The Elf that caught Racieus, a young looking boy named Ralphus, led the halfing into the dungeons of Hartfuhlt. The air, unlike in man made dungeons, was clean and fresh - In fact, the entire dungeon was quite the contrast to its human counterpart.
Racieus looked in amusement. "So this is what Elves call rank."
Albeit clean, the crypt was dark, lit only by a few fingers worth of lanterns. The cells numbered near two dozen, each one stretching six feet back but only four foot wide. All of which, were empty.
"Crime runs rampant here I see." The Halfling joked.
"Actually, these are just temporary holding cells. You will be moved to a more permanent home later." Ralphus added an extra hint of sass to permanent, as the words slithered from his tongue.
Ralphus glanced at the Halfing. "These cells are too good for you." The Elf gave Racieus a strong kick in the back, the little man stumbled a little before giving the Elf a nasty look.
"The second last one on the right ought to do it." The cell door opened as they approached, not a sound, no creaking or rust - Flawless. Unlike the other cells they passed, this one was twice as big, but filth, feces and chicken corpses lay rotting on the ground.
And then there was the figure in the corner.
A large, oafish man sat, hunched over - Back towards the freedom he longed for. His robes, a dirty shade of brown, covered his body from head to toe, but his odour escaped the folds of the clothing. The smell ran rampant on the nostrils. A putrid combination of defecation and sweat.
"I was thinking, Elf. Perhaps we could rearrange my quarters..."
The Elf gave Racieus another kick, and in he went. The door to the cell slid back into place, and like a leaf in the mountain winds, it done so silently. "Enjoy your stay small one."
The Halfling turned to the man. "I don't suppose you have any admirable qualities?"
The foul odour got worse as the creature turned to Racieus. It splurted out a noise, of which the Halfling was sure wasn't Human or Elven tongue, and grabbed Racieus before he could react.
Racieus let out a surprised yelp, for something so large and useless looking - it moved with a startling speed. It held the Halfling close against it's chest, making it hard for the little man to breath, let alone not vomit.
He struggled against it, but it was too strong. Racieus would have to endure this obscene torture until his transfer.
Ralphus laughed at the Halfings misfourtune and walked back up the long corridor of cells, until he was out of sight and only the soft patter of his feet could be heard.
The judgement hall was a large open room, the floor as white as ice, and the ceiling as dark as the night. But the rooms grandest feature were the mirrored walls, which stretched from every corner to every height. A magnificent example of Elven architecture.
Despite the rooms grandeur, when the Halfling was brought in, he found it underwhelming. "Is this it then? A tad boring."
No sooner had the sound left his lips, a heavy rumbling filled the ears of Racieus, his two Elven guards and Ralphus.
A small Elf, not nearly as small as Racieus, glided past the entourage, before abruptly stopping, his golden locks flew forward gently. His voice was a cold one. "Bring the convict forward." And like clockwork, the bound Racieus marched against his will, until he was a few feet short of the Elf.
Racieus studied him. Minus the golden hair, he was lacking any recognisable features. His face was aged, but not enough to remember. His hands frail, but no more than an elderly mans. And then the Halfling seen his eyes - Gold.
A shot of panic raced through his small body. They were only myths, stories told by Elves to ward off intruders. Such creatures were not meant to be real.
The small creature began speaking a very old variant of the Elven language. "Monnos eh trood oa tah teht nialliv yam reten."
The room began to morph, the mirrored walls curled inwards with an eerie screech. The corners of the room curved to the point where it was a circle.
"Ekat siht renosirp yawa."
Then the walls went black and everything vanished.
Everything stayed dark for a moment. Racieus unable to concentrate on any one thought, the numbness of his hands, the darkness, the creature that made it all possible.
And then light. Searing, blinding white light, that erupted with immense force - it stunned the Halfling, never had he seen such light.
It tore at his eyelids, applied pressure to his skull, screamed in his ears. It felt like a siege of headaches storming the shores of sanity.
As quickly as it had attacked, it retreated back to nothing more than a dim shadow. Racieus cautiously opened his eyes. The room he was in appeared to be another cell, one to which he was the sole occupant.
The cell, unlike the ones he had previously laid eyes on, was rougher. No polished floors, or lanterns. A solid door instead of bars. No window - How the room was lit alluded the Halfling.
Then words filled his ears again. "There is a new one. Cell six. Go check on him."
"Why do I always have to check the new ones? You never do it!" The second voice sounded younger than the first, but the latter had a gruff undertone to his voice.
"Because Lord Villentious gave me the job of bailer number one. And he gave you the less prestigious job of bailer the second." Racieus could hear footsteps outside his cell. "So that's why you check the prisoners."
There was a sigh of defeat from bailer the second, who proceeded to curse in Elven. Then the locks clung like clockwork. The door swung open and there stood an Elf.
A scrawny, sad excuse of an Elf. The other bailer shouted down to the cell. "Is it alive?"
The scrawny Elf squinted at Racieus, he was nearly struggling with the answer - "Yes, it's alive."
"Well, what is it? And no lyin' Gilphric, no Elf tries to cheat a bet."
Gilphric studied Racieus for a moment, the Halfling just sitting there, somewhat bemused by the idiotic bailers.
"After thorough study of the convict, and having referenced previous studies I have undertaken, I determine the creature one of the rare, Hairless Dwarves". Racieus was too stunned to even laugh.
"My ears! No way are you looking at a Hairless Dwarf." The first bailers footsteps echoed loudly as he marched down to see the wonder for himself. He stopped beside Gilphric. "You blunt saw, this is why I am bailer number one. That's not a Hairless Dwarf, that's a young female Dwarf!" He exclaimed with such confidence, it took Racieus a moment to gather his thoughts.
"Actually." The voice announced from outside the cell. "That is a Halfling."