A Thief in the Night
The inhabitants of Serraugentum were sleeping through the night, the quiet village undisturbed by the distant noises from Gradapis, or the chatter of nocturnal creatures. Only the gentle pattering of the rain made any sort of noise. The silver mine had ceased its operations for the day, and the jewellers had stopped crafting their fine ornaments long before. Abruptly, a gruff, ear-splitting sound echoed throughout the air - a knock on the door. Then a second, then a third, then a fourth, the intervals between them getting shorter. After half a minute, a man answered the door, dressed in mismatched closed hastily put on, sporting messy black hair and deep bags around his eyes.
Looking out of the door, his pupils widened in terror. The source of the noise stood before him; a muscular Namuri elf standing at least two metres tall - a rarity sight - with hands the size of the man's head, clenched into tight fists. The elf’s mouth was contorted into a vicious snarl. He reached out one of his gargantuan hands, and effortlessly picked the man up by his shirt.
“You stole the necklace you prick!” he thundered into the night.
The man grasped at his throat, trying desperately to pry the Namuri’s hands open, though his efforts were futile.
“No…” he wheezed, flailing his legs around “It wasn’t me, I swear”.
The man’s two children had by this time heard the disturbance, and gotten up themselves to investigate. They craned their necks around the doorframe, not yet aware of the predicament their father was in. He saw them out of the corner of his eye.
“Get back inside,” he told them, barely managing more than a whisper. They obeyed, scrambling around his leg into the house.
“Don’t fucking lie to me! I spent weeks on that thing!” the Namuri shouted. Spinning around, he tossed the man into a nearby puddle. The man let out a deep gasp, desperate for air.
“I went to my workshop and it wasn’t on my desk! I saw you eyeing it up” he sneered.
The man started scrambling backwards, dragging himself through the mud with his hands “On my children’s lives, it wasn’t me! Just leave me alone!”
A swift kick to the chest shut him up, sending him spinning through the mud. The man clutched his chest. He could tell he’d broken a couple of ribs. Enough of a commotion had been created that people were gathered around, though none stepped in to defend the man.
“Then you must hold your children’s lives in very low esteem” the Namuri growled.
He advanced on the man, kicking him just about everywhere, mainly aiming for his head and crotch. He picked up a stone next to him and smashed it into his victim’s leg. A cry of pain rang out into the night, though it fell upon deaf ears. This last attack seemed to satisfy the elf’s bloodlust, and so he spat on the man, turned around, and left the scene quickly as he had gotten there.
Powerless to resist, and powerless still to get back up, the man lay there in the mud, wheezing and coughing up blood. His ribs had been fractured and cracked, his leg had been shattered, most of his body was covered in fresh bruises, and he was barely able to breathe. The last thing he saw before his blurry vision gave out were the faces of his son and daughter, though he couldn’t hear their desperate cries through the ringing of his ears. He tried to reach out and touch them, but his arm gave out barely an inch off the ground.
Miles away, another man, wrapped up in a thick black cloak, made his way through a light smattering of rain. Clasped tightly in his right hand was a silver necklace, bespeckled with tiny sapphires around the rims, with a large emerald encrusted in the middle. By the time anyone had noticed his absence, and put together the nights' events with his disappearance, he would already be far away. Far enough away so that they would never him.