It is one of the cruel realities of this world that I do not have access to the finest abacuses of ancient Persia.
The beautiful counting frames of the Achaemenids, once installed in plush palaces o’erlooking the sun-drenched gardens of Pasargadae and Persepolis, are lost to time and beyond my grasp. It pains me to admit that I shall ne’er sit astride an ancient abacus of Susa, gem of the Zagros Mountains, tallying up catch reports from dusty fishers on the Tigris.
Had I access to such primitive but meticulous counting machines – were I free to slide their ruby beads along cylindrical tracks into handy conglomerations – then I might have a chance of keeping count of the number of times I have been asked to explain the meaning of the coat-of-arms of the Fisherians.
My response to this request is always the same. “That which is self-explanatory need be explained only to fools.” Yet despite my learned rebukes, the volume of such requests has only increased; and furthermore the attempts by the masses to decipher the meaning of the symbolism on the Fisherian escutcheon have only become more inane. Either my fans are all incapable of even the most basic degree of insight, or the Fisherian coat-of-arms is not as obvious as I had assumed.
Very well. Let not it be uttered that Johnny Fisher refuses to wade into the seas of ignorance to cast a net of teaching. For wade in I shall, and with my expertly-woven fishing tool I will harvest doubt and misunderstanding from the waters, and drink shall ye from the knowledge-rich tides.
First, you must acquaint yourself intimately with the Fisherian coat-of-arms. Examine it. Study it. Sniff of its toothsome odour. This heraldic device is rich in meaning and deeply stained with history, its rampant symbolism befitting of the logo of a sagacious cabal of Intrigue-spinning mystic-shamen.
Now let us examine it in detail, as a team of coroners might examine the mutilated result of a particularly baffling homicide; slicing open the layers of meaning with an insightful scalpel.
The field of the coat-of-arms contains the main device of the Fisherians – the Darksome Schooner, centrepiece of Fisherian ideology and showcase of its oeuvre. Abreast of her sit two quatrefoils, their bulbs representing eight of the foremost individuals associated with the group*.
The leftmost quatrefoil represents the four original Fisherians; the founders of the movement. In later years one of the original four was ejected from the cabal for innumerable and grievous misdeeds; the others no longer speak his name (outside of the small-claims court). The names of the four:
- Johnny Fisher
- M. Dangermond
- Dermot the Mistruther, known formerly as Dermy Davies
The rightmost quatrefoil represents the Dark Fisherians; strange, mischievous beings dedicated to the pursuit of Intrigue, who are at all times engaged in darksome pursuits across the wide realms of the world. Their names shall not be uttered here.
The escutcheon is divided by a fishing rod, the eponymous tool of my noble Anglo-Saxon forebears, who plied their humble riparian trade next to the ramshackle wooden huts of toothless serfs, ‘neath the watchful eyes of rapacious landowner-barons. In all likelihood the original Fishers used nets; but a fishing rod conveys the same idea in a much more satisfactory fashion. Besides, many of my ancestors have been noted innovators – such as my Great-Great-Great Uncle Michael Fisher, who many believe was the first Irishman to throw a boomerang – and so our branch of the original Fishers no doubt progressed to elegant fishing rods long before their primitive competitors stopped mucking about with unsightly nets.
The bottom left-hand quarter of the sheild contains a typical scene from Science Fiction, a beloved mainstay of Fisherian ideology. In this scene, an unsuspecting gas-giant is about to be annihilated in an attack by an aggressor equipped with some kind of galactic super-gun. This is a blatant nod to the Death Star, but (before Lucas and his minions launch a team of high-powered lawyers in my direction) the scene is painted broadly enough to encompass myriad sci-fi works. The distance between target and aggressor could suggest The Culture’s gridfire capability, for example. (Though the commie-bots that run The Culture no doubt have massive ethical hang-ups about taking out a planet).
The bottom right-hand quarter of the shield announces the Fisherians’ commitment to Fantasy – another bedrock of our ideology – displaying as it does two of the key weapons in the eons-long wars between the peoples of such universes; be it Goblin vs. Dwarf, Elf vs. Dark-elf, or Wizard vs. Dark-Mage*. An axe and a mace are engraved here, making a bold testimony to the virtues of Warfare, when it is conducted out of noble intentions and contained within an imaginary world.
And so there you have it – an emblem rich in meaning for a group rich in talent. I trust I have satisfied the curious amongst you. Go forth now friends with my goodwill, and use what you have learned to enrich your own coats-of-arms! But heed this warning – do not plagiarise mine. If you do so, the damages I will wring from your theiving little mits will lie beyond the computing capability of any abacus that has ever existed.
*“Why a quatrefoil?”, you will probably ask. The Emilio Quatrefoil synopsis was the first piece to appear on the Darksome Schooner website, and thus has been richly rewarded, cemented into a heraldic field for posterity.
**This is a plug for my own work of High-Fantasy, The Last of the Mage-Warriors, in which the ancient race of Wizards has e’er made war upon the sorcerers of the Dark-Magi.