The scene: The Great Hall in OFG's lands, just after dusk the eve before battle
The full moon rose against a pale sky casting great shadows across the countryside. The revelry within The Great Hall could be heard for miles in all directions. Candles lit the Hall and all who entered were stunned at the sight of the heads of many pigz past. The gruesome heads hung as trophies on the walls. The ghastly figures grew more fierce as the night darkened and the drinking increased. Many barrels of bloodwine had been brought from the store houses. The war hens caroused loudly in a scene of unbridled celebration.
The entire company was there, sitting around great tables filled with a feast of unparallelled glory. Young ducks carried trays heavy laden with all manner of delicacies and brought wave after wave of feast foods. The jubilation was loud and ruckus and in the air hung the feeling that this would be a night of nights.
But all were silenced when the troubadour, known as Little Mo, stood up and stuck his harp. He sang such sweet and dulcet tones that not even the most hardened battle goose could help but shed a tear. Little Mo sang a song of long ago when the world was good and the larders were full of pork, so much pork. "...Oh bacon, love of my life... I whilst love thou always...." There was not a dry eye in the Hall when Little Mo finished his song and sat down, suddenly ashamed of the attention. The merry making was struck up when the geese took up a bawdy drinking song and the revelry rang loud into the night once again.
OFG walked quietly among her subjects in a plain battle cloak pulled over her head to disguise her identity. She made her way to a table in the shadowy light at the back of the Great Hall.
Bourbon of the Red and Col Ti sat across a bloodwine stained table dimly lit in the gloom. Each was flanked by their most trusted men at arms. The adversaries stared vilely at each other, the hatred was palatable between them.
“So, friend,” Said Col Ti, but there was no mistaking he thought the huge man was not 'friend' at all. “Tell me. Why have you come?”
“To join the battle, of course.” Replied Bourbon as casually as he could...almost dismissively.
Col Ti reached, a little too quickly, for the bottle of bloodwine set between them. Several of Bourbon's men at arms reached for their swords. Col Ti's men responded in kind, the sharp sound of metal being released rang clear.
“Stay,” Said Bourbon to his men in a low voice, “Come now, Ti. Enough of this old business. Let us drink to the death of pigz and a victory on the morrow!” He poured the wine and lifted his drinking tankard. “Gentle men all, let us drink.” The men at arms on both sides shifted uneasily but kept their guard.
The great warrior downed the tankard in one long draw and smiled wolfishly at Col Ti. Eventually Bourbon's calm manner set the others to ease but Col Ti kept a wary eye on the giant man. OFG watched this all from a distance. Even in her lands she knew better than to come between men with unfinished business between them. Hoping they would not cause a disturbance OFG faded into the shadows and passed from their hearing. Just to be sure she asked the young hen following her, an attache named Doolittle, to keep an eye on the goings on and report immediately if things changed.
On the other side of the room a young Princess Kai, regaled in her finest tiara and dress armor, stood looking out a window into the night. OFG approached her gently and asked, “What are you watching for, Kai?”
Kai did not look away from the darkness, but softly replied, “My father.”
Meanwhile, in the darkest part of the deepest forest a man sat near a smokeless fire warming himself against the bitter cold. He was a large brooding man with dark eyes who was silent more than he spoke. The big man rode a giant black horse with no name. The man was well armed with a bow of the finest design and a sword which dazzled all who were felled by it. He was a wanderer, a man without people or country or fidelity. A loner save for his companion who never spoke.
The man looked across the fire. His companion was one of swarthy discontent. Some say he was mad. Other thought him possessed by demons. Many called him Gato Diablo and he was shunned by all save the man to whom he was bound to by blood oath.
The story tellers say that Gato Diablo was once trapped on a high cliff after a bad fall. For days he writhed alone until thirst and heat and pain drove him to make promises to bitter gods. Just then the man happened to pass by and found Gato Diablo. Gato Diablo was saved from death but he did not live. He now begrudgingly followed the man and cursed his desperate oaths. The two had since warred side by side, each taking out his own torments on those who would cross them.
The man wondered what thoughts his companion had but knew they would never be known. He returned to smoking his pipe and looking into the small fire. Behind them the enormous war horse snorted contentedly.
Back in the Great Hall the festivities were interrupted by angry shouts of men and the sound of a massive table being overturned. The young hen ran up with her report to OFG... who could already see that Col Ti and Bourbon of the Red were trading blows.