Osgun is a half-orc. Orcs are big, smelly, stupid thugs who live on the plains and pound people's heads in for a living. Presumably there was not a lot of romance involved in Ozzie's conception. We'll never know, because Ozzie's earliest memories were of eating fish guts to survive on the docks of Bloodport. All Ozzie knows for sure is that he inherited his father's brawn, poor eyesight, inability to comprehend numbers higher than three and an ability to successfully digest all disgusting manner of fish offal. From his mother, he inherited two useless items: a modest intellect, and a very romantic nature. So long as he keeps both of those from public view, the humans of Bloodport are willing to overlook him as an unfortunate example of why orcs should be kept far away from humans.
While he was small, he lived on fish guts and scraps.
While he was not quite that small, he was a character actor for a traveling bard. He played the monsters in all the bard's stories, and sometimes a very ugly princess.
Once he was big, he lifted boxes at the docks.
Osgun's typical day goes like this:
Lift boxes onto ships.
Lift boxes off of ships.
Get paid a daily wage.
Go down to the Hammered Hand and blow most of the silver getting drunk and sighing over Minerva, the barmaid. Or specifically, her breasts.
Stagger back to his shack.
Use hooked chain to whack the inevitable jerk who tries to give a halfbreed a hard time.
Minerva is a pretty bar maid. She has dark eyes and dark hair, like one of those evil people from the city of demons to the Far West. But she doesn't talk like any of those undead, demon worshipping freaks. She's a nice girl, but she doesn't make very many friends. Turned down that nice sailing captain that asked her to marry him last year. She talks a little to the lady who runs the boarding house she stays at. She talks a little to her boss at the Hammered Hand, Gray Sam. But pretty much the only person she ever really talks to is Osgun, the half-orc. He's nice. He hardly ever says anything back, and he never, ever asks her questions.
Minerva's typical day goes like this:
Wake up to the sounds of the restless dead.
Make sure none of them are spies for a vengeful demon king out to drag her back and make her suffer for having escaped his wrath.
Tidy up around the room.
Go to work serving ale to drunken dock hands.
Keep her head down and try to avoid notice.
Tidy up around the bar.
Head back to the girls boarding house.
Ignore the spirits of those who cannot find peace.
Go to bed, grateful that she is not suffering at the hands of a vindictive demon.
Have nightmares of what it was like being given to the temple of the demon as part of the "child tithe" of Noksheoth Heights in the West.
Riordan is the light-fingered variety of "self employed". He is small, has non-descript features, and his most developed muscle is his mouth. Not his brain. His mouth. Not a lot of people like Riordan.
Riordan's typical day goes like this:
Look around for the next great thing.
Get the crap beat out of him.
Riordan was the one that found The Box. The Box that had all the money in it. How much money? A lot of money. A lot of lot of money. Enough for Riordan to retire and live like the demon king of Noksheoth Heights for the rest of his days.
The problem? Someone saw him steal it. Four big, ugly someones to be precise. Fortunately for Riordan, he picked the alley to run down that had a half-orc at the end of it. Riordan said Osgun was his accomplice. Osgun said he wasn't. Who were the four big, ugly guys going to believe?
Four big, dead ugly guys later, Riordan found himself with a new partner, and Osgun found himself with more little shiny coin-shape reasons than he could count to need to get out of town fast. One last drink at the Hammered Hand revealed an interesting coincidence. Minerva, looking as pale as if she had seen a ghost -- a ghost warning her that the demon king was zeroing in on her whereabouts and bearing tiding of one last chance to avoid his unholy wrath -- confesses to her silent half-orc confidante that she has to leave town in the morning to return to her homeland in the West.
Love-struck, of course Osgun volunteers to escort her.
Bad idea? Good idea? No idea.
You can read about the first part of their adventures in The Rubiyaat of Ozzie, accessible through the author's page or the archives. You can read about the second part of their adventures here in the Press next week. All you really need to know is that Ozzie loves the girl more than any worthless half-breed should dare to, the girl is in hot water with unspeakably evil people in the unspeakably evil lands of the West, and Riordan doesn't know -- or want to know -- anything about it.
Oh, and they're keeping the money in their pants.
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