The Cripple

“Well, I guess we lost him, but working with you has been smashing, I'll say that. If you ever pick up the elf's trail, do let me know. I'd be happy to provide back up again. I mean, if you can get a hold of me. I live in the capital. If you're ever up my way, drop in for a visit. But it's some distance, so I'd best be getting on my way. Until we meet again, fare well, Oruvand."

Oruvand watched as the woman rode off into the distant forest. He turned toward Madam Jocelyn, before simply giving her a nod.

"Sorry for the trouble." He said sincerely, before turning away, tying his crossbow back into place on his back, and heading off into the deeper part of the forest towards Ragodast.

(Time Passes)

Oruvand drank down his flask, he had only just filled it an hour ago and it was already nigh depleted. He looked up at the forest canopy. It was taking him days to cover distance that he, while in hot pursuit of the elf, had previously covered in mere hours. He looked straight again, mentally severing his day dreaming. If he was going to make it back to Ragodast before anyone missed him, he would have to hustle.

Oru approached a clearing in the forest, and even a stream to boot. He quickly made his way to the water source, filling his flask as much as possible, but his head shot up as he heard a shout.

The rapid footsteps and breaking of twigs led him to believe someone, or something was being chased. Perhaps a deer some hunter let loose. Oru stood, as the sound was now uncomfortably close. What he saw shoot through the bushes surprised him. A young boy shot past him, and as the figure ran past, Oru could hear a distorted and now fading,"HEEEEEEEELLLP!"

Oru shook his head, cursing himself for not even making it back to Ragodast before he found trouble, before untying his weapon with trained skill, and pulling it from his back into an offensive position in his hands. In tense moments like these, Oru felt his mind motored at a million miles a minute.

So the person who had passed him, reddish hair, a glimpse of green where his eyes were supposed to be. Only one man in Ragodast could run that fast. Private Busy. Out on another run, err, errand, but to who? It would have to wait. Why was he running. Other than the simple fact that he just could. The man was practically a gazelle. But no, he screamed something. Help. Just as the though crossed his mind, Oru's eyes shifted over to the wall of thick forest that marked the end of the clearing he was currently stood in. And, as if he eyes had set off some sort of chain reaction from hell, twin horses jumped out into the clearing, thier riders had wild flames for heads. What in the gods names had this boy gotten himself and Oru into.

Of course, the kid took a victory lap, and in seconds was standing behind Oruvand. Rather obnoxiously, he put his mouth close to the half-elf's ears and whispered,"You might want to open fire..."

That sentence was followed by the heavy clunk of Oru's crossbow as a bolt was let free. It impacted the first flaming man's chest, poetically extinguishing his flame. The other rider, realizing that his demonic brother had met his end, rode faster, the flames burning brighter as he let his anger off in apparently highly flammable fumes.

"Move kid." Oru simply said, head down as he reloaded his crossbow, sternly but calmly. The kid flashed a cheeky smile.

"Now you're speakin' my language."

Just as the rider was about to have his horse trample the two, they both combat rolled in opposite direction. Oru rolled into a one-knee kneel, crossbow already trained on it's target. And then he opened fire. A demonic shriek filled the air, as the rider from hell died rather dramatically, hands up in either direction as if he was being crucified by the air, before finally falling off of his horse. Oru didn't break his aim on the body until at least a minute later.

Finally, he turned to Busy. The courier gave him another cheeky smile.

"Oi, a real hothead, that one."

Oru let out a sight of partial amusement, before taking a swig of his water flask.

"Busy (ehrm), what exactly are you doing out here."

Busy began rummaging through his bag of letters.

"Well, that's just the thing isn't it. You see, I've actually come here for you. It's from Sheriff. You know he has Adisla breathing down his neck. I heard she even threatened to have him done in. By her hand, no less. She's a mean one. Ah, but enough rambling. Your letter sir."

Oru took the letter from the boy's hands, reading over it silently. Then he audibly huffed, before shoving the paper into his sack.

"Oi, more work? When do you take breaks?"

Oruvand scoffed.

"What is a break?" He said sarcastically.

(More Time Passes)

Sheriff Lithermoore worriedly puffed on his pipe as he stared at the crime scene. Magic, twisted, dark magic. Four men lay dead, and it looked almost as if the building itself had committed this murder. The wood floor was awkwardly bent into razor sharp spikes, spikes which seemed to have pierced the flesh of these men with relative ease, or so the Sheriff hoped. The third man was mangled within a mess of brick and stone which made up the wall; a solid fist seemed to have crept right out said wall and pulled the man in, not caring for his bones or what order they were supposed to be in. The fourth and final victim was in a kneeled position, rigor mortise likely the only thing keeping him upright. At a glance he looked so traumatized from the attack that he had gotten on his knees, started praying and never stopped, but it was obvious whatever he prayed to didn't hear him, because his head was facing the opposite way, and a death frozen look of agony was painted on his face, along with the blood produced from his bones and muscles in his neck snapping.

Lithermoore gritted his teeth as he overviewed the scene, the guard were snipping around, attempting to find any undiscovered evidence or possible survivors. As far as Lithermoore could tell, there weren't any. He turned to the door, eyes bloodshot, partially because of a hangover, before deeply inhaling his pipe, and coughing as a result.

Suddenly, or perhaps, finally, the front door swung open, and there stood Oru and Busy.

"I got here as fast as I..." Oru stopped talking as he saw the bodies.

"Gods above."

The sheriff looked back towards the bodies.

"Not even they could save these men."

Oru heard a gag, and then the rapid and gradually skittering of feet. Busy was known to be quite squeamish.

Oru walked in, before shutting the door, kneeling down as he surveyed each body.

" some sick magic." Oru said.

"That damn elf, I let him get away and now this."

Lithermoore continued to stare at the bodies.

"I wouldn't put my money on it. The elf left his victims blown open, looked like they all were hit by something at a high velocity. And then, every victim was a slaver. These are working men. Whatever happened here was just...twisted."

Oru stood, folding his arms.

"How do you know the elf isn't capable of this type of thing."

Lithermoore looked the half-elf in the eyes.

"When you've been at this for as long as I have, you pick up a few things. And, since we're on the topic of employment, I think you'll be out of it soon."

Oru's eyebrows furrowed with perplexing.

"Out of what...what do you mean by that?"

The old man sighed, walking up to the half-elf and placing his hand on Oru's shoulder.

"I don't know if you've heard. My boss, Adisla Styliane, really wants my head, and I don't think I have the resources to keep it on my shoulders this time. Take my advice, pack your things and hightail it to somewhere where your boss doesn't like to kill her employees. Maybe Verden, or even Aelmere. I hear they have the best cuisines down there."

The perplexity contained within Oru's expression intensified.

"What are you talking about? Sir? Sheriff? How can you be so calm about this!?"

The old sheriff looked up at Oru. The pain in his eyes was visible, but he wouldn't let his face show it.

"Don't play dumb, kid. This is Dalen, stuff like this happens all of the time. What was the saying? Out with the inferior, in with the superior. Nothing about this kingdom is pretty, except maybe the queen, but she isn't even my type."

The man coughed, before returning his pipe to his mouth and walking towards the door.

"Don't cry for me, now. You never were the emotional type."

With that, the sheriff made his exit. Leaving the half-elf with his thoughts, oh, and the smell of rotting bodies. He figured he would just go home and let the guard take care of the scene.


Outrider stared down at the building from his little rooftop hiding spot. He needed to do a few more jobs, and then he could get a place to stay. Then the killing could stop, momentarily. He watched the guards scurry about, cleaning up his mess. It didn't bother him, the pay was good, and the voices had finally ceased, which was always good for him. Growing bored of the looks of disgust the guards flashed upon laying thier eyes on his handiwork, Outrider let from the rooftop, landing in an alley so that he wouldn't be seen. So close to the crime scene, a suspicious man roof jumping might raise suspicion.

Still looking upon the building, Outrider must have missed the 6 foot half-elf in his path. But the walkway wasn't terribly crowded, the elf was likely in his own world. But that didn't stop him from spitting insults. The half-elf looked him up and down, paying extra attention to his shut eye.

"Watch were you're walking, cripple."

Outrider smiled, flashing the white daggers that he called teeth.

"Cripple? I don't remember nailing a mirror to my face, so I'm not sure what you could be talking about."

The elf scoffed, a snarl forming on his face.

"Am I supposed to be scared of those little butter knives in your mouth? Do you think you're scary?"

Outrider smiled wider,
"The last guys thought so."

Outrider pulled his hood down before walking past the elf. Something apparently clicked, because the man spun around.

"Wait, cripple! Come back here!"

Outrider walked into the more dense part of the crowd, effectively losing the bothered half-elf as he searched for his target. He rounded the corner in order to break eye contact, luckily it seemed the elf was in no mood for a chase. Not now anyway. But somehow, Outrider felt he could spice the game up a bit by adding few more players.

With the suspicious elf on his mind, he leaned against the quiet side of some pub's wall, crossing his arms and closing his eyes. Most sane people didn't wander back to where he was, so he figured he would be undisturbed for a while.

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