The Brazen Bollocks Mercenary Co.


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.



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