Don’t let anyone know I said this, but – seriously, guys – fuck bear baiting. I can’t believe it took a civil war and a foreign occupation to open my perspective enough to see new job opportunities beyond bear and dog fights. Spectacles like bear bating aren’t as exciting when there’s an actual war going on outside. It looks dull by comparison and there’s not much you can do to make it more exciting. It doesn’t matter how drunk you get the bears before the fight when rival groups of barbarian warlords are firing peasants out of 100-yard long crossbows at each other.
The war almost tore Pigsnot Marsh apart, ruining what would have been the pleasantest harvest and smallpox season on record. And it didn’t seem like the fight between King Longloins and his nobles was going to end. It was when the Northern Kingdom was at its weakest that the mysterious ships from the east started landing on our shores.
We were being invaded.
The colonialists knocked over the government in a matter of days. They ran all our aristocrats out of the castles and replaced them with mayors selected by their own government. The mayors began reforming our way of life and, even though our high priests threatened otherwise, Almighty Crom did not seek vengeance by sneezing us from his holy nose and wiping us under his celestial kitchen table.
For a while we had a very different kind of leader. He got his seat in an election, he wasn’t chosen in a contest to see who could fling his wife the farthest. He governed with help from a cabinet of scholars. He could count. He didn’t own slaves and he didn’t think he could control the weather by the amount of rat bones in his beard.
His government implemented a lot of quality-of-life reforms: crop rotations, plumbing, roads… They even took down the old diving board at Mercury-and-Molten-Lava Lake.
Within three days, they negotiated a treaty with King Longloins and his thanes. Within a week, they ended the centuries-old custom of selling your daughter to the village brothel on her 14th birthday. Our open sores all healed over time and, ever since the new government told us they scared away the troll that steals smart children, our kids been able to read and write without fear.
Shame things had to end the way they did.
About six months ago Urk the Bloodletter’s prize sow gave birth to a piglet who oinks backwards.
That kind of evil omen could only mean one thing: the colonialists were enchanted demonic blood gnomes and had to be destroyed.
They didn’t see it coming. They were like lambs before the slaughter. Before long you could hear the lamentations of their women. “The Barbarians! The Barbarians are revolting!” Their kingdom was turned to ash. We celebrated for two months, drunkenly burning libraries and hospitals. Everyone sold his 14-year-old daughter to the brothel and open, weeping sores are a now sign of patriotism.
The bottom dropped out of the orphan market after all of this, so I was out of a job again. It was then that I had the divine inspiration to run for a job in the provisional government, which will remain in power until Longloins perfects the follow through on his wife-throwing.
This is my chance to finally have a voice in Pigsnot governance, to have real power, to finally be able to afford one of those fancypants “spoons” I keep hearing about. Once I’m close enough to the Longloins administration, I’ll move into one of the largest palaces in the Northern Kingdom and I’ll have a whole barnful of wives.
This isn’t to say that I don’t have anything to offer the subjects here. I have incredible credentials. I’ve fathered fewer stillbirths than any other proud dad in the Northern Kingdom. I come from a respectable family. My granddad burned all the gypsy women he was pretty sure gave everyone in town the plague a few years ago.
But more than anything I have sound public policy platforms.
Ogre pillages are the single greatest outside threat facing the Northern Kingdom today. If I’m hired, after dipping my noble wick into my first allowance of fresh wives, I will eradicate the Ogre menace through a brilliant system of appeasement involving the excess orphans in my orphanarium and a vat of dippin’ sauce.
Following that, I will run out of town all of the cheating and unethical street vendors who sell rat meat – Yes, common rat meat – in the village meat markets. Every citizen will be able to rest easy knowing these vendors have been replaced by franchises of Farmer Cecil’s Grade-A Health Rats.
And, so help me Crom, Literacy shall die within our lifetimes!
I look forward to serving you, the fine people of Pigsnot Marsh, as your regional warlord and slave master!