The Conqueror's Shadow by Ari Marmell

He ran, ran as he hadn’t run in years. Broad sticks splintered beneath his heavy boots, driven deep into gritty soil. Branches whipped his face, scrub scraped at his calves above his boots, raising welts that remained all but invisible against skin red enough to suggest an agonizing sunburn. Or at least it would have, had he been human.

On an ogre, it was typical enough, no more abnormal than the single eye that darted frantically left and right, seeking any possible escape, or the horn that snagged on overhanging boughs and left a rain of dismembered leaves falling in his wake. He crashed directly through the trees where he could, snapping branches and saplings without slowing, darting around the larger trunks where even his prodigious strength proved insufficient to clear his path. And still he heard the sounds of pursuit, drawing ever nearer. The trees were not tightly packed here, and those who followed him could fit between and flit around far more easily than he.

Damn it all, he hadn’t even wanted this! He’d killed neither man nor woman, save when forced to defend himself, in almost three years. Not since he’d turned apostate, forsaking the worship of Chalsene Night-Bringer. Since he’d given up serving Lord Corvis Rebaine, the so-called Terror of the East.

Nicked from the Spectra Pulse Newsletter, The Ogre’s Pride is a short story set in the same world asThe Conquerer’s Shadow, the debut novel from Ari Marmell. Well, sorta…. He’s been writing tie-in fiction for years, but The Conquerer’s Shadow is his original novel. Beyond a sequel to The Conquerer’s Shadow, he’s also got a couple of novels coming out from Pyr Books, Household Gods and The Goblin Corps.

You can download a PDF of the story HERE. No knowledge of The Conquerer’s Shadow is necessary.

Keep an eye out early next week for an interview between Ari and I. We talk about everything from tie-in fiction to his upcoming books, David Eddings and Social Media.