The History of the Penguin Mafia
It is often said that power corrupts: and that power and wealth go together - often wealth begets power, at other times power begets wealth.
From this, one can draw a second truism: those that are most corrupt in the pursuit of wealth tend to accumulate power, and those that are the most corrupt in the pursuit of power tend to accumulate wealth.
A third truism states that robbery works best when practised against those targets that have the most wealth to steal - theft from the poor is largely pointless.
It was in the second and third contexts that the Penguin Mafia first appeared in the kingdom.
For there were some players who had found a way of counterfeiting the Meaty currency of the Kingdom, on a truly massive scale: and they shared their secrets with others. Of those players that were let in on the counterfeiting secret, the honest ones did not use it, and remained poor, while the dishonest ones used it, and became rich.
Almost immediately afterwards, a second class of ultra-rich player emerged: those that would not soil their hands with actual counterfeiture, but were more than happy to launder counterfeit Meat by selling stuff to the counterfeiters. A third generation of ultra-riches appeared within hours, those who had trade dealings not with the initial bug-exploiters, but with their launderers. As wealth spread further and further away from its initial creator-counterfeiters, it became harder and harder to tell the difference between the true villains and the less scrupulous of traders - and indeed, between the less scrupulous of traders and the more honest traders who didn't even want this new "bugmeat": it turned out the only way to avoid it was to cut oneself off from Society entirely, so fast did the counterfeit wealth spread, dwarfing the supply of real meat. Naturally, this led to rampant inflation of prices in the Kingdom.
And as a new, massive and seemingly limitless influx of wealth flooded into the kingdom, so did the opportunity for robbery. For there were now more people than ever before, that could be robbed of riches. Even those people who wished their fellow-citizens well, such as the legendary Bashy, were forced to resort to bug-exploiting on their own part in their own efforts to keep prices down, so that they could be afforded by the honest.
Although they had first been seen at the Icy Peak, during all the confusion over the gradual disappearance of the Yetis (it being at this time unclear whether this was due to them being slaughtered by Adventurers, or because the Hippies protesting their slaughter were doing more harm than good: what was however certain was that the first few Penguins were seen there shortly before the counterfeiting explosion), it was in the Hole in the Sky that the Penguin Mafia made their first MAJOR appearance. Ambushing adventurers that had come up to study the stars of the cosmos, and the lines that joined them into constellations, the Penguins ruthlessly mugged the stargazers and robbed them of meat. Sometimes it was a comparatively small amount of meat, other times it was massive.
And soon afterwards, many of the Kingdom's richest citizens were robbed, often of as much as 100 million meat at a time, also by the Penguin Mafia, the name of whose leader became known at this time: Don Pygoscelis. Not only the exploiters and money-launderers suffered: so too did those honest players that had become rich before counterfeiting was known in the Kingdom. (Some of them, outraged, turned to counterfeiting to recover their wealth, or to trading with those counterfeiters who still retained their wealth.)
The Council of Loathing was outraged that their citizens could be attacked with such impunity. The Penguin Mafia must be removed, they said: destroyed, driven out, eliminated. The Hole in the Sky was their base: and the plan was truly astonishing in scope. To build a massive, ground-mounted Huge Cannon, to blast the Penguins out of the sky. No account was taken of the damage that would be done to the Cosmos itself, to the stars, lines and constellations, by this measure: but then, the Council has never been one to think through the full consequences of its plans. Hardly surprising, therefore, came the revelation that they had (as is usual for governments) voted through a plan they could not pay for, and asked their citizens - or subjects? - to fund the difference. Officially, this was claimed to be a deliberate attempt to remove counterfeit Meat from the kingdom.
Donations came in from many citizens, rich and poor. One name stands out above the rest: Qrrbrbirlbel, who donated over two-thirds of the final cost of the Cannon in one lump sum. They say he wears a white hat now, but in those days it was very definitely gray: he was even then widely believed to have benefited greatly from more than a few less-than-legitimate schemes, and there have even been dark rumours that the price of his buying most of the Cannon was allowing him to keep a large sum of his gains (measurable in billions, although not in the quintillions that one could previously gain from a single meat vortex) that was not entirely well-gotten. Nevertheless, all allegations aside, the Cannon was built. It is believed never to have been fired: a weapon of mass destruction that was intended primarily as a threat than for actual use. It served its purpose: the Penguins retreated from the Hole in the Sky, leaving it free for the Kingdom's star-gazers once again, and the raids on people's private closets seem to have been stopped or at least scaled down at this time.
But, although forced into a temporary retreat, they were to return very shortly, with new tactics...
All was still not well in Loathing. Even though the Infinite Meat Fountains had been turned off, there was still far too much Meat in existence, and prices remained truly insane, as did the price differential between the rich and the poor. The Council were blamed daily for the problems of the Kingdom. They, in turn, gave dire warnings about the Penguin Mafia, and proceeded to start up another "collection" of donation money, ostensibly to ward off the supposed threat from the Penguins. Time Juice was the new target - officially, this was supposed to give people more time to deal with problems. In fact, unofficially, it is now believed that this was intended to give the Council more time to procrastinate and put off actually doing anything constructive.
And then a second problem appeared, superficially unrelated to the Mafia - a problem that had already been apparent before the Counterfeiting Explosion of Black Sunday. One of the few ways to legitimately gain a lot of Meat in a reasonable period of time began to come under strain. For months now, there had been wholesale slaughter by adventurers of Yetis on the Icy Peak, for their pelts and their meat: a group of Hippies staged a persistent protest against the slaughter, even encouraging other adventurers to join in, but this only served to worsen the situation, as the hippies succeeded only in messing up the Yetis' own food-chain - by encouraging adventurers to avoid the Peak, they removed one of the most important parts of a Yeti's diet: the same unwary adventurers that had been hunting them.
Driven into smaller and smaller areas of the Peak as the hippy protests became greater in scope, the Yeti population dwindled. Some would say this is due to simple starvation: in fact, the truth is worse - with too many yetis in too small an area, they fought each other, over food, drink and territory, and at least as many Yetis were killed by other Yetis as had ever been killed by adventurers. But since Yetis do not eat other Yetis, the remains of the dead yetis spoiled, and the survivors continued to starve.
It was at this point the Penguin Mafia, still smarting from their defeat at the Hole in the Sky, changed tack. Why did they have to come as invaders and robbers, said Don Pygoscelis? Approach with a more conciliatory strategy, let them come to an understanding of human nature, and people would actually fall over themselves to give money to the Penguins. So, envoys were sent to the Council, asking for employment as tax-collectors in the Council's new initiative, of taxing all private trades worth more than a certain value. Also at this time, with the proceeds of their earlier raids, a small shop was purchased in town - "Uncle P's Antiques", it was renamed.
And thus the penguins returned to the adventurers' areas. It was in their original base (never completely abandoned) at the Icy Peak that they settled, in the areas vacated by both hippies and yetis (once the hippies realised that all their protests were at best useless and at worst counter-productive). It was not long before Penguin and Yeti came into conflict: but the Yetis, weakened by their long starvation and greatly reduced in numbers, were at this time no match for the massed Mob Penguins. Adventurers coming up to slaughter Yetis were surprised, not only to find even fewer Yetis than could normally be expected, but to run into Mob Penguin Thugs, Sopranos and Pasta Chefs, who were considerably tougher than a sick Yeti. Some adventurers fell in the conflict: so too did many Penguins, to the tougher Adventurers, who assumed that the Penguins were still invaders, and knew nothing of the secret bargain that had been struck with the Council.
For this was the nature of the bargain: In exchange for a place to live, and the chance to conduct business at extremely high and profitable rates, the Penguins would refrain from crime, or at least from any crime against those that did not make a positive choice to be involved with the Penguins or with high-value trading. Violence, robbery and murder were totally out (except when Penguins strayed into the Adventurers' sector of the Peak, in which case any individual conflict between Adventurer and Penguin could be considered "a fair fight", with the survivor being able to claim the right of self-defence): extortion, taxation (which is, itself, little more than "demanding money with menaces" when performed by the government), embezzlement, and legitimate market-dealing at rip-off prices were in.
And so, for a while, there was the "Penguin Tax" on any private trade deal worth more than 1 million Meat in the Kingdom. New items, formerly owned by penguins who strayed into the Adventurers' zone of the Peak, were found and sold in the Mall: mafia arias were sung for the first time by humans (and for a second time, by those humans who had been wearing support cummerbunds and were thus still in a condition to sing them), Scrolls of Pasta Summoning gave complex pasta dishes to those who could not afford the services of both a Pastamancer and Sauceror, and anyone who found a Mob Penguin Cellular Phone could actually call on the Mob for aid in a fight, provided it was not against another Penguin. For such was the sportsmanship of Don Pygoscelis: he recognised that any Human who slew a Penguin did so in the Adventurers' area, and thus the Penguin had known the risk (and been foolish enough to fail to call for aid himself), therefore the Human was not to be blamed or punished unless he sought to turn Penguin against Penguin - instead, he would render the aid to whoever used the cellphone that his own minion had been too arrogant to use.
But the true success, and the true genius of the Don's plan, came in Uncle P's Store. Three items were sold there: two were for the truly ultra-rich - the Mr. Exploiter and the Villa Document. The former was an insanely expensive status symbol, ultimately useless (and, once bought, it could not be gotten rid of) but much coveted: and the latter was one of his greatest innovations. For half a billion Meat, any player could purchase one, affix his own name to it (or give or sell it to another player to affix their name to), and whoever's name was written on the Document was allowed access to the Don's own private villa, and the chance to chat there without the masses hearing. Inevitably, the first people to enter the Villa were the initial bug exploiters: but they were followed by the money-launderers who had traded with the exploiters, and later by others who had traded with the launderers, and others who had traded with the traders - for the bugmeat had spread so far that even those who had good reason to think they had behaved perfectly legitimately, stood a chance of getting a Villa Document at this time.
A third item sold at the Antiques store was Raffle Tickets. At first, this was believed - like 99% of other raffles in the Kingdom - to be a scam: but the Don said this was not so, and he was believed. What was more, the ticket prices were cheap enough that ordinary people could afford them, save only for those ordinary people that followed the "Old School" religion or the Church of the Reset, and were sworn to poverty.
And the prizes - ah, what prizes! When the first raffle was drawn, eleven lucky winners received especial Mafia Bow Ties - status symbols which, unlike the Mr Exploiters, were both tradable and useful. And no less than 200 second-place winners received a bottle of wine (the first-prize winners received three, in addition to the Bow Ties), of a quality never seen before in the Kingdom: Acqua Del Piatto Merlot. Despite its title, it was an excellent vintage - so excellent, that many chose not to drink it at all but to sell it to collectors. (It was said, afterwards, that just a few people had been given Merlot by the Don before, as compensation for their closets being robbed: perhaps his conscience troubled him? It would explain why he was so ready to turn away from crime when given the opportunity to become "legit".)
And the Council and People both thought this was a good policy: nobody was robbed, people gave up their Meat voluntarily. And it was the rich who gave up the most Meat of all, in an effort to buy the most raffle tickets to give them the greatest chance in the raffle. So, meat was leaving the Kingdom in quantity, and from the rich more so than from the poor, so the Council were pleased: and the Penguins were pleased, for they gained far more Meat from legitimate trading than they ever had from mere robbery.
A second raffle soon followed, as did a third, very shortly: providing second prizes of two new Mafia Wines, and first prizes of two new Mafia accessories - the eversmoking "Mafia Stogie" cigar, and a pair of "Cement Shoes". In the case of the second one, people who drank their wine ("Acque Luride Grezze Cabernet") immediately were disappointed to find the taste as foul as the name implied, and the wine not invigorating: this, however, turned out merely to be a problem with the wine not "travelling" well. Those who drank it three days after receiving it, rather than immediately, found it as fine as the Merlot had been.
However, the "good times" were not to continue forever. The fourth raffle took a positive age to be drawn, and the fifth even longer, and cracks began to appear in the uneasy "alliance" between the Penguins and the Council. The Penguin Tax had actually been withdrawn reasonably early on during the Agreement (with the consent of the Don), but this did not seem at first to have worried either the Council, or Don Pygoscelis's underlings. However, things were not as they seemed: all was not well, either in the Mafia or the Council...
The "Penguin Tax" had in fact not lasted very long. This was as much as anything because it was not working too well, and was in danger of being seen as promoting scamming and mistrust among the Citizens of Loathing. In efforts to avoid it, people were resorting to the tactic of "send me the item first so as to avoid the penguin tax, then I'll send you the meat afterwards" (or vice versa), for those items that were too expensive to be sold in the Mall. This proved okay for adventurers that were rich and honest (and a surprising number of bug-exploiters turn out to be scrupulously honest in direct dealings with fellow players): but for the less honest, all the second party to the agreement had to do was run off with both the item and the meat.
Don Pygoscelis himself realised the undesirability of criminality becoming too prevalent among the Human Citizens of Loathing: after all, how can crime remain organised when just about anybody is able or allowed to commit it? Besides which, stealing by deception - no matter how blatant the deception - was downright dishonourable. The truth is, this Don had become enamoured of his "legitimate" image, to the point of wishing to keep it up. Not unreasonably so: it is so much easier to con people out of money when they are actively thanking you for taking the stuff. But some of his younger minions disagreed.
The real strains in the relationship between Council and Mafia began to show when the Fourth Raffle, and after it the Fifth, took seemingly forever to arrive - as did the Council's Time Juice. They had long since forgotten the actual reason for even wanting the Time Juice in the first place, but donations had dried to a trickle, even as certain players kept many billions in their closets that were not handed out. For all those players that had been willing to turn "honest", after finding that being rich was little more fun than being poor and offered no challenge, had already spent much of their meat or spread it around: those who were still rich (in fact, mostly honest but extremely hard-nosed traders) were mostly the misers, the skinflints, the Scrooges of Loathing, who live for nothing but the idea of being rich while others remain poor.
At first, these misers had been tolerated because of the promise by the Council of a Reset, when all meat and goods except a rare few (Mr Accessory being the only tradable good that would remain) would be removed, and everybody would once again start from an Equal basis. But then, word leaked out that Reset would no longer happen. And as the "spenders" saw that the "misers" were no longer spending, many of them began to think, why should I spend all my "mere" tens or hundreds of millions of meat when others are being allowed to keep all of their billions forever?
Under the circumstances, it was hardly surprising that Time Juice donations dried up, even as the Council held out the promise that more Juice would come if more Meat was donated. Perhaps the same reason was behind the length of time that it took for the Fourth Raffle to happen: fewer people buying tickets because they saw that others were not, and Don Pygoscelis was unwilling to draw a raffle for which fewer tickets had been bought. But another factor in the Raffle had caused disquiet: it was now obvious that the second prizes were drawn before the first prizes - which meant that the people who spent the most Meat on tickets were not the most likely to get a first prize, thanks to the convention that no buyer could win more than one prize. Because they would stand too good a chance of a second prize, rather than the first prize they wanted. So this was in fact a disincentive against buying too many tickets.
Eventually, the Council gave in and distributed their Time Juice, with a complete embargo on its sale. They had long forgotten what it was intended to be used for: most likely they just got embarassed about having a donation fund that wasn't moving. The Don also drew his raffle: the wine was as good as ever, as was the prize (a Mafia Violin Case) but somehow the heart had gone out of the deal because of the time taken. A further scandal came to light when it was revealed that at least one of the first prize winning tickets had, in fact, been bought in the name of a ventriloquist's dummy or "multi" owned by another adventurer - entering the raffle under two names in the hope of winning two prizes. (It is believed that his plan failed when he failed entirely to win anything under his OWN name.)
A Fifth Raffle was announced - with tickets ten times the price, and extra-special prizes to compensate for the higher price of tickets. But, once again, if people had thought the Fourth Raffle took a long time to turn up, the Fifth took even longer - so long, in fact, that many had forgotten it was even on. Again, this is popularly believed to have been due to lack of ticket-buyers. But when it finally did come, it proved a splendid extravaganza. Not only were the first prizes (a pair of Old School Mafia Knickerbockers) as fine as anything that came before, but three lucky winners got a Zero'th Prize of all five Mafia items, and one even luckier winner ("Knud" by name) won a Grand Prize of all five mafia items and a Crimbo Suit - which led to disgraceful scenes as the winner was physically assaulted and variously Bullied, Burninated and Backstabbed even while he was still asleep, and his Crimbo Pants removed by force before he even knew he had them. (A few generous friends of his clubbed together to buy him a replacement pair, showing that not all common decency is yet lost in Loathing.) Only one sour note was struck - the Champagne that was handed out was reported as having wildly different effects by different drinkers. Some barely grew drunk at all after an entire bottle: others passed out after the slightest taste.
It was not long - a few weeks, maybe - after this, that Don Pygoscelis disappeared entirely. A message was left behind, stating that he was "on holiday": however, on closer inspection, this message proved to have been left by a younger character, yet one using the name - and the distinctive penguin avatar - of Don Pygoscelis.
The truth was revealed when this new character returned from holiday. Dressing up in the same gear, using the same custom avatar, and using the same name, there was however no denying that he was younger. His predecessor's fate was as yet unknown: but, after the way the new Don acted, there can be no further doubt that he was the very first recipient of the new "favours" that were handed out, and the old Don Pygoscelis is now "Sleepin' with the Fishes" permanently.
(It can be deduced, given subsequent events, that what must have happened was the following: that a group of senior Penguins within the Mafia grew displeased with Old Don Pygoscelis's policy of negotiation and trading. Perhaps it was because they longed to return to the old days and crack a few heads: perhaps it was that they believed the Council was still plotting against them (especially after the Time Juice was handed out): or perhaps, most likely, it was that the money supply was running dry, as most people who wanted Villa Documents already had them, and the raffles were selling fewer and fewer tickets, and the Penguin Tax was gone. At any rate, displeased with his policies, they must have "removed" him in traditional Mafia style.)
The difference between Don Pygoscelis I and Don Pygoscelis II became apparent almost immedately: whereas the former had actually set aside his Villa for the use of players who bought their way in, and never intervened, the latter actually visits Villa regularly and talks to the players. However, he never speaks outside Villa - a fact which has not endeared the Villains to the rest of the Citizens of Loathing. And then a new item started being sold in Uncle P's Antiques: the Mafia Protection Contract - quite openly under the agreement that it would "afford its bearer a measure of protection against something the Penguin Mafia will be doing shortly". Many were suspicious: many more bought protection contracts, some on a small scale, some on a large scale. But the richest players of all withdrew into their shells and avoided contact both with Villa and Villans, and indeed with many other players.
What happened next was truly disastrous. The accession of Don Pygoscelis II signified a return to crime in a big way: citizens of Loathing everywhere were kneecapped without any way to fight against it, and their familiars and friends too. The outrage proved all the greater when it became clear that other players were responsible for hiring them - the Penguin Mafia did not even have an agenda of their own. Many of the Kingdom's newest immigrants found themselves smashed up, for no reason other than that they were recent immigrants: players pursued private wars with each other: jackasses with money harassed Mods, Admins and Noobs alike: and the protection contract proved to be worth less than the paper it was written on - since having contracts at all led to being deluged in a positive avalanche of e-paper when the "contract" was fulfilled, many chose to take the beatings rather than have their inboxes so horrendously spammed.
Worst of all, even the inoffensive were hurt: the Penguin Mafia did not respect the convention of the Hippy Stone, and nor did the players that hired them. Even people who believed they had a right to expect that other players could not do harm to them, found themselves smashed up - effectively, by other players: because the Mafia were not working for themselves, but for the player that hired them. To some, it was not much: but to others, it was a serious invasion of personal space, which is a very important concept in a place such as Loathing. The fact that the Admins of the Council were seen as having permitted this to happen - for the Admins have nearly god-like powers - only brought greater hatred for ALL authority.
In effect, overnight the Mafia's quiet, ordely, non-violent empire had changed into a tyranny of Mob Rule by Disorganised Violence and Random Terror. Don Pygoscelis I's "civilized arrangement" was over: the new age of Don Pygoscelis II had begun, the treaty with the Council of Loathing broken: the order of the day was to be violence, rule of the strong, crushing of the weak, treachery, and the positive encouragement of the worst in human nature...
Eventually, the crime wave got so bad that even the normally lethargic Council of Loathing was forced into action. Cynics would say that it was not the constant assaults on the weak, poor, unprotected and recent immigrants - especially those that could not afford Protection Contracts: even the native Old School and Church Of Reset religions suffered horrendously - that stirred them into action (indeed, little sympathy was expressed, even when confronted with the fact that the Admins did have the power to protect people that still had Hippy Stones) but the thought of the Don strutting around his Villa, openly plotting the downfall of the Council and even receiving open verbal support from various human residents of Villa - Villains who were more than happy to benefit from crime if they were the only ones that did. (Not all Villains supported this policy, though: some of them, especially those newest to the place, remembered when they had themselves been n00bs, and retained a disapproval of newbie-smashing.)
By now, the Yetis had almost entirely disappeared from the Icy Peak, but it was to them that the Council turned as a solution. Importation of a new pair of Yetis, followed by a comprehensive captive breeding program, was the proposed solution. For a fully-fit Yeti should have no trouble defeating even a pack of Penguins, and indeed the Penguins would be an adequate food supply: it was only because the remaining Yetis were already weak, that the Penguins had been able to defeat the Yetis even after the wholesale slaughter by adventurers had stopped and the hippies had finished protesting. But, once again, the Council possessed neither the Yetis nor, apparently (and despite all previous donations) the funds to buy them, so they were forced to ask the People for yet more Meat.
The trouble was that this time, donations were harder to come by. There was by now little goodwill towards the Council, even from those that had good reason to hate the Mafia (since there have been, and still remain, allegations that various of the Council were happy to condone the crime wave as long as people didn't complain but just took it and suffered): and the whole Time Juice donation had been a positive embarassment not just to the Council but to the entire principle of donating Meat. Cynics asked just where all the billions had gone, for such little effect - Time Juice proving to be pretty useless in a world where a mere 1 adventure from one bottle is of such little value. Furthermore, a lot of Meat had already disappeared from the kingdom, and targets on the scale of the Cannon or Time Juice were no longer feasible.
The eventual target set was 5 billion, intended to be collected quickly, but donations stalled about halfway - partly because there was little goodwill towards the Council and partly because, once again, the very richest players were not seen to make donations of their own (a fact which has since been covered up by the withdrawal of the Meat Leaderboard), which did not exactly encourage people with tens or hundreds of millions, or even tens or hundreds of thousands, to part with their meat when others were able to keep billions: nobody wants to see somebody that far "ahead" of them - it's a matter of scale.
Faced with this, and faced with an ever-growing crescendo of demands for restitution from those who should by rights not have even been possible targets let alone fair targets for the Mafia, the Council backed down and cut the target. 3 billion was the new target - evidently somebody "accidentally" discovered another 2 billion stashed away, probably left over from the Time Juice fund. The last few hundred millions all appeared in a rush, but nobody knows who donated them since no credit was ever publicly given.
In any case, the Yetis did arrive - and refused to, erm, breed as was expected - this being largely perceived as the fault of the male's lack of interest than the female's. Nobody knows what names the Council will chose for them, but at least one player dubbed the male one "Knott Horny" and the female one "Knott Pretty".
Once again, the Council came up with a mass-donation solution: this time not of Meat, but of Alcoholic Drinks, to try plying the male with alcohol, in an effort to get him drunk enough to be "interested" while remaining sober enough to be still "capable". Since there was a vast amount of surplus Booze in the Kingdom, donations were easier to come by - especially from traders who believed there was now too little Meat and too many Items in the kingdom. Boosted by a massive donation of counterfeit "Roll In The Hay" cocktails from the legendary Bug-Hunter, BoozerBear (who at this time also either sold or ate all his millions of Spectral Pickles - people have been advised not to light matches anywhere near him, just in case), the captive breeding program was a success. A batch of fully-fit, fully-grown Yetis was released on to the Peak shortly afterwards.
It was hoped that Don Pygoscelis II would take the hint, and scale down his war against the Council and People of Loathing by ceasing his Mafia Hits. A secret overture was made to him: it was not yet too late to return to his predecessor's entente cordiale if he began to behave himself, and was prepared to learn that negotiation rather than confrontation was the only way forward. Sadly, he did not possess his predecessor's wisdom: the deal was rejected angrily.
The Council's response was, at best, questionable. The second batch of Yetis, to be sent to the Peak, was paraded through the Town first "on the grounds that we have to be seen to be doing something", for The Masses to come out and cheer at. But a stampede broke out in the Wrong Side of the Tracks, and "Uncle P's Antiques" was stomped to the ground. The Council claim to be very sorry for the accident: but Yetis almost never stampede as a group, and Uncle P's was the only building to suffer any damage at all. One can only conclude that the Council, no less than the Mafia, is willing to use any kind of force to get their way.
And it is now clear that the Penguin Mafia are losing the war - the Yetis are back at the Icy Peak in nearly full strength, the Penguins are down to a third at best, and Don Pygoscelis II is reduced to selling off a comparatively meagre crop of a sixth Mafia wine, in private trade since he now lacks legitimate trading premises. He is still also trying to sell off Villa documents - but has apparently failed to realise that his own Villa is the one place he cannot sell any: everyone who wants one, has one, or they wouldn't be there. And of late he is admitting Humans to his Clan, again for a price - it seems as if he still thinks his main problem is financial. Preaching to the converted, selling to people who do not need his wares, and thinking of a survival problem in financial terms - could he have made worse decisions if he tried? About the only thing he's done right is keep up his wine business.
Questions are already being asked: is this Council now any better than the Mafia? Even now there is talk of "nationalising" the Villa. Those Villains who supported Don Pygoscelis II and dreamed of joining his conquest have been cruelly robbed of their dreams (thankfully): those who remember the "good old days" of Don Pygoscelis I and the Civilized Agreement hope that the Mafia will realise the disaster that their new leader has led them into, and "dispose of" him to elect a new leader who is wiser and less of a firebrand. One who is prepared to negotiate a deal with the Council and keep his business in the town strictly legitimate, and has the sense of honour that Don Pygoscelis I did (criminal that he was).
Because the recent fate of the Penguin Mafia can be seen as a perfect example of what happens when you replace a leader who is prepared to negotiate with his enemies and at least retain a veneer of respectability, with one that has only vague dreams of impossible grandeur and conquest, and no means to bring about the dream but random violence against all including the innocent. The former may succeed, and even earn respect: the latter must inevitably go down in flames, alienating half his friends and only confirming his enemies in their opposition to him. It is not the Council of Loathing that have driven the Penguin Mafia out of town: it is Don Pygoscelis II's own policies that have brought this on them. fin