Armed and Breadly? Oh, traveler, you certainly do focus on the oddest parts of our beloved Mercura, don’t you? Armed and Breadly is an institution in these walls, responsible for arming the citizenry and feeding the poor at the same time. You may have even heard that it is officially endorsed by the Witch Queen! That is, of course, a lie. It would be better to say is it acknowledged by the Witch Queen, or perhaps tolerated.

The owners are Puto Skulljelly and Donny Bonesnap; half-orcs who met on the field of battle but once their swords crossed they realized that they couldn’t go through with that combat, or any combat, ever again. They snuck away from Clan Skulljelly and Clan Bonesnap to be with one another, you see, leaving their fellows leaderless. The clans were decimated after that, and both men still fear retribution for abandoning them–not that they’d trade one moment of their domestic bliss for it, of course!

In Mercura, Puto and Donny found a place that they could live, one that would accept them, and Donny–ever the dreamer–decided that he would be a baker. Since he was a mere orcling whelp he’d loved confections and delicious baked goods, you see, as sweet rolls and savory pies are among the few pleasures that life in the clans allows. Donny was determined to make a new life for himself, and his husband, as a baker.

I wonder, traveler, if you can sense the twist in his tale? Donny was enthusiastic, but he was a terrible baker.

Nautrally, a bakery with a head baker that cannot bake is a source of problems, but Puto loved Donny enough to make it work. Of course, Puto was no baker either, and he lacked even Puto’s enthusiasm and willingness to experiment. But he kept the store afloat for years through unsavory side jobs. He worked as a mercenary, a bouncer, a potion seller, a pimp. Anything to keep the rock-hard bread flowing out of the shop. Donny was only able to sell his noxious goods to the very poorest of the poor, and he gave away his day-old stock as a charity besides, so Puto was allowed to do what he did. In fact, a few even saw him as a bit of a Robin Hood.

Eventually, oh traveler, things took a turn for the better. After one particularly bad batch, and a creditor that was a bit too eager to collect, Puto and Donny realized that the breads made excellent and inexpensive melee weapons. So Armed and Breadly now sells bread clubs, bread swords, and of course the famous Breadward plate armor, all for a fraction of the cost of steel. And it can be thrown to the birds or eaten after use! They still give the leftovers to the poor, of course, though some say that Puto still trades food for information in his underworld dealings and that the place is still a front for money laundering.

The other thing that improved the lovers’ fortune was Mbira. One of the many half-orc foundlings that dot the streets of the city, likely cast off by her mother as proof of infidelity, Donny found her eating from the refuse heap and took her in. Mbira brought many things to Armed and Breadly; she was as tough as both her adopted fathers, but could also play the kalimba beautifully, as she had made her own and played it for coin in the streets once upon a time. Most impressively of all, she has actual skill as a baker, meaning that the goods she makes–sweet rolls and pastries, mostly–are actually edible and delectable.

Donny, they say, taught her everything he knows; the Witch Queen is to be thanked that she was not a good student.

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