Ogres 1

The ogres have lost my luggage.

“May the bowels of this impoverished imp ooze forth with apology,” the individual, I can’t say ‘man’ or ‘woman’ behind the basalt desk in the hotel lobby tries to smile. The shape of its teeth fight against the expression. ‘We shall of course bend all of our sinister energies to the rectification of this horrifying twist of fate, Ms. Scribbler.”

It takes me a second to get that. According to the guidebooks, the Benevolent Republic of Skrea speaks the same language as my home nation, but somebody apparently forgot to inform the locals.

“You mean you can’t do anything?” I say, “what about my stuff?”

The concierge-thing blinks tiny beadlike eyes at me. “The ogres might be punished, but only at my lady’s…” its mouth splits in a predatory leer, “pleasure.”

I realize I have taken an unconscious step backward. No, that won’t do. I summon all of my business training and try to look like the venture capitalist I am. I regain my lost ground, raise my chin, short hair swishing, and cross my arms over the front of my suit. I hope I appear serious and intimidating. It would help if I was wearing my heels, but they’re in my luggage, and are now probably being gnawed on by an ogre somewhere.

“This is unacceptable,” I say, “I have a meeting in an hour, which I cannot run without the materials in my luggage. I was lead to believe that this was the best hotel in Skrea, but if this is how you treat your star customers, I will take my business elsewhere.”

“My lady is welcome to do so,” the concierge shrugs. Or anyway that’s how I choose to interpret the twitch of its tiny batwings. “But such deeds will not regain her her lost relics.”

“Well—” I begin, but it interrupts me.

“At risk of exsanguination for the audacity, lady,” it shrugs again. “My lady must understand that this is Skrea.”

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