Chapter 5: Exposure

Having been dismissed by Lieran, Racieus ventured out into the city to put his newly reclaimed money to good use. The most pressing things on his list were a few changes of clothes, and a weapon or two for the tournament. There was no shortage of shops here in Shanbydder, and the halfling was confident that he could find what he needed here, though he kept his coins tightly wrapped and hidden from sight.

Racieus wandered up one street, and down another, then cut through an alley to walk down another street, and finally found what he was looking for. A tailor. He opened the door hesitantly, this would be his second real dealing with humans, and slipped inside.

“Hello dearie! How can I help you today? Picking up some supplies for your mother?” a woman asked sweetly. She had lightly wrinkled face, and white-gray hair that was fashioned into a bun. She wore bright colors to match her just as vibrant smile, which immediately put Racieus at ease.

“Uh well… actually I’m-”

“Oh!” The woman cried, startling herself when she got a good look at Racieus and found him to be a halfling. “One of the little folk! Don’t see many of those around here, my apologies sir, what can I do for you?”

“I need some clothes” Racieus said, not quite aware of the obviousness of his statement. The woman blinked, and the halfling realized he’d need to provide a little more, but he didn’t know what else to say. He exhaled in relief as the woman, sensing his hesitance, began to ask him a few questions.

“What kinda of garment do you need dearie?” When Racieus still wasn’t able to respond, she asked it a little differently, “What do you need it for?”

Racieus’ eyes lit up, as understanding came to him. He almost blurted out “thievery” but he cut himself off, and instead explained, “I’d like for it to look nice, but I need it to be flexible, quiet, and allow for good movement.”

The lady nodded taking it all in, as she pulled out a marked roll of fabric and began to unravel it. “So you need flexibility and functionality over fashion is that right?” Racieus nodded in response, and flinched as the woman came in close with the line of fabric. “Don’t worry small one, I’m just taking your measurements,” and Racieus managed to relax a little. He wasn’t used to any of this. In the past, all his clothes were discards that he had gladly accepted from Fin.

Fin. Racieus grew a little melancholy, when he thought of his friend. Before he could think too much about it though, the woman started rambling on once again.

“Alright, so you’ll be doing a lot of physical activity, which means it’ll need to bre-” the lady trailed off, mumbling softly to herself as she bustled around the store, grabbing material, and tools, and began to settle down at a work table, when she noticed the halfling still standing there.

“Oh! You can run along if you want to dearie, I’ll start on it right away. Would you like a few sets? Or only one?”

“A few would be nice” said Racieus, “How much will it all cost?”

The woman pursed her lips and looked up at the ceiling as she did a few calculations. “I’ll say thirty silvers for three sets, and the first will be ready in a couple of hours, ok?”

Racieus nodded happily and started to leave, but a thought came to mind and he asked, “Do you know if there is a smith nearby?”

The woman nodded, “Up the street to the fountain, and keep going past it. You’ll see a butcher pen, and a few stalls, and by that time, you should be able to hear the forge, if not see it.”

The halfling bounded out the door, tossing a thank you over his shoulder as he did so, and began to follow the seamstress’s directions. She had been right, Racieus could hear the clanging of metal on metal long before he reached the butcher’s shop. When he arrived at the forge, the halfling couldn’t help but stare in awe of the various weapons mounted on the walls. There were so many! And they were all so different, and so beautiful… and soon one would be his.

“Get away from those lad! Afore you hurt yerself!” growled a deep gruff voice.

So enraptured by the glistening steel, Racieus jumped at the voice, and looked all around, expecting to see another human, and finding only a dwarf. He was sure the surprise on his face mirrored that of the dwarf’s, but he couldn’t be certain. He also wasn’t sure if the dwarf’s surprise stemmed from the fact that Racieus was a halfling, or that Racieus was a halfling who seemed to have an interest in weapons.

“My apologies sir. We don’t see too many of your kind here, and I see even less in here” apologized the dwarf, with a gesture at his shop. “Now how can I help you?”

“I’m looking for a solid weapon,” Racieus stated, “One that isn’t too expensive.”

“Aye, that’s the fightin’ man’s dream, but as is the way with things, the better the quality, the higher the price. What’re you working with economically speaking?”

“Two golds” Racieus said, wincing inwardly at the dwarf’s grimace. “Two and a half max.”

The dwarf rubbed his voluminous beard, “I see… well then I could probably let you have anything on this left wall over here.” Leading Racieus over, the smith again rubbed his chin in thought as he considered the weapons and the halfling’s unusual size. Racieus was slightly disappointed, the weapons on this wall weren’t as adorned and polished as the ones he had been gazing at on the opposite side of the room, but he couldn’t afford to picky, he was sure the dwarf was cutting him a rather generous deal even on these weapons. Perusing the weapons hanging in front of him, Racieus spotted a sword that looked similar to the one he had used briefly during the attack on his home. Reaching for it, he lifted it off the wall, only to have it plunge straight down and stick into the ground.

“Hmm… a bit heavier than I remember…” the halfling muttered, as much to himself as to the dwarf who was trying to hide a smile. Racieus tested a few more of the weapons, more cautiously now so as to avoid losing a toe, but couldn’t find any that really seemed right for him. The ones that were light enough were foreign weapons that Racieus feared would end up doing more damage to himself than to an enemy.

“You know… come this way lad. I might have something for you” the dwarf said, as Racieus had been on the verge of giving up. He led the small halfling to the back store where a few dusty chests and boxes lay. Digging a ring of keys from a soot covered pocket on his apron, the dwarf opened one such chest and, after rummaging about for a minute or two, lifted out a small leather trimmed box, which he handed to Racieus.

The halfling opened the lid and gasped. Inside were two small daggers, but they were beautiful. Racieus picked one up carefully and hefted it, and then withdrew the other, setting the box on the ground. He was no expert in smithing, but he knew the mark of a true weapon was good balance between the hilt and the blade, and these daggers were balanced perfectly. Invigorated by the sight of the two fine weapons, Racieus attempted to twirl one, and almost stuck the dwarf with it as the dagger flew from his hand and stuck in one of the chests.

“Now how’s about you hand over them two gold pieces afore you get me killed?” the dwarf exclaimed, drawing a hard look from Racieus.

“Two? Only two?”

The dwarf nodded, and Racieus nearly fell over. Very quickly he drew out the coins and offered them to the smith, as if fearing the dwarf would change his mind. The dwarf accepted the offering and then waved the small one away, making sure to hand him the leather box, which contained the sheathes for the blades, before he made it too far.

Racieus stopped at the doorway and looked back at the smith, giving him one more chance to call the deal off. “Are you sure?” he asked quietly, “Only two?” And the dwarf nodded, a small smile creeping across his face when the halfling went scrambling away.

“Only two” he chuckled to himself “If I scratched ‘em up, covered ‘em in grime, and broke them into pieces… but they’ll do ye some good halfling, more good than they were lying in that chest, and that I don’t doubt.”

The End

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