“Someone’s following us.” Beau said it rather matter-of-factly.
Carric started to turn but Beau stopped him. “Don’t stare right at him! We don’t want him to know we’re on to him.”
Starch turned and pointed right at the rough-looking bearded man. “Who? Him? Are you sure?”
Beau sighed. “Yes, I’m sure. He’s been following us for several minutes now.”
Carric thought for a moment. “Ok, you all wait here… try not to look like you’re getting ready to murder anyone. When I give the signal, run at him.”
Carric walked out of sight of their tail, and whispered a spell. A moment later, invisible, he was weaving along an adjacent street, in order to get behind the man.
Delwyn frowned. “What’s the signal?”
As Carric made his way down the adjacent street, he noticed another very similar man loitering nearby as well. “At least two of them” he thought. Coming around the corner and still invisible, Carric came up right behind their tail before turning visible again. Carric tapped him on the shoulder and the man jumped in the air. “Why are you following us?”
The only answer he received was the man’s two hands wrapped around his neck. “Gah!” Carric choked, trying to breath, and brought his arms up to break the man’s hold on him. “The signal guys The signal!” About 50 feet away he could see his companions staring blankly for a moment before they realized what was happening and started running towards him. As usual, deadly little Beau was the first to draw blood, plunging an arrow deep in to the man. Just then, the second man, and then a third came in to view. The second shot an arrow at Carric but missed. The third tried to tackle Beau but never had a chance at catching him. The rogue easily spun away, daggers flashing out. When a crossbow bolt sprouted from Starch’s breastplate, they realized they faced a fourth assailant.
The fight continued for a few more seconds, and ended with two of the ruffians dead, one escaped, and the fourth on the ground bleeding with Carric standing over him. “Why did you attack us?” Carric poked him in the ribs with his staff to keep him lucid.
“We were just the bait, luring you in to the real trap.” the man said between deep breaths.
Carric cocked his head to the side. “What trap? Where? When?”
The man laughed a disturbing gurgling laugh as he choked on his own blood. “Right here. Right now.”
It was only then that they noticed seven figures in the darkness that had crept out of the shadows to surround them. The closest one didn’t even get a chance to move before one of Beau’s arrows sprouted from his neck and he screamed. Delwyn raised his hammer over his head and called on the power of the tempest to aid him. A dark cloud appeared and swirled above him, and lightning shot down from it engulfing several of his enemies, killing more than one of them. Starch charged at two of the largest ruffians, swinging his sword with holy fury. Carric chanted, holding out his hands and two orbs appeared in them. He hurled them at his enemies, who were engulfed in lightning, killing one and badly wounding another. It was over in a flash and more bodies littered the ground.
“What was this all about? Who are these thugs and why did they attack us? Carric wondered mostly to himself. Beau stood up from one of the bodies he had been searching. “Here’s your answer.” He handed Carric a small note.
Carric read the note and looked around. “Things just got a lot more complicated. We need to go speak to Lord Burl about this. Maybe he knows something.” After gathering themselves for a moment, they quickly found their way to the militia building and woke Lord Burl.
“Ah, the Zhentarim. It appears you’ve made and enemy.” Lord Burl looked up from the note.
“So it does.” Said Carric. “What can you tell us about the Zhentarim. Are they here in Lastfall?”
“We’ve known about Zhentarim activities for some months now. Some believe they are the reason prices are so high. They’re trying to increase their power in the city.”
The group questioned Lord Burl at length but he had no specific information. He did say that there could be a connection between the Zhentarim and the recent events within the thieves guild.