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R.a. Salvatore - Spear Wielders 1- The Woods Out Back

R.a. Salvatore - Spear Wielders 1- The Woods Out Back

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Published by: Sree Ram on Jul 10, 2010
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12/23/2012

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TheWoodsOutBac
R.A.Salvatore
TothememoryofJ.R.R.TolkienandtoFleetwoodMac,forgivingmeelfsanddragons,witchesandangels,andforshowingmethewaytofindthemonmyown.
PRELUDE
"Youwerecaughtfairlyandwithinthewrittenlimitsofyourownrules,"Kelseysaidsternly.Hissharpeyes,goldeninhueandeversparklinglikethestarshesoloved,boreintothesmallersprite,promisingnocompromise."Mightthatitbetimeforchangingtherules,"Mickeytheleprechaunmumbledunderhisbreath.
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Kelsey'sgoldeneyes,thesamehueashisflowinghair,narroweddangerously,histhinbrowsforminga"V"overhisdelicatebutangularnose.Mickeysilentlyberatedhimself.Hecouldgetawaywithhisconstantprivatemutteringaroundbumblinghumans,but,heremindedhimselfagain,oneshouldneverunderestimatethesharpnessofanelf'sears.Theleprechaunlookedaroundtheopenmeadow,searchingforsomeescaperoute.Heknewittobeafutileexercise;hecouldn'thopetooutruntheelf,standingmorethantwicehisheight,andthenearestcoverwasfullyahundredyardsaway.Notapromisingproposition.Alwaysreadytoimprovise,Mickeywentintohisbestpostureforbargaining,aleprechaun'ssecondfavoritepastime(thefirstbeingtheuseofillusionstotrickpursuinghumansintosmashingtheirfacesintotrees)."Ancient,theyare,"theleprechauntriedtoexplain."Ruleso'catchingmadeforhumansandgreedyfolk.Itwasmeantforbeingagame,yeknow."Mickeykickedacurly-toedshoeagainstamushroomstalandhisvoiceheldanunmistakableedgeofsarcasmashecompletedthethought."Elfswerenotexpectedinthechase,beinghonorablefolkandtheirheartsnotbeingheldbyapoto'gold.Atleast,that'swhatIbeentoldaboutelfs.""Idonotdesireyourpreciouspot,"Kelseyremindedhim."Onlyasmalltask.""Notsosmall.""WouldyoupreferthatItakeyourgold?"Kelseywarned."Thatistheusualpaymentforcapture."Mickeygnashedhisteeth,thenpoppedhisenormous(consideringhissize)pipeintohismouth.Hecouldn'targue;Kelseyhadcaughthimfairly.Still,Mickeyhadtowonderhowhonestthechasehad been.Therulesforcatchingaleprechaunwereindeedancientandprecise,and,writtenbytheweefolk themselves,hugelyslantedintheleprechaun'sfavor.Butaleprechaun'sgreatestadvantageinevadinghumanslayinhisuncannyabilitiesatcreatingillusions.EnterKelseytheelf,andtheadvantageisnomore. NoneinallthelandofFaerie,notthedwarfsofDvergamalnoreventhegreatdragonsthemselves,couldseethroughillusions,couldseparaterealityfromfabrication,aswellastheelfs."Notsosmallatask,Isay,"Mickeyiterated."Ye'relookingtofillCedric'sownshoes—noneinDilnamarrathatI'veseenarefittingthattask!Themanwasagiant..."Kelseyshrugged,unconcerned,hiscasualstancestealingMickey'srisingbluster.ThehumanstockinFaeriehadindeeddiminished,andtheprospectsoffindingamanwhocouldfitintotheancientarmooncewornbyKingCedricDonigartenwerenotgood.OfcourseKelseyknewthat;whyelsewouldhehavetakenthetimetocatchMickey?"Imighthavetogoover,"Mickeysaidgravely."Youarethecleverestofyourkind,"Kelseyreplied,andthecomplimentwasnotpatronizing."Youshallfindaway,Idonotdoubt.Havethefaeriesyouknowsowelldotheirdance,then.SurelytheyoweMickeyMcMickeyafavorortwo."Mickeytookalongdrawonhispipe.Thefairiedance!Kelseyactuallyexpectedhimtogoover,tofind
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someonefromtheotherside,fromReal-earth."Mepoto'goldmightbeaneasierbarter,"theleprechaungrumbled."Thengiveittome,"repliedasmilingKelsey,knowingthebluffforwhatitwas."AndIshallusethewealthtopurchasewhatIneedfromsomeothersource."Mickeygnashedhisteetharoundhispipe,wantingtoputhiscurlybootintothesmugelfsface.KelseyhadseenhisbluffaseasilyashehadseenthroughMickey'sillusionsonthelopsidedchase.Noleprechaunwouldwillinglygiveuphispotofgoldwithnochanceofstealingitbackunlesshisverylifewasatstake.AndforalloftheinconvenienceKelseyhadcausedhim,Mickeyknewthattheelfwouldnotharmhim."Notaneasytask,"theleprechaunsaidagain."Ifthetaskwaseasy,Iwouldhavetakenthetroublemyself,"Kelseyrepliedevenly,thoughatwitchinoneofhisgoldeneyesrevealedthathewasnearingtheendofhispatience."Ihavenotthetime.""Yetakedthetroubletocatchingme,"Mickeysnarled."Notsomuchtrouble,"Kelseyassuredhim.Mickeyrestedbackandconsideredapossibleescapethroughthemeadowagain.Kelseywasshootingdownhiseveryleadingsuggestionwithnoroomforargument,withnoroomforbargaining.Byaleprechaun'smeasure,Kelseywasn'tplayingfair."Youshallacceptmyoffer,then,"Kelseysaid."OrIshallhaveyourpotofgoldhereandnow."He pausedforafewmomentstogiveMickeythechancetoproducethepot,which,ofcourse,theleprechaundidnotdo."Excellent,"continuedtheelf."Thenyouknowthetermsofyourindenture.WhenmightIexpectmyhuman?"Mickeykickedhiscurly-toedshoesagainandmovedtofindaseatontheenormousmushroom."Suren'tisabeautifulday,"hesaid,andhewasnotexaggeratingintheleast.Thebreezewascoolbutnotstiff,anditcarriedathousandspringtimescentswithit,aromasofawakeningflowersandnew-growinggrass."Toobeautifulfortalkingbusiness,Isay,"Mickeymentioned."When?"Kelseydemandedagain,refusingtobesidetracked."Allthefolko'Dilnamarraareouttofrolicwhilewe'resittingherearguing...""MickeyMcMickey!"Kelseydeclared."Youhavebeencaught,captured,defeatedonthechase.Of that,therecanbenoargument.Youarethusboundtome.Wearenotdiscussingbusiness;weare...Iam,establishingtheconditionsofyourfreedom.""Surenyertongue'sassharpasyerears,"mumbledMickeyquietly.Kelseyheardeverywordofit,ofcourse,butthistimehedidnotscowl.HeknewbyMickey'sresignedtonethattheleprechaunhadsurrenderedfully."When?"heaskedathirdtime.
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