Title: The Quest for Óg
Author: Camille Caliman
Genre: YA Fantasy
Sadira awakens to her caravan being clutched by flames, with her in it. She manages to escape, only to be stared down by a giant. In Sadira’s mind, her day is going to end horribly before it even starts. To her surprise, the giant puts out the fire. However, his heroism doesn’t come without a price. As a favor for putting out the fire, he asks her to help him revert back to the human he once was.
This task doesn’t faze her until he utters one word…Kappa. A word she never thought she’d have to hear again.
In a world that blends Celtic and Japanese myth and culture, Sadira and Óg face their pasts while trying to reclaim the lives they once had. When evil fueled Kappa are pulling the strings, who knows what troubles they will uncover.
“No!” I scream.
I squirm and elbow him in the chest. He seems unfazed and even amused by it. I end up biting his hand and he howls in pain. I stomp on his stomach just to make sure he’s down. Quickly, I tie the ofuda to my tambourine, run as fast as I can and jump off the cliff headfirst after Óg.
I bring my arms closer to my body so that I can reach him faster. He seems to be knocked out for some strange reason. As the tree tops get closer, I wrap my legs around his thumb and shake my tambourines. I sure hope this works.
Óg finally wakes up and I breathe a sigh of relief. He touches the wet cloth which was one of my blankets. It’s amazing how a blanket that covered my whole body and then some, can only cover his forehead. He turns to me and smiles.
“What did I do in a past life to get such a beautiful maiden to take care of me?”
“Glad to see that you’re better. I was so worried that the poison had fully taken you over.”
“Poison?” His eyes widen and he sits upright. “That’s right, those little ingrates tied my feet. Then they took you, I fell and that’s all I remember.”
“I examined the rope and it seemed to be woven with a poison. I checked my book and I’ve never heard of it before. A Hefflin poison?”
“There is definitely something going on here. That’s a poison only effective on giants. Someone knew that I was with you.”
“But how? We’ve only just met.”
“I know. Not only is that poison suspicious, but this whole entire altercation. Clurichauns are only used when someone wants to be dirty, but have clean hands.”
“Yeah, my troupe used to warn me about them. They said that they are delivery men that only work for ale kegs. Their work is quick and untraceable.”
“She held me up in a cramped room on the second floor, I mean cramped for a giant. I think it might have been her attic. It smelled like old hair and dusty wizard farts. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s the most accurate thing I can describe it as. On a serious note, every night she came and showed me all the horrible things that happened to you that day. She also kept me bound with magic and barely fed me.”
I lay down and body hug his hand. “I am so sorry you had to go through all that. It must have been horrific. Let’s get to this safe house so you can eat your fill.”
“That would be wonderful. The most horrific part, however, was watching you get knocked around, get injured and get ambushed. I nearly died when that imposter had a blade to your neck.”
“You wouldn’t have been the only one.”
We continue walking on the road the Queen instructed us to. Eventually, we get to a part of the woods that seems really familiar, just like she said. It also reminds me of what she whispered to me before she left. I wonder what Óg is hiding from me.
We cross past a tree and I look twice. “Stop!”
He stops dead in his tracks and looks at me with annoyance.
“Don’t do that all of a sudden. I could do damage to myself.”
“Fine, just put me down I need to see something.”
He puts me down in front of the tree and I walk over to its trunk. Etched into the tree’s bark is a small yin-yang sign. It’s so small that if you weren’t looking for it, you’d miss it.
That’s when I have an epiphany. This part of the woods is really familiar because I’ve been here lots of times with my parents. The Queen was right. The house up ahead really is a safe house.
If the Queen knows all that, then she must know about me. Her brothers must know about me as well. The ground shakes as Óg takes a knee next to me.
“What’s the matter? Did you see something weird?”
I turn around and cover the sign with my body in one swift motion. As much as I trust Óg, he can’t know this part of me. Not yet at least. I need to come to terms with things before I feel comfortable with that.
I am the quirky author of Nefarious Creatures and The Quest for Óg. When I’m not swinging wildly between asking androids for directions on the south-side of Mars or training with elves in the forest, I’m playing video games and enjoying walks among the trees.
I also write poetry on my WordPress blog called Rainy Day Cafe.