Prologue

A prequel story revolving around Racieus one of the main characters in the Heroes of Teranore, a story currently being rewritten by DTMN and myself. This story was written for NaNoWriMo '13 and it won! (Not all sections were posted here so the word count isn't accurate.)

Half an Army

Prologue

“What is your point Coile?” the other halfling asked, an imperious edge creeping into his voice.

“My point Adral is that perhaps our ancestors were wrong! Their path does not have to be our path. Times have changed.”

Scowling, and pointing a stubby finger towards his counterpart Adral growled, “Perhaps you are right. The times have changed, but attitudes have not! The elves are still just as conceited, the dwarves are still just as mocking, and the humans are still just as self-centered as they were a century ago!” Turning to the others in the room, the halfling looked for some support, and saw nods of approval.

“What about you, my son?” asked Coile. As one of the oldest members of the clandestine group, he wondered if perhaps he was simply beginning to succumb to age.

Nolyn chose his words carefully as he spoke, “I think there are points on both sides. It is true, the attitudes of the other races have changed little, but I do not think that those who brought us here to Faerdham would agree with what we are discussing. Open war would be counterproductive to our cause.”

Adral threw up his hands in frustration and began to pace around the room. The room they had rented was not large by any means, in fact any but the halflings would have found it very cramped, but as this was a halfling tavern, in a hafling fortress, there was little need to cater to the big folk of Teranore. A fire glowed in the corner, throwing light across the room, and playing with the shadows of the inhabitants and furnishings, which included two tables, papers strewn across both of them, several chairs and some scattered stools.

Walking up to the table Adral began to shuffle through mess of documents, some recent, others yellowed with age. They were the writings, chronicles, and minutes of the group’s meetings, most dating back to times before any of the current members had been born. The sect kept the papers, as a reference for all their decisions, to make sure that they were all in keeping with the original vision of the group.

With an exclamation, Adral pulled a sheet from the pile and waved in front of Coile’s face. “There! What else could you possibly take this for!”

Coile took the paper from his opponent’s hand and allowed his eyes to flick over it a few times. “I don’t see how this in any way hints towards global war.””

“By Gahern! Look right here, it says ‘take measures deemed fitting by the council’”

“And does Adral speak for the council?” Coile challenged, “Is his word law? And measures do not have to mean war. For all we know they could have been referring to throwing a festival!”

Adral sighed and let his arms fall to his side, disappointment etched into his face. “I can see we will be getting nowhere this evening. We may as well adjourn and do something more productive with our time.” Moving to shuffle the papers together, he looked hard at Coile, ““I am disheartened friend. You were the first to suggest this course of action, the very action that you now are now dead against. What happened to the Coile who would fight armies in the name of honor?”

Putting an arm around Nolyn, Coile glanced back over his shoulder as he prepared to leave. “He went to the same place that the once reasonable Adral, whom Coile tried in vain to persuade, went, if you now think that risking everything and involving our race in a way that will destroy us. There is no honor in that.” Finished, Coile, head high, took his son and walked out the door.

“I’m sorry you feel that way,” Adral whispered after him.

~~~~~****~~~~~

Nolyn waited to speak until after he and his father had made it outside to speak. “I am not saying I agree with him completely, but he is right, you have changed. What has swayed your mind so suddenly?””

There was a long moment of silence as the pair walked along the cobbled road through the halfling city. “It was not a sudden decision. This is something I have long considered, and spoken against. Since the conception of your child actually. Perhaps I am growing soft in my old age, but I do not want to uproot my family, and all the families of our city over some injured pride. It is not worth it. I want to see my grandchild grow up and have his own children.”

Nodding even before his father has finished, Nolyn seemed to agree. “That is not a bad thing, but you may want to be careful in your opposition. If you do not tread carefully, it could have ramifications.”

The older halfling turned a sharp look on Nolyn. “You don’t honestly think Adral would try anything do you? He wouldn’t dare!””

Nolyn was unconvinced. “Maybe not, but discretion is the better part of valor, and you can’t take chances with that one. You must be aware that they have meetings behind your back. There are things they aren’t telling you.” When he received no answer, Nolyn pressed harder, “ And I would like for my son’s grandfather to be around for the better part of his life.””

“Got me there. Fine,” Coile acceded with a sighed, “I will be careful. Speaking of your child, have you decided on a name?””

“I think we have. If it is boy, and Keim assures us that it will be, we will call him Racieus.”

The older halfling smiled, mouthing the name. “Racieus. It is a name sure to be remembered for ages to come. How is Nessa doing?”

“Well. The sickness is getting worse, but she is rapidly approaching her time, so that isn’t very surprising. Keim estimates she only has a few weeks left.”

Coile raised his eyebrows at that, and turned to look at his son in surprise, “Really? Isn’t that a little early?”

“It is” Nolyn admitted, grimacing. “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried.” He felt Coile’s hand on his shoulder, and felt slightly more at ease.

“It will all be fine. If Nessa can bear living with you, then she can put up with a premature childbirth. And the boy, if it is a boy, has some good blood in him. He’ll make it.””

“But you won’t I’m afraid.”

And before either halfling could reach for a weapon, or even turn to look for the owner of the voice, a blade appeared in front of Coile’s throat.

He fell without a sound.

The End

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