He just couldn’t get the problems they would have out of his head. Udrath knew he was always blinded where Merecraft was concerned. As far as Udrath saw it, it really wouldn’t matter if Mere told him they were going to go slay Nagafen himself, knowing what the ghastly result would be would not stop Udrath strolling up to the ancient Red Dragon and giving the little puppy a smack on the nose! He knew he wasn’t invincible, far far from it, especially now. Death was not a consideration for Uddy either. Death only brought him back closer to his beloved Megan and would be an embrace, not something to fear and knowing his time was near was actually o some comfort to the aged Dwarf. But regardless, Uddy did fear death. He feared it with a passion for his oldest friend.
Merecraft was barely older than when Udrath had last seen him. Being transported half a millennium in to the future had a distinctly less harsh effect on ones age than actually having to live those years. Merecraft was still relatively young and Udrath was painfully aware he was not. No. For Udrath to guarantee his oldest friends safety in Merecrafts sometimes blind quest for honour and valour against Carinus Dhrak, he would need help and he thought he knew just the person. The problem would be convincing Mere that this particular individual would be of help and even that they needed help at all. Known for his brashness, Udrath knew that was no match for Merecrafts confidence in his own abilities, and doubtless that confidence was very well founded indeed. But sometimes the Dwarf knew, a little extra was required.
The rain fell steadily on the cobbled streets of South Qeynos, the light from recently lit lamp posts reflecting from the stones in what seemed like a complicated orange tainted mosaic. Strolling between the tall timber framed buildings, his hood pulled high Udrath moved slowly towards his destination. Never having been one to rush and now with his aging knees protesting from the long walk in the cold rain his progress was slow. Crowds were making their way to their homes and a warm hearth and shuttered windows or indeed to the Lions Mane Tavern, just as Udrath was now. He had no idea if he would find him there, but looking back on their last meeting he couldn’t believe that his old friend from The Fellowship of the Dragon would be anywhere else. Laughing inwardly, Udrath smiled. Where else would you find an insufferable drunk?
As Udrath approached the Tavern he was greeted by the warm but muffled sounds of a drinking hall. Comforting sounds that purveyed friendship, camaraderie and general jolly fun became louder as he pushed open the door and at the same time swept back his hood of his now sodden cloak. Scanning the crowds of folks already ensconced in their flagons he looked for his old acquaintance and spotting him, already his head slumped in his arms, a half empty flagon of ale in front of him, Udrath walked across. Shaking off his cloak, the water droplets spraying across the slumped figure, Udrath sat down opposite him with a loud ‘oomph’.
“So Beast. Still a drunkard eh?” he asked. The huge red skinned Troll lifted its head slightly enough to mutter a guttural and unintelligible response. Nodding his head in acceptance, Udrath slowly pushed himself up from the table and walked back outside in to the pouring rain. Strolling to the side of the Tavern the rain drumming on his scalp, Udrath gathered a bucket from beside the watering trough and scooped up a full load. Never one to be classed as subtle, he promptly walked back in to the Lions Mane tavern and dumped the full bucket of cold water over the head of the Troll.
Killzum Brakkarg reacted in an instant. Bursting upright to his full seven feet tall he knocked the table over as he did so and engulfed Udrath with a roar to shake the Gods in their boots. His rows of sharpened teeth, clearly visible as his lips curled back and he leant down toward the relatively miniscule Dwarf and bellowed again. The crown in the Tavern had gone silent, watching the spectacle, the bouncers slowly edging their way through the crowd.
Udrath looked up at Killzum and waved his hand in front of his face as if to waft away an unwelcome smell. “By Brell Laddy, your breath is a match for Freeports sewers”. Patting the furious monster on the cheek Udrath finished, “Sit down Beast and I’ll buy you another ale. I need to speak with you. Ask you a favour Lad”. Killzum grunted loudly, forcing his rage back down at the promise of a free drink, and righting his chair he sat back down unsteadily. Udrath nodding towards the bouncers in a silent message that all was now calm, righted the table and again sat opposite the huge creature.
“Drinkz furst. Den talkz,” the Troll slurred at Udrath, and Uddy simply nodded in agreement, he really could do with an ale himself after the long jaunt to Qeynos. After a few minutes of silence between the two with Killzum staring malevolently across the table top, still wet from Uddys cloak and the bucket of water, the maid placed two brimming flagons in front of each. Udrath lifted his and took a deep swill then placed it back on the table, never taking his eyes from the Troll. It appeared the Troll wished to drink but he was still trying to figure out how to raise the flagon to his drunken lips without spilling any. Eventually getting his swig and despite his attempts, spilling a goodly amount down his already stained tunic, Killzum placed his flagon back down.
“Okayz. Yuuz wunts wot?”he asked of the Dwarf.
“Well Beast. It’s like this ye see Lad. I need your help. A favour as I have said. A close friend of mine is heading out on a quest. By friendship and as a comrade I am tied to this quest with him. But we need help. That’s where you come in”, he finished.
A strange noise emanated from the Troll and as its shoulders shook, Udrath recognised it as laughter. “No. Meez sits ‘ere und drinkz. Yuuz goz unda qust.” Came the short answer and one that Udrath had been expecting. He knew sobriety was an elusive creature when one liked the ale, as a Dwarf even with his once mighty constitution, Udrath knew this. It would take something more to drag Killzum Brakkarg from his drinking chair.
“Alright Laddy. Alright. So what if I was to tell you that my quest links with one of yours and that by helping me with my quarry, you’d be a hurtin’ yours? What’d you be sayin’ then Lad?” Udrath asked and he saw the Trolls face twist as he tried to slog through the drunken haze to understand what he had said.
“Yuuz knowz meez unlee huz wun qust uld Dorf. Undatz nuvur huppeningz. Meez duntz gnoz wurr shiz iz”. Struggling to understand the Troll at the best of times, let alone through the Beasts induced haze, Udrath paused before he answered, checking he had understood correctly. “That’s the thing right there Lad you see? My quest is likely to find her for you. The one my brethren and I seek would surely know of one like that evil cow Shahlai. If she’s about, my quarry will know of her whereabouts, I’m sure of it”. The reaction of the Troll was instantaneous. His eyes cleared as he shook his head furiously digesting the information the Dwarf had given him and standing he looked down at the Dwarf then stomped off up the stairs of the Tavern without a word. Udrath leant back in his chair and smiled and he took another long draft from his brew and smacked his lips in appreciation. Watching the Troll disappear in to one of the Inn rooms upstairs off the balcony, now only slightly unsteady on its feet, he waited. And he did not have to wait long. A scant ten minutes passed, then he saw the door upstairs open again and where he had seen a dishevelled Troll disappear within, he now saw something quite quite different.
Ducking as he exited the room and walked back down to the main Tavern floor, Killzum Brakkarg, Warg-Wrestler stood in front of Udrath. The ‘Beast’ as Udrath had called him was quite clearly back and even one so experienced and hard skinned as Uddy couldn’t help but shiver at the figure in front of him and as he looked up at Killzum from his chair he took in the spectacle. Fully armoured in inch thick armour, spikes protruding from almost every joint, the seven foot tall Troll was exactly as Udrath had described him, a Beast. The six foot long serrated blade strapped to his shoulders was just as terrifying as the figure itself but the thing most terrifying of all was the look on Killzums face. Row upon row of sharp teeth exposed a snarl as he spoke, “Nuwz weez goz muukz dats bitchuz bleed”. Smiling, Udrath slowly finished his ale, collected his cloak from the back of his chair and leading the Beast out into the rain, he said over his shoulder, “All in good time Laddy. All in good time. We have a couple o’ more stops to make. Then we begin”.