I've been backpacking in the Adirondacks for as long as I can remember. About 99% of the time, we get there by going through Warrensburg -- a small, ex-logging town where it seems like everyone spends their summers getting ready for winter. For years I've been passing this big store with a gigantic sign on the front that says Meat Store of The North. Having never gone into this establishment, I can only assume that their primary offering is, most probably, meat. One day a buddy of mine and I were driving by this place on our way up north, and we decided that there was more to the story. I share it now for your enjoyment. Or not.
The wine and ale flowed freely at the Ravenwood Inn, as did the lively conversation. A large party of travelers had stopped for the night, too tired and hungry to continue on to the next village. The air was thick with the smell of hickory and roasting boar. A bone-warming fire blazed in the hearth, adding its merry light to that of the oil lamps set in the many sconces around the room. The night was cold, the snow falling steadily. It was not a night for traveling, and the crowd at the Inn had been growing since sundown. There had been no new patrons for a least 3 hours, and the barmaid was glad of it. If one more randy goat grabbed her backside there would be hell to pay. She could be had, but not for free.
Suddenly, the door rattled, then flew open and hit the wall with a crash. Instantly, all attention was turned toward the massive figure that blocked the moonlight and swirling snow from entering the pub. The huge man wore a hooded cloak of bearskin that shadowed his face, effectively hiding all of his features except his ice encrusted beard. He closed the door with a kick, and removed the broadsword from his back. Turning toward the barkeep, he threw back his hood, allowing the lamplight to fall on his face.
"At what do you stare? Bring me a horn of ale, woman. And make haste lest I grow impatient!"
The barmaid hurriedly filled a drinking horn with the Inn's finest brew, and walked toward the brash newcomer. "Let's see the color o' yer gold, before ye be drinkin' me best brew," she said, a slight quiver in her voice.
"Ah. A woman with a bit of fire in her soul," he said, narrowing his eyes. "Do you not know who I am?"
"For sure n' I don't, and I wouldn't care if ye be the god a' thunder himself, I'd havta see yer gold before you get served."
"Do you recognize THIS?" he said through clenched teeth, reaching inside his coat and throwing a bloody canvas bag on the nearest table. Whispered conversations stopped mid-sentence, save for the murmur of speculation as to the contents of the sack. All eyes were now on the spectacle unfolding at the front table. A group of the rougher looking men stood, and walked toward the front in case the newcomer needed a lesson in manners. The barmaid walked slowly over to the sack and peered within. Her eyes grew wide, and she stepped back in horror.
"No, you...you can't be him. He is DEAD! Dead for all eternity, damn his soul to hell! My Da saw him fall in battle, his head almost severed from his body! You are not him!
"I would have your father know the truth. I did fall in battle - but I did not die," he said, loosening his cowl and exposing the scarred and puckered flesh that encircled the base of his throat like a necklace.
The big man reached out and grabbed the blood drenched bag, and up-ended it, sending a thin stream of blood splattering on the table a second before the bloody slab of meat hit with a wet thud. A fresh murmur went rippling through the crowd.
He raised his broadsword and moved it in a slow arc around the room, leveling his gaze at the crowd. As one, they stepped back. Before the eye could see movement, he raised the sword above his head and slashed down hard into the oaken table, splitting the bloody meat in two.
"It is I! Meit Stör of the North!" he roared. "And I want these steaks cooked medium rare."
The rest is history.