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Herrin dimmed the lantern quickly and ducked into an alcove on the stairs. Tryls simply stood to one side in the shadows and seemed to vanish from sight.

The soldiers clattered down the narrow stair, swords drawn. When the first fell – apparently through sheer clumsiness – the others were too close behind to catch themselves, and soon toppled after their leader.

Tryls appeared from the shadow and smiled at Herrin.

“By the teeth of the Gods,” Herrin muttered. “I usually hate it when you night elves do that shadow trick, but it’s certainly useful. There, consider your debt paid.”

Tryls shook his head. “You do not lose me so easily, my friend. Those hapless recruits would not have killed you, therefore my debt still stands.”

He took off up the stairs, moving quietly through the darkness and leaving Herrin to shake his head, open the shutter on the lantern and follow him up.

He reached the top of the stairs a little too slowly. A telltale click caught his ears.

“Don’t move,” he hissed. Tryls froze beside the door, his hand already on the handle.

“What is wrong?”

Herrin sighed. “You’re standing on a trap trigger,” he said. “If you step off or turn the handle something horrible is going to happen.”

The elf’s dark skin turned ashen. “How horrible?”

Herrin knelt. “You don’t need to know, because it isn’t going to happen. Just don’t look up at the big spiky thing above your head.”

He found the mechanism quickly, his deft fingers sliding over the cogs and wires and finding a familiar design.

“There’s a lot to be said for the lessons of a delinquent childhood,” he continued conversationally. “Especially when you’re escaping from a dungeon.”

There was another click. Tryls stiffened briefly.

“Relax,” Herrin said, standing up and brushing his hands off against his trousers. “I disabled it.”

Tryls looked at him. “So you have saved my life again. My debt is now doubled.”

Herrin groaned and slapped his forehead.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: The Continuing Adventures of Herrin and Tryls! This is turning into a serial by the looks of it – I haven’t done one before, so why not? This week’s Three Word Wednesday prompts were Delinquent, Hapless and Trigger.)

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