Morgaine stared at the Ogres standing before her, both glaring at each other. “All right, what exactly is the problem here?” she stated at last.
Palamedes cleared his throat. “Hrun Hrunson and Gunnar Gunnarson are having a dispute about gambling debts.” He gestured to the heavily-bearded Ogre on his left. “Hrun Hrunson won a great deal of money off of Gunnar Gunnarson at dice,” he explained, gesturing to the clean-shaven Ogre on his right. “However when he attempted to collect yesterday, Gunnar stated that he was not allowed to conduct affairs of business for a twelve-day period. Hrun responded by insulting Gunnar, and Gunnar’s father--Gunnar responded by insulting Hrun, Hrun’s father, and Hrun’s ancestors to the tenth generation--Hrun drew his sword--Gunnar drew his sword--and things developed from there…”
Morgaine rubbed her temples. “Let me guess. They want to fight a duel.”
“Correct, Your Excellency,” said Palamedes quietly.
“Right,” Morgaine sighed. “Can’t you guys just let it go? Ogre pride!” she declared, raising her fist. “Show some solidarity, people!” Palamedes stared at her in a sort of dull shock, while Hrun and Gunnar began to shout in their native tongue. Morgaine glanced at the chubby Erl. “What did I just say?”
“You just tried to get an Ettin and a Troll to show solidarity based on their shared heritage,” said Palamedes. Morgaine continued to stare at him. “It’s like--imagine that you tried to get the Maganzas to put all the difficulties between your families based on your common heritage…”
“Hey, I am half-Maganza myself--Southern branch, admittedly, but it still counts,” declared Morgaine proudly. “And I am also involved with a Maganza, and fully prepared to marry a Maganza, if we can find an Abbess who will perform the ceremony.” She idly stroked her chin. “The Temple of Perpetual Delight have indicated an interest, and Despi and I like the way they think…”
“Well, would you ask a Jotun and Muspeilun to simply bury their differences based on their being Ogres?” said Palamedes tiredly.
“Well, no, and I wouldn’t ask a Jotun and a Troll either,” said Morgaine. “But Trolls and Ettins--there the same sort of Ogres, just with… different hairstyles.”
“We are in the room,” said Hrun. “And I for one am insulted to be compared to a group of fools who cannot let what has been buried stay buried!”
“We well never cease to fight for the cause of the Earthborn!” shouted Gunnar. “Each defeat only causes Kitzekh to be born anew in our hearts!” And then he began to sing.
Palamedes raised his hands. “Gentlemen, gentlemen, Her Excellency was… simply… making a fundamental point. She did not mean to belittle the great gulf that has sprung up between your two peoples since Kitzekh was sunk beneath the water…” The two Ogres turned towards the chubby Erl, their expressions, if not mollified, than at least willing to be.
Morgaine nodded to herself. “Right. Woodash. You are now my official… problem-handler guy for Trollish and/or Ettin affairs. Starting with this one.”
“Will I get a pay bonus?” asked Palamedes.
“Yes,” she answered. “Not having one chunk of this army kill another chunk.”
Palamedes thought it over, and nodded.