“Who’s there?” Star called out while discretely wrapping her hand around a rock. It would not be much, but she had no other weapons available and a stone could crush a skull as well as anything else—albeit it took the right arm behind the rock, and Star was not sure if she had that arm.
“Oh, I’s sorry,” replied the disembodied voice. “I beed forgetting that yous could not be seeing me. Now where did I’s be putting that…Aha!” The voice finished triumphantly and a small, peculiar being was suddenly standing right in front of Star. Though the creature was puny, each and every feature of its face seemed exaggerated; from his big puddle-like eyes to the bulbous nose jutting out from his face to the oversized ears that flapped around the sides of his head. The creature seemed in every way the exact opposite of an ogre. He wore a very ragged green jacket and trousers with worn out brown boots. The tips of his boots used to curl up into a point, but had burst open to reveal toes as long and curly as the boot tips. His green hat, though as tattered and torn as the rest of his costume, sat at a jaunty angle atop his head and a merry red feather rode proudly in the brim.
Seeing Star’s surprise, the creature swept his hat off and offered a courtly bow. “I’s muchly honored to be meeting yous, milady. Yous can call me Quisle.”
Star quickly hid a chortled behind her hand. The sight of this little being acting so regally reminded her of a jester imitating royalty. “And I am Star,” she managed to say gravely, after composing herself. “You’ll have to forgive me, but I’ve never seen a being such as yourself before…”
Quisle leapt into the explanation that Star had hoped he would give. “We’s ergolses, milady. Yous probably beed noticing how much we’s not be resembling ogreses? There bes a very Dark Wizard over theres, if yous be acrossing that hill. One day, this very Dark Wizard beed doing his very Dark Charms on some ogreses. He beed wanting to has smart ogreses who doesn’t eat everythings. He beed wanting to has smart ogreses who doesn’t be running away from the water. The very Dark Wizard beed failing and making ergolses.”
“So, you…you ergols are creatures of the Dark Wizard?” Star inquired warily.
“No, Milady,” Quisle responded swiftly. “I beed escaping, only I’s be feeling terrible. My family bes back there, with the very Dark Wizard.”
“My family, too, is in the hands of the Dark Wizard.”
“Theys who I beed asking if yous beed seeing,” said Quisle. “We’s could be working together to be freeing thems—my family and yourses.”
Star’s head was beginning to ache from trying to understand the eager little ergol, but she was elated at the thought of an ally in her rescue attempt. Not only was she glad of a companion, but Quisle seemed to have the talent, or at least possession of an invisibility talisman.
Moments later, the two rescuers lay prone on the ground at the crest of the hill, surveying the encampment below them. “Look at the Dark Wizard on his throne,” Star said dejectedly. “He seems to be watching everything. My mother is right next to him. There’s no way we could sneak our families out without his notice.”
“Oh, milady, yous do not be understanding,” replied Quisle, “That boy bes held captive, too.”