Derth No-Pinkies

As the horse entered the mountain pass it slowed down perceptibly, annoying Renaldo, who hit the horse with his riding crop. Winter came early in the mountains and with many in the caravan dressed in elaborate silk clothing, the cold could be deadly. Renaldo and his fellow Gypsies had been through this pass many a time and he could tell they would easily make it in time, but it never payed to be lax. He just hoped the “toll” on the road would be reasonable. Truth be told, he rather liked the inhabitants of the Half-orc village up ahead. They were a boisterous lot and often had much to trade. Sure they were downright barbaric, their toll on the road exorbitant, and their goods often ill-fully gained… but who was he to criticize? He, the Patron of his own clan of Gypsies, Renaldo knew very well what city folk thought of his ilk. Lost in his thoughts Renaldo was almost thrown from his horse as it reared up and let out one of those terrifying screams that only a horse can make.

The caravan had reached the outpost along the road that served as the Half-orc's toll booth. Oddly, it seemed devoid of guards, but what had spooked the horse was immediately apparent. Running down the road was a youngling, his body matted with blood and other constituent parts of the humanoid body that are best left unmentioned. Renaldo jumped off his horse, calling for the other advance men to be alert. He reached the infant, and uncharacteristically for a Half-orc youth, it almost leaped into his arms, instinctively seeking protection. The other men quickly scouted the outpost, surreptitiously pocketing anything not nailed down, and found no signs of life or death. Swaddling the child in his cape, Renaldo handed it to one of the women, “Have the Hag take care of it.”

“Gerauld, come.” One of the men stopped his peeking through windows and came to attention. “I don't like this Gerauld… the Half-Orcs value their rare children far too much to even consider allowing them to wander this kind of land covered in scents that would attract the weakest of predators. We head towards their village immediately, with all caution. Spread the word that everyone is to be armed, including women.”

The caravan crawled along at a cautious pace, until they reached the child's home village. A quick turn of the wind had the Gypsies assailed by a powerful stench of blood and death, causing the women to cover their mouths with their vibrant scarves. The able men entered the village in a rough square formation and saw the greatest horrors their peaceful people had ever seen. Littered across the main square were dead bodies of Half-Orcs, cut down by weapons, ripped apart, many of them half eaten.

Gliding in from behind the men the Hag approached Renaldo, the child much cleaner and held to her chest. As soon as the gore came into her sight the Hag covered the child's head with the swaddling, to spare him the sights and scents of his brethren. Renaldo turned to observe the Hag (now don't let the title of Hag fool you, Renaldo had been trying to get under Maria's frock for quite some time).

“Can you explain this Maria? There are no other bodies, yet all the Half-Orcs have defensive wounds,” Renaldo whispered. Maria, the Hag, wandered throughout the village, paying special attention to the pristine totem in the center of the carnage, and muttering words under her breath. After an hour of the men searching the town, and appropriating supplies, Maria once again approached Renaldo, a grim look on her comely face. “Renaldo, you know of that obscure deity that this village worshiped? After speaking with our Ancestors I believe that it was no minor god but a demon. Looking at the setup this seemed a biannual festival in which the village made offerings to the demon and in return it granted them ferocity, strength, and a hunter's spirit. From what I can tell, the demon simply grew bored of being a deity and instilled a terrible will to murder and eat the flesh of their loved ones. None of them were spared.”

“What of that youngling at your chest, Maria? He seems scared, not murderous.”

“Ah… this innocent babe. He is quite simply too young to conceptualize a glee in harm and mayhem…. however… he is not untainted. It is my belief that when he matures he will be subjected to great rages that will turn him into a monster. Just another danger that preys on weak travelers in these mountains.”

“Maria? You aren't suggesting we kill the child, are you?”

“Ah hahaha! You Patrons never do seem to be able to think non-linearly. I am your Hag for a reason after all. We shall adopt this child and teach him to be full of mirth and to control his rage. He shall be the happiest little Gypsy you have ever seen by the time I finish with him.”

With that, Maria became the surrogate mother of the child, whom she named Derth. Renaldo decided that the boy needed a strong father figure for him to mature properly and promptly had Maria married to him, making him a very happy man. Being a Half-Orc, Derth matured quickly in Clan Sparviero, exhibiting great strength, great ugliness, and the worst luck that anyone in the Clan had ever seen. Due to various accidents Derth was the most scarred individual in the camp by the age of 9, none being all that serious until his actual ninth birthday. Bruni Lofarr, a blond haired, blue eyed, thirteen year old youth whom the Clan had “adopted” when they found him wandering lost in a port city they were passing through (More about Bruni in a different story), decided that Derth would be old enough to learn a special dance of Bruni's people, dancing being a special passion of Derths. This dance involved intricate footwork and handwork, as throwing axes were thrown back and forth between partners until one was too wounded to continue or the dance was concluded. As the dance came closer to an end, Bruni sped up the pace. Attempting to catch an axe at a strange angle with a clapping motion, Derth suddenly found himself missing both of his pinkies. Enraged he tossed the axe with extreme force at Bruni, clipping him in the side and effectively winning the dance. After Derth calmed down Bruni, with good humor, swore to be Derth's blood brother with a ritual of his people, and gave Derth the honorary name of No-Pinkies.

The lessons with the Hag and Renaldo continued until Derth was effectively an adult. The tainted rage was perfectly maintained within him, until such moments he voluntarily lost control. Pinky, as he was now called, was free to go out into the world and find for himself if he preferred life outside of the Clan. “Pinky, as your father I have complete trust in you, so I only have one word of advice, be respectful. As both a Gypsy and a Half-Orc you may meet with some ridicule but manners are a virtue. Also… don't tell your mother that I told you this but, you are certainly bigger than others, so you needn't take any crap, and make sure you don't steal… if your in a situation to get caught that is.”

“Hmmm… I'm sure he will take those lessons to heart Renaldo.” A very pregnant Hag waddled up to the pair, and kissed her son goodbye. “Fharlanghn guide you son. All roads lead somewhere, so keep to them and you shall never be lost.”

A year later Pinky was a self-sustained adult. The bright silk scarves wrapped all around his body and weapons invited harassment from people too drunk or stupid to conceptualize the mass underneath those scarves. Pinky grew to be quite a capable warrior with those occurrences. He spent much time traveling, like his Gypsy brethren, acting as either entertainment with his twirling dances or a simple bodyguard/bouncer to obtain his coin.

Derth lay in the extra large bed, kindly provided by the owner of the inn for his services, rubbing a piece of silk between his fingers. It was well worn, but a still a deep crimson color. According to his mother it was given to him the day the Clan had first found him. He couldn't remember much about that long ago time, just a faint feeling of fear.

“Oi! Pinky! Get your colorful ass down here and do that thing ya do with the spinning cloth and the fire! Time to earn your keep!” Derth rolled off the bed with a heavy thud. That would be the inn's owner.

“Pinky on the way Boss-man!” Derth replied. Before heading down stairs he made sure he was entirely wrapped up in his many silk scarves, including his face. He then proceeded to pick up the useless imitation axes he owned (Derth would never risk his real weapons in a fire for entertainment) and wrap them in the colorful streamers of oil-soaked cotton.

“Pinky ready Boss-man! Out of the way!” Pinky proceeded to light the streamers with his flint. Building up a huge guttural roar Pinky charged out of his room, jumped off the second floor landing he was on, and landed on his feet on the gigantic stone table situated in the center of the room. Still roaring Pinky began to twirl his flaming performance axes while stomping rhythmically in a circular manner. A drummer began building up a beat and in time with the music Derth began to juggle his axes. Derth went through the whole routine, and building up to the climax he threw both of his axes high into the air, quickly swigged some of his oil, dropped his flask, caught his axes, connected them in an X and breathed out, releasing a torrent of fire. With that the show ended and the audience burst into cheers and a generous patron wound up buying drinks for everyone.

“Yea, yea, good job Pinky, now get over by the door and throw out all the drunks with no money….”

“Sure thing Boss-man.”

After roughing up a couple of drunks who tried to beat each other with their steins Derth figured the most exciting part of the night was over. However he got an odd sensation of being watched. Cautiously scanning the room Derth noticed that their was a very, very drunk guard watching Derth over the rim of his drink. As soon as the guard noticed he had been caught he sat up and put on a nervous grin. After what looked like some hasty grooming he got up and approached Derth.

“Well, ain't you just a whole lot of woman?”

Derth suddenly became very confused.

“I really liked that dance you did, a lot of ….heat… very primal and *whispers* erotic.”

Derth began to speak, “Excuse me, Guard-man, but Pinky think-”

The guard interrupts, “That's right, Guard-man, you know a man when you see one? Huh?”

“Pinky thinks that you have had enough” Derth attempts to show the guard the way out.

Suddenly the guard gets a bit forward and decides to pinch Derth's bottom. Out of pure reflex Derth lands a vicious right hook across the guards jaw. The guard proceeded to have suddenly learned how to fly and landed on a table full up with drinks and patrons. The room got quite quiet.
he inn owner let out a big sigh, “You did not just do that Pinky…. A guard?”

“Pinky sorry, it was an accident, didn't know what to do. Stupid Guard-man thought Pinky a woman.”

The other guards who had been enjoying their time off at the bar had just been in the middle of drawing their swords when they heard this last part. The tavern erupted with laughter, most of it aimed directly at the beer soaked guardsman. The guard however didn't find much of the situation funny and unlike the other guards, he got his sword entirely out of the scabbard.

“What kind of man clothes himself in colorful silk! You and me buddy, right now.” The guard charges at Derth. As the guard attacks Derth easily steps out of the swords way and grabs the guard by the back of his clothes. Derth holds the guard up a few feet above the floor.

“Pinky suggest you leave, Pinky already broke rules by hitting you once, Pinky get in real trouble if you die.”

“Let me go you son of a goddam freak!”

“Pinky mother no freak!” Derth tossed the guard as hard as he could out into the street.

After turning back towards the owner Derth asks, “Is Pinky in trouble? Guard-man seem like he askin' for it.”

The owner shook his head laughingly, “Guess that depends if anyone saw anything… I sure didn't, how 'bout you gents?”

The unanimous answer throughout the room was a mixture of chortled and snickered “No”s.

“Oh, that O.K. Then, Pinky go back to doing job then.”

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