Racieus turned to see Taryn and his gang approach. They each had hit their growth spurts in the last nine months, further reinforcing Racieus belief that they were all somehow related. They had already been taller than Racieus from day one, but now they towered even higher over him, and their height hadn’t been the only thing that was affected. Training in the guild ensured that none of the boys looked lanky, and while none of them were huge, they were definitely wiry. This hardly bothered the halfling however, for while most would see the increase in size as an edge, Racieus knew it to be quite the opposite. It was a disadvantage, one the halfling fully meant to exploit.
“Evening gentlemen” Racieus remarked casually. “Nice to see you out Taryn. I was beginning to wonder what had happened to you after our last tangle. How are you doing? Does the physician think you’ll be able to bear children?”
Taryn tried to snarl, but his voice cracked, eliciting a chuckle not only from the small assassin, but some of Taryn’s own. The thief spun around punched one of his followers straight in the face. There was a grunt of pain and those who were laughing abruptly stopped.
Except for Racieus. He went on for a few more seconds before wiping away an imaginary tear and looking back at his fuming nemesis. “Well I guess that answers my questions” he said, and burst out laughing all over again. When he finished, he saw something that surprised him. Taryn was smiling too, and not in amusement. Taking a step back he snapped his fingers, and his entourage charged forward.
The halfling crouched, waiting for the four males to come within a few feet of him before he leapt to the side, and pushed up, off the wall and over the heads of the aggressors. He twisted as he came down, and managed to jab one of Taryn’s lackeys in the back before he had time to turn. He disappeared, but the other three were already surrounding Racieus and attacking intermittently. Racieus knocked a blade away and ducked as another passed through the space his head had been in. One advantage to the boys being so tall was that they had trouble defending their legs, a place that Racieus was ideally suited to strike at, and while he was crouched, he did just that, knicking one boy and watching him disappear.
Scooping up a handful of dirt, the halfling tossed it in the face of one doppelganger, and turned to engage the remaining one, who had was a little faster than the assassin had anticipated. Racieus struck out fast, but not fast enough to hit the thief before his blade connected with Racieus. Their weapons hit flesh at the same time, and Racieus started to curse, but to his surprise, the human faded away, while he did not. He didn’t stop to question it though because his fourth opponent had cleared the dirt from his eyes and was moving to attack with a spear of sorts. He lunged forward, and Racieus twisted from the waist up, watching the point of the weapon narrowly miss his chest. The halfling chopped down on the weapon, driving to the ground, and swung out with his elbow, connecting with the boy’s nose. He staggered back, watching dumbly as blood dripped down his face. Racieus stepped forward, grabbing the spear in his opponent’s hand and twisting it around while spinning himself, before stabbing backwards with it and hearing the breath leave the grunt’s lungs with a whoosh. Then he too was gone, and only Taryn remained.
The thief laughed, “It looks like I chose the wrong one! At least I get to do it myself now.”
“What are you talking about?” Racieus asked, something about the human’s tone making him suspicious.
“Wondering why you aren’t disappeared? Well I fooled the guild master, wasn’t too hard to do either. No wonder you and him are friends. Anyway, I turned in all the weapons for my friends and I, telling your pal that the dagger that just cut you, was mine.”
It all fell into place for Racieus, and he lost some of his confidence. If Lieran had thought the dagger was Taryn’s, he would have enchanted it with the spell that didn’t allow it to eliminate the recruits.
By extension that meant that the mace which hung at the leering boy’s waist, was fully capable of doing what it had done the first time the two of them fought.