PeteWi the Disoriented

It was a hot and sultry night and I had that familiar hunger bordering on that of a yearning. I felt a great need for some tail, but alas, I was alone, shrouded in the darkness of my room. Nearly overwhelmed with the desire, I dressed and stepped outside to see who might be available to help me in my hour of need. Blake is certainly a man who knows a thing or two about obtaining some tail, but his lights were off and no one was home. The rapscallion was most likely off on his own tail adventure and had neglected to invite me along.

It had been quite some time since I’ve tasted the succulent flesh and the hunger was real. As I counted my coins and pondered where I could satiate my desires, it struck me. The lawless desert holds many treasures and would make an excellent hunting ground. It would be risky, even a dash dangerous, but I knew this is where the trail would lead me. I loaded up supplies and set off.

As soon as I entered, I knew I was in the right place. I could see the object of my desires walking along the silky golden sand, their bodies gleaming in the sun. I spied an amiable group congregating together and approached with caution, ready to engage in business should the situation warrant.

But almost immediately, the situation turned ugly. As soon as they saw me, I was swarmed. In turn, each leapt upon me, wrestling me to the ground tearing at my armor with reckless abandon. I mounted a campaign to regain the upper hand, but was overpowered repeatedly. More than once I was flat on my back, exposed to their advances. The threesome had their way with me, a burning sensation coursing through my body.

Amidst the shrieks and confusion, I managed to throw myself down the embankment, a technique I have practiced at great length. To wit, I unsheathed my hearty weapon and held it at the ready with both hands, awaiting their next foray.

“The tail is mine!” I declared and lunged at the first Corpion that came in for more. Separated from his comrades, he was no match for my plunges and I crushed through his protective shell to render him immobile. I turned on the other two, skewering one as nature intended while toying and teasing with the second until he attempted an escape by skulking away. He wouldn’t get off so easily. I came for Corpion tail, and I wasn’t going to stop until I got some. And a lot of it! I was going to dine on tail until I collapsed from exhaustion.

With this first trio handled, my sword was ready and I wasn’t yet willing to put it away. I roamed the countryside looking to add more to my quarry. They were in great supply, each putting up a struggle, but ultimately succumbing to my will.

When I was satiated, I returned home to prepare my catch. I am an expert meat handler and I follow a strict set of rules, a ritual if you will, for the correct preparation of my meat.

It may be bravado, perhaps bragging, but as each piece hits the table, I feel compelled to measure the length and girth of it. I may not have the biggest in the Hollow, but I will challenge any who say I have the smallest.

Next, I take great care to stroke and tenderly rub each piece with lemon and a secret blend of seasonings. I work across the full length of it, from tip to base, working until there is a high sheen and I feel satisfied that it’s ready.

Finally, I turn up the heat until the juices come to dripping. When the timing is right, the meat will swell and be at it’s peak bringing forth a flavor explosion in your mouth. It will be so good, you’ll want to cry out in sheer joy. It might even bring a tear to your eye.

Once each piece is grilled to perfection it’s time to sit down to a feast of tail that I’m sure would make many blush. With the amount I’ve procured, I even have enough to store and keep me fortified the next time I stray from home in search of treasure and zombie flesh.

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Oh yes, there you are my little darling. You have exactly what I need.

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I can hardly contain my excitement! Just you wait till I get you home!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

My dreams of becoming a lighthouse keeper were shattered by my failure to pass the required lighthouse keeper examination, one I feel to be riddled with inaccuracies and false information. I refuse to acknowledge that the primary function of a lighthouse is for something other than aerial hot tub diving and a rooftop location for the consumption of libations. The lighthouse board tried to convince me it was related to the movement of freight. How preposterous, a lighthouse can’t move!

These misguided beliefs have forced me to file a stern grievance and to put forth a demand for a full refund related to the course materials that aren’t even useful for reading in the outhouse.

It was a stinging setback and took several hours of recovery at the tavern to realize my aspirations stood right before me. Thus, I have turned my attention to the noble profession of the inn keeper. I am intimately familiar with the ale distribution side of the business and there are no trifling edicts and dictates over their function or sanitation. So, I have begun construction of my very own lodgings.

It’s a shame that reliable, cheap and indeed sober construction labor is in short supply in this realm. Based on my previous construction projects, I sought to hire only the best and most skilled. With those lads unavailable and the prison system no longer sanctioning the use of inmates for work release, I felt the charitable thing was to let the Thugs have an opportunity to change their wicked ways and earn an honest living.

My trespass into their camp was met with the usual insults and threats of violence. It was necessary to incinerate the first few naysayers until I could instill calm and have them consider my proposal. I admit, this was done with my boot to the back of their leader’s neck, but hard times call for hard measures.

They seemed eager to forego stabbing adventurers in the back with their halberds in the hopes of eking out a few coins and took up the cause to construct an inn worthy of the town. We went over the plans of my grand vision multiple times and when the goal was firmly understood, they set to work.

The cornerstone was positioned in a prime location with a scenic view, easy access to local services and shaded by some old growth trees. After completion I will add touches of style and panache with the inclusion of a fence, plant decorations and the construction of a splendid tavern on the first level.

The troop worked to erect the edifice in record time, but some corners were shaved and some liberties taken with my design and layout, giving rise to alterations I’m not sure I agree with.

While I admire the robust aroma of wood, I feel the lashings of green trim and frilly dragon spine styled adornments are not quite to my fancy. These came at the behest of the foreman they call Gunther, a tall, strapping man, who sees fit to walk around in furs he’s stripped off the local wildlife and swings an oversized mallet with reckless abandon.

When questioned on these finer detail changes, he simply replied, “You will like.” Due to his tone and emphasizing his points with liberal use of the mallet, it seemed more of a command than question. In the end, he convinced me it was a minor detail and it was best to simply move on. I felt compelled to agree.

I also feel he possessed too much zest in regards to the number of floors and rooms. I felt two floors were more than adequate for an establishment of this kind. Gunther disagreed. Each time I brought up the topic, he would bellow, “The bigger the inn, the closer to Valhalla!”

I’m not familiar with Valhalla’s location, so the comparison was lost on me. Perhaps this is how construction is done in the northern part of the realm.

Nevertheless, the construction has been completed and without further means of employ, I had to  return the Thugs to the forest where they are no doubt making ready for some sort of late night raid. I encouraged Gunther to visit Braemar and to specifically seek out Halmar. He is always looking for someone to help with odd jobs.

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Now see here. Who’s responsible for all this frilly green nonsense? And for the love of moderation, who thought it would be a good idea to make is so blasted tall? I was going to charge outragous rates and pocket the spoils. Now I will have to charge outrageous rates just to recoup my expenditures.

I do like that smell of wood though…

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Oh no! There is fungus among us! I wonder if the green mushroom takes like lime. Let’s go find out.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

With my abject failure as a courier for Anton, who was none too pleased when I returned to explain the loss of the horse, destruction of the cart and confiscation of the merchandise which lead to his subsequent chasing me out of town, I decided perhaps a calmer and more carefree occupation would be more to my liking. While out along the shores of Novia, contemplating my future endeavors, I spied Elad’s lighthouse in the distance and was struck with an idea.

My mind returned to my previous visit with him and the sound of the oceans waves crashing in steady rhythms against the rocks. The song of the gulls as they glided effortlessly overhead. The smell of the salt air and the gentle breeze across my face.

I blotted out the savage thrashing I took the last time Elad and I played chess and decided to pay him a call. Perhaps this part of the seafaring life was more my style and Elad could instruct me in the ways of the tranquil and stoic life of the keeper.

He greeted my warmly, but took great pride in reminding me of my deficiencies in the grand game of chess. Despite his commentary, I think my skills rank slightly higher than a stableboy.

Getting to the point, I sat with Elad over a cup of tea which I initially mistook for chowder.

“So tell me Elad, how is the life of a lighthouse keeper? How do you find yourself in this conundrum we call life?”

“Oh, it is a grand thing,” he said with a smile. “I take great satisfaction in keeping the harbor safe, even though there aren’t that many ships that come into port these days.”

“How many ships do you watch over?” I asked trying to get a sense of the weighty responsibility.

He pondered. “Haven’t seen a ship in years,” he said at last. “But no matter. The light will be on when they need it.”

“I see, so what are the duties of a keeper?” I inquired.

“They are few, but very important indeed,” he said with a tone of seriousness. “Keeping the light on is pivotal! Never let the light go out, regardless of the weather, regardless how rickety the stairs are, regardless of how much ale you’ve had after mistaking it for your herbal remedies.”

“Yes, I am all to familiar with that last one,” I chuckled. “So, how else do you occupy your time?”

“There are always little repairs to be done. I have to make sure all my supplies are well stocked. I fish from the dock. I wander the beach aimlessly on a regular basis. I have a wonderful shell and bottle collection going. Oh, and there is always my secret little pleasure.”

“Do I dare ask what that is?” I said with hesitancy.

“Are you sure you won’t tell on me?” he said with a giggle.

“I’m quite sure I will never discuss this conversation with anyone.”

“Well, from time to time, I’ve been known to go to the top of the lighthouse,” he began to snicker. “And when I know there aren’t any ships, which is all the time, and when I’m sure no one is looking, which is all the time,” again he giggled in a childish manner. “I stand in front of the light,” he had to stop his laughter with a covered hand. “And make shadow animals with my hands in the glow of the light.” He could contain himself no longer and burst into wild laughter.

“I’ll make an alligator and pretend to eat a neighboring house.” He mimed the gesture for my benefit. “Or I might make a rabbit that has amorous desires on a castle.” Again, he gestured with his hands and was beside himself with laughter, to the point of doubling over. “And every now and again, I make a wildly rude hand gesture to the entire town, just to see if they’re paying attention!” At this, he fell out of his chair. No explanatory gesture was needed.

“Well, that does indeed sound rather splendid,” I said watching Elad writhe on the floor. “How does one go about being a lighthouse keeper? Do you find an old one and move in? Do you build one yourself and set up shop? Do we arm wrestle for control of the area?”

After several minutes, Elad finally lifted himself from the floor, wiped away the tears of joy and returned to his chair. “Oh no, my dear fellow. You can’t just set up a lighthouse yourself. There are rules and regulations. You need to apply to the lighthouse conclave, prove your knowledge of lighthouse workings and lore, get issued a certificate of completion and then you get assigned to a lighthouse.”

“There’s a certificate?” I asked excitedly. “I love certificates! Where do I apply? What do I need to study? Point me in the right direction oh wise sage!”

Elad handed me a parchment where I could send for course materials. “Fancy a game of chess before you go?” he asked as I stood to take my leave. “You play like a stableboy, but it’s better than going upstairs and playing with myself.”

“I’m afraid I must decline,” I replied. “I suffered a debilitating chess related injury and severe emotional trauma shortly after we played and was forced to give up the game.”

“Well, that’s too bad. But with your opening moves, I’m not surprised.”

Despite the jibe, I thanked him kindly, finished the tea-chowder and excitedly sent off a message via the town crier. A new vocation was at hand and I was anxious to get started.

As I strode down the dock, I heard a giggling Elad whisking up the stairs to the main light, his hands wringing in anticipation.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

“Egads man! What are you doing? You have no idea where that finger has been!” I shouted.

“Just as I suspected!” he crooned. “A salt smuggler!”

“A what?” I questioned.

“You are a no good salt smuggler!” he said with a sneer.

“A salt smuggler? What the blazes are you talking about?” I asked.

“This right here!” he said, letting the grains fall through his fingers. “Oh, we’ve seen plenty of people like you, but you aren’t bringing this into our city. Not on your life.”

“It’s salt?” I asked.

“Indeed it is. Like you didn’t know.”

“Very well, I’m sure we can sweep it back up and sift out the chunky bits. It might not be the best course of action, but we could dress it up with a bit of flour and hope the recipient is none the wiser.”

“We will do no such thing!” the guard bellowed. “You will most certainly be coming with us, and this filth will definitely be confiscated.” He looked far too triumphant.

“Confiscated? I highly disagree. If you take the possessions I am entrusted with, without paying coins or at the very least, bartering for them, I call that thievery!” I emphasized my words with a great deal of finger pointing.

“Are you calling me a thief?” he barked at me.

“If you take my goods without proper compensation I am.”

“Salt is a controlled substance and you are breaking the law by bringing it in here!” the guard snapped back at me.

“Controlled substance? Breaking the law? It’s salt you complete imbecile! It’s one of the most abundant minerals in the realm! The recipient probably has a robust stock of venison or swine to cure.”

“Shows how much you know,” he said smugly. “Due to it’s debilitating health hazards, the governor’s wife has banned it from town. It isn’t to be imported and you have been caught, ‘en flagrante delicto’, as they say.”

“What? Who says such a thing?” I retorted. “This is both outrageous and foolish! It’s salt! It’s not like I’ve looted The Epitaph and am trying to sell ancient antiquities!”

“Nobody cares about that sort of thing,” he commented.

“Oh? Really? Good to know. I will keep that in mind,” I said making a mental note. “Very well, what is the fine so I can pay and be on my way! This is my first commission and you are jeopardizing my future employment!” I reached for my meager bag of coins.

“The penalty is execution,” he stated.

“Execution? Holy Halmar’s teeth! That seems a bit steep!” I protested.

He pondered. “Execution of jail time,” he corrected.

“While that is better,” I agreed, “I still can’t comply. This foolishness with the salt simply doesn’t hold suet with me. Further, you owe me a new horse. Look what you’ve done.” I pointed at the horse still lying in the street wondering what it had done to deserve such ill treatment.

The guard disregarded my protest, produced his manacles and attempted to clap me in irons. I showed my own protestation with steel and knocked him back. Through quick thinking, I jumped to the cart, from there to the crates and made a desperate leap to the city gates.

Realizing a guard with a savage looking Pike was on duty whose attention had been drawn by the commotion, I changed my plan mid-stride and made my way to the market square. Within a suitable alley or hiding spot I could figure out who ordered this contraband salt and perhaps seek sanctuary.

Regrettably, upon hearing my approach and call of the guards, the Fishmonger, turned to see the nature of the disturbance. The large fish or sea monster he was carrying, pivoted wildly and collected me in the face, it’s vicious scales inflicting terrible wounds.

The good news is, the city water well broke my fall. The bad news is, the salt stash was ultimately confiscated and thrown in the river, a levy has been placed against me for a broken well bucket, for poisoning the water supply, for public bathing in an improper vessel, for destruction of one large fish, for the willful endangerment of a horse that did not belong to me, and for the transportation and disbursement of salt. This last charge lead to an attempted poisoning charge and a strongly worded and rather embarrassing scolding by the governor’s wife. Her slap to my fishmonger abused face is not something I will soon forget.

The salt charges were ultimately dropped due to the fact I was merely the transporter and because of my counter-claim regarding horse abuse at the hands of the guard. They did press hard to get the name of the salt grinder, but I felt it best to keep quiet about such matters. Anton is quite handy with the hook and I will have enough problems explaining how I lost a shipment on my first cargo run. I’m quite sure I’m unemployed again.

fini

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

The journey was fraught with perils. I was set upon by a league of bandits, all of which ultimately regretted their decision to impede my progress. There was an onslaught of rain that nearly tipped the caravan into a precipice. And my lack of animal husbandry led to the horse eating some sort of wild weed that produced toxic expulsion that nearly incapacitated the both of us.

But I reached my destination only to find a new set of difficulties at the city gates.

“What have you to declare?” the guard asked as I pulled up and asked for admittance.

“I don’t believe I have anything to declare,” I replied. “I’m not really one to go from town to town making wild declarations. I have a few requests and some opinions I’m willing to offer, but they are far from declarations.”

“What in the name of the Oracle are you talking about?” he replied.

“I’m not sure. What was the question again?”

“What do you have to declare?”

“Oh yes, terribly sorry. Good evening!” I declared.

“Are you trying to be funny?” the guard asked eyeing me.

“No, I was merely trying to be polite. And declarative, like you asked.”

“Get down from there!” he bellowed urging me out of the cart. “What’s in these crates?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know,” I replied.

“Eh? Then who are they for?”

“Afraid I don’t know that either,” I replied again.

“Now look here,” he began. “You’re transporting crates, whose contents you don’t know, to a person you don’t know?”

“Well, yes, that’s the way this sort of business of works,” I replied after reviewing the facts.

“And what sort of business is that? If I might ask.”

I pondered. “Well, the crate delivery business I suppose.”

“This is all very suspicious,” he began. “We’re going to have to open this crate to check it’s contents.”

“Check it for what?” I asked.

“For things you shouldn’t have,” he replied dryly.

“I have a few things I don’t want, but I don’t have anything I shouldn’t have,” I replied.

“Get out of the way,” the guard said trying to bully his way past me.

“Oh, steady now. I can’t let you open these crates. I was given express instructions and I gave my word to follow them. Threaten me if you like, but no peeking in the crates.”

“I’ve had about enough of this,” the guard bellowed and made a lunge for the cart, his sword drawn to strike the crate or me, whichever came first. I countered his attack and sent him reeling to the ground. This not only raised his ire, but also the alarm. I silenced him with a savage knock to the head, but the call had gone out.

With my cat like reflexes, I flipped the lever for the gate, mounted the cart and dashed my way through. My bold plan to lose the guards in the alleyways was cut short when a brute of a guard appeared in front of the cart and punched my equestrian companion square in the mouth. The horse dropped to the street like a sack of potatoes. The cart upended and I was sent head over heels.

I jumped up and ran to the ruffian that caused the upheaval.

“Who in the blazes are you?” I demanded. “You may have killed my horse! Well, not mine exactly, but the real owner will be quite distressed. Who punches a horse? What are you some sort of wild animal?”

He thrashed me in a similar manner and my knees gave way. I then heard the crash and splintering of wood amidst the ringing in my ears and saw the crates thrown off the cart and into the street. It was soon covered with a heavy white patch of granules. The guard wet his finger, dipped it in and gave it a taste.

To Be Continued …

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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