This Week’s Biggest Story
Much has happened this week, but none is more curious than the tale of the Mermaid Sisters, whose accusation of murder in retaliation for their exploitation has made front-page headlines the kingdom over; our own Devin McAllister has the story straight from the horse’s mouth, edited and compiled for your reading pleasure!
The Tale of the Black Rider and the Mermaid
Listen, readers, for here’s a tale: the story of a mermaid far from the sea and the black rider she loved with all her heart, who slew her and feasted on her flesh as her blood condemned the land of Darkened Hollow!
It was a time long ago, in the age newly begun, when the mermaids were still plentiful in the sea and the Riders of Dunn still roamed the land, but one had been cursed by a hideous witches’ spell, that he must desire flesh above all else, and the flesh of mermaids tender dear. This darkened rider did seduce a mermaid as she lay bathing on the shores of the Pyandes, and did offer her the freedom by his magic to walk the land, which readily she accepted, for it had been her heart’s desire to see a village boy she often laid for.
That night, the wraith came upon her as she slept, and muffling her, did slit her throat and feast upon her flesh, but was discovered by the village boy, to whom she had sent message to thence come and meet her; taking up his sword, he slit the wraith from stomach to shoulder, and thence sprang black and torrid blood that hissed as acid, and the village boy was horribly disfigured by it. Taking up his lover’s corpse and the corpse of the wraith, he burned them both, the one to honor and the other to purify, and did scatter salt upon the land, that nothing may grow in the foul stench of that wraith’s blood; yet for all his days he was reviled as a hideous cripple, lame an eye. ‘Tis said that he roams the moors still, wearing the guise of a black rider, to frighten off the maids of the sea, whose purity he must maintain as curse for his youthful intent.
The Return of the Merwomen
The locals tell me, and I do not repeat with any small measure of excitement, that these two naked women are indeed mer-folk who have converted to the way of humans, but what magic could have caused this is a mystery. Perhaps the wizards of the tower will know, but for common mortal man it remains a miracle with little common sense! Yet here they are, these women of perfect beauty, who have been perfectly exploited by the trader now found dead; and they stand accused of the same.
The Death of the Merchant
It is said that, while traveling to find her sister, the elder merwoman slew the merchant who exploited her in a most base “peep show” of low morals; it would make a certain sense. Yet she claims she never did any such thing, and that her participation in the show was voluntary; by her accounting, merfolk find no shame in revealing “what the gods of the sea bestowed them with,” if you can imagine such a thing! By her testament, the murder was done by a black rider resembling a wraith or spirit, and it is this that sends the towns-folk crazy, both with fear and anger at her apparent lies! Who tells the truth? I tell you, I do not know, but the town gaoler and justice has requested for the presence of a regional emmisary of the court, who is scheduled to arrive in one week’s time; in the interim he entreats any who have knowledge of the affair to come forward, and especially if any have found trace of the other woman, who is still presumed to be roaming the forest in clothing borrowed from a farm-hand who encountered her, and leaving her alone for but a moment to return with soup, found her thence missing! A reward of 50 crown pieces each has been posted for the delivery of the man in black and the mermaid, whose presence is deemed necessary to the pursuit of justice.
A Happier Tale
With the destruction of Watersham and the horrific story unfolded above, it is only fair to the reader that we retell a more jovial tale, which does not leave the spirits in want of a good laugh. It is clear to us that the daughter of Augustus Simmington, betrothed to a man she did not love by her father against her will, has flipped him the ultimate bird in failing to appear for her own wedding and going on about her buisiness with the strange fellow seen earlier in the pointed hat! A lady in her own right, Marcia Simmington has declared and outfitted herself as an adventurer of the very first class, leaving her good-for-nothing father apopleptic and her clueless fiance apathetic to the entire matter.
It seems the main in flowing robes is indeed a wizard, and he comes bearing a strange quest, that a magic item should be returned to the tomb from whence it came, and restored to the throne of the King of the Sleeping City, a monument to a fallen empire he claims exists in the Charlaign Mountains to the north-east; he claims great peril if the sword should not be returned to its owner’s throne. Our editors have confidence in the spunky young adventurer he chooses to complete the task with him, though rumors stir of other adventurers wanting to see the fabled city with their own eyes. Act fast, ladies and gentlemen of the adventuring pursuasion – she leaves today, and the wizard with her!
Today’s bulk goods for sale include the following, to be sold by pick-up only to the first to meet the offer in whole or in part:
- Ten tonnes fertilizer, impounded when a farm was foreclosed, of middling quality suitable for growing of feed
- One tonne of hemp fiber, origin and destination unknown
- Fifty liters of flammable paraffin solution, suitable for the making of fire-starters or the setting of candles
- Ten cords of lumber, of quality suitable for the building of mercantile buildings and residences, but not for the effecting of a seaworthy ship
- Nine pallets of ceramic tile, suitable for the flooring of one or many buildings; originally intended for the flooring at Worther House but uncollected and unpaid-for
- Two hundred and twenty staves, of military surplus quality
- Eighteen rain barrels, refurbished for use
- One five-day-old whale carcass, to be removed by the first offer at any price
- Twenty-three fifty-pound bags of flour, of middling grist quality
- A sweep or several is required to clean the tunnels under Town House before the annual ceremony next week
- The removal of fish from the city docks which have been left to rot is priced competitively by the Dockmaster’s Guild
- Two tonnes of ice are required for the annual ceremony; see the mayor for details
- The grist-mill at Argora has stopped working; an engineer is requested to fix it at the price of twenty-five crown
- A comedy act is required for the annual ceremony; auditions to be held this upcoming Tuesday at Town House
- The mayor seeks the commission of a mural for the citizens of Watersham, to show our support in their time of need
- The Order of the Silver Wing seeks volunteers for dealing with the wounded and displaced; applicants need have no qualification but a clean record in the criminal sense, to be paid 8 piece sterling at the conclusion of the week, with rehire potential
It has pleased the editors to start a reader’s column, the posting of which will contain the answers to reader’s questions about any and all topics; which first occurance of the printing shall be in the next Saturday Edition.
The weather for this week is warmer than last! Praise be to whatever deities you worship! Expect rain on Tuesday and Thursday overnight, and heavy winds on Friday next as the trades begin to blow in from the ocean with the warmer air.
60 Degrees, with a slight drizzle possible early in the morning on the way to service; clearing to a dull gray day by lunch-time.
50 Degrees, with a slight warm breeze from the south-west and scattered clouds. Expect no precipitation.
45 Degrees, with a chill wind from due north bringing a potential for cold rain. An ill day for travel.
30 Degrees, but no chance for snow; dress warmly against a biting north wind and ensure children and animals have protection from the elements.
60 Degrees, warming from forty at dawn throughout the day. Rain expected as evening chill brings temperatures down to fifty-five or so.
70 Degrees and Sunny, a beautiful day for adventuring or doing the wash, and with a slight warm breeze continuing from the south-west and growing to a bluster as the evening falls.
65 Degrees and Humid, as the warm sea air meets the cold air from the north; expect potential rain and storm systems to develop throughout the day.
The numbers seventeen, thirty-four, and twenty-eight are lucky; avoid the numbers seventy-two, fourteen, and sixty-three. Black is a good color; red should be avoided at all costs. Water may have a part to play in coming adventures; follow the flow of memory and you may find yourself in time.
Do not trust the offerings of strangers, especially those claiming to bear aid; but if your instinct says a woman is trustworthy, tend to the instinct and adventure will be yours as well as safety and great profit.