The Brazen Bollocks Mercenary Co.
Medic of the Brazen Bollocks
Culhwch ain’t very tall, and he ain’t winning any beauty contests but he does carry an awfully big sword. He wears a suit of mail, well. It’s well oiled and there is nary a broken link in it. He wears a new helm, but that is out of necessity. His old helm suffered a catastrophic collapse while Culhwch’s head was still in it. The sword is new too, as his fellow Bollocks failed to retrieve it when he was struck down.
Out of his helmet, the man sports a wicked, and yet fresh, scar on his left temple all the way from his eye to his hairline. The left eye holds a red sclera, whose cause is identical to the scar. A raven tried to pluck out his eye and missed but it still tore out a parcel of his face.
A bronze raven skull hangs around Culhwch’s neck, a relic of a by-gone time when the Morrigan was an important goddess to some. He also carries a falcata, which fell out of favor with most warriors ages ago. It does do a fine job of removing a hand, forearm, or head from a body though.
Culhwch returned to the table to rejoin Ezma and Eva after the debacle that had played out at Madame Freona’s Teakettle. Damned Emerald Enclave! Their intelligence was shite. Find whoever is trying to sell whatever dragon trinkets in the place. This dragon nonsense was getting out of control. Why was it always fucking dragons? Culhwch wasn’t looking to get kicked out of the Teakettle. The money had been rolling in hand over fist since they had gotten there and you don’t shit where you live.
The ladies were still somewhat shaken but also eager to talk to the younger man who had been so willing to trade gossip before the shit started to fly. Culhwch looked at Ezma and tried to imagine her thirty years younger. Her hair was dark, in the few places it wasn’t grey. It reminded him of his mother’s hair after she washed it. It shone black, which made her pale skin all but glow.
Branna, as Culhwch’s mother was called, never quite fit in at the ruins of Zhentil Keep. Her husband was a full fledged Banite and the two were an unlikely pairing; but Culhwch had seen the way his mother had worried about his father when the man was away fighting. She had raised young Culhwch, between boxing of his ears by his father during the brief periods he was not on campaign. The boy was trained to fight and to murder by his father and he was an able student but it was when his father wasn’t around that Culhwch received his true education.
Branna raised the boy in the traditions of the Morrigan, the Devourer, the weaver of threads, the defender of sovereigns, harbinger of dooms, the Raven Queen, and the Phantom Queen. The worship of a goddess that has three forms is complicated. As Culhwch grew closer to the time when he would be expected to bear a shield, possibly for his father, the man who had served as Culhwch’s tormentor died in battle. Rumor had it that Branna, the witch, had caused the man’s death. If the rumor mill had only known the truth of it, they would have kept a more civil tongue in regard to the woman. Branna was indeed responsible and ready to snip more threads for the Morrigan to protect her son.
Culhwch was taken by his mother east and north to the Stojanow River where they lived in a hovel that Branna had “acquired”. The raven-haired woman made sure Culhwch could fight, training him as much as she could and bringing home men that could advance that training. During his twelfth year, he was made a shield bearer to a man who would shape much of Culhwch’s life moving forward. His name was Roric.
By the time Culhwch met Roric, the man had been an adventurer for a while. At least that was what he had told the young man. “Just stay out of the way and we will handle the fighting,” Roric had told his young charge. “If something comes at you, run unless you have to fight. I’ll come for ya and there ain’t no shame in running from a fight you can’t win.” Culhwch had never seen Roric run, unless it was towards danger. That was a lesson he had learned well.
Culhwch came out of his memory when it was clear Ezma had said something to which he should have replied. “My apologies ma’am. I was just lost in a memory,” he replied. The two older ladies gave one another a look and made to excuse themselves before Culhwch would awkwardly attempt a recovery. “I’d consider it a kindness if I could join you next week, if you happen by here again.” The ladies smiled and told them they would love to hear what other juicy gossip he might have “heard” by then. He nodded and watched them leave.
As his gaze followed Eva and Ezma to the door, it fell upon the halfling, Rando. It the tomb of Xandria had been another rocky endeavor thanks to that short bastard. He was great with numbers but too risky by far everywhere else. That stunt with the potions and smoke was not his most brilliant idea. And, of course, Culhwch had run right at the three skeletons that appeared as a result of the smoke, after casting a spell on Rando to keep him safe from the zombies. “Thanks, Roric, for teaching me to be a damn fool idiot,” he thought as he shook his head and rose to rejoin his band.