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"Ahhh.... I tell you Whip, I love Summer Break. No classes, no homework, no obligations... just relaxing and enjoying the weather. There's really nothing like kicking back and having some spare time. ...I sure hope it's coming soon. When do you think they'll notice our bathroom break hasn't ended?"

- Mace to Whip as they lounge about on the beach.

The Prankster Orphans

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The very first Prelude webcomic strip, featuring Mace and Whip.

Mace and Whip are a pair of energetic and rambunctious orphans and pranksters who reside in a crude, makeshift orphanage on the Margate District coastline. Mace is portrayed as a short feline with a knack for inventing pranks. Whip is his best friend who is portrayed as a tiny, bunny-like creature with a long tail, incoherent speech and nubs for hands. Together, Mace sees himself and Whip as brothers and they concoct many pranks and schemes against their caretaker.

The orphanage they live in is a multi-level fishing dock, complete with a docked sailing vessel. The dock is owned and maintained by a lazy and dull-minded drunk by the name of Grunn, portrayed as a chunky, maroon shark.

There are other orphans who live at the orphanage as well: Gorse, a pudgy young boy with an enthusiastic imagination. Narp, a pessimist who despises chaos and loves to keep things tidy. Krin is a newcomer who is easily surprised by the orphanage's everyday life; he spends alot of his time with Deral, who helps to keep himself and Krin out of trouble. The Konkord Twins are growth-impaired runts who try their best to stay clear of Grunn (A.K.A. the Child Stomper) and tend to be sarcastic when stuff hits the fan.

Viriathus is one of the older orphans and is the only female on the dock; she handles much of the dock's needed repairs and clings to a unreachable dream to become a fashion designer; with a quick temper, it is best not to needlessly provoke her. Robert "Bobby" Frederick is the oldest of the orphans. Seeing himself as the "big brother" for the rest of the orphans, he tries to succeed where Grunn fails. However, with him already with a life of his own outside of the orphanage, he finds it difficult to keep coming back to the orphanage to check up on the children.

Arc #1 (Pg. 1 - 31)

"Sometimes we're so much smarter than everyone else, it makes me wonder."

- Mace to Whip as they lay in a temporary hammock.

The first arc of the webcomic and for Mace and Whip starts with the two orphans lounging about on the beach. Mace goes on about how he enjoys summer break and why. He also comments on hoping that summer break would come soon. They were clearly skipping out of school and their chores, as well.

Because of this neglegence, the Konkord Twins are forced to clean the floors, which is Mace and Whip's duty. When Bobby arrives to offer his assistance, the Konkords run off to track Mace and Whip down. Soon, they are discovered fooling around under the dock, but Mace and Whip swim out to deeper waters where the pint-sized Konkords could not follow. But, they are then caught by Grunn and tied to the mast of his ship as punishment.

As the day goes on, a pair of agents from Child Services arrive and see the boys tied to the mast. Grunn is then forced to endure an angry rant by the agents, but he simply shrugs it off.

Later, the Konkord Twins attempt to feed Mace with apples, but they can't reach him, so they throw them at his face to no avail. Whip is able to catch them with his mouth easily, though. After they leave, Bobby arrives to check on them. Mace tries to plead with Bobby to let them go as a favor, but Bobby claims he just got done with Mace's chores and to "enjoy the favor".

Night comes and the boys are forced to withstand freezing winds. With nothing better to do, they start coming up with ideas on how to haunt Grunn if they die during the night. Offended that Mace didn't like his ideas, Whip uses his tail to slap a helpless Mace around, while a distressed Grunn struggles to go to sleep in his office nearby. Moments later, Whip gets the urge to use the bathroom and after some wiggling, he slips out of the ropes and runs to relieve himself, leaving Mace alone. When Whip returns, Mace had slid down the mast to the deck of the ship, still bound in the ropes. Still mad at Mace, Whip offers some demands in exchange for helping him get free.

After Mace finally gets free, he and Whip proceed to the orphan's tent, but they see a blinking light coming from within. Believing it to be pirates, the boys arm themselves with knives and sneak into the tent. The source of the light is coming from Bobby, who is generating it with his Power as a means of mulling on thoughts.

Leaving their weapons piled on the floor, Mace and Whip trundle to their bunk, vowing revenge on Grunn as they fall asleep.

Arc #3 (Pg. 76 - 179)

"I'll settle for less - about 400 pounds less!"

- Mace after getting tossed into the ocean with Whip by Grunn.

Mace and Whip's next arc focuses on their master plan to get revenge on Grunn after the fiasco from the previous day.

The arc begins with Mace and Whip trying to learn everything they can about catapults, so they can send Grunn flying into the ocean. When their experimentation with the school seesaw goes awry due to a troublesome schoolmate, the orphans decide to return home. They try to get to guilt their way into getting a free ride on a watercar, but the driver wouldn't have it.

After returning home on foot, Mace and Whip decide to don disguises in order to bypass Grunn, who is still unaware that they escaped their bonds on the ship. Though, unaware to Mace and Whip, Grunn was sound asleep on the beach. They travel along the beach until they come across a wrecked ship and decide to explore it. After befriending a green crab, who they mistook for a ghost, Mace finds an old colonial-style sailing uniform. Returning to the beach, Mace throws the outfit on and tells Whip to get inside it. Whip complies, but it's too stuffy for him to stay in it. Bobby and a girl arrive to oversee the display from afar, to which Bobby annoyingly asks if they could go somewhere else. Seeing that a disguise would needed for Whip, Mace spots an area full of natural clay and concocts a plan for Whip.

Meanwhile, back at the orphanage, Grunn is awake and barges into the mess hall to see if the food was ready. Narp hastily answers as he stirs the pot of slop, complaining that Mace was supposed to make the food. Realizing what he had done, Grunn runs to his ship to check on Mace and Whip. When he sees that they had escaped, he is relieved that they had not starved, but declares he would buy chains when he goes inland.

As the Konkords are fishing on the dock walkway, they see Mace and Whip coming. Not sure if it was really them, one of the Konkords runs to check with Narp to see if the food was ready as confirmation. The two orphans arrive and give their rehearsed speech to their suspecting friends. The plan utterly fails, however, as Mace and Whip are exposed. Mace then tells the other orphans that he was going to reveal their plan on the north shore, but the orphans instantly turn the offer down.

(To Be Continued)

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