Throm The Thrower

The Grey Donkey in Steadshire was a tavern like many others in the world. There was a big bearded barkeep filling up mugs and a big (only slightly less bearded) serving wench handing out said mugs to patrons numbering around two dozen. Among those patrons was Feldi. Feldi was a young man who had attempted a few various ventures in a town to the north called Jacobsville. Things hadn’t gone well and he’d made some enemies in high places. That’s why he’d ended up Steadshire in an apprenticeship as a bard. He’d fell in under the tutelage of an old bard named Gordo, who had been around a long time. Gordo had traveled with many adventurers, faced many perils, and his songs of bravery and battle were the stuff of legend. Gordo could whip an entire bar into a frenzy of energy and he’d eat and drink for free all night. Feldi wanted to be like Gordo. He wanted to have exciting tales of adventure and heroism. Unfortunately Feldi had not yet had the fortune of finding a group of adventurers with whom he could travel.

That was why Feldi was at the Grey Donkey. The Grey Donkey was right on the main road through town. It was the biggest tavern in the area and the most likely stopping point for a group of adventurers who might be passing through. As it just so happened, that night Feldi was in luck. Well, sort of.

The creature who walked through the door to the Grey Donkey that night was really a group of adventurers. Feldi thought the beast seemed more like something a normal group of adventurers would be tasked to slay by a local magistrate or something. All conversation in the tavern momentarily stopped as the thing looked around the room as if searching for someone. In their minds, everyone hoped that the creature wasn’t looking for them; everyone except Feldi, of course, who saw this beast as a golden opportunity.

The giant grey skinned thing stood somewhere near the mark of half a foot over six. He bore the unmistakable traits of a rape born half-orc; but this brute was large for even that bastard race. The strange thing about this half-orc though was his markedly more human looking appearance than orc. Yes, his skin held a grey tint. His hair was black and mangled and the presence of large canine teeth was barely masked by his lips. With the exception of a noticeably prominent lower jaw his face held most of the attributes of a human. His ears were rounded at their top and his skin seemed to be free of warts, large ones at least. Though his hands were clad in gloves it was obvious he had no claws. The strangest thing about his appearance was his eyes. Though one was dark black like that of an orc, the other was a light blue. The rest of his person was difficult to discern given the scuffed up but very expensive looking set of full plate armor he donned.

He stood in the doorway, still gazing at the people in the room. With their collective breath held the patrons of the Grey Donkey waited to see what this odd half-orc would do. The beast looked as though he was about to speak. He opened his mouth, revealing those over large teeth, and a sound came out. However, it was not any words that he spoke, merely a very long, low, and loud belch. “Whatchall lookin’ at?” he grumbled out. “This a place where a payin’ man can get liquored up or not?” The patrons went back to their drinks and conversations and, despite not receiving an answer to his query the half-orc went to the bar and had a seat. This was a bad idea as the full plate armor made it quite difficult to sit down on a bar stool, this task was made infinitely more difficult given the already intoxicated state in which the large creature already was.

As soon as his rump came to rest on the stool he slipped off, knocked over the stool, and shattered it under his weight. “Sonofabitch” he mumbled in a low voice that was more like a growl. Feldi was at his side in an instant. “Can I help you up sir?” asked the eager young bard. “Can you? Probably not” muttered the fallen behemoth. Feldi gave a shot at lifting the creature by grabbing his shoulders and pulling. He couldn’t believe how heavy this thing was, he couldn’t budge him at all. The barkeep got ready to send his wench off to bring the authorities and remove this thing from his tavern. As if sensing the thoughts of the barkeep the orc said “Hey sir, I’ll pay for that there stool. You needn’t worry. I know how I look but I ain’t nothing to be turned away, I can pay.” The barkeep looked at the creature. “Need a hand getting up sir?” he questioned. The prone and struggling half-orc grumbled out something that sounded like “no” but to the barkeep’s ears it may very well have been “yes.” Just then the creature belted out his most understandable word so far. “Avast!” he yelled with a frustrated voice. The plate armor and shield strapped to his back disappeared right before the eyes of the barkeep and Feldi. “Had that feature installed while back, it’s pretty useful. That stuff’s tough to negotiate when I’m a bit tipsy” he said attempting to explain what had just occurred.

With the heavy armor gone the adventurer got up and found himself a new stool on which to sit. “How much for that stool there sir?” he asked the barkeep. “Um, maybe 25c.” The half-orc pulled out a pouch of coins. He reached his large hand into the pouch and pulled out a handful of gold coins. He tossed one onto the bar “For the chair.” He tossed another two gold pieces onto the bar “drinks, keep ‘em coming.” He tossed a fourth and fifth gold piece onto the bar “I want the two biggest and best hunks a’ meat you got out of that kitchen.” Finally he tossed two more gold pieces onto the bar “don’t call over no authorities now.” The barkeep was happy to oblige all of this strange visitor’s requests. Two mugs of ale were placed in front of the monster, one of which was drained immediately.

Feldi had found a seat next to the man-thing. “What’s your name adventurer?” he asked the behemoth. “Throm” said the thing in a manner of speaking that sounded much like another belch. “Some call me the Thrower. Others call me a bunch of things I shouldn’t repeat in mixed company.” Feldi looked with enthusiasm upon Throm. “The Thrower? What’s that about?” Throm downed the rest of his second mug of ale just as the barkeep put down two more in front of him. “One for this scrawny one too” said Throm indicating towards Feldi. “I throw things little guy. I throw things pretty well so some call me the thrower. Not really all that many to be honest though…maybe, like, five guys.” The barkeep placed a mug of ale in front of Feldi who began to drink it in a manner more befitting a human.

“What do you throw?” asked Feldi with interest. “Well whatcha want my life story kid?” Throm felt a little odd calling the guy “kid” for Throm was only about 24 himself. He could tell this guy was looking up to him though and the expression just felt natural given the vast size difference between the two. “I’d love it” responded the bard excitedly. This Throm might be his ticket to adventure and a real career as a professional bard. He might even be able to get further away from Jacobsville, which was always an exciting proposition.

Everyone in the Grey Donkey had been paying attention to this interplay between Feldi and Throm. They were curious about such an odd creature. Throm heard the absence of ambient conversations and turned around to look at the people in the tavern who were all staring at him. “My story’s one that’s better heard with a mug in hand. Five rounds for everyone here on me!” Throm exclaimed. He threw another ten gold pieces onto the bar towards the barkeep. Everyone gathered around Throm as he began his story, one he’d told many times in situations very similar to this. Feldi pulled out a stack of parchment and an ink pen to start writing down all that Throm was about to say.

“Well I all got started when a bunch of orcs on a stolen ship decided they wanted another stolen ship.” Throm began his story, he could see the people in the bar were interested, but Feldi was right in the palm of his hand. That was just fine by Throm.

“See the ship they wanted next to steal was the Maiden’s Prow (a fitting name considering the events which took place on it I might add) which had on board my mother, a human woman. Maiden’s Prow was just a merchant ship and my mother was a cook. Now these orcs on their ship weren’t much in the way of sailors. They’d tried to keep the crew of the ship they were on alive and force them to sail it, but that didn’t work out too well ‘cause they liked killing folk more than not killing folk. Well anyway they managed to run the two vessels into each other. The orc ship was pretty trashed but the Maiden’s Prow was mostly undamaged. So the orcs jumped on board and killed most anything that got in their way. Again they tried to keep some of the crew alive and this time they were more successful.”

“Now when I say more successful I mean they left six people alive. Five of them were sailors who were forced to sail the vessel for the orcs, the sixth was my mother. See she was left alive for two reasons. The lesser of which was that she was a cook, and orcs love themselves some food. The more important reason my mother was left alive was on account of her vagina. ‘Cause if orcs love one thing more than food and not-not killing folk it’s gettin’ their dick in something warm. And thus many of them did with my poor old mum.”

“After four days the other five original crewmen of the Maiden’s Prow who’d been left alive were now dead; testament to my previous claim that orcs like fucking even more than killin’. Somehow, on that fourth night, my mother had managed to launch a life boat. Now when she splashed down it was heard by a few orcs who ran to the edge of the ship to see what was going on; since they’d killed the sailors though they had no idea how to chase her down. Apparently one low ranking orc who hadn’t gotten a turn with her yet was so distraught to see her leave he jumped into the water in an attempt to bring her back and promptly drowned. My mother had brought plenty of rations with her but ended up being rescued by another ship in just two days.”

“Well a while later I was born and let me tell you I did well more damage to my mum’s lady bits than any of those rotten orcs. My mother, a good strong sea fairing woman, raised me all on her own. I grew to be a pretty strong sailor, learned the trade of fishing and at age sixteen I got myself on a whaling ship called the Whaling Sea Turtle. Now I’ve always been pretty strong and got along well on the Sea Turtle. It’s dangerous and arduous work, whaling. Crew came and went on the Sea Turtle every time we hit a port but I stayed on for two years. After a while the experienced sailors began training me in on the most critical and skill intensive position (‘sides the captain that is) on a whaler. That’s the position of harpooner. Now there are mechanical harpoon launchers, but they take ages to reload and are terribly large. The result being that you can only get about two on the deck of a ship and can’t put harpoons into a whale fast enough to keep ‘er from diving. So on the Sea Turtle we had manual harpooners. These guys would stand on the edges of the ship throwing harpoons into the whales. These harpoons had strong cables attached to the ends of ‘em that were anchored to the ship.”

“So I got trained to be a harpooner, and damned if in two months I didn’t get to be the best harpooner on the Whaling Sea Turtle. In another two years at sea I got to be the best harpooner in the business. I got to throwing all manner of objects: harpoons, javelins, spears, ladders, once I even threw a halfling thief into the ocean after he tried to relieve the captain of his valuables. Got some pretty good distance out of him too. I started making better money on shore showing off, and by showing off I mean sharking, my throwing skills in the port cities. So at age twenty I gave up the sea and started becoming a full time con artist. Now being a con artist ain’t no way to make a living if you wanna stay alive long. My looks tended to keep me pretty safe but it wasn’t too long before I got into one too many close calls and decided to look for new work. I found that new work in a traveling circus of sorts where I continued to hone my throwing skills. Well after about a year of that a guy approached me offering an even more lucrative business venture.”

“Now this guy wasn’t actually a guy. He was a gnome, named Pinser, who called himself a ‘master thrower.’ I’d never heard the phrase before, but I came to find it was a brotherhood of all different kinds of folk who’d mastered the art of combative throwing. Pinser taught me a bit about how to use my throwing in battle. He told me about how he’d been a body guard to wealthy aristocrats for many years. An assassin would see his target and as he approached he’d all of a sudden have half a dozen knifes sticking out of his chest thrown by a little gnome he hadn’t even noticed. Now obviously if I were to pick up this profession my tactics would be less subtle.”

“So that’s what I did, I got myself some intimidating looking armor and a couple of wicked harpoons and javelins strapped to myself anywhere a javelin could be strapped. I found myself a rich guy looking for a guard named Hollister. He liked how intimidating I looked and my skills with throwing things convinced him to hire me on. That ended up being a mistake on his part. Now even though old Pinser taught me how to more effectively kill folk with my skills he didn’t really tell me how to be a bodyguard. I kinda figured my looks alone would keep most would be assassins away. I was wrong, I’m afraid. I’d been in Mr. Hollister’s employ for about three months only and out in broad daylight some guy snuck up and stabbed man right in the back. I pulled out one of my harpoons and launched it at the killer.”

“I hit my mark and before he’d gone five paces he had a big barbed harpoon sticking through his body. I have a rope on the end of my harpoons so as soon as he was stuck I yanked the rope and he stopped in his tracks. I slowly walked up to him, he was spitting blood, still had some life left in him. I kicked him over onto his stomach, held him down with my foot, and slowly pulled the harpoon out of his back. He screamed to high heaven until I’d extracted the harpoon with a fair portion of his intestines hooked on the barbs having been pulled out of his back. I grabbed a dagger and cut the hooked bits and tried to decide what to do next. Problem with being a bodyguard is that when you let just one little client die it pretty much makes it so you’ll never get hired again.”

“So for a few years now I’ve just been travlin’ around looking for odd jobs. Sometimes I find pretty good jobs, just commin’ off of one right now actually. Sometimes it’s pretty slow if no one needs nothing done. But I keep busy for the most part. So that’s my story, and if’n you’ll please excuse me I think my food’s ready.”

The barkeep placed two large stakes in front of Throm and the master thrower began devouring them. The patrons who’d gathered around the bar to hear this interesting creature’s tale walked back to their tables to their cold food (not that it was overly hot at start) and shared conjecture about Throm. While Throm was eating Feldi braved to ask a question. “Mr. Throm…” “Just Throm, Skinny. No need for no mister” Throm said as he chomped his steak. “Ok, Throm.” Feldi put on his most singsong voice with heavily rolled ‘R’s and told a bit of his own tale. “I am Feldi, a young bard of high repute in these parts.” Had Throm not been burying his face in his meal he’d have noticed the barkeep roll his eyes at Feldi’s self promoting comment. The bard continued. “It would be my honor to travel with you, Master Thrower, and chronicle your adventures; turning them in to the finest songs perhaps thine ears have ever heard.” Without looking over at the young man. “You wanna follow me around eh Skinny? Don’t matter to me, feel free. Just warnin’ ya though. The jobs I sometimes get ain’t always all flowers and incense. Folk might get a bloody.”

“Well Throm, I know a bit of defensive magic and have this” he patted the very ordinary looking rapier on his hip “with me at all times. I’m certain I can take care of myself were I to accompany you on your adventures. Perhaps I’d even be of some help.” “Like I said” replied Throm. “If you wanna follow me around that’s fine. Just remember; I’m a lousy bodyguard so you’ll need to be lookin’ after yourself.” Feldi readily agreed to this. Throm gave Feldi some directions to follow. “I’ve got a task to do a ways out of this town of yours tomorrow. Meet me outside the Inn ‘round midday.” Feldi agreed and headed back to his rented room to get his belongings ready for an extended absence.

The next day, when the sun was at its highest point, Feldi waited in the dining room at the local Inn. Throm was nowhere to be seen. Feldi began to wonder if he’d come to the wrong place, even though there was only one Inn in Steadshire. He found a person cleaning rooms and asked if there was a very large grey skinned fellow somewhere on the premises. The person looked a bit worried and assured Feldi that the creature was indeed in one of the rooms. In a little while Throm came, shuffling his feet, into the room where Feldi was waiting. He looked a bit hung over, that was because he was indeed very hung over. He was dressed in some very common and oversized clothing. On his hip was an axe that looked just a bit too big for someone to use in one hand. Strapped to his back was a backpack and two very large, very wicked looking barbed spears.

“What are those you have there?” asked Feldi. Throm blinked his tired eyes, trying to focus on the scrawny bard. “No questions” was all he said. Feldi opened his mouth to ask when they were heading out and quickly thought better of it. “Food” said Throm to a in which only he and Feldi stood. Feldi looked around a bit. “You….you want me to get some food?” he asked timidly. “Yes, get food” replied Throm. Feldi went to find the person cleaning rooms again and requested a breakfast for four be prepared. He then went back and joined Throm at the table. A definitively awkward silence followed until the food was served. Though, even then there was no talking, but at least there was something by which to be distracted. Feldi didn’t need much, he didn’t really eat a full serving and the remaining three servings and some bits didn’t seem to be quite enough to pull Throm out of his unfriendly disposition. However, after the meal he did break a smile.

“So, you ready to go get some little dragon folk?” he asked Feldi. At the mention of anything having to do with dragons Feldi looked quite worried. Throm laughed and explained “Kobolds Skinny, just kobolds. Nothing to be worried about. There’s a pack of ‘em just a couple hours out of town. We’re heading there.” Throm left ten gold on the table and walked out the door, leaving Feldi to try and keep up.

As they walked Throm began to brighten up again into the man….thing he was the night before. He got more jovial and told some stories about his adventures whaling and some of the odd jobs he’d preformed since giving up bodyguarding. By the time the duo reached the foothills where kobold tracks could easily be seen Feldi was feeling quite confident in his wise decision to follow Throm. He seemed to not have much of a care and his confidence was very contagious. Just then Feldi almost had a heart attack.

“AVAST!” screamed Throm very loudly. In a blur too fast for Feldi to really comprehend Throm’s armor appeared on his body out of thin air, his shield on his arm. Throm raised his shield over Feldi’s head just as an arrow pinged off of it harmlessly. Throm pulled back his hand as if he were going to throw something, but nothing was in his hand. Just before Throm slung his arm forwards a black and white pulsating rod about three and half feet long was in his hand as suddenly as his armor had placed itself on his body. He threw the javelin of force at a kobold on a hill. It struck the little beast, exploded in a burst, and the kobold fell dead off of the hill from which he had fired his arrow.

Throm took off running towards the fallen kobold; Feldi kept up right at his heals, his rapier drawn. As they rounded a corner they saw an opening in the hills, a small cave it seemed. Around the moth of the cave were many kobolds. Throm braced himself, his shield raised to protect against projectiles. He methodically stepped forwards throwing his magical javelins at the kobolds in front of them. “Stay right behind me Skinny” he said. Feldi didn’t need to be told twice. Feldi didn’t dare peak out around the wall of steel death that was Throm. Some of the kobolds attempted to fire or throw things back at Throm but most just bounced harmlessly off his armor. A few arrows managed to find a chink in the armor but they didn’t slow Throm in his steady onset.

As they reached the opening of the cave about a dozen kobolds came charging with crude stone and wood weapons in their hands. They were so small and quick Feldi wasn’t able to hit them, even though he’d tried to poke a couple with his rapier; though any time one of the little monsters got close to Feldi it would fall with the black and white burst of a Throm thrown javelin. Feldi decided he would be more use helping Throm with his music. He sheathed his rapier and tried to focus amidst the battle. He remembered what he’d learned and began singing. What he voiced was a bardic spell, a lesser one, but slightly beneficial nonetheless. As he sung he grew in confidence and sung even louder.

At one point Throm crushed the skull of a kobold under his foot, looked at Feldi with surprise, and gave an encouraging smile to the young bard. This gave Feldi even more confidence and he began to sing with more flourishes and grandiose stylings. It wasn’t long before the kobolds had been slain and so Feldi finished his song. Throm looked down at the skinny man. “Pretty good Skinny” he said. “Pretty good singing. Now c’mon, let’s go see what we can find.” Feldi stood with the corpses of many kobolds around his feet. Even though he hadn’t killed them he felt proud to have a great warrior like Throm appreciate his magic. He followed behind Throm, though he now felt less of a need to hustle to keep up.

“What are we looking for?” Feldi asked. “Anything of value. Anything these little buggers might have stolen or happened across. It’s ours now.” Feldi and Throm gathered up anything of value that they could find; a few trinkets of gold and gems, a couple decent metal weapons, and a surprising amount of gold pieces. Throm put most of it in his backpack that seemed to hold about 100 times more stuff than its size would indicate it should.

The two started out of the hills back towards Steadshire. “You know Throm” said Feldi as the pair walked. “I don’t have a scratch on me. I think you’re a better bodyguard than for what you give yourself credit.” Throm kept walking. “I have a confession” he said. “I am a good bodyguard.” Feldi considered this. “Just a slip up that one time then huh?” Throm smiled a bit. “No, no slip ups. I let the man be killed.” He looked down at Feldi to see his surprised, and a bit confused, reaction.

Throm continued. “See, I’d contacted the people who wanted that man killed before I ever became his bodyguard. I let the assassin kill him, killed the assassin, and then the gentleman who wanted that man dead and I shared the wealth we stole out of his house and blamed it on thieves in league with the assassin.” Throm smiled to see the shocked look on Feldi’s face. “Wow” said Feldi. “You’re pretty clever along with being very strong; a unique combination my friend” remarked Feldi. Throm laughed and said “A man I consider to be very wise once told me I was a good deal smarter than the average half-orc. Heh, ‘course, same guy told me I was a good deal dumber than the average human.” Both Throm and Feldi chuckled at this.

“So killing those kobolds, is that the kind of thing you’re often hired to do these days?” asked Feldi. “Yea sometimes, but I wasn't hired to kill them kobolds” replied Throm. “I’d just heard they were there and decided to go take whatever it was they got.” “Ah” mused Feldi, trying to understand the motives of an adventurer. “So, what job brought you out to Steadshire?” he questioned. “A bounty” said Throm bluntly. “You mean to kill someone?” Feldi asked. “Yup, that’s exactly it.” “Oh” said Feldi in a low voice. He didn’t much care for the idea of murdering. Kobolds was one thing, but just killing some person wasn’t really what he’d had in mind. “Who’s this person you’re going to kill” wondered Feldi. “Oh, no one of importance” Throm assured the young bard. “Who hired you to kill this guy?” asked Feldi, curious as to the kind of man who would request another man be killed. “Oh, couple gentlemen I met in a little town called Jacobsville.” Throm looked down at Feldi and smiled, but Feldi had stopped walking.

Throm stopped and looked behind him to see Feldi standing with a look of horrific fear on his face. “It’ll just be worse if you run Skinny” warned Throm. Feldi found strength in his legs and turned to run as fast as he could. He’d made it about five steps before a wicked barbed spear thoroughly impaled him through the belly. The rope on the end of the harpoon became taught and Feldi’s body was wrenched to a tearing halt by his own innards hooked on the vicious weapon. Throm slowly walked up to the young bard wrapping the harpoon wire onto its spool as he went. Throm spoke to Feldi as the latter was dying in the grass. “See, I couldn’t let those kobolds harm you Skinny. If the gentleman who hired me to find you and to kill you saw you’d been killed by a kobold’s rough stone weapons he might get it into his head that he only need pay me for finding you.” He got to Feldi just as he was choking down his final blood filled breaths. “I'd a' killed ya sooner but I thought maybe I'd wanna see you fight first. Some people can be deceiving, not what they appear. But when you were so damn worthless back in that cave I knew I'd be safe. Killin' you ain't nothing personal Skinny, a guy’s gotta eat.” He kicked Feldi over onto his stomach, placed his foot on the fallen man’s back and with both hands ripped the harpoon from its lodge. There were still some bits of Feldi’s intestines stuck to the barbs.

Throm stripped the body of anything valuable and wrapped the wounds so they wouldn’t bleed quite so much. He shoved Feldi’s body into his bag and headed back towards Steadshire. When he got there he sold all of Feldi’s valuable possessions, which weren’t many, and booked himself into the same room where he had stayed the night before. No one seemed to care about what happened to Feldi. At least, no asked Throm about him.

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