Welcome to my weekly serial. This is a rough draft that I am working on, for your reading pleasure.
It is a fairly grim tale, so be warned.
The sound of a female’s laughter, mingled with a male’s, both familiar, both loved, the familiar dream is chased away by screams as Retaak the Ogre roared back to consciousness. As he opens his eyes he is greeted by the sight of a Hob standing over him holding an iron poker that glows red with heat. Retaak can smell burning meat and knows that it is his own flesh that sizzles on that dread rod. He tries to pull himself up, to escape, but the bands that hold him do not give; he knows from experience that breaking them is next to impossible.
“I will never understand why you waste your strength on this, Retaak,” said the Hob, hard eyes full of malicious mirth. “We always break you. You never escape. You are lucky that the Dread Lord has not yet given us leave to cast your body into the Maggot Pit.”
There is a hint of frustration underlying that, however; one that most would miss. Retaak hears it well and knows what it means. The Hob cannot fathom why a Fellspawn of less than perfect loyalty is allowed to live.
“Are you questioning the Dread Lord’s will, Waachear?”
The Hob’s eyes narrow. Impugning loyalty is a great slight, especially to one so devout to their master. The glowing iron darts out, flesh sizzles. After a brief resistance, Retaak roars in pain, then laughs darkly as Waachear pulls back his instrument.
“I would never question his will,” snarls the torturer. “At times I think that he must send you here to test our loyalty, Ogre.”
“Thinking has never been your strong point,” muttered Retaak, pulling against his bonds again. Did he hear the wood creak this time?
“You say that as if it should be an insult,” said Waachear. “But I submit to the Dread Lord’s will; why would waste my time with thought beyond that?”
That in Retaak’s mind was the principle difference between himself and the rest of the Fellspawn in the Dread Lord’s horde; he could think, see beyond the purpose he was bred for. Others said that he was as cunning as a Goblin, but Goblins were meant to be cunning in ways that Ogre’s were not. His ability, his desire, to think beyond the purpose he was created for set him apart from his brethren. It made him an abberation in the eyes of spawn like Waachear.
Retaak questioned everything. Worse yet, in the eyes of his fellow spawn, he sometimes found answers to his questions and acted upon them.
But the ability to think and act beyond what he was bred for and instructed to do was what made Retaak valuable in the eyes of the Dread Lord and his chief servants. Some tasks required a little independence.
Waachear motioned to two ogre brutes, their faces hidden in helms, forward. They removed the chains from Retaak. As soon as the metal was no longer holding him back, he lunged for Waachear but the two larger ogres easily overpowered him. He was weak from torture, after all.
“Such a waste,” clucked the Hob as they dragged Retaak away.