Dark Sun

Scouting ahead of Rhotan Vor and the rest of the trade caravan, Filk made his way cautiously over the rocky, barren ground. Carefully, he adjusted his hat and scarf to protect himself from the worst of the ruddy brilliance overhead. The wind constantly threatened to knock his hat askew, and unravel his scarf from protecting him from the stinging grit it flung at him. The world constantly went out of its way to hinder Filk, but he accepted this fact. He possessed the wit to protect himself from the vindictive environment, and the charm to ensure his safety among civilization. Even now, he was accompanied by several fellow adventurers who had proven themselves willing to fight for him. They were several paces ahead of him, on the lookout for any dangers that were sure to be in Filk’s way.
Ahead, the land rose, with several outcroppings of boulders, and a scattering of tough scrub brush, obscuring anything that might lie on the other side of the rise. Filk paused a moment, loosening his sword in his scabbard, and slinging his lute from around his back. It often proved a far more potent weapon than his blade. He pretended to tune it, as if in preparation for playing a jaunty marching song. This area was a likely site for an ambush (it was one that Filk himself would be likely to use), and though no one could see anything in hiding, Filk’s luck virtually guaranteed that he would be fighting for his life in a few moments. Or running for it.
Indeed, with a ululating war-cry, desert elves, fiendishly agile, leapt out from around the boulders, loosing arrows at Filk and his companions. Merric, the mad halfling decorated with the gruesome remains of what was likely a feast for him, was skewered by a shaft nearly as long as the halfling was tall. Filk’s arm jerked, as it was tugged viciously by an arrow that narrowly missed his torso, and he was dismayed to see a mounted figure – another elf waving a carved wand – top the rise. This one made a grasping motion, and Malik-kai, the genasi magic-wielder, doubled over in pain, gasping as terrible energies ripped through her body.
Merric, his rigorous training allowing him to ignore the gaping arrow-wound in his side, covered the distance between himself and the mounted elf in three long, floating strides. He attacked furiously, hands and feet flying, and landed beside what was clearly an elf defiler, who struggled to control his crodlu mount. With the defiler distracted, Malik-kai recovered and summoned wind magic to propel herself through the air toward one of the assassins atop a nearby boulder. Using her airborne momentum, she lashed out at the elf, unbalancing him, and knocking him down off the rock.
Filk quickly assessed the odds – equal numbers, never good. But, there were several elves armed with bows, so running away at this moment would be highly unwise. Turning your back on an enemy was just the first step to being stabbed (or, in this case, shot) in the back. Filk sighed at the irony of himself being worried about being attacked from behind, then strummed his lute, weaving into the music a subtle spell designed to direct his enemies’ attacks at someone other than himself. The elf that was his target didn’t even flinch. Perhaps he was too far away to hear. Cursing at his ill luck, he sang a spell of healing that was heard by Mad Merric.
Then, Dix von Wolfen, the dark master of the Way, unleashed a withering pulse of psychic energy at the group of elves in front of Merric, including the defiler. They definitely felt that, thought Filk. Unfortunately, their attention was now drawn to the lightly armored psion, and he was nearly downed by a pair of arrows that sprouted suddenly from his thin frame.
Filk watched in horror at the melee that ensued, as Malik-kai and Mad Merric were caught up in the thick of the fighting. He tried his best to avoid being near the wicked sharp swords of the assassins, and lent his own magical aid to his allies. Malik-kai screamed in pain, dropping to the ground as the mounted elf scourged her with dark magic. He saw von Wolfen fall down, arrows sticking out of him like a pincushion, and knew, even when the defiler fled, that they wouldn’t be fighting their way out of this. Filk prepared himself with a quick charm spell, then stepped forward, raising his hands in the air, weaponless.
“Wait! Spare us, and we will pay you!” There followed several moments of tense silence. Meanwhile, Merric flew after the fleeing defiler, caught up with him, and managed to kill him with a fatal blow, nearly exhausted himself. He came limping back to help Filk and the others, finding them in a standoff, bloody, but still dangerous to one another.
The elves were suspicious, but when they saw the gold and supplies offered, and knew that they wouldn’t be paid by their former leader, they agreed to go their way, and let Filk go his. The assassins claimed to be of the Swiftfoot tribe, relatives of the Silverhands that control Silver Spring, Rhotan Vor’s nearby destination. Healing his companions with mystical songs, he waited for the caravan and Rhotan to catch up with them.
The next morning, the caravan arrived at Silver Spring. Filk felt inside his cloak, checking to make sure the letter he carried was still there. It was the key to the next step on his journey to wealth. He and his companions parted from Rhotan Vor for a time while in the oasis town in order for each of them to conduct their business. Filk led the way, speaking charmingly to several people before tracking down Isann, Iseel’s brother from whom he had been promised a reward for the safe delivery of the letter to Toramund. Isann led them to another building in Silver Spring – Toramund’s headquarters. There, Filk followed as they were led underground, through a labyrinth of tunnels lit dimly by guttering torches. Finally, they came to a door, behind which was a richly appointed room. Seated behind an expensive wooden desk, the surface of which was covered with papers that were generated by a thriving business, was a large, graying elf – Toramund.
Filk was cautious, preferring to be sure of his payment before delivery. After speaking with the bluff trader, Filk produced the sealed, encrypted letter from out of his cloak. Never one to let an opportunity for monetary advancement pass him by, Filk, with his companions, spoke to Toramund of the Swiftfoot assassins. They learned that these raiders were interfering in the trade of Silver Spring and the Silverhand tribe. Toramund offered a reward should Filk and his crew solve their dilemma, ending the raids, and ensuring the Swiftfoot tribe’s integration with the Silver Spring economy, preferably with as little bloodshed as possible. This, Filk was more than willing to agree with.

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