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."