Fish Stocks Limited
Hook must be of the right size and shape, be sharp and strong yet flexible, have a loop
at the top the right size for the line to pass through and finally not be tarnished by
Rust Fungus that would dissolve in the Mist and put off the Fish. To find the Hook
required expert knowledge of local geography and dendrology. In his mind's eye
Ambrosius navigated the trees in his local area until he found one with the appropriate
characteristics. He got out of bed, still dressed from the previous day, and exited his
shack. With a hop and a jump he navigated the boughs until he was there at Bough
Eight. This was a dangerous place to be. Bough Eight was notorious as a bad
neighbourhood, and was riddled with gangs of antisocial ne'er-do-wells who would
beat up and rob an innocent Piscador without thinking. Such are the hurdles a
determined Fisher must take in his stride. Fortunately it was still early in the morning,
and most of the trouble- makers were still sleeping off last night's Stone. There were
one or two people about, just setting their morning lines up, but these were the older,
more measured inhabitants. They would still rob a Piscador of his catch without
thinking; however, they knew Ambrosius as fishless and not worth bothering with, so
they left him alone. Some of them raised an eyebrow in amusement as they saw him
casting what he hoped looked like an expert gaze on the myriad hooks that glittered in
the morning dew.
“Fish me,” said one of the morning Fishers. “If it isn't Ambrosius. You looking for
something to hang your coat on?”
Ambrosius glanced over to him nervously.
“I'm not going to bite yer head off,” said the man. “I used to smoke Stone with
your dad. He was a right laugh, old Rainstorm. Yeah I know all about you, no- fish.
The names Branch Hearthstone. You really looking for Hooks, son?”
“Yes,” said Ambrosius in a voice that sounded like a mouse trying to sound like a
lion. “I'm going to catch a Fish.”
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhahaha. Haha. Haahaahaa.”
“Ahhahahahaha. Haha. Hahahahaaaaa.”
“I said stop it.”
“Hahahaha. Hahahaha. Hahahaha.”
Ambrosius seethed, but what could he say? This bloke had arms like tree trunks
and looked like he could rip Ambrosius in two. This was not someone you could
make demands to.
“Ha ha. Ha. Sorry. Hahaha. No, really, I'm sorry. Ha. It's just... I thought you
said... ha... that you were going to catch a Fish.”
“Haaaahahahaha. Hahahahaha. Haaaaahaaaahaaaa.”
“Stop laughing at me!”
“Ha. Really, I am dead sorry. Haha. You really think you can catch something? "
“Hmm, I like your style, son. Never give up.”
“Well, if you'd excuse me.” Ambrosius started to move away, but Branch let out a
gargantuan cough before calling after him.
“Wait there, lad.”
“What now?” asked Ambrosius. “If you're going to make fun of me...”
“Not at all, not at all. Like I say, I knew your father. He was a man with problems,
that's true, not least when it came to the Stone, but when you got past that he wasn't