Clash at the Scarlet Tower
The following story is based on events shortly before yesterday's crusade...
Cabot wearily watched the skirmish in the pass below him. A rag-tag band of humans, dwarves and elves were fighting a desperate losing battle against the Grand Inquisitor of the Scarlet Crusade and his elite bodyguard. Already four of them lay twitching in the dust, and he watched as one by one the remaining few were despatched by the Inquisitor's entourage.
From his viewpoint on the ridge Cabot pondered the situation. Perhaps he should have done the noble thing and helped the adventurers against their mutual foe. Then again, The Light taut not only nobility but wisdom... and what good would he have done selling himself as cheaply as they had? No, he would listen to wisdom and see how events played out.
Just as the last paladin began to fall, a mighty steed charged into the fray. Lord Fordring leapt from his mount and set about the so-called Crusaders with unbridled rage. The Inquisitor and his guard were crushed like eggs under the furious blows from his hammer. The surviving paladin began raising his fallen comrades, as Fordring clearly didn't need his help.
Cabot smiled to himself as he strolled down the slope to congratulate the triumphant party. The Light does indeed work in mysterious ways.
The group were startled by the appearance of a ragged old bag of bones cheerfully greeting them. They didn't look too impressed. Drawing her dagger, one of the night elves stepped forward and with a cry gestured towards the weary priest. Cabot's elvish was rusty at best, but he knew when he was being challenged. He sighed. He was getting too old for this. It had been a tiring day, and it wasn't getting any easier...
Well my dear, if it's a fight you want it's a fight you'll get. With a word he called on The Light to shield him, and raised his staff to accept the challenge.
The elf vanished.
He knew the attack was coming, he just didn't know when. The daggers plunged into his back as if from nowhere. The magical shield absorbed some of the shock, but it was still enough to topple him to the floor. Cabot lay stunned as the elf repeatedly stabbed him. He could feel the anger boiling up within himself, channeling it until he could contain the fury no more. It exploded from him in a massive burst of divine light, at once rejuvenating the priest and staggering his attacker. From that point his retaliation was relentless. He uttered words of Shadow that wracked the elf with pain and assaulted her mind. He called on the power of Light to smite her. And yet despite the barrage she still stood firm, her blades flashing in the sun as they tore at him.
They were both weak but still neither would give way. Suddenly, when it looked as though one or other must fall, the priest let forth a terrifying scream laced with magic. The elf broke and ran... and vanished.
Cabot sighed. This wasn't over yet. With a prayer he was refreshed and ready, his magical shield in place once more. The elf's companions watched in suspense awaiting the next round.
They didn't have to wait long. Again the daggers pierced his back, again the priest lay on the floor until the Light exploded from him. Again the pair fought ferociously with shadow, light and blade. Again they both reached the brink of collapse. This time, however, would be different. Cabot knew the first round had taken a heavy toll on his inner strength. He knew he would fall if it went to a third. This had to end now. With a final gasp he uttered the darkest words he could recall, weaving the shadows into a last desperate assault.
The elf collapsed, clutching her head in pain.
Leaning wearily on his staff, Cabot mumbled prayers of renewal and turned to face the spectators. The other elf glared disapprovingly but nodded with respect. A dwarf grinned as one of his companions begrudgingly flipped some coins into his open palm. His opponent slowly pulled herself to her feet and saluted her victor respectfully. Cabot returned her salute and bowed reverently, waving as they turned and rode away.
He could feel his body quickening from divine energy and excitement. Calling more enchantments he stood tall and turned towards the Scarlet Tower. He grinned. There was still some life in these old bones...