Subj: RFW #0
****RADIO FREE WYHTL****
The Newsletter of the World Where Yamara Has To Live
Hi folks. Welcome to our very first attempt at wide range author-to-reader exposure. In the coming weeks, we'll be throwing together weird tidbits, background goodies, receipes, and maybe even some healthy gif files from the world of Wyhtl and the Yamara strip in Dragon Magazine. Something to warrant a "#1". Lucky you, you're on the ground floor of something.
Let's open up with a story piece Dragon magazine rejected for the April 1995 issue. You be the judge:
AGAINST THE DARK ELVES OF FIVE WORLDS, Part 1
Copyright (c)1995 Barbara Manui & Chris Adams
The sun had moved, and Nel's shadow no longer fell across the town. The Letterhydes had been drilling for hours to storm the impregnable skull factory of Glathheld, and now lounged about the milk bar, trading stories everyone already knew. They tried getting fresh ideas out of the halfling, Yamara, but she still hadn't entirely forgiven them for massive stings they had levied on her for liking alcohol. Thingspinner, a young Letterhyde with wings that read "Just Ignore Me", was trying to push her on milk use.
**It's not addictive, it's healthy.** he bespoke. The big butterflies' gimmick was telepathy.
"It causes digestive problems in some adults," Yamara intoned. Her hair was long and brown, and her leg hair was even longer, and had an intelligence of 2, which was why she was not out being seen with her own kind.
Joe Holy, a human priest and Yamara's traveling companion was also there, and found no distaste for the beverage. "You know, you can make cheese out of this."
**Ha! We look like pupae to you?** crackled Moonweggie, the tough one with the antenna-ring. **I haven't eaten cheese since my wings dried.**
"I've been listening to all of your stories, and they're very remarkable," said Joe, losing himself in wistfulness. "But I have a story that you may find enlightening."
Yamara did a spit-take. "NO! Don't let him start!"
The butterflies all looked at one another. **She's probably right,** sent One-Feeler. They went for their weapons.
"Now out here, with you, I can't help but be reminded of the chapter in The Book of St Nobian that tells about St Nobian's passage through the desert of Ponn. Now, that was a bad place to be for very long. It was hot and dry, and anyone who went there was certain to sweat profusely. But one day, St Nobian said to his companions, 'Let us go to that desert, and see what can be found there.'
"Now, his companions did not agree to this immediately. Alenga, the wrathful and warm-tempered one, said that she would not go to that desert at all. And Tephnar and Engdult, the shepherd brothers from Arerary, said that they would rather go at some other time.
"Now, it was on the hottest day of summer in the third year of the reign of Aputer in Cleth, that St Nobian bought the few provisions he would take with him into the wilds of Ponn. There was the simple dart, which would see him through most of the journey, as he hunted for sand-snails. There was the waterskin, to remind him to drink. And there was the hat, which the children of Cleth would point and laugh at as he went about his humble way."
Joe paused a moment once he realized he was firmly attached to the wall by cocoon wrappings. The Letterhydes went back to their collectible card games.
Yamara tried to show sympathy. "Sorry, old pal, but there's a reason for that snoring you hear during your sermons."
**If he starts a sentence with "Now" one more time, close him over,** suggested Moonweggie.
Ogrek, dressed in the fatigues of the French Foreign Legion, stepped into the bar. "I think what Joe is trying to say is that adversity brings out the best in people."
**Yeah, like the need to eat your neighbor,** snorted Petalbreath, mentally.
"Ah, that reminds me of a tale," said Ogrek, as the Letterhydes filled the airwaves with mutters. Yamara left. "The multiverse is a wide and ramified place. It's not just large like a box, or a four-dimensional box. It has extra-dimensional nooks in it, to hold the melted butter."
**Butter is okay,** blipped Thorax.
**Ignore the humanoid, and it will leave,** warned Petalbreath.
"In one of those nooks, many years ago, I was discovered by a young dark elf priestess with the charming name of Stress. The very same that is presently outside dutifully betraying our position to her space fleet. Of course, she wasn't as burdened with responsibility as she is now--"
**Wait, go back.** Multifaceted eyes glinted at him from around the room.
"Very well, I'll start with our honeymoon. We left on a tour of the multiverse and I'll say that every little thing that went wrong gave us valuable insights into each others' strengths and weaknesses. Stress came to discover my previous marriage to Ageratuma, and as I watched them clash weapons on the battlements of Pudnathermaliat, I heard Stress mention that the honeymoon was over, and that things would be different from here on.
"So it was with a newfound reserve that Stress accompanied me in our teleporting bathyscaphe, The Malthus, to the astral maze of the Planescrapers, where they build dimensions as high as an elephant's ka. She was silent the entire ride, the only sound coming from her bunk was the delicate scraping of metal on whetstone. I offered to take the couch.
"We arrived late one afternoon, and began to take in the tourist attractions of the Dimensional Hub City of Outer New York, where all souls drift, in time. We enjoyed watching the traffic of men's souls, and realizing how provincial we really were. One of the best parts was seeing all the temple receiving stations, where gods went to get recharged, or just to relax and network with other gods.
"We were looking for a decent place to have dinner when a worn man, all patches, tattoos, and convention literature, strode up to us. "Eh, thammer, you plan the drat to nink the pummel-cloud? There's a fine tad of edsel in it for you if terrat's over the rosie, and the little lady," he declared with a wink to my new bride. It's a shame we'll never know what he was talking about, because Stress killed him on the spot.
"'I thought you said this was a matriarchy that spoke English,' she said, challenging me with those lovely violet eyes.
"'Was, yes. But the leaders retired to a French Riviera, and then shortly thereafter the terrible BABEL curse struck the population.'
"'That sounds threatening,' she said, covering her mouth, and looking at the corpse suspiciously. 'Is it contagious?'
"'Indeed. Victims initially feel an euphoric rush of creativity, and begin creating popular slang and terribly good material for lounge singers. But soon they forget grammar, spelling, and then entire words. Ultimately syntax and sentence structure collapse, leading to the anarchy you see before you.'
"'Does this mean I have to learn French to order at a restaurant?' Stress always liked to be correct.
"'It probably wouldn't help. But let's ask this party of heavily armed faction members about proper etiquette.'
"Like a tide of walruses, the contingent of Pfefferneussion faction postulants came lumbering up, smelling of cheap drugstore candy. The Pfefferneussion, who believe unpleasant desserts are the gateway to enlightenment. The Pfefferneussion-- their name is pronounced in whispers in the Outer Boroughs, if at all. Most just call them Faction 'B'. A leader, called a hypotheton, was among them, and he addressed us with the terse phrase, 'Bayberry the dwed, rolfer. Cans slapped.'
"'You've got to be kidding,' snarled Stress.
"I tried to be polite. 'Orifice thandal likes the tweed edge. Non-tangerine going around, eh, ziggy?' You see, I was working on a hunch.
"'Bread, old sim! Don't twelve us! Carpets! Carpets!' yelled the hypotheton, tears streaming down his face as he pointed at the dead man.
"'I think he knew our friend,' I said to Stress.
"'Oh, just tell me if we fight or run.'
"'In the zop with your calendar! Croob!' he yelled after us as we fled, dodging their missile attacks.
"We were chased out of the tourist traps, despite my inclination to browse at Repetulant's Five and Grak, and into the bowels and attitude of the inner city. Great squeaking hunting beasts were released to track us down-- I think their name was gerbil. It was very terrible. We nearly made the mistake of hiding in the fresh produce of an eternal grocery. Fortunately, the grocer made a secret sign to us, resembling a bass out of water, by the way he flopped his body on the counter, and directed us across the street to the transdimensional office of Blackmail Unlimited, also open 'round-the-kalpa.
"We went inside, and loitered in the lobby until the cries of 'Etcha come flad' faded into the distance. We were alone with the diminutive elfin secretary who smiled at us sweetly under the sign that bore the company's keyhole logo and their motto, 'Let us help you-- or else.'
"'Was that Faction B, again?' she asked. 'You should see what those gerbils do with themselves in their spare time.'
"'Yes. I'm Ogrek the Undisciplined, and this is my new bride, Stress, of Ekmuz-Strel-Thridd. Allow me to express our thanks for letting us hide here.'
"'You'd better,' she said, jerking a thumb at the sign as she flipped through an appointment book. 'Ah, we have an opening. Please step this way.'
"She led us down a long paneled corridor, with dozens of silent doors, dripping with underlit mystery. Finally, we entered a sparse office, where she lit a torch by thought, and sat down behind the desk. She pulled a brass nameplate from the drawer and plunked it down; it read: Kirilianti. President.
"We should have recognized her from the wanted posters at the enchanted Post Office on La, the planet of Saccharine Pleasures. Kirilianti. Wizard, mad genius, nemesis, identifiable villain, future drummer with Alcott Squad. The pale dark elf from a world that really didn't want to see her again. Lawless, she was perhaps the only brunette of her kind. The latest scuttlebutt is that she was personally responsible for World War One, and disco. Though as a percussionist, she's not half bad.
"But Stress only said, 'Kind of a small operation for being unlimited.' "'You can never be too careful. Besides, I wanted to get into the spirit of being a set encounter, and just sit there, waiting. So, who can we shame for you?'
"Stress' eyes lit like UV lightbulbs. 'I can imagine ONE person needing a taking down,' she cried, giving me a big hug, and kissing me on both cheeks. "'Who might that be, sweetheart?'
"'Let me talk with Ms. Kiril a minute, lover, just some girlie stuff.' Her lithe body seized me, and sent me hurling from the room.
"Locked out of their conference, I wandered about until I found a likely office and started settling in. Kiril was being so helpful to me and especially Stress, I felt I should help drum up some business for her. I hit redial on the crystalvox, and found myself looking at a man so overdressed, I was concerned for a moment that he was a victim of parasitism. But happily not; he had chosen of his own free will to pin bells and needles along his clothing and flesh at random intervals.
"'Who dares consult the Coutouramite faction?' he declared, jingling.
"'Good evening. I'm at Blackmail Unlimited, and I was hoping there was something else we could do for you. I imagine we have a wider range of services than you're currently exploiting.'
"The man became livid, bells popping off of his face, and against his crystalvox. 'Kiril dares blark us further! We have an agreement!'
"'Oh, I'm sure it will be met. I'm just extending more hospitality from Blackmail Unlimited.'
"'I know your hospitality! Don't freng-frong-foid!' he yelled, if I got the inflection right. 'We shall be defting men over at once, ware, smickens!' He was so excited, he forgot to say goodbye.
"I intended to tell Kiril immediately about the client I had impressed, but for some reason the intercom was permanently set on 'eavesdrop', and I wasn't able to get her attention. Before I could politely withdraw my ears, I overheard Stress cutting a deal with her to aid in my emotional devastation, in exchange for a boatload of cash. Literally. Everything of value in the bathyscaphe: 90 jink, 4500 gp, 16,000,000 pounds sterling, 3000 yen, a staff of interesting conversation, the porcelain plate 'Chuckles Gets A Quasit', last valued at $720, assorted magic rings, the soulgem containing the spirit of a late rock legend*, and two apexes of the Great Pyramid. But who's counting. It was only money. What she wanted most was to break my heart.
"Kiril was drawing out the worst in her. 'Does he have any political enemies?'
"'Yes! Everybody! Absolutely everybody!'
"'No, that won't do. Somebody has to like him in order for us to blackmail him. What about romantic entanglements?'
"'He probably makes love to every woman he marries!' spat Stress.
"Kiril mouthed Stress' last sentence, an annoyed look knitting her brow. Then wicked confidence spread over her face, and she snapped her fingers. 'I've got it. Here's what you do--' But I could listen no longer, and shut them off.
"I had to win back Stress' affections. I logged onto an evil bbs/help line, and discovered there was a major dark elf conference in town at that very moment. I was certain that their kind advice would help patch up our marriage. Perhaps if I could attain a worthy position within her own culture, like King of the Web, she might see me as I truly am.
*Known to the Wise as the Jailhouse Rock.
to be continued
(Cereal with a C you can read and eat. Serial with an S you can only read.)
BARBARA READS ALCOTT
For the past three days, I've been steeped in the work of Louisa May Alcott, a disturbing woman from the last century. Little Women. Yes, I read it in high school, but I'm really coming to grips with it this week.
Our Alcott binge around here began with a dream I had last summer. Louisa was attacking Washington. She didn't seem really angry, just annoyed that this had to be done. She stood in the middle of a field, and waited as the militia came up to her through the underbrush, moving around to encircle her. She could see them all, and she moved to first one and then another with frightening accuracy, tearing them limb from limb. Often she did this with her mind. Their weapons did nothing to stop her. All through the afternoon it went on, and the dead piled up around her. Soon no one would be left.
I just finished Little Men, and I'm moving on to Jo's Boys, after a slight digression into An Old-Fashioned Girl, which has nothing to do with the loathsomely moral March family. This has got to be some kind of Bettelheimian catharsis. I'll be all right. Jo would want you all to say a prayer for me.
Is it fair to cadge prayers on the internet?
TSR INVITES YAMARA MOGULS TO AOL SUMMIT
They want us to talk to you about a few little things. We hope it won't be too oppressive. But they're hoping that if we're online at a set time, dozens, maybe hundreds of you will want to show up and question/heckle/worship us. This is currently scheduled to happen on the 25th of June, in TSR Live. We will both be present, using the merry B: and C: to identify ourselves under the flagship handle of Yamara. Virtual wine and cheese will be served.
Ask for any other details at TSR Inc@aol.com.
On a related topic, we've had lots of email saying, "let's have a full-page Yamara". We've been saying this too, for a few years. Worthies in the TSR echelon have suggested that we push for it. But it hasn't happened yet. Let's play democracy, people! If you think Yamara would be better, or at least easier to follow, at a whole page, please let them know. We promise to keep it weird and bent. And think of the deliciousness of instantaneous feedback available through the net. You don't like it, you tell us. We record your comment, and feel guilt the whole day.
THAT YAMARA COLLECTION YOU'VE HEARD RUMORS OF
No newsletter is complete these days without endless self-promotion. But actually, most people approach us asking, "When are you going to put out a Yamara compilation?" to which we can only roll our eyes and groan to the heavens, cause it's out there already, waiting like pirate gold or Ventnor Ave, to be found by the questing collector.
Despite a vast Illuminati/X-File/ordinary life conspiracy levied against it, the Yamara compilation is published by Steve Jackson Games, and is available (if you nag them) from B.Dalton, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite game shop. You're in the life. You know where to buy these things. If all else fails, contact Steve's henchpeople, and they'll sell you a copy. It compiles the first five years of the strip, through Dragon #202, and the UPC code on the back hints that it's $9.95. And hey, there's stuff in there you've never seen before: "There was Murdeatha of the cold stare, who had turned on Blag when he had refused her. Prince Skeleton, who lived underground and might suddenly appear in anyone's basement. And Tring and Trang, the horrible twins of menace, who had once been cobblers and who now roamed the planes with strips of leather and nails in their mouths." Get it while we last, the Yamara compilation, ingeniously titled "Yamara". [Steve Jackson Games 1200-A Metcalfe; Austin TX 78741; (512) 447-7866; fax (512) 447-1144; firstname.lastname@example.org]
This is errata. We decided, a long time ago, that Persey's mummy friend was called Imhotep, but then we heard somewhere that there was an Imhotep runningabout our own Ancient Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians are not to be sniffed at, and not just for the anthrax. Imhotep, if you're out there, we didn't know. We respect you, and hope that team of archaeologists doesn't disrupt you too much.
Yamara(tm) is a trademark of Aetherco.
All contents of "Radio Free Wyhtl #0" Copyright (c) 1995 Barbara Manui & Chris Adams. Permission granted to copy for personal use only. Okay, you can send it to your friends, but you mayn't sell it.
All letters and email sent to Aetherco become property of Aetherco because, well, that's just how it's done.