The Darksome Schooner is an incredible online anthology of fantastic ponderings.
It is an ethereal ship of the Imagination, endlessly sailing the boundless oceans of fantasy, where buxom syrens wail from slimy archipelagos and fiery chimeras plunder 'neath the colossal shadow of the roc.
But mainly, The Darksome Schooner is the internet archive of the work of the Fisherians, a group of literary figures and thinkers, who span fantasical yarns and celestial fables under the leadership of their chieftan, the noted Irish fantasian John James "Johnny" Fisher. Beginning in 2000, the Fisherians were active for well over a decade - a period of scintillating productivity and incredible achievement - until the movement was finally disbanded in 2014.
Originally founded as a humble group of Northern Irish Dungeons & Dragons fanatics, the Fisherians rapidly progressed from a D&D campaign group into a profound artistic and literary movement, gaining fame - or rather, notoriety - across the wide lands of Ulster. (Primarily County Antrim, plus fairly considerable swathes of Down).
Focusing on the eldritch and arcane, the Fisherians delved deeply into the imagination-scape, producing works across genres including - but not limited to - High Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Cosmic Horror, Magical Realism, Alternative History, Historical Fiction, and Libertarian-Survivalism.
The history of the Fisherians spans fourteen years, and it is dense and complex, involving prodigious levels of artistic output, breathtaking feats of imagination, and plenty of intrigue - including, unfortunately, betrayal and recrimination. This website provides more information on the history of the Fisherians and the Darksome Schooner.
Enjoy the voyage, friends.
From far and wide they had come, questing across the blasted wilderness. Each had faced untold perils and hardships in his travels, and each bore the scars.
They had come from desert lands, where spiced zephyrs blow dust across camels and barrel-chested merchants peddle smoking devices with innumerable appendages. They had travelled from the Unknown regions of the far North, where the secretive natives make their homes in the snow and the wailing of ice-men keeps the young awake at night. And from the mystical gardens of Eire came some, where wights dance 'mongst the barrows of ancient kings.
They talked together through the night, yet come dawn they still had much to say. For they were loremasters, mystics and storytellers - and such individuals do not easily tire of a yarn.
But where could they go from here?
One of them was ready. A Carrick native, with salt in his veins and the rock of the castle in his bones. He proposed a journey; a journey rife with peril and without end, that would take them all far beyond the banal realms they knew and deep into the Cosmos of the Imagination, where the ghosts of Tenochtitlan dance an infinite quadrille.
A terrible oath was sworn, and their new leader led the group through winding streets to a creaking pier in an abandoned harbour; and the very air was rank with the stench of adventure.
In the iron-hued sea floated a huge black ship, stained with the algae of dreams and thickly encrusted with the barnacles of nightmares. Forbidding did the vessel seem; yet its gangway appeared to entice them inside, the breeze setting the clinging seaweed swaying like a beckoning finger.
Into the ship the group marched behind their leader, with nary at backward glance at the barren land they had left.