"You realize this war has cost us millions of daro in trade." Selm Boothby lowered the bucket over the edge of the Well. "Damn Diplomatic Corps. dropped the ball if you ask me."
"No one was asking Selm," Tobin of Hinmeet scratched his teeth with a twig and leaned over the edge and looked down. The water level was pretty low down. "Not in the entire population of Hendry was anyone asking your opinion about 'the War'".
"Of course it cost us a lot," Tobin watched the bucket rise. "but with the desert nomads in retreat we will rebuild."
"I hear that they think lies are holy." Selm Boothby shook his head as he lifted the bucket to the well edge. "How can we have anything in common with that kind of dirt loving, nut-butter crazy?"
"I don't know," Tobin climbed up on the edge of the Well and adjusted his buttocks until he felt comfortable seated on the edge. "Maybe hold an annual lying competition and invite them to tea?"
"Hold a lying competition and invite..." Selm shook his head as he poured the cold water into the copper kettle. "Damn crazy halfling."
"That is officially the craziest idea to come out of your mouth." Selm clamped the lid down on the kettle and handed the empty bucket to Tobin. "You know what?"
"No," Tobin laughed into the bucket. "What?"
"I am going to write my brother in the diplomatic corp. and tell him that one." Selm picked up the kettle and walked over to Tobin. "Lets see how much of a laugh you get then."
The sky lit as though the world had suddenly fallen into the Sun now burning just north of Darokin, the heat igniting the air in Selm's lungs as he knocked the burning Tobin backwards into the Well with the only hand not fusing to the instantly superheated copper kettle erupting steam.
The water came as a slight relief the moment Tobin hit it but the feeling of relief didnt last long. The water raised in temperature quickly. Tobin reached a hand above the surface of the water only to feel the sensation of having plunged his hand into a smithy's forge looking to snatch a red hot sword. He pulled it below the water but he could feel it.
Tobin considered his situation. He needed air but the air would kill him with his first breath.
The part of the bucket above water was burning so Tobin pulled it under extinguishing the fire. He then forced the bucket above the surface and scooped air pulling it again below the water. The superheated air took a while to cool even as Tobin splashed water up into the air pocket turning it to steam. Only when the steam stopped forming did Tobin chance to take a deep breath. The warm air felt uncomfortable as he breathed in and held his breath. There would be no telling how long it would be before the air could be breathed or before help would come.
Tobin relented and breathed out allowing the bubbles to surface before he again sampled his private supply of bucket air. Tobin allowed the bucket to surface and scoop more air before dragging it below the surface and again splashing it with water.
Selm. Tobin thought of his friend. Selm had either saved him from certain death or condemned him to a slow and painful one.
As Tobin took a breath of Air from his supply the wall of the Well shook and did so for a while. Whatever was happening to the world above was still going on.
A stone brick loosed from the top of the Well and dropped down into the water landing on Tobin's bucket instantly pushing it against him and squeezing the air from his belly as it descended toward the Well bottom halfling first.
This was it. Tobin surrendered to death.
"An interesting result Sylistryi," Maybe he had been hasty. Tobin took a breath. "And he's Alive."
"'m live?" Laughter. It sounded oddly elvish. "Yes...you are among living." Tobin laughed until he thought of Selm.
"The sky was bright and the air caught fire," Tobin cried and wiped at the tears. "Selm pushed me down the Well."
"Did anyone else make it?" Tobin opened his eyes to find an oddly pale and smiling elf leaning over him and another elf standing behind her with a look of concern. "Are you elfs?"
"Are we elves?" The elf burst into laughter and shook her head waking away revealing a large cave. "Are we elves!"
"Yes," The stern looking elf was speaking while the other rummaged through packs and pulled out an elf sized robe identical to the ones they were wearing. "We are elves."
"They might be too big." Tobin noticed his hand and arm were like the elves but before he could say anything the nearest elf took his hand and pulled him to his feet.
"Thanks to Sylistryi's magic," Tobin was now as tall as the elf. "We are all elves."