Slarti Bartfast Presently

Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti stared out towards the north ocean as he sat on the hill, the cliff above providing him protection and cover. He winced as he touched the freshly healed arrow wound in his left limb. He listened as the hoofbeats of the bandit that felled his horse rode away and up the hill towards Hyllspeia.

I almost had the bastard's horse. If I'd just hopped off and sacrificied mine, I could have delivered the final blow before I ran.

Slarti's thoughts turned to his dead horse, Blister. He had served Slarti long. A desert horse of his caliber was at least 75 gold at the local pet broker. It was a sad loss and no-way-to-go for such a loyal companion. Not to mention the hefty sack of nymph herb in his bags.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I guess I'm alive at least. And that's the first time... the FIRST TIME I really gave a good fight back. Ha! He didn't follow me over the hill because maybe he didn't want his horse catching a flamestrike that would have finished him off! Come to think of it, I didn't do so bad after all. I'm getting the hang of all these new spells in my new spellbook. Zap! Boom! Sizzle! HEAL!

Slarti replayed the events in his head several more times as he looked out over the water while nibbling on a few nymph herbs.

(( Good fight, Everbloom. Maybe next time I'll get to drop a fulm on your horse before running for my life. ))
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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A few months after opening the door to his first physical location of Bartfast Brewery to the public, Slarti finally had a moment to sit down and consider his price structure. Up to that point, he had been busting his butt doing every job for his new brewery. This included harvesting, brewing, promotion, and upgrading and maintaining the brewery. Upon reflection, he realized that more of his time than he'd rather was spent harvesting. It wasn't that he didn't enjoy it, but harvesting at the rate he had been for the coin he had been charging for the finished brew was beginning to wear him thin among all his other duties. He'd not been able to even add additional room to the brewery he had been so busy picking spelt and fruit every day.

As he went over his logs and checked buy orders for spelt and fruits, Slarti soon realized he had enough capital to begin employing others to do his harvesting. He did not want to just offer the minimum, though. After careful deliberation, he decided that he would pay harvesters 20 cuprum per unit harvesting, allowing them to make 20 gold for 10,000 units, enough for a newcomer to Nave to get great start on life.

The new price structure reflects this change as well as now taking into account the prices of Ichor and Purified Water, which were not listed as expenses previously. Thus, fruit beers like Adventure Fuel and Fabernum's Folly, requiring paying of spelt and fruit harvesters, are 133s/100u. Slarti's mana-heavy beer, Oghmir's Ode, is now 225s/100u. The newest battle beer in the lineup, the Stam Slammer, is modestly priced at 91s/100u due to Purified Water being much cheaper than fruit to acquire. The quality of the beer is still the same because it cannot get any better. Slarti at this time brews the best beer in Myrland. He is fully trained on every skill required for each step of the brewing process.

Slarti is keeping a close eye on his logs, hoping that his customers throughout West Myrland are receptive to his new plans to employ new adventures as harvesters at the slightly increased price of the beer. This will also leave Slarti more time to work on additional parts of the business, such as gathering materials to upgrade the brewery and building the upgrades. He hopes to eventually add an inn section to the brewery for the weary traveler, providing an equerry as well for their beasts.

(( Beer is getting more expensive, but with good cause. Will the citizens of West Myrland pay the new prices and allow Slarti to diversify his business... or will the best beer in Myrland sit on the shelves and force Slarti back to this old price structure and endless harvesting. We'll find out. ))
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti was sitting outside the front gates when an odd looking Thursar strode up to him on his horse.

"Give meh loot brah. I take it. I take it. Give me it."

Slarti had no problem with helping the less fortunate, but this fellow had a dagger out and was make threatening motions, despite the Tindrem city guards nearby. Slarti thought for a moment and opened his coin purse anyway.

"Here... here... put away your damn dagger! Here... go buy yourself a pretty helmet," said Slarti as he passed the odd Thursar 25 silver.

"Oh.. oh.. thank you... thank you," said the Thursar and ran off.

Slarti sat watching the gates for a moment as he was about to depart to tame another round of horses. No point in getting robbed right outside of Tindrem for failing to look. Then, again, from behind him...

"Bro bro here... here..." It was the Thursar... again.

"No.. not you again," said Slarti.

"No.. no here bro here bro," said the Thursar, extending his close hand toward Slarti. Nervously, Slarti opened his hand and extended it to the Thursar. The Thursar dropped 300 silver in his hand.

"Oh... oh.. well thank you," said Slarti, slightly taken aback.

"Yes yes, you good, thank you," said the Thursar, running off immediately thereafter.

"That's some interest," Slarti chuckled. What a lovely turn of events on a day when he had previously had terrible luck, losing his prized razerback, Getrude, to a bandit named Oghmir outside of Meduli.
 
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Amelia

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That Oghmir! He try to kill me yesterday and I am an oghmir too!
What a mad world ! 😔
p.s.: I see him in Tindrem right now, he's just a poor human. I dont understand why he named himself Oghmir bytheway ...
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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(( IRL stole my writing time. Here's a quick smush together of a lot of happenings. ))

Out east again! Slarti breathed in the crisp air and grinned as he approached the pirum trees. Pirum and blackwood for the taking with very little chance anyone would wander this far out just to commit a robbery. Though it did take crossing the Morin Khur bridge near the graveyard where foul brigands of many flavors often lurked. As he picked pirum, Slarti's mind wandered again to the spot he had originally picked out for the brewery on the path above Toxai near the waterfall.

If only there were more customers out east.

After collecting a substantial amount of blackwood and pirum, Slarti turned south and tamed a new razorback to take the place of Maggie who was slaughtered by a Risar soldier on the trek to Morin Khur. Sally became his and he returned to Morin Khur to harvest the rice fields. His newest beers were rice based and boasted the lowest health nourishment to stamina nourishment yet. They were sure to be hot sellers on the brokers. He planned to name the new brews Forgiven's Peace and Forgiven's Peace Light, in honor of Forgiven's beloved fallen bear that was taken from this world so unfairly. Slarti returned to west Myrland without incident, putting his new rice beer and blackwood ferments on the markets.

-

Shortly after returning to Tindrem from Fabernum, Slarti came upon a great party of horses and persons at the front gate. He heard a voice he thought he recognized call, "Come! Ride with us Slarti! Ride with Odinseed!" The surge of horses moved out.

Oh! Odinseed! I have heard this name... I remember their king at the tournament when I first came to Myrland.

"Uh.. uhh.. okay!" Slarti sputtered as he made a split-second decision to ride with this party unsure what adventure it might bring. The party left Tindrem in the direction of Fabernum travelling mostly along the roads when they were suddenly set upon by bandits and scoundrels on all sides.

"Mop 'em up! Kill them!" shouted a large figure as horses zipped around him in all directions, slaughtering the would be attackers with ease. "Come, tell me of yourself, Slarti!" shouted the large man.

"Well... uh... I'm a brewer by trade. And I remember this party that I ride with, Odinseed, or at least something of them... from the tournament in the west, when I first came to Myrland. I remember their king, Barados, fighting in the tournament. He let forth a battle yell that surely reached the stars as he charged his opponent, weapon raised above his head. His opponent blocked at the last second and was knocked back nearly 4 yards. It was incredible," said Slarti.

"Well that is ME!" said the large man with force. "I am BARADOS! King of ODINSEED!"

"Hail oh great King of the Seed!" shouted Slarti in awe of the fact that he was riding with the great King Barados. They continued along the paths at great rates of speed. Slarti worreid that his horse, Mustard, and mature razorback, Sally (the same as was tamed in Morin Khur), might run out of stamina. He could feel Mustard begin to slow from exhaustion just as the great party entered Fabernum.

"Slarti!" bellowed King Barados after the party had come to a stop near the middle of town. "I must give you the gift of the SEED! I must impart it into and upon you!"

"Well... uhh.. well. uhh..." Slarti stammered nervously, "I'm not sure I'm am ready for that. I'm not sure that I can provide an adequate vessel for the SEED! But in the meantime, I offer in tribute to you this stack of Stam Slammer beer!" Slarti pulled a large sack off the back off his horse and passed it to the King.

"Well! Thank you!" said Barados.

"Of cours-" began Slarti as he was cutoff by a muttering beggar.

"You have silver. I need armor. You help me, King?" the beggar said approaching Barados.

"Ah... yes... well.. here's some ambrosial beer that I just got from Slarti! Enjoy!" said Barados. The beggar received the beer and continued.

"Anyone... can anyone give me armor?" said the beggar.

Slarti felt his conscience pull at him. He had been most fortunate as of late. Business was good and the brewery had a new addition thanks to all his hard work. "Here... I have 50 silver," said Slarti extending his hand with coins in it to the man.

"Thank you. Thank you," said the man. "Anyone else have armor?" Another member of the Odinseed party brought the man with him to the bank. When they returned, the man was fully clad in armor. "I am ready. I am ready to receive the SEED!" said the man.

"To the stage!" bellowed King Barados! All of the Odinseed party and many of the onlookers proceeded to the stage. "Now, you shall receive the SEED! Prepare yourself!" yelled Barados as he raised his sword into the air above the newly armor-clad man. His blade fell right into the weak spot between the shoulder and neck of the man. He screamed with pain and ran from the stage.

"You must accept the SEED!" screamed Barados as he continued chopping away at the man. In moments, the man fell to the ground, sacrificed to the Seed. Slarti looked on with wonder.

What a beautiful but brutal initiation ritual. Perhaps I will join them later... when I'm more... uhh... brutal.

Slarti forced a smile as he imagined himself looking muscular holding his hammer above his head in a glorious, heroic pose.
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti shuffled his way through the crowd at the Fabernum Bank and Broker.

It's so damn crowded. So many more people. Fine with me... means more people to sell my beer to.

"Make way!" yelled a soldier passing through, his voice shortly followed by blood curling screams coming another soldier laid over a horse. The screaming soldier was bleeding profusely from a stump that used to be his right arm, leaving a trail of blood down the street and getting all over the poor horse. Slarti failed to move out of the way in time and was shoved to the ground amongst many feet and horse hooves. He rolled his fat frame quickly to the side of a building to avoid being crushed and pulled himself up with the help of the windowsill above him.

Along with more people to sell beer to had also come more war. Slarti had heard of giant battles in the fields outside of Meduli. Hundreds of soldiers in head-to-toe armor slashing, hacking, and slinging magic in a glorious battle for the ages.

Not sure what is so glorious about battle when you could end up like that.

Slarti had becomed softened as of late. Before the large growth in population in the West, there had been a quiet time. He had run his beer to and from Tindrem, the Brewery, Meduli, and Fabernum without incident for nearly a month. When he did come across another rider, they would often head in the opposite direction rather than attempt a robbery as had been the norm before. Maybe it was Slarti's huge new razorbacks that made would-be attackers think twice, massive in the bulk and nearly the size of a horse when fully grown. He had considered going into the razorback breeding business at one point since he was having so much success in raising them from a young age.

Bartfast Brewery and Swinery.

He chuckled out loud at himself letting out a snort, then headed into the Bank and Broker. The broker pulled out a massive sack as he approached and threw it on the table with a loud thud.

"Someone dropped a whole bunch of rice off for you Slarti! Finally filled those buy orders!"

Slarti grinned and tried to lift the bag from the table. His grin turned to a grimace as he grunted and grunted but the bag moved only inches. He turned and whistled to his horse, Sand.

I try to keep it parked outside, but sometimes you just need some horse power. I can't wait to get this ground to flour! I'd been running so low on grains lately with all the sales to the soldiers in town for the battles. Heck, folks are even finally stopping by the Brewery to pick up samples and food. It's a good time to be a merchant!
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti balked at the grocery vendor. "You don't sell purified water anymore?! Too many customers to keep up with thanks to elementalism?! GO MAKE MY OWN?!"

Slarti fumed. I don't want to be an elementalist. I just want to make my beer. And now there's several extra steps. He stomped up to the magic vendor.

"The normal amount of ichor for my man beer please," said Slarti flatly.

"Prices gone up. Look at th' sign," replied the vendor just as flatly.

"SON OF A -" Slarti kicked the dirt thinking about all the math he would now have to do. The higher materials costs are gonna make me have to increase prices on my beer. This is absolute shit. Elementalists are sabotaging my business!
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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"Things sure have gotten hairy again lately..." Slarti trailed off to himself as he made his way to the Tindrem message board. He smoothed out his message and nailed it to the board with fervor, speaking a word with every hit of the hammer.

"They took every bit of it. Heathens. RUFFIANS! FOUL FIENDS!" Slarti took a deep breath and composed himself. He stood back and looked at his message.

Let it be known that this week's beer shipment to Meduli was stolen by Two Dollar Horde members Zere and Tuskar. Please feel free to recover it from them and keep it as a fee. It was a substantial amount of beer. I would be grateful if you would punish them severely so they reconsider next time they see me headed to Meduli to bring beer to the people. Also, since the guards these days don't seem to give a flying fuck about criminals like this waltzing into the city after delivering a few packages, please be sure not to purchase my beer from either of these ruffians as well. - Slarti Bartfast
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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The second time in as many days! The lawful lands around Tindrem are devolving into chaos! Murderous groups of robbers and murderers are roaming the Tindrem Orchard nearly daily it seems, looking for an easy score. If this continues I might even have to move the Brewery. That would be a sad day. Hopefully some of the lawful guilds will respond to my plea for help.

Slarti nailed his newest message to the Tindrem message board with a solemn, slow hammering.

Twice in two days have roaming bandits crossed my path in the Tindrem orchard. Twice they attacked me. This time there were six to me. Sir Gimli, TheCougar, bingey, shorto, and Bonktime can be added to the list of murderers of traders in West Myrland. I was lucky and managed to get to the Brewery in time to save the beer that was again destined for Meduli, but they slaughtered my horse and razorbacks mercilessly. I humbly request assistance from the righteous guilds of West Myrland. Ensure that the beer continues to flow to Meduli by eliminating the constant flow of ruffians through and around Tindrem orchard. We make your beer, food, and clothes, but we cannot do so without your protection. Please bring justice to the land!

- Slarti Bartfast
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Attacked coming out of the Brewery again. I really might have to move shop. The location is clearly a magnet for trash.

Slarti nails another post to the Tindrem message board.

"Where are those that would defend the land around Tindrem and the Orchard? Again, I attacked exiting the Brewery by absolute trash. How do I know they are trash? I was able to get in the Brewery and shut the door as they tried to pelt me with arrows. Alas, this left my bear outside. No reason to slaughter it. No bags on it. But the worthless trash slaughtered it. Please bring me the heads of AnuQeiRo and rapante for this crime and I shall compensate you heftily with beer."
 

Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti was riding back to Tindrem from a beer delivery and fishing trip in Meduli. When he checked the market boards, it seems some new competitors had sprung up in the beer business in Tindrem. He recognized one of the listed names. It was a one Redium that Slarti had met in Meduli as the chef was giving away free food and beer of his own. In thanks, Slarti pulled out his guitar and played songs as the chef continued gifting his trade to the travelers of Meduli. The two exchanged recipes and Slarti shared his knowledge of brewing.

Good! I can barely keep up with the demand in the market and I enjoy a good hearted beer brewing competition! You're on Redium!

The other name Slarti did not recognize nor remember for some reason after he left the market boards. Perhaps he might run into this new mystery brewer when he arrived at Tindrem. Slarti took his normal back routes to avoid the bandits and robbers that liked to prey on the roads between Tindrem and Meduli. As he came out the last wooded area before the hill to the Brewery, he caught sight of a few horses. His sight is not the greatest and he could not make out whether it was a simple tamer looking to bring horses back to Tindrem or something more sinister. He quickly turned west and snapped the reigns to send his desert horse, Mustard, quickly galloping in the direction of the forest opposite of Slarti's current location. Slarti's formidable razortusk, Pipsqueak, followed shortly behind.

Slarti sped into the woods and the quickly turned Mustard around so he could scan to see if he was being followed. He saw no more hint of horses or riders as slowly trotted up the edge of the forest. He stopped and waited for a minute to allow whoever it was pass as they seemed to be going north. He could just go after they left.

Well.... I do need to stop by and take care of the upkeep on the Brewery, make sure the chests are still full for thirsty and hungry travelers.

Slarti headed out of the forest and towards the hill of the Brewery, confident that whoever it was had moved on.... but as he neared the hill, atop were perched two horses with riders. They saw him immediately and began riding down the hill at full speed.

Oh sh-

Slarti spun Mustard around before he could even finish cussing and sped off back to the wooded areas. He turned to look behind him. His heart began to race even faster as he turned back and saw that these two horsemen had every intention of following him and doing who knows what. In and out of trees Mustard darted as Slarti tried to contain his panic.

Don't panic! You've been practicing your mounted magery for the last month and Pipsqueak is with you. Mustard is one of your strongest steeds. You can do this!

The funny thing about Pipsqueak is that she wasn't actually a pipsqueak. She had grown to nearly the size of a horse and was not to be trifled with as she could also keep up with almost any horse, thrashing at them and their rider. Slarti always felt that razorbacks were undervalued. Perhaps this would be his and Pipsqueak's chance to prove it. Slarti pulled into a clearing and doubled back around to the edge of the wood in the opposite direction, hoping that his pursuers might pass him at full speed out of sight in the forest. As he came around the edge of the wood, one of the two riders appeared from out of the wood riding toward him at full speed.

Slarti gulped. As the rider approached with bow drawn, Slarti charged up a fulmination and tried to look menacing. As the rider circled him, he though he noticed the guild patch of Tarenhal (( sp? )), but he couldn't make out the face of the rider.

"I don't want to fight if you don't want to fight," said Slarti, still trying his best to look tough.

The second rider pulled out into the clearing, and Slarti immediately recognized him from a bounty poster. It was a scumbag known as Somah. As the memory of the poster flashed through Slarti's mind, the post adjacent to it also reappeared to him in his panicked visualization. Toca was surely the second bandit.

Suddenly and without any warning, Somah released his arrow into Mustard. The horse let out an ear piercing neigh as Slarti tried to regain control.

Sun damn it!

By the time Slarti had regained control of Mustard, the second rider had dismounted and was charging toward them. Slarti quickly released his fulmination on the mounted rider and then snapped the reigns to send Mustard into a full gallop, leaving the dismounted rider in the dust. His companion however immediately took up pursuit. Just before he was out of range, Slarti pointed at the dismounted rider and sent Pipsqueak to work. As he hopped back on his horse, she gave him a help up with a horn right in the butt cheek! Immediately after that, his fulmination went off causing his pursuer to scream in pain.

Holy shit! Did I do that?!

Slarti snapped the reigns again, keeping Mustard running as fast as possible as arrows whizzed past the two of them. Then Mustard neighed in pain as he was hit again. Slarti began healing Mustard furiously. He turned to find this gave the first pursuer time to catch up and the second was nearly upon him as well, though with a now VERY angry razorback continuing to thrash at him and his horse.

Suddenly, Slarti felt as if the intense speed of the situation slowed down before him as he remembered his mounted magery training.

Corrupt! Corrupt! I've got to stop them from shooting at me.

He quickly charged up a corrupt and blasted Somah. The spell connected. A perfect shot! The rider was unable to attack momentarily. Then Toca charged in with bow drawn, Slarti again felt a moment of panic and had Mustard take a very hard turn in the opposite direction, momentarily charging his aggressor while charging a thunderlash. Then he turned just before it finished charging and the spell fizzled, Toca still before him.

Shit! No... no... I can do this!

Slarti charged up another fulmination as he peeled away toward the Brewery hill now where he might find refuge from these rapscallions. He let himself grin as his confidence returned when Somah crossed him parallel, allowing Slarti to drop the fulmination on his horse.

Take that you shitter!

Slarti again snapped the reigns and Mustard sped away. Slarti began to worry that Mustard would run out of stamina soon, leaving him a sitting duck for his aggressors, but he could see the Brewery hill just ahead of him. He turned to see only Somah still following him but his horse also was low on stamina, even lower than Mustard. Slarti quickly charged another corrupt and connected with Somah, preventing any more arrow fire.

As Slarti rode away, he looked back to see Somah looking at him with a befuddled and angry expression. Then Slarti saw Toca about 15 meters behind Somah. He had dismounted and was slashing wildly at Pipsqueak. The beast was enraged and even near death fought with every bit she had, but in the end she fell to his unworthy hand.

Pipsqueak...

Slarti suddenly felt very somber in his moment of victory. Though Pipsqueak had fulfilled the purpose for which she was bred, a swine shield against bandits Slarti may come across, he was sad to see her pass. It never felt good when one of his tames was slaughtered by the enemy, but she was surely special. Never before had Slarti successfully escaped two attackers, and much of that he owed to the now deceased razorback.

I will always remember you, my little piggie. You were the toughest razorback I ever had.

Though his attackers ceased to chase further, Slarti wasn't taking any chances. He sped up the hill to the Brewery and slammed and locked the door behind him. He opened it very briefly to put a "Closed for Now" sign outside before shutting and rebolting the door. He would chronicle his story and stay the night, giving plenty of time for the bandits Somah and Toca to move on. In the morning he would head to Tindrem to check on the market as originally planned before all the kerfuffle.
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti checked in at the Fabernum post. He unsealed the letter the postman handed him and found handwriting that was new to him.

Slarti,

I had an awesome stay at the Brewery! I left you some of my beer, dumplings, deep fried pig, and lightly batter pig nuggets. Enjoy! The apple pie is killer look out! My guild, Integrity are having our annual fair. Feel free to stop by the Western Steppe castle if you're interested in saying hello. I have notified all here of your possible attendance so that you may enter the castle safely. Please know that my mage friend, Merlin, might greet you if I am engaged in the festivites.

Liviticus, Vadda's War Hero


Slarti folded the letter and placed it in his pack in case he might need it for entry to the castle. He quickly penned an response indicating he would come handed it to the post person with a few extra coins for speedy delivery and a tip so that it would actually happen.

The next day, Slarti stopped by the equerry and then the bank, loading up Zup, his horse, with bags and beer. He made sure Zup and Puff, his massive elder razorback, were fed and then his the backroads out of Fabernum with a destination of the Western Steppes castle.

Wow! I never expected my beer to attract the palette of a war hero! That's pretty cool, and he left me a bunch of his culinary creations at the Brewery to feast on and learn from. Seems like an upstanding fellow for sure. And a castle! They're so massive. I can't wait to see another one from inside the courtyard walls rather than from a distance. Maybe I'll even get to go in the main keep. I've only been in a castle courtyard once before but never the main keep.

Zup let out a loud neigh of annoyance and stopped waiting for Slarti's guidance on the edge of the steep hill. Slarti snapped out of his thoughts and focused again on riding. The castle came into view as he rounded the hill near the middle and then rode down towards the northern gate. Slarti was thankful no one had crossed his path given the large amount of beer he was carrying. Then as he neared the bottom of the hill, a horse and rider sped past his path perpendicularly, overshooting Slarti and turning back around at a safe distance to have another look.

A bandit?! There are thirsty new patrons to be given samples in the Western Steppes castle, and I'll be damned if you're gonna take this beer buddy!

Slarti pulled the reigns and brought his party of mammalia to halt to see what the other rider would do. He squinted his eyes as the other rider sat motionless, probably doing the same.

Ahh... just a KOTO patrol.


Slarti snapped his reigns and continued forward at an unthreatening pace. KOTO were known to be protectors of the land to the west and generally did not engage any sort of assault with civilians like Slarti. Slarti's encounters with them thus far seemed to support this, so he was not too worried. Sure enough, the other rider spun his horse and continued riding to Meduli.

Hmm... I wonder what he's doing out here. I guess maybe Integrity and KOTO are friendly. Eh... not my business.

Slarti reached the gate and peeked through the holes. He could see a few riders about in the courtyard and a couple of soldiers dueling. He cleared his throat.

"Hello? I am Slarti Bartfast, come at the invitation of Liviticus, Vadda's War Hero! Hello?"
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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He saw a figure running up to open the gate. He hopped off his horse and took a deep breath, reminding himself that his magic reflect was still going strong just in case word of his coming had not reached the castle before him. The porticulis slid upward and Slarti stepped through motioning his animals through behind him with a quick nod to the gate opener.

"Hello... hello. Thank you," said Slarti a bit taken back by the gate keepers silence. He looked around and decided to head for the buildings since he was given no instructions. Perhaps he might find Liviticus in one of those. As he walked toward the first building, the gate keeper suddenly sped by him turned around and feigned a fierce stab at Slarti, piercing the armor just enough so that Slarti could feel it but causing no real damage.

"Hey.. uh OW! Wha?" bumbled Slarti.

"Slarti? Hello!" called a voice from behind the pseudo-aggresor gate keeper. The gate keeper stepped out of the way snickering and a well-rounded, nearly-nude Oghmir stepped toward Slarti.

"Oh my... you soldier types love a good joke poke don't you?" Slarti said while half-chuckling, trying to be at ease with the physical jokes like the gatekeepers welcome. He was never much of a fighter... really more of a wus that could sometimes get himself out of tricky situations with some ridiculous luck. Thus even little pokes tended to put him on edge.

"Don't mind them," said the Oghmir. "I'm Merlin. Liviticus told me of your coming. The opening events in the courtyard are wrapping up. We've got mage duels and one-on-one melee coming up soon in the castle. Enjoy yourself!"

"Thank you kindly!" Slarti replied with newfound exhilaration now that he knew for sure he was safe from death at least. A slight maiming he could take. He had recently promised himself he was going to get a tougher exterior. It would be good for him and good for the Brewery if folks knew he could pull out a whoopin' when needed. Though it was not his art, Slarti knew that violence and intimindation were required to be able to even just eek out an existence in Myrland. Something deep inside him told him that adventure like this were actually the best thing he could do for himself and his overall growth as a person.
 
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He moved again toward the buildings in the courtyard, just to see what they were for. Not being in many castles before, he was curious. As was to be expected, there were stables, crafting areas, and places to rest. It was still fascinating prospect to Slarti, to build one's house or place of business within the safety of a castle's courtyard. He loved the freedom that his land placement of the Brewery provided him but couldn't help but wonder what it might be like to run an establishment like his within the walls of a castle.

As he bumbled around offering attempting to offer free beer to the patrons of the courtyard, Slarti suddenly realized he was receiving awkard looks and silences. A soldier ran up to him quite quickly and said in an understanding yet urgent tone, "They're about to duel right here," indicating the ground beneath his and Slarti's feet.

"Doh! Whoops! Sorry everyone. Let me get the hell out of the way!"

Slarti continued making the rounds in the courtyard, passing out tall boys of his famous Stam Slammer Light and Forgiven's Peace Light, figuring that the soldier would be needing beer that would bolster their stamina without weighing them down in the fights at the fair. Most folks bore the insignia of the guild Integrity, but there were others Slarti did not recognize in attendance. Perhaps they were from out east. Almost everyone happily accepted Slarti's offerings, and there were even those that returned to him gifts of dumplings, beer of their own, armor, weapons, and nahuat. Slarti struggled to carry all of the generous return gifts he received for his beer, making several trips back to Zup to fill his bags to the brim as well.

When I came to distribute free beer, I did not expect so much generosity in return. I've told each of these patrons no coin, yet they provide me with as much as I give. How am I ever going to cart all this home?!


He pulled out some crab and rice dumplings that he had received and devoured them. Incredible! Slarti heard a holler come from the front of the keep, "Last call for signups for mage and melee duels." He headed toward the keep with the crowd since this round of duels was to take place inside the keep itself. Suddenly a rather large figure in armor approached him. Slarti instinctively and awkwardly stepped back a few steps as the knight stepped forward.

"Hey! You're Slarti, huh?" said the stranger.

"Liv...iticus?" said Slarti.

"The same," answered the now identified behemoth before Slarti.

"Well... uh... thank you very much for the invitation. I've given out a lot of beer in the courtyard and everyone has been most generous in return though I do not ask it. Your friend Merlin even gave me full sets of armor! I did not expect his and am surely not worthy. Thank you, sir!" said Slarti at one hundred meters per second.

The knight nodded and spoke, "The mage duels are happening on the second floor. Then the melee duels are up top. Good to have you here beermaker!"

"Yes, thank you! Thank you again. I'm going to go see these duels now," Slarti managed to sputter out as he turned towards the keep. Slarti's heart pounded with anticipation as he passed through the archway entrance. He had never been inside an actual keep. As he cleared the entryway, his attention was immediately drawn to how high the ceilings were.

What a massive structure!

His awe only greatened as he wandered through room after room of massive amounts of space. In some rooms, banquet tables sat in rows from one end to the other, a massive feast laid out upon them. Slarti looked quickly to see if anyone was watching and then quickly grabbed a turkey leg from the table to take a massive bite. Grease dripped down his beard and onto the floor as he chewed ferociously, in ectstacy at the freshness of the meat.
Wow! This is what hanging out with soldiers will get you, huh? Deeeeefuckinglicious.
He tossed the mostly eaten turkey leg back on the plate from whence it came and proceeded back to his exploration of the keep. After a few twists and turns, he finally found the stairs. He took a deep breath before starting, his stomach uncomfortably full of turkey leg. He made his way up the stairs to the second floor where the mage duels were taking place. He watched three duels, taking notes on how he might be more effective with his own magic. All the fights were very exciting, one even ending in death as an Auw Surge gave no chance for mercy, splattering the contestant into gibs on the keep floor.

"Ewwwwwww......" said Slarti. A priest revived the contestant with minimal effort, but Slarti still considered it a gruesome sight.

That had to hurt.

Slarti headed up to the top of the keep for the melee duels, stopping to gaze out the keep windows at each level, marvelling at the sight of the Western Steppes spread out before him. Upon reaching the stop of the keep, he found soldiers spread around the walls and vicious melee combat taking place in the middle of the tower. Soldier shouted and cheered as combatants landed parries and counterattacked, their opponents crying out in pain as weapons tasted flesh but continuing to battle as if pain were no object. Slarti wondered what it must be like to proceed through life in Myrland with that mindset. He abhorred pain and found little need to inflict it on others excepting the occasional beast or fish for a meal.

Kingdoms need kings and soldiers and such... so be it. I'll just keep my head down.

He had heard whispers in Tindrem that the castles across the lands migth soon be expanding their influence, demanding taxes on properties within their radius. Fortunately for him, Bartfast Brewery currently seemed to fall outside of those boundary lines. The thing with boundary lines in Myrland is, however, that they change. War loomed on the horizon and Slarti could only hope he had chosen a location that would be largely spared of its ravages.

The melee competition ended and all attendees including Slarti cheered, shouts from atop the keep echoing out into the Western Steppes. Then someone shouted, "What about the free-for-all? Are we having that?" Then late-morning air was pierced with the shouts of nearly forty warriors. Slarti gulped. Suddenly the rooftop erupted in unabated, unrestrained violence. Hacking, slashing, and beating abound, Slarti ducked down the stairs, but he could not unglue his eyes from the spectacle. It was just so... brutal. He stood atop the stairs watching the violence until suddenly a huge knight charged at him with sword over head. He knew it would happen.

"Uhhhhh noo... NOOO NOOOOOOOO! I'M JUST WATCHING!" screamed Slarti as he charged down the stairs away from his assailant who bore not an Integrity insignia, but one with the letters of MKRG. Seconds later, Slarti found himself struggling to limply descend the stairs when another soldier bearing the MKRG charged up from below and relieved Slarti of his head.

Slarti sucked in air at the keep priest and chuckled to himself. He knew he should have went all the way downstairs. He went back upstairs and recovered his things, but then noticed his trinkets were broken.

"Damn it!" he cursed. There was no way he could ride back now since his trinkets provided him with some of influence he was able to have over beasts in Myrland, unless he abandoned Puff which he could not bring himself to do. "Looks like I'm walking," he chuckled.

Slarti found Liviticus and thanked him for the invite to the fair, bidding him farewell as Liviticus opened the gates through which Slarti entered. Slarti jogged out, calling Zup and Puff to follow him. He heard the porticulus slam shut and looked toward the long run ahead of him to Meduli. As he trudged away toward the beach town, a new tune began to form in his head...

I was walkin' to Meduli
from the Western Steppes
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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As he did from time to time, Slarti decided to leave his valuables aside from a 6 pack and his guitar behind as he made his way back to Meduli from Fabernum.

Not risking it today. The roads around Fab have been so hostile lately. Just gonna enjoy a little walk with my guitar and some beer. Time is on my side and I'll get to Meduli when I get there.

Slarti was about to pull his guitar off his back and start strumming when he heard some extraordinarily loud snorting and oinking. He departed the road and saw a massive pig struggling with its foot entangled in a thorny vine.

"Awwweee! Lil' buddy... it's okay. I'll help you!" said Slarti, softly cooing. The pig looked back and forth quickly for a moment but then decided Slarti was not a thread and awaited whatever happened next. Slarti knelt down and extricated the pig from the thorny vine by using his dagger to saw away at the vine. With a snap, the pig was free and it dashed back toward the road. Then it stopped and looked at Slarti. Slarti looked at the pig.

"Hey, pig. Yeah you," said Slarti. "Do you think... I... might..." Slarti approached the pig closer, taking a step with each word, "catch..." he swung his left leg over the pig's back, "a..." he hopped fully on the pig, "ride?" The pig let out a squeal and took off running across the bridge and south down the road away from Fabernum. "Yeeeeeeeehaaaaawwwww!" holler Slarti with excitement. After a few moments, the pig slowed to walk. Slarti shrugged and pulled out his guitar.

"Thanks for the ride Pig, just keep going south," said Slarti as he started playing a few warm-up notes. An naked oghmir approached in the distance, making a confused expression as he passed bard and his pig mount.

"Yeah!" yelled Slarti. "This is great!" He began a fast tempo chuggy riff, documenting his experience in song. He sang.

Ride the pig
Ride the pig
Ride the pig
Ride t-


"Ow! Hey! What the hell?! Who shoots a mostly naked bard on a pig, buddy? I got nothing!" hollered Slarti as he yanked the arrow out of his armor and another out of the rear of his new pig.

The assailant aimed an arrow directly at Slarti chest and said, "A bard, huh? Do you know a song about being in mercy mode?" He loosed his arrow striking Slarti in the chest, causing him to gasp while blood flowed forth from behind his torso armor. Slarti spewed a huge bubble of blood over the side of his pig and glared at the rider now threatening him with death in a very real and painful way. He summoned what strength he had left and cranked out another chuggy descending riff, delivering the only words he could think of...

"FUCK YOU... FOR PUTTING ME IN MERCY MODE" he repeated again and again, feeling the music charge his vitality. He spit out a blood loogie and continued the riff and words when suddenly the rider shot Slarti's pig directly in the face, dropping it to the ground and sending Slarti crashing to the ground with his guitar. Slarti managed to hold the guitar upwards as he fell almost direction on his rear, cushioning the impact. The pig now lay in front of him in a pool of blood. Slarti sighed and looked up as the rider pulled alongside him again... but this time he had his arm extended as if to help Slarti up. Slarti gave him a confused look.

"And what about riding with the enemy? " grinned the archer.

Why not? This is exactly the reason I didn't bring much with me. And if I don't jump on his horse, he's probably gonna kill me anyway.

Slarti shrugged and grabbed the archer's hand and found himself quickly hoisted up onto the back of the horse. The archer immediately cracked the reins and sent the horse racing forward. Two other riders were coming down the hill directly ahead, crossing the archer and Slarti's path perpendicularly. The archer charged straight for the closer rider as the other saw and quickly darted away.

"Here goes nothing," muttered Slarti as he readied his guitar, which was suprisingly difficult to do when riding on the back of a murderer's horse when the murder has a target dead ahead. He unleashed a fast paced yet major and uplifting rift as he tried to do what bards do... deliver the situation artfully in song to those around. He sang.

I'm riding with the enemy
YOU'RE GONNA DIE
Sorry to tell you
YOU'RE GONNA DIE
I'm riding with the enemy
YOU'RE GONNA DIE
DIE DIE DIE
This guy's gonna kill you.
This guy's O
h shit you hit me! (the probably unamused victim began emptying arrows into Slarti as he played on)
But this guy is gonna kill you.

Slarti's body slumped off the side of the archer's horse, looking like a pin cushion.
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti rounded the curve again to face the outlaw, a fulmination fully charged. He landed it with the outlaw moments later roaring in pain as the blast jiggled his innards. His companion charged on toward Slarti with no reserve and managed to slash at Slarti's horse's armor making a loud, discomforting clang sound. Angela, as he'd named the beast, let out a piercing cry of of a neigh. Slarti slapped the reigns and forced her on as the two outlaws closed again, one close to death but the other still at full strength as Slarti circled again to gather mana for his next fulmination.

Then as he rounded the large stretched oval of his route, two other fully geared riders came charging in. The first dismounted and instantly slammed his massive hammer into the face of the bandit that was nearest to Slarti right as Slarti's last fulmination exploded. Guts were everywhere! The other rider stayed atop his horse and brandished an axe that brightly refected the light of the sun as he hung halfway off of his mount and laid it into the second outlaw's side chopping the hethan clean in two.

"Whoaaaaaaaaa! Wooooohooo Nahuat!" shouted Slarti as he recognized the insignia on the riders' armor.

The hammer wielding ground soldier trotted up to Slarti whom appeared much bigger now that he was so close. Slarti furiously began to pop off heals as the sir spoke, "Saw you were in a little trouble with the outlaws there. Figured we'd help. The bags are all yours."

"Thank you! Thank you!" he spewed as he tried to calm Angela while the two benefactors thundered off to their next adventure. As he collected what valuables he could from the scattered remains of the outlaws, Slarti gave thanks to the sun that shone so brightly off the axe that gave him succor. It had been a hard day and he had lost a valuable taur dog earlier.
 

Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti puts a sign on the Brewery door.

Gone away for a few months. Brokers across West Myrland may be missing beer for awhile. Buy what's there and empty the Brewery access chest of samples. Will fill them all to the brim when I return.

(( After getting dinged in Discord for being "too negative," I've decided to take a few months break, partially b/c (as one of the more level-headed members of the community... really though) getting dinged for being too negative given all the other far more vitriolic conversation that goes mostly unchecked there was a final straw and partly because the ding is correct about one thing... my frustration level of the broken systems in the game coupled with the enthusiastic promises for new and shiny things that fail to materialize in workable format has finally reached a point where it is not the fun it once was for me.

I feel that this would only be compounded by what will happen when UE5 drops, but I can't predict the future. I hope for most of you it is a refreshing update with cool new stuff, but personally my patience is worn too thin currently to stomach any exploitation/bugs in the new system and/or things that are important to me that have gone unaddressed b/c of the colossal mess that was TC release required all the attention to fix. I don't even TC, but the drama that has been caused by not having systems properly in place for one of the biggest draws of the game just adds another level of the "do I really want to be here while the game is in this state when there's lots of other games with seemingly less bugs/exploitation/getting ahead with now "unobtainable" items due to system changes in which the items were not removed?"

That said, this game has incredible potential and offers something that no other game does. Hence why I'm taking a break and plan to return, hoping that the break will allow me to shake some of my frustration with how I feel about many of the aspects of the game.

Brokers will be absent of beer for a bit, so buy up what I last posted. The Brewery access chest is still open and available with the password "sample" if the brokers are gone and you need your beer in a pinch. I'm all paid up on upkeep, so I'm just not going to login until my 60 days of upkeep are up so that my sub doesn't start until then. I look forward to returning and hope a lot of stuff gets ironed out in with UE5 and the patches that come after in the time while I'm gone. I'll also add, please don't siege the Brewery while I'm gone. You'll not get much besides the furniture and the access chests which are available anyways. I keep most of my supplies in blue town banks.

If there's one thing I could say about what needs to be done, it's this: fix what you have before adding new stuff and promising new things, especially the barebones UI and base systems.,

I'll see you all in a month or two! Celebrate with Slarti. Bartfast Brewery! ))
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti pulls the sign off the Brewery door and tosses it in the corner behind the pub counter.

"Welp... time to get back to business."
 
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