Some time later.......
The Castrated Bard Inn
Captain Valken sat back in his chair, next to the fire, a bottle of Brettonian Brandy on his table, feeding a good portion of his beef stew to the aging wardog at his feet.
He had been listening to the group of mercenaries in the common room telling tall tales of war, glory and their personal bravery for the last hour. The patrons of the inn were suitably impressed, but Valken had spent the hour sighing, yawning loudly, and occasionally muttering under his breath.
With his cloak pulled around him, he looked like any other weather beaten traveler, maybe a bit fitter than his years would suggest, the grey in his mustache matched by the grey round the muzzle of the wardog.
The mercenaries had thrown a few looks at his subtle derision of their tales, but now, the largest of the five young men turned to face him, hand on his sword hilt.
"Look old man, if you have something you want to say, spit it up, or shut up.
Our tales are ours to tell, hard fought and hard won, i wont put up with you sneering any longer. Get you gone before i lose patience."
His companions stood up beside him, with a chorus of aye's to back him up.
The common room went quiet, the innkeepers hands slowly moving towards something hidden beneath the bar.
Valken stopped him with a glare.
"You wont be needing that innkeep, there will be no trouble here this night."
He shifted in his seat, at the same time the dog lifted its head from the floor, eyes fixed on the large bravado.
"I'll tell you what gentlemen, we have all been forced to listen to your tales, many of which i have heard before over the years, and your names have never been mentioned in them.
I'll do you a deal, i'll tell you a story of real bravery, and when im finished, if you still want to pull steel, you can have at it."
The large mercenary warily nodded.
Valken actually found himself impressed with the man, at least he had some sense about him, and wasn't just your average thug looking for a fight.
He reached for the bottle and took a long pull.
"A couple of years ago, i spent a good amount of time in Mordheim, City of the Damned. My men and i had a good run, a mission we were sent on was completed successfully. My men showed their bravery time and again during that little adventure, but that's not for telling now.
No, the nature of true courage was shown to me after we had left that foul place.
We had made some enemies there, and some of them followed from the city once we left, determined to lay us low.
Our route away took us to a deserted fortress and temple in the height of summer, the ground like a desert and the slightest spark would ignite the ground around you."
"We approached a tall ruined building, as i had spied an orc warband opposite us, with a group of possessed heretics and chaos beastmen in the distance. I ordered my shooters to take to the upper floors of the ruin, but the damn thing burst into flames as we approached. It was then i saw the giant."
"I could see what was going to happen here, the orcs would fight it, because they are orcs after all. The chaos beastmen would want to protect it and have it join them, there is an affinity between the two races that we don't understand.
The heretics could go either way, fiends as they are, there is no telling what they will do.
I also knew any of my men begin struck by such a monsters would die instantly, and i hadn't brought them this far to throw there lives away needlessly.
This my friend is what your stories lack, showing that you know strategy is more important than bravery.
I held my men in check, all but the dwarf mercenary, one of those troll slayer types, who immediately said he would not leave without that giants head. Lucky for us he couldn't move fast enough to get us all up the Reik without a paddle."
"My Tilean friend, a man by the name of Bing Crossbow, put a bolt into the possessed monstrosity from afar as it moved towards the giant. A good man Bing, still works with me now, hates chaos almost as much as me. Very rarely does he miss his target.
The giant saw the chaos beast closing and charged it down, and in the blink of an eye smashed it into the ground."
"At the same time, fickle as chaos followers are, the beastmen charged into the back of the cultists and mutants taking one down, and the giant then obliterated another."
"Magic crackled in the air as the chaos magister and beastmen shaman both tried to take over the mind of the giant, its a lucky thing neither managed it.
We took cover in a garden of Morr, i had to keep some of my colleagues from rashly going after the magic users as it would have led them into the path of the rampaging giant but our ogre did not have such a fear. I think he was trying to prove his worth so we would pay to keep him on."
"Ernst, another good man with a crossbow put one into the orc troll that was advancing on the giant, the chaos centigor killed its second cultist. The giant then stepped on a brethren, killing it what must have been four times over.
The magister then fled the battle, lucky for him as our ogre had already cornered him and his survival was unlikely.
Sadly the ogre got knocked down by the giant , but not before the brave idiot had hurt it.
Jorak, the dwarf, finally reached the giant but as he was leaping to hit it got caught by a backswing of the giants club and fell to the ground."
"Then the orcs arrived, slowed by the dumb troll. This was when things happened very quickly. The orc shaman hurt the giant again with a green fiery spell, the beastmen shaman tried to take over the mind of the troll, but failed even that simple task. An orc bigun wounded the giant again with a two handed axe, while Rutger, my priest used the power of prayer to burn the giant, weakening it further."
"As the giant turned to face the orc, it stepped on the fallen Jorak, killing him. That my friends is what happens to people who put bravery before common sense.
The beastmen had flanked round the orcs and now charged them from behind, the centigor proving its danger again by killing one orc just as the giant smashed the bigun that had hurt it into a green mist. Bing was knocked down by a blast from an orc with a blunderbuss, but got to his feet and put a bolt through its eye.
The troll finally gained some control over itself and attacked the giant wounding it, but not before it finished off the ogre mercenary."
"The orcs lost another four of their number including their shaman to the beastmens rear charge, and Bing felled another, and the giant another."
"Seeing the orcs were about to flee, i ordered two of my more unhinged soldier to assault the giant, the flails they carried may have finished it off, and with them went the smallest of our band, my faithful wardog Woof. Unbidden he charged that giant, and i knew it was to protect me. I knew he would give his life so we could escape. I have had many dogs over the years, but that Woof was the most faithful of them all.
The crazies all missed the giant, but Woof launched himself from the top of the wall, sank his teeth into that giants ballsack, and ripped away.
The howl from the giant left ringing in my ears for days, Woof tore him so hard he left one of his fangs buried in that giants testicles.
The giant died on the spot and fell to the ground."
Valken stood up, throwing his cloak over one shoulder, revealing the twin tailed comet broach of the Order of Sigmarite Witch Hunters, and his two pistols at his belt. He reached down and grabbed his tall, black, wide brimmed buckle hat, and placed it on his head.
The wardog at his feet stood, still staring at the large mercenary, and bared its teeth growling, just one large fang could be seen.
"Now gentlemen, Woof and i have had our fill this evening and are going to walk out that door. If you still wish to prove your mettle, swing away, but if you want to keep your balls where they are, i would think twice if i was you"