Gristlegrinders are one of the sub-types of the Ogre seeming. Man-eaters and gluttons, taking their cue from the English Black Annis, Scottish Red Caps or the rakshas of India, but also sometimes resembling more modern Ogres, such as the masked unstoppable lunatics of slash-and-stalk horror movies. Theirs is the blessing of Terrible Teeth.
The very word “Ogre” conjures up images of cannibalism, of man-eating brutes with gruesome appetites. The Gristlegrinder does nothing to dispel these fears. Ogres of this kith are notorious not just for their hunger, but also for their ability to chew up and swallow nearly anything they can fit their jaws around. Theirs were often some of the most dreaded Keepers in Faerie. Gristlegrinders often become fixated on food when they return to the mortal world. In some cases, it’s just a ravenous need that can never be fully sated. The hunger they felt in Arcadia fuels a phantom appetite, making it impossible to ever feel content even if one’s belly is stretched to bursting. Some are notoriously open-minded about their foodstuffs, devouring massive quantities of junk food and sometimes even old garbage just to fill their bellies cheaply. Others become notable gourmets, crafting master dishes that delight the palate of anyone brave enough to try them without wondering what might have gone into the pot. A few Gristlegrinders develop a grave dissatisfaction with mortal food, instead pining for the fantastic viands of Faerie. These are the Gristlegrinders to look out for. They might be capable of anything from privateering in exchange for Arcadian provisions to eating human flesh in the hopes that it’ll provide that forbidden thrill. It’s usually not difficult to pick out the Gristlegrinder from a motley of Ogres. His appetite is worn on his sleeve… or on his shirtfront. A large mouth is one of the most common marks of the kith, whether wide and toad-like or ordinary-seeming until the Gristlegrinder unhinges his jaw and distends his maw to swallow something the size of a cantaloupe. Their teeth sometimes seem to be made of unusual substances like flint, stone, or even supernaturally hard glass. Some Gristlegrinders also possess a notable potbelly, round as an iron kettle and almost as hard.
The most enduring memory a Gristlegrinder has of Arcadia is a memory of hunger. Gristlegrinders were starved as part of their durance, sometimes to make them more appreciative of the disgusting offal thrown to them as food, sometimes out of sheer refusal to mimic their human-eating Keepers. In some cases, the food Gristlegrinders were given acted as a catalyst for their transformation. A Gristlegrinder may have developed his signature smile from having to crack bones for marrow, or from being fed meat so supernaturally tough that no knife could cut it.
Gristlegrinders are particularly blessed with inspirational stories from around the world. Ogres are associated with appetite, and human-eating giants are common in essentially all the world’s stories. Oni and rakshasas are ogrish figures with a distinct taste for human flesh, as is Negoogunogumbar, the child-eating ogre of Pygmy myth. Some have a specific taste for a given portion of human anatomy, be it grinding bones for flour or extracting a victim’s liver as a particular sweetmeat. A peculiar twist on the concept comes from a giant in Fijian mythology with great flaming teeth, from whom humans gained fire. This is emblematic of a larger tendency toward tales of knocking out a monster’s teeth. Sometimes the monster replaces the teeth (with anything from stones to entire mountains or tree trunks), sometimes it is rendered harmless by such non-elective dentistry.
Cannot harm someone who calls them “mother” or “father,” compulsions of hospitality, may never leave food on the plate, poisoned by pepper, forbidden to hold a knife, must drink alcohol instead of water.
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