A Chaotic Good Cleric/Fighter with an emphasis on Grapple.
---A notoriously notorious establishment, the
Death's Door had seen more than its fair share of unsavoury customers. For as long as anyone cared to remember thugs, thieves, hustlers, embezzlers, conmen, cutthroats, ill-tempered brutes, vagabonds and all other manner of undesirables had thronged in its stuffy warmth; hunkered down under the dim light beneath the low, lumpy ceiling. For generations this clientele had pressed and bickered and fought for the service of the world-weary barmen; who pushed their drinks through to them via specially-sized gaps in the iron grille that covered the entirety of the thick oaken bar. For generations this clientele had hurled each other over its long, low tables, whether for pride, greed, or just for kicks. For generations the Thieves Guild had made light work of the inebriated who staggered into the street outside in the early morning hours. It was steady, reliable work; as honest as a thief could get. There were purses to be snatched, jewellery to be palmed, organs to be harvested.
On this particular night a fight was brewing outside the
Death's Door. This wasn't an unusual occurrence in and of itself, but some novelty was to be found in that it was a fight over religion.
"Back down Selwyn." Wyldred hissed, tugging at my sleeve. "You can still leave here tonight without having your throat cut."
"Forget it brother. And have some faith." I said.
The stocky cleric turned a brighter shade of pink.
"Don't you dare question my faith, you trumped-up rookie." Wyldred huffed. "Don't you see? Even if you win, they're not going to let you go. They're still going to cut you open!"
"So you think all this is but a coincidence?" I asked. "That there was no higher purpose in our coming here tonight?
"I think that this is foolishness, is what I think." Wyldred said.
"Are you going to give me that blessing or not?" I said. Wyldred shook his head.
"This just doesn't make sense lad. It just doesn't make sense." Wyldred said.
"Well, Kord moves in mysterious ways." I said, roughly shrugging off my compatriot as I headed on.
The shorter cleric paused for a minute. Then, grumbling furiously, he shoved his way past a brawny fur-clad barbarian, who nearly overbalanced in surprise. I grinned, knowing only too well how much power was contained in my comrades' stocky Dwarven frame.
However as I walked on uneasiness began to set in. After a few dozen paces I halted my progress in the small pool of light cast by a street lantern overhead. All around me the barbarians were organizing into a ragged oval consisting of lean torsos, broad scars, hides and furs. They jostled into place from every side, jeering and hurled insults in a common tongue bolstered by a thick and fibrous accent.
A familiar voice spoke from behind me.
"So. Tonight we learn whose God is stronger. Am I right?"
I turned to face him.
When Wyldred and I had approached the table earlier that night, hoping to spread the word and deed of Kord over a few ales, I'd seen a chance for likely converts. The barbarians were primitive for sure, but they seemed like solid, honest men all the same - The kind who don't shirk a fight, and revel in war but at the end of it all look forward to returning to their women, their children, and the hard but tranquil life of a rural smallholder.
I had been taken aback at the vehement reaction that my evangelism had raised. In the first place I hadn't truly perceived just how many of these hardy folk were present in the Death's Door
that night. They must have been a group returned from active service (or searching it out) because at the first sign of a brawl they pushed their way through the milling masses and crowded around the table I had previously besieged - knives fingered from their belts and axes resting lightly upon their broad shoulders.
All at once, and over one another, they demanded a retraction of my statement that Kord was the 'strongest' of all gods. As the confrontation went on they grew louder and louder, and ever more belligerent:"If your God is so strong, how come we've never even heard of him?"
"Uthgar could carve your god in two easy as I draw breath."
"Take it back, priest, or the only thing that'll be powerful is the smell of dung in your breeches."
We were saved (if that is the right word) by one of their number dressed in full chain. He had only half a nose and no upper lip on the right hand side of his mouth. He pulled a stool from nearby and sat between me and the rest of the barbarians. The others behind fell quickly into a hush. Half-Nose waited for their hubbub to subside.
"Uthgar works in deeds, not words." He finally said. "And I'll back my god to best yours any day." A roar went up behind him.
I gathered as much calm as I could. Fortunately that had always been a merit of mine.
"A man of strength and wisdom truly. Are you sure you don't follow Kord?" I asked faux-innocently.
A few of the men behind Half-Nose took an angry step forward. But they halted in their tracks as Half-Nose raised a hand.
"If you wish, you and me will fight outside. The loser renounces their god. Do you accept? Or is your god like all the others, all words and no heft." Half-Nose said.
He and his fellows waited patiently for my response.
"This is a bad idea." Wyldred whispered in my ear.
I nodded thoughtfully at his counsel, then turned my head to smile beatifically at Half-Nose.
"I accept." I said.
A loud roar of approval went up.
Which is how I came to be alone, surrounded by barbarians, with only the strength of my convictions on my side.
Standing there, half-encased in darkness, I felt fear lurch suddenly into the pit of my stomach. I clamped down on it, swallowing it as whole as I could. I couldn't afford to reveal any weakness.
Half-Nose stepped from the shadows into the flickering light. He regarded me thoughtfully.
I think I'll leave it there or I'll go on writing forever