- "Rod-rigo, Rod-rigo, marching through the land.......Rod-rigo Rod-rigo with his honest band.....Feared by the greedy......Loved by the needy......Rod-rigo, Rod-rigo,Rod-rigo...."
- —The Marching Song of the Alcatani Fellowship[1a]
Before becoming a mercenary captain, Rodrigo was a wealthy farm owner during a civil war that ravaged the country-side. Desperately, Rodrigo Delmonte surveyed the ruins of his crop during the war. Previously, he had stood in the same field and admired the acres of crops ripening in the hot Tilean sun. Then however, where once had grown apples and citrus, vines and olive trees, there was nothing but charred, smouldering stumps in a ravaged landscape. The passage of El Cadavo's rampaging army left him an impoverished and broken man. The agricultural efforts of a long and hard life proved utterly and cruelly fruitless.[1a]
The life of a farmer, even a wealthy landowner, was never an easy one in the war-torn land of Tilea. When Rodrigo Delmonte found himself destitute he embarked upon the only course of action that remained for him; he became a soldier of fortune. His workforce, faced with the unappealing option of starvation, signed up without question. In Remas, Rodrigo sold his last and most favourite mule and with the proceeds bought some shoddy armour, a few second-hand helmets, and a batch of slightly bent pikes. With a bit of elbow grease, a few hammer blows, and the aid of a steaming kettle, Rodrigo's men set off to prepare themselves for their first battle. By the time they had finished their work, they didn't look half bad.[1a]
- "Miserable do-gooding, no-account, back-stabbing, underhanded, scoundrels! An honest landlord can't even relieve a bunch of farmers of their crops without someone stickin' their ugly noses in. A bunch of lousy, dog-breathed.....NO I HAVEN"T ANY LAST WORDS."
- —Last Words of Bernado "the Rat"[1a]
The Alcatani Fellowship's first job was not particularly glamorous or lucrative -- escorting a shipment of dung to a rhubarb farmer outside Remas -- but soon Rodrigo and his mercenary company began to gain a reputation for reliability. The rich and succesful were prepared to pay top-price for the best troops... but for every rich merchant there were ten small scale operators who couldn't afford the services of the more expensive mercenaries - the Alcatani Fellowship found a niche. Despite having a rather modest origin the Alcantani Fellowship proved themselves on more than one occasion during the course of their career.[1a]
It was fitting that their first battle as a mercenary company began this trend. The villagers of Buccolia, a small vine growing community in the small valleys of the Apuccini Mountains, found themselves terrorised by a particularly violent gang of Orcs. These Greenskins had come to Tilea as mercenaries of fortune, but due to their animosity and characteristics they proved so unreliable and untrustworthy that no one would employ them. As a result they became bandits instead, raiding the small, isolated farms and villages around the edge of Tilea and generally making life miserable for poor hard-working village folk.[1a]
In Buccolia the villagers pooled all their savings to hire mercenaries to help them, but sadly no one was willing to work for seven ducats, three farthings, and a goat. Even the money lenders refused to deal with them. When Rodrigo Delmonte heard of their plight, he became angered and indignant. The villagers' story was a familiar tale of honest hard-working folk unable to find justice in the war-torn lands of Tilea, just for lack of social and financial status.[1a]
Although he had not exactly grown rich as a mercenary, what he had was enough, and so he decided to help the desperate village. The Alcatani Fellowship arrived in the dead of night, after a long march in the pouring rain. From the roadside they could see the smouldering torches of the Orc raiders as they climbed down the slopes behind the village. Tired and hungry as they were, the valiant pikemen prepared for battle. It was quite a surprise for the Orcs, for they had expected only helpless grovelling peasants. Instead they found themselves confronted by grim face men with steel-tipped pikes pointed at them, who fought with the determination of the possessed. After a short struggle the undisciplined Orc raiders lay dead or scattered. Rodrigo and his men were triumphant. In return he asked for no money - only the thanks of the villagers. This the villagers were more then willing to give.[1a]
Since that day, the Alcatani Fellowship fought many battles, for many masters, including many of the richest and most famous mercenary generals of Tilea. But even much later they were willing to fight for the poor and helpless at rates which were far below those of most mercenary companies. Although he was never rich himself, amongst the common people of the country-side Rodrigo Delmonte was the most popular mercenary captain in the land. He was cheered and celebrated wherever he went and stories of his selfless deeds were told around the hearths of simple folk throughout all of Tilea.[1a]