"I am not an enemy" The human said. I released her and began to walk back to the group.
"So does this mean you're letting me travel with you?"
I spun quickly before she had finished her sentence, and with a flick of my wrist a dagger was in my hand, then in the air, then in the human's throat.
"No. It doesn't."
After retrieving my dagger, I walked back to my comrades who stood speechless, but not judgmental. There was even approval in some eyes.
"We have a job to do friends. We do not have time to make new connections. We have time only to destroy this Merlin. Are there any questions? If anyone thinks I acted rashl-"
"You did what most of us would have done halfling" Neradin said. "My only question would have been why you didn't kill her."
We set off again, Acaeb and myself in the lead. For the last few hours we had discussed strategy.
"A frontal assault will not work in the slightest." The wizard had said. "At least it wouldn't with this many people. A wizard's weakness lies in overwhelming odds or Stealth and Trickery."
I rubbed my hands together. "Stealth and Trickery I can handle wizard. Tell me... does this sound feasible?"
After obtaining approval from Acaeb, I dropped back to the rest of the group to share my plan. As usual, it was a daring one.
"Small one, if I hadn't seen your prowess in battle, and witnessed the success of your previous plans... I would call you mad."
"Thank you for the vote of confidence Kaer Fore. Are there any questions?"
Everything was clear.
"Good. According to Acaeb we are half a day away from Merlin's tower. We'll camp now and approach tomorrow around midday."
Around noon I could make out the tower's shape in the distance.
The dwarves lowered Sigurd to the ground, and we broke off into our respective groups. The plan was simple yet it required perfect timing.
I walked up to the front door of the tower alone. My comrades were gone, hidden from sight. I knocked on the front door and was surprised to hear a clack instead of a thunk.
This wasn't the real door.
I inched my way around the tower, poking and prodding, until at last the stone gave way to my touch. I entered, and began the long trek to the top.
A door was placed at the top of the stairwell and I chose confusion over caution and kicked the door open. An old man was seated at a cluttered desk and he wasn't the least bit surprised to see me.
"Halfling. You seek my life in order to restore the life of your companion. I am sorry to say that both you and he will die."
Fine. Play up to his overconfidence. Keep his mind away from the others. Wait for the dwarves to get into position.
"Sir please. If there is any other way I'd take it. Can you help?"
He laughed. An evil laugh. It was an effort to not go for the kill right then and there.
"No little halfling. You die here."
Right when he said here, my companions began to move.The building began to shake, crashes and bangs could be heard from outside. Merlin looked at me with surprise and anger, then rushed over to the window.
He wouldn't see much. Neradin, Acaeb, and Kaer Fore were moving around, throwing magic at the fortress. Neradin was using his strength to hurl boulders and trees, anything that would make a noise.
I took the opportunity to throw a knife, but the magician was prepared. He raised a hand and stopped the dagger in mid-air. Then he reversed it, and suddenly my own dagger was flying at me!
I leapt to the the side, praying the dwarves weren't meeting much resistance. I dove for the floor, missing a blast of fire, and I jumped up short swords raised.
The wizard's staff caught me on the head. I rolled with the blow and avoided the follow up strike.Amidst the confusion the wizard failed to notice the increased amount of light in the room.
I leapt for the wizard and met an invisible wall of defense. I feinted left then went the magician's table, grabbing the large crystal in the center. I lobbed it up and... it must have cleared the shield because it bounced off the ceiling and struck the wizard's foot.
He bellowed with rage and came at me, hurling power like nothing. My sword arm was frozen with a blast of ice, a ball of fire rebounded off the wall and just brushed me. Lightning began to crackle in the mage's hands. My back touched stone, and I had no more room to move.
The room began to shake even more, and the mage walked forward, slowly, grinning malevolently.
"I'm sorry halfling. But your friend will die. But before he does I will make sure to plague his dreams with your passing!"
He stuck out a hand and I averted my eyes from the incredibly bright energy in his palm. There was a loud boom and then... I felt nothing.
I mean I didn't feel anything... I hadn't been hit. I looked up to see a pile of stone where the wizard had stood. A hole in the ceiling revealed the twins, smiling, axes held high.
They had climbed the tower during the disturbance, and hacked through the stone ceiling.
I ran for the window, saw Neradin and Acaeb leaving the cover of trees. Then a little to the right, two figures limped out of the bushes.
It was Kaer Fore... and he was supporting a limping, but laughing Sigurd.
The elf was back.