"Why am I being held? I just wanted to help that mage."

Magister Orvil glanced at the other mage, who looked to be of orc ancestry with broad shoulders, heavy jaw, and small chin horns. The orc answered in a clear almost silvery voice.

"Tier'ghan will be seen to. You, however, are riding a horse that was reported stolen late last night. You match the description of the thief quite well too."

Narder. That fuck. Once this was sorted Narder would have the privilege of watching his own intestines unravel. Magister Orvil blanched and then turned a peculiar shade of green before turning away to vomit on the grass. Serve the shit right for reading thoughts without permission.

Once Orvil managed to regain his composure he flapped a weak hand in Quenoor's direction. "He plans to kill the barkeeper who reported him."

"You fuck, that's illegal! I know my rights!"

"Orvil, that's enough," the orc chided, "you know better."

"He's not a halfling. Something isn't right with him. There is magic..."

"Enough. Go clean up. I'll take care of him."

Orvil gave Quenoor a last spiteful look before marching off.

"Aguilar, see to the horse. Jedediah, bring him. The sheriff is already on his way."

Quenoor glanced over at Kellir who appeared to be completely unconcerned as he cropped the grass.

"The horse sirs, I didn't steal him. He's been enchanted."

The orc mage glanced from Quenoor to Kellir. She walked toward Kellir, keeping out of kicking range, and held out a gloved hand. Kellir jerked his head up and snorted but didn't move away.

"Well, there is definitely something magical at work here. Aguilar, take it to the stable but keep it separate from the other horses. As for you, gremlin, you are coming with me."

She stressed the word gremlin in a way that had Quenoor's pulse quickening. This situation was getting out of hand. And fast.

"What about the sheriff?" Quenoor would rather take his chances with the local mundanes than deal with the mages.

"You'll get to see him, don't worry. Jeb, restrain him."

Before he could move he was bodily picked up and thrown to the ground. Damn paladins and their enhanced strength. He couldn't risk fighting back. Not now. He let out a pained grunt as a knee landed in the small of his back. His arms were wrenched back and the heavy weight of metal shackles snapped around each wrist. He snarled at the sensation of copper sapping his magic away. The glamour might not hold at this rate. The paladin made short work of disarming him, taking both stilettos, his small penknife, and his pouch. The weight of the shackles sat disturbingly familiar on his wrists and made the hair on his arms prickle.

He took several deep breaths and sternly reminded himself that these were humans, not the Others and their ilk. He was no longer Bariel's prisoner and plaything. He'd escaped that realm two centuries ago.

Jedediah, seemingly satisfied that he'd recovered everything, hauled Quenoor to his feet. Marched in the direction the mages had come from, he fought the rising panic. They'd release him as soon as he explained the situation. Tier'ghan himself was enough evidence to prove his story. Murder was a capital offense and killing a mage in order to sell bits of them on the black market was punishable by hanging. Narder and Loddic would hang by the end of the week. If the mages believed him.

The building the orc lead them to was a small squat affair that at first, Quenoor thought might be an implement shed for the groundskeeper. Once he stepped over the threshold he knew instantly what it was.

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