nice by itself."
"Well, since you dropped Thongo..." Yamara knew Thongo from the Thieves' Guild. The whole story was quite clear to her now. She wouldn't let on. "I'll spring for a new bone. It's on me."
Six little eyes fixed her from behind their folds of halfling flesh.
"Don't go anywhere with that bone," said Latta. "We likes it."
"Ia," gurgled Pigmy.
Yamara immediately recognized the peculiar subtlety of Halflingese that Latta had used, the passive/possessed tense, and knew that her number was next on the menu. For a moment she quailed, but then remembered that even with a carrot held in front of her, Latta could move no faster than 2 mph. She cut and run.
She moved a lot faster than they did, but the panting noises she heard behind her assured her that they were in pursuit. She rushed down through Syllabus, pulling away from her roommates, but she didn't dare slow down. She rushed to the church. "Mr. Holy? Mr. Holy!" she yelled.
Joe came tramping down a rickety stair. "Up here with the manuscripts. Hi Yondollar!" he grinned. "What's that you have there?"
She opened the napkin. "You tell me."
He gasped. "Why's it wet?" he asked.
"Rain?" she said blankly.
"Magical rain. Fell all over it. It was a, what was it-- Miracle. That's what it was. Little cloud and everything."
He didn't believe her. "Miss Provyde. Tell me the truth." He prided himself on his ability to read character.
"My roommates," she stammered. "They're hungry, and they're coming this way."
The aghast look on the cleric's features showed that he read her thought. "Are you saying-- they've been using the elbow as food ?!"
She closed her halfling eyes in shame, and nodded. "Soupbone," she stammered.
Joe Holy stroked his beard and fingered some papers. "The Relic of Utter Contentment hasn't been used as a soupbone in over two hundred years..."
"And was, only during the Second Locust Recession-- people were starving--"
"Even so..." Yamara was thinking of changing her racial preference away from humans.
"You have to understand," he patiently explained as the ground began to shake slightly, "This sacred object has the power to nourish, even more than to heal. The story goes that St Nobian was passing through the village of Grelth, and being peckish, he stopped at an inn. There he met a strange man. The man was all green, from head to toe. And St. Nobian asked that man, "Why are you green from head to toe?" And the man replied, "None of your business." Now St. Nobian did not really care to know why the man was that color, for he was just making idle conversation--"
"Yes," said Yamara. "They're going to break the door down. Shouldn't we do something?"
Joe drew her up the stair into the small and dimly lit manuscript room. He went on, "So Nobian dined that night in that inn with that man. And the food that they ate was surpassing excellent. And the man sat on Nobian's left hand, and Nobian's elbow brushed against him frequently as they ate."
Yamara wondered how Thongo had come to know all this, while downstairs, the door broke open. The roommates began to mill about the church. Joe placed the elbow safely on a shelf and began to rummage for a scroll.
"This is what's needed, I believe. It worked two hundred years ago. I think it's a spell to bring them back to themselves, more or less."
They had smelled the elbow, and Yamara could hear the creak of the stairs as they began to mount them.
"Open it," she yelled. "Read it! They're coming, and you don't know them when they're like this!"
But just then the rickety stairs gave way and the roomies crashed to a heap at the bottom. Not daunted, they tried to leap for the lowest stair that was still intact. Joe leaned over the railing and looked down at them. "Give us our bone," intoned Gorgese.
"I'm sorry," said Joe. "It's still St. Nobian's property, like it or not." He then began to read the scroll. Yamara wondered how he was going to get down.
As the holy man read the sacred words, the magic began to work. Yamara marveled at the graphics displayed over her pursuers: each showed how relief poured down their esophagi, and into their upset stomachs. "Neat. Are they cured?"
Joe peeked over the scroll. Below, the girls seemed at ease.
"Wow. I feel great," said Pigmy. "I'd like a few more laps around the city before bedtime."
"I could go for some whitewater rafting," nodded Latta.
"I am still hungry," pined Gorgese, "but for what, I know not." They filed out without further incident.
Joe smiled the smile of pure faith. "Once again, good triumphs over... over itself." He tried puzzling out the moral of the morning, when he noticed his halfling was missing. "Yondollar?"
"Up here." She had attached herself to the ceiling some time before. She swung down.
"Is that some kind of locksmith skill," asked Joe drily.
Yamara scowled. "Plumber skill. Leaky ceilings."
"Ah yes," he mused. "Well, I'll dry out the elbow, and it can go back in its box."
"Okay. There's a reward for that elbow, of course."
"Hm, I never had the chance to report it missing," smiled the cleric, as he buffed the relic.
Yamara stood her ground. "Still, I think it's LAWFUL and GOOD to have remuneration in order."
"I have a receipt," said Joe.
"Alright, wise boy. I saw in the Pennysaver that you're having a Sunday dinner here next week, all-you-can-eat-- and hey! that's our girls' night out! Soup on the menu, maybe?"
Joe sighed, and reached for the petty cash. He knew the beginning of a long-lasting relationship when he saw one.
ROLE-PLAYER AND THE GAME
By Intern Cora
The game master tells you Leila you are surrounded by some very disturbed undead who want you to be the same. Now they are slow moving most are to your flank and rear one in front one on each side of you.
Leila: I will try to lop off the head of the first zombie in front of me. The last thing in my ears is see if you roll a d20 and I will see if you hit...
Ahh D+D. I remember when I started and what was making me remember was this person named Chris asking me at work one day.
I readily admitted knowing of as well as playing the game. But quickly told I hadn't played in years.
Well how about now would you be interested in playing now. I thought well I didn't think much of it then plus after going through my video years it wouldn't be any comparison, definitely not at my level of excitement.
Even with my lack of enthusiasm. Chris still invited me out and his biggest suggestion was that we play D+D.
I'm never one to back down from any kind of challenge. I agreed. The night started quite nice we walked around the Times Square area. I guess to whet my appetite we had played a few video games. The video had really whet my need for a real fight.
We went to a real quiet place Nathans on 50th and Bway. As he brought out the die and handbook I knew I was going to have real excitement.
First the delight of creating myself with just the roll of the dice and my command I became a fighter strong, intelligent with lots of constitution, Charisma a real ball buster.
Being a real woman the next part was getting me there shopping. I was allotted all of 350 gp. The joy of playing came back to me, I was creating my character not Sega or Atari.
Just follow me here my armor leather clothing Boots high soft are you feeling it I have always been a huntress in mind and deed so when it comes to arms I went for the Crossbow light, dozen arrows, dagger and scabbard and so on.
Now that I was dressed and armed I was ready for some fast times that included lots of danger. Chris who by the way an experienced GM was more than ready to give it me.
My first adventure started in the forest being a ranger and all. The tale started with me tracking Ogres who end up trashing my home stealing my cash and other valuables.
With my crossbow I shot and slayed the booger who stood guard climbed and lowered myself upon my roof attacked and slashed and killed even more ogres.
Due to DM Chris understanding of my need to keep it real I wasn't totally victorious, but at the end the score was I was still alive and out 4 ogres I'd slain all but 1.
So with my cunning fearless nature a flick of my wrist, the DM planning my fate I was back on the road to adventure and real excitement.
Thanks Cora! Welcome aboard. I'm really glad Chris found this girl. She has enough energy for five people, and a hell of a lot of enthusiasm.
The following is a special letter from Roger Moore, editor of DRAGON from1986?-1995, who wrote in a recent email:
"I feel very close to the whole "Yamara" comic crew, for obvious reasons, and I was very sad to see it go. It was the most original and funny comic to ever grace the pages of any magazine in the games industry, and it was the best fantasy comic in human history."
Ha! Are you out there to see THAT, Dave Trampier? Hear THAT Elaine Lee and Michael Wm Kaluta?! Yep, he's EXAGGERATING!! And God bless him.
THE CON GAME
Where we'll be, dodging the slings and arrows...
July 10-14 Somerset, NJ
Seven World and National Championships, including Dragon Dice, Star Wars RPG, Cosmic Encounter, Othello, and that's just the beginning! More new RPGA events than GenCon itself!! FREE FOOD 24 HOURS!!! The Double Exposure compadres pride themselves on hospitality and complete gaming experience. Artist guests include the irrepressible Lissanne Lake and yours trulies. If you're on the East Coast, this is your major regional con, you lucky dogs. If you don't believe us, check out their brochure, or their listing in Polyhedron magazine. www.io.com/~doublex or contact Vinny Salzillo at (718) 881-4575.
August 8-11 Milwaukee WI
Who run Bartertown? GenCon or Origins? Our money's on this do.
Yamara(tm) is a trademark of Aetherco.
All contents of Radio Free Wyhtl #0.6 is Copyright (c) 1996 Barbara Manui & Chris Adams. Permission granted to copy for personal use only. Yes, you can send it to your friends, but you mayn't sell it.
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