Fabulous Goats Titillated My Ospreys

…I think they all had fun

The Doclopedia #1,399

The Over And The Under: What Is The Secret Of The Under?

From Frinita Quink, an Underling: Since I have your word that you will not repeat this to anyone, Underling or Overling, I’ll tell you. The Death Cloud has been harmless for at least 20 years, perhaps much longer.

It was 20 years ago that Elder Himo Roffer started up the Western Slope to end his life after the death of his wife and daughter in a flood. He walked up and up and soon came to the Death Line. Stepping across it, he found himself still alive. He thought that perhaps the line was misplaced, so he kept walking. Eventually, he reached the crest of the mountains at 4,000 feet and realized the truth.

His descent was long enough to let him think through the meaning of what he had discovered. If this news got out, the Overlings would come down with conquest on their minds. The other races, beyond the valley, would come in, bringing their problems. The Swamp People to the south might jopin them, even though the Death Cloud has never been a barrier to them.

Elder Himo decided that he would tell the Eldest Council what he had found and let them decide. We did and have kept the secret for 20 years now. Of course, it cannot be kept forever. Sooner or later some Loner will discover what Himo did. When that day comes, we have plans for dealing with the various problems it will bring.

Of course, as you have already found out, that does not include dealing with the Over, for which I am very glad.

From Var Obelinto Asmidu, an Overling: The secret of the Under? Well, we are sure that it is how the Elders are not telling the common folk about the coming collapse of the Death Cloud! Our best information says that it is probably no more than two years away. Then, my friend, we will wait until it clears completely before reestablishing ourselves as the rightful rulers of the Valley of Peace. Oh, what a great day that will be.

Other secrets? Oh please! Those savages could never have any useful secrets of their own.

French Lesson: “Honoré de Balzac” = “No Hitting Below The Belt”

…now I’m gonna have to fight some Francophones

The Doclopedia #1,398

The Over And The Under: What Is The Secret Of The Over?

From Zarisa Joon Lattiro, an Overling: Our deepest secret? You mean beyond the fact that the horrid Rekusi really control everything? Why, that would be the fact that our lifters and anchors are failing. Yes, it is true, we will one day start drifting on the wind and dropping in altitude. The best estimate has our five floating islands coming to ground 500 miles east of here and probably being destroyed in the process. Plans at the highest levels are being made to lower citizens to the ground before the crash happens.

Oh no, the general populace doesn’t know this. They would fall to despair and then panic. Only a dozen Zars know it and we have seen fit not to tell the Rekusi about it at all. We will tell more Zars in a few months, when escape plans are finalized and the drifting starts.

No, I feel no fear. I am very old and may well die before the drifting begins. I am only glad that we will not fall into the Death Cloud and all perish.

From Imkio Yeffer, an Underling: Something is wrong with the Over. The pale blue light we see coming from the underside of the islands is not nearly as bright as it used to be. We aren’t sure what it means, but it can’t be good.

Another thing those of us who watch the sky have noticed: the islands sometimes slowly drift east. Not much, but after well over a century of never moving, that is probably a sign of something important. Some say that it may mean that the Over will soon be carried away by the wind. That would be very nice.

23 Cats In A Red Boat

…they wanted to be pirates, but kept falling asleep

The Doclopedia #1,397

The Over And The Under: Where Is The Real Power In The Under?

From Twim Pimmil, an Underling: I suspect you already know the answer to that, stranger, but I’ll tell you anyway. The real power in the Under is the Trade Council, made up of people selected for both their love of the Under and their ability to be very discreet.

You see, despite what most people think, we never stopped trading with the Over. It was decided 50 years ago that trade with them was creating more problems than benefits. People were competing too much and depleting too many resources. Too many people got greedy and that was upsetting our way of life. So we closed Upsy Station and moved out trading facility to just below the Death Zone up on Mount Bantool. We told everyone that the Overlings ended trade. After just a few years, everything got back to normal.

We continue to trade with the Overlings, but only once per year and only for things we really need. You may have noticed that milkflowers are blooming. They were nearly extinct for over a century, until we got seeds from the Over. The same is true for many other valuable plants and even a few small animals, like the chipsquirrel. In exchange, we send them some fruits and vegetables and meats, which I am sure nobody below the Zar or Var class ever knows about.

Recently, we have increased the length between trades to 18 months. The Overlings don’t really have much we want anymore, but we do get some gold, which is always useful.

From Parisa Renel Amillia, an Overling: A question easily answered, stranger. The real power in the Under lies with the old women. It is well known that they possess magical powers, although nowhere near their pre-Death Cloud levels. They weave spells upon their men, inflaming their lust for battle. They control the weak minded. Oh yes, stranger, that is where the real power in the Under lies.

Basset Hounds On The Run

…probably running from the police

The Doclopedia #1,396

The Over And The Under: Where Is The Real Power In The Over?

From Rar Cium Kallema, an Overling: Why, the Zars, of course! They have always been our ultimate decision makers. They are the wisest among us and without them, there would be chaos.

But…I hesitate to mention this, since it is no doubt a false rumor…there are those who believe that someone or something controls the Zars. I have heard it said that it is the machines, that it is some unknown class of Overling, even that it is some sort of other species.

Of course, those are just insignificant rumors, started by citizens who were bored. The Zars are the ultimate power in the Over and always will be.

From Jorky Diggs, an Underling: Well now, friend, I remember my old granny telling me that she heard from her old granny that even longer ago than that, when those old vizards or scienteests or whatever they were accidentally created the Death Cloud, not everyone who escaped to the Over was human. A few of them was some other sort of folks.

Now, we know that there is other other folks in the world, outside our valley. Why, up at very farthest end of the valley, up near Spider Pass, folks sometimes trade with them. Usually it’s them big stinky hairy folks, the Uukwa, but sometimes it’s them little fast moving folks called the Janiff. Now, I doubt it was either of those races, but folks say there used to be other races here in the valley, back before the Death Cloud.

So anyway, the old legend goes that this other race sneaked up with some supplies just before the Death Cloud closed things off. Once they were up there, they hid out and took control of things. Them arrogant Overlings never even knew what was going on.

Anyway, that’s how I heard it when I was a young lad.

Handsome Joe Eats A Pile Of Pancakes

…with syrup!

The Doclopedia #1,395

The Over And The Under: Who Is Who In The Under?

From Asimi Fane, an Underling: I’m not sure I know what you mean. Are you asking who tribal or village elders are? For that, you’d need to ask each tribe or village. Here in my village, my gramper is the Eldest and he judges arguments and such. The elders are in charge of some things, the women are in charge of some things and the men are in charge of others. It works much the same in the tribes.

Of course, Loners are the only ones in charge if their lives. It sounds like a lonely life, but then again, it also sounds like a very free life. I’m not sure I could live that way, though.

From Par Wontella Nalestima, an Overling: Who is who in the Under? Are you joking? The people of the Under are savages! They live in tribes ruled by the strongest, most vicious among them. The few that live in “villages” are only slightly more advanced than the tribes. And let’s not forget that many Underlings roam around on their own, no doubt preying on the weak and defenseless.

The Young Girls Book Of Blowing Up The Patriarchy

…lavishly illustrated

The Doclopedia #1,394

The Over And The Under: Who Is Who In The Over?

From Var Ishan Elomini, an Overling: Well, of course, we of the Var class are in charge of most of the more important aspects of Overling society. At the command of the Zar class, of course. However, the Zars are almost always busy with much weightier responsibilities than I can speak to, so we are, by default, the leaders the people see. The Rar class makes sure that our life support systems are maintained and the Par class makes sure we have delicious food and drink.

Now, of course most of the Over is run by machines, but we humans still need to monitor them every day or two, as well as command them from time to time.

So there you have it, our wonderful system of doing things and getting things done.

From Pux Bonbo, an Underling: My friend, the Overlings may tell you all abour Vars and Pars and Bars and Lars, but they are all just one big lazy bunch. The ones at the top give orders to the ones below and they order about the ones below them, but in reality, their Arcane Engines do everything. All the Overlings do ismake minor adjustments and requests.

How do I know all that? My old grandpa worked at Upsy Station, filling the baskets with fruits & veggies. That was back when there was still trade between Over & Under. He got a sort of correspondence going with somebody up there and he learned how they do things.

A Short Film About Grits

…no, it’s not a gritty film.

The Doclopedia #1,393

The Over And The Under: What Is The Under?

From Widz Yarlyng, an Underling:The under is the surface of our world, the vast expanse of the Valley of Peace. It is where Humans have lived for millennia. It is trees and rivers and hills and animals and villages. It is where we live free, able to hunt in the forests of the valley and mountains, so long as we do not go above the 3,000 foot Death Line. The Under is where you cam meet people from 100 miles upriver or go off and live 50 miles from the nearest Human.

The Under is my home and I will never leave it.

From Rarisa Lann Kotelos, an Overling: The Under is a wild and deadly place. Who knows when you might be attacked by wild gaavs or trampled by a herd of ikunu? Even worse, it lies below the Death Cloud, which could collapse into the Valley of Peace anytime! The Underlings are little more than savages who must spend all of their time hunting for food and dodging death. But then, they are mentally deficient, probably from giving up Magic in order to gain some illusion of safety from the Death Cloud.

The Under is a horrible place. I would never go there, even if I could.