The Ogre's Pendant & The Rat in the Pit (Completed)

The Ogre's Pendant & The Rat in the Pit (Completed)

by Traitorman (JM Clarke)

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content

The land is conquered.


A thief and a demon killer run afoul of its new overlord and the wizard that serves him. Now the wizard seeks his life's ambition, an artifact that will make his word law. Hearing this, the demon killer and thief begin to have ambitions of their own. The race is on for who will reach the artifact first, and an entire barbarian horde is in the running.


Yet the prize lies within the Forest of Giants, grown from the corpse of an empire. 


There are tales of things that stalk the trees. Tales of those that hunger endlessly. Tales of those that feast on human flesh.


Tales of ogres.


A fast paced, dark fantasy adventure!



All stories and characters - including The Ogre's Pendant and The Rat in the Pit - written by Traitorman are created by and are the intellectual property of J.M. Clarke

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Table of Contents
84 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
The Wizard-King's Legacy ago
The Night of Sacrifice ago
Thieves, Rope and Liquor I ago
Thieves Rope and Liquor II ago
Assault in the Dark I ago
Assault in the Dark II ago
The Hunt in the Mist I ago
The Hunt in the Mist II ago
Shattered Bones and Ogres ago
The Saint's Plight I ago
The Saint's Plight II ago
The Saint's Plight III ago
The Battle of the Ruined Tower I ago
The Battle of the Ruined Tower II ago
The Battle of the Ruined Tower III ago
The Tears of Amitiyah I ago
The Tears of Amitiyah II ago
The Three that Dwell in Ash I ago
The Three that Dwell in Ash II ago
The Massacre I ago
The Massacre II ago
The Wizard-King's Truth I ago
The Wizard-King's Truth II ago
The Wizard-King's Truth III ago
The Ogre's Pendant ago
Epilogue ago
Book 3: The Rat in the Pit ago
The Poet's Resolve I ago
The Poet's Resolve II ago
The Poet's Resolve III ago
A Snow of Silver I ago
A Snow of Silver II ago
A Snow of Silver III ago
The Rat and the Hawk I ago
The Rat and the Hawk II ago
The Rat and the Hawk III ago
The Wolves of Lycundar ago
Trouble in Paradise I ago
Trouble in Paradise II ago
Trouble in Paradise III ago
Paradise in Trouble I ago
Paradise in Trouble II ago
Paradise in Trouble III ago
Hellfire and Silver I ago
Hellfire and Silver II ago
The Pit of Despair I ago
The Pit of Despair II ago
The Pit of Despair III ago
Manticore I ago
Manticore II ago
Manticore III ago
Manticore IV ago
A Pact in a Poison Garden I ago
A Pact in a Poison Garden II ago
A Pact in a Poison Garden III ago
The Hand I ago
The Hand II ago
The Hand III ago
Beasts I ago
Beasts II ago
Beasts III ago
Beasts IV ago
Beasts V ago
We Are Who We Are I ago
We Are Who We Are II ago
Swords I ago
Swords II ago
Swords III ago
Swords IV ago
Swords V ago
Lycundar's Bane I ago
Lycundar's Bane II ago
A Grim Parting I ago
A Grim Parting II ago
The Final Battle of Lycundar's Arena I ago
The Final Battle of Lycundar's Arena II ago
The Final Battle of Lycundar's Arena III ago
The Rat in the Pit I ago
The Rat in the Pit II ago
The Rat in the Pit III ago
The Rat in the Pit IV ago
The Third Oath I ago
The Third Oath II ago
Epilogue: The After-Thought [End and Afterword] ago

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As of november 28th, 2020, The Rat in the Pit has finished and the trilogy has reached its conclusion.

Thus, I'm updating this review once more, this time in a less analytical but more personal manner.

I've been reading Traitorman for a long time. I first found him in a swap a good four(?) months ago, and ever since I've been following this story as it steadily advanced towards its conclusion.

I fell in love with the characters by the first chapter, and have re-fallen for them every time I picked this story up again. Traitorman's writing has brought me laughter in boredom, joy in sadness, and inspiration in complacency. It has made me cry multiple times, and I'm not one to usually burst into tears at books or film.

Today, as I finished reading the Rat in the Pit, I was struck with a wave of emotion. It felt like I was leaving behind an era, where this story had been written. No, it may not have topped the charts or reached an astronomical wordcount, but each and every page brought me a kind of joy that I rarely see anywhere else.

Especially on this site, where traditional fantasies are rare and progression is all the rage, this normal, seemingly innocuous DnD style story took my heart and ran with it.

Congratulations, Traitorman, on completing your first trilogy. I look forwards to what's to come.

Your loyal reader and friend, devout member of the Traitorman fanclub,


(In case that was too emotional for you, here's the review I left before:)

Note: Updated as of august(?) 2020 to say that everything I say in this review is an understatement. This story literally gave me chills. Read it now or they'll send Eppon after you.

I went into this story with high expectations. Having been hyped up by the self-proclaimed head of the Traitorman fan club, it would be an understatement to say that I stepped in expecting quality. I have to say, not only were my expectations met, but they were BLOWN OUT OF THE WATER.

The story is phenomenal. The world is highly reminiscent of a traditional sword and sorcery type fiction, which is ironically a breath of fresh air on this site where gamelit and isekai are the norm. However, it's not just the world that goes back to its roots. The plot itself seems to reference Dungeons and Dragons and the like, though it puts its own spin on things so that they never feel boring. There's always something going on, and the pacing is some of the best I've seen on RR.

The characters are similarly great. It's nice to see a man/woman duo that doesn't look like it's headed in a romantic direction, and they both have distinct personalities that are already very fleshed out. The big bad especially seems to be given attention when it comes to characterization in the beginning - heck, we learn about him earlier than we learn about our protagonists!

Grammar is always my shortest category, especially when it's as good as this story's is. I think that I caught 1 grammatical error in the entire ~20k words that I've read, and even that one didn't slow my flow at all. (I actually had to go back and check because I wasn't sure whether it was even an error)

Finally, we get to style. I usually do style first in my reviews, but for this one I wanted to save the best for last. Oh my gosh, Traitorman's prose is heavenly. Easily in my top three for this site, if not number one. I don't know if its the sword and sorcery roots or just the author's natural writing, but every time I read this I feel like I'm being serenaded to. I cannot put into words how good the prose is in this story, and even if this type of story really isn't your thing, I would still recommend reading it solely for the prose. Really, it's incredible. I don't know how else to put it.

The only teensy bit of nitpicking that I have is that the beginning goes a little heavy on the terms, but the author has said in a comment that they're more there for background, rather than exposition. I kept up with the key names and races just fine, so this really is just me being nitpicky when I bring this up. And for its purpose, the terms work wonderfully - I feel like that's actually a part of what makes the prose in this story so good.

Overall, just read it. At least the first five chapters, just to see if you'll like it. Because trust me, you will. Everyone can like this story. Brilliant characters, amazing pacing, and as if I haven't said it enough, prose that will knock your friggin socks off. Go, click on that first chapter. Do it. You can thank me once you've binge-read the entire thing in a night.


The real Ogre's Pendant turned out to be the friends made along the way.

Reviewed at: The Massacre II

Traitorman eschews the thin and reedy Gamelit and LitRPG light novel writing to instead hark back to fantasy storytelling's roots in sword and sorcery. Those well travelled on the Royal Road will appreciate the substance and imagination of The Ogre's Pendant as readers are immediately thrown into an adventure following loyal gal Wurhi and her companion Kyembe as they race from pickle to predicament to plight.

Well-choreographed action, cunning characters, and a subtly threaded color balance of exposition will keep you wanting a little bit more each time you reach the end of a chapter. Royal Road absolutely needs a little more Forgotten Realms and a little less status windows and quipping pop culture references, and I think in time The Ogre's Pendant will become one of the site's treasured gems for many appreciative readers.

Alright, sometimes Traitorman lays on the similes a little too thick when describing things, but even that's so fun to read that I can't take off more than half a point.


A story that you shouldn't miss!

Reviewed at: The Three that Dwell in Ash II

Honestly, at the start of the novel it was a bit hard to immerse myself, so I had some doubts if I should continue reading it. The information that is given is so much, that is too hard to remember it all and that brings to some confusion.


However, once the action started, I just couldn't stop reading it. The writing style is just amazing and gives you a different way to immerse yourself fully, with no hiccups whatsoever! 

The style is unique, the flow smooth and everything seems natural. It took me some time to get used to it, but it's totally worth it and brilliant. 

We start with a lot of introduction that can make us pause, but once the action begins, that introduction comes as helpful. The action is fast paced and natural and the plot is well connected. It's trully enjoyable to read it once I got used to the writing style and the introductions. So much so I didn't realize when I managed to read it all, looking for the next chapter, only to be disappointed. I can't wait for more updates for the novel.

Full score. There was not a single mistake that I saw in all the novel. It's just amazing that the author could keep such a good grammar all the time, like there is a team of editors behind him, making sure everything is in order. (There is, right? Right?)

Well developed, every character has depth to him, that makes you fully immersed in them.

A story that you shouldn't miss! You won't regret your choice reading it.


This is the best story I've read in a while....

Reviewed at: Shattered Bones and Ogres

I would go into detail about each scoring subject. That would be pointless, though, because I have nothing to say of them.

This story? Polished.

The tone? Phenomenal and accurate for the setting.

The writing STYLE? This author has one of the best writing styles I've read (both when considering traditionally published and self-published works). With the descriptive elements that draw the reader in. I know this author has spent a lot of time editing this story because it shows.
I binged 10 chapters in about an hour. 

I will binge 10 more. And then another 10. And so forth.

Fantastic story. Perfect story. I don't think I've ever raved over a book before? Congrats, Traitorman, you have written one of my favorite self published e-reads to date (and I haven't even finished it, yet).

This is a story to watch out for. 

Vowron Prime

A Story that Rivals Upper-Tier Published Fictions

Reviewed at: The Massacre II

What do you get when you mix R.R. Martin levels of intrigue with Tolkien-esque world-building and characterization with rich dialogue, fast-paced action, and grammar and style on par with the best writers out there? This.

You get this story: The Ogre's Pendant.

What starts as a seemingly simple prison break quickly escalates into an epic heist, and then turns into much, much more, and while the story is a bit of a dense read the first couple of chapters where all the cultures, names, places and characters are introduced, fear not as you will quickly get sucked into Traitorman's universe as you step from adventure to Jurassik horror to epic fight scenes, masterfully narrated all the while.

Edit: My prediction from a month ago has come true, as this story has officially broken into the top ten best rated on RR. If you're reading this, stop and go read the story instead.


As I mentioned, easily on par with most published authors. While normally I look for style disappearing in a novel, this story has its own unique style in spades. Yet not only does it not get in the way, it actually enriches the story, giving it a distinct tone and sense of depth unlike what I've seen from most stories on RoyalRoad. This harmonizes with the worldbuilding and characterization to create a unique and compelling read.


6/5, easily. I don't know how Traitorman does it, but this feels like it has been professionally edited by an entire team. Sentences flow beautifully, sentence construction is artful yet understandable, and I did not spot a single typo or grammatical error of any kind(and those usually jump out at me).


The story is still early on, but even at this point there has been so much that's happened. Plot points feel natural and not forced, like the expected obvious outcome given the characters and their circumstances. Yet the author still manages to surprise the reader in novel ways, always keeping things interesting. Pacing is just about perfect - my only minor comment here is that the introduction of so many races/terms/cultures early on forced me to slow down a bit to truly digest all of that.

There too, however, we don't get exposition dumps, but rather learn of these things naturally through the course of the characters' actions or via clever narration. Once past the that though, things really got into their groove and I was hooked the rest of the way.


Some of the most well-developed characters I've seen on RoyalRoad, and their personalities are shown not told to us, through dialogue and their own actions. The main character Kyembe and Wurhi duo complement and balance each other perfectly. There are also some pretty frikkin' awesome side characters that you will no doubt come to enjoy as much as the mains.

Even the antagonists - especially the antagonists - are well-developed. Not one of them feels flat or two-dimensional, even if they've only recently been introduced. The worldbuilding helps in that department, instantly giving characters a sense of history and depth.

In conclusion, this story is definitely worth your read. It's deep, intelligent, yet also fast-paced and suspenseful. In my mind it is easily Best Rated top ten material on this site.


As unapologetically beautiful as it is brutal

Reviewed at: Epilogue: The After-Thought [End and Afterword]

Prior to reading The Ogre's Pendant, I'd never really noticed how one trait common in traditional high fantasy is that your standard genre tropes can start to feel a bit... tame, after a while. Stakes can start to feel underwhelming, the outcomes of battles predictable, and when a device is entrenched enough in the genre, assumptions can start to seep into the stories like a shared in-joke between author and reader. Sometimes to the point of turning old hat tropes into little more than expected set pieces.

Not so in The Ogre's Pendant. This story is menacing, brutal and gloriously wild. From the moment we're first introduced to main characters Kyembe the wizard and Wurhi the thief escaping the clutches of a marauding warlord, we're thrown into a treacherous, perilous universe where death's inevitability seems only ever one second away. Whether or not our core duo are on the receiving or dealing end is another matter. Here, the dark things which lurk in the forest will most certainly kill you in a variety of gruesome ways - provided the hearts of men don't complete the job first.

I can't remember the last time I read a story where the stakes felt so real, so up-close and personal. This isn't an epic about saving the world so much as it is about the personal exploits of two souls in one small corner of a vast, dynamic macrocosm. And yet it feels like the former every step of the way.

Much of this is down to the incredible characterisation: Kyembe, elegant, acrobatic and cunning, and Wurhi, nimble, sincere and streetwise - plus a third major character I won't spoil - are written with so much personality and charm, and the growth of their developing friendships is an absolute highlight. I love them all, though it has to be said Wurhi is my favourite for her sheer relatability. Wurhi is also the focus of the second story in this collection - The Rat in the Pit - and I can see why. I won't provide spoilers, but the themes in her story simultaneously left me with a strong sense of yearning and a sense of hope and optimism for humanity, and ended up leaving me in tears. Bravo, Traitorman. Bravo.

It's been mentioned in many other reviews, but the writing in The Ogre's Pendant is pure poetry. Its grammar is perfect, its prose of similar standing as the legends it tells. The story's pacing is flawless, to the point where sometimes it almost feels a little too perfect, as if the scenes are matched to the beats of a drum, each one falling in precise rhythm exactly where it needs to be. I can't praise it enough. This is, quite honestly, some of the best writing I've ever seen, and the best I've seen on Royal Road to date.

Rarely do I give a story a five-star rating in every category, but The Ogre's Pendant more than deserves it. It's... well, beautiful. In more ways than one. Read it if you don't believe me. I dare you.


A world that’s easy to slip into.

Reviewed at: The Hunt in the Mist

I was worried this was going to be a slow read, but we get into the action pretty quick. 

 The first bit is working to set up the characters, the world, the power in that egg and what's possibly at stake here, setting up the story until it's time to sit back and watch the dominos fall. 

Characters are memorable and  believable; I won't add more as that's really all that's needed. 
Can't wait to see here it goes. 


To anyone reading my prior review from The Dreaming Sceptre....all my dreams have been realised. Only complaint is very minor grammar/word choice issues in some of the latest chapters. Nothing a good proofread won't fix.

And speaking of fixes...Traitorman. Please. I need moar my friend. Phenomenal story and characters, everything I hoped and dreamed for. This story really is a gem and I applaud you sir.


Also might be fanboying.

And trying to fill the 200 character requirement.

Is it working yet?








Doesn't matter, if you can read this and not enjoy, we can't be friends.






Ok, FINE, seriously, this is a masterful story. Somewhat predictable, but damnit, it's got all the points that make the heart sing. Enjoyable banter, heartfelt emotional "awwww's," bone-crushing action, and the genuine character growth.

Barbarians, Ogre's, demon's, werewolves, oh my!







 Still haven't filled the owed count yet.





Is it characters or words?





Fuck it, take my money!

Just end this never ending word writing hell!






Ok, seriously, does every review need 200 words? I've met the limit right? Can you improve upon perfection?





Ok, fine, nothing's perfect. But seriously?! Still?!?!


The Ogre's Pendant revolves around the legendary Dragon Egg that becomes the centerpoint of its focus, having multiple parties from known and unknown sides struggling in a grueling race to get their hands on it. Despite the simplistic goal, it makes for an extremely involving story that delves you into the unknown, intrigue and expectation. This alone is reason enough for the average reader to pick this story up. Now on to the intricacies of the story though, because plotwise is not where the authors pen shines the most.

STLYE: A shame I must start with style, since this is the only part that I have a petty mulling complaint to make. The paragraph patterns are overall excellent, however the sometimes frequent single-sentence paragraph breaks throws me off, kicking me out of a rhythm that was otherwise perfectly paced.

However, the medieval and culturally diverse speech the author uses for the characters and in the lines of lore developing makes the world more intriguing to indulge. This is where his skill shines the most, making the extensive vocabulary expand on the world that is expanded on. The pacing of sentences and breaks matches with the rhythm to expect in the scenarios that are presented, appealing to our senses of adrenaline to be more involved.

STORY: The world is placed in an overall epic scene, where you are seeing the lives and choices of legendary champions(Not all champions are heroes, read the story to understand). His style compliments this story's over emcompassing arc. There is a lot of focus to the lore and cultures and different beings, further embellishing the world that you get to love more and more. This is where style benefits the story's world-building, it never feels rushed and always feels right when it is expanded on.

At the beginning, it did feel like as a reader that I was missing out on the nuances and lore that was subtly mentioned or fully immersed in. However, the further you went in the story, the more familiar everything felt. Truly remarkable technique.

GRAMMAR: This catagory can make or break any story arc, and the writer's competence in the English literate technique is incredible. His punctuation, tenses and vocabulary are spot on. Mistakes were far to seldom to speak of, nothing that wouldn't expect unless looking for closely. It clearly made a great story that much better.

CHARACTER: Characters can always be so finicky to develop. The key is always the impression they're supposed to give, and then if they succeeded in that impression. If you can't even remember who is who in the following chapter, the character can feel flat. Again the writer does an incredible job in leaving a masterful impression of the characters he's presented, fully flushing out not just what and who they are, but their side of humanity too. Everyone has ambitions and goals, his characters are not any less human as person should be.

Again, at the beginning it was hard to feel what I was reading, but every chapter did an excellent job teaching us a bit more of our champions and their lore, giving us more of a connection to their personality. Whether they be good or bad.

OVERALL: Just read it already if you read my review up to this point. It is not perfect, but it sure as hell is as close of a good read anyone can ask for.


Conan the Barbarian meets Gotrek and Felix

Reviewed at: The Massacre II

With one of the protagonists being a sarcastic, constantly exasperated shape-shifting rat-lesbian, this story could almost have been written especially for me.

Traitorman continues to masterfully combine Conan-esque swords and sorcery action with wit and humour to break tension and provide levity between the pulse pounding fight scenes.

The personality clash between the leads and the gulf in their relative power levels adds an extra spice to their banter that is just delightful. It's like Conan sharing screen time with a Joss Whedon character.

 Just amazing. 5 Stars.