BRD's Foregotten Realms
Elgin Blau, otherwise known as Der Pumpernickel Doppleganger (for reasons lost in biergarten legend) was a hard working farmer. He lived life large – and loved his beer even larger.
His wife, Elsa, bore him five strong sons. They lived in a small, quiet village close enough to the coast to have fresh fish, clams, crabs, and mussels as often as they had beef, pork and mutton. The soil was dark and fertile and produced excellent crops – especially barley and wheat – giving those who lived in and around the village much to be thankful for at harvest time. That gratitude was often expressed by the hoisting of pint after pint of the wonderful harvest ale and beer.
Elgin hoisted his gratitude with the best of the townsfolk.
Perhaps Loki, that unconscionable trickster, had put a mischievous finger in the vats. Perhaps Freya wished to reward the farmers especially well for their hard work and devotion. Whatever the reason, the beer and ale produced from that year’s crops seemed especially potent. No stranger to the wiles of beer stoked passions, even Elgin succumbed to Bard Barley’s siren song. Before long he was laughing and singing and dancing enthusiastically with most of the women in the village, although none of them was his devoted, patient Elsa.
Finally, at an hour long after even Woden, the village elder, had succumbed to sleep, Elgin staggered home. He stared at the door for a long moment and then remembered that his bed lay just beyond. He stumbled through the portal and stopped. He stood swaying like a willow in a strong wind. He blinked, wiped one grubby hand across his eyes, and blinked again.
Elsa stood before him, her eyes glinting like new-struck flint, her arms crossed, her left foot tapping time to a song only she could hear. Although he stood a bit more than a head taller than her she was not in the least intimidated; not this night.
Her chest swelled to hogshead dimensions as she drew in a deep breath. A river of words flowed like a mountain torrent as she tongue-lashed him. Her words sliced home. He winced and shuddered beneath the assault. He hung his head, abashed, not so drunk he could not feel the shame and humiliation caused by his drunken revelry. He offered no defense; he put forth no verbal barrier. Her words lashed him like a whip and he accepted every blow.
Her words slowed and then stopped. Thinking that Elsa had said all that was worth listening to, Elgin walked to the mantle to retrieve the jug of beer he kept there, thinking to wet his whistle and ease the parched feeling Elsa’s tirade had created within his throat. He lifted the vessel and then stopped, confused at it’s unexpected lightness and lack of sloshing sound. He swirled it and heard nothing.
In the meantime, Elsa was far from finished. She was merely catching her breath in preparation for another lashing. While Elgin stumbled toward the fireplace to get his jug, she turned and bent down. Picking up the furs she intended to toss outside along with her besotted husband, she turned and stepped towards him. Her foot caught on one of the furs and she stumbled. Without thinking, she grabbed his meaty arm from behind to keep from falling.
Elgin, still struggling with the mystery of the empty jug, felt something grasp his upper arm. Absently, he shrugged it away. He was not so drunk that the wet thud from the floor behind him could not penetrate his alcohol fogged brain. Slowly he turned.
Elsa lay on the floor, her head tipped at an unnatural angle against the hearthstone. Dark liquid lay pooled beneath her and flowed slowly across the stone. Her chest no longer moved.
In his drunken clumsiness he had killed his beloved Elsa.
His howls of shame and anguish roused first his sons, and then the village. His sons entered the room to see their father sitting on the floor rocking and wailing. Tears rolled down the man’s cheeks as he cradled Elsa’s lifeless form.
His torment deepened the next day. Although Elsa’s death was clearly an accident, Elgin was no longer welcome in the village of his birth. Woden, the village elder, ordered him banished for all time. His sons – the very fruit of his loins and all that remained of his years with Elsa – would now be raised by Woden. The name Elgin Blau would never be uttered in the village again.
Shamed and humiliated, Elgin staggered down the road away from the village. Dazed, uncaring, Elgin wandered the hills and wild country. Several days later he found himself atop a high cliff staring down at the sea as it crashed into the shore. The basso thuds of the surf as it threw itself against the jagged rocks and spires below drummed a beat to his thoughts. No more would he see his lovely Elsa. BOOM! No more would he work the land with his sons. BOOM! No more would he hoist a tankard of harvest beer with his fellow villagers. CRASH! He had lost everything in the course of one day. BOOM!
The waves rushed in.
The sharp rocks rushed towards him.
Elgin never reached the rocks.