The Weird Worlds of Pewfell Porfingles by Chuck Whelon with Adam Prosser
 
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The Complete Porfingles Chronicles

Being a personal histoy of Pewfell Porfingles, his extended family and friends.

Pewfell’s family tree can be traced back four generations to the legendary wizard Elendor the Great, whose great deeds need not be detailed here, as they are well known and cataloged in the chronicles of Midworld. Almost nothing is known of Elendor's background or origin, though some of had said that he must have been descended from Fluka the goddess of luck, because he certainly was a jammy git. Likewise, little is known of the fate of Elendor, some say he battles still against the forces of evil in the lower planes; others reckon he is probably propping up a bar in a remote and hedonistic city in some far corner of the world.

It is known that Elendor left behind a son, who he named after himself, Elendor II. Elendor II rued being forced to follow his father's footsteps by being pushed into the adventuring profession. The shadow of his father's name always loomed over him and he was never really able to live up to it. He eventually retired at the relatively young age for a wizard of 103 in order to raise his family and run a disreputable magic shop in Zorsk on the southern coast of the Midworld sea where he lived out his days in a befuddled haze, hopelessly addicted to healing potion. He had married an exotic dancer he met there, and had two children, the eldest a daughter named Elena and a son whom he belligerently named Elendor III. The children's mother ran off while they were still small with a Bedouin cleric whose influence she had fallen under. Elena took on the responsibility of running the household, while her father bent most of his efforts into badgering her brother never to become an adventurer.

Elendor I

Elendor II

Elendor III

A striong family resemblance is apparent in these portraits that hang in Cawdor Castle.

Elendor III disliked his sister, loathed his father and hated the hot, dusty city of Zorsk. So as soon as he was old enough he left home to attend the remote but prestigious Stonestanding School of Sorcery in Northern Pendria (or southern Beouria, or western Vordath, depending on whichever province felt like claiming it at the time). Stonestanding floats on an aerial island off the western edge of the city of Spirekassle. The weather in that region is mostly cold, and damp - though summers are nice, winters are long and deep. Elendor III always told people he moved there for the climate.

Elendor III was a good student and became an enthusiastic adventurer. He formed a band of valiant do-gooders who made quite a name for themselves adventuring in the wild lands of Vordath; long before that became the fashionable thing to do. The deeds of Elendor III, the great cleric Benson, dashing cavalier Gerard D’Arard, Miranda an Amazonian warrior paladin from Prantem, Puff-Bellow the dwarf and Elias the somewhat effeminate elf were long sung of. Over the length of their careers they did much to bring peace and prosperity to that chaotic northern region.

It was an uncle of Gerard’s who called on their assistance when the lands around his ancestral chateaux home, near the small town of Jonsport, fell under the sway of a dreaded tyrant known as the Black Head. The Black Head had marched down out of the Scraper Mountains with a small army of followers and clamed the hills east of Jonsport as his own. At first locals were pleased, as these hills had always been a haven for brigands, raiding traffic on the Pelforth road and the Head brought some much-needed stability to the region. However, the Head was now extending his grip over a wider area around, demanding tariffs from the local farmers and demanding toll from all who passed through his land.

They were gloomy, miserable hills, rising from ragged cliffs and rough seas, often surrounded by thick fog and coastal mist. It was under the cover of such a mist that Elendor’s company managed to locate a secret and forgotten underground entrance to the castle and thus made their approach from underground, eventually emerging in the dungeons of the Head's recently extended fortress. There the discovered an awful truth - the Head was amassing an enormous and awesome army of evil. Slowly he had been amassing his forces, creatures of chaos from the dark and brooding Scraper mountains were camped all around the fortress. Orcs, Goblins, Kobolds, Ogres and all manner of other dastardly creatures were there, preparing to sweep the whole of the Vordath region and plunge it into darkness.

However, the confusion of having vast and disparate armies assembling in and around the castle allowed Elendor III band to penetrate right to the heart of the Head's stronghold, the keep that dominated his black fortress. Even so it was no easy task and the tale was later often told of how, in the end, it came down to a one to one conflict between wizard and warlord, from which the esteemed sorcerer emerged victor. The songs sing of how Elendor then stood on the castle balcony and held aloft the Head’s head before the gathered crowd of evil. Once they saw how their leader was defeated and how powerful the wizard was all ten thousand of them turned tail and fled...or at least, that’s how the songs went when the aged Elendor III later had the bards play them to his great grand nephew Pewfell Porfingles.

One thing is for certain, Elendor III, tired of adventuring, took the Head's great black castle for his own, re-naming it Cawdor Castle. Prosperity soon returned and grew in the surrounding lands as news of the banishment of evil spread. The local people were mostly poor, living in small villages and farmsteads dotted between the murky forests and ancient hills. Along with the castle, Elendor had also claimed a vast fortune amassed by the Head and along with the great personal wealth he had built up over years of adventuring, he was now one of the wealthier lords in the whole of Midworld. He was a generous ruler, and being rich enough already paid his serf well and did not even levy any taxes.

Cawdor Castle

The largest and only city in that area, Spirekassle, was approximately 150 miles away, north of the Flintlock hills to the west, and much too near the Scraper Mountains for most truly civilized folk. Most of the truly civilized folk in Midworld lived in Prantem, the city of Paladins far to south (almost 300 miles south of Spirekassle). Of course the inhabitants of Trader City at the heart of the Midworld Autocracy would claim that they lived in the only really civilized place in the whole world, but since very little was known of any other continent at that time, this is to be forgiven.

Elendor III finally married his companion in arms and long time fantasy, Miranda, the buxom. Elendor III’s elder sister Elena, with whom he had never entirely lost touch, said this was only to be expected since both their parents were utter disasters as respectable role models. This caused an even greater great schism in the family, since Elendor regarded himself as one of the most respectable persons ever to have walked the face of the earth.

When Elena eventually passed on from old age she left a large family behind her, including a granddaughter named Glabella. Glabella was a bright, attractive girl of great curiosity. Her mother had never seemed to know much about her family history, and her grandmother had often been known to curse the name of her degenerate brother. When presses, however, her grandmother had always refused to speak further on the subject and had forbidden her offspring ever to have contact with her wayward brother. So, being a brave eighteen year-old when here grandma passed on, Glabella decided to set out in search of her long lost great uncle.

Many adventures of her own she had on the way, but eventually arrived safely at Elendor III's castle. Elendor III was never more delighted in his life than when he learned that an attractive young nice of his longed to come and tend him in his failing years, although in fact he was always a lot more healthy and vigorous than he ever let on. Miranda had died of old age some years before, and their relationship had always remained childless. However it wasn't long before Glabella met and fell in love with a young wizard named Preznaptix Porfingles. Preznaptix was not from a particularly well to do family, though his father had become a reasonably successful businessman in Spirekassle by anticipating the great curtain ring boom of 7139. The Porfingles family were from Old Spirekassle Village, and had lived in the region for countless generations. Family legend told of an ancient ancestor who had been chief druid of the region way back in the days of the Ferethian empire, though most people agreed that this was probably a bit far fetched.

Preznaptix was always a bit too eccentric for Elendor III's taste, he reminded him a bit too much of his father, Elendor II. Also Preznaptix, although fully qualified as a wizard had never really gone much in for adventuring. He tended to focus more on research and was endlessly coming up with new spells and magical apparatuses. Most of these never seemed to work properly, or if they did never proved to have much practical application or popular appeal. Still, Glabella appeared to be very much in love, so Elendor III gave them his blessing and supported their relationship with occasional injections of cash.

In return Elendor III insisted that their eldest son Pewfell be made his ward. Elendor III always regretted never having an heir and was determined to have someone he could train to follow in his footsteps. Pewfell at four years old was the eldest of three children having both a sister, Clemilla (2) and brother, Alton - a mere babe in arms. Pewfell had shown some certain aptitude for magic as toddler, and Elendor III was determined to see him grow into a great and powerful sorcerer in the best of family tradition.

Old and ancient as he now was Elendor III and although he complained often and made himself out to be a miserable old sod, he was underneath a fair and genial fellow, although he grew more and more like a fat old cat. He would enjoy a late fried breakfast followed by a long lie-in. Then he would leave a large and particularly smelly offering to Lurgi, and then more sleep until supper, after which he would usually fall asleep in the bath before being carried to bed by his grateful subjects.

So it was that Pewfell had a wonderful childhood, growing up in an enlightened, free and idyllic environment in the lands around the town of Jonsport, where education was honored and esteemed above all things, but by no means compulsory. Pewfell was a below average student in a small class of boys and girls from the castle and surrounding farms. For better or worse the schooling was handled by a tutor, who made it his business to ensure that the great grand-nephew of his wizard lord, always scores well in his exams. The curriculum spanned the arts, science, history, religion and earth studies. Elendor III himself insisted on instructing Pewfell in the art of Magic, although by degrees this daily afternoon evolved more and more into just an excuse for him to take a nap in the middle of the day, and sadly Pewfell education in the occult sciences was left sorely lacking.

Jonsport

It was growing up at Cawdor castle that Pewfell got to know his classmate Bish, an orphan and ward of the great cleric Hedges, brother of the late Benson. It was on a school field trip to Prantem when they boys were about 8 years of age that Pewfell had the drowning accident from which Bish saved him. Pewfell has no memory of the event, though it left him a mildly hydrophobic, Bish is far too modest to remind his friend of the life debt he owes him.

Benson and Hedges had been companions of Elendor III in his many adventures; they were both orthodox priests of the great sun god Lug. It was Hedges who set up and tended a small temple dedicated to Lug in the grounds of Cawdor Castle. Bish was raised in this tradition, and instructed in the mysteries of divinity, in the hope that he too would one day take over the pastoral congregation of Cawdor Castle. Thus it came as something of a shock to everyone when, on the eve of his initiation to the mysteries of Lug the good, Bish announced that he had received a vision from the goddess Hornbag. No one else could recall ever having heard of this particular deity, whose naked and fulsome female form had been revealed to Bish in a vision of light. A somewhat tasteless vision, which Hedges might have attributed to the onset of puberty, had not Bish been so fervent in his belief. Furthermore, along with his conversion, Bish had sworn an everlasting vow of chastity, saving himself until the day that he finally passed from the mortal world and came into the arms of the goddess herself.

Shortly after this Pewfell, now 13 years old left for boarding school. A scraped pass of his Common Entrance scores, together with the high praise of his tutor and of course a generous donation from his guardian were enough to get Pewfell into Elendor III's alma mater – the Stonestanding School of Sorcery in Spirekassle. Bish remained at Cawdor castle, where Hedges continued Bish's religious instruction as best he could. Although a keen and enthusiastic student, Bish was by no means a good learner and as he grew older he became more and more distracted by visions of his goddess. Afraid that Bish's self imposed vow of chastity might be doing his acolyte more harm than good, Hedges attempted to get Bish to take an interest in women - the church of Lug does not forbid sexual relationships, and the priesthood is evenly distributed between men and women who frequently marry. Occasionally Hedges would leave copies of Playcleric magazine around, or arrange dates for Bish with young girls from other churches. All to no avail, in fact it served only to intensify Bish's fervor. By the age of 20 Bish realized that if he if he was to learn more about his mysterious patron deity he must leave his master and set out to seek his destiny.

He was in the process of packing his bags when news arrived that Pewfell was returning from college – in disgrace. Pewfell had been expelled for vomiting over the examiner at his end of year finals. Although Pewfell claimed it was an unfair dismissal and not his fault, it was apparent to most everyone who was aware of his academic record that he wasn't likely to have passed anyway.

When asked what he planned to do with his life now, Pewfell announced his intention to remain at Cawdor Castle and perhaps become a herbalist, having scored reasonably well in his school thesis on the marjaweed plant. Unfortunately the benevolence of Elendor III only extended so far, and so it was that Pewfell was kicked out of the house without a penny to his name. Disgruntled and despondent Pewfell was unsure of what to do next, so when Bish suggested they answer an ad posted by the Jonsport town council, he reluctantly agreed.

The assignment was simple enough; a small shipping beacon on a rocky spur of land to the west of the city had ceased to function. Pewfell and Bish were to investigate what had happened to its keeper, a wizard who was granted the tower as a place to live in return for keeping the beacon lit. When they arrived they found the place occupied by a small band marauding goblins from out of the northern wilds of Vordath. Bravely Bish launched an attack on the goblins, driving them off in surprise and fear of the demented warrior priest. On further investigation they found the cellars to be infested with zombies that Bish bravely also managed to dispatch with some assistance from Pewfell. Eventually they found the wizard locked in basement, half-mad and quite crazed as the result of the backfiring of one of his re-animation spells. Pewfell managed to reverse the spell and revive him, but when he came to he was extremely displeased at the mess the two adventurers had made of his re-animation experiments, and chased them off in a fury, turning Bish into a newt in the process. Bish recovered a few days later, and the wizard did restore the beacon, so the honorable council rewarded them. Thus began the adventures of Pewfell and Bish.

Comic #0 (as yet unpublished) tells the tale of this adventure

road to the South Vordath shipping beacon

They spent the rest of that summer performing similar tasks for the council, until at least they had gathered enough money to travel to Spirekassle and set themselves up in business there. Bish was keen to get to the big city to research more about the mysterious goddess Hornbag, and Pewfell was eager to get back to the heady student lifestyle he had left behind.

However, all was not really what they had hoped. Bish in his researched found no more information on his goddess, and Pewfell found that many of his former friends had moved on, or taken respectable jobs. Spirekassle was filled with many experienced adventurers, so there were slim pickings as far as work. Eventually Pewfell was able to secure employment assisting a sage named Meldin, who put the two companions up in a small room in his attic. Bish earned a meager living preaching on street corners, but both performed various tasks for Meldin, or did a little moonlighting here and there.

The first 5 strips of Comic #2 are set during this period

It was on once of these "freelance" assignments that they first met Pedwyn and Fug. They had answered an ad posted in the forum by a local nobleman, Lord Sir Algernoon Codpeace, whose son Cuthpert had been kidnapped for ransom by a gang of thieves. Pedwyn and Fug had also answered the ad, being new to town. No one else had responded due to the general unpopularity of the Codpeace family, known chiselers and cheats who had on more than one occasion failed to properly pay adventurers for services rendered. As it turned out Cuthpert was not a young child at all, but rather an adult slightly older even than his would-be rescuers…

Pedwyn had been raised in Pelforth, a wild and chaotic town in the north of Vordath, right in the foothills of the Scraper Mountains. He liked to claim that he got his nickname the Jackal because his mother had been eaten by a jackal and he had been raised by jackals in the wild mountainous woods north of Pelforth. Somehow though, no one ever seemed to believe this. Partly because whenever he went back to visit his 'wolf' brethren, he always took a large bundle of dirty laundry that he always brought back clean. To compensate, however, pedwyn does display some mildly lycanthropic tendencies when the moons are full. Fug was a young barbarian from the land of Formoria, a frozen wastes beyond the mountains at the top of the world. His tribe and village had apparently been decimated by the attack of a vicious remorhaz, a snow dragon, Fug the only survivor had escaped, made his way through the mountains and was met by Pedwyn while on his way to Spirekassle. The two had rapidly become fast friends, and made a fair living from doing the somewhat dodgy jobs that more noble adventurers hate.

The unlikely foursome adventured together often, and spent many hours at the Hog's nuts tavern where Fug and Pedwyn made their lodgings.

Comic #1 tells of one such adventure – Pewfell's first encounter with Hornia, Witch Queen of the Scraper Mountains.

At one point, the discovery of a conspiracy organized by sea devils lead them to Trader City, still under the employ of Meldin. Investigation of the sea devil's lair resulted in Bish being turned into a shark for a short period of time. They spent almost a year in Trader City, and a golden, happy time it was for them all.

Meldin meanwhile spent his time setting up a new branch of his Sage Advice & Apothecary chain of stores in the capital. After this, the somewhat batty old man, announced his intention to seek this mythical land in the little visited countries beyond Freeport. A sip was fitted out and the company set sail. The journey was long and many adventures were had along the way, which may be detailed some other time. They never did discover Inishara, but it was on this quest that Pewfell met his future wife Tina. Tina was a Viking warrior princess from the frozen Nordic lands South East of Formoria.

Eventually the party found themselves back in Spirekassle, returning there from the East. Pewfell and Tina were married, and they spent their entire share of the treasure they had accumulated during their travels on the house they now live in. A grand old place it is, a listed building but sold at quite a discount because of its particularly precarious position right near the edge of the world.

Bish use his treasure to establish the Order of Divine unity, Fug and Pedwyn lost most of theirs on a trip to Vagus, but they were satisfied that it had been one of the all time great weekends.

Pewfell continued working for Meldin, but became increasingly bored with his lot, and began to make strides to set up on his own.

Comics #2 - 6 catalog episodes that happened during this period, including Bish's rise to become pope of Spirekassle.

Bish's papacy did not last long, and eventually he was deposed and the city set back to rights - these events will be cataloged in Comic #7, if it ever gets finished.It was during this time also that Gnomabegan to squat in OPewfell's house.

And that about brings us up to date, you can continue reading the tale in the archives.