The Orphan Prethaernos

Part I: Taken In

by Prethaernos

A cart whizzed by. "Move it wretch!" shouted the driver of the cart at the dull-eyed halfling as it narrowly missed colliding with a lamppost to get out of the way. The halfling simply stared after the cart for a long moment before he started again. This halfling was an orphan from birth, and whether they new it or not, most of the population of Minath Ellion had seen him at one time or another, usually passing him by thinking he was nothing more than a trash heap on the side of the road. No one really knew his name, he wasn't even so sure of it himself for he had been left alone in a back alley one day and had never known anything about before that moment, it was as if he had become conscious of himself at that moment.

    The halfling sighed as he walked through an alley, humming a tune, but not being able to remember where he'd heard it, but that didn't matter right now. All that mattered at the moment was getting back to his alley way, which he had made into his makeshift home before it was night and the streets become dangerous. But what was that? The sun had sunk behind the western trees and cast a shadow upon the great city of Minath Elion. It seemed as if a magical barrier separated this time from the day, for the whole town seemed to change from a glorious town, to a dark den of thieves.

    "This is not good," thought the halfling as he continued on down the ally, looking over his back and peering closely at the shadows, checking for the thieves that only cared about the valuables, which people had, and if you didn't have the valuables... well bye-bye. A rustle. The halfling spun around, only to be met by a rusty dagger resting on his throat. "Gimme ya money, punk!" hissed the dark elf, his eyes gleamed red with hate. "I don't h-h-have anything, just the rags on my back." Said the halfling with a pang of fear. "Well then, got any last words?" the drow said the words with almost gleefully.

    Zing! "Drop the dagger, and let the boy go, or I shall send you to whatever god you please." Said a tall (well, for a halfling), darkly clad halfling, who had a brilliantly gleaming sword. "You better watch yourself!" Hissed the drow as he scampered off into the night. "You'd better be more careful from now on, these streets are dangerous if you're not well armed." Said the darkly clad halfling as he started to walk away. "Wait!" shouted the halfling as if suddenly coming to life, "What is your name? So sometime, if I can, I may repay you." The taller halfling chuckled, "I like you kid, follow me. My name's Samenosuke." and they walked off down the alleyway to the taller halfling's flat.

    As they entered the flat, a fragrant smell tickled the small halfling's nose and he gave a squeaky sneeze. "Heh, what's your name anyways, young'un?" asked Samenosuke. All he got in return was a blank stare. "What don't you have a name? Or a rak got your tongue?", he laughed. "I suppose I was given a name at some time, but I cannot remember that long ago." Samenosuke simply shook his head, "Well, since this is my house, I'm gonna call you Prethaernos."

    Then something suddenly seemed to click with Samenosuke, "Oh yea, here Venum, look what I brought you!" said Samenosuke, and immediately after he'd said it a slithering noise started coming from the next room. "Wha-what's that noise?!" squeaked Prethaernos. "Heh, don't worry about good 'ole Venum, he won't hurt cha" said Samenosuke as 5 large snake-like heads poked out from the door. "EEK!" screamed Prethaernos as he dove under the nearest couch and started shaking in fear. Both Samenosuke and Venum immediately burst into laughter, "You-you can talk!?" stammered Prethaernos as he crawled out from behind the couch. "Yesss, I can talk, and probably better than you, young chap" said Venum in his hissing tone, that was not menacing, but actually near-mystical sounding. "Venum here's a naga mage, he managed to get himself stuck in hydra form... kooky mage." explained Samenosuke. "He doesn't get out much, stays in here so he doesn't alarm people, and so he can spend more time on those crazy spells of his."

    Venum looked abashed. "Frying a perssson in a thousssand degree fireball is much more humane that chopping them--" said Venum with an air of dignity, as Samenosuke suddenly removed a small brown paper bag from under his cloak. "--pixie wings!" hissed Venum as his air of dignity suddenly evaporated and he started slobbering all over the floor in bucket-sized amounts, "gimme, gimme, gimme!" shrilled Venum through his slobber. So much for dignity, thought Prethaernos.

    "Well it's about time for bed, young'un." Said Samenosuke, "You can have the couch, and watch out, you can hear Venum snoring in at least one of his noses... and man is it loud." Said Samenosuke, "Anyways, get some rest, you'll need it for tomarrow" as he vanished into his room.

... to be continued ...

Coming next month -- Part Two