Fingerprick the Golden
Supreme Banner-General Grorfald Noolgritter (a.k.a. Fingerprick)
Clad in his gilded helm and pince-nez, Grorfald of Achenback was a mighty commander in the Crotch around the turn of the milleneum.
Grorfald was born to wealthy merchants in La Froche in Clanuary of 1953. This was during the bloodiest part of the Taking, as expenditures in lives and wealth had only increased with time since the initiation of the Taking. At the time, no solid fortresses had been established which could hold back the Immortals with a standing garrison, and so only a constant inflow of willing soldiers from the homelands kept these settlements afloat. Fingerprick was the second son of his parents, and so was committed to military training.
Once enrolled at the Officers' School of Helain to join the Flatfoot Riders battallion of the Cabotoire Royal Army, Grorfald quickly proved that the precocious insolence of his childhood had masked a practical cunning which no-one had anticipated. Though reprimanded and even court-marshalled for his behavior throughout his training, he was elevated to Leutenant and then to Second Captain of the Horse before he was ever deployed, based only on his outrageous successes in maneuvers and war games. His flamboyant and erratic personality earned him significant affection from his soldiers, who were reassured in him by his continued, reliable success on the battlefield.
Grorfald, now with his cognomen "Fingerprick" owing to the bottle incident, took ship with the Flatfoot Riders from Cabotoire to Binge City in the steamy northern point of Criminea, and two months later secured galleys to the Crotch. It is secondarily recorded that it was during this layover when Grorfald met his eventual valet and close friend, Arsholle, with whom he traveled for the rest of his life. The passage through the Interstitial Ocean was long and tortured, as the trade winds are weakest during the winter, and his chilly expedition had several delays due to storms and navigation failures. The Riders finally made port in the Bay of Bones and rode forthwith to Sutyr to reinforce the beleaguered Fifth Criminy Column against the gnoll hoards, of whom the captain was Darkclaw Silvermoonfang. A great incursion by the filthy hoards forced the humans out of Sutyr two months later, causing great loss of materiel and soldiers. With the fort at their backs, Fingerprick made a wild gambit and, in a noisy and well-observed argument with the captain of the Fifth, essentially wrested complete control of the Criminean legion. Turning his force about, he initiated a daring re-infiltration of the lost city only one week after its evacuation. The fight was a complete success, as Fingerprick had organized his troops into independent mixed-weapon bands with almost complete autonomy, and so was able to fight toe-to-toe with the orderless forces of the gnolls. He basically assigned a destination to each band, gave them two days' rations and a week's worth of the reserve whiskey, and sent them off, each under a sub-commander. Fingerprick himself found occasion to fight Darkclaw, and, drawing his mace, gave a cry of terror and fled down a side-street. Darkclaw, sensing victory over his tiny foe to be at hand, loped after him, howling with anticipation. The side street led between two high-walled blocks and twisted twice so that the opposite end could not be seen from the start. This concealed the fact that the next crossing thoroughfare, Engsleep street, was packed with half-drunk but able-bodied bowmen, set to watch the intersection ahead of time. The rejoicing was great at the death of the gnoll, and victory was assured over his demoralized thralls. Fingerprick's initial successes brought him the prominence needed for him to unofficially gain supreme leadership over all the crusaders of the Crotch, and he was the leader who held all folk together during the terrible War of Cons and Souls. At the time of The Stompening, it is credited to Fingerprick that the forces of Humanity made a daring surge inland, taking new territory which was never wrested back again by the weakened natives. Finally, his work apparently being done in Bloodmarsh now that permanent settlements were laid, he gathered all who would follow him and struck out East through the southern passes of the Very Painful Mountains, and cut a narrow swath which became home to the Rhaulite Cantons. He died of unclear causes five years later.
Accomplishments & Achievements
- Crushed the Gnoll bands of Darkclaw Silvermoonfang.
- Made compact with the other Humans to institute the Circle of Squares, unifying the political powers which had entered Bloodmarsh just in time for the War of Cons and Souls.
- Struck into the Red Bay
- Took the Strelling Ford and enabled the construction of Baffin's Big Damn Dam.
- Commanded the placement of ground forces and the Hassenburg Engines to protect the sites of construction of Seconde Tchech-Poynte, Fort Murder, Goretown, Currey, the western half of The City, and Northeast Bahl.
- Established the Rhaulite Cantons as wayforts to the East.
Failures & Embarrassments
The occasion which earned him his nickname is well-reported in several accounts. Intoxicated one night at the canteen at Officers' School, Grorfald was reprimanded by his direct superior Cpt. Mulligan Wheatwack, whose authority he especially resented. Pulling forth a bottle of sharp elan (his favored liquor), he wavered to his feet on the stool, faced his interlocutor, took a swig, and spoke thusly: "The burden of command has been laid too heavily on your shoulders, Mulligan, and cut off circulation to your brain. I'd have of you an oath if you'd not prefer me to remove that impediment nor that inactive organ. Swear to presume no longer to press me, and rather have a drink, or I'll relieve you of duty with this." He made to break the emptied bottle on a nearby table, but the entire bottle shattered right down to the neck, and when he raised his weapon, he held up only a bleeding finger and two inches of green glass. Mulligan rejoined with a little smirk, saying, "Your baton of authority is somewhat lacking, lowhut. Anyhow, I'd not have bothered m'lud if I'd known it'd excite him to prick your finger, m'lud, but seeing as you've gone and taken battle injury, I'm obliged to see you conducted to the barred infirmary." Stunned at the retort and staring at the cut on his hand, Fingerprick hardly resisted at all as his laughing friends helped carry him to the holding cell at the constabulary to sober up and be scheduled for another court-marshal.
Virtues & Personality perks
Throughout his career, Fingerprick showed not only strong judgement in battle and politics, but also a sort of rollicking ebullience which earned him much affection. He was also devilishly cunning and capable of thinking several steps in advance in all things tactical and personal.
Vices & Personality flaws
Always vibrant of personality, Fingerprick was known in his youth for insolence, caprice, and insubordination. He was prone to sudden rages when contradicted or called to account, and he hated any imposition upon his autonomy or authority, though he appears to have been malleable enough in his dealings with the Circle of Squares.
Fingerprick would often shout insults at his retreating foes. He always wore a small crossbow at his side, always loaded. He had poor close vision but loved maps, and so he was known to perpetually wear a pince-nez low on his nose which he would adjust constantly.
Grorfald was noted for dressing a bit foppishly.
His wife, Zarik of Namod, was actually a Respite Islander by descent who captained his galley on the first of his two returns to the Homelands. The pair had two children, both dark-skinned like mother and very intelligent, like both parents.
Fingerprick always vascillated between jovially amicable and abrasively superior depending on circumstances. His language was known to be harsh.
1943 F.T. 2006 F.T. 63 years old
Achenback, on the eastern coast of La Froche
What little remained was white and tightly curled at time of death.
Quotes & Catchphrases
There is no formation so bold and cunning as the unsorted marauder band. I maintain an especial fondness for centaurs. They never make one march, nor wait, nor break formation. I almost think it a courtesy they take at great pains. Has ever a man been so fat that he can not fall down? Or does his corpulence only suit for an ever mightier avalanch when he dismounts? Why not a ballistade?
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