Friday, May 1

Original Fiction by Xan (Part 4) "The hunter returns empty handed…"

“You let her escape!” The ogre chieftain looked at the trembling animal handler, Grrlum with disdain. “You are supposed to be this great tracker. A hunter of some resolve and yet you fail in even bringing back a pregnant human female!” The ogre stood from his stone throne and glared down at the smaller ogre, sending bolts of pain through him. The tracker cringed from the unseen force racking his body with surges of pain. The pack of krenshar tensed their muscles the skin retracting from their heads as they readied to protect their handler. The pain ceased like a squeezing hand loosening its grip of his body. Grrlum looked at his pack and growled a single command, the grotesques sat back down in unison, their skins slowly rolling back over their skulls.

The tracker and his krenshar seemed to be dwarfed in comparison to the ogre chieftain as he sat back on his stone throne. “Forgive me sire, the slave girl made it to the Adelstein encampment before we caught up with her. I lost two of my hounds when we were ambushed by their scouts.”

The ruler just glared at the cringing tracker. “And what am I supposed to tell the princess?” He paused as another shot of pain surged from his consciousness into the small ogre kneeling before him. “Am I supposed to tell her that we lost another slave girl?” His blood felt like it was coming to a boil under his leathery skin. The muscles tightened in his arms as he gripped the arm of his stone throne. “Not only did we let the slave girl get away, but she is carrying one of our blood and we let her live!”

The tracker looked up humbly at his king. “Sire, I will either return our blood to you or kill the woman who carries it.” His voice took on a feral tone; the krenshar surrounding him growled their approval.

“See that you do not return to me until the task is complete Grrlum.” The ogre king looked down at his minion. “The princess does not accept failure. What I have shown you of pain is only half of what she is capable of. I assure you that you do not want to feel her wrath. Now go!” The king looked to the tracker one last time and waived his massive hand as though he were shooing a fly away from his food.

Grrlum bowed humbly to his king and turned to walk away. “I take my leave then, sire.”

The tracker cocks his head to one side and begins to transform, his krenshar pack stand in anxious anticipation. The tattered fur clothing he wore looked as though it was growing to cover his body. He groaned in pain as popping of bone and snaps of sinew could be heard as the tracker dropped to his hands and knees. His face elongated and his fingers curled up as the fur slowly covered his entire body. A long tail shot out of his backside and his skin rolled back to reveal a ghastly hound-like face. With a howl the other krenshar looked to their master who had now become a larger version of them. Grrlum, now in his animalistic form, howled as if to begin a long hunt and dashed out of the room.

The king mumbled to his lackey standing off to the side of the throne. He raised his head in acknowledgement that his master was indeed talking to him however indirectly.

“This is madness,” the king continued to growl with displeasure.

“What is sire?” The guard attempted to speak to his brooding leader.

“Those harem girls were nothing but trouble from the moment they were given to me by that woman.” His face contorted as he remembered the face of the fair elven woman with black hair and her stone-faced companion.

“Why did you accept her offer, Lord?”

“She mentioned it was the fulfillment of a prophecy or something.”

“Prophesy sire?”

“Something about a ‘half blood leader’ and something about ‘a giant and half-blood coming together.’ The ogre king belted out a loud chuckle. “Elf princesses should mind their own business.”

“Yes sire.” The guard remarked. “Prophesy is not one to be helped, but allowed to happen, yes?”

“Who am I to stop a impatient, spoiled elven princess?” A curl came to the ogre kings lips, exposing his rotted teeth in a grotesque smile. “But still, it was a nice trade. I get human harem girls to do with as I please and if they bear my seed I get to sell them to the princess. Harem slaves, gold, and disposal of impure stock for nothing, I won’t be the one to turn down that kind offer.”
“Truly you are a crude dealer, sire.” The guard automatically replied with a compliment to his lord. “But what of the one that got away?”

The king stopped his musings for a moment to look to the guard. An expression of disgust poured over his face as he thought of the quarry his best hunter was after. “Curse that one, she was small but full of energy. I’d hate to lose her to feed the pack.”

“You don’t plan on Grrlum returning with her?” The guard asked.

“You fool.” The king retorted without hesitation. “Returning her to me when the krenshar can tear her apart as an example to my other harem girls would be weakness.”
“And her child sire?” The guard humbly bowed, expecting to be clubbed for inadvertently pointing out the loss in profit to his king.

The king growled a guttural sound in anger and frustration. “The loss in profit will be missed, but it must be done.”

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