Rats Plague Britain Farmlands

Erik Valstrom

UP: Catskills

    "I had never seen such a swarm of vermin inall my life, and I worked the Skara Brae docks for years! Out of the woods theycame.. all shapes and sizes. Hungry and vicious they were! A few ratmen wereamong them, as if leading them onward. My crops were devastated, and even myhome was invaded by them!" Such is the tale told me by Beechel Kire, along-time Britain farmer and rancher, as I surveyed the damage wrought by thehorde which had, strangely, but thankfully enough, retreated back into the darkforest whence they came.

The bodies of the grimy creatures lay in stinking heaps among what were cabbagehills and rows of onions in the well-tended fields west of the city. Beechel'swas one among many of the farmlands ravaged by the swarm. Fields adjacent to hiswere no less subject to their depredations, and at least one farmhand was killedfrom wounds inflicted by multiple bites of the creatures, or by one of theratmen accompanying them, it is not known which. If this kind of devastationcontinues, there will be a shortage and what vegetables we do see will likely beimported from Yew or Skara Brae farms, something Britain farmers, if notconsumers, will be saddened to see.

"'Twas almost as if it were an expedition of sorts... or a foraging partyof some kind. When examining the corpses, we found unusual amounts of gold anditems upon them, stored in their mouths, uneaten, like packrats hauling it awayfor storage or something! Gold coins were even recovered from their oversizedjaws... and what a rat would want with gold is beyond me!" Beechel went onto say. Indeed, this does not appear to be any usual vermin infestation, but onethat may have something more behind it. Worst of all, this one raid may not bethe end, but a beginning.

From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, Monday, July 10th 2000