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From a notebook found outside of Pleasantville:

I have been following rumors of the mysterious "CORK" clan for the last three weeks. I first picked up the thread in Squat Hole, from a midget "masseuse" who liked to talk while she worked. When I returned the next day in the hopes of finding out more, Julia told me she was gone, though all her belongings remained.

I next tried asking Dan at the Prancing Spiderkitty if he'd heard any interesting rumors. He tried to distract me with tales of a Dread Gopher of Terror, but I would not be swayed. But then, neither would Dan. Even when heavily bribed, he denied the existence of a CORK Clan. But when I ordered a Gargle Blaster to clear my head, the numbers "12,31" were engraved on the bottom of my glass.

I whipped out my map. Nothing there but flat plains. Nevertheless, it was the only clue I had, so I traveled across the lake to the designated spot. When I arrived, nothing immediately struck me. Was I supposed to go to the nearby Ace High? Then I stumbled over what I thought was a rock. Instead, it was a small statue of a Kittymorph batting a cork. A direction for CORK members? Or a warning to stay away. Again, it was the only lead I had, so off to Kittania I went.

Kittania seemed normal enough: lots of kittymorphs eating salad with bared fangs glinting, or lazing about in puddles of sunlight. But leaving the cafe full of steak late that night, I found myself followed not only by envious stares, but a shadowy figure.I made a break for the sanctuary of the chapel - Kate is always welcoming - but was caught before I went three steps, and found myself slammed against a wall. "So," the figure said in a raspy chuckle, "Ye'd like t'learn more about CORK, would you? Well then. Come to the belly of the beast tomorrow night, at the break of the new day. An auspicious time for new beginnings, eh?" He shoved me against the wall again, and was gone.

I stumbled back into the cafe, and bought a bottle of water. The belly of the beast? What on earth could that mean? The Gauntlet, perhaps? Or the Skronky Pot? It's round, and pretty beastly, and Squat Hole is where this all began. Hmm. Perhaps Pleasantville? Good food, and monstrous residents. I unrolled my map to consider my options and took a drink of water. And then I knew.

And now I am here, on the shore of the lake, as we creep closer to the new day. As I write this by flashlight, I can already see candles glowing in what appear to be about 20 small boats on the lake, lighting their cloaked rowers. Before I launch my own craft, I am leaving this book here, beneath a rock, just in case. If I do not return, please do not continue my work. And do not attempt rescue. I am either happier than I've ever been, or past all hope.



On the last page of the notebook are what seems to be the author's theories that he'd been unable to confirm or flesh out. They are listed below:
CORK - Clan?
Apply? Or are invited?
Snipe hunt?
Does CORK appears in clan listing after bringing Julia token? Catchphrase/password/significant item?
Not clan - secret society. Members may be any race, from any clan, in any outpost. May be watching. Always watching.
Beware the screw.
See Oh Are Kay? (SOAKed CORK? A term for termination of a member?)

The Acronym

At the back of the notebook was a loose sheet of paper. The list was written mostly in pencil, with some lines in blue ink:

Possible meanings for the acronym?
Canning Overly Rhapsodic Kidders
Correcting Overtly Right Kaleidoscopes
Carrying Open Rum Kegs
Corky Orcs Rock Krocs
Charming Oragutans Riddle Tricksters
Crazed Organists Riding Camels?
Climbing Over Rock Kings
Corny Otters React Terribly
Can't OverRun Knights
Could Out Respiteful Knights
Calming Orchards Raise Kids
Cowboys Organize Revolting Kats
Continuing Overplayed Repetitive Kontrivance

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cork.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/28 03:35 (external edit)