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The Trip to Rithwic

I was sitting in Holtburg doing the usual (kill cow, cook steak, send my vassal Jiggles McMankleman for more wine, eat steak, drink wine, belch, kill cow...) when someone dropped a small brown bag-like object near me and ran off. I identify it as a small gromnie hide. SCORE! I quickly limp over and scoop up the prize, my eyes darting through the crowd for anyone to oppose me. Sending Jiggles up for wine, I sneak out of town in his absence. A trip to the Rithwic leather crafter would prove too much for the boy.

Reaching the Rithwic portal, I jump through...the uneasy pull portal travel does to my stomach forcing me to involuntarily release the steak and wine. I land just outside Rithwic, kneeling when a warm spray hits my back and neck, the dinner of meat and drink has caught up with me. Not wanting to take the time to wash the bile from my tattered apparel, I head directly to the town of Rithwic.

People entering and exiting the local pub nearly distracts my mission and the bellowing sound of the town cow is making my crusted lips quiver and palette water, but I shun my primal urges and gimp out to the leather crafter. Beyond the fork in the road I stop to snuff the life from a lone rabbit. I then sit down and fish a bottle of Ambrosia Nectar from a deep hidden pocket inside my coat. The feast of rabbit carcass and nectar is an early celebration of what is to come.

Just ahead along the road I spot the wooden posts leading up to the house of the leather crafter. My heart races and I tremble in anticipation as I venture off the road and up to the isolated cottage. Halfway there, an unusual and truly foreign sound comes from behind me. I slowly turn around and see a pale-skinned and balding figure wielding a sharpened knife. Stories of townsfolk talking of "drudge" come back to my memory and now I have finally witnessed one. Never have I seen such a creature or any creature on the path to the leather crafter. I gaze to the clear sky, shaking my soiled fist, damning Turbine for this patch. I look up to the cottage, 200 feet seems much farther, then glance back at the drudge. The foul beast looks ready to attack. After 35 levels in Holtburg, I thought I would be ready for a situation like this but wasn't. My life as a vagabond has never led me to any confrontation with the fauna that populates the wilderness.

The drudge must have seen the uncertainty in my one good eye and charges. A warm sensation of urine streams down my leg, past my trick knee, and filling my wool slippers. I turn and run for the cottage, hobbling like a pregnant woman and screaming like a small child. I feel a scratch across my back and know my life force is half removed. I reach the door handle as the drudge claws at me again, yanking the large oaken door open. I throw myself into the cottage and kick the door closed, the screams of frustration from the drudge emanating from beyond the sturdy door and filling my groggy head.

For the first time in my life I have felt a strong sense of excitement. I tear open my dirty smock, bearing my chest, noticing that even my proliferated nipple was hard. I stumble to the crafter and hand her the hide of a small Azure Gromnie. Within mere moments, she hands me back an item that was the whole reason for this most dangerous trip, pauldrons. I hold the pauldrons over my head and cackle with delight but this only infuriates the drudge still pounding on the cottage door.

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