The message and the dream



In the bathThe Death Warrant was written and drawn in 1993 and self-published the next year. Setting the pattern for future stories, it came with a one-page introduction (not this page, but tomorrow's comic introducing the characters) and ended with a one-page epilogue. Nevertheless, it stayed within reasonable length totaling 38 pages.

The Death Warrant solidified the main cast as Tamlin, Ragnarok, Jake, Atra and Kel, and introduced more of the world of Clwyd-Rhan. The Pillar Field, the network of semi-tolerated witches and the duchy of Dungill Fens all appeared for the first time in this story, as did the faerie Wythllew and a number of running gags that I won't spoil here.

At the time I was working on the story, I took a few courses in medieval English and Scottish literature at the University of Groningen, taught by Luuk Houwen and Alasdair MacDonald. I hung out a lot with a fellow student called Nynke Wierda who shared my fondness for coffee, cookery and procrastination. I illustrated a long paper on medieval cookery for her, and some information from that ended up in the story. To her and to messrs Houwen and MacDonald, I dedicated this new English-language web edition of The Death Warrant.



In the forests of the picturesque Kingdom of Clwyd-Rhan dwells Tamlin's gang of bandits. Like most bandit gangs, they lead a shadowy existance...

This pit belongs to Ragnarok, who manages the weapons and other tools of the trade...

Will it work, Tamlin? Why not? Well, those racing goblins are mighty fast... we've measured everything exactly.

And once we've done the job you will start fiddling with me, which will annoy me no end.

Done and dusted! I cracked his skull! He'll be out of it for at least five minutes!

Congratulations on apprehending Barnardus Pothelmus. Hang him as quickly as you can, or else he will escape and make Clwyd-Rhan unsafe again.

Tamlin's idea is for the gang to deliver the letters themselves! Ragnarok has an objection though.

Tamlin ponders, dithers and finally falls asleep. Then, a vision appears before him.

In which we learn that when Opportunity shows up in your forest, wailing and gnashing of teeth will soon follow.

Opportunity guides Tamlin's thoughts towards Barnardus Pothelmus. Also sinners get tormented.

Opportunity shows Tamlin a hanged man. But Tamlin wasn't born yesterday.

Opportunity has one final thing to reveal - herself! Also more sinners get tormented.