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If you remember from earlier we’re following the story of the hobbit Lulzy. She’s my dual class Minstrel / Clotheshorse and she’s stuck in the Human town of Archet. Brigands surround the place, threatening to attack. She was led to Archet by Amdir the Ranger. Amdir is to the Rangers what Aquaman is to the Justice League: Slightly better than the average guy, but so much worse than the rest of the team that he only drags them down.

Amdir got himself stabbed by a Nazgul, and since then he’s been lying in the middle of town, being useless. (So, no change so far.) Now it’s up to Lulzy to take his place and aid in the defense of the town.

Well, I dealt a decisive blow against the brigands by killing a small handful of them. This should make sure the rest of them are good and pissed off when they show up and destroy the city later tonight. Now I’m thinking I should take a walk around town and see who else needs help. More importantly, I should see if they have any fun clothes to offer.

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First up I meet Ann Granger, a female soldier who is guarding the lodge where the bulk of the town guard is hanging out and stuffing their faces. I’m glad to see the humans have such a progressive attitude towards women in warfare. It’s heartening to see women demonstrating our strength and independence by standing beside the men and having adventures of our own!

“Hail sister! What do you need?” I greet her.

“Oh. Hi. I could use a little help.”

I smile, “Let me guess: You’re pulling your weight around here but you can’t get the men to give you the recognition you deserve?”

“Oh, heavens no. Nothing like that!”

“Don’t tell me you’re suffering from sexual harassment?” I ask angrily.

“Not at all.”

“You’re not getting the promotions you deserve due to the glass ceiling?”

“No. It’s just that earlier today I was running from some brigands…”

I frown, “Okay. Not the proudest moment for women in combat.”

“Right. Well, I dropped my purse.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“And I need someone else to go and get it for me.”

I grab her by the pant-leg and shout in the direction of her face, “THIS IS WHY THE MEN NEVER TAKE US SERIOUSLY!”

Stupid cow.

I kind of want to get back at her in verse, but I don’t think she’s worth a whole song. So I shall taunt her in limerick:

Miss Granger was looking most dour,
’cause the brigands were making her cower.
So she let out a yelp,
and asked ME for help.
This is NOT what they mean by “girl power.”

Right around the corner from the stupid hag Ann is Fenton Marshley, who is probably the creepiest and most badass human I’ve met so far. Check out his campsite…

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A gigantic bear. A boar. A pile of bones. A wooden barrel full of… what? Is that bloody meat?

He’s not even armed.

I am not pissing this guy off.

Fenton has been drooling over this bit of barely-cooked meat he’s put on the fire. He’s got these wild, twitchy eyes. It looks like he’s doing all the cooking with his bare hands.

I clear my throat and his eyes snap in my direction. He stares for a minute and I realize he’s waiting for me to speak. “Um. Hello, sir,” I greet him, making a point to not shake hands. “Need any help? If you don’t mind me asking, that is.”

“Yes!”, he says with sudden and worrisome glee. I can’t help noticing how bad this entire campsite smells. “Yes!” he says again, “You’re exactly what I’ve been looking for.”

I glance sideways at the barrel of meat and take a few steps back.

“MARSHFLIES!” he shouts.

“Marsh-flies?” I answer weakly.

“Yes. Look at them,” he nods out towards the lake. Indeed, there are some marsh flies buzzing around:

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The marsh-flies are kind of big. They’re about the size of my head. They’re nothing compared to the spiders, though.

“I hate marsh-flies,” he says through clenched teeth. “Haaate them.”

“Yeah, I know. Me too.”

“Kill some for me?” he asks meekly.

Now I’m cheesed off, “Are you going to stand beside a dead bear and ask for my help swatting flies?”

“Yes! Ten of them!”

“You know, you might not have a fly problem if you didn’t decorate your camp with rotting meat,” I point out.

After a few moments of silence he adds, “Pretty please?”

“Fine. Weirdo.” I say as I storm off.

Fenton liked his meat bloody.
So his campsite looked kind of cruddy.
The smell and the flies,
drove away all the guys,
Now a dead bear is his only buddy.

Next up on the tour is Cal Sprigley.

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Cal lives on a farm south of town. Far south. He’s actually closer to the brigand outpost than to Archet. The raiders will pass directly by his place on their way to town. Someone mentioned that Cal was insisting on staying on his farm and wouldn’t be joining everyone else inside of the quasi-protective walls of the city.

“I hope you’re not here to ask us to run and hide in town with everyone else!” he shouts at me as I approach. Beside him is someone who is either his very ugly wife or his very, very ugly farmhand.

“Me? No.” I shrug.

“Good! My family is staying right here and we aim to defend our farm if those brigands attack.”

I’m kind of encouraged to see a human with a good spine. “You know there are a lot of them, right? And they’re out for blood since I … Er. Since someone killed a few of their guys.”

Cal is defiant, “Well let them come! We’re staying right here!”

“Fine. Whatever. You think you’re hardass enough to face them all down that’s your business.”

Cal nods. “Good! Because we’re staying. And not going to town. We’re not afraid of-“

“Right, right,” I say, cutting him off before he gets himself even more worked up. “Someone in town said you needed help?”

Cal points down the hill from his farm, “Old Bloodtusk has been giving us a lot of trouble. We need you to take care of him.”

I peer down the hill where he’s pointing, looking for the savage beast that has Cal so spooked. I don’t see anything. Finally I ask, “I don’t see Bloodtusk. Is he near that pig?”

“That IS Bloodtusk!” he says impatiently.

“You need my help killing a piglet?”

“He’s a wild boar!”

“He’s shorter than I am!” I protest.

“He’s the devil in swine form!”

“He’s a sandwich waiting to happen.”

Cal starts to argue but I turn on my heel, march down the hill, and stomp on the agitated boar until it stops squealing.

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I stomp back to Cal. “Done,” I say, folding my arms.

Cal nods, “Well, thanks for that.”

“You do realize that there is more than one brigand out there.”

“Of course!”

“And unlike pigs, these guys will have opposable thumbs.”

“Yes,” Cal says, slowly nodding his head.

“Which they will most likely use to hold pointy things like swords and spears.”

“Just what are you driving at, friend?”

“I’m saying if you’re not up for a fight with against an aging pig then maybe you’re not ready to fight a hundred armed and armored men.”

Cal suddenly becomes angry again, “Are you telling me to leave my land?”

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I shake my head, “Absolutely not. I think you should stay right here. In fact, you should stand right here in the open and fight them off.” I glance over towards his wife / farmhand, “I guess you’ll need to take turns with the pitchfork, though.”

And with that I leave Cal to his fate. Dumbass.

Cal was farmer most brave.
Or perhaps I should call him a knave?
He’ll die in the fight
with bandits tonight
Because he’s clearly too dumb to enslave.

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Hey there, Dirk Mudbrick. (Heh.) I see you’re still guarding the sheep. And you’re still named Dirk Mudbrick.

Poor bastard.

There was a sheep guard named MUDBRICK,
Who was…

Uh.

Wow. It’s really not easy to find a rhyme for Mudbrick.

You won this round, Dirk.

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In town I meet a woman who is trying to get enough food together. She wants me to kill five wild boars and bring her a shank of meat from each. Very nice. I guess I’ll leave the rest of the carcass out in the field to rot. I mean, why drag a single boar back into town and use it to feed everyone for days when you can just… be incredibly wasteful?

Hey… while we’re making the rounds, we should stop in the town jail.

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Remember Calder Cob? I managed to get him arrested earlier for conspiring with the brigands. Let’s see how he’s doing.

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THIS is Calder Cob?

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You guys couldn’t tell he was a bad guy? I mean, look at him! You should have put him in jail just for having that obnoxiously smug look on his face.

The jailer wants to have a word with me.

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Now, normally I don’t ask you to read quest text, but it’s important to realize that all the stuff I’m doing here is actually the stuff you do in the game. I’m posting this screenshot because I know you’re cynical and will call me a liar if I don’t.

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Calder Cob has been aiding the brigands in their attack, acting as their spy. They could very well come in here and kill every single person in the village. You need Cob to talk. And your plan is to bake him a cake because he asked you? Put me in that cell with him for five minutes and I’ll make him sing like an elven bard in springtime.

Tossers.

Calder Cob proved to be quite a snake,
serving brigands from over the lake.
All of his spying
could lead to us dying.
SO WHY ARE WE FEEDING HIM CAKE!?!?

I must say I think I’ve really grown as a hobbit through this adventure. I began with a very mild distrust for humans, but over the course of the day that antipathy has blossomed and grown into a deeply rooted racial prejudice.

I spend the next four or five ages of the world running around town swatting flies, killing boars, and gathering up stuff to bake a cake for a treasonous murderer.

I’m rewarded with a bounty of clothing.

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I’ll most likely die in the raid tonight, but damn if I’m not going to go out looking fabulous.

I don’t know where all these humans are getting these hobbit clothes, or why the entire economy of this town seems to be some sort of garment-based barter system, but if I had known that traveling to foreign parts and stabbing people was the key to high fashion I would have begun doing both ages ago.

Things are now well and truly settled around town. Nobody else is asking for help. They’re either ready for tonight’s raid, or they’re out of spare clothes. I head back and talk to Jon Brackenbrook.

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Now all we have to do is wait for nightfall and our swift deaths.

Next Time: If God didn’t want you to burn down cities, why did he make them out of wood?

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Shamus Young is the guy behind Reset Button, Twenty Sided, DM of the Rings, and Stolen Pixels.

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