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3
THE THIEF OF FORTHE

my servants neglected his watch over theā€”man. He wandered outside." Karlk fingered his beard reminiscently. "The king had my 'experiment' destroyed, so my stupid servant reluctantly took its place."

Rald spat on the stones of the floor.

"I have encountered murderers I liked better!"

"You do not fear me, Rald?" inquired the magician, gently.

"When I learn how to fear, I'll seek another profession, oh frightener of children!"

"Even brave men can be taught." There was a note of menace in the low tones.

Rald shrugged. "Don't threaten me. I am no housewife screaming at shadows in the streets. I came here tonight to learn why you desired a member of my profession. If you pull any of your filthy tricks I'll pull that crusty beard of yours and maybe see more of your face."

The eyes of the magician gleamed red. "Look, Rald," he said, "and see how men have died!"

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He extended his left hand with outspread fingers pointing at the blackness of the damp walls. A second, two sec-