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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Monster Menagerie Entry #4

An Ogre and his Boy
By D.H. Aire

In the dank depths of the ancient keep, high atop the cliff with a narrow path leading to its summit, the lowland army threatened. Few defended what should have been open by stealth, but that could change with the help of those drawn by the keep’s sudden call.  
My blood sang as I stood straight and glared at them in the darkness. Their eyes glowed red as they faced me, defiant and angry.
“Be ogre… not easy,” I said in broken words, luckily to even recognize the harsh sounds as my own speech. “Half-starved, forced hurt humans... at his whim, I was. I no way… have… warn of evil here.” The refugees who came up the path in recent years were trapped like flies in a web and the dark creature, which had taken residence here, fed on their fear and pain.
It is diff-icult for me to think in best of times. For long time, too long, I not could. Ogre rarely could, but we dreamed. I dreamed and I know my name. “I am Walsh… ship’s… ship’s steward. I lived… among the stars.”
Their eyes widened.
Knowing who I once had been was my only solace. “One day boy came. He terrified, but slipped me scraps, meat and bones of dog. Thomi good lad. I hid him in my stall, when things… things at worst.”
There were growls.
“Think,” I demanded. “Evil gone now. Yet below, in lowlands, it… threatens. We must defend Keep… as we swore.”
I heard one hulking form breathing hard, preparing to attack me. Bracing myself, I shouted, “This my place. I never left. I… am… Walsh!”
It charged and I smashed my fist in… an uppercut. It reeled backward and crashed into a stone wall and slumped. “Oof.”
“This my place. We humans once and… this place our home!”
“Boy… rule,” rasped a voice out of the darkness.
I laughed. “He my boy… Make good lord.”
“He… not… elfblood.”
“So? Mage who saved me not elfblood.”
That statement drew silence.
“You help?”
Silence for a time.
“I… help.” “Me… too.” “Si.”
I led them to the walls where the boy exhorted the refugees to man the ramparts, to take up bows. “We come, Lord,” I shouted.
They turned, staring.
Seven ogres pledged to stand by old men, women, and children.
I pointed at the fallen stone and we carried them to the ramparts, stone often broader than a human. These stripped bones of the keep that whispered to our souls, claiming us as once the stars had.
A woman cried, “They are coming!”
I glanced over the parapet and saw the standard, bent and retrieved rounded stone that fit nicely in my hand. I tossed it remembering in another life throwing a ball. “Batter up,” I said from one of my oldest dreams. I threw.
The standard bearer cried out as was knocked aside, clutching on the astonished  soldier behind him. They dropped screaming. I grinned. “Strike one.”
“Uh, Walsh…” Thomi said as the men on the path shouted. “Uh, can you , um, strike like that again?”
I grinned, glanced at my long lost brethren and gestured. Frowning they raised the stone. I through another strike and had the errant thought that they would make a hell of a bowling team.
“Ahh!” the toppled soldiers screamed.
It was a long way down.
“Uh, how about this one,” Thomi said, trying to push a rounded bit of column toward me.
I looked to my towering ogre kin and pointed. “That’s my boy.”
They nodded and got back to business.
“LOOK OUT!” a soldier cried, then had no more to say. The soldiers tried to flee, dislodging their fellows from the path.
“Good day,” the pretty ogress said to me as she heaved a good size piece of column.
I smiled.
“Where… where I get one?”
“Hmm, you… little one… like be ogress’s girl?”
She couldn’t have been more than eleven in human years.
“Um, Walsh,” Thomi said.
“Yes… Thomi.”
“Oh, can I?”  
“Uh, never mind.”
I looked back over the parapet. The soldiers were no further threat for now. But I knew they would be back. The little girl was talking too fast for the ogress to follow. She turned to me, “Do they… always… chatter so.”
I blinked. That was a lot of words. “What your name?”
“Sheila.” Her eyes widened.
I grinned. “Sheila… Walsh.”
She blushed.
I heard the nearest humans gag, but not my Thomi or her little girl. They just began  coughing uncontrollably.
I knelt beside Thomi. “You… alright?”
“Fine,” cough, “just fine.”
I glanced at Sheila and she smiled back. We began collecting stone, lots of stone. We had a keep to protect and we were only seven ogres. But that would change. Ogres swore and we remembered.

About the Author
D.H. Aire has walked the ramparts of the Old City of Jerusalem and through an escape tunnel of the Crusader fortress that Richard the Lionheart once called home. He’s toured archeological sites from diverse cultures that were hundreds, if not thousands of years old… experiences
that have found expression in his writing of his Highmage’s Plight Series.
Highmage’s Plight, the first book in a sci fi/fantasy series that was serialized in the ezine Separate Worlds and published in novel form by Malachite Quills Publishing’s Chimera Tales imprint last year. Highmage’s Plight’s sequel Human Mage was also serialized and is being published later this summer. A collection of his stories appears in Flights of Fantasy, Vol. 1, featuring the short work of both D.H. Aire and Barry Nove. The opening chapters of his planned Young Adult novel, Dare2Believe, basically its Gulliver’s Travels meets Urban Fantasy, are available on Wattpad, a free site for YA fiction,
To learn more, visit his website,, follow him on twitter at @dare2believe1, or on
Facebook. During the Blogger Book Fair visitors to his website have a chance to win a Highmage’s Plight t-shirt and more.


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