“For The King!”
a fantasy flash-fiction short story by Jeremy C Kester
Part of Free Fiction Fridays
Please note: this story may have some disturbing imagery or ideas. Read at your own risk.
The orc was snarling as Wendelin pushed her blade into its chest. Her own face, gnarled with the hatred she felt for the beast, gazed upon it with little pity. It was a younger creature. If she had to guess it was barely 14. They all looked so damned hideous, even the youngest of them. Where other species might have their children saved by this vague notion of cute, the ogres lacked it.
Wendelin gave a twist, hoping to hit the heart of the beast as she did so. Practice had given her extraordinary precision with that task. The blade hit true and the beast writhed for a moment before the damage to its heart undid its life.
Once the movement of the beast stopped, she gazed over her accomplishment. Forty orcs slain. Most of them were children. But children of that kind grow up to be horrid, murderous creatures. They were the easiest to kill, though even at such a young age, they were dangerous, able to rip through a man’s flesh with ease. When they got older, even worse.
Her blade was covered in orc blood, as was she. It made her feel accomplished, proud for the death that she wrought on those—those things. Ever since they had killed her parents—a lie that she never learned.
The campaign was to discredit the orc race as they sat on lands the King wished to own. They were a brutally strong, yet peaceful race. Often they would fight only for what they saw as honorable things, like defending their own lives. But men with horrid masks and wearing the skins of those “beasts” make for convincing atrocities done against the humans. It took men with a thirst for rape and murder.
As she wiped the blade on her cloak, she stepped over the bloody, dismembered body of one of the infant orcs she slew. She was careful not to step into its intestines that she pulled out as she made her way through the small village. Her next job would be easy comparatively, although for her, it was the only part she hated: collecting the eyes of all the beasts. She needed one pair for each one slain to provide to the King for her reward.
It was their stench. Having to get in so close was nauseating. Fighting them, slaughtering them, it was easy to ignore it. Collecting her trophies though — she would vomit several times before it was through. She never got used to the smell.
Collecting eyes was tedious too on top of it. The eyes had to be intact. And it had to be a pair. A single eye could mean that the orc could still kill; two eyes and the orc might, if not dead, was certainly blind. It was a silly rule in her eyes as she could have claimed half the kills and collect only one eye apiece. Still. It had to be done.
Upon her 30th set, she came upon one of the older children she had killed. It was nearly 14, like the last one. It laid motionless, under a small pile of debris. It did not occur to her until the blade pierced her stomach through one of the seams of her armor that she did not remember killing that particular orc.
She tried to swipe her small blade at it, the one she’d been prying eye out with and the orc swatted it away. Then, it picked her up using the blade that it used against her.
With pure hatred in its eyes, it took revenge for what she had done. She screamed as she writhed, trying to do anything to fight away the strength of that beast. Then, as it held her up in the air by the blade and how it interlocked into her armor, the orc then used its free hand to pull out her eyes… while she was still alive.
Short story written by Jeremy C Kester
©2021 Jeremy C Kester – All Rights Reserved