Saturday, October 10, 2015


How Ogres Are Like Diamonds

Once, in another world, there was a little kingdom by the sea. It was a poor little kingdom, but happy — the rivers rushing to the sea made the fields fertile, and the bay was thick with fish. Its people, who called themselves Ogres, were strong from hard work and hale from good food. But the Ogres looked with envy upon their neighbors, who did not work quite so hard because their mountains hid glittering riches.

Time passed, and the Ogres wanted more.

They built a port in the bay to make merchants welcome. Soon, their market rang with tongues and coin from every corner of the world. The Ogres lived in pretty houses and their kings in a palace of alabaster. The Ogres became fat from feasting, with thick, rough skin to better grasp at coins. But in other lands the palaces were golden, and the houses were grand.

Time passed, and the Ogres wanted more.

They sent agents to the other kingdoms, to poison markets and ruin crops. They grew bigger and stronger, and marched into other lands to capture slaves for the block. Their capital sprawled across the sludgy rivers, and the fish died in the poisoned bay.

At last, all the wealth of the world was theirs, and all the other kingdoms lived in filth and squalor. But from their palace of gold and white stone, the bloated Ogre kings looked down upon their people, and saw coins slip through their fat, jeweled fingers. Coins and jewels that could and should be kept in the palace.

Time passed, and the Ogres wanted more.

The last of those kings knelt his mammoth frame in a room that was wall-to-wall diamond, all the riches of his picked-clean world hoarded in his palace. Since his grandfather had seized all the wealth from the citizens, the palace stood like a golden, bejeweled mistake amid stinking, starving squalor.

He chanted, reading from a child-skin book, and called out to a great spirit of wealth and excess, to come from beyond the stars and make his kingdom rich and beautiful, and his people hungry and powerful forever.

He prayed and the spirit came, along with her brothers and sisters. They tore that world to shreds between them, as they did all others where they had visited. But before the lifeless rock crumbled, the great golden goddess of wealth plucked the Ogre king's diamond palace and squeezed it in her fist, fusing it into a great gem of every hue that she wore around her neck. The Ogres, grown great and fat and greedy, she took into the Plane of Earth, to set loose upon her victims in a hungry horde.

"But how did you get all the wealth of a whole world to concentrate in a single place?" asked Crucia in envy as the Blood Storm hurtled between the stars.

"Pressure. And time," Laethys said, and smiled, mostly at the envy, and dreamed of unleashing her mighty new Ogres upon the unplucked wealth of a thousand worlds to come.

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