A serene visage of a wood plank boardwalk cutting between crashing surf upon a white sand beach and tall sharp grasses was the only image the young prince could get in his head when the auctioneer called for the next bid. There was nothing they could do. They did not have any more money. They could not continue in the bidding war. It was over and the elf relics were lost. There was nothing that they could do to retrieve them from the auction. Arlin had let the Mallvrann elves down.
“Two hundred thousand pieces of gold,” a gruff voice called out beside the prince. Arlin turned to see Thothen standing with an outstretched hand.
“What are you doing?” Arlin whispered when Thothen thumped back to his chair.
Thothen smiled smugly. “My people have a stake in retrieving the Galachir weapons as well. We dwarves have some tricks up our sleeves as well.”
“Two hundred and fifty,” the old man stood. His eyes bored into the dwarf’s, daring him to bid again.
“How deep are your reserves?” Firae looked hopeful, if only for a moment.
“Five hundred thousand,” a human with a dark goatee called before the dwarf could respond. When he walked along the aisle towards the stage the room seemed to darken.
“Not that deep.”
“That is quite a generous bid. Is there anyone that will go higher than five hundred thousand?” the auctioneer smiled. Only silence answered him. No one in the audience moved, much less spoke. “Looks like you have won yourself the Galachir sword and staff. Who may I have the honor of bestowing these items upon?”
The winning bidder spoke when he stepped upon the stage. “You may call me Zdenek. I would like to have my property now.”
“Yes, yes, of course. Once we validate your payment the sword and staff will be handed over to you.”
The auction hall began to empty as the auctioneer and Zdenek discussed payment for the won items. The young men found themselves under the large oak tree where they had had lunch. They discussed what options they had left while the rest of the auction goers celebrated the end of another auction with ale and song.