A Tidy Ogre vs a Unicorn Horn
Most ogres live in swamps. Or cesspools. Or mud pits. Or in places the locals call “hollers.”
Yorg was not like other ogres. Yes, he looked like them—tall in stature and plentiful in width with green skin—but that’s as far as it went.
Instead of wearing rags or furs, Yorg preferred to wear fitted jackets with cravats and breeches. Specially cobbled shoes adorned his feet, and while other ogres seeped the stench of outhouse, Yorg smelled of lavender or roses.
Yorg had moved out of the “holler” as soon as he could crawl. He’d made his way up to the top of a mountain and claimed it as his home. A couple of trolls had thought he’d violated their territory, but after a civil conversation involving a sharp rock and some well-placed strikes, the trolls had agreed to move around to the other side of the peak.
A sparkling waterfall ran next to Yorg’s house and filled a small pond nearby. He’d spent years cutting and fitting the stones that now made up his abode. The pieces fit together so nicely that he didn’t need moss or mud to fill the cracks. A long porch ran on the west side of his home, and on it sat a beautifully carved rocking chair and table. Yorg spent many evenings sitting in the chair, watching the sun set on the valley below. He rarely thought about his family or the other ogres as he sipped his hot tea from a porcelain cup.
One day, as the sun’s rays stretched across the valley in a last effort to keep light on the land, Yorg noticed several figures coming up the trail to his house. While it wasn’t unheard of to have visitors, Yorg was not expecting anyone for at least a week.
Perhaps they were travelers. Some braved the trail—along with the promise of a civilized ogre at the end of it—for the privileged of having tea with Yorg and seeing his house. Once a month a merchant came to drop off books and supplies, but he’d been there last week.
Yorg frowned and watched as the shadows grew larger, and took the shape of ogres.
It was more likely for a human to visit than an ogre. Yorg placed his cup on the matching saucer with a little tink, then he reached around the back of his chair to make certain he had his spear handy. While fighting wasn’t his first reaction, or even the second, Yorg could hold his own against any creature.
The ogres arrived just as the sun’s rays slipped past the edge of the horizon, leaving the mountainside in a disconcerting shade of gray. Yorg recognized them at once. The one on the lead—a wide brute wearing nothing but a loincloth and a satchel—was his younger brother, Grak. The other two were Grak’s friends.
Most of Yorg’s family had decided to ignore him, but Grak came up a few times a year. Yorg returned his hand from behind his chair to his side and stood.
“Brother!” Grak waved a meaty arm.
“Grak,” Yorg said. He stepped off the porch and met the ogres in the soft, even grass.
The smell proceeded the trio, and Yorg forced himself not to wrinkle his nose. He held out a hand and Grak took it and squeezed.
Younger brothers. Always trying to impress.
“You so fancy,” Grak said.
Yorg forced a smile. “How have you been?”
“We good.” He nodded. His friends nodded. Most ogres didn’t bother to learn a lot of language skills. Instead they relied on grunts, shrugs and punching things.
Grak usually wanted something. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
It took Grak a moment to work the meaning of the words out. Yorg could practically see his brain churning to put it all together.
After a few seconds, he grunted. “Brought you something.”
“You brought me something?” Yorg narrowed his eyes in suspicion. Grak had never done that.
“Found it in the woods.” The two friends nodded. Grak reached into his satchel.
Yorg took a step away and balled his fists.
Then Grak pulled out a long, thin spike the length of Yorg’s forearm. It twisted together from a wider base to a pointed top and glowed in the gray of twilight.
Yorg stared at it, then at his brother. “Where did you get this?”
“Woods.” He shrugged.
His friends shrugged.
Grak held it out. “It fancy. You like fancy.”
“I do like fancy,” Yorg said. “However, this is a unicorn horn. Are you sure you want to give it to me?”
Grak pointed between him and his friends. “We fight over it. You take.”
Yorg then noticed the bruises, scratches and fresh blood on the ogres. “Alright.” He held out his hand, wondering what sort of display he should make for it.
Grak gave Yorg the horn, which felt cool to the touch. Then he waved. “We go.”
“Already?” Yorg asked. Usually Grak would stay for dinner.
“Mom need me.”
“Well, tell her hello.”
Grak waved and led his two friends away.
Yorg watched them go. “How odd,” he said. He took the horn into his house and set it on the table. The faint glow continued. When Yorg shut the door he found that the horn had left a trail of…glitter.
A growl rose up in Yorg’s throat.
“Glitter.” The word dripped with disdain.
Just then he heard howling laughter from Grak and his friends.
He’d done this on purpose.
Yorg would be cleaning up glitter for weeks.
He ground his teeth. He hated ogres.