Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 036

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 036

Diecast was nothing much to look at from above: brown bricks, round turrets, squat buildings, a couple vegetable gardens, and one unremarkable tower with an onion-domed lookout post at the top. Level 2 cities weren‘t built to be pretty, and this one had the Signamancy of neglect all over it. It looked like one forgotten lump of a city, in a side too big to care any more. On the tower spire, a square standard in Haffaton‘s black-and-white colors snapped in the breeze, bearing some emblem with pink in it.

Jillian led her WRECD crew in a slow, non-belligerent circle around the outer walls. No units were visible there, or anywhere in the city. Chip honked out a hailing call on his sheep horn. There was no reply. Her warlords pulled their gwiffons into a tight line with hers, and held their reins in hand.

“Well, we‘ve let them know we‘re here. This is already incredibly dangerous,” she told them, staring at the tower intently for any sign of life. The lookout post had thin windows with smoked glass panes, shaded–almost lidded–by the overhanging edge of the dome. The interior of the post was in shadow. Hadn‘t she spotted something inside there from one angle? She couldn‘t see anything now. The sky was overcast, and the wind here was surprisingly chilly.

“I know,” said Hedda, “I love it! If we take this city and raze it, I‘ll love it that much more.”

“Unless we do actually attack them, we‘re not in too much trouble yet,” said Chip. “We‘re real far from home, so it‘s not like we‘re tipping our hand by being here. They did offer us work. Maybe, y‘know, we‘re just here looking for that.” They all stared down in silence for a while. “I say let‘s at least enter the airspace,” he added.

He didn‘t have to mention that entering the airspace would trip any of the city‘s automagical defenses, or that they‘d be that much more likely to be identified as hostile. Jillian squinted. She didn‘t think the tower looked rigged to shoot, but without a caster along, you never could tell.

Bart, the junior level 1 warlord, offered absolutely nothing. He was looking intently all around the city. Jillian had been hoping for more of a contribution from him, but she had to remind herself that this was the first enemy city he had actually seen from this close. Level 1 is a rough time for a warlord. All too often, it‘s the only level they‘ll ever know.

The breeze blew Jillian‘s hair around, and reddened her cheeks. All right, so she had to think this through. If this city was truly undefended, then just landing in the garrison would be enough to take it for Faq. What then?

Then...they could raze it for about an 8500-shmucker boost to the treasury, and bug out. They could get pretty far away from here with all the move they had left. Haffaton would know that a side called Faq had taken one of its cities, but she had never revealed that name to the Haffaton warlord.

She had carried out raids like this several times before. It was completely possible to do it and get away with it.

“I don‘t want to do this,” she said, after long moments of thought. The feeling surprised her. Usually she looked at danger with the same kind of gleeful anticipation that Hedda was bubbling with. She took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. She didn‘t know... No, she did know why Haffaton was so frightening.

It was the same reason they had to attack right now. “But I think we have to. They‘re not just our enemy. According to Sister Marie, they‘re our future conqueror. It‘s inevitable. Anything we can do to hurt them or preemptively gain from them probably buys us some time. Plus...we‘re not making money any other way. Right?”

There were nods from Hedda and Chip. Bart simply looked at her respectfully, awaiting his orders.

“Restack in screens for shockmancy defense,” she said. “Hedda, your stack will take point.”

“Arright, Chief!”

 

---

They entered the airspace without incident. No arrows flew from hidden croak-holes, no alarms were called, no bolts of enemy magic were thrown their way. The only sounds were a rustle of wind and the lonesome caw of a black pillcrow or two.

The party flew in close to the tower, and could now examine the emblem on the standard. It was strange: a circle around a badly-decayed uncroaked unit wearing a garland of pink flowers on its bare skull. There were two more pink flowers on either side of the circle, separating the words “HAFFATON” at the top and “PEACE” on the bottom, in highly stylized block letters.

The Faq warlords peered in through the windows. It was dark, and nothing within it was moving. Jillian kept inching around, trying to see in. She was pretty sure she had seen something in there. And if you were going to have any units in the city, this would be the place you‘d deploy them.

She pressed her gwiffon‘s flank against the bricks, pinning her leg, and put her forearm on the glass as a shade. There was something, wasn‘t there? Yes, there was a figure standing inside the room. It turned its head.

“Something in there is looking at me,” she whispered. The other warlords drew their swords instinctively. Chip pulled to the window and shielded his eyes over the glass.

Jillian was looking right at it now. It was man-sized. It had a head. And eyes. The eyes were looking at her. That was all she could tell about it in the gloom.

“I think I see it. That‘s not a unit,” said Chip. “Can‘t see a level or points on it. I don‘t know what it is. Just a statue or a decoration or something.”

“No, it moved,” said Jillian. “Watch.”

They watched.

“It‘s not moving now, that I can see,” said Chip after a while. Jillian felt she was locking eyes with whatever it was, but with the glare on the window and the darkness inside, she kept losing her focus on it. Half the time she felt like she was remembering, rather than seeing it.

Bart pulled closer and looked in, too. Hedda scooted her gwiffon back and forth nervously through the air, guarding them as they peered. For many long seconds more, they watched. Jillian pressed her face so close to the glass that it fogged up, despite the wind. For a room with this many windows, it was incredibly dark inside.

Jillian took her fist and pounded on the glass pane. “Hello?”

The figure did nothing.

“Chief, you sure you saw it move?” asked Chip. “I think you probably saw a reflection of one of us moving in the glass.”

Jillian said nothing, but watched the figure. She would wait it out until it moved its head again. The chill breeze kept blowing, while her soldiers sat on their mounts in silence.

“Chief if there‘s something in there, then I think we should just land and see it from inside the tower!” snapped Hedda.

Jillian stared a few seconds longer. Eyes. A head. No motion. What was it?

“Chief!”

“Yeah, all right,” she said at last. “Let‘s land.”

 

---

The modest tower had no landing space for flyers. They helixed down slowly beside it, watching the rest of the dreary, empty city disappear behind the brown bricks of the garrison walls. The courtyard below was composed of a grassy drill-and-muster area, some small outbuildings, and an overgrown garden along the north wall.

As they prepared to touch down, Jillian looked up at the battle standard, flapping high in the air above them. If there were no enemy units in the city, then it would change from white to green as they touched down.

She felt a bump, and the body of her gwiffon sank and sagged. It peeped gratefully, glad to be grounded again after so long.

The banner atop the tower waved white, black and pink.

“Enemy archery!” shouted Hedda, and Jillian snapped her attention back to ground level. Hedda had her boots on the ground already, and was pointing a sword at the north wall. Something zipped by Jillian‘s head, as fast as an arrow, only not one.

It was the size of a large insect, and green, she looked where Hedda was pointing.

The garden itself was shooting missiles at them. A half dozen of the plants had reared up and were slinging or...spitting round green projectiles. There were the enemy units! The green balls pelted a couple of the gwiffons, and Jillian could immediately see they were doing about 1d6. Nothing to panic over. Almost enough to laugh about.

“Charge ‘em!” snapped Jillian, jumping to the grass. The order was somewhat retroactive; Hedda was already pounding turf with the infantry of her stack. The green balls were flying, but the fighters covered the open ground fast, swords flashing to the ready. This would be quick work, if they avoided any crits...

“Enemy infantry!” shouted Bart from the rear. Jillian pivoted and brought her sword up in guard.

Emerging from the blockhouses to the south were several heavily-decayed uncroaked stabbers. No more than an eight-stack, and not actually even stacked. They were slowly shambling over the lawn toward them. No threat there, either.

“Yours, Bart!” she ordered. Good time to give him some play. As she watched Bart lead his reserve stack in his first ever charge, one of the uncroaked was actually struck by a green projectile from the garden, and disintegrated.

“This is the side we‘re so afraid of?” she asked, to no-one in particular. The chill she'd felt at the tower top evaporated into euphoria. They were finally attacking Haffaton, and winning. They'd raze Diecast and be long gone. Maybe they'd even find another soft target in this paper-doll empire that defended its cities with bone-puppets and vegetable gardens.

“Aw, you guys...” she said, thinking of the Court of Faq, “We should‘ve gone for the headshot.”

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
Salem wrote:
I always read it that haffaton had no intention of letting them live, it was just avoiding taking any damage and was going to let their enemies pick them off or wait till later to do it themselves. I always read them as a very sinister side. Untrustworthy sorts.

Same here... Its suggested that Haffaton had been receiving tips from goodmitten's "allies" and that they later went and formed an allaince with haffaton. With how easily those allies were able to invade and pose a threat, it seems to me that their was a loop hole in haffaton's generous offer; Namely the alliance would protect goodmitten from a direct haffaton attack but it would not protect them from their former allies. After the alliance those two sides would break their alliance with goodmitten and strike them down knowing that haffaton has no interest in avenging them... As it was said, Haffaton is a side that wins without fighting
Since Haffaton wins without fighting I wonder if they poison rulers without heirs.
Oh I sincerely doubt they ALWAYS win by not fighting. They just took that approach with Goodminton because it deprived the enemy of their best asset, the Uncroaked. And I'm sure there are other side strategies it works well against. It could work against many types of sides that are low on cash...you camp in their city but prevent them from attacking as their treasury dwindles and units start to disband.
It's Goodminton, not Goodmitten.
Salem wrote:
I don't remember if tommy actually attempted that because if he didn't he IS blameless as thoughts and tossing around ideas and not acting on them is thought police only territory.

Protecting someone through murder is still murder. Say I kill an innocent child to protect another innocent child who I think is more important, is that okay?

Also I don't think everything falls on the moral spectrum, but I also don't think Haffiton is good, it seems pretty clear that noone likes them and it doesn't seem like EVERYONE they've conquered to become the largest side in their time, possibly ever, started the fight. In fact the fact that FAQ is worried about them at all for any reason would make one assume that they have reason to believe they might be an agressor.

Well really now, it was his boopin' battle plan. Only the betrayal of his allies stopped him from carrying it out.

There are no children in Erfworld. Tommy was a soldier, Olive's enemy, fighting in a war that never ends. Killing one enemy soldier so an enemy soldier you like gets to live, well...

Jillian likes to murder people, her Father likes to hide from the World, between the two of them... As for the conquest, the only numbers given for the size of their holdings is 'between 40 and 50 Cities' , if accurate, that's probably less than a dozen Sides they've knocked over. I suspect that they're far larger, but all the same, they're a patient Side and every Side we've seen has been quite Warlike, that's why the stories Jillian has heard of other bubble Sides always end sadly. And it only takes one Warlord as stupid as Jillian to trigger the avalanche.

MonteCristo wrote:
That is beside the point. the point is the fact that haffaton is using a unit they find unpleasant. The only reason a side would use a unit type that they do not like is because they find a great deal of NEED for it. If Haffaton is doing just fine in terms of upkeep then NOTHING is forcing them to use uncroaked and therefore they do not need wanda and her lads. The simple fact that Haffaton uses the uncroaked is indication that they have NEED of them and one thing that uncroaked provide is low upkeep forces. Hence how their common usuage in haffatonn is evidence that haffaton is having trouble keeping up with the upkeep for their absurdly large side.

Even a weak side can still croak you if you are not careful; and the weak city does not change the fact that haffaton managed to grow to such an absurd size... Marie has already predicted that it would happen and thus Jillian has reason to think that it is very possible if not likely to happen if Faq doesn't do anything to circumvent it

Jillian's not really trying because she KNOWS that Banhammer's plan is terrible. They asked her to search for a needle in a hay stack when they don't even know if there is a needle in the hay stack to begin with; asking her to search for something incredible difficult to find that may not even exist. It can not work; even if such a capitol site existed it could take thousands of turns to find it if it could be found by just randomly searching around; i mean hell Stanely left Faq's old captial site in ruins and unprotected and yet no one ever stumbled upon it. Its the worst possible plan and its the plan thats wasting time, money and lives. Trying to decapitate haffaton may have its flaws but it is a FAR more realistic plan that has a chance of working; and hell one thing we know of from the future is that Faq outlasted the existence of Haffaton AND took their caster; which makes it sound like something similar to the decapitation plan was what worked out in the end.

Granted though, i think the plan Jillian should have really played more was her evacuation plan where they create a big armada and decapitate some other side that's easy to knock over and not too far away... That was probably the most realistic plan; followed by trying to find a way to defeat haffaton first... Banhammer's plan comes in dead last because its not even a viable plan.

So? Haffaton had them pushed into a corner and had them weak... if Haffaton was really the good side it claims to be it could have ended the fighting right there and then; there was no need to keep going until the side was extinguished. They could have called for a non-aggression pact at any time and they did not; they could have kept pursuing the peace plan but they did not; in the end, just extermination

Irrelevant because Haffaton did not know this about Tommy. Haffaton had no knowledge of Tommy's scheming; Goodmitten kept such details to themselves and thus haffaton knew only what they told them; namely that they needed to deal with an immediate crisis back home and that they would consider haffaton's offer. It was under THAT pretext, the pretext that told haffaton that peace was still on the table, that Haffaton chose to croak Tommy. Hell when you consider that Olive had to put on the poison lipstick before she met with them, you can tell that they were planning to betray them before they even got their answer... In fact Olive's song even hints that Haffaton had chosen to screw the peace talks and take out goodmitten even though Tommy had done nothing more than ask for one more turn to get guidance from their overlord. Its true Tommy was scheming, but haffaton did not know this; they just simply lost their patience and decided to croak tommy at the end of the peace talk.

No, Haffaton are using a type of magic a low level Warlord and a few elves happen to dislike. Unlike their superiors, who chose to place Wanda's Uncroaked in their Banner. Given that Wanda is responsible for most of their conquests, it's not hard to understand why.

Jillian's belief that Haffaton is a paper tiger requires the Prediction to be nonsense. Their Size is the source of her belief in the weakness. She has no non-evil reason to attack the Haffaton that exists in her mind's eye.

... There are Capital Cities out there to be found, Faq's neighbours can hardly be blamed for not expecting to find one on their doorstep. And if Jillian was actually bothering to look she'd be able to bring in some money. As is, she is, as she always does, placing her selfish desires over the welfare of her followers.

Oh true, the evacuation plan was a good idea, on paper at least. In practice, marching an entire Side's worth of Units through unfriendly territory would be far more easier said then done.

For a start, Wanda was marching on a Haffaton City at the time of the Destruction of Goodminton. For a stop, the identity of the Side responsible for Goodminton's annihilation is unknown, so yeah.

It's possible Haffaton failed to realise that a Warlord who came to take a City was still planning to storm it. Such an intelligence failure wouldn't change the facts though and nor does Haffaton putting their plan into action first. When no holds are barred, no holds are barred, end of.
Whispri wrote:

No, Haffaton are using a type of magic a low level Warlord and a few elves happen to dislike. Unlike their superiors, who chose to place Wanda's Uncroaked in their Banner. Given that Wanda is responsible for most of their conquests, it's not hard to understand why.


You forgot to include their Chief Florist. Olive finds Wanda's work to be disgusting

Quote:

Jillian's belief that Haffaton is a paper tiger requires the Prediction to be nonsense. Their Size is the source of her belief in the weakness. She has no non-evil reason to attack the Haffaton that exists in her mind's eye.


No it does not, it only requires that the prediction not be 100% absolute. In other forms of fiction, predictions are not seen as absolutes but as posssibilities; as in "this is your future if you do not change from your current course"; WE understand predictamancy to be absolute but the people of erfworld may not. All it requires for Jillian to believe that Marie's predictions will only come true if they do nothing to intervene. This means the threat of Haffaton IS real, despite their paper tiger like status, but only if Faq does nothing to stop it... even the weakest of enemies can strike you down if you show them your back

Quote:

... There are Capital Cities out there to be found, Faq's neighbours can hardly be blamed for not expecting to find one on their doorstep. And if Jillian was actually bothering to look she'd be able to bring in some money. As is, she is, as she always does, placing her selfish desires over the welfare of her followers.


There is no such evidence that such a city exists, and if one did it would be almost impossible to find; there are countless hexes in erfworld and it would take an EXTREMELY long time to search them all and just missing ONE could delay the mission by thousands of turns. She has been told to look for a needle when the whole world made out of hay. And no she would not have a chance to make more money if she was seriously searching for this fabled capitol because her mission, as definded by king banhammer, tells her to end her mercenary work so that she can search for what can not be found. The ONLY reason she is finding any chances to make any cash is because of wear she has deviated from her father's FUTILE escape plan.

Quote:

Oh true, the evacuation plan was a good idea, on paper at least. In practice, marching an entire Side's worth of Units through unfriendly territory would be far more easier said then done.


Sounds FAR better than what banhammer came up with. Faq avoided detection for a very long time and the same defense can be used to sneak an entire army through enemy territory. furthermore they were aiming for sides that were weak pushovers. Its not a perfect plan, there is no such a thing, but its a realistic plan with a chance of success. Faq has no chance of surviving if it follows banhammer's plan, but jillian's escape plan would atleast gave them a shot at survival. ANY chance is better than NO chance

Quote:

For a start, Wanda was marching on a Haffaton City at the time of the Destruction of Goodminton. For a stop, the identity of the Side responsible for Goodminton's annihilation is unknown, so yeah.


It was haffaton's turn, if it was not haffaton itself then it was its allies. In either case Haffaton proved that they could end goodminton VERY easily and were infinitely superior. Goodminton only one a few rounds because of a surprise factor and because Haffaton had not gotten serious; The moment they did, goodminton started to loose EVERYTHING it won far faster than when they got it; And THAT was because of haffaton's own forces not anyone's elses. Goodminton was nothing more than an insect that haffaton thought to swat anyway.

Quote:

It's possible Haffaton failed to realise that a Warlord who came to take a City was still planning to storm it. Such an intelligence failure wouldn't change the facts though and nor does Haffaton putting their plan into action first. When no holds are barred, no holds are barred, end of.

Doesn't matter; if Haffaton truly believed in peace they would not back stab someone while negotiations were still going on. Their preemptive strike, especially when they are the vastly superior force just shows their true nature. They seek to bring peace through war by destroying all other sides until only they remain; they just prefer alternative methods of achieving victory because it allows them to falsely pretend that they are better than everyone else.
MonteCristo wrote:
Whispri wrote:

No, Haffaton are using a type of magic a low level Warlord and a few elves happen to dislike. Unlike their superiors, who chose to place Wanda's Uncroaked in their Banner. Given that Wanda is responsible for most of their conquests, it's not hard to understand why.


You forgot to include their Chief Florist. Olive finds Wanda's work to be disgusting

It could be that whoever chose the livery was pulling a prank or something. ;)


MonteCristo wrote:
Whispri wrote:

Oh true, the evacuation plan was a good idea, on paper at least. In practice, marching an entire Side's worth of Units through unfriendly territory would be far more easier said then done.

Sounds FAR better than what banhammer came up with. Faq avoided detection for a very long time and the same defense can be used to sneak an entire army through enemy territory. furthermore they were aiming for sides that were weak pushovers. Its not a perfect plan, there is no such a thing, but its a realistic plan with a chance of success. Faq has no chance of surviving if it follows banhammer's plan, but jillian's escape plan would atleast gave them a shot at survival. ANY chance is better than NO chance

Unless the Prediction said there was NO chance and Banhammer's orders weren't actually intended to save Faq, but to get Jillian as far away from the Capitol as possible. The "Battlestar" plan would have put all of Faq's eggs in one basket, but if we know ahead of time that basket's going to fall...
MonteCristo wrote:
You forgot to include their Chief Florist. Olive finds Wanda's work to be disgusting

No it does not, it only requires that the prediction not be 100% absolute. In other forms of fiction, predictions are not seen as absolutes but as posssibilities; as in "this is your future if you do not change from your current course"; WE understand predictamancy to be absolute but the people of erfworld may not. All it requires for Jillian to believe that Marie's predictions will only come true if they do nothing to intervene. This means the threat of Haffaton IS real, despite their paper tiger like status, but only if Faq does nothing to stop it... even the weakest of enemies can strike you down if you show them your back

There is no such evidence that such a city exists, and if one did it would be almost impossible to find; there are countless hexes in erfworld and it would take an EXTREMELY long time to search them all and just missing ONE could delay the mission by thousands of turns. She has been told to look for a needle when the whole world made out of hay. And no she would not have a chance to make more money if she was seriously searching for this fabled capitol because her mission, as definded by king banhammer, tells her to end her mercenary work so that she can search for what can not be found. The ONLY reason she is finding any chances to make any cash is because of wear she has deviated from her father's FUTILE escape plan.

Sounds FAR better than what banhammer came up with. Faq avoided detection for a very long time and the same defense can be used to sneak an entire army through enemy territory. furthermore they were aiming for sides that were weak pushovers. Its not a perfect plan, there is no such a thing, but its a realistic plan with a chance of success. Faq has no chance of surviving if it follows banhammer's plan, but jillian's escape plan would atleast gave them a shot at survival. ANY chance is better than NO chance

It was haffaton's turn, if it was not haffaton itself then it was its allies. In either case Haffaton proved that they could end goodminton VERY easily and were infinitely superior. Goodminton only one a few rounds because of a surprise factor and because Haffaton had not gotten serious; The moment they did, goodminton started to loose EVERYTHING it won far faster than when they got it; And THAT was because of haffaton's own forces not anyone's elses. Goodminton was nothing more than an insect that haffaton thought to swat anyway.

Doesn't matter; if Haffaton truly believed in peace they would not back stab someone while negotiations were still going on. Their preemptive strike, especially when they are the vastly superior force just shows their true nature. They seek to bring peace through war by destroying all other sides until only they remain; they just prefer alternative methods of achieving victory because it allows them to falsely pretend that they are better than everyone else.

Goodminton era Olive disliked Uncroaked, hundreds of Turns have passed since then, if not thousands. Years have gone by, if not decades. And a great many Haffaton soldiers have lived because Wanda's silent servants marched into the mouth of hell on their behalf.

Jillian hasn't read that fiction. So... Furthermore, Haffaton (a Side that has never threatened Faq in anyway) are so weak in this scenario that they are incapable of securing their Capital. Being that weak yet simultaenously somehow strong enough to overwhelm any Side they wish to conquer is a bit on the strange side of things. 'Unlikely' one might say.

Even Jillian admits that such a City could be found. She doesn't have to search everywhere, merely the isolated, hard to reach areas in which such a Site could be missed. As for earning money, she's taken bounty contracts since she left the Capital. Against Haffaton of all Sides. And that's the problem. The reason she can't earn money during her search, is that she hasn't yet lost sight of her mighty neigbour. If she'd flown directly away from them she could be earning bounty money as she flew straight through a Side's territory. Or indeed, raiding apparantly weak Cities without risking the wrath of a Side fated to destroy her own.

Banhammer's plan does not require placing his heir, popped to ensure the survival of his Side after his certain doom, at ground zero. And flying an entire Side's worth of Units through the territory of multiple Sides? It's just asking for it.

That is supposition on your part. Note, that in the the Book 0 update prior to this one Jillian did not in fact know it was Haffaton she was sharing battlespace with until Hedda delivered her scout report. Nevermind that battlespace only kicks in if Sides are fated to encounter each other. As for Goodminton's strength, they were weak because they had no allies. If their allies had stayed loyal, things would have been different.

The negotiations had failed, Tommy made that very clear. He would never have surrendered Wanda and without that there could be no deal. As for the rest, the alternative to peace through conquest is a brutal, never ending war that grinds lives beyond count into dust.

Nnelg wrote:
It could be that whoever chose the livery was pulling a prank or something. ;)

And maybe Wanda's the Overlord of Haffaton.
To say that someone was planning something so we did something worse is pretty shoddy excuse.
To say that methods and reasons don't matter towards morality is just not right.
"You killed four people, I offer your surrender, but if you refuse I will have no choice but to kill you."

vs

"I want to sleep with your signifigant other. Had you known that you probably would have not just imbibed so much of that tea. Tsk, to bad."

We have a pretty clear distinction there unless you are arguing that there is no such thing as morality. In which case a different discussion is in order.

Now put us in the situation of Tommy's planning, "Guys we have no chance, they're stronger they're more powerful AND we had a clear shot at having a chance if it wasn't for that hippiemancer what can we do. Maybe find a way to attack that would essentially put us back in the same position as pre hippiemancer.

Flower boop: "There won't be any peace, we want them dead. I have no idea if they're planning anything or will honor the truce. So I'm going to murder him. Not all of them just the awesome one."
Or
Flower boop: "They have a plan to betray the peace that we FORCED on them, and well it won't work anyway, but hey this makes me feel morally okay with murdering one of them in the peace I'm forcing."

Hmm, Flower boop, looks clearly bad either way.
Whispri wrote:
Nnelg wrote:
It could be that whoever chose the livery was pulling a prank or something. ;)

And maybe Wanda's the Overlord of Haffaton.

Oh, come on. A lot of curious things that happen with apparently no practical reasoning behind them could be logically explained by a bit of teasing between friends (or even less-than-friends).