Chapter 5: Exposure (part 3)

Before Racieus could even jump up, his door slowly opened. The halfling fell flat against the floor and stayed very still, as he watched several forms creep in. Even in the dim light, Racieus recognized them. It was the doppelgangers. The halfling hardly dared to breathe as they filled the room. The was a dim sliver of light peaking through the door, but Racieus was far enough into the room that he remained in the dark.

“He ain’t here Taryn” one boy whispered.

“I’m tellin’ ya that he is Roun. I watched him come in here not twenty minutes ago, and he ain’t come out since!” The angry thief replied fiercely.

“Maybe he used the window?” One of them suggested, and Taryn’s grew wide.

“Aw but he would fit through, the runt.” Muttering a string of curses, Taryn, followed by his friends, rushed over to the window, literally and figuratively overlooking the small halfling. The window being on the opposite wall of the door, had brought the intruders past Racieus so that he now had an avenue of escape. Yet escape was the last thing on his mind. Coming quietly to his feet, the halfling inched backwards. One hand on one of the weapons belted at his waist, the other stretched out behind him. In rapid succession, the door shut hard, and Racieus, weapons drawn, and completely at home, leapt into action.

There was a shuffle of feet as the group of boys spun around in surprise. They all went for their weapons, but for the two farthest from the window, it was too late. Colored slashes appeared on their chests, and they were suddenly gone. “Looks like Lieran forgot to mention that little detail” Racieus muttered. There was a whoosh and the halfling stepped back as one of the remaining three boys flailed about with his weapon, catching one of his friends by mistake.

“Enough ya idiot!” shouted Taryn, but the boy didn’t listen, and swung about with abandon. There was a sigh of frustration, a yelp, and the swinging abruptly stopped. All was quiet for a moment, and Racieus dared to hope that the two had eliminated each other. His thoughts were dispelled by the appearance of a soft blue glow. It came from a small ring on Taryn’s finger, and while it wasn’t overly strong, it eliminated Racieus’ advantage.

“Think ya can steal from my boys and me?” Taryn challenged.

You stole from me!” Racieus protested, and for a brief moment Taryn looked like he was thinking that over, but it was over as soon as it began, and the next thing Racieus knew, Taryn was coming after him, pulling a mace from his belt.

Taryn hadn’t quite come into his full strength yet, and as a result, his swings with the mace were slow and unwieldy. Racieus easily dodged the first few swings, the human’s heavy weapon bringing his arm out wide, leaving him exposed. The halfling moved to take advantage of the opening, and nearly got his head taken off, blunt edge or no blunt edge. Taryn, anticipating the strike had continued with the momentum of his swing, spinning around and gaining speed, stealing Racieus’ opportunity.

The halfling, newer to fighting than he wanted to admit didn’t anticipate the predictable strike. He managed to avoid the blow, but had to throw himself backward in order to do it, and couldn’t regain his footing fast enough. Taryn began to charge as Racieus hit the floor, and in a last ditch effort, Racieus, attempting to mirror Lieran, threw a dagger at his opponent, and time seemed to slow. The blade spun as it hurtled through the air…

To bounce off the wall.

The young human continued his charge and swung down at Racieus, who closed his eyes in anticipation. He felt the hit, then there was a strange feeling, like he was being compressed by some outside force, and then his room was gone.

The End

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