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