One-Minute Epics are new micro tales from John Klobucher’s Lore of the Underlings, a lyrical fantasy-fiction world. Here’s the latest installment…
Ogdog hadn’t been home in a hundred years, but something was calling him now. It was on the air, in his skin, a weight to the raindrops falling black as oil, a howling in the lightest wind. His kind, the ogs, had instincts for times like these, and those old as he was the more so. So Ogdog had no choice when destiny beckoned. He took to the slate gray sky.
Far, far north of fair Nord province he flew, up into the wastelands of Merth, a wilderness vast as the ocean sea yet much too deadly for men to cross. The permafrost turned to icescape, the icescape to peaks of twisted rock that clawed at the stars. None of those spires were named, except for the one Ogdog sought — the Ogmont. No wonder, for it could be seen from a thousand leagues. He circled its craggy summit.
The mountain was covered in flat fleshy creatures, his brothers and sisters, and more kept coming. They clustered together, forming a thick black mass; it flapped to an unheard music. Ogdog landed and joined in the silent ogsong. He felt young again.
By moonrise every og alive was one with the mountainside and their changeling kin. “Cousins,” they sang to each other, “the sky is falling. We must decide.” Then they murmured all night long till the muted dawn brought purrs and peeps of agreement. It meant that the clan had chosen — to hide from the world and wait for doom to pass.
For Ogdog, however, hiding was not a choice. His master and friends would need him. “You’ll be alone, dear brother,” his siblings warned. He was resigned to that…
The old freckled og looped the mountaintop one last time, waving a wistful goodbye to his family and their nest amidst the clouds. “Farewell,” he sighed out loud. Then he turned south, not sure he’d ever see them again.
He had reason to worry.