“You’re the fairy hunter?” A gruff voice demanded from behind me. I was sitting at the bar at a tavern enjoying a warm meal I didn’t have to catch and cook for myself.
“I am.” I confirmed, then ate another forkful of stew. I got a potato in this bite.
“How much for what? Be specific.” I suggested taking another bite.
“How much will you charge to get rid of the evil tiny fey that is keeping us from thinning a certain area of the forest nearby?” I turned to look up at the half-orc. “Nevermind.” He grunted and turned away. A half-elf and human followed him.
“Just because I am a gnome does not mean I am not the fairy hunter you seek.”
“Gnomes are of the fey. Why would they hunt the fey?” The half-elf scoffed.
“Elves are of nature. Why would a half-elf take up logging?” I mimicked his tone. The human and half-orc laughed. Without losing the sarcasm I continued. “I bring you the body, you pay me in its weight in platinum pieces. I am sure there is a merchant with a scale we can use in this lovely hamlet.”
“Deal.” The half-orc said with a tusked grin. I grinned back and shook his hand. “You don’t get any coin until you bring us the body.” He said squeezing my hand.
“I take it you have paid to get rid of this fey already?” Shaking my hand once the half-orc released it as if he had hurt me.
“Yes an Erastilian paladin who said it was evil but yet as a fey it was a part of nature and thus he would not kill it. He trapped it and relocated it and then a week later, before we could finish our work, it was back.”
“I have no problem killing the fey for the coins. I just need to know where it is.”
“We will show you.” The human said in a surprisingly high voice.
“Tomorrow.” I agreed with a yawn, trying to pop my ears. “It is not as if you log at night.”
“We will be here at sunrise.” The half-orc said and the trio left the tavern. I returned to my stew.
The next morning I met the trio as I descended the stairs from the second floor. I had dressed to impress with my chain shirt and armored kilt. I had my bastard sword and my short bow for visible weaponry. Two quivers of twenty arrows, two bandoliers crossed my chest each holding eight flasks, and each wrist had a sheath of five more arrows. My belt had two waterskins, two pouches, four daggers, and a handax.
“Are you ready to go?” the half-orc asked.
“I am.” I had woken up early to eat while watching the sunrise.
“Good.” He turned and the three trooped out.
“Do all three of you really need to show me the way?”
“We go together.” The half-elf stated smugly.
I didn’t ask anything else, in case it was the humans turn to answer. We walked in silence into the woods. We walked for a long time, at least an hour, before they stopped. “See that mess of underbrush by those pines ahead of us?” the half-elf whispered to me.
There were seven pine trees, spaced a few feet apart, their lower branches intertwining, and a mess of underbrush surrounding them. They were directly in our path and hard to miss. “Yes.” I whispered back.
“We have been trying to clear the underbrush and lower branches but it keeps attacking us.”
“Fine.” I stood and walked forward, taking the handax from my belt. I began chopping at the undergrowth.
After the forth swing, a spear bounced off the right back of my chain shirt. I turned and looked at the tiny fey. It looked like a bundle of sticks bound by vines and given life. I dropped the handax, it had just been a ruse to get its attention. I drew my bastard blackblade and showed the fey its cold iron blade. “I was hired by the men who are trying to preserve these trees to kill you if you continue to interfere.” I said to the twigjack in sylvan.
“Mine.” It screeched, sending a barrage of splinters at me. I rolled forward, avoiding most of the damage, and sliced up the left leg of the fey and produced flame down the cold iron dealing even more damage. The tiny fey howled as it caught fire.
“I WILL KILL YOU.” It screamed, sending another barrage of splinters at me. I was too close to dodge. It would be a long process later to remove the tiny shafts of wood. It was a simple process now, to remove the tiny head from the tiny body of the fey. The two pieces fell to the forest floor. I picked them up and shook the torso of the fey. Two tiny wands fell out into my hand. Typical fey.
“We will not be paying you.” The half-orc said brandishing a large ax.
“Let me get my gear from the tavern and I will be underway then.” I responded, absentmindedly turning the wands over in my hands.
“You are not mad?” The human squelched from behind me.
“I did not expect you to have enough platinum to meet my price.” I said walking back towards the hamlet between the half-orc and the half-elf without lifting my bastard sword at either of them. “I expected the double cross. I just wanted to kill the fey. I will do it for free. I often do. I just asked for the weight of the fey in platinum because you all were annoying me.”
“So now what?” The half-elf asked.
“I go get my stuff and move on. You do what you are supposed to with that.” I said tossing the body of the fey over my shoulder towards the brambles and pine trees.