The egg stood there one morning, among dirty tents and piles of trash, on the burnt ground within a circle of stones. It was as tall as a grown man, and suitably wide, its smooth jade-like surface criss-crossed by meandering veins of gold that swirled into ever more intricate patterns, smaller than the eye could see. High above, the tops of fir trees swayed in the wind, but under the forest canopy the air was still and almost warm.
Presently a man emerged from a half-collapsed tent on the edge of the clearing, wearing only a loincloth and a layer of grime. He stretched, knotted muscles coiling like snakes around arms as thick as an elephant's trunk, and walked groggily towards the boulder that stood watch off to a side, where a footpath started downwards among giant roots. Someone was sleeping there, bundled in a fur, and he prodded the prone shape with an impatient foot.
"Get up, you green brute. You were supposed to wake me at dawn."
The orc snarled, showing big yellow teeth made to