Lieran sat in a tree, and waited for the halfling to leave. Or not. He had no qualms about killing the halfling, after all Racieus had been warned. It was perfectly fair. Yet even though the assassin knew he would kill the halfling if it came to that, some part of him still hoped that he chose to leave. There was no mistaking the revelation in the halfling’s face when Lieran had left.
Something had clicked, and if Lieran hadn’t misjudged the halfling, then he knew the two of them would meet again.
About thirty minutes later, the click and grating noise announced Racieus’ departure. Lieran grinned and waited until the small warrior had gotten a short distance ahead, before pursuing him silently, tracking his path from above.
He hadn’t gone far, when he watched the halfling slow slightly, and then pick up speed again, moving in a rigid line. Then to his surprise, he watched the halfling run right into a tree! He heard the small form curse quietly, then watched as the process repeated. It was only after this had happened several more times, that Lieran recognized the process for what it was.
The halfling was running with his eyes closed. That’s one way to do it, the assassin mused. As he continued to watch, the halfling’s gait became less rigid, and more relaxed, as he gained confidence, and began to lose himself in the practice. After a few hours, Racieus was no longer running in straight lines, but had begun to weave in and out of the trees, his ability to grasp the landscape, and memorize the little details growing.
Lieran became truly impressed when he watched Racieus run through the trees, and hop over a tangle of tree roots. He almost regretted forcing the halfling to leave, but he was convinced that his decision was the right one. There were some things that could not be taught, and for the halfling to truly excel, he would have to find those things out for himself. That was how he would learn, and that was how he would develop his own system and become truly exceptional, and not turn into a mere imitation. Lieran knew that to be truth, because that was precisely the way that he had learned, and in the short time that he had known Racieus, he had been reminded of his past self just about every moment.
And more than that, he reminded Lieran of another halfling, one that Lieran hadn’t known for nearly as long, but one who had just as much spirit and resolve, and he couldn’t help but wonder if there was any connection between the two.
The assassin surprised himself, and traveled with the halfling for much longer than he had intended. When the city of Shanbydder finally loomed in the distance, Lieran knew it was past time for him to go, but he couldn’t resist giving Racieus a little praise for his efforts, a little push in the right direction.
When the halfling woke the next the morning, he continued his run but pulled up short almost as soon as he had started. There was a weight in his pocket that had not been the previous night. Reaching down in, Racieus pulled out a lump, wrapped in crumpled piece of parchment. He opened it, only to spill a small handful of coins on the ground, but the coins weren’t what caught his attention. On the piece of paper was a number, a name, and a symbol.