Gorm hunkered down on his creaking bench, slowly sipping the mead out of the barrel. The tavern had gone through all of the stages that he had come to expect:
The slow decrease in volume followed by a last wail of a fiddle, as he stooped through the door frame, the sun outlining his 7’6" half-orge stature…he was big even for a full ogre.
The shocked silence and a sea of open mouths…as he found the strongest bench to sit on and as he ordered a barrel of whatever rotgut was the cheapest.
The bards and minstrels coaxing their wailing pipes to a semblance of a tune…as the crowd would acclimatize to his presence.
The whispered jokes about “What happens when you cross an ogre with x”…that would turn to open laughter as if he could no longer hear.
Finally…the one man, dared by his drunk friends or unsatisfied mistress would approach…
“Evening friend…” said the burly smith, looking up at the yellowed and cracked tusks of the scowling half-ogre. “In my day, i wrestled a bull to the ground with naught but…”
The man’s monologue faded to a dull noise as Gorm took a longer chug of ale, every swallow of the golden liquid dulling more of the memories of the recent battle. His company had not fared well, and both sides had suffered major casualties. Such was the life of a sell-sword, but he had no complaints about the pay. Far better than spilling blood in an arena. The marching and maneuvers had not suited him…he doubted he’d hire himself out as a mercenary again.
Holding onto the barrel in one gnarled hand, Gorm stood up, his helm scoring marks along the wooden ceiling. Casually, he leaned forward, picking up the “burly” man by his leather apron with his other hand. Yellow orbs focused on the farmer’s red face, now level with his own. One of the man’s sandals clattered to the floor, and he looked ready to faint.
“Little human…you assume that I care for what you do with a bull, just like you assume that I intended to spend gold on food…when I could…”
Gorm snapped his tusked jaw with enough force to make a dull sound echo around the open and very silent tavern. A woman moaned in terror, and the farmer’s face drained, and his eyes rolled back.
Gorm licked his tusks slowly, turning to the main room. As one, the silence broke, screams and breaking glass preceding the stampede of merchants and farmers streaming through doors and windows opposite to where he sat.
He waited for the room to empty before setting the unconscious farmer in a chair next to his bench. He patted him on his head, and then he drained the rest of the barrel.
Gorm chuckled to himself absentmindedly. It was time to move on…everyone would be back with pitchforks soon enough…For now his dead comrades were silenced by the liquor, and he needed to find a place to nurse his wounds.