The History of the Habrigale (Needs a Better Name)

The true history of Australia, and the ancient history of the world. Read this book at your own risk, as discovering how joyous life once was may bring your grief.

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6. Chapter Five: Searching for Awoo

 

You were probably completely confused in the last chapter, but that is all right. I now bring you back to the main plot of the story, and – just to refresh your memory – you were up to the part where Awoo had been kidnapped (or possibly eaten) and Heeo and Kaiyar had set out to find him.

                ‘Excuse me,’ Kaiyar interrupted a very busy looking gnome, ‘but have you seen a howler monkey come this way? He was probably being kidnapped.’

                ‘Oh yes!’ The gnome cried at once. ‘It was impossible to miss! The poor creature was screaming so loudly! I tried to convince the fairies to put him down, but they would hear none of it.’

                Heeo sighed. ‘So he was kidnaped by fairies then. What do you suppose they are going to do with him?’

                The gnome paused thoughtfully, stroking his long, white beard. ‘I suppose they will turn him into something awful. They certainly will not kill him.’

                ‘Oh that would be awful!’ Kaiyar cried sadly. ‘We must rescue him.’

                ‘Yes.’ The gnome agreed. ‘I was just about to go out and rescue him myself, only I could not find my hat, and it was bothering me far too much. It was a brand new hat, bright red, and matched my red wellington boots so well… though some of the other gnomes tell me it clashed with my blue shirt (which is ridiculous, I mean, I have this red belt to tie it all together!), and I simply cannot go anywhere without a hat!’

                Kaiyar nodded seriously. ‘Yes, I see your problem.’ (For a gnome without a hat is positively useless).

                So they looked around the gnome’s little garden (he was only about 30 centimetres tall) and scanned the area for a long, cone-shaped, red hat.

                ‘I do feel so bad wasting this time looking for my hat.’ The gnome chatted kindly as they looked. ‘But you know how it is. Without my hat I have no powers whatsoever. It really is a most annoying situation.’

                ‘Of course.’ Heeo agreed, though he looked extremely worn out and bothered. ‘Your powers might be of use to us – especially if Awoo has been turned into a toad.’

                ‘Oh, is that is name?’ The gnome asked brightly. ‘And what are yours? Oh! How silly of me, I have not even introduced myself. My name is Orson the Indecisive.’

                ‘Gee,’ Kaiyar replied, without really thinking, ‘what a name!’

                But Orson was too busy searching for his hat to notice.

                At last, Heeo decided to peer inside the small man’s house. When he did, he growled at once.

                ‘You silly old fool!’ He snarled, making Kaiyar glare at him warningly. ‘It’s inside!’

                Suddenly, and without warning, the gnome burst into tears. ‘I’m sorry!’ He cried. ‘I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to be so stupid! I didn’t! Oh, it’s no wonder I’m the only gnome in Da’affoie – and probably all of Asootrayoolah – that doesn’t have a family! All the other gnomes have gnome wives and gnome children….’

                ‘Shut up!’ Heeo snapped, bearing his teeth at the poor being. ‘Get your hat and let’s go. If it’s company you want, you can have it with us – we’re all rejects too. Come on, let’s go.’

                Orson didn’t exactly cheer up, but he did run to fetch his hat.

                Soon the three were off, following anything within the vicinity that sparkled, showing the remains of fairy dust. The fairies were nomadic creatures, and there were often long periods during which there weren’t any in Da’affoie. Whenever they were in the city, however, they caused trouble, such as they were doing now.

                Orson spoke brightly for the entire trip, and – while he annoyed Heeo very much – Kaiyar rather liked it. He found it strange that (while the man had a long, white beard) he was not old at all. He was sixty years old (which was not terribly old in gnome years – only middle aged), and had about sixty more to live.

                Suddenly, just as Orson finished telling a particularly funny joke, Heeo stopped walking, and both Kaiyar and the gnome crashed into him.

                ‘Ssh!’ Heeo warned, and the two obeyed quickly.

                The hyena began sniffing the air, pricking up his ears, and Kaiyar hoped nothing was too wrong.

                ‘What’s going on?’ Orson whispered quietly, and Kaiyar shook his head.

                Heeo began whimpering then, so Kaiyar knew things were bad: very bad.

                ‘Orcs.’ Was all the hyena said as he turned to his friends – if Orson could be called a friend.

                Orson crossed his eyebrows. ‘Good orcs or bad orcs?’

                ‘You can never tell.’ Heeo replied. ‘Hence they are not welcome in society. We should probably run away, and quickly.’

                There was laughter, and Kaiyar sighed. Looking up slowly, he came face to face with an orc – the first orc he had ever seen. And he instantly sighed with relief.

                ‘Must be a good orc.’ He decided. ‘He does not look fierce.’

                ‘Fool!’ Heeo growled (Kaiyar was beginning to see why he had no friends), whereas Orson simply clicked his tongue patiently.

                ‘Young man,’ the gnome began, ‘just because the orc looks friendly does not mean it is. Orcs are well known for looking beautiful and luring their victims into the enemy’s grasp. That is why no-one wishes to associate with them.’

                Kaiyar frowned at the beaming creature, who continually laughed to himself, and wondered how many more of his kind was hiding behind the bushes.

                Kaiyar had never seen anything like these creatures, except, of course, for humans. They were nothing like he had thought, and he had always known they were very different to the European orcs. That was because Justar Ayar still lived in Asootrayoolah, and, as a result of his absence, things had gotten rather… complicated… in Europe. Particularly England, but that was not important right now.

                He stood tall and confident, with his legs a little apart, and his arms folded over his chest. The creature was muscular, and wore a neat, pinstripe suit that made Kaiyar wonder where he was going. His form was perfect, flawless. There was nothing about it Kaiyar could find to criticise. And his face! It was so handsome – the handsomest face that anyone present had ever seen - that Kaiyar felt as if he would do anything the being said.

                It must have been strange for the creature to possess such power.

                It was often said that those who came to know orcs gradually saw their flaws more and more, but Kaiyar did not believe that to be possible. Similarly, it was also said that orcs were so attractive their victims were completely helpless, utterly lost in their spell. Kaiyar could believe that one.

                ‘How can you tell he’s an orc and not a person?’ Kaiyar asked at last.

                Orson replied promptly. ‘You can’t. But this one is far too good looking to be human.’

                ‘Yes, yes,’ came a new voice, the most wonderful voice any of those present had ever heard. ‘Enough about me. Who are you three and what are you doing?’

                ‘We’re looking for a friend.’ Heeo replied quickly. ‘Will you let us pass?’

                ‘I would.’ The orc answered. ‘But my friends might not. There are many of them behind these bushes.’

                ‘Why are they hiding?’ Orson the gnome asked inquisitively. ‘Orcs have no reason to hide.’

                The orc snarled. ‘We are not accepted by anyone, unless we use our powers to control their will. We would rather not encounter anyone, and we’d rather not have any trouble.’

                Orson frowned. ‘So you serve Justar Ayar?’

                ‘He is our king.’ The orc confirmed, and he did not look to be lying. ‘So let us pass.’

                Heeo was struggling to believe a word the orc was saying, and began circling him uncertainly. ‘Do you have women and children? If so, we will know you are safe.’

                ‘Of course we have women and children.’ The orc replied. Then, slowly – and more than a little reluctantly – he turned to the bush behind him and waved. Out stepped a beautiful young woman and a small, perfect newborn. ‘May we now pass?’ The orc asked, as the woman trembled a little.

                Heeo was still not buying any of this. ‘Show me all of you.’

                The orc scowled, but waved at the bush obligingly. Out stepped hundreds of orcs – Kaiyar was amazed that they had all managed to hide so well.

                ‘Fine.’ Heeo granted at last. ‘You may pass.’

                The orc sighed with relief, bowed, and lead the way for his group. ‘Thank you.’

                The other orcs followed him, and Orson, Kaiyar, and Heeo waited patiently for all of them to be gone.

                Kaiyar eyed each orc carefully as they passed, waiting and watching for any form of trickery. But they all refused to make eye contact, which implied that they really did not want any trouble.

                That was when he spotted him.

                Amidst all the women, children, and other orcs, stood one young being that was not perfect. In fact, Kaiyar could easily pick all his faults. He had small eyes, an obscure face that looked as if it had been blown to the right, he was too tall, his limbs looked like they had been carelessly attached, his ears were too big and stuck out too much, his hair was simply there, it did not shine, nor did his haircut flatter him in any way, and his teeth were not perfect. The string of imperfections was too long, this could not be an orc.

                As all this dawned on Kaiyar, he noticed one more thing: the creature was looking right at him. His eyes burned into his (Kaiyar could not make out their colour), and seemed to be saying just one thing: stop them.

They were kidnapping him.

                ‘Stop!’ Kaiyar cried, and the lead orc they had been speaking too spun around worriedly.

                ‘What?’ He demanded to know. ‘What has happened? Have we not passed through silently?’

                ‘This is a kidnapping!’ Kaiyar cried, pointing at the odd one out. The young man – for Kaiyar was sure he was a human – looked down shyly, as if afraid, and Heeo and Orson slowly came to agree with their human friend.

                ‘Yes.’ Heeo spoke slowly. ‘This does look rather like a kidnapping.’

                ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ The orc replied, trying to sound calm but looking very worried. ‘He is an orc, just like the rest of us.’

                Orson the gnome frowned. ‘That’s impossible. But… [and he began living up to his title of ‘indecisive’] then again… perhaps it is possible. After all… no! That is ridiculous! He cannot be an orc.’

                ‘Let him go!’ Heeo cried, having made up his mind once and for all. ‘No-one captures helpless citizens of Da’affoie and gets away with it, thank you very much!’

                ‘But we didn’t!’ The orc cried.

                It was no use, however, as his trickery was no longer working. There would be a fight of sorts – Kaiyar didn’t know of what sorts – and the winner would take this poor young man. 

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