Slarti Bartfast Presently

Slarti Bartfast

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Mar 6, 2022
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(( Welcome. This is Slart Bartfast's life thread. Let's see what happens! ))

Slarti has almost pure Tindremene blood except that he has a grandma that was a Kallard. When order was being restored to Tindrem after the Conflux, his mother was a member of the Theurgy, having kept her mother's Kallard heritage a secret. At some point during the shuffling of the caste system, her impure bloodline was revealed and she was banished to the Plebeian caste, truly a mercy as she could have easily been labeled as an Eeta. Slarti knows nothing of how his true bloodline was revealed or even if the revelation is true. It may have just been politics. His mother never explained as she raised him in the dark underneath during the end of the time of the Irruption, being that there were clearly more pressing matters. He did not find out his position until humanity emerged from their subterranean refuge and he was denied a position among the Theurgy when someone in the Theurgy realized his lineage given his stark resemblance to his mother.

"Nay! He is not fit to be among the new Theurgy! I see his family in his face! His mother was none other than Martha Bartfast! Bartfast be your surname, be it not?" squealed the judgmental fellow running the caste reorganization process at the moment. "Yes! She was a dumb Kallard, and so be you, boy! Your magical healing skills are most impressive, no doubt due to your Tindremene blood, but the Kallard in you makes you useless to us! You might take your magic and do something stupid with it at any moment! It could be disasterous! Be gone, Pleb!"

Slarti did not fight the request but did not fully understand either. His mother had passed just before humans began to make their way to the surface again. Until this moment, he was unaware that he had Kallard blood in him. He has never been sure how to feel about this revelation, but he has never dared challenge it. While he has strong magic skills, his social skills are a bit duller. Yet, he is smart enough to realize this. Thus, he never put himself in a position to be thrown away amongst the Eeta by trying to press the matter. He took a position as a florist for the city gardens and began to save his coin for travel. He wanted to know more of his Kallard ancestry. Eventually he saved up enough coin for a horse and began travelling around Myrland while staying close enough to Tindrem to maintain his position as a florist, checking back in by bringing samples of new flowers from his travels across the steppes. He became enamored with the land to east and soon began doing most of his business through Morin Khur though most of his wealth lay inconveniently at the treasury in Tindrem.

Slarti took up cooking, especially fermentation, during his time in Morin Khur. Brewing became his new love and profession as he left floristry behind him. He loves experimenting with different liquid bases for the brews, like malus juice and pirum juice. He also loves picking different grains across Myrland. He finds the barley fields of the central steppe to be one of the most peaceful places in Myrland, provided no one rides out from the keeps looking aggressive. He also enjoys the rice fields and malus orchard right behind Morin Khur. Slarti is now working to transfer his holdings from Tindrem to Morin Khur, and then shortly after to a building of his own design once he gathers the materials and workers to help him build it. He plans to build a brewery near the rice fields of Morin Khur. If he cannot secure the permit, then he will build near his favorite pirum orchard between Morin Khur and Toxai, supplying his specialty brews to as many taverns as possible across Myrland. He is especially interested in opening business relations with the taverns of the free city of Mercor.

(( My first MO story, so the lore is probably atrociously violated. Apologies ahead of time XD. Ole Slarti Bartfast is starting to find his place in Myrland. ))
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti cleared his throat and hollered at the top of his lungs in the town square.

"Yesterday in the easternmost bank of Morin Khur, I was accused of killing an owned horse and threatened with an unsheathed blade by Nyochtar of Harbringers. I professed my innocence there and am doing so now. Never have I killed another's horse, though I have killed a few in the field to learn about their innards. The foul accuser left me and then proceeded to join the duels in front of the bank. Later, I wandered near the cemetery on my way to get some pirum when the same false accuser began riding at me shouting, "Slarti, you stole more horse!" with his blade unsheathed and clearly-not-dead-horse charging. So which is it sir? Did I steal or kill your horse? You sir are A FRAUD! And I don't much trust your Harbringer companions either after seeing them listed on the bounty board for none other than speaking falsities. I'll ride warily when I see your crest. It is a sad day when a simple beer brewer cannot collect his ingredients in peace."
 

Slarti Bartfast

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Dear Diary,

Riding through the steppes following the river until it bends near where a lot of folks are building, I come upon a new structure being built. I slow down calling out my intentions of peace, even offering my trademark beer to the builders inside. A one Plywka comes out of the structure with his bow drawn. I again state my intentions and offer beer to him and his building crew. Then he shoots my horse, Baxter, with an arrow. I heal up Baxter and run as the fellow shots my horse again. I escaped, but what is this world coming to when you offer folks free brew and are met with arrows?
 

Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti blinked in surprise as he read the request for Bartfast Brewery's first major order. "50 gold worth of beer?! That's almost my entire inventory! Delivered to Fabernum?! Hah! We'll see if I can make it perimiter of bandits and killers that surrounds that forsaken place. Roll the dice!" With that, Slarti began to organize the brews that he would be delivering to this customer, a one Crabs. "Can't say I've ever heard of this fellow. I sure hope this isn't some prankster since I'll be putting my life and beer on the line." He took a deep breath and continued sorting, packing, and updating his inventory.

"Everytime I'm in Morin Khur..." came a familiar voice from behind Slarti as he finished boxing up the humongous order.

"Skjor!" replied Slarti with excitement. "Just the person! You've helped me transport so much already, and I always pay good coin. Care to make another run? This time is a huge order of beer to Fabernum."

"Well... I was going to search out and explore a spider cave with some other adventurers, but they don't seem to be coming. Sure... why not?" Skjor answered.

The two set off for Fabernum, taking the backroads and fields to avoid bandits, pillagers, and murderers. The delivery went off without a hitch! Slarti dropped his beer off at the post with COD for Crabs. He sure hoped that when he returned that the post would be holding nearly 50 gold for him. Otherwise, he might find himself standing in Fabernum town square trying to sell 50 gold worth a beer a few bottles at a time. Not the evening he had planned. He began pacing near the post.

Skjor noticed his friend's impatience and neurotic waiting. "While we're here, want to go slay some bandits?" Skjor inquired.

Slarti scrunched his face up in a mix of emotions that he wasn't even sure about. He inhaled deeply and put his finger up in the air as if to say something important but only a mild mannered, "Okay." escaped his lips. I guess Skjor is right he thought to himself. No sense in watching this pot boil.

The two set off into the snowy hills of the northeast, slaughering tribe rats as they made their way to a bandit camp on the northern shore of Myrland. Once enough bandit blood had been shed and the land made safer, Skjor and Slarti parted ways. Skjor being much heartier than Slarti made camp in the wilderness while Slarti began the journey back to Fabernum to check the post for his payment.

"Hey! The beer guy! Yeah... your order has been picked up. Here's your payment," said the post-person as Slarti approached. "Next time, maybe bring a little for me, too, eh?" Said the post-person jokingly. A sack of gold thudded on the countertop in front of Slarti. Too anxious to wait, he dumped it on the counter and began counting. "Hey, c'mon buddy, I got other customers here. Your amount is guaranteed, and even if it is not correct, whadareyehgonnado?" Slarti grimaced at the post-person and slid the money back in the sack.

He crossed the street and took up a table at the inn to count his money. Sure enough, it was all there. Slarti sighed. Nearly a week's worth of work all purchased by one person in one evening for a mere 50 gold. It was a lot of money, but it did not feel like as much when Slarti thought about all the harvesting, pressing, grinding, and brewing he had to do to make the beer. Was the payout really worth all the effort? He gazed briefly at nothing while his thoughts sped through his cranium. Then he shook his head violently imagining all the negative thoughts flying out of his ears in every direction.

"Of course it's worth it. It's beer."

He smiled and headed off to the trade broker to spend all of his newfound wealth on cuprum that he planned to use to build his physical brewery location. One step closer to working out of his own space instead of a rented room in Morin Khur. One step at a time.
 

Slarti Bartfast

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"Thank you sir!" shouted the delivery boy as he tore off on his desert horse towards his next destination, probably Meduli or Vadda. Slarti had tipped him generously as he tried to do anytime he could for those in the service industry like himself. He unrolled the letter. His eyes bulged.

"Even bigger than the first bulk order! 10,000 units of beer?!" he yelled, forgetting that he was standing in the middle of Tindrem. A few passersby gave him queer looks and continued on their way. Slarti didn't notice and kept reading aloud but now in a more reasonable mumble. "...in Bakti or at my restaurant in Canteri. Signed Chef Giston. Wait! I've heard tales of this chef and his restaurant! I've seen his advertisements on the town boards. This isn't just some random bulk order from a person that likes to drink a lot. This is a culinary aficionado, and he's interested in my beer?!"

Slarti gulped and then began gritting his teeth as he anxiously reread the letter twice more. His thoughts zipped around his brain like the dragonflies in the Tindrem garden.

Thank the Sun I've already got nearly half that in my inventory since I've been busy at the farm gathering red jambura and spelt to bring back to Morin Khur. Looks like it is only going to make it halfway. I'll bring it to Bakti. I mean I really should deliver it to his door, but I've never been to Canteri. I've heard there are so many dangerous ways to die in that part of Myrland. Giant reptilian things with the claws and the teeth and the fast running... wait... or is that the jungle? Is Canteri in the jungle?

Slarti knocked back a few mugs of his favorite brew, Toxai Trail, which is a light and refreshing brew with a rice flour base fermented in pirum juice. Now full of the liquid courage that he needed, he stopped by the post and penned a hasty response.

Chef Giston! I've heard tales of the deliciousness of your restaurant from adventurers across Myrland! I'd be honored to have my beverages sold alongside your cuisine. You've put your order in at a most fortunate time as I got done with the latest batch and have about 3k of each currently. I'll put a rush on your order, but it is still very large, my largest yet in fact! I can likely have it to you in about a week but will shoot for earlier. Also, it may take longer should I be waylaid between Tindrem and Bakti, but let's hope the brigands are not feeling spicy the day I head out for delivery. I'd come to Canteri, but to be honest, I'd get lost. I have not yet been to that area of Myrland for fear of the many vicious creatures that I've heard wander the area. Still, after the delivery to Bakti, I shall make it a point to overcome my fears of the local fauna and visit your restaurant sometime soon. -Slarti
 

Slarti Bartfast

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The sun beat down on Slarti's back as he harvested spelt near at pig farm. He was sweaty and tired but had to keep going. After this, he still needed to head over to the red jambura orchard to collect more of the fabulous fruit. It was hard work, but he loved it. Many brewers would just as soon outsource the harvesting work, but Slarti felt like it was an important part of the process. He wanted to select only the finest grains that would make the fluffiest flour. He wanted the ripest fruit, bulging with juice to be fresh squeezed just before adding it to the flour to ferment. Doing the harvesting himself was the only way to truly be sure his brew was of the highest quality possible, though this start-to-finish brew style was not without its risks.

Slarti heard the thunder of hooves on the dirt approaching the spelt field. Against his better judgement, he popped his head over the grains to see who or what was approaching. Two riders headed straight for him. How the hell did they spot me so quickly? Slarti looked just to the left as his own horse whinied in anxiety over the approaching riders. I gotta remember to park my horses further away. Slarti's horse's anxiety was not misplaced as the riders quickly filled it with arrows. Slarti stepped out of the spelt field throwing his hands in the air while yelling, "Why?! Just why?!" The larger rider chuckled shot an arrow into Slarti's leather chest armor, causing him to wince in pain and shout, "Please, spare me!"

At least four additional riders made themselves visible now seemingly coming from all directions. "I'm going to need you to drop everything you have," gruffly said the rider that shot Slarti. Slarti immediately threw down his bags and gear. What the hell do they expect to get anyways? I've only got 3 gold on me and spelt. They already cost me a damn horse. He began to walk away before the riders had second thoughts and murdered him. "Hey! Hold on there!" shouted the head rider. Slarti froze, sure that the next moment would be his last. He imagined an arrow passing through the back of his neck until the sharp tip popped out with his Adam's apple wriggling about on the end and shuddered. "You can come back and get your stuff. We only take what we need, like your calamine and stuff. You can keep your gear. Think about joining the Brigands."

Slarti's jaw dropped open comically as he tried to speak, holding his finger up in the air as if he were about to say something of great significance but only managing to flap his jaw up and down a few times with no words or sound coming out. He was trying to give a witty, spite-filled thanks that expressed his distaste for the senseless murder of his horse while also showing authentic appreciation for the mercy to still be breathing. Instead, he finally managed, "Uhhhh... uh... thanks. Bye." His 3 gold was still in his bag.
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti tossed a full gold to the post delivery kid. Slarti's beer had been selling like hotcakes, especially in Meduli, so as usual he tried to pass on a bit of his good luck to those that crossed his path. He unrolled the short letter. It read:

It's perfect my dear brewmaster, if I motivate some comrades we may be able to escort you from Sausage Lake to Bakti, or the Canteri Village! -Giston

"Hmmm... I'm fortunate," mumbled Slarti and then continued his reflection in his thoughts. -fortunate that I have such a good spirited customer. That is not always the case. Still, I want to try to handle as much as possible without having to ask the customer to provide shipping security. The good Chef must know I am fairly new to shipping my brews compared to his expertise of distributing meals and ingredients. I've seen evidence of it in the logs at the broker and by word of mouth. No... I shall not require of him this kind yet over courteous offer. I will navigate to at least Batki without need of his no doubt experienced hired muscle. I will again turn to my friend, Skjor! He has been reliable to a fault and a pleasure to ride with. He's certainly proven his physical strength when we have come across bandits during our travels.

Slarti stopped by his room at the inn in Tindrem and wrote an invoice. No matter how neatly he tried to write, his letters always came out looking jagged and misshapen. While he loved to write in general, though he was prone to error. And when editing, he was prone to get stuck in endless self-checking cycles. Thus he usually just tried to go with the flow, no matter subject of the writing. Thus, he dropped the invoice in the mail slot and cursed instantly as the thought sparked that he had miscalculated the subtotal. He quickly wrote a very short letter explaining the mistake, also noting that he would be leaving the beer at the post COD.

Slarti paused after adding that last detail about the COD. He wanted to pay the Chef the honor of making the delivery in-person but simply had no choice. Slarti was expected back in Morin Khur to pay his rent on the room he had been using as his brewery. The crazy land lady demanded of all her tenants that they pay rent face-to-face so she can count it and evict them immediately if necessary. He visualized his stores of beer tossed into the street or Morin Khur, most of the bottles burst open and wasted into the gutter. The few bottles that survived would quickly scavenged by the local ruffians and scoundrels, excited for an evening of free drunkeness. His brewing equipment would find its way to the broker to pay for the eviction fee stipulated in his rental agreement should he fail to pay rent and need to be evicted. No... he could not let that come to pass. Besides, once he received payment for this order, Slarti would finally have enough gold to begin building his brewery. Soon he would never have to worry about the crazy land lady ever again!

Surely the Chef would understand. Surely he would be busy himself with a restaurant to run. At last, Slarti shrugged and dropped the addendum into the mail slot along with the additional postage fee and a grumble. I sure hope I didn't just slight one of the finest chefs in Myrland on his first order to me.
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti was gathering spelt near the orchards this time when hoofbeats of those that would simply take what they want from a merchant like him again approached. Slarti saw them come around the bend on the road, veering off when they saw him standing near his horse. Someday I'll remember to park my horse somewhere else. I've not a damn thing to take besides the horse and the little spelt and vitis I've gathered. I'm so close to being able to fulfil the Chef's order! He sighed. As the duo of riders neared, Slarti threw down his bags, threw up his hands, and shouted, "Please just take what you need and be on your way. I just want to gather ingredients for my brews in peace. And for Sun's sake, please spare my horse."

The first rider lightly shot an arrow into Slarti's leather chestpiece causing him to wince in pain. Deja vu? "We need your horse. Our friend is coming. He lost his and we have to return to the battle."

Slarti couldn't keep from laughing as he said, "Yes, of course. I'll hand over the reigns to your friend" He had only had Ingrid, a young steppe horse, for three days and nights. She was particularly even-tempered, and he was looking forward to raising her to her full potential. So much for that.

"Well isn't this guy something?" one of the riders half-mockingly, half-intimidatingly said. "Threw down his stuff and everything. He must believe in the cause!"

"He sure is short," chuckled the other one.

Slarti eyed the insignias on their armor and recognized them to be the symbol for the OMERTA guild. Not a great way to get people to believe in your cause fellas, but I guess points for letting me live.

"Hey! Here comes our friend! His name is Gitas!"

Slarti heard the familiar sound of someone running in heavy, metallic armor approaching behind him. He turned around to see a knight drop the sword that was already raised above his head before Slarti had turned around. There was a flash of red and Slarti found himself in the spirit realm. He headed for the Tindrem priest. It wasn't long before he inhaled a massive breath to fill up his lungs for the first time as his body was reformed by her hand in the blink of a few seconds. He informed the awaiting guard of the name of his murderer, choosing to leave the name of the accomplice that hit him with the arrow in the ether. He would not be judged that day by the actions of others in his company, at least on this day.

Slarti grabbed some coin from the bank and picked a young steppe horse from the broker along with some small bags. He headed out without naming the horse for fear of bringing bad luck given how things had been going for him with horses lately. "Yah!" he yelled, testing the new animal's strength and speed as he raced to the farm to hopefully recover his belongings. Hopefully the bastards were long gone now along with poor, poor Ingrid.
He slowed his new horse to a trot as he approached the area where he was gathering spelt, narrowing his eyes to look for his bags. "They took my stuff?! Lowlifes! Cowards! Thieves!" he cussed. Then he looked to his left to see the corpse of poor, poor Ingrid lying among the spelt. "And murdered my damn horse?! Murdered INGRID!!! YOU SAID YOU NEEDED MY HORSE!!!"

Slarti took a deep breath in and held it for several seconds before exhaling slowly and steadily making the air pass through his lips sound like the wind when traversing the high cliffs near Hyllspeia. He cracked a wry smile as the thought occurred to him that perhaps in a poor yet attempted show of honor that the murderer's buddies slaughtered Ingrid as punishment for murdering Slarti when he had already agreed to hand over what was needed peacefully. Maybe they feared what the story of the murder might do for their organization... or maybe the whole damn organization was a band miscreants and thieves. Slarti shrugged. He had more important things to worry about, like getting back to collecting spelt to finish up the Chef's order.
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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The day had finally come! Slarti loaded the bags on his steppe horse, since christened with the name Boot, with nearly double the order and his remaining brewing supplies from this round of harvesting. He also took his most recent gold from his sales. But what about Skjor? Slarti had mentioned in his letter that today would be the day he would need assistance transporting his order and latest batch to Batki. He had received no response. He headed for the post to see if Skjor had sent word. He certainly hoped so, or his errand would be placed at much greater risk should he have to depart solo.

Sure enough the post had a letter from Skjor for Slarti. It read:

Can't make it. Still recovering from trip through the jungle. I'm going to send you someone you can trust though. He owes me and I'm calling in the favor. He'll meet you near the Tindrem stables on the day and time you specified. He is big. You'll see him. -Skjor

Slarti started breathing rapidly as he began to panic. He wasn't feeling like rolling the dice on all the hard work he had done to fulfil this order. Who would Skjor send? He knew Skjor was trustworthy, but would Skjor's acquaintances be trustworthy? What did he mean that this person owes him? And that he was big? Slarti guessed the "big" part was at least good, assuming it did not turn on him. After turning around the same neurotic thoughts for a few minutes, Slarti shook his head and said to himself awkwardly and out loud, "I can do this." He set off to meet his escort at near the stable as he was already a minute late due to his fretting.

As he approached the stable, Slarti did a double take at the absolutely massive Thursar that was clearly the big person Skjor mentioned. "Well, you are a big one, aren't you?" Slarti tried to ask in a rhetorically amusing way that actually fell flat and sounded borderline offensive. He forced a limp smile. "I'm Slarti," he said. "Are you the person Skjor sent to help me?"

The large Thursar just stared at Slarti, not looking comfortable or uncomfortable. Slarti did his best to stare back, though he looked completely uncomfortable. "Gromchok," said the Thursar in surprisingly dumb sounding voice. He sounded like a complete peon.

Oh Sun help me, Skjor has sent me an utter imbecile. A big one, but an absolute idiot! How am I ever going to get my order deliv-

"SAMPLE!" shouted Gromchok at Slarti, smashing the cage of thoughts that was holding his mind and tongue hostage.

"W-W-What?" sputtered Slarti.

"Sample," said Gromchok more calmly, thrusting his hand outward. The enomrous size of Gromchok's hand made the fairly large culinary container look smaller than it was. A strange smell was emanating from it.

Slarti grinned weakly, "Oh no, I couldn't. I'll get sick on the ride if I eat now."

Gromchok growled a low growl and lowered his eyebrows while pushing the container into Slarti's fat belly, forcing him to grab it and thus realize the true size of the odd meal being gifted to him. As soon as Gromchok let go, Slarti struggled to hold the container aloft, almost hitting the ground with it in his hands before steadying himself and setting it down gently. He looked at Gromchok who nodded and made a motion implying Slarti should open the container and fully appreciate its contents or face the Thursar's wrath.

Slarti pulled on the lid of the container which offered significant resistance in the form of suction until finally it released with a loud "POP!" sending Slarti tumbling backwards. The release of the lid also shook the container sending some of its contents spilling out into the street, the most notable of which included an eyeball and a stringy like material that was probably some sort of intestine. The smell coming from the container was impossible to identify. It was as if something horribly rotten had been covered in sugar. It was as if you fermented emalj in pirum juice but removed the emalj before the pickling process was complete, leaving the emalj smelling sweet yet musty. A dog walked up and licked the eyeball that had been ejected from the container, snuffed, and then urinated on it.

"Oh I most definitely cannot have any before we go. It looks sooooo... soooo.... rich! Yes, I shall have it as a victory meal when we arrive in Bakti," said Slarti speedily as he slammed the lid back on the container. Gromchok eyed him for a moment and then grunted in approval with a quick nod. He grabbed the large container with one hand and shoved it back into his horse's bag. "Right then," continued Slarti. "Well, let me give you half of the order to carry. That way if one of us doesn't make it, then at least the other can still complete the order for my client, Chef Giston." The Thursar took the beer and added it to his horse's bag next to the culinary container. "And here... you can have your pay now as well. That way you can put it in the bank if you don't want to risk losing it on the delivery run. Also, here is what I owe Skjor for the last run. I take it you'll be seeing him." Gromchok let out a low chuckle and shook his head no at Slarti, closing Slarti's hand tight around the money purse and pushing it back toward him. "Oh... uh... alright then," said Slarti, slightly confused. He decided he would attempt to pay the Thursar again at the journey's end. "Well.. uh.. here... at least take half the gold I have on me. That way not all is lost if I don't make it." Gromchok nodded. Slarti poured out half his gold pieces and handed them to the Thursar who shoved them in his own sack.

A passerby saw the exchange of gold and slowed his horse to a stop near Slarti and Gromchok. "Hello," he said. He was a skinny and short Alvarin. His eyes darted back and forth quickly between Slarti and Gromchok. "Can I have gold? You give me gold... or trouble," he said eyeing a nearby guard. Gromchok had been seated just before the Alvarin rode up and now stood up, his massive figure casting a shadow that fully covered the tiny Alavrin and the pony he rode on. "Gromchok," said Gromchok with a fierce growl as he cracked his knuckles and exhaled purposely in the face of the Alvarin. The Alvarin coughed, turned his horse, and sped away.

Slarti couldn't hide his grin. Gromchok looked at him and chuckled. Maybe this fella isn't so bad after all.
 
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grendel

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I love it! Keep them coming.
I feel your pain with the caste system, my own great great grandmother was cast out of the Theurgy caste and down among the Plebs, due to various intrigues and unfortunate happenings.
 
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(( and now the finale, filled with more gross interactions with Gromchok and his culinary creation ))

Slarti listened to the groans, grunts, and screams coming from the large fire near the center of town where soldiers practiced dueling. He was definitely in Bakti. He looked behind him and saw Gromchok still taking up the rear. They hadn't encountered any resistance on the trip from Tindrem to Bakti. It seemed Slarti's luck was finally turning. "Whew! We made it! Thanks big fella!" Slarti said while slowing his horse to allow the Thursar to pull up parallel to him. "Follow me to the post and you can hand over the goods there. The Chef will be most pleased, I'm sure."

The two pulled over on the side of the broker and post building and dismounted. Slarti turned toward Gromchok after dismounting to find the culinary container from Tindrem in his face again. "SAMPLE!" shouted Gromchok.

"Well.. uhh... yeah, I suppose a deal's a deal," said Slarti, nodding. He wasn't going to risk the Thursar's wrath so near to his destination. He still has my goods. There's no way out of this one. I can do it. I've tasted some pretty bad stuff in my day. Heck, some of my own creations were awful when I first started.

Gromchok pulled the lid off the container for Slarti this time. Slarti reached in with his hand looking for a small piece of something but found only large chunks. If only I'd eaten that eyeball that rolled out back in Tindrem. Slarti resigned himself to his fate and grabbed a large chunk of what seemed to be meat. It was so squishy that it oozed through the cracks between his fingers as he grasped it. Whatever contributed to the sweet smell back in Tindrem was long since rotted during the ride to Bakti. Now the dish simply smelled foul. Slarti raised the chunk in the air and smiled at Gromchok. He pretended he was holding an overripe apple and took a huge bite. Hey, not so bad. Gross texture but I don't really taste much.

Slarti began chew. Juices previously unseen were squeezed out the bite he took and onto his tongue. He immediately began to wretch, sending his bite of the chunk flying through the air. It landed on the smoldering remains of a campfire and let out a sickly sizzle. A dark smoke rose into the air and was dispersed along with the most awful smell one could ever imagine. Across Bakti, shouts of confusion and disgust erupted. Those just entering the town immediately turned their horses around and headed back into the woods. Better to face bandits than the smell. Hell, a bandit smells like a bouquet of gallardia compared to the smell that came from this unfortunate situation.

Slarti vomitted into the bushes for around a minute until he was empty and then dry heaved for another half a minute. When he finally regained his composure, he stood up and looked at Gromchok who was staring at him and showing no hint of emotion. Slarti gave a weak smile and put his thumb up hoping to indicate to the Thursar that the dish was delicious despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Gromchok held his stone gaze for about ten seconds more. Slarti began to sweat, partly from being nervous and partly from his system still trying to remove any remnants of what he just ingested. Then without warning, Gromchok broke into thunderous, gut-shaking laughter. Slarti still looking quite palid did his best to chuckle along as Gromchok passed him the rest of the beer and money minus the escort fee.

Gromchok nodded courteously to Slarti and then walked over to a merchant selling turkey legs but still in sight of Slarti. Slarti watched Gromchok curiously, pausing his loading of the beverages into his horse's bags. Gromchok said a few words to the merchant that Slarti couldn't hear, and then the merchant pulled out a box he kept his refuse in until he was able to take it to the forest at the end of the day. Gromchok tossed his culinary creation into the trash and then held up one finger. The merchant put the refuse to the rear of his stall and handed Gromchok a turkey leg. Gromchok nonchalantly flipped a gold coin to the merchant fresh from his escort payment from Slarti. He then caught Slarti by surprise by looking straight at him! Slarti flinched as he did not think Gromchok was aware he was still watching. Gromchok took a huge bite of the turkey leg without breaking eye contact, winked, and then led his horse off toward the stables.

Slarti shook his head as he stepped into the post. What an adventure! Maybe not an adventure like those rough and tough soldiers or bandits, but an adventure in its own right. This is the life. Sometimes I still miss my easy days as a florist in Tindrem, but I can never go back to doing just that. To gather and then create with what I've gathered. To risk it all by moving what I create around the continent, ensuring beer keeps flowing to all the lawful cities! They shall write my name in stories! Slarti Bartfast, the best brew-

"Sir!" said the postmaster with an annoyed tone like he had already repeated the greeting several times.

"Oh, uh, right! Please send these boxes of beer to Chef Giston along with my sincere apologies for not being able to deliver the goods in person," Slarti instructed the postmaster.

"Ah... you're Slarti Bartfast? Yeah, the Chef was in already. He left this message for you. He said you'd have beer for us to hold for him," explained the postmaster. He handed Slarti a note and the gold for the transaction. Slarti quickly stashed the gold in his bags and sat down in an empty chair to read the note.

I take the order. You can get your gold! COD is fine. The restaraunt, La Cantina, is closed for a few days while we wait on the new furniture that is coming in. Come see us sometime soon though! -Chef Giston

Below the writing, there was drawn a crude map with directions from Bakti to the restaurant. Slarti traced his finger along the route to the restaurant. Then he folded the note and slid it into his bag. He was off to Morin Khur to pay his landlord for hopefully the last time ever. He patted his gold sack, wishing silently for luck from the Sun for the journey. His dream of building his very own brewery was near fruition. He smiled.

I'm going to build my brewery. Then it's off to Canteri to try and find La Cantina. One adventure after another. I'm sure I'll find time to brew a few batches as well. I hear there are green jamburra in Canteri. A new beer is on the way, Myrland!
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti Moves Back West

Slarti poured over his sales logs. He sighed as he reviewed the numbers for Morin Khur and Toxia.

I guess folks out east just don't drink as much. Makes sense. All the grains and fruits for the best beer can only be found in the west. The trip out there and back definetly has its stressful moments. I really wanted to build my brewery near Toxai, but the slow sales and travel time to fetch ingredients just can't justify that. Hell... I might even run into problems paying upkeep in a timely manner if I built there. I have so much I'll need to transport from Morin Khur to Tindrem, but it will be worth it.

Slarti's eyes moved from the bottom to the top of the page. He grinned as he started hitting the larger numbers.

Meduli and Fabernum. I suppose I'd drink a lot more if I lived in either of those crazy places as well. Hmmm... Tindrem coming in a respectable third place, nicely situated in between the two. The forest towns did alright, but I really don't like riding through that those forests. Makes me so damn nervous. Chef Giston is also doing well selling some of my last batch down that way, so I'll leave him to it. I wonder if he knows what a great batch he got. I've not made one of that quality since then and I'm not sure I ever will. Lucky fella, he is. I still need to visit La Cantina.

Where would I build the brewery though?


Slarti's mind browsed the lay of the land as he ran his finger over the map of Myrland on the table. He stopped occassionally, tapping once or twice on prospective locations to build his brewery that were in range of Tindrem, Fabernum, and Meduli.

Ha! Who am I kidding. I've got to get my current operations packed up and successfully moved to Tindrem before I can even think of building now. So many possible murderers and bandits between here and there. At least they've gotten a little less murdery as of late.

His horses would sometimes survive now if Slarti threw his hands in the air fast enough and begged the bandit not to needlessly kill the horse. The random bandits that used to just ride the roads and kill immediately for sport had lessened considerably, perhaps due to the new bounty boards around Myrland. On occasion, Slarti had even avoided a robbery by proactively offering beer to the would-be bandits.

Slarti waited until late evening to begin packing. Blister, his desert horse, could barely carry all the freight. Flour of every kind, juice of so many fruits, and materials for building the brewery were all tightly packed into bags on the side of Blister, who was happily fat after eating a particularily large quantity of dile. He neighed playfully as the packs tickled his sides.

"At least you're ready for the trip, Blister. I sure hope we make it with all this stuff. This could be the end of Bartfast Brewery, before the physical shop is even built!" said Slarti loudly, suddenly noticing he was talking aloud to himself when his emphasized last words returned to him in an echo from the granum cliff walls nearby.

-

Slarti exhaled heavily as Blister sped into the front gates of Tindrem. "Praise the Sun!" he yelled repeatedly as he made his way to the bank. He worked with the banker to ensure safe keeping of his brewing and building supplies until he could find a stall to rent.

Whew... one step... one giant, unexpected yet necessary step... one step closer to opening the brewery.

Slarti thanked the banker and tossed him a gracious tip on account of his happiness at how smooth the midnight journey had been.
 

Slarti Bartfast

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(( loosely inspired by a fellow forum user, the Barffast part ))

Slarti pulled 150 gold out of the bank in Tindrem and headed for the deed office. Even though he was in the city, it still made him very nervous to carry that much gold on his person at once. While it might not be a lot to soldiers out there in Myrland reaping the spoils of war, 150 gold to Slarti represented the hours of sweat and hard work he had put into harvesting at the Tindrem Orchard. It represented the blood he shed when callous bandits ran him through just for a laugh in the spelt fields at the Pig Farm. The gold represented the tears he shed when a beer recipe would go horribly wrong, wasting valuable ingredients and thus the hours spent gathering them. 150 gold can mean a lot of different things, but right now it meant fulfilling Slarti's dream of building his brewery!

"Purpose of establishment?" said the clerk so flatly that it was abundantly clear she took no joy in her work.

Slarti's words burst forth, exploding with excitement. "Brewery, food, and lodging! I've already got all the materials and can't wait to get building! I've been preparing for this mo-"

"NEXT!" interupted the clerk, her tone so assertive that it bordered on aggressive, as she shoved the deed across the desk towards Slarti. While Slarti had been spouting his hopes and dreams to her, the clerk had been completing and stamping the deed form as quickly as she could so that she wouldn't have to deal with anymore of his unfettered optimism.

Slarti closed his mouth that was still hanging open from his last word and then looked around behind him. He was the only one in the office. He raised his finger in the air and started to speak, "Bu-"

"NEXT! NEXT! NEEEEEEEXT!" she screeched and then glared at him, daring him to speak again. The guard near the door looked toward them and then glared at Slarti.

"MOVE ALONG, SIR!" he bellowed at Slarti in a deep, threatening voice while reaching to hold the handle of his sword. Slarti gulped and dropped his eyes to the floor while fast walking toward the exit. The guard gave him a hard shove on the way out causing Slarti to stumble wildly into the street.

"Golly, what'd I do?!" he said aloud exasperatingly to himself. He looked down at the 150 gold document now in his hand, though it was a tad crumpled from the action. He sat down on a nearby bench and flattened out the deed as best as he could, his eyes naturally running over the words. Suddenly he stopped smoothing the paper. His jaw dropped so far that it almost hit the bench he was sitting on. The document said the following concerning the name of the owner and establishment:

Owner: Slarti Barffast
Establishment Name: Barffast Brewery


"Barffast?! BARFFAST?!" Slarti's face grew red as he gritted his teeth and clenched his muscles so tight that it seemed as he might somehow implode. He pulled out and poured over his supporting documents that the clerk had used to complete his deed. They all clearly said Bartfast. He stood up from the bench and turned toward the deed office with a stoic face and laser beam eyes. Then, his laser beam eyes met the guard's eyes, which were far more practiced at glaring malintently. The guard motioned toward his eyes with two fingers and then flipped them around and motioned toward Slarti, which would have been almost comical if the guard's eyes weren't filled with absolute murder. The guard whistled loudly and two more guards ran over from the library entrance next door.

Slarti's attempted menacing look had long since faded into sheer and unabashed terror. He gulped, turn, and ran. Being rather obese, he ran out of a stamina about 150 yards out. He turned quickly to look behind him. In the distance by the deed office he could see and faintly hear the guards cracking up laughing, patting each other on the backs and giving high fives. Slarti did a really weird scream with his mouth shut and followed it with a very deep breath, exhaling for near 45 seconds after the inhale. He opened his eyes and turned toward the bank.

He blinked back a tear and swallowed hard as he walked toward the bank, looking down at the deed in his hand. The mix of emotions overwhelmed his attempt to conceal them in a really strange way. The smile caused by looking at the deed broke the tear dam and caused a few short stuttered sounds from Slarti's mouth that could not definitively be called cries or a laughs. He exhaled again as it felt like the weight on his shoulder just slid off and hit the ground, then he stood up straight composed himself fully as he reached the bank to drop-off the deed until he was ready to build.

I can put whatever the hell I want on the sign. Screw that wench and her goons!
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Blister, Slarti's current desert horse of choice, neighed impatiently as Slarti waited atop him with bags full of metal, wood, and stone. Slarti stared out into the dark night past the torches of the front gate of Tindrem as he gauged the traffic in the area. It had been quiet aside from one or two seemingly reputable riders in and out on various late night errands in the city.

Blister kicked up just a tad and spun in a circle as Slarti struggled with the horse to regain control. As Blister calmed again, Slarti could hear why the horse had gotten worked up. It started as a low rumble but turned into a deafening pounding as a war party of riders suddenly flooded in from the darkness and through the front gate of Tindrem. Slarti turned and watched the last of them run in, setting up small camps just inside the front gate and tending their wounded.

"Nope! No way! Big cup o' nope!" laughed Slarti as he guided Blister back to the bank to drop off the building supplies. The building of the brewery would have to wait another night.

-

Slarti again sat atop Blister parked at the front gate of Tindrem. He'd been out a little longer than the previous night, and still no war parties.

That's all I need, is to accidentally ride through a battle and lose my deed. All that hard work, gone. Poof. No way! It is a quiet night. It's now or never.

Slarti took a deep breath in and out. Then he snapped the reigns sending Blister galloping off into the darkness beyond the torches of the front gate. Slarti's worries began to lessen a bit as the invigoration of riding a desert horse full speed through the night took over his attention. He had practiced the route to the future brewery site many times and knew it by heart. It wasn't hard to navigate, even in the dark, but failing to pay attention could be disastrous at these speeds. Slarti felt the cool of the night air whizzing through his beard and smiled.

Down through the Tindrem Orchard and out the other side to the southeast lay a hill with a town that Slarti always referred to as the town of Goose. The plaques by the doors of many of the residents of the area had Goose in their names. Slarti was curious as he had not met anyone yet, but he assumed they were friendly as they left their stronghold open. He even once spied an equerry at the Embers stronghold in the middle of town. Slarti sure hoped they were friendly since he was about to build his brewery up just up the hill from them all. Free beer was usually a good neighbor lubricant, and Slarti was strongly considering hiring and equerry once he could raise the funds. Surely that would put him in his to-be neighbors' good graces.

As Slarti approached the rear of town town, he delighted in the natural formations of nitre crystal glimmering in the moonlight, another reason he was happy to make this area home. He rode past the last few houses in Goose and then up the hill to the spot he had chosen for the Bartfast Brewery. He immediately laid the foundation and got to work building. He built all through the night, pausing only when he thought he might have heard hoofbeats from a horse other than his own. Blister was patiently waiting behind the rear foundation wall. The sun began to rise and Slarti had only just started on the walls.

Curses! I thought building would go faster than this with given the excellent quality of the blackwood I'm using. I've got to at least get the walls up before taking a break. I'll have no random bandit undo the work I've done here!

Slarti continued building until midmorning when he finally paused for a brief rest. The walls were about halfway up. He stepped out of the front door and took in the view. Tindrem shimmered in the distance in the morning sun. Closer but still a ways down and out, Slarti could see the Tindrem Orchard bursting at the seems it being the rainy season. What a view! He had considered a spot closer to the Orchard, but the view offered by this spot sealed the deal. The view was almost spectacular as that of his original plan to build on the hill looking down on Toxai next to the waterfall.

Perhaps I could still build another location at the spot near Toxai if business goes well here. I get ahead of myself, though, as there is still much building to be done.

Slarti fed Blister and then headed back inside. He shut the door behind himself and continued building. As the sun crept around and began setting, he had nearly finished building. The walls were done and all he lacked was a roof. Though his bones ached and his muscles felt like jelly, he kept building, determined to achieve his dream before another day had passed. Finally, just past midnight, he hammered in the final nail on the roof. Immediately after, he collapsed on the floor from exhaustion.

He spent the next few hours in fitful sleep on the floor of his new brewery, his body aching too deeply to allow a decent rest. When he had finally recovered enough energy to move about again, he arose and stepped out the front door of his new business and home. Though it was dark, he could just make out the silhouette of the coliseum and the towers in Tindrem. He locked up Bartfast Brewery and hopped on Blister. They slowly trotted back to Tindrem, Slarti in somewhat of a dreamlike trance state as the sound of Blister's hooves clopping in the dirt scratched at the back of his brain like softly ticking clock inviting sleep.

Slarti collapsed in his bed in the inn and slept for a day and half straight.
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti worked tirelessly inside the newly built Bartfast Brewery, preparing new brews for fermentation in anticipation of the grand opening of his physical location. After a few days work, Slarti had filled Bartfast Brewery's access chest with a variety of different beers from his line up. Though upkeep of the brewery required him to be in and out and performing tasks, any patron could still help themself to the free samples in the chest using the password "sample". Slarti also took time to setup a table and some chairs so weary travelers could pause for a rest while enjoying some of his beer. Slarti only had room to fit in one bed, his own, in the brewery, but he hoped to add on and in time and also offer rooms for travelers to rest in on their journeys.

As Slarti left to hammer up advertisements in Tindrem, Meduli, and Fabernum, he left the door unlocked and smiled thinking about what sort of folks might visit his brewery and enjoy his beer. Hopefully the samples and hospitality offered by Bartfast Brewery would lead to more sales so that he could eventually expand Bartfast Brewery, growing his dream into realms that even he had not yet considered.

brewery7-15jpeg.jpg
 

Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti noticed an advertisement for the opening of a new restaraunt in West Myrland, Acts Two BBQ. Though he'd been trying to watch his weight, recently moving from obese to a healthy bulging, Slarti couldn't help himself. Beer was his first love, but food was not far behind. He resolved visit the new BBQ joint. He brought along a some Bartfast Brewery samples to leave at Acts Two to make himself feel better about putting his weight loss in jeopardy. This way, he could convince himself that this was just business rather what it actually was; him indulging and ruining his diet.

The ride was thankfully uneventful as Acts Two BBQ was not far from Tindrem being just west of the Pig Farm. While it was a relatively short trip, this area would sometimes be patrolled by roaming gangs of bandits. Slarti had dealt with them several times when they noticed him farming spelt at the Pig Farm. Lately they'd been merciful, allowing Slarti to simply handover his hard-harvested spelt and a few magic reagents before moving on. Every now and then they would just walk up behind Slarti and bash him in the head until he found himself sucking in that first jarring breath of air at the Tindrem priest while being reformed again. There was a lot to be had in this area of Myrland, but you are also included on the list of things to be had. Thus, Slarti stayed on his toes as he approached what he thought to be the Acts Two BBQ building just off the road east from Tindrem on the turn to Hyllspeia.

The door was open and delicious smells were wafting out into the surrounding area. Slarti smacked his lips and swallowed as his mouth watered. He slowed his horse by the house plate to confirm that he was indeed at the right place. It probably would not go well if he charged into a random stranger's place that he mistook for the BBQ joint. He checked the plate and grinned widely as he left his horse to the equerry and headed into the building.

"Hello?" Slarti called out as he entered. The only response her received was the quiet bubbling of the cooking pot that was simmering some incredible smelling sauce. He noticed a sign hanging very conspicuously advising patrons to help themselves to anything in the house. Slarti headed straight for the food storage, led by his nose. Opening the storage, he found exactly what he expected from the distinct smell that was emanating from the container.

"Barbequed springbok. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!" exclaimed Slarti, completely forgetting about his diet. He swiped a plate quickly from a nearby shelf and loaded his plate high with the springbok ribs. His pupils constricted as he ripped into the first bite and chewed noisily and rudely, not noticing the poor equerry that witnessed his lack of couth as she came in for a quick drink of water. Slarti swallowed with absolute purpose and suddenly screamed, "YES!" so loudly and aggressively that the equerry jumped and let out a yelp of her own. Slarti turned quickly as he suddenly realized he was not alone. Her eyes met his and he blushed with embarrassment. He gulped, searching for something to say to relieve the awkwardness.

"Ummm... you want some?" he asked with a stupid grin, holding out the rib that she had just witnessed him devour a chunk of. A large splotch of sauce dripped from the rib and landed on his pants. The equerry rolled her eyes at him and then shot a menacing glare as she walked back out the door to tend to the beasts. "Stupid... dumb... IDIOT!" Slarti yelled at himself. He sighed and then looked back to the massive plate of springbok ribs still in front of him. From his plate he took all but the rib he had begun to eat plus one more, returning the additional ribs to the food storage. He finished the of his ribs politely in silence listening to the bubbling of the sauce cauldron.

Embarrassing, but at least I didn't absolutely destroy all the work I'd been doing on my figure this last week. I really need to tip that equerry a bit extra.

Slarti followed through with that thought and then brought his horse round front to unload his beer samples for the owner.

Hmmmm... who runs this fine establishment?

He peered at the sign and saw the owner listed as Forgiven. There was also a small symbol that looked like AtC.

Where have I seen that?

He grunted as he stumbled up the steps with his carton of samples. As he began adding them to the food storage container, Slarti noticed a stack of paintings in the corner next to some paints and a folded up easel. In the bottom corner of the foremost painting, he saw the same AtC symbol that he felt he recognized by the owner's name on the house deed plate. Slarti's eyes opened wide as if a candle above his head were suddenly lit.

Ohhhhhhhh! He is a painter, too! I've seen his works in shops and houses across the land. Quite talented! Is there anything this fellow doesn't do? I bet I could learn a thing or two from him businesswise. Maybe. We'll see if he and his patrons like the beer.

Slarti finished loading the last of his brews into the food storage and headed back out to his horse. He hopped on and headed towards Tindrem.
 

Slarti Bartfast

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Even with gloves, Slarti's hand were sore and aching, covered in an almost an even ratio of callouses to new blisters as he modified his picking style to give rest to various fingers and areas of the hand that simply could not grip any longer without at least a brief reprieve. Generally fond of the smell of spelt and a also a bit desensitized given how much he interacted with it on a daily basis being a brewer, Slarti struggled to manage the strong, earthy odor. Days and days of endless picking. Sometimes it seemed a blessing when a bandit would happen by and give him a trip to the Tindrem priest.

Slarti had received an order for his newest beer, the Stam Slammer. This order was his biggest bulk order yet, dwarfing all previous orders. 50,000 units of beer. Slarti drug his feet as he walked through Tindrem with the intention of checking the post and then collapsing in a bed at the inn before he had to go back to harvesting tomorrow.

"Name?" said the post-person.

"Slarti... Slarti Bartfast."

"Right, Slarti Barffast. Got you right here." The post-person handed a few envelopes to Slarti. Slarti immediately checked the front envelope. His name was spelled correctly as Bartfast. He gave the post person a nasty look before trudging away to a corner to open his mail. He flipped through the envelopes, judging the likely contents by their weight and appearance, planning to open only anything urgent. Suddenly he stopped flipping and a grimace came over his face.

This piece of correspondence was from the person that had put in the giant order. There had not yet been agreement made about how the order was to be delivered. During the last letter, Slarti had expressed that he was not comfortable lugging 50,000 units of beer all the way to Morin Khur by himself. He offered a few alternatives including a discount for self-pickup, using one of the transfer service guilds with buyer footing the bill, or 10,000 units at a time over a longer period of time. Slarti flipped the envelope around and began to open it, pausing only for a moment to second-guess his decision. If he didn't open it now, he'd never get any sleep, no matter how tired he was. He finished ripping the envelope and unfolded the letter, holding it up to the nearby wall candle to get good light as the sun was now nearly below the horizon.

COD in Fabernum. We'll take the discount.

"Damn it! I said Tindrem! Argh! I guess what is life without a little risk," muttered Slarti as his eyes began to scan the second line of the letter.

And double the order. 100,000u of Stam Slammer.

"Holy son-of-a-chicken-breeder!" yelled Slarti, prompting a few chuckles but also a few glares from others in the bank. Though his body already ached like it had never ached before, though he felt like swearing off ever making a product with spelt in it ever again, and though he had never worked so hard in his life, he could not let this opportunity pass. It was not going to be cheap to add on an inn section to the brewery like he wanted. Also, adding an equerry salary to his upkeep would certainly take its toll over time. Slarti simply had to fulfill this order. He didn't want to risk losing it by demanding Tindrem pickup, thus he hesitantly wrote his reply.

Sounds good. I might need a few weeks depending on how many times I get held up by robbers. I'll send updates of my progress.

Slarti popped his confirmation in the post and then managed to haul his heavy self to the inn. He collapsed on a bed, though sleep did not come as quickly as he wanted. The thought of picking enough spelt for 100,000 units of beer kept pecking away at his brain.

I should have opened that letter tomorrow.
 

Slarti Bartfast

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Slarti smiled as he awoke, feeling fully refreshed, to the sound of the birds chirping and unmistakable experience of having the sunrise peeking in his windows at the brewery. He had been asleep since nearly 12 PM the previous day. It was his first chance to fully recover from the back-breaking work he had done over the last week of collecting enough spelt to fulfill his 100,000 unit order of Stam Slammer. Just before this sleep he had COD'd the massive order in Fabernum. Today he would pick up the gold. He sat up in bed and chuckled as he pictured himself dumping the coin over his head in the bank in Fabernum and rolling around in it... even though in reality that would be a terrible idea soon to be met with sorrow and the loss of all of one's gold. He pulled some black bear pie out of the food storage for breakfast. He had recently tried to add some more food for passersby in addition to the free beer samples he kept available to promote the brewery. He shrugged and pulled out a Toxai Trail rice-pirum brew to drink with his pie.

I know day drinking can be dangerous, but I deserve it! And all the hard work harvesting the spelt has left me with some wiggle room in my diet! I can enjoy this meal without worrying about my figure. Good job me. Though I'm surprised I didn't lose more weight with all that work. Hmmmm... I wonder if it's because I drink my own beer every day? Surely there's no way beer can make you as fat as I was from all that ambrosial roasted bush pig I ate during my glutton phase.

Slarti eyed the last gulp of beer in his mug for a moment and then downed it quickly, tossing the mug into the to-be-cleaned bucket beside the shelf. He walked out in front of the brewery and made a few clicking sounds with his mouth. His new desert horse, Tootsie, came trotting around from behind the house. Slarti hopped on and the two made their way as leisurely as one can to Fabernum from the brewery. Slarti pulled into town and headed for the post. Sure enough, his payment had arrived. Despite his earlier fantasies of making it rain coin, he quickly deposited the entire sum in the bank.

I need to get busy on collecting stone, wood, and metal for the expansion of the brewery. I also need to drop-off more beer to the broker in Tindrem and then Meduli. There's never enough time in the day. At least I've got quite a bit of inventory left from that huge order.

Slarti always gathered a little extra when fulfilling bulk orders as a precaution in case part of his shipment was stolen. After breakfast, he headed out to Tindrem to complete his restocking duties in time to hopefully start chopping a little wood before the sun set. It was almost midday as he came across Acts Two BBQ which had become a regular landmark to him now on his trips between Fabernum and Tindrem. He noticed a horse sitting outside and movement in the house, so he pulled up and hopped off his horse just outside the door.

Maybe I'll get to meet this Forgiven fellow in person. I wonder if he noticed my beer contribution to his food storage.

"Hello?" Slarti called as he stepped into the house. There was some rustling in the back room, and then a Veela-heavy Alvarin stepped out. Slarti didn't know a lot of Alvarin's, but it was clear this one had a touch of Sheevra as well.

"Hi! Come on in and help yourself to a snack. I'm Forgiven and this is Acts Two BBQ," he said, in what felt like to Slarti, an incredibly warm and friendly voice. He clasped the proprietor's outstretched hand.

"Slarti, Slarti Bartfast!" said Slarti as the two shook. Slarti could have swore he felt an incredible strength deep beneath the friendly demeanor of the otherwise normal-seeming Alvarin. At least Slarti thought he was normal. Again, he did not know a lot of Alvarins. "You have a lovely establishment here. I've been by a few times and had some of your meats. Delectable!"

"Well, have a little more! Help yourself!" responded Forgiven.

"Oh! No, no, no, no..." said Slarti more to himself than to his host. "I'm working on my weight. I finally got to bulging."

"WELL! I can fatten you right up to obese in no time!" said Forgiven enthusiastically, misunderstanding the direction Slarti wanted to take his figure.

Slarti chuckled as he replied, "No, no... I mean loose weight. Perhaps just a small snack today. Thank you very much!" He popped open the food storage and pulled out a single rib of barbequed springbok, working hard to contain his compulsion to devour the meat in two bites. To bolster his resolve to eat slowly and politely, he struck up a conversation after his first bite, "By the way, I'm the one that put the free beer samples in your food storage a bit ago. I'm Slarti Bartfast of Bartfast Brewery."

"Oh! That's you?!" exclaimed Forgiven. "That stuff went like hotcakes! People really liked it. Actually, I think I'll need to put in an order with you!"

Slarti blinked in surprise. While he was proud of his beer, he did not actually expect to land an order face-to-face like this. Most of his customers had found him through his advertisements on the town board. Slarti was also feeling slightly intimidated. This fellow seemed to really have it together.

This could be a really special business opportunity!

Slarti inhaled deeply and put on his best customer service voice, "Right! Well, I have a wide variety of beer. I've got a menu on me, or I can just prepare a variety pack for you if you prefer."

"That sounds good. I'll take the variety pack!" replied the Alvarin

"Right, I'll let you know when I have the beer ready! It might take a week or so depending on how many supplies I have on hand," said Slarti, so focused on sounding professional that he forgot he had enough supplies leftover from his previous order to prepare the order right away. "Start thinking about how you want to receive the order. Safest is probably pickup or COD from Tindrem. I'd be happy to ride with you back to your place for the delivery. I also don't mind delivering solo, but you take a chance that your order will be delayed. I'm not such a great mage. I tend to be better at using my magic to mend." Slarti realized he had begun to babble and resolved to stop talking.

The Alvarin nodded at him. "Before you go, since you're a chef as well*, let me get your opinion on where you think I should put this cooking station," said Forgiven. He then showed Slarti a few possible options.

"I like it where it is by the door, so the delicious smells can waft out into the area. That's part of what helped me find the right place when I rode up," said Slarti. "Well thank you again! I'll be in touch about your order."

"See you later!" replied Forgiven.

Slarti made his way around to the equerry and requested his horse. As the equerry brought him his horse, Slarti heard many different types of beasts making noise in the stables.

By the variety of beast noises, an accomplished tamer, too?! Is there anything this fellow doesn't do?!

*in Myrland, brewing is considered a part of cooking, thus master brewers are also sometimes referred to as chefs
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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It was a particularly hot day in Tindrem, giving the manure in the stables a bit stronger odor than usual. Slarti scrunched up his nose as the smell hit his nostrils on approach from the bank. He was meeting Forgiven, his most recent bulk order customer and proprietor of the Acts Two BBQ establishment. Slarti saw the Alvarin waiting on his horse atop the stairs near the stables. Slarti waved as he approached. Forgiven nodded.

Both hopped off their horses and began to move a large amount of beer from Slarti's horse bags to those of Forgiven doing their best to not draw too much attention to themselves in case there were bandits nearby looking for a target. Slarti gingerly set the last of the sacks of beer into Forgiven's horse's bag, having to stand on his tiptoes and lean into the sack to deposit the beer without undue turbulence. Slarti wobbled a bit as he returned to flatfoot. As he caught his balance and turned back toward his own horse, Forgiven was already standing there with a small sack of gold dangling from his outstretched hand. Slarti took the sack and smiled.

"Sooo... uhh..." Slarti said as he fumbled his way through his words. He was trying to explain that he'd be happy to accompany Forgiven on the ride to Acts Two BBQ to help deter any would be bandits. As he was trying to form these words, the realization also reoccurred to him that he could feel a certain presence in this Alvarin, a certain confidence, unwavering and resolved. Thus, suddenly Slarti felt that his offer might be offensive in that Forgiven, a person of what Slarti had already determined to be of many talents, needed absolutely no help and could manage just fine on his own. "Could.... errrr... Do you want... ummm would... you like me to ride with you? I mean, feel free to say no. I know you're perfectly fine on your own, but you know... just in case of bandits. I could maybe help... maybe... I mean I'm not much of a fighter but..." Slarti's words sputtered to a stop as he realized all his babbling was not affecting the Alvarin enough for Forgiven to give any hint on his face of how he felt about the offer. Or maybe he did? Again, Slarti did not know many Alvarin.

"Sure! That sounds great!" chuckled Forgiven after a pause that felt normal to him but that to Slarti felt like nearly two minutes. Slarti unconsciously exhaled in a way that would clearly signal to anyone looking at him could a great weight had been removed from his shoulders.

"Can we stop by the bank first so I can drop off the payment, please?" asked Slarti.

"Sure," said Forgiven. "I need to pick something up as well before we go."

The two stopped by the bank and then reconvened out front. It took a little longer than usual. All the tellers were especially cranky because of the heat and the lines moved slowly. Slarti approached Forgiven and mindlessly held out five gold in his palm. "Here, you didn't see the discount on the invoice." Slarti then noticed a very rough looking human peeking out from behind a stone column at his gold-filled hand with desire.

"Tip!" said Forgiven with a smile, refusing to extend his hand to receive the gold.

Slarti made eye contact briefly with the nearby fellow that was eyeing his gold as his put it away. Slarti tried to look tough, but the fellow beside the column just started belly laughing, stepping out and pointing directly at Slarti, attracting a few odd stares from those around. The Alvarin, to Slarti, seemed unphased.

"I'm ready," said Slarti, trying to ignore the belly laughing ruffian.

"Then here we go!" said Forgiven in a way that Slarti interpreted as the Alvarin not having a worry in the world.

I wish I could be that sure of myself and my fate.

Slarti stayed tight behind Forgiven as they trotted slowly through the city. It was a route that Slarti did not often take. Before he knew it, they were exiting through a gate to the east that he'd been through perhaps once. Slarti almost always took the garden exit when he could to see his old companions and fruits of his labor from his time in Tindrem as a florist. A rectangular patch of flowers, ferns, and trees towards the exit was his favorite bed to tend.

Forgiven turned to Slarti as they approached the gate and spoke, "I'm going to start moving pretty quick when we get out of the gate. I'll see you at Acts Two in case you lose me." Slarti nodded in agreement.

You are carrying all the beer, so naturally you'd set the pace. If it were me, I'd split the product between us so if one person gets away not all is lost. This fellow has no fear! I cannot decide if it is his strength or his folly!

Slarti prepared himself. He stretched his left shoulder... and then his right... and then-

"Yah!" yelled Forgiven, sending his horse barreling out the Tindrem gate. Slarti fumbled with his reigns for a moment before finally gripping and snapping them with his own attempted "Yah!" except it came out sounding more like a surprised yell as his horse jerked forward, sending Slarti slouching backwards. As his horse's speed leveled out, Slarti regained his balance and place in the saddle. Sweat poured down his face and into his eyes as he tried to scan the road for Forgiven. He got lucky and saw just the tail of Forgiven's horse right before it passed around a rock leading off the main road. Slarti corrected his course and sped around the rock. Slarti cracked his reigns, burning more of his horse's stamina than he should have to catch up to Forgiven. He caught up just as the speedy Alvarin passed into the trees.

Slarti stayed as tight behind the Alvarin's horse as he could, but it was not an easy task. Trees and rocks threatened his horse's every step. Forgiven slowly spread the distance between himself and Slarti. Slarti watched him, baffled at how the Alvarin seemed to be at one with his horse, every step seemingly perfect and placed for maximum efficiency. They reached a clearing and Forgiven slowed for a moment, turning to Slarti to shout instructions.

"Follow me close. There's a buggy node line up here," he advised Slarti. Slarti was about to ask what a node line was when the Alvarin took off galloping again across the clearing. Slarti watched as Forgiven took a hard right, he and his horse showing incredible dexterity as they headed sideways up a hill and then due east again.

"I can do this," Slarti gulped. He cracked his reigns and sent his horse hurtling toward the hill, attempting to match the angle at which the Alvarin approached. As his horse neared, however, Slarti lost his nerve and pulled his reigns back, heading up the cliff at a straight on angle toward the pleasantly flat land at the top. As he reached the top, Slarti began to scan for the trail of dust that might help him get behind the Alvarin again. Then, suddenly, time felt as it stoooooooooopppppppppppppppppedddddddddddddd. Slarti's horse which had been galloping steadily forwarded seemed to freeze it's motion completely, hooves hanging eerily above the ground. Slarti also found himself trying to move his body but unable. Despite being unable to move, he felt as if he were being thrust forward at a great velocity except that his visual senses told him that he was standing perfectly still. Then there was complete and absolute silence as Slarti's consciousness surrendered to short and temporary blackness.

Slarti awoke seconds later, though it felt like hours, atop his horse still heading east just a few yards beyond where he was previously when he began to experience that most unpleasant, aforementioned sensation.

So that's a node line, huh? What foul magic!

Slarti's eye then caught a freshly formed cloud of dust about 20 yards away heading into the wood. Being relatively sure that this was left from Forgiven and his steed, Slarti proceeded in that direction. After a short ride through a bit of light woods, Slarti finally pulled his horse aside Forgiven's at Acts Two BBQ. Forgiven had already left his horse tied for the equerry and went inside. Slarti took a moment to look around as he tied his horse's reigns. His mind returned to thoughts of the man in Tindrem that watched him offer the gold to Forgiven as a discount. Slarti's eyes popped open even more as he remember that he still had that gold in his sack.

What if he is waiting just behind that tree to rob me?!

He took a few deep breaths and shrugged it off. He'd been getting better at shrugging things off. With that, Slarti headed in Acts Two BBQ.
 
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Slarti Bartfast

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"Come look!" yelled Forgiven from the back room. Slarti slowly wandered toward him as he gawked around the building. Forgiven had done some remodeling. "I've installed this cooler just for you. I'll be featuring beer from Bartfast Brewery at Acts Two BBQ."

Slarti's jaw dropped. He wasn't sure what to say. Eventually he managed, "Wow! Thank you so much! As a new businessperson, it feels great to have someone helping me get off the ground. Surely there is something I can do for you. I can put you in my next advertisement. I'll tell folks that they can find my brews at your location as well." Slarti stopped. He felt like that really wasn't enough given the kindness he had been shown.

"I tell you what," continued Forgiven, "I have some BBQ ready to go for you in food storage. Here, I'll get it. Then you can feature my BBQ at your brewery as well." He walked to a different storage unit and pulled out several racks of springbok ribs and as many sacks of roasted grains, both very highly valued commodities in Myrland for energy they bring to adventurers of every sort. He motioned to Slarti to follow him as they walked outside to the horses. He handed the food to Slarti, which Slarti then put in the his horse's bags. He was too dumbfounded to talk about the generosity that he had just been shown, so he tried to change the subject. As usual, his anxiety was on the tip of his tongue.

"Don't you ever worry about bandits and robbers in this spot? They interrupt my spelt farming just down the road, and I sometimes even get robbed, hurt, or killed just going to and fro," said Slarti as he finished loading the BBQ in his horse's bags.

Forgiven began to respond as the two headed back inside the house together, "You know what. When those folks attack me, there's one thing they forget. I have a superpower. So do you, though you might not realize it. Lots of people forget that they have it," he said, pausing mysteriously.

"What superpower?" said Slarti with disbelief.

If he's gonna talk about magic, I already have that at my disposal. It's not really a superpower anyway. A superpower would mean you are unstoppable.

"Every time I am ended, I am respawned. As are you. As we all are in Myrland. It is something that many, and it seems yourself even, sometimes take for granted. But when you really think about it, you are unstoppable. I have pointed this out to the occasional murderer or robber that has tried to accost me repeatedly. Once they realize, nay remember, that I am beyond death... the fun they thought they had becomes only false domination. They move on."

Slarti furrowed his brow and looked toward the ground as he tried to process these thoughts. The ideas seemed to make sense.

Have a really become so disconnected from myself that I've forgotten how powerful my own persistence can be?

"And that is not the only tool at my disposal. Kindness itself can stop cruel acts from being visited upon you. You as a businessperson and a creator have this ability as well, though, again, you may not have realized it. For example, I once made some lunch boxes to distribute freely to any who might need. I passed them out in front of the Tindrem bank. Most people were grateful and got to learn who I was and about my business. A few weeks later, I was riding the road when I was approached by a large group of soldiers. One rode up to me and explained that there was a tax to continue in the direction I was headed. I asked him what was the tax. He then asked me what I had. I then corrected him that my possessions were none of his business but that if he told me the tax amount that I could proceed to pay it."

Slarti did a quick double take.

This fellow here... sheesh! I can't believe he just told them off like that! Perhaps this is what he means when he says to remember that we are unstoppable. It can give us the courage to make choices and say things in situations like this!

"The fellow nodded, knowing his tricks were of no use on me. Then he began to explain the amount of tax required. As he did so, a fellow soldier of his rode up beside him. As he pulled open his helmet, I recognized him as one of the persons I gave a lunch pack to outside the Tindrem bank! 'Hey!' he bellowed at the others, 'This fellow, Forgiven, is not to be taxed now... or ever again! He has provided a boon to me in my time of need, and this shall be honored.' And sure enough, I was free to pass there from that point forward."

"Wow!" exclaimed Slarti. "I mean, I've thought about giving away some beer for free before, just to get the word out. But to think that giving it away could gain me that type favor. Maybe I should give this a try. I was thinking of trying adding some battle beers to my storage just to give away free. I bet I'd still get purchases at the broker, too. Maybe I could do some variety six packs?"

Slarti's ears perked up as he heard approaching hoofbeats. He looked out the window to see a rider on a horse slowly moving past the front of the house. Forgiven had his full attention his storage. Slarti gave him a small bump and said, "Person outside. Riding up. On a horse."

"Ah!" said Forgiven rising quickly from the chest. "You just gotta talk to people. See, check this out!" Slarti followed Forgiven out as he greeted the newcomer, a one Constable. Forgiven gave him a tour of the Acts Two BBQ and all of the amenities it offered before bidding the visitor a fair well. He even plugged Slarti's beer during the conversation! "See, you just gotta talk to people," repeated Forgiven coolly to Slarti after Constable rode away.

Slarti and Forgiven continued their business conversation well into the afternoon. Forgiven showed him various techniques to draw attention to one's business, including the use of campfires and animals with signs. He also shared his extensive knowledge of training beasts after Slarti mentioned that he had been exploring that area of knowledge recently. "Most people will leave a person with a bear alone," grinned Forgiven as Slarti chuckled at what should have been blatantly obvious to him before. He'd learned so much this day.

The two wrapped up their conversation and bid each other a good bye as they prepared to head to the next item on each of their prospective schedules. Slarti rode toward Bartfast Brewery to deposit the Acts Two BBQ food in food storage, free for all to take. The moon was nearly overhead as he finished unloading the BBQ from his horse's bag. He crawled comfortably into bed. As he lay waiting for sleep, a thought crossed his mind just before consciousness faded.

I should name a beer after that fellow.

(( Many thanks to Forgiven for the awesome RP and in-game business coaching. Looking to put it to use over time. In case it's not obvious, Acts Two BBQ can be found in the Bartfast Brewery access chest now. Use the password sample. ))