Plot: Zhentarim - ON HOLD
Everything regarding the Zhentarim invasion (?) plot.
Marcus Nightcrawler - O'louth
War had come to Arabel's Northern gate. The Zhentarim raiders had taken the northern gate and held a foothold there. Zhentarim mages and Raiders (their elite scouts and skirmishers) held a strong base to the north and pushed against a combined force of Militia, local adventurers and even the Thayans who apparently realized their survival was tied in with Arabel and acted as actual allies for a change.
Few from the Purple Dragon Garrison were within Arabel, the vast forces being north of the City, engaging the largest forces of the Zhent invasion. Those that were in Arabel were infiltrators and mages, sent to sabotage rear lines and try to assassinate key leaders or sabotage key areas. Fortunately, the militia and irregulars were keeping them mostly contained with but a few breakouts.
Baba returned to the lines in North Arabel after a very brief rest and refit, having spent over 18 hours on the front line at the start of the battle. He wrapped his elven cloak about him, nodding briefly to a novice adventurer that was assisting at the first aid station. The young human warrior looked no more than seventeen and the fear he held was visible. Oliver, stopped and turned, placing his hand on the young man's shoulder. In a quite, muffled voice he told him that he'd do fine when the time came and he smiled behind his visor as the young, would be hero's demeanor changed from fear to determination.
Baba crept to the edge of a nearby building and sought the shadows as the sun faded in the west and night fell on Arabel. In the shadows, Oliver felt at home. His soft and supple leathers, while enchanted were no match for the heavy plate of a conventional soldier. However, in the shadows, attacking soft targets such as mages, or falling on unsuspecting warriors, he was more than a match.
As he crept about adding the count of dead Zhent Mages to his tally, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He moved quietly to get a better look and was surprised to see Raven, the Tiefling criminal, moving about in the shadows. Baba suspected that she was aiding the Zhents, likely there to sabotage the defenders, and he moved to intercept her. As he neared her position, still undetected by her or her crew, he was surprised as the three criminals attacked a small group of the Zhent invaders that were infiltrating along a side street near the ruined warehouse area.
The three fought well against the Zhents, but Raven found herself in a fight with a very skilled Raider and it appeared she would fall to the invading Zhent's blade. Oliver leaped from the shadows, planting his blade deeply into the Zhent's back, felling him with the blow. A quick nod to the surprisingly attractive Tiefling and Oliver attacked with the other would-be enemies, against their current, common foe.
After the Zhents there were defeated, the group split apart, Oliver returning to his duties as the criminals prowled for more Zhents. Oliver chose to overlook the bounty on Raven's head for the time being, as she was doing more good than harm, whatever her selfish reasons.
Several hours later, Oliver was quite tired from continuous fighting. Nearly three times he had fallen to the blows of Raiders and Mages as he picked them off in small numbers about the dark war zone. After successfully killing a lone raider, more heavily armed than himself, Oliver had not even caught his breath when a Zhentarim mage struck him with a magic missile, knocking him to near death. The young scout fell, unable to move, as he watched his life blood fill the street. His vision began to pinpoint as he made his final peace with Kelemvor. A group of shadowy figures entered his view as it faded. Surely his ending was present, his service complete. His eyes closed and he heard a strangely familiar and melodic voice say, "heal him". Healing energy filled his body and he opened his eyes to see Raven and her two accomplices before him. She said to consider them even and then faded again into the dark alleys.
Baba stood and limped back to the lines, feeling that he had likely pushed his luck far enough for the day. He returned to the Garrison and filed a report of the aid of the known criminals, asking that their warrants be suspended during this time of conflict with the Zhents. The request was approved and Raven and the rest of her gang, normally enemies of Arabel, acted alongside the many defenders. There would be time to hunt them again, but today was not the time for such.
Another arrow flew from the darkness and another defender of Arabel slumped over dead. For too many minutes death had rained with single arrows from the darkness.
The first notice of the sniper's appearance was an arrow from the darkness. Every shaft enchanted with some foul magic. Fire, lightning, darkness, poison, and other effects struck without warning, almost every shot a hit and all lethal.
The lines thinned quickly by this attacker whose only presence was death from a distance. Word quickly made its way to Oliver Baba, Royal Scout of the Purple Dragons. The Zhents were giving back the treatment he'd been dishing out for several days now and had sent their own creeping death into the darkness.
Baba muttered quietly, seemingly to others talking to himself, but was actually speaking to his longbow. Tinder, as he called him, was a sentient being, magically formed from the heart of an ancient tree that was harvested and made into a combat dummy in the Visitor's Center. Since Baba had saved it from being destroyed there, the two were inseparable. Oliver spoke quietly to his friend, the extension of himself saying, "Tinder, a challenge awaits us, but we must arise to the challenge. Another man wields a bow far inferior to you and takes a terrible toll on our companions. You and I will see this man dead". Tinder did not reply, but Oliver felt he was in agreement, and the two headed from the lines.
The two crept along in silence, keeping to the shadows of buildings and alleyways, looking for the assassin while dodging scattered Zhentarim infiltrators. Their prey was a specific man or a shadow of a man, that caused such trouble in the lines.
Rounding a corner, Oliver heard an arrow fly through the air followed by a gargled scream on the lines. He turned to its origin and saw a cloak disappear about a corner, into a side street behind the warehouses in Northern Arabel.
Oliver crept toward him, gaining a vantage to watch the area he was last seen in. The lines sent a small group of adventurers to deal with the threat, apparently unaware of Oliver's presence. Hesitantly, Oliver decided that if he was to catch the assassin, he'd need bait other than himself, and he allowed the small group to proceed northward.
The young Scout's keen eyes flitted from building corners and rooftops, seeking any sign of his mark. A slight flash of light off of a metal buckle revealed his prey, he raised Tinder and whispered briefly, "fly true" as he released the bow string. While not a fatal blow, the arrow hit its mark and disrupted the assassin's shot so that the adventurer he targeted was only wounded, not slain. The four fell back to cover as Oliver exchanged a brief volley of arrows with the Zhent. Having taken a few solid shots to his torso, the Zhent fled into the shadows with the adventurers giving chase.
They raced toward the corner, far ahead of Oliver's position and as they turned the corner, one fell dead as an arrow exploded in a ball of fire. The others, battered but not killed, drug their companion back to safety as Oliver arrived at them.
"You're going to get your fool selves killed, if you mess with that one. He lives as one with the shadows and will kill you one by one without you even seeing him". One of them, a Dwarf, replied, "I'm not going to just sit on the lines getting picked off by some damned cowardly Zhent. I'm not going to just sit around while nobody is doing anything about it". "Somebody is doing something about it", Oliver replied curtly. "If you want to help then stay near me and shoot where I shoot. I can see him or hints of him as he moves, apparently before he can see me, but I don't think I can kill him myself. Perhaps together we can stop him". The others agreed and said they'd return when their fallen companion was to the lines.
Moving forward, Oliver once again spoiled the assassin's attack with a well -aimed shot, Tinder repeatedly striking true, but not able to penetrate the armor and magic of the Zhent. After several long minutes of trading shots from the shadows with his opponent, the other adventurers returned and the small group began their pursuit.
For nearly and hour the four defenders of Arabel, led by Oliver, pursued the Zhent, exchanging shots and blows in a running battle through and below North Arabel. They ran into Lancelord Albert Steiner, Oliver's mentor, as he patrolled through the same streets and he joined their hunt. The two groups split up, Oliver and Albert together and the three adventurers joined by a fourth, an elf with a hunter's eyes.
The Lancelord and Scout fought their way through Zhent skirmishers as they chased this lone Zhent assassin. They caught him close around a corner and put blade to him in close quarters. The Zhent, a master of the bow, was less skilled with the blade and found himself outmatched by the two Purple Dragons. He turned to flee down the long alley and Steiner used his magical ring to place a barrier of magic blades in his escape path. The blades formed just behind the Zhent, blocking the two's pursuit. Without hesitation, Oliver continued on, managing a somersault over the barrier and continuing his pursuit as Albert went around the other way.
The two approached from separate directions as the other group of adventurers arrived from a third. With nowhere to run and no hope of surviving the close fight, the Zhent fled into the sewers with his pursuers close behind. He made a fatal error, however, turning into a dead end passage where he was swarmed and cut down by the two groups.
His belongings were stripped and handed to the adventurers as reward and the two Purple Dragons returned to their lines. As they separated from the others, Albert placed a hand on Oliver's shoulder. "Good job back there, Oliver. Your actions probably saved a great deal of lives. If you ever dive through those blades again, though, I'll kill you myself". Oliver smiled behind his visor and replied, "I'll try not to, Sir" and chuckled as they returned to notify their superiors.
The second one is much better, and once an editor has gone through it, it could be fine. Just one thing though, these do read very.. straightforwardly. That may not sound like a problem, but I mean to say that what keeps a person reading through a book is to see how the plot advances (well, me at least) and this story cuts itself off perfectly. You may want to coordinate your efforts with O'louth (wherever he is) and work together to keep the story cliff-hanging until the end somehow.
If not, you could make a compilation of these short stories of Oli Baba's adventures and have that placed elsewhere in the Chronicles.
ps. It just seems a little.. optimistic, almost. There's an archer killing people everywhere and the hero of the story just hops in and fills them full of arrows. A suggestion would be to:
Other than that, it's a definate improvement.
O-louth last edited by
My stories, as I was not there for much of the plot Lizzy, will be somewhat like Aldriens, a few tid pieces and odd ends, hopingly coming together in the end.
In that case it may be best to put this plot on hold, for the time-being at least.
I could add a short piece on how Bhaliir goons assaulted the battle-medic station in the middle of a skirmish, but it's just a general "flavor" piece really had little to do with the plot.
Sigh. Need to find time to write.
It's fine, I mean O'louth has WvW and the Kelteel plots to write, and you've got the Bresk plot, and Aldrien is writing the Tales of Ollie Baba, so I think it might be for the best if this is put on hold for now.