Do not taunt me!” the halfling yelled. He stared murderously into the eyes of the former speaker, who now could say nothing past the hand clamped around his throat.

“Sir…” one of the guards cautioned, hoping that their master would bring himself back under control before they had to step in and do it for him. Several seconds passed, and several more, before the aggressor let out a deep long breath and released his victim, before sliding to the floor in tears. The other halfling, coughing and rubbing at his neck, tried to get control of his voice. After about a minute, the fit had subsided, and the warrior spoke.

“I would never presume to taunt you my lord. I say it only because I believe it to be the truth. I took one look at him, and for a moment thought I had accidentally attacked you. A much younger you,” the speaker said with a laugh, “but you nonetheless.”

The halfling on the floor continued to sob for a few minutes, which gave way to silent weeping, only distinguishable as crying because of the intermittent sniffling of his nose.

“And?” he managed to say between shaky breaths, “What happened to him?”

The other halfling chuckled once more, “He got the better of me, that’s what. And then he spared me, but gave me a good whack over the head before running off. That was the last I saw of him.”

The leader came to his feet, struggling to regain control of himself. He wiped his eyes, and suddenly, the fierce determination was back. “Then we will alert our forces to keep an eye out him. If they see him, excellent, but no one is to go out of their way to look for him. I assumed he was dead, and will refuse to believe otherwise until he is standing before me. If that never happens, then it will be as I always thought.”

The other halflings in the room nodded solemnly, once again in awe of the fortitude and nobility of their leader, who made sacrifices that no halfling, man, dwarf, or elf should ever be expected to, and yet he still led strongly. That was why they admired him, and though they had their orders, they would do everything they could to find his lost son.

The End

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