The Brazen Bollocks Mercenary Co.

Episode 1: The Courting of Fire
"What is it, and how much does it pay?"

*Spernik was enjoying the change of scenery over at the Tea Kettle this afternoon. Those Halfling gals were really hitting the spot, in terms of his mood. He thought that Tibeem and Ellison were too somber for this place. They were off on some errand or another for the Kirk of the Dragon and had to meet with some Black Fist guy they had in their pocket. It felt, like an afternoon off; and he was taking in the scene with glee. He didn't get here much because they were working double-time making these forgeries of some books with the info they needed for their errand. Supposedly there was an old dragon worshipping Druidic Kirk in the hills not far from the city. Spernik had not spent much time in the country as a child and he really reveled in the chance to camp out for a few days before they had to start digging, and searching old, dark places…

               The Brazen Bollocks were hired by Aleyd Burral to look into the theft of several books from Mantor's Library. The Bollocks spoke with a the bar staff at the Laughing Goblin Inn and learned a little about the thieves and that they had a third companion. They also had the opportunity to speak with a person from Cogburn's Grocery, Tad Staslep. He was delivering supplies for Spernik and Tibeem, the thieves. The Bollocks then spoke to the Lord Sage of Phlan and learned about the thieves, their jobs at the library, and what books they stole. They also asked around about the third companion, but were unable to locate him. Krev spoke with a librarian regarding some draconic histories he wanted to read later on. The Bollocks decided on their travel plans and made for the Circle of the Scale; the site of a Druidic Dragon worshipping cult that came to a bad end at the spear tips of an orc army about 150 years ago.

*What in the Nine Hells was happening? The dead bodies they had seen in the outer chamber had been walking around when they came out of the Black chamber. Thankfully the kobolds of the Red Scale tribe were fierce warriors. They managed to kill a couple of the things and drive the rest back so they could secure the door. Once inside the main chamber, their group could work on retrieving the other parts of the key. A couple of hours ago there had been voices and torchlight coming from the other side of the door. The sounds of battle probably meant that the walking dead were taken care of, but that meant armed people were also out there, and Spernik now only had six, increasingly agitated, kobolds left with him. The kobolds were in  panic because the armed people from two hours ago, they were busting open the door…

The Bollocks traveled for two days on foot and by cart. They arrived at the Circle of the Scale and knew for a fact that the circle of standing stones was a full blown ambush. They engaged the enemy in similar fashion and the restless kobolds sent out a winged scout to spot the party, leading to an engagement which the party quickly wrapped up. Descending stairs into the earth, the Bollocks explored the Temple of the Scale. They found some coins amongst the old bedding and kitchen supplies. They battled some zombie followers of the Druidic cult, some underwater ghouls, and a very aggressive skeleton. They set about breaking down the door to the next chamber where Spernik and his kobolds were holed up. Spernik had a couple of spells ready to go and froze Gundar with a hold person spell. Krev hit Spernik with a Ice Knife spell which did not do much damage, but it exploded a few seconds later and shredded five of the remaining six kobolds into meatloaf. The final kobold turned on Spernick and screamed at him in Draconic "What did you get us into?!", before trying to stab him. The party finished the last kobold and captured Spernick.

Next, the Bollocks tackled the trapped altars holding the keys to the next room. Rando breathed a lot of poison gas, retrieved the Green portion of the key, and took a short rest. Krev nearly got his leg sliced off by a scythe trap set in the stairs of the White Altar's dais, but he tossed a kobold body on the trap and disarmed it for good. Frost tried to sneak into the Blue room to retrieve the last section of the key, and got shocked a bit for her efforts. The Bollocks set the keys in place and opened the embossed metal door made to look like a dragon. Stepping into the inside they saw the reliquary they saw a tiled mosaic made into the shape of an enormous Red dragon with its open mouth facing the party. A voice boomed from the dark warning them away from the place. Scalebinder Skovac confronted the party with his robed druidic servants. He was an ancient undead guardian watching over the reliquary. The bones littered on the floor are proof of his honed ability to kill. Skovac spoke bireifly with the pasrty and confessed some of his sins, but in the end, the Bollocks had to get paid and they went for the Relic. Skovac spoke a word in Draconic and the Red dragon's maouth flared to life and covered Skovac and his companions. The fire revealed Skovac wielding two blazing swords and his cohort became enraged burning ash zombies. The combat was brief, but not without some cost; as Frost was savaged by a trio of the ashen zombies. The Bollocks, once again, stood alone.

*Spernik counted himself unbelievably lucky. A dozen kobolds had come from the Red Scale tribe to see how the project was coming along and to offer their assistance. They arrived to find the bodies of their tribesmen dead in the stone circle outside the temple. They found Spernik tied up in the chamber outside the reliquary and quickly cut him free. He explained the situation as the sounds of battle began in the chamber beyond them. He had no doubt that the group of ruffians would win the day. They seemed to be too fortunate for their own good. Quickly taking stock of the room, Spernick grabbed his pack with food and supplies, a knife and spear from a dead kobold, and hustled out of the temple. A couple of kobolds had been on watch and they stated that some men  were making their way up the road and if they moved fast, they may be able to intercept them and get their horses. Spernik knew the only way to escape these mercenaries was to get away fast. They hadn't killed him, but they seem to have killed everything else in the temple. He urged the kobolds on, and they set out.

Going back out into the previous chamber, the Bollocks found that Spernik was missing and that his bonds had been cut. The party set about tracking him and followed his trail into an area adjacent to the Quivering Forest. The Bollocks were confronted by a band of elven rangers who warned them away from the forest. Soon after another group of elves appeared with Spernik tied up. They stated that the kobolds with Spernik had been killed. The Bollocks exchanged some pleasantries with the elves and headed back to town. They turned Spernik over to the Black Fist and went back to the Madam Freona's for some much needed rest.

Frosts Journal (pre-Brazen days) #1

Note to self, you should have listened to that Erza girl. I still can't believe they kicked me out. One little embezzling scheme.  Its not like the gods really needed that few hundred gold anyway.

Frost stopped and looked down at her book. The amount had clearly been scribbled out several times. She shrugged and closed the book. "The key to a good embezzling scheme is to make sure that you have a cooked book already, that matches up perfectly." Erza's words echoed in Frosts mind. Frost still remembered the smirk that Erza had given her when she found out what Frost had been up to. Erza had been the first tiefling that Frost had ever met and so she took an immediate shine to the woman.  She didn't know exactly why Erza had opted to take her under her wing, but she wasn't going to argue. Even though Erza was a few years older then Frost, they quickly gained an affinity around town.  They became known as the Twin Devils due to what they were, and the fact that where you saw one, you knew the other wasn't far behind. While Frost had began to dabble in the life of crime, it was Erza's teachings, that really helped her flourish. 


Gundar sat at the nearly empty bar, turning over the day's events in his weary mind. He was well into his cups now, it having taken nearly a dozen flagons of the weak piss-swill these humans called ale to gather his thoughts in their proper place. The battle had been a right mess. Roric was gone now, as perhaps Gundar had known would happen sooner or later. Dealing in bloodwork for coins was ever a risky business. Roric was one of the better ones too, practically a Bearded One he. Could fight and drink and think these dregs to glory and riches. Gundar had been with him from the start. It had been Roric, and that healer Culhwch, and a few others, together to clear out that abandoned mine those goblins had been raiding that backwater from. A humble beginning for a new life on the surface. For seasons the band worked, and added or lost numbers as needed. Always Roric made the calls, and the reputation of the group grew in the area. These others that now remain found their way to the ranks over the years too. The halfing, the she-devil, and last, the dragon-man. All had shown skills that had served well. They were also loyal, or was it foolishness? Both amounted to the same some would say. When the battle seemed lost after Roric fell, several of those who could had fled for their lives. Gundar cursed their names under his breath. This caught the barkeep's attention "More drink, fair dwarf?" Gundar snorted derisively. "Ain't never been fair in any adeed manling, but 'spose it dunna hurt to kiss the arse a'tha one that's payin the tab. And ya, more drink if it please ye." The barkeeper moved off to pour another drink, eying the dwarf with unconcealed suspicious fear. Not only did the dwarf smell awful, but he swore he saw clots of blood matted in his thick hair and beard. Gundar barely noticed the man's look, already back to brooding and in doing so turning back to the past. 


The faces of the past surfaced, dredged up from memory like bloated corpses. Of his clan, his holdings, his family and friends. So much in the past, those he knew, had known, had fought for, or with. All gone now. The past was like a rich vein of silver, stripped out, where nothing remained but rock spoil, dust, and abandoned workings. He decided it was time to check on the manling again. He downed the last of the ale with a grimace and slapped coins onto the bar with a sizable tip for the service. In his mind he was already thinking of tomorrow, and if death came all the coin in the world would not stave it off. At least that poor fellow behind the bar might have a chance to live a little. 


Culhwch was actually awake now. His one good eye fixed on the dwarf as he moved into the room. "Bout time you showed up, drunkard. I was getting worried you were going to spend all the profits while I replaced these bandages myself". Gundar chuckled. "N'ver think it you foolish human, that stuff might serve for rabble like yourself, but I could only take so much. And those bandages don't need a changin yet". Culhwch knew the dwarf was notoriously filthy and had already decided he would not be a good indicator of when anything needed "a changin". "Where are the others?" asked Culhwch. The dwarf shrugged in response. "No doubt mourning in their own way, or spending the earnings, or maybe both?" He shrugged again. "What do we do now I been thinkin? We should have a meetin, and work out what our next step is going ta be." Culhwch said "I believe the path will reveal itself to us soon. Morrigan has spared me, and in doing so must have a purpose for us all". The dwarf glowered at his friend. "You know she seems like a fine god manling, but what possible purpose could she have for a bunch of scattered vagabonds like this group?" Culhwch just looked at the dwarf with that gaze that Gundar associated with the mad or really gifted. "You will see. We all will see, in time." Gundar might have said more, but at that moment the door to the inn below crashed open. There were loud shouts, then the odd bellow of a beast. The two sat listening for a moment. There were more shouts, more bellows. Gundar's hands were moving to his belt where the axes sat looped near his waist. Then he moved his hands away as he recognized the bellowing sounds. The thud of heavy footfalls on the stairs outside. Then the door burst open and the dragonborn stood there, plumes of fog shooting from his nostrils in little jets. He looked at Culhwch, and what passed for a smile spread over his face. "I thought you might die, like Roric! But you are here, and alive! This is good." Krev's face had returned to something of a neutral look. He looked as though he were thinking about what to say next. Emotions were interesting with Krev. He always seemed to be struggling to decide how to act next. There was no doubting the power of his origins though, so as far as Gundar was concerned he could pretty well act however the Hells he wanted. Krev finally spoke "So Roric is dead, and I've been wondering what we are to do next". "Well me fine silver friend" Gundar said, "me and the medic here was just talking about the same. Let's gather anyone who's left tomorrow morn and discuss it to'var first meal. Perhaps we can still take small jobs in the area. Who knows? It might even be more lucrative and dangerous than our last arrangement!" And with that a grin split Gundar's lips, revealing what remained of his teeth.

The Battle of Hilcant Run
The Medic's Tale

Roric came back to the company's camp the morning of the battle in a foul mood. 

"The son of a bitch has put us on the left side of the line!", he told Culhwch. Culhwch was a favorite drinking companion of the captain in part because the dour man could concoct an effective hangover potion. 

Culhwch had been with Gundar when the scout had found out what was on the foe's right flank. 

"Those things are fucking big," Culhwch had commented. 

"It's cuz their bloody ogres!", Gundar spit. 

"Left side of our line is fucked," Culhwch decided. 

Now the Brazen Bollocks were on the left side and Roric was enraged. Culhwch saw the man about to kick the barrel they had used as a table the night before and picked up his flagon just before the barrel took flight. Roric raged and spat and after a few minutes of that he vented his vitriol on his companion, "Why the hell are you so calm about this?"

"Morrigan guards my death, and yours too."

"That bitch better gird her loins then because my death is looking fairly certain!  Yours too!"

"Then I get reborn into the Tairngire."

"Where does that leave me?", Roric accused Culhwch. 

"Are you looking to convert?", Culhwch cracked with that maddening grin. 

Roric shook his head, more as a response to Culhwch's attitude than the question. "I guess we'll just have to win then," the captain replied, but Culhwch saw the doubt on his friend's face as he looked across the field at their enemy. 

They did win but the victory was a hollow one. Roric, the toughest fighter amongst his men, fell under the club of an ogre. Club was an underestimate of the weapon. Culhwch had seen smaller battering rams. Nearly half of the Brazen Bollocks had fallen at that point. The remaining members were divided in their reaction. One half fled. They were in this for pay and with their leader down they had no remaining reason to risk their lives. Of this handful, several died serving as targets for ogres hurling boulders the size of a man's head. The other half of the Brazen Bollocks charged in after Roric's body. 

Culhwch, Gundar the scout, a halfling who always made Culhwch think of a well armed child, a tiefling spellslinger, and a dragonborn sorcerer exacted revenge on Roric's killer.  They then turned to fend off several ogres when a boulder struck Culhwch in the head and he collapsed. 

He woke later, a raven perched on his chest. The sounds of battle were absent but he could hear the groaning and dying of men all around him. The sound was wet and pitiable.  Where was his helmet?  The raven looked down at Culhwch's face and it's beak sought the man's eye. Culhwch jerked his head to the side and nearly retched.  The pain in his head was blinding, or had the raven plucked out his eye?  He blindly reached out and grabbed the bird. The motion had caused another blazing shock to rip through his head but he would be damned if a raven was going to take less than all of him. 

Morrigan's arrival was heralded by ravens and crows.  She was the Devourer and battlefields were feasting fields. Now one of her heralds had taken a piece of her priest and Culhwch was determined to demonstrate the pecking order to this damned scavenger. He rolled over onto the flailing bird letting his weight and that of his armor crush it. He heard the hollow bones snapping and then nothing over the sound of his retching. The world spun and swam and his vision faded to black. 

Gundar woke the cleric of Morrigan later. Culhwch held the raven by the neck and it was no more. Gundar poured water into his companion's mouth, slowly. "Easy, lad.  We won, I suppose.  I got your pack. What the blazes happened to your face?"

Culhwch couldn't string together the words to reply so thrust forward the bird. "Ah. Thought you were worm food, eh?  Ok, going to bandage your head.  This might, er, hurt a bit."

Culhwch stifled a shout and then there was only black. 

He woke in a proper bed with light assailing his eyes through the window. His head was still wrapped and hurt like hell but he didn't feel like vomiting. Hell, he felt hungry. Starving. There was water and bread on a dish on the floor. He kicked at the rat that was tearing pieces off the hunk of bread and picked up where the creature left off, hungrily biting off chunks. The water was stale and warm. 

He stood and wobbled but stayed upright with some help from the wall. Struggling over to the window he was annoyed at the view that greeted him, "Phlan."  He was in the piss hole of the Moonsea. He looked around the room and saw his armor piled up. The helm was ruined. It looked like a maul had smashed it. Had his head been in that?  Then he saw the dead raven. What a shit storm. 

He stumbled and staggered his way down to the first floor of the Teakettle, nearly passing out due to the spinning that had renewed it assault on his senses. "Water.  Boil it", he told the wench who helped him sit. She gaped at him, a sorry sight he knew. "Water, please", he repeated, "I need to change these."  He pointed at the bandages on his head.  Culhwch put his head on the table for a short rest while he waited. 

Movement, retching, a cool sensation on his head, a soft bed where he only memories of what came next. When he woke again Gundar was there, "I guess you ain't gonna die after all," the dwarf rumbled. Culhwch grunted. He blinked his right eye and then his left, which gave him intense pain. He winced and Gundar wore a pained expression. 

"The good news is you got two eyes still. The bad news is you are uglier than, well, ever!" 

"Your bedside manner is shite. No wonder I'm the chirgeon," the wounded man replied. 

"Ah good, that damned raven didn't eat your tongue then!  Now shut up and listen for a moment. The Brazen Bollocks is probably done. There ain't more than 5 of us, all told, after that damned fool battle.  If it hadn't been for Sir Schtilten's cavalry, we'd all be smashed to paste, or worse!"

"We buried Roric. Built him a cairn. I'll take you out when you can ride, or walk, or crawl. I know you are damned fool stubborn. Your bandages is changed. Hilda seen to it and she ain't no worse with wounds than you are. You'll bear some scars but you can get yerself a new helmet to protect that softened melon of yours."

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