2000 years later...
All he had known these last few days was running. It was shameful, but he told himself there was no choice.
If you can't beat an adversary, you train, and in order to train you need to survive.
And to some degree, that's what the small figure was doing, running so that he could live to train. But his real foe was not of flesh and blood.
It was the memories. The emotions. The feelings of guilt.
That was what he needed to overcome first.
The figure slowed his pace when he came to a forest, eventually coming to halt. The fact that he was in a forest wasn't terribly interesting, it was the forset itself. Something felt... different about it.
It felt alive.
Giving his daggers a reassuring pat, the figure took a breath and continued on, swiftly and silently. He hadn't eaten in nearly a day, and kept his senses tuned into his surroundings as he ran, hoping to find dinner before it found him and escaped.
Thirty minutes later, the figure saw his meal and instantly dropped to a crouch. Two daggers came out with a twirl, and with accuracy that had been honed by years of experience, he threw them. The first one took the deer in a thigh, while the second was heading straight for the kill.
No, it hadn't missed, it had been redirected... it had hit something else!
The resulting clang alerted the deer, which was already bounding away. The figure threw a quick glance left, and then right, and spotted a form crouching in the brush like himself. Then the other hunter sprang up and began to run gracefully after the deer.
It was an elf.
The figure didn't like elves to begin with, never had an experience with one that hadn't involved a jab at his height. Being a halfling, the figure was more than aware that his stature was... less than impressive, but he'd trained hard, and his skill in battle more than made up for his lack of height. If anything it was an advantage. Opponents usually underestimated him, and were unused to fighting someone so small. Its a completely different dynamic.
However this elf wasn't only and elf. This elf was the elf responsible for the escape of the halfling's next meal, something he was not going to give up easily. Breaking into a run, the figure bent down to grab his diverted dagger and then changed course. He pushed off the nearest tree into a jump that brought him high enough to grab the next branch. Continuing with the momentum, the halfling swung up, flipped and landed. Then he was off, leaping and swinging over tree branches, unnoticed by both the deer and the elf.
With its wounded leg, the deer didn't keep up its escape for long. Eventually it slowed and made it's way to a river. The halfling smiled, this would be his chance. Searching the forest floor, he spotted the elf silently creeping forward until it had reached the edge of cover. Drawing his bow, the elf took a breath and steadied his aim, ready to make the kill.
Only this one belonged to the halfling.
Two daggers were out and flying in seconds. One spun towards the deer, the other sheared through the elf's nocked arrow, cutting the tip clean off. The elf fired anyway, and to the halfling's amazement the arrow flew true, striking the deer at the same time as his blade.
But there was no time to stare, for the hunter had drawn another arrow and shot towards the small figure, with barely a glance at his location. The halfling jumped, his descent taking him on a collision course with his competitor. The elf didn't have time to get off another shot before the small warrior was too close, and then he was on top of him. The elf flicked the bow back and landed a stinging blow on the figure's shoulder. The halfling kicked off, flipping as he did so, to land on his feet, facing the opposition, two more daggers already in hand.
The elf wasted no time in getting off another shot, which his target managed to evade, before he tossed the bow aside and reached for something on his back. It was a staff.
"Going to take more than a stick to beat me elf," mocked the halfling.
And then the staff separated into two gleaming elven swords.
The small warrior blinked, then exploded into action.
He dove forward, rolling through the elf's legs and coming to his feet as soon as he was through. The elf blocked his first strike without even turning, then ducked under the locked weapons and spun to face his tiny opponent. He slashed, and followed up with a staggered strike from his other blade. The halfling's arms came out in a "y" as he held off swords on both sides. He held his own for a moment, giving the appearance of struggling, before suddenly taking the pressure away and allowing the blades to continue their swings. He ducked under the two as they met in an "x" over his head and went for the killing thrust to the elf's stomach.
But the elf was no novice.
Anticipating the blow, he hopped back and caught the halfling with a kick that sent him to the ground. The small warrior rolled left, and two swords stuck into the ground that he had just vacated. He launched a knife at the elf who had no choice but to leave his weapons in the ground and duck away. The halfling was back on his feet and charging the defenseless elf, when the taller warrior muttered a word and the halflingwas accosted by thick roots that sprung from the ground. He was immobilized.
The elf nonchalantly moved to pick up his weapons, but instead of swinging, he "sheathed" them back into each other and placed the staff on his back. Then he turned to regard his opponent. After a moment he muttered another word, and the vines holding the shrank away. The small figure sheathed his weapons and rubbed at his wrists.
"You cheated elf."
"As did you by tampering with my arrow halfling."
"But you started it by driving away my kill."
The elf raised his eyebrows, "Your kill halfling? I think not."
"I think so elf. But it doesn't matter anymore whose kill it was, only whose it is. Whose mark was the final blow?"
Approaching the deer, the two combatants examined the wounds. One of the daggers was lodged in the beast's thigh, and the elf's arrow was stuck in its haunch.
The halfling's final dagger proudly held in the animal's neck.
"Ha! Do you see that elf? Bested by a halfling, for the kill is mine!"
"Is that so? Are you sure halfling?" said the elf, giving him a hard look.
"Yes elf, I am sure. It should be easy to see, even from way up there."
The elf nodded, then spoke another soft word. Again vines sprouted from the ground and the halfling shot the elf a surprised and angry glare.
"Then you must realize halfling that you are now under arrest for poaching on elven lands."