“All right,” the uniformed troll said. “What seems to be the problem here?”
“That’s a magician,” yelled one of the trolls who had chased me from the tavern, pointing down at me.
The uniformed troll eyeballed me. “A magician, you say?”
“That’s right and you know what we do to magicians, don’t you?”
“Of course, I do, Herbery. I’m the Sheriff.”
“I’m not a magician!” I cried, hoping that would save me.
“No?” the sheriff asked, skeptically.
“He appeared in the middle of the bar!” Herbery said.
“And he levitated!” the red troll added.
“They say you appeared in the middle of the bar and that you levitated.”
“I didn’t levitate.”
“And the other thing?”
I shrugged. “I may have, but that wasn’t my fault.”
“No?” the Sheriff asked. “Then whose fault was it?”
“I’m not really sure. They were wearing cloaks and appeared out of nowhere.”
“Cloaked figures?” one of the tavern trolls grumbled, thinking I was making it up.
“Are you really buying this, Gonsi?”
“He’s being mesmerized!” the red troll yelled. “Just like me! The Sheriff’s being mesmerized!”
The trolls began to start shouting, but the Sheriff waved them silent. He glared down at me. “Are you trying to mesmerize me, little man?”
“No!” I insisted. “Of course not. I don’t know how to mesmerize anyone! I’m not a magician!”
“But you teleported into the tavern?”
“I was teleported in their! By cloa…”
“Cloaked figures,” the Sheriff completed. “So you say. I think we’re going to need investigate this.
“Investigate?” one of the trolls grumbled.
“Yes. We need to figure out if this is a magician we’ve got here or just a wee man.” The sheriff reached down toward me. I started to back away from him, but then I looked around me. I was surrounded by trolls and the Sheriff seemed liked the most sane of the lot. Maybe the two of us could get me out of this. “Come with me, little man,” he said and I gave in. The Sheriff and his deputies led me to their station with the others following behind. The crowd had grown to more than just the ones that had been at the bar. All the townspeople were curious about me now.
The Sheriff slammed the door closed behind us, leaving them all outside. “So, you’re a magician, huh?”
“No,” I told him. “I’m not. Really!”
“Yeah. No kidding!”
“Boy, if you’re a magician, you are one of the worst magician’s I’ve ever met.”
“A little thing like you, popping into a troll bar, you could have been eaten alive. They almost threw you into the dunk tank! If they got their hands on you, enough to throw you, you can’t be much of a magician. Or at least not a very smart one.”
“Whether I’m smart or not could be up for debate, but I assure you that I am not a magician. Not even a little bit.”
“I believe you, little man, but that does leave me with the problem as to what to do with you.”
“You could always let me go.”
“I could, but that wouldn’t answer the question about what you are doing here.”
“I said I was sent here by…”
“Cloaked figures, but why here?”
“I have no idea. They didn’t exactly tell me when they sent me away.”
“No? Then what did they say?”
I thought about what they said to us or more accurately to Lu and took note of how the trolls had responded to magicians. Would they help me if they knew I had been helping one? Would they help me if they knew my friend was one? I had my doubts so I said, “Nothing. They didn’t say anything.”
“They didn’t say anything to you before they teleported you here?” the Sheriff asked skeptically.
“No. We were being chased by stormhorses and then suddenly these cloaked figures popped up and killed the horses, dispersed them. Then they raised their hands and sent us away.”
“Horses made of clouds.”
The Sheriff nodded now. “Oh, horseclouds. Yeah, those bastards are a pain.”
“And what about those cloaked figures?”
“No idea,” the Sheriff replied. “Could be anybody. But they definitely seem like magicians to me.”
“And you hate magicians.”
“I, personally, don’t hate anybody.”
“But the rest of your village…”
“Yeah, they hate magicians.”
“Then you’ll help me against these cloaked figures?”
“Do you think they’re coming for you?”
“Coming for me?” I didn’t like the sound of that. “What, do you mean? Like they separated us to make us easy pickings?”
“If that’s true, then they made a mistake sending you here. They’ll find the trolls of Durok Village no pushovers. Anyone comes here looking for a fight will find more of one than theyre looking for.”
“I appreciate the help, but I need to find my friends. I feel bad asking for help, but I have no idea how else I can find them.”
“The best we can do is track the magic.”
“Track the magic?”
The Sheriff smiled. “I’ll show you.” He walked toward the back and after a few seconds I followed him back there. When I found him, he was busy unlocking a door. He pulled the lock off and slid the door open. “Let me introduce you to Gnomenasher.”
to be continued…