Halflings on the Run

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
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Submitted: April 18, 2017

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Submitted: April 18, 2017

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In the capital of the Stranrund Kingdom, Taorak, in the Golden Tusk tavern one evening during summer, two halflings sharing a drink sit and debate by a table.

“Let me get this straight,” whispered Hartok Bramblebrook as he sipped from his mead. “You want us to rob the Tax-runners, this week, just because Leron is missing for two weeks? Dervin Strongfoot, you are a crazy sunova bitch! You really think the two of us could pull off a stunt like that?” he asked as he downed his drink. “Look, I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. Leron told me that he would try this same stunt and that he would leave the city, since he isn’t in jail, nor did we see him for two weeks, he surely managed it and is living somewhere in peace,” Dervin answered him silently. “Bullshit! If he robbed them, how come we didn’t hear about it? How come no one knows about this little adventure of his?”

“Ssh! Not so loud. Do you really think they would want to let out this information? If anybody would find out that the Tax-runners are an easy target, everybody would rob them blind. Of course, they won’t leak this information,” Dervin took a sip of his ale to wet his dry throat. “So they strengthened their defences,” Hartok replied. “Actually, I already scouted them out last week, still only two of them,” Dervin told him with a smirk on his face. “Alright, still there remains a question, how do you wanna take all of the gold with us?”

“Easy, with this,” Dervin put a small brown satchel on the table. Hartoks eyes opened, he couldn’t believe what he saw. “You stole Kaznars Bag of Holding? Are you completely out of your mind? He’s gonna kill you!’ Hartok couldn’t contain himself and the whole tavern overheard his loud shrieking. “For fuck's sake, keep it down! You want everybody to know what we are planning. And he’s not gonna kill anyone, when he finds out, we’re gonna be already far away.” Dervin tried to calm his friend down. “Oh really, and where are we going? To Van’ar or perhaps Stoar City, if we stay in the kingdom we’ll be thrown in jail or even worse, hanged,” Hartok took Dervin's drink and finished it. “Don’t be ridiculous, this plan won’t work, there is no chance in the Nine Hells that we’ll succeed.”

“For the last fuckin’ time hear me out. You keep asking questions without letting me finish telling you the plan,” Dervin said as he stood up. “First I’m getting us another round and then I’ll tell you everything, ok?” Hartok nodded with an annoyed looked on his face.

Dervin brought them two flagons of mead and sat down, Hartok already took a few sips before Dervin could even start to talk. “From start to finish this is the plan: First of all, we’ll wait until the end of their route, they change it up every time but they always finish around sundown in the city centre, close to the ruling tower. All we have to do is to follow them and when they’ll be on their way home we’ll hit ‘em. I got us four bolts coated in poison, which should put them to sleep. They’ll fall asleep and we grab the chest and put it in the bag of holding, when we’ll be outside of town we’ll open the chest split the gold and you can go wherever you want to and I’ll head to Nirdan,” Dervin finished his plan and took a sip of his mead. “Alright, I was wrong, you did think it through. But why Nirdan? Isn’t too close?” Hartok asked as he stroked his chin. “Well my plan is to go to Nirdan and buy myself a place on the first charter far away, start fresh, maybe buy a bakery and live an honest life,’ Dervin eyes shined with a sparkle of determination as he drank from his mead. Hartok raised his flagon and nodded with a big smile. “I’m in, gonna accompany you to Nirdan, I know a tiefling there, maybe he might have a place for me,” Hartok laughed and they both downed their drink and ordered another round.

Two days later, the Tax-runners started to collect and the halflings followed their every step. They stopped at every shop and tavern to collect the kingdoms coin. Each stop took about ten minutes, during which one of the two guards went in and the other waited when the one who went to collect came out they opened the chest and put a sack into the chest. “This is taking too long, I’m itching to pull the trigger,” said Hartok as they stood by a corner, waiting to follow further. “Don’t worry, they’re about halfway done,” assured him, Dervin. As the day grew thinner, they moved to the seedier district of Taorak. At the Flame Blood tavern, Hartok wondered: “I thought they didn’t pay taxes. It seems strange from biggest criminal haven to pay the king. It’s quite bizarre.”

“Of course they pay, they just pay extra so that the guards look the other way. There isn’t really a big difference in a bribe and tax. You pay both to stay in business,” answered him Dervin.

“That makes sense, it’s just the things I heard about the Flame blood, it painted a picture of ‘em being untouchable,” Hartok added.

The time arrived and the guards stopped by the last shop, the last minutes of the sun were passing and they carried the small chest slowly toward the tower. “Let’s move!” exclaimed Dervin and the two halflings rushed passed the guards, moving into position by the next intersection they would pass. Dervin at one side prepared his crossbow and Hartok on the other side. The moment they saw the guards they opened fire and shot both of them with the poison bolts, cocked the other and let them loose too. All four bolts hit their target and both guards fell within second, unable to even alert anyone. As they moved to get their loot, Dervin noticed something strange. “Isn’t this Lerons dagger,” he pointed at the dagger one of the guards had on their belt. “It looks like it, probably left it as a souvenir for ‘em,” Hartok shrugged and motioned to the chest, Dervin put it behind his belt and followed.  The halflings stashed the chest into the bag and ran off towards the south gate. Within an hour and a half, they were outside celebrating their victory. “You see, easy money!” Dervin shouted at the top of his lungs. “I have to hand it to you, I thought this was gonna go horribly awry and quick. Thought they might notice us or something like that,” Hartok said laughing. “Let’s open up the chest and count our wealth!” Dervin said with a noble tone in his voice. “Surely, sir Strongfoot, we have acquired quite the sum!” added Hartok. As they both laughed Dervin pulled the chest out of the bag. The small campfire was their only light source, the flames danced to the slight gusts of wind. The chest was small compared to a human, to them, it was as if it was a regularly sized chest. “Strange, no lock!” Hartok noted. “It is always guarded, why would they need a lock,” Dervin assured him about the safety of the chest. Dervin slowly opened the chest and it was filled with coin sacks, as he grabbed one of them suddenly teeth shot out from the lower and the upper lip of the chest forming a vicious mouth. The mouth bit down hard in a blink of an eye. Hartok pulled Dervin back just as the teeth locked together. “My hand!” Dervin shouted and fell back holding his bloodied hand. Hartok pulled out his dagger and started hacking into the chest. “Get up and help me, Dervin!” Hartok shouted as he jumped around the chest. Dervin got up and took Lerons dagger, gripping it tight in his left hand he charged. The chest bit again at Dervin catching his already bloodied hand and holding it in his grasp. “Fucking piece of shit! Aaah!” Dervin shrieked again. Hitting the lid, again and again, drilling the dagger into it, Hartok not backing down kept hitting it as well. Together within a minute the chest let out a screeching sound and loosened the grip on Dervin's hand. He quickly pulled his hand out and started to inspect it. “I really hope this was worth it, I’d hate to lose three fingers for nothing,” Dervin breathed heavily. “You can still flip everyone off with both hands,” joked Hartok. Dervin just laughed and flipped him the bird with both of his hands. “Let’s count ‘em,” Hartok motioned to their coin.  “How about you help me with my hand first,” Dervin asked him.

Within minutes they patched Dervin's hand up and started counting the coins. A half hour later they exclaimed simultaneously: “Four thousand!” they began cheering and jumping around the campfire. The next day they moved toward Nirdan, when they arrived there, they said their goodbyes and started their new lives.


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