At first, there was a great darkness. This was followed by a mighty wind. When I realized it was merely the bowl of mutton I had for lunch, I picked myself up and got out of the middle of the street. But it was through my blurry eyes and turned up nose that I realized, Braemar was bare. The people, the houses, the gaudy decorations, all gone. It was as though some great and terrible apocalypse had come through. Some sort of end time prophecy had come true. Then I remembered that note I found attached to my door explaining the need for urban renewal, that all homeowners would be uprooted, all decorations would be scraped off and all crafting tables returned their upright positions. There was an apology for the inconvenience, so that was nice.

“So, Braemar is really a forest, eh?” I remember saying to no one in particular, because there was no one in particular there. “At least the pub is still standing!” And with that, I set my compass toward it.

But then came a shocking discovery. This was not my beautiful pub! This was not me beautiful Braemar! In all the confusion I had been uprooted and placed elsewhere. I should have known something was amiss by all those refugees camped on the outskirts of town; sitting around their cozy campfires with their fashionable tents and all that damn gypsy music playing! Where the hell is my plot of land?!?!

It came to my attention from the local constabulary that I was in Soltown. How I got here remains a bit of a mystery, but for now, I’m going to conclude that the last mug of ale I had sent me off in the wrong direction. But no matter, Braemar is to the south!

As I made my exit, there was talk of some new adventure and a sporty hat to be collected. It certainly had my interest, but without a home to call my own, I would be nothing! I would be another sword carrying, armor clad hooligan, looking for a quest to call my own. I needed roots!

I don’t remember Braemar being quite so far away. I don’t remember how far I walked or in which direction since there are many winding roads between here and there, but I finally made it to familiar ground. Well sort of familiar. Braemar too was empty. The streets were empty, except for good old reliable Jack. There he was, turning on the lights, keeping the streets safe, mumbling incoherently about who only knows what and looking surprised whenever I said hello.

But there was good news! My plot of land was ready and waiting for me. I claimed it and leveled all the trees that stood in the way of me having a good time. Since time was of the essence and there was a hat to retrieve, I put up a small, simple structure that would serve my needs until I could put together something more grand.

And with that, I plodded my way back to Soltown. But I didn’t remain there long. I was sent in search of the Master of Hats, some mysterious figure in Solania. That was an easy walk through the swamp and down to the docks. I misplaced the man I was to meet until I remembered he worked out of the top of the crafting shop. Silly me.

Turns out the Master of Hats also goes by the name Chris Spears, which confuses me greatly. For if Chris Spears if the Master of Hats, then who pray tell is the Gangster of Boats? I guess I will have to keep looking.

But there is upheaval in the garment making industry and the Master of Hats needed material in order to make my new chapeau. “Oh sure, tell me what you need and I will be happy to get it for you,” I said trying to be helpful. I merely needed to bring back some animals hides and some cotton. “What could be easier!” I said as I strolled off. Little did I know how I would regret those words.

Feeling rather emboldened, I made the trek back to Braemar to get some junk out of my trunk – I really should have planned my outings better. I found my helm, sword and boots and made ready with the chop chop. A wolf won’t let you simply borrow his pelt, so more permanent measures must be employed. My destination was South Valeway which has been a good hunting ground for me in the past.

But not today. Not only was I utterly incapable of gathering up cotton (when I actually found bushes that hadn’t been picked clean), I was incapable of defending myself against the marauding wolves. Even when using the correct pointy end of my sword against them, I found myself throwing my hands in the air and fleeing for my meager life. Maybe I’m holding it wrong?

After many unsuccessful attempts and several near death experiences, I decided to employ some tactics. My goal was to use the art of stealth, cunning, deception and trickery. When all that failed, I decided it was time to lure the wily devils out into the open one at a time using some chickens I borrowed from Braemar and then clonk them over the head with a rock. Not an elegant solution, but I wanted my hat so desperate times call for desperate measures.

It was then time to find the big bundle of cotton I needed. This proved more elusive and more dangerous than the animal hides. Spiders don’t normally cause me alarm, but after nearly being envenomated to death on multiple occasions, I thought three, even four times before stepping into a bush to look for cotton for fear the fuzzy little devils would wrestle me to the ground and cover me in their green poison. I even tried to use the cover of darkness to hide my approach, but alas, it was no good and they found me out each and every time. I suspect it was the torch I was carrying that gave me away.

You would think with all of my wild flailing and reckless swinging that dumb luck would allow to me to hit them with greater frequency than I was. But alas, lady luck is on vacation or is at the very least not accepting my invitations for dinner.

But finally, after multiple tries, several days and many trips to the alchemist for a salve to stop the burning sensation in a key appendage, I managed to make my way back to the Master of Hats and claim my prize. A great victory indeed and it looks quite stylish if I do say so myself.

 

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I did get a tiny bit sidetracked as I took in some of the sights around the land. That glowing orb of light is hypnotic.

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The life of the adventurer can take you away from home for months on end while you battle the forces of darkness and help those in need. I need a humble dwelling to call my own for now. A place where I can gather my thoughts and rest before setting off again. This will do quite nicely and the palm trees will afford me some nice shades and the rustle of the fronds will be quite soothing.

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It took me several days to complete and I found myself in some rather unflattering positions and nearly died of poison and mauling a couple of times, but this hat looks damn good on me and was well worth the effort!

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You are a tricky man to find Mr. Master of Hats, although you have made some fine accoutrements these past few months so I must compliment you on your work. All except for that pink hat, but we’ll get to that another time. Since you’re here and most likely have a few threads left over from all the cotton I brought you, perhaps you can spare a moment for a fitting of this cloak? Perhaps a slightly angled cut that is a touch more flattering to my form?

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I took a few hard knocks out there. I’m going to need a moment to pause, reflect and gather my thoughts. I have to admit, I do enjoy the peace and solitude of Braemar these days. I do need to fix that latch though.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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