Return of the Prodigal Son
The road to Cottar’s Bale was not a road at all, but a muddy, rock-strewn path meandering south, along the raging late-winter waters of the Brownflow river. Vorodon led the way, though often Aerex would scout ahead, usually lost in his own thoughts. Kyrian for his part was anxious and slightly on edge, while Talia walked quietly, and Maegla quieter still. Twice the companions camped for the night, and twice the nights passed without event. Few folks dwelled, much less traveled, in these parts, and fewer still approached the swollen Brownflow in late winter, a cantankerous body of water, known for its giant catfish, and flooding banks and mudslides.
On the third night, Vorodon managed to catch a giant catfish, wading up to his waist, waiting patiently, then finally lunging at something beneath the water. After a few moments, the half-ogre emerged, wrestling and grappling with a ten foot whiskered, oily fish, and having dragged it ashore, while berating the fish the entire time, he drove two darts simultaneously into the creature’s temples, butchered it with uncanny grace, chopped off the head for salting, spitted the body, and began roasting it, over the fire that Aerex had started.
The companions ate well that night. Later by the fire, Talia told stories of the gypsies, Aerex what he knew of Jantir, Kyrian spun fascinating tales of the faraway elven kingdoms, and Blind Maegla sang a melancholy threnody to her lost love, Bross.
The next morning the group traveled on, and as Vorodon spoke of his home, and what the companions might expect to find there, the first signs of Cottar’s Bale came into view. The hills rose higher here, the river narrowed, and finally Vorodon pointed and smiled a toothy grin.
“My home” the giant exclaimed almost lovingly, and the companions began to climb a particulary intimidating hillock.
The first inhabitants the companions spied, were actually human, but a rough-looking bunch, carting slain deers on long poles, and singing with unabashed glee. Talia noticed the heavy tattoo work on their exposed arms, while Aerex detected a particularly pungent smell of body odor.
One of the men noticed Vorodon and grinned. After all, it had not been all that long, since the young half-ogre had left his birth village to wander the world.
The two spoke for a while, then Vorodon clapped the burly human on his shoulder, and the man’s grin spread even wider. It was somewhat peculiar to the others, to watch a human converse so eloquently in the Ogrish tongue, but expected, as Vorodon often spoke of the “copperashun” between the humans and ogres of Cottar’s Bale.
As the hunters moved on, Vorodon paused to speak with his comrades.
Apparently, Gorye, Vorodon’s father, was in a bad way, wasting away, and not of sound mind (at this, Kyrian suppressed a grin of his own...never having encountered an ogre of sound mind, regardless of age.) Furthermore, a new ogre was chief now, Gorodjur, a competent Volgotoi, who had several wives, and the respect of the villagers.
Snowmelt, the most anticipated annual festival in Cottar’s Bale was under way, as Vorodon went on to explain, and yet there was some trouble brewing as well. Trouble Vorodon wouldnt elaborate on, instead mumbling a word that sounded like “Veirgbrig” and spitting on the ground.
The companions moved on then, and soon Cottar’s Bale proper came into view, a bucolic hamlet of long, log homes and stone cottages. A village like any other, except for the hefty behemoths, that intermingled with the human inhabitants. A peaceful place to be sure, and not what the companions expected, truth be told, despite Vorodon's many stories.
Vorodon headed straight for the Great Lodge, and though the group drew some stares, for the most part men and ogre alike shouted greetings and waved at the advancing Volgotoi. Leather workers, armorers, brewers, and cattlemen greeted Vorodon, exchanging pleasantries, and asking the warrior, which of the woman, Talia or Maegla, was the Great Elder’s son’s new wife.
<OOC> More coming soon, but feel free to post! In Cottar's Bale, you're in good hands with Vorodon</OOC>