Ask Sheila!

Sheila loves to answer mail! It gets kind of dull out in the wilds of Nullabor sometimes, and since Bimf doesn't talk much and Beamer's always fixing something, it's a nice change of pace when things are quiet. Here's some of the questions Sheila's been getting from you guys, and answers she gave. Why don't you write her a note, too? I mean, who can resist that smile?


Dear Sheila,

What do you call your planet? And is there an official name, agreed upon? I've always wondered about this. We call ours Earth, which I guess makes sense... is the name of yours Hearthstone?

Yes indeed! I think the origins of the name come from the feeling of this place as our home. Kind of like a phrase you have there, "home and hearth", you know?

How did you get to be so great at throwing a rang? I mean, we've seen photos with you holding a rang as a baby, have you always had a rang in your hand (or in your mouth as in that picture ^^). Or was it something you picked up later?

I've been practicing with the rang since I was old enough to walk, though (as in that picture) I was given one as a toy when I was a baby. Formal practice started when I was three revs old...of course they didn't go very far back then, but we all have to start somewhere! By the time I was eight, though, I was throwing like a pro!

Is throwing rangs as a form of weaponry normal, or something special on Nullabor?

Special, actually. My aunt told me that the family designed it as a special weapon back before the Elapines came from the East. A couple of other families have picked it up, too, but we're the only ones that make any major use of it.

Do you have a short unit of time like a 'second'?

Yep! It's called a "tick". It's based on a typical heartbeat.

Hope you'll get to answer these questions, and that Holding isn't too busy to translate them. Thanks again, from a fan.

My pleasure! :)


hello, Sheila

i'm just a random fan whos begun a big journey of my own, fighting through wars and battles in many worlds, as many things. just a few things on my mind though...

A) have you ever heard, or seen a dragon like creature...firebreathing or otherwise (the list goes on, with things like lightning, acid, poison gas, some gasses that can do various things like paralysis or sleep inducing)

Hmm, we do have creatures like that in some of our stories, but they're considered legends, not real creatures. I dunno though...Eidolon says maybe the K'rek'skran could take forms like that, and that's where the stories came from.

B) have you ever met a Sk'lan that wasnt trying to kill you, but was more like trying to be a little friendly?

Well, I've only met one Sk'lan in person, the one who had turned himself into an Elapine in Range Patrol #5. But some of us, like Captain Charlock, have met more, and of course Beamer lived with them for a long time. Based on what they say, they've never met any friendly Sk'lan, ever. It seems so hard to believe. I understand they used to be a very friendly people. I have no idea what happened to them, but JP tells me we'll find out something by the end of the Cartel cycle of stories. I guess we'll see.


Hey Sheila! Just want to say that I really like reading about your adventures in Hearthstone... but I have a few questions...

1. Are Av'nen capable of happiness? :P

Maybe not! Eidolon tells me that the first reason his people were targeted for genocide was that some wicked king from our medieval era didn't like that the Av'nen never laughed at the jokes he made in his public appearances. There was a lot more to it than that, of course, but they were by nature a "people most dour," as Eidolon likes to say.

I don't remember it myself, but my aunt used to tell me that Eidolon did smile a couple of times...once, when he held me as a baby (you'll see this as a "flashback" in Range Patrol #2!), and then one time when I was about six revolutions old and I gave him a big hug.

2. What species is Cameron Derrick?

Oh, him? He's an Allethene. JP did a sketch of him (without the mask!) I'll attach to this message .

3. Are there any other species on Hearthstone besides those listed in the Almanac?

Oh, yes! There are a few dozen more but JP will only add them in as they appear in the Annals or else as he has time to put up pics of them.

4. What's the difference between a male Drovine and a male Allethene?

They do look a little alike, don't they? Yeah, but there's a couple ways to tell the difference. One is that Drovines are ALWAYS white or grey. You don't see Allethenes come in white unless they're albino, and they're grey only when they get real old, if at all. For another, the Drovines mainly live in one part of the East and you seldom see them outside of that area. They would definitely not live here in Nullabor because they sunburn easily! Last, they have a distinctive accent that Allethenes can't reproduce. But that may not be much help to you, huh? :-)


What does 'harebrained' mean in your language? ROTFL

Ha ha! I don't get it? ;-)


I was just wondering, do you have an equivalent of the Bible in your world?

Hmm, if you mean a normative collection of public, sacred books that is considered inspired by God, yes. We call them the Oracles. There's also some oral traditions. You know Eidolon? He says that he has been "prophet and priest to many peoples and nations". I think he has a collection of stuff that he's said over the years, and he travels around to different places talking about it. I'm not sure who all he talks to -- I know I've seen him talking to different people just, like, at random on the street; but sometimes he says stuff which sounds like he's got an "in" with some of our rulers. He once mentioned something about, "The King of the Prycenes told me" this and that. Wow, he's in with THAT guy? I dunno. We also have books about religion and stuff written by our scholars. Brett Ketterling has a whole collection of them he's having sent over from the East once he and Annabelle get settled.


I've a couple questions actually.

First, what are the racial characteristics of the av'nen (or should I say what were).

Hmm, let's see -- other than what I said before about being dour, the Av'nen from what I can tell were characterized by short, rounded snouts; longish tails, and their eyes were always either green or blue and didn't look like they had an iris. It's also said that their coats were sort of different -- a bit more like feathers than like hair, but it's hard to tell that from pictures, I guess.

Second, what race is that annoying brown door-keeper thing in the first Shrike story? The one that ended up with a fruit stuffed in his mouth.

Let me check....OK. He's an Allethene, but not very well kempt. :-D

Third, how do tie your ears back 1) without hurting, 2) without them sticking up looking like stupid little horns and 3) while still being able to hear?

I'll tell you, but I don't recommend you try it with your ears! Elapine ears naturally lay flat so it doesn't hurt us at all; and actually, it's easier to keep them down than up! Most Elapines are so active and happy that they keep their ears straight up out of habit, but you'll see (especially in Range Patrol #2, "Invasion Praxis") that some of us keep our ears a little bent when we're not thinking about it or are relaxed, and that when we sleep, they're flat on our heads. We naturally hear well already with them down; perking them up makes us hear even better, sort of like cupping your hand around one of your ears.


Aaww, Beamer is so cute when he's asleep....

He is, isn't he? The little rascal... :-)

What's the resurrection that you mentioned he could sleep through?

Well, many of us on Hearthstone, including me, believe that at the end of our world all the people who ever lived will be resurrected into new bodies. It's a lot like what some religions in your world believe: mainly what you call Christians, but also Jewish people and some others. If you have any questions about how that works, our "dad" JP can answer them.


Hi Sheila, I am a huge fan of yours; you are definitely on my top ten lists of favorite cartoon characters.

Oh, WOW! That is so cool! Thank you so much!

I do have some questions, which have been bothering me for a while.

Question number one:

This is a tilkrieg issue, referring to page http://www.tektoonics.com/intro/rangtoon1/rangtoon1-18.html

Do tilkrieg just suddenly jump onto people like that? Is it their way of saying hi (or being friendly) to the bigger species? In short, what is the social conduct for tilkrieg shoulder perching behavior?

Good question! Actually, YES, it is their way of being friendly! As Eidolon explained on the history page, the Tilkrig were very important to our world's history because they teamed up with the Prycenes to restore order at a very difficult time. Since then, we've all viewed them with a kind of friendly affection and it's generally assumed that unless someone says or indicates otherwise, a Tilkrig is welcome to hop on up, though some people (like Brom Shriker did in his second comic) will kneel or sit down to talk to them instead.

In different parts of the world some of our people have developed informal signals (like crossing their arms) that say, "No, don't perch on me now." The Tilkrig watch for these signs and respect them. But yes, it's really a lot like their way of shaking hands, and most people consider it an honor to have one want to sit on your shoulder!

That's not to say that they're all that friendly. You can see that Tyra over in the Shrike Team comic isn't like that. She takes herself way too seriously! You can see too that she doesn't go around on all fours much -- which as JP said, is another measure of how seriously a Tilkrig takes him or herself!

How much do a tilkrieg weigh? 25-30 teracin?

More like 20-25 is normal. Beamer weighed in at 18 last time he had his physical, but we're always telling him he needs to eat more!

I don't know if this is any of your business, but referring to http://www.tektoonics.com/intro/rangtoon2/rangtoon2007.html I don't understand this. Is Beamer a kleptomaniac? Why was he so shocked by you?

Beamer a klepto?!? Nah...I think he just likes me, so he keeps "borrowing" my photo album! And I usually find him so engrossed in it that it's easy to walk up and surprise him.

What happened between http://www.tektoonics.com/intro/rangtoon1/rangtoon1-1.html and http://www.tektoonics.com/intro/rangtoon1/rangtoon1-2.html

Did Holding forget your hairstyle, or did you tie up your hair between the frames?

Oh, the ponytail is behind me on page 1 -- you just can't see it behind my back.

Well that is about it, hope it wasn't to many questions, if it is then just answer as many as you like!

Not at all! I'm happy to answer them. You take care now, and write anytime!