A Bard's Love

Marpenoth 17 1364 DR, Year of the Wave

I In the Heat of Battle I

It was a night filled with bloodshed.

A group of powerful, but foolish soldiers from the Zhentarim Organization had attempted to invade the city of Shadowdale. They had come from the edge of the Spiderhaunt Woods, not knowing that many of Shadowdale's guards, as well as a few agents from the Harpers, and the Knights of Myth Drannor waiting for them. When the few Zhentarim soldiers emerged from the forest, the heroes of Shadowdale quickly went into action, slaying any Zhents they came into contact with.

One of the Harpers Agents, a young halfling bard named Bowie quickly moved left to right, attacking the nearest enemy to him. One of the Zhents leaped at him, but Bowie's reflexes helped him dodge the attack, and swiped the blade of his shortsword across the belly of the Zhent who tried to attack him. The halfling's blade pierced through the Zhent's armor, causing him to bleed quickly, and forcing him to his knees.

Bowie quickly turned to face the next attacker, but the halfling felt a sharp pierce go through his studded leather armor, into his skin. His brown eyes looked down, seeing a spear point that had lodged into his side.

The halfling turned, seeing the Zhent he had wounded slowly standing to his feet. Despite the smell of blood that went through his small bridged nose, Bowie was ready to strike this Zhent once more with his sword Vithril, but a tall longhaired woman wearing full plate armor, who now stood behind the Zhent soldier. The woman withdrew her longsword, and slashed the wounded Zhent in his back. The Zhent turned around, seeing the woman's long silver hair. Both he and Bowie recognized her as Dove Falconhand.

After he watched the Zhent soldier faint from blood loss, Bowie smiled at the woman, breathing softly. "My thanks for the help Lady Dove," Bowie said softly, then gritting his teeth as slowly pulling the sharp spear from his side.

Dove cringed her eyes watched the stout halfling pull the spear out of his body. She had remembered seeing him around her sister Storm's farmhouse, doing chores, practicing magic, and training with Harpers. "There is no need for the formalities, Bowie Butterball," she said softly," but may I ask, what are you doing out here?"

Bowie sighed, trying to push the throbbing pain of his wound from his mind. His brown eyes looked up at Dove with a soft smile," I would ask you the same thing. However to answer your question, word from Harper spies within the Zhentarim gave us word of this attack, and we each decided to come to greet them," he answered in his soft evangelistic voice.

Two more Zhents came at the woman and the halfling. Dove brought her longsword forward, cutting deep within the closest Zhent soldier's midsection. The Zhent soldier that had approached Bowie, met the tip of the halfling's shortsword in his arm. He could feel the effect of the halfling's sword, as his small wound continued to bleed, but then he felt his feet beginning to tap on the floor in a face pace.

Bowie grinned as slashed Vithril across the soldier's stomach two more times, while all the Zhent soldier could do was dance to his death.

Dove watched with curious eyes as the Zhentarim soldier's arm was dripping blood, while his feet continued to dance until he slowly fell to the ground, dead. She looked over at Bowie, who was breathing heavily, and grew concerned. " Go seek some aid now!" she demanded, turning left to see more Zhents coming at them. She was ready to fight on, but noticed the halfling still standing there next to her. "It seems my sister was right when she said you had a tremendous fighting spirit, as well as stubborness. Still you must go, or it will be my blade you will be facing next!"

The halfling ran his fingers through his thick curly brown hair, then turned to Dove, who glared at him. With a sigh, Bowie quickly ran for the quickest route away from the battle. I don't need a cleric, he thought as he unknowingly ran into the outside of Spiderhaunt Woods. Bowie had been through the woods a few times in his years of staying in Shadowdale. He knew of some of the creatures that inhabited the dark forest, and knew of some safe places he could rest without being disturbed.

"I'll find a place to rest for the moment," he said softly as he sheathed Vithril, and walked into the forest. "With any luck, maybe some unlucky Zhents will come my way."

Bowie quickly found a hiding spot, near a lush bushy area. His eyes looked around the area, scanning for any creatures lurking about. When he spotted none, he quietly pulled a small silver harp from his belt. He quietly ran his fingers through all twenty-two strings of the harp, then plucked four different chords, and began to sing...

May this place be restful, may this place be graceful

May this place be rich, may this place be humble

May this place be hidden, may this place be grateful

May this place be restful, may this place be graceful

Small silver sparks flared from the harp, the air filled with a light smell, like fresh roses blooming in the Spring. Bowie smiled as he could feel the magic of his harp keeping him hidden from the enemies. He sighed, gently removing a long green cloak from his bag of holding, and placing his silver harp inside the bag. He slowly placed the cloak over his body like a blanket. On the back of the cloak, stitched in gold was the sigil of Sylune Silverhand.

Bowie was ready for what might be his last peaceful nap if these Zhentarim attacks kept coming into Shadowdale. He slowly laid down his head, and closed his eyes, hoping to dream of playing at a great hall inside big cities like Waterdeep, Silverymoon, or even Baldur's Gate. In his dream, he was going to play his harp and sing a ballad his mother had sang to him when he was just an infant. She wasn't a bard, but an assassin, who worked for the Zhentarim Organization until she fell in love with a young halfling wizard from Waterdeep. As far as Bowie could remember, the Lord Manshoon had given Bowie's mother permission of leaving the Zhentarim Organization. Yet on one evening, Manshoon had come to Bowie's parents, and slew them both in front of his eyes. Only six years old at the time, there wasn't much Bowie could have done, but sit there and weep for his dead parents. The next thing Bowie knew, the beautiful woman named Sylune Silverhand had shown up, consoling him.

A childless couple in Tassledale, who were bards themselves, had raised Bowie. When they passed away years later, he had hoped to learn training from Storm and Sylune, but that year Sylune had given her life to save Shadowdale from a dragon. The halfling had wept for her as much as he did his parents, but his tears dried once he had learned that Storm would teach him the ways of a bard. When he arrived at her house, there waited Sylune in the form of a ghost, greeting the child she had once saved.

That was many years ago, Bowie thought, who had just celebrated his thirty-fifth birthday a tenday before.

As he turned, something that caused great pain to go through him. He sighed, sitting up at the sky, still feeling the pain from his wound, but at least the bleeding stopped.

He smiled softly, hearing the soft sounds of the forest around him. The sounds of hooting owls and hissing spiders filled the air, and filled the halfling bard with a sense of peace. However, there was something in the air that was beginning to fill the halfling's ears. The sound of singing. Beautiful singing.

Throwing his cloak off of him, Bowie quickly stood up, clutching his side as the wound began to throb painfully from his quick movement. Gritting his teeth, he slowly walked deeper into the forest, not caring about any spiders, or Zhents who could spot him. All he was focused on was the beautiful singing he could hear ahead of him, not aware of what dangers that may lie ahead.