The Fool Jobs is a short story by Joe Abercrombie included in the anthology Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery. It was first published in June 2010 by Eos in the UK, with an American edition following from Harper Voyager. It features Curnden Craw and his dozen in events prior to The Heroes.
Publisher's Synopsis Edit
A truly breathtaking new anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders, Swords & Dark Magic offers stunning new tales of sword and sorcery action, romance, and dark adventure written by some of the most respected, bestselling fantasy writers working today—from Joe Abercrombie to Gene Wolfe. An all-new Elric novella from the legendary Michael Moorcock and a new visit to Majipoor courtesy of the inimitable Robert Silverberg are just two of the treasures offered in Swords & Dark Magic—a fantasy lover’s dream.
Plot Summary Edit
Curnden Craw and his dozen are reluctantly sent to the village of the Fox Clan to the east of the Crinna. Craw’s crew include Wonderful, Whirrun of Bligh, Scorry Tiptoe, Brack-i-Dayn, Jolly Yon, and a new guy called Never. Whirrun is new to the crew, and has no sense of humour, saying only “I’ll laugh when I heard something funny!”.
They have been sent by Caurib to find a "thing" of blurry details that "you’ll know it when you see it" with "a kind of a light about it". They bemoan the fact that they’re always given the fool jobs. Their guide is a man called Raubin, a weasel-faced arsehole.
The village is a few round wattle huts and three long-halls with the ends of the curving wooden like fox heads. It is surrounded by a man-high fence of rough-cut logs. The thing is in the biggest long-hall, in the middle. Outnumbered by the clan of sixty fighting men, Never is sent to draw some of them off, while the other creep in at the south gate.
The plan works, and Craw's crew overcome the only remaining guard at the gate, and the others at the long-hall. Within the dimly lit, gloomy long-hall, they encounter the priest in a tattered red robe and animal mask. He clutches the thing, a twisted piece of wood with the faintest pale glow about it. Craw is stunned, but Jolly Yon splits his head with his axe, and he falls into the fire-pit, setting fire to the hut. Craw orders Yon to grab the thing, and they leave.
Outside they find Whirrun covered in blood and surrounded by the dead of the dozen Fox Clan who’d faced him. As more arrive, they flee.
Back with Raubin, they celebrate a job well done. When Yon pulls out a gold cup … not the thing they were looking for, Whirrun falls about laughing.