Bancurelian Shearhand

If you turn to page 84 of Lithculen’s Book of Dragon Lore you’ll see a massive crimson worm of incredible power melting down both shield and stone in his glorious fury. The creature was slain more than six centuries past but his name was whispered in taverns in hushed tones for generations. Bancurelian! Possibly the greatest of worms to ever live, he ruled with a cruel clawed, flaming fist for hundreds of years. It took thirty knights, forty archers, seven mages, and many men of the various Gods to destroy the beast. In the end, Bancurelian lay dead but so did all but nine of those who had come to do the deed.

But you’ve probably heard that story. It’s been taught in classes of lore and told over fires for centuries. Alas, Bancurelian the great crimson worm was not the only one to bear such a majestic name. My father, Joben Shearhand, a hobbit of much good sense and habit, was content to live his life as a shepherd, sheering his sheep, eating mutton, and living a life of a hobbit of means. He had 124 head of sheep and each spring the number would rise and the need for mutton would bring the herd back to manageable levels. Despite Joben being a fine name for a hobbit, my father wanted something more for me than a life shearing sheep. He was so absolute in his resolve to see me more than he that, though I was expected to work as my age allowed, he forbade me to like the work. Yes, he was a peculiar hobbit. In his quest to see me as more than a shepherd, he forwent such sensible hobbit names as Lutho, Gamble, Rugmor, or Fensweld and while visiting the Gray Library in the city, turned Lithculen’s Book of Dragon Lore to a random page and voila, my name instantly became one of great expectation: Bancurelian Yes, Bancurelian the great crimson worm! Bancurelian, the scourge of nine generations! Bancurelian the shepherd… I know, it lacks something.

When I awoke that morning in the tent with Phlindo, a hobbit with a fine hobbit name of our township, I was not surprised to see the brand. Really. It had been so ingrained in me since Bancurelian had been placed on my head that I would be chosen for something. I always assumed I would be chosen for something less daunting even if my father believed vehemently that my destiny was to gain the brand. He was so disappointed that so many others received the brand as well that he went to the nearest inn and drank seven tankards of fine dwarven ale without cessation until my mother retrieved him.

Being chosen has been difficult to say the least. Seeing the angel of Asher was an eye opener. It made me realize many things, the least of which is that the gods are not to be trifled with. It also taught me, more importantly, that when a god casts his or her eye in your direction, you had best not be found wanting. But I am not a follower of Asher. I find him to be cruel and indifferent, and his followers insufferable. I have found another path that has brought me through the winters while others fell to sickness and The Rot.

Mother is watching.

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