Soul Ale, Old Tale

"Starg. What to do wtih Starg." I mumbled into my ale.

"Who is Starg?" asked All Grins.

"That's the half-orc that tried to kill Mord the other night. Rotting in a dwarf cell now," replied Barrel. "Of course, why he was trying to kill Mord, I do not know. Mord is a bit tight-lipped."

"Perhaps another ale will part my lips," I replied with a knowing look. And so appeared another ale. And I told my tale.

It is hard to speak about it. Starg and I used to be the best of friends. He and I were a team, doing everything together. Our chores, our practice, our jokes, us, us, us. But Starg always had a bit of a cruel streak. I overlooked it, but it was there.

One day, an older half-orc bullied us. He pushed me out of the way, knocking me senseless. He took Starg and beat him mercilessly. I later found out that it was because Starg made fun of that boy's mother. But I did not know that then.

We decided to set a trap for this boy. Just a little something involving some ropes and some daggers. We were setting it up in a place that we were sure no one would enter. But someone did. Fiola. She stepped right into our trip string setting off the hail of daggers. I lunged forward, tackling her. I do not know what Starg was doing, but he was hit fully with the daggers.

One of those daggers punctured his eye. He was near death. I raced over and picked him up, running to the clerics. They healed him, but not his eye. They needed a more powerful cleric for that.

The head of the temple came down and asked us what happened. Starg stepped forward and said that he and I had been just walking around and noticed something odd. We saw this string and noticed it was attached to a devious device. So we tried to disarm it. But Fiola had stumbled into the place before we had finished it.

Then the head turned to me and said, "Is this true, Mord?"

I looked at Starg who was pleading with me in his one good eye to back him up. I looked at the head of the temple. Back and forth, sweat dripping from my forehead. The cleric's eyes grew narrow and asked again, asked me in the name of Kord.

I bowed my head and mumbled, "No." Crushing pain came over me. I could not lie to my temple, to my lord Kord. But to betray my friend. He needed me. Betrayal. That is what I gave Starg. My last parting gift.

Starg's face spasmed with disbelief, rage, and hatred. In a single, solitary moment, I had lost my best friend. And worse, the head of the temple forbade the healing of Starg's eye for the lie he told. And he banished Starg from the temple until the day that Starg understood how a true Kordian would have handled that situation. Laying traps was not the path of Kord.

And so it was that Starg left in shame, with one eye, and hatred in his heart. I had betrayed him, I had broken our friendship, I had forsaken him for the sake of Kord.

And thus, my enemy was born.

I told this to my friends. And they were silent. Well, All Grins was snoring, his beard soaked in ale.

Their response: "Move on. You betray us like that, we would want to kill you too. Have you even apologized?"

Ah, ale, you still love me, don't you?

Mords of Wisdom: Best not to talk of betrayal to your friends.