Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #38 The Less Than Sterling Life

The Less Than Sterling Life of a Less Than Sterling Individual Named Sterling

Where does one begin the fabled life of a hero that spans countless glorious battles, honors won in combat, rewards of gold, magic items, and the kisses of fair maidens?  Not in this story about Sterling's life, 'cause them things ain't here.  However, you will find drunken debauchery, mindless butchery, and people screwing each other over for a piece of the action while trying to maintain a semblance of order, so it will probably be a good tale anyway.
  • Sterling's father was a roving tradesman and rake.  Scratch that.
  • Sterling's father was a wandering gypsy.  Well, not really.
  • Sterling's father was a bard.  Who am I kidding?
Sterling's father was a horrible thief and an insatiable alcoholic with an eye for the ladies.  Of course, one of his eyes was bad, so he could either buy good booze or good women, but never both in the same night.

And definitely not the night Sterling was conceived.

Sterling's father, Cornelious Riverbend, met his mother Allegra, at an inn.  Sterling, after downing about a river's worth of Gornheim's Dwarven Spirits, spotted Allegra waiting tables.  He immediately turn on the charm (which had drowned in the previously mentioned river) and proceeded to talk Allegra into a night of bliss.  Well, it was more like six minutes of bliss.  Dwarven liquor can do that to a human, but I digress.

The next morning, both people awoke to look at each other.  Allegra, not having had a drop, saw a devilishly handsome human with the bad eye she first encountered the night before.  Cornelious should have been so lucky.  He looked over and saw a 6'3" 320lbs greasy-haired half-ogre.  Remarkably, Cornelious did not scream.  He did, however, faint. 

When he awoke, he found a note by his bedside that read.

Deer Korny,
Kom to the blksmit place
sos us kan meet Dadie n we
kin git married

At this point, Cornelious screamed (partly from the fact that anything with ogre blood could write), got dressed, and jumped out the window.  That was a particularly bad move, as he fell into the arms of an ogre wearing a blacksmith's apron.

"Hi.  Da name's Gorg Horse-breaker.  Calls me Dad.  An iffn ya try ta run, I'll hunt ya down, kill ya, and eat ya."

Nine months later, Sterling Gorg Riverbend was born to the happy couple couple.  By the way, Allegra means "ogre-lady who smashes rocks" in ogre.

From the outset, Sterling had it bad.  Being a quarterogre didn't make him too handsome, nor was he a wise individual, and he certainly wasn't the most well-adjusted or well-liked person.  But he did have a few things going for him.  By the time he was sixteen, he was 6'4" and weighed nearly 275lbs.  Grandpa Gorg taught him to be a blacksmith, and from his mother, he learned to read and write.

From his father he learned to never, ever, ever drink.

When he was seventeen, Sterling went off to join the local militia group.  With a tearful goodbye from his family, Sterling was off.  He soon found a group of nasty, rowdy, surly, smelly, and down right lascivious men, all of whom had the right to enforce laws and basically beat people up as they saw fit in the name of the local baron.  Plus they got food, wine, women, and gold for it.  Sterling was in heaven.

He quickly rose in rank, and the by the time he retired, had risen to the rank of sergeant-in-arms.  This basically meant he was the biggest and strongest bastard in the company, plus he could actually read local laws.  He was the natural choice.  When that became boring, he decided on a career change.

One day Sterling heard a mercenary guild was operating in a near-by town.  Sure, it was his job to break up such unlawful behavior (or get them to fork over some hush money) but Sterling got an idea.  He had served more than fifteen years making next to nothing, but as a mercenary, he could finally make real (and legitimate) money.  One day, he turned his resignation paper to his captain (who couldn't read it anyway), gathered up his gear, and headed out...

Written by Douglas Robert Salvatore (1975-2011)

NEXT #39 - The Curse of Ruuna

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