Crazy Miggie



 World News


The Keg and Anchor in Trinsic was usually a calm place, where a weary traveler could stop in for cool ale and a hearty meal. The barkeeps always tried to keep the atmosphere relaxed and pleasant, with a good joke or an entertaining story. Most well-traveled adventurers knew they could find a night away from the rigors of battle and turmoil in a game of chess and a well-played round of dice-tossing in the warm setting of the pub.

Only one problem that occasionally broke the calm and that was Crazy Miggie. None of the Keg and Anchor regulars knew where Miggie came from, or what exactly had made him crazy in the first place. Truth be told, they found it hard to care after putting a few pints in their bellies. Miggie, like most famous beggars, was paranoid. He was convinced that every threat that had ever fallen Britannia was there to claim him for evil purposes too horrible to repeat.

Miggie fit the description of “crazy beggar” as if he had carefully researched it with a team of librarians and taken a “What do you consider to be an insane beggar?” poll across Britannia. His wild gray hair sloppily shot out in all directions, as if he has just had lightning bolt cast on him; his clothes stank as if he had washed them in a dead plague beast. His face was a maze of wrinkles with one eye that was nearly wrinkled shut. To say the least, Miggie was not a pleasant looking man. People avoided him whenever they could. Mongbats avoided him whenever they could.

Nevertheless, Miggie was familiar to those to frequented the Keg and Anchor and his heated ramblings had become more of an amusement than an annoyance, mainly out of necessity to those trying to enjoy themselves. Time and time again he ran into the pub screaming of danger when none was to be found. Miggie had a tendency to become very alarmed very late.

After Minax had laid siege to the entire city of Trinsic. things gradually returned to normal. The Keg and Anchor was no different. A fair number of patrons had returned on the pub’s reopening for an evening of drunken entertainment. Rodger the guard relaxed in his usual chair taking long gulps of ale in-between boisterous guffaws. Ledge the mage and his portly warrior companion Rul sat near Samuel the barkeep trading stories and taking turns buying rounds of drinks. They needed to relax after seeing the city overrun with undead and relaxing was something they could do professionally if there was money to be made in it. These men were so good at relaxing that they hardly batted an eyelash when Crazy Miggie burst in the door like some sort of Insanity Elemental.

“MINAX! She’s here! Run for your LIVES! She’s come to take over the entire city with her dead man friend! Do I smell bread? I swear I smell fresh brea…. SHE’LL KILL US ALL!!” Miggie grabbed Rodger by his tunic and tried to shake the man, but the burly guard was so strong that Miggie just seemed to flail about wildly.

Rodger nearly spit out his ale. “By the shrines, man! Minax was driven from the city two weeks ago! If you do not unhand me this instant I’m going to cut the stink off of you with my halberd!”

“That’s a good idea there, Rodger!” said Ledge from near the bar. “I’ve never seen a halberd of mongbat repelling, could be valuable!”

Rul laughed aloud and turned to Samuel the barkeep. “I think I’ll have to hold off on that next ale, Samuel. Clearly this Minax business needs to be taken care of. Take me to her, Miggie! I’ll tickle her out of town! She’s quite the looker.” He giggled.

“Why, Rul, what would your wife say if she could hear you?” asked Ledge.

“Wife? Wife! I knew I forgot something! Another ale, Samuel, I like what it does to me!” Rul and Ledge cackled loudly while Rodger did his best to shove Miggie away without touching him too much.

“I seen her! She’s outside right now! VIRTUES PROTECT ME; SHE’S GOING TO DESTROY US ALL!” Miggie screamed loudly and ripped part of his own shirt dramatically. The customers winced at his gravelly voice. The barkeep, Samuel, had heard enough.

“Alright then, Miggie, out we go. Let’s go see this horrible Minax. Goodness I’m glad you don’t drink. Here.” Samuel draped his dirty bar towel on Miggie’s shoulder and then clasped his hand on it to lead the beggar out of the bar. Practically using Miggie to push the door open, he led the man a few steps in front of the pub. He could hear chairs shifting as people inside gathered by the window to watch the fun. “Now where is she?”

“There! THERE! Oh Mistress Minax, spare me! Spare me, I beg of you! I’ll do anything you say, please don’t feed me to your dead man friend!” Samuel blinked as he looked into the streets. A grumpy old woman pouring her laundry water into the street stared back with a grimace on her face.

“Sorry there Mrs. Brinstein, just Miggie having a bit of fun with us. Give my regards to Mr. Brinstein.” The old woman let out a growl that would scare wolf pack leaders. “Go on, Miggie, stay out of the pub tonight, won’t you? And while we’re at it, stay out of my garbage.”

Samuel gave Miggie a little shove, leaving his bar rag on the man’s shoulder. Miggie looked up into the threatening eyes of Mrs. Brinstein. Throwing the rag at her and screaming for mercy he bounded into the night to the laughter of everyone inside the bar.

* * *

“Exodus! EVERYONE RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!! He’s sent his wicked metal men after me! They want to make me a metal man! His horrible, horrible gargoyles chased me for days!” Miggie collapsed into a jittering heap on the floor of the pub, covering his head with his arms. He shook as if someone had cast earthquake.

Samuel didn’t even look up from the mug he was polishing. “Defeated three weeks ago, Miggie.”

“No! NO! Big angry Bolems are after meeeee!” Miggie swatted violently at the air around him as if trying to spread his smell around the pub.

“Golems, Miggie, Golems.” Ledge said from his seat at the bar. “Exodus isn’t going to send anymore Golems after us, he doesn’t have any slaves left to make them.”

“Nice people those gargoyles!” Rul said before chugging the last of his beer. “Ledge and I saw their city, beautiful place. Not much to drink there though.”

Ledge quietly nudged Rul and gave Rodger a knowing look from across the room. “Say, Rodger, you’re the city guard here. Why don’t you… um… take Miggie outside and show him there’s nothing to be frightened of?”

“Because I still have some ale left in my glass and besides it’s Samu… Oh, Oh, yes I am a guard! I am a guard and it is certainly my duty to make sure this citizen is safe! Here we go, Miggie, I’ll show you that there’s nothing outside that’s after you.” Rodger poked the quivering beggar with the back end of his halberd and got him to his feet.

Ledge and Rul were nearly falling over each other trying to hold in their laughter. Rodger poked Miggie out the front door of the pub and within seconds a scream was heard that nearly shook the building. A stinky gray streak blurred past the two windows. Ledge and Rul were almost on the floor convulsing with laughter.

“Samuel, I owe Ledge an ale.” Rodger said grinning. “You were right. Building your own golem was useful.”

* * *

From outside, everyone could hear Miggie’s crazed rambling growing closer and closer until the door was opened by the shiniest set of armor, quite possibly, in the world. Inside the armor was a very young handsome warrior with a brightly colored sword and scabbard at his side. The man looked as if he had stepped out of a child’s bedtime story about heroes and dragons. Miggie bounced around the man, yipping like a small, excited dog.

“Ants! Giant ants the size of horses! HUGE, HUGE insects that could eat a man for supper! They were after me for their next meal I tell you!” Miggie almost seemed happy to have someone new to talk to. The more drunken of the Keg and Anchor patrons watched Miggies reflection bounce about on the man’s mirror-like armor.

“What can I get you today good sir?” Samuel asked the man. “Mug of ale for your pleasure this evening?”

“Ale would make me less alert. A simple drink of water is all any good knight requires.” The man said in a haughty voice.

“I think that’s the prettiest man I’ve ever seen.” Rul giggled quietly to Ledge. The armored warrior shot a look at the two of them as if he could hear what they were saying. They coughed their laughter away.

“I need saving good knight! The giant ants want to eat me! I seen ‘em try to eat two orcs stuck up in a tree! They’ll eat anything! I’d be eternally grateful to you my liege!” Miggie’s throat made a sound like logs being ripped in half and he spit on the young warrior’s armor. Using the ripped sleeve of his shirt he began to polish the spit into a nice smudge.

The warrior, trying to ignore the new stain on his breastplate, looked around the room. “Who shall be brave enough to accompany me to seek out that which threatens this good man?”

The silence in the room became deafening. The laughter that followed it was nearly explosive.

“Wait, wait… you believe Miggie? Giant ants?! That’s classic, that is!” Rul’s face was bright red with giggles. “Miggie’s finally making up his own monsters, I don’t know if he’s getting better or worse!”

The man’s face bent into a scowl. He looked down at Rodger who had his feet propped up and the last half of a mug of ale sliding into his throat. “You good sir, you are a city guard - are you not? Does virtue not bind you to protect this man with your life? Have you no valor?”

“Certainly I have valor!” Rodger said behind a half-drunken grin. “I drink Samuel’s ale don’t I?” More laughter boomed around the room.

“You, wise mage…” the warrior nearly spat the words out. “Have you no compassion for this poor wretch?” The warrior was trying to gently stop Miggie’s effort to soil his armor.

“I think I ran out of compassion about three pints ago.” Ledge flipped his mug upside down and set it on the bar. “Sam, one more glass of indifference for the road, please?”

Samuel handed a fresh mug to Ledge and brought a glass of water to the young warrior. “We mean no offense, sir. Miggie here is known for his… creative… stories. If he says he saw giant ants chances are he fell face first into an ant hill and saw some up close.”

The young warrior seemed disgusted with the entire room. “None of you have faith that this man speaks honestly?”

If people exchanging amused glances had a sound it would have been louder than an orc bomber being tossed on a fire in the pub.

“I shall slay these giant ants for you if these cowards will not! Come good sir, and lead me to this nest of fiends that you… stop touching my armor. Now.” Miggie followed the man out the door of the pub bouncing around and chattering again as if he had never told the story.

* * *

The next evening the man in shiny armor had become the talk of the pub. Ledge, Rul, and Rodger laughed for hours imagining the so-called knight stepping on ants all night. It wasn’t until the pub door opened and Miggie stood silently in the doorway that they were stunned into silence.

Miggie looked as if he had been run over by a stampede of balrons. Blood caked his hair and his clothes. He stood with a slight slump. These details were difficult to notice, however, due to the large ant heads clamped on to his body. The jaws of the heads clung onto him as if the ants were still biting him in death. One was locked around his neck, one around his right arm and one around his ankle. He looked as if he was wearing some sort of bizarre jewelry. In his left hand he carried the dented breastplate of the young warrior from the night before.

His footsteps seemed to echo in the room as he limped slowly up to the bar and leaned casually on it. “Ale, please?” he asked calmly. Samuel nodded silently and poured a drink and slid it down the bar into Miggie’s hand. Miggie casually pulled the giant ant head off of his wrist and set it on the bar so that he could guzzle the ale. He slammed the glass down on the bar and lifted the shiny armor, then dropped it with a clang in front of Samuel. “Will this cover the drink?”

Samuel nodded.

Miggie smiled and picked up the ant head from the bar and stuck it under his arm. As he shuffled out of the pub he looked at Rul and Ledge. “So… giant ants, eh?” The pair nodded, still to stunned to speak. Miggie stopped in the doorway and very slowly turned around to look at everyone.

“I almost forgot. That golem thing? Not funny.”

With that, he turned and walked into the night.



From the Britannia News Network - The Journal of Ultima Online, September 12th, 2002.