Chapter 3: Transient (Part 3)

Racieus was immediately intimidated by Shanbydder. Never having set foot in any city that wasn’t predominately halfling, the scale of everything was, to Racieus, quite literally larger than life. Trying not to wander in circles, the small halfling also attempted to not look like he was lost or out of place.

The only problem with that, was that he was lost and out of place. He had no idea what any of the items on the note meant, or where he might find them. He wasn’t rushed really, Lieran’s note had contained three gold coins, three silver coins, and three copper coins, enough to make it through a couple weeks if he was careful. He thought the amount slightly odd, but didn’t question it too much, it was a larger sum than he had ever possessed after all.

He continued to wander around sluggishly until he spotted an inn along the right side of a particularly busy street. There were humans everywhere, reminding Racieus of being in the forest. Every now and then he saw a dwarf, and very rarely, an elf gracefully gliding through the crowd as if it hardly existed. And while the halfling wanted to continue searching until he dropped, he was convinced that he would drop sooner than anticipated if he didn’t find food, and a bed to rest in for a while. He had managed to forage a little as he ran through the forest, but plants and berries aren’t much when compared to a hearty stew, and in that aspect, Racieus, as well as most of the Dolmen, identified with their more domicile cousins.

Racieus had the coins out in his hand as he approached the inn, but he hardly come within five yards of the building before a large someone bumped into him, hard, and sent the coins scattering from his hand as he fell. Racieus watched, momentarily stunned, as the man grabbed the coins swiftly and began to melt into the crowd. The halfling grabbed for his leg, blinking as he did so, and committing it to memory, but ultimately losing his grasp on it. The momentary passivity gave way to anger, and in a second, Racieus was on his feet and running after him. He managed to get a few quick looks at the thief, but nothing substantial, only enough to tell that this man was really more of boy. He couldn’t have been more than sixteen or seventeen years old. Around Racieus’ own age in fact.

The boy moved quickly through the crowd, but what he had in familiarity with the movement of the people, as well as his head start, Racieus made up for with his small stature, which allowed him to easily slip through gaps and stay right behind the man. The the thief turned suddenly, and doubled back around, before falling in with a group of similarly dressed humans. In fact, they were more or less identical Racieus realized, and his heart began to sink. Still, the young halfling tailed them cautiously. After a few minutes of aimless wandering, the group seemed convinced that they had thrown off their small pursuer, they had no idea he mere feet from them, separated by only three or four bodies.

Their new route led them away from the large crowds, and Racieus’ job became slightly harder, but the group of boys, thinking their work was done, threw their caution to the wind, and began to talk amongst themselves.

“-A few silvers here, and a handful of coppers. Almost managed to get me hands on a few golds, but the bugger was gettin’ suspicious so I let him alone” bemoaned one of the boys.

“Eh that’s not so bad, Owine’ll probably cut you some slack” replied another. “How ‘bout yourself Taryn?”

Although he couldn’t figure out which one was speaking, because the group was constantly shifting, he knew that the voice belonged to the thief. “Well… it wasn’t the greatest but: three coppers, three silvers, and,” with a flourish, the coins appeared in his hand, “three golds!”

“Three golds? Give ‘em here! I wanna see!”

“Outta the way, let me look!”

“Oi! No pushing! Here they are,” and as Racieus watched, the boys formed a half circle around the thief, Taryn Racieus told himself.

As his friends looked, the boy continued excitedly. “I figure one of ‘em will go to Owine, along with the other six smaller ones, and the extra two can go into the fund.”

The halfling had no idea what the fund was, or who Owine was, or what they were even talking about, but as he strained to hear more, the group of boys cut off suddenly as they stopped in front of a large house. Ducking down, the group approached the building, but instead of entering through the large set of double doors, the group snuck around the side of the house to a very narrow alleyway, one that Racieus hadn’t even noticed up til that point. The boys barely managed to fit through, and Racieus suspected they were either trying to get into a place where they weren’t welcome, or they were trying to return to a place that they shouldn’t have left. Judging by their confidence, and purpose, and the fact that it was still broad daylight, Racieus bet on the latter.

He started to formulate a plan on how he might follow them when a rough hand clamped over his mouth and lifted him right off the ground.

The End

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