The Greatest Show on Earthynn
“Ach! Gullible folk, they come inte the world all the time.” -High Top Gary
Gary Shoehorn is a dwarf short in stature but big in ideas. He grew up in the surface town known as Twicrak. The lad avoided professions focusing on violence, religion, food preparation…and effort in general. He spent his days trying to get a few spare coins off the passersby. As the decades passed he continued living his seemingly miserable life. But, strangely enough, he was not miserable. Clad in discarded garish clothing, he would strut about town feeling quite good about himself.
When the world changed, Gary adapted by doing exactly what he had done for his whole life…as little as possible. Sadly, the destruction and resulting fear made many folks more suspicious and much less willing to part with their coin.
One afternoon, Gary was sleeping under a tree, when awoken by the sound of a young boy rummaging in his possessions. Gary was understandably annoyed and threatened to, well, threaten the boy more. The boy explained that he had seen one of those ‘Fey Buggers’ dash into Gary’s hat (a strange hat made from an old piece of metal chimney pipe). Gary looked in the hat and saw nothing but an opportunity. “Ach! Well, the thing is, me boy…one ‘Fey Bugger’ is only good for one set o’ eyes te look upon, but I’ll tell ye what…if’n ye can manage te snatch me ‘nother one, I’ll be obliged to let ye look at it as much as ye like…fer a copper a peek, naturally.” The boy smiled and scampered off. After a few weeks and broken bones, the lad did, indeed, capture a ‘Fey Bugger’ and brought it back to Gary. Gary had by then found (by chance, mind you) a piece of pottery that was suitable for imprisoning the creature. In some way, he ‘rationalized’ to the boy that allowing others to have more ‘peeks’ for coppers was OK (“Ach! Oy never said such a thing!”), and made a bit of cash off the local population.
As time passed, the flow of coin slowed, and a few of the loyal ‘peekers’ were persuaded to capture a more unusual other-worldly specimen. You can see where this is going.
Gary Shoehorn now goes by the name of High Top Gary (thanks to the hat he still wears). His caravan of wonders travels the wilds from town to town charging more than a few coins for ‘peeks’ of his many exhibits. The exotic performers and beasts draw crowds by the hundreds. The non-performing staff is made up of dullards mainly, a few disreputable mercenaries, and a mage known only as Mistcloak. The other-worldly beasts he carries are often false (mutilated or disguised creatures), but on occasion, he does chance upon opportunities such as sleeping or wounded wonders. These are captured, usually at the cost of many staff (easily replaced), and imprisoned to the best of his ability. Mistcloak uses his arcane knowledge to help contain more powerful beasts. Given the haphazard nature of the collection and containment of the creatures, the attractions can be quite deadly to staff and onlookers. Some beasts are barely contained and, given time, burst forth from their bonds and tear into anyone unlucky enough to be nearby. This is no secret. In fact each accident is frequently followed by a surge in public interest and, as a result, profits.
The caravan is quite a site even when on the road. Made up of wagons of many shapes and sizes (some more than thirty feet tall often with six or more wheels), the convoy thunders through the wilderness, always on its way to the next town ripe with fools, young and old, eager to part with their hard-earned coin for a ‘peek’ or two.