|“||"Sucks to be Benly lol"||”|
— Stud's famous last words
Studmuffin was the second traveller to arrive in Dragonhollow and he became the first Archpriest of Eris. He was known as a fierce but fair administrator.
Operating out of his Red Light District, Stud quickly established himself as the wealthiest and most powerful figure in the Lakelands through a combination of war, commerce, and larceny.
After Lakeview Village came under attack from the Skullcleavers in the War of Wizards, he led the formation of an opposition group called Stud's Squad. Despite his combat experience and the power vested in him by Eris, he and his unit were defeated in the Battle of Azuropolis.
After carrying out a theft against Benly, he vanished mysteriously and was never seen again.
Studmuffin arrived in Lakeview Village by airship on 1E:1, only the second human to step foot upon Dragonhollow since Eris opened the heavens. His jack-of-all-trades knowledge, steel spine, and comedic timing immediately impressed the goddess and she granted him magical power in return for his servitude as the first Archpriest of Eris.
Far west of Lakeview he broke ground on what would eventually become the Red Light District, a hotbed of debauchery, ill repute, and perversion. It served as his home and base of operations and was always open to visitors. For a time, the potion shop there served as the only affordable way to regenerate health in Dragonhollow.
On 1E:15, Stud discovered the location of a stronghold and assembled a strike team to enter the End and slay its master, the ender dragon Endevyr. Together with AJ, Tox, and DragonLegends they emerged victorious and he put its harvested egg on display in the Red Light District.
Stud was a skilled warrior and participated in a number of clashes and duels. Much of his early wealth came from ambushing individuals disliked by the community at large as well as raiding expired claims. But as days went by, he grew weary of life in Lakeview and was rarely seen outside of the Red Light District. He would eventually become a Hermit, a loose affiliation of paranoid loners who paradoxically trusted and enjoyed the company of each other.
He was the friendly nemesis of Eris, often making jokes at her expense while she was in her mortal guise of Acey, an irritation she tolerated because of his importance as Archpriest. His closest friends and allies were Claciusvile and AJ, whom he gave full permissions to over the entire Red Light District. Later, he formed a friendship with fellow priest Azureila.
Midway through the First Era, Stud had formed a partnership with Tox. In exchange for the locations of unraided claims and a cut of the loot within, Tox was provided access to potions and other items for free and enjoyed an alliance with the most powerful man in Dragonhollow. This came in handy when Tox took refuge in the Red Light District during his brief war with Champ.
Stud himself engaged in several duels with Champ, but the god warrior was able to best him in all of them.
War of Wizards
- Main article: War of Wizards
Stud played an important role in the first major war in Dragonhollow history, the War of Wizards. On 1E:27, a group of black magicians and outlaws calling themselves the Skullcleavers launched a surprise attack on Lakeview Village.
He dismissed early unconfirmed reports stating that the marauders could not be killed and had the ability to enter and destroy and building they wished, even those protected by Eris and her magical golden shovel. However, as more trusted citizens began repeating those assertions, he directed the rest of the Priesthood to investigate. Their findings were dire: among these new invaders were powerful sorcerors who impossibly could overcome and nullify the magic of Dragonhollow's cherished goddess.
Stud then attempted to use his own power granted by Eris to banish them. He failed.
As this news spread, pandemonium ensued and much of the world descended into panic and terror leading to the Sack of Lakeview. Stud refused to succumb to fear and quickly directed the Priesthood to secretly inform the citizens of Lakeview that a safe haven refuge had been established at his Red Light District. From there, he formed a temporary resistance posse called Stud's Squad.
After arming them with powerful weapons and potions, his unit was able to drive the Skullcleavers from town in the Liberation of Lakeview. Their enemy fled to Azureila's fortress of Azuropolis and were besieged by Stud and his squad. In the ensuing Battle of Azuropolis, dozens died to no avail as Holland1337 could not be killed by any means. It soon became clear to Studmuffin that his own magical arsenal, granted and bestowed by Eris herself, was of little use against sorcerers of such raw power and knowledge. The battle could not be won. Reluctantly, he gave the order to retreat and conceded defeat.
Despite the outcome, Eris was impressed by the way he handled himself under pressure and reaffirmed her trust and commitment to his position as Archpriest.
As per their partnership, when Tox discovered that Benly's claim had mysteriously become open to looting despite the claims protections guaranteed by Eris, he reported the location to Stud who travelled several kilometers to join him.
They proceeded very carefully, suspecting a trap. But Benly never appeared nor did they encounter any traps. They divided the supplies in his chests—Stud took the iron and wood, Tox the food and dirt. He then discovered a treasury hidden behind a waterfall that contained gold, emeralds, and diamonds.
Finally, Stud claimed Benly's prized steed Irish, the fastest horse in Dragonhollow. That night, he rode her to victory in the Third Derby, lapping the second-place finisher AJ and beating third-place Azureila by more than two laps. Strangely, after winning and being awarded his prize, he vanished without a trace.
Studmuffin was never seen nor heard from again.
AJ took over administration and maintenance of the Red Light District and his Lakeview shop, reasoning that it was what his friend would have wanted. Later the shop was closed and demolished after Smitten complained about it competing with his own store. Jack Firebane was promoted by Eris to replaced him as Archpriest. Endevyr's egg went on display at Tox's Lakeview Museum.
For a time, his departure was the subject of whispered rumors and speculation. Some thought he had simply moved on to greener pastures, desiring to escape from his responsibilities as Archpriest. Smitten suggested that Eris may have finally grown tired of his mocking and destroyed him, though she denied doing so. AJ said that it was likely he became too busy with personal tasks and needed time away.
The Cult of Benly believes that Stud's disappearance was caused by Benly as punishment for the theft of his belongings. They note the suspicious timing of his exit, coinciding with his victory in the horse races with Irish. This explanation is considered heresy by Eris and the Priesthood.
Role and Abilities
As Archpriest, Stud was responsible for enforcing the will of Eris and carrying out her edicts. He was also head of the Priesthood.
He demonstrated his leadership skills during the War of Wizards, keeping residents informed of what was going on and providing them with a safe haven, organizing a counterforce against the Skullcleavers, and giving Eris a full report on the incident.
Stud had the power to exile anyone in Dragonhollow if he so wished, though he rarely exercised the option. He could also silence them so they could not speak. However, despite the power and authority vested in him, he was granted no special privileges or gifts and had to survive in the world as anyone else. Unlike some future Archpriests, he was just a mortal man. Because of this, he was eligible to participate in community events and contests.
He was well known for his aggressive and fierce approach, willing to way in and trade harsh words with anyone who challenged his decisions or authority. Despite this, he was quite fair and reasonable, always willing to give people the benifit of the doubt and let first-time offenders off the hook with only a warning.
Though everyone agreed that he was competent, only Tox and some anonymous coward considered him the best of the Priesthood.