The Last Game In Town

Not a Dwarf

Merik stormed down the street, huffing each half-mumbled curse he could think of to condemn Drew for even permitting Esteban to talk to him like that.

A block down the road he noticed a shadow keeping pace with him. He looked down and to the right, and a pug-nosed dog kept pace with him. Its feet were moving in rapid succession in order to keep up, and it panted, looking up at him. The light was fading from the sky, but the street-lamps kept a decent yellow glow in the increasing fog. The stone buildings on either side of the street echoed with each of Marik’s booted footsteps. Ahead, from the warm glow of an alley, a weasel stepped into the street, holding a nail in its paw. The dog barked at it. The weasel spoke, almost in a high-pitched man’s voice, “Sonofabitch! You screwed my sister!”
The dog barked back, “So did you!” and it bolted right for the weasel. The two fought furiously, immediately, and their scuffle carried them back down the alley. Marik passed it, wondering to himself that there must be a wizard down there. “And now damned talking animals. What’s next?” he grunted. He could feel his hatred for spell-slingers turn his own body temperature up, and his vision was darkening to a cheap, wine-stained red. “Now all that’s missing is a dwarf.”

He hated dwarves. He’d been kicked out of the Fallcrest Military Academy four months ago, after spending a month in the brig, for attacking his dwarven staff sergeant with a shield over the head. The sergeant had simply been asking why Marik was such a short, stocky man, and repeatedly insinuated that a dwarf had cuckolded Marik’s grandfather.

Tonight, the dwarf at the masonry shop was working late. When he opened the door he asked, “Why, you’re rather tall for a dwarf, ain’t ye?” he asked in that ubiquitously Scottish Dwarven accent.
Marik shoved a pouch with a few coins in it in the dwarf’s face. “Lime. Now!”
The dwarf scowled at him. “You’ll be respectin’ yer elders, ya hear?” and trundled off to get a sack of lime. He returned with a massive bag of white dusty lime. “Who was yer mum? I’d like to give her a talkin’-to fer raisin’ a surly pup like yerself.”
Marik barely contained the seething rage. His lips pursed angrily, jaw clenched, and his pupils shrank to pinpoints. He grabbed the sack fiercely and choked out the words, “I. Am. NOT. A. DWARF.”
The little dwarf was taken aback, and Marik strode off in a huff.
“Poor poor lad’s in denial.”

+++++

Esteban heard Marik coming up the street before he saw him. “What in the nine hells are you DOING?!” he demanded of Marik. Marik hoarsely croaked, “WHAT!”
Drew poked his head outside. “You know, you’re swearing at a guy who just dismembered a body not-” and Esteban shoved Drew’s face back in the house, cutting him off mid-sentence.
“You’re leaving a trail of lime, you Vecna’d imbecile!” Esteban whispered, at the maximum volume a whisper will allow.
Marik looked behind him, and dropped his eyes for a second, then looked up at Esteban and said, “I need a broom.”
Esteban retorted, “Ohh, like you’re just going to sweep it up for two blocks!?”
Marik paused, then grinned. It was a grin that should have sent shivers down Esteban’s spine, but didn’t. “I have an idea.”
Esteban disappeared for a moment, then returned with a wide, wicker broom. “Get to it.” he hissed.

Marik scooped a sizeable lump of lime from the ripped bag, grabbed the broom, and proceeded forwards to the alley in which he saw the fighting animals disappear. The trail of lime started just a few feet before that on the road. Marik looked up the alley, and reaffirmed the wizard’s signpost on the side of the building on the left side of the alley, from where he stood. He pulled out the pouch and sprinkled a trail of lime generally towards the door, stopping when he ran out, then traced his steps back to the street without disturbing the lime, and swept the trail, what little of it there was, roughly in the same direction. When the authorities investigated, they would find a trail of lime leading back to this hive of spellcasters. “Disgusting vermin. Get what you deserve.” he grunted, and went back to Esteban’s house.

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