About a hundred strong and armed to the teeth, the ogre war party rumbled into the clearing making a racket.
I jumped to my feet and joined Evan outside the large doors. I knew what they were thinking - what in bloody hell was a human doing here with one of theirs? Also, where's the welcoming party?
They dispersed around the village, checking the remaining huts, while an older bearded ogre approached us. His staff stomped the ground with every step. Thick and gnarled, it rattled like a wind chime in a storm and glowed with an ominous dark light. Hands placed on his hips he leaned forward to inspect me. His braided white beard with an assortment of bones hung down to his waist. I assumed he was the war party leader of some sort.
I waited for Evan to explain the situation, I figured it would have been better received from a fellow ogre rather than a human.
He turned to Evan. "That's the one?" he asked, speaking in ogre tongue.
"Yes chief, and his women are inside." Evan answered in the same language.
He nodded with a satisfied smile. "Great work."
While I tried to understand what the hell two had meant, the chief slammed his staff down. The ground beneath my feet cracked in every direction. Black tips of spear-like tentacles burst forth. Time slowed to a crawl as they attempted to grab and wrap themselves around my ankles.
I moved aside and leaped back out of the cracking area. The tentacles inched up higher only to find nothing but empty air.
Was I deceived? Betrayed? I didn't understand how Evan could have communicated with this chief, or what he hoped to gain by attacking me. I was proper pissed and was going to find out what the hell was going on.
The look of surprise on chief's face only lasted a fraction of a second. I pulled with telekinesis, and his staff sprung from his hands and flew past me into the building. At the same time, ethereal bindings appeared and wrapped the both of them like a fat burrito. The other ogres took note and rushed forward. I put them to sleep, the whole lot of them. Bodies piled up in a wide semi circle around me.
I pulled out my jeweled dagger, squatted down next to Evan and stared him eye to eye. He wouldn't talk and neither would the chief. That's when I had a grand idea. I dragged both of them inside the building and out of sight. I told the girls to stay put. Taking a lesson from Evan, I decided on a bit of deception myself. Using illusion I made myself look and sound like the chief.
Outside, I had a full yard of guinea pigs to practice on. I woke one up and went to work. I tried a few different angles of attack. As I worked, I adapted and improvised, and finally settled on a barrage of questions.
Dazed from being awoken, they had an angry, in their face chief shouting, demanding answers. The bewildered ogres stuttered, sputtered then blabbered the first thing that came to their little frantic minds. Answers flowed out and by the time I was half way through around the circle of bodies I had a comprehensive sitrep. It made me more mad - I been had from the start. Evan was right, ogres aren't stupid afterall.
Ogres had in mind to attack and capture Fort Sumner. The three ogres I had met that fateful morning were sent to scout the area and do probing attacks. Evan lied and deceived me.
I transformed back to my former self and slumped to the ground, chewing my lip. Slaughtering the lot of them was an option - all the humans would agree and wouldn't think twice. But I had promised myself that I wouldn't do exactly that. Yet, I couldn't just leave them to it, I'd feel responsible if I they continued killing - which they would.
Plan B: I went down the list of race options, and settled on one. Smaller and mostly harmless, the world would welcome a hundred twenty more kobolds. The girls came out and watched me turn the ogres into newts. I cleared the chief of all his spells, poofed his staff, then set the sleep timer for an hour. As much as I wanted to see the look on their faces when they awoke, the sun was getting low and I wanted to be very much done with this ogre business.
I didn't know where the uppity prince and his entourage of five had gone, but given how they went south, I suspected that Fort Sumner was their destination.
"Ready to go?" I asked.
They nodded eagerly and I opened a gate. It required a prior visit to an area to be used. A thin bar of stone materialized then split apart to create a spacious portal in between. The common room appeared on the other side and we stepped through.
Glancing back through the portal at the circle of kobolds I thought about a a valuable lesson I learned, and it wasn't just about misplaced trust. I remembered a quote, "Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak," by Sun Tzu.
They planned to have their chief overpower me, then they'd threaten my girls and force me to turn some of the ogres into humans. They wanted to sneak past the walls of Fort Sumner and open the gates at night. It would have been devastating for the humans. They didn't realize I could do a lot more than just illusions.
Pretending to be weak could be useful to make people show their true colors - both good and bad. They'd think they could take advantage of me, or use me. All I'd have to do is keep my eyes open and lead them on - it worked on Evan, though I didn't do it on purpose.
Just about ready to unsummon the Ball of Light in my inn's room and go to sleep when I heard a gentle knock on the door. Without waiting for my response, the door opened slightly and a head poked in. I had somehow expected to run into her again - I hoped. I sat up in my bed with only the blanket covering my lower body.
Concealed in a full cloak, she slipped in and closed the door behind herself, as if she didn't want to be seen.
"I was told I could find you here," she said quietly in a flustered tone.
"Katie," I said. "What can I do for you?"
"My brother is hot headed, he .. he doesn't stop to have a thought, or see what's right under his nose," she stuttered through, as if unsure of herself.
"That's the guy that ..?" I asked, to be certain.
She nodded. "I need to know something, and .. I hope it's true."
She took several steps closer, and lowered the hood of her cloak down from her head to reveal her golden blond hair. The Ball of Light lit up her dazzling aquamarine blue eyes.
"Are you a god in disguise?" she spoke up louder and assured.
I chuckled. "A god? I don't know about that. Do they even exist?"
"That is a worthy question for the High Priest. I believe gods are real, though hidden from plain sight."
I smiled. "Ahh yes. Invisible, I was told."
"But I can clearly see it and I know it to be true, I can tell just by looking at you. Your aura betrays you."
I chuckled. "Auras? Never heard them."
"I was born with a gift. Every living creature has an aura, and I can see yours."
"What does it look like?"
"Usually it's a faint glow all around. But yours is so .. divine, I never seen something so stark and vibrant, it's like staring at the sun."
I winced. "Don't hurt your eyes."
She smiled. "I can only see it but for a brief moment, and then it's gone. It's so strange."
"Must be a fluke, as I said, I'm not a god."
She reached the foot of the bed, unclasped the cloak and let it drop to the floor. Beneath the cloak she wore an elegant dress with a tight white corset. She brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. "That's what a god would say."
I laughed. "What do you need a god for anyways?"
She came around and sat at edge of the bed next to me. "You haven't heard?"
"I .. I been busy."
I chuckled. "It's a funny story actually. Woke up naked in a middle of the river."
My plan to appear weak and helpless was not working out with her. It wasn't just her mesmerizing beauty, but her calm and candid presence. She made feel at ease. Perhaps it was the way she listened and showed sincere interest.
In fact, my plan was failing miserably. She had seen what I could do in a fight, she could see my 'divine' aura, probably heard some more from Lord Rewt, and then on top of it were all the rumors about a powerful Magus in town.
"A titan is out and reaping," she said. "It's devouring the continent as we speak - nothing living is spared for miles in its swath. It's heading south, and we won't be spared either."
"I wasn't aware of-"
"It's in your interests to help."
"Can it swim?"
"It soars through the sky."
"This continent, you said?" The girls told me about five, and rumors of other.
She nodded. "Just north of the Tipher river by now."
"So, you're running?
She laughed. "If it were so simple. There's nowhere to run."
"Take a boat and sail away?"
"Not for me, nor my brother," she said.
"I'll take my girls and hop on over the next one."
She narrowed her eyes on me. "You'd run?"
"I don't ..." I supposed I was, in fact willing to run.
"I thought you said, 'I don't run' what happened to that man? did I mistake you for someone else?" she pretended to look about the room.
"Trying to do good has gotten me nothing but a headache. I really don't think I'm cut out for this harsh world."
"What if I could make it-" She neared closer bitting her plump lower lip, and leaned in so close to my ear I could feel her warm breath, "worth your while?" The scent of rose petals hit my nose with, sweet and inviting. Her cleavage was an open valley, and her breasts strained to burst out of the corset. I could feel myself getting harder by the moment, it made a tent big enough for two.
"I'm-" I coughed, clearing my throat. "I'm listening."
She didn't say a word, but instead ran her gentle hand down my chest and abs. Pausing for a moment, she moved it under the blanket, wrapping her delicate fingers around my hard member. Our eyes met for a brief moment before she looked away, yet the grasp remained. If this was chess, then she checked me, and I so craved for a checkmate from her.
She ran her fingers up and down the length, making me groan when she got to the tip. She looked up with a shy smile, awaiting my response.
"I would be .. happy to help."
Her grip tightened at my response, she brushed the blanket aside. I caught my breath as she lowered her head and plunged her mouth over the tip, engulfing the head. Her plump pink lips sunk lower. I gasped, going cross-eyed and nearly blew my load when her tongue began swirling around the head in circles.
Her soft hair brushed my thighs, she started to bob up and down in sync to slurping sounds. I didn't think I would last much longer. She held her gaze on me and licked from the balls up to the tip, before taking it back in her eager mouth.
Energetic and ravenous, she didn't lack for enthusiasm - the slurping mixed with her periodic moans got louder and faster. My heart beat faster as I came like an avalanche, my whole body tingling, hips spasming.
Checkmate. I fell back on the pillow and sighed in bliss.
She ran her tongue over her lips, licking them off. "I'll see you tomorrow?"
I closed my eyes. "Tomorrow."