Thurg stood in what looked like a great mead hall. He could not remember walking in, or really anything that would indicate how he got there. As he took his first step into the hall a sudden flash of insight came to him.
A huge fist, a thundering impact, darkness.
This only brought more confusion to Thurg, the battle seemed to have just happened, but he could feel no pain and could see no wounds. With every step into the great hall that seemed almost endless; sound seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere at once. Soft at first, the sound built into the whispers of countless voices. The empty hall filled first with sound and with every step Thurg took, the tables that lined the hall began to fill with people.
Thurg realized that the hall was filled with warriors of all ages, sizes and races. Grizzled veterans sat next to fierce, young warriors. Men and women. Nimble and powerful. Everyone was drinking and laughing, eating and jostling for endless tankards scattered on the tables. Despite the frantic activity, Thurg was no longer concerned with where he was. The hall brought feelings that he had never truely felt before; he felt at home.
As he walked further into the hall everything became more vibrant and alive. Some of the warriors even raised their mugs to Thurg in what seemed like salutes. Others sized Thurg up, evaluating whether he would be a challenge or not. He came to a spot that felt exactly right. There was an empty spot with a small, but strong looking human boy gesturing for Thurg to sit.
“Have a seat, Thurg,” the boy said. “You look tired and thirsty.”
He certainly was both but as he reached to pull the chair out he heard the sound of rustling leaves. In that rustling he heard the voice of his friend, Donnchadha, call out to him. He couldn’t understand the language, but the words washed over him like a summer breeze. With those words, however, came a pain like none he had felt before.
Thurg felt every wound from the battle; the burns, cuts and bruises. Everything hurt as if he had been broken apart and put back together again, but not completely. The worst was his head. He felt like it was split in two. Thurg realized that he was on a knee in the middle of the mead hall. Embarrassed, he looked to make sure no one saw his weakness, but could no longer see or hear anyone. Thurg looked up and saw a rather plain looking man with bronze skin. In one hand he held a tankard and around each wrist there was a shackle with a broken chain connected to it.
“Sorry Thurg,” he said with a crooked grin. “It’s not time to rest yet. We’ll all be here when you are actually finished, so don’t worry about that.”
Thurg awoke to a very tired woman kneeling over him, looking like she had been hard at work for hours. She looked relieved and nodded to someone on the other side of him. Before he could think to ask what happened, Steffan was standing over him.
“Just what in the Nine Hells were you thinking standing toe-to-toe with a giant. I think I taught you better than that.”
“People were behind me, I couldn’t run away.” Thurg replied.” My head really hurts”
“Well kid, what brains you have were knocked almost completely out of that skull of yours when the giant gave you that love tap.” Steffan said. “You’re lucky that your friend saved you from dying and that Jayna here was able to put to back together, mostly the same.” He gestured to the woman who looked like she was out on her feet and then back at Thurg. “Your friends told me to let you know they are back at the orphanage and give you this.” He set a glowing flail and some gold next to Thurg.
Thurg struggled to stand and collect his things. He took almost half of the gold from his share and handed it to Jayna and told her,”You have my thanks.” She looked as if she wanted to argue, but accepted it with a bow of her head.
Upon seeing this, Steffan whistled in surprise but didn’t say much else as he helped Thurg on his way back to the inner wall and down to a horse. On the way to the orphanage, Thurg saw his reflection in a window and was a little shocked. A large gash went from the middle of his fore head to behind his ear. It was healed, mostly, but there would be a scar there until he died. Steffan saw him looking and said,”You aren’t winning any more beauty contests, that’s for sure.” Thurg didn’t have anything to say to that. He was never handsome, but he looked more human than orc. Now though…
Once they got to the orphanage Thurg said, “Thanks for your help Steffan.”
“Don’t worry about it kid. Why don’t you come by my place tomorrow and I’ll take you out for some of that fish stew you like?”
“Sounds good to me.” Thurg replied
“Take care, kid.” Steffan said, than gave a hollow smile. “Watch your head, will you?”
Thurg nodded and turned to head into the gate to the orphanage. He could hear Elora arguing loudly with someone, but everyone else was mostly in bed probably. Thurg thought about the mead hall and wondered if it was real or a dream. Believing he was not smart enough to answer on his own, Thurg shook the thought from his head, maybe someday he’d find out.
His head really hurt.