Zola is a sorcerer currently working for a band of assassins called the Scars. They are efficient, ruthless, and utterly mercenary, working for anyone that can put up the cash. Their base of operations is in the divided city of Pel Ador, a sprawling metropolis made up primarily of humans and elves. Not long ago the elves and humans were at war, until they somehow established a fragile peace. Despite this peace, the half-elves feel the wrath of both elves and humans, who automatically view them as suspect.
Zola, the Scorned
While growing up, Zola felt the brunt of being a half-elf in a place where clear divisions were drawn between the races. Being a half-elf in Pel Ador meant that he was neither elf nor human. However, from an early age, Zola realized that he had the power to do amazing things. He used his magic and skills to stay alive in the violent back alleys and sewers of Pel Ador, doing his best to steer clear of fights he could not handle.
Zola did have one person he could depend on: a fellow half-elf named Mezriss. Mezriss introduced Zola to Sylic, the head of the local thieves guild named the Scars. Zola's abilities as a sorcerer were especially welcomed, and he did many small jobs eliminating easy foes or augmenting another hired killer as part of a team. Zola preferred to remain in the shadows, using his magic from a distance.
Zola, the Killer
Over time, Zola's ally, Mezriss, took control of the Scars and handpicked his lieutenants. Zola's abilities had increased by this time and the organization considered him an important asset. Zola continued to work as backup to other assassins, using his magic to soften up or gain ready access to a foe. He specialized in infiltration and subterfuge.
Zola's reputation increased, and many humans and elves sought after him to eliminate each other. By this time, Zola did not care who his employer was, as long as they had the gold (or magic) to pay his increasingly skillful services. As a gift for loyalty to the Scars, Mezriss gave Zola a kukri of wounding, which the evil sorcerer used many times during his missions.
Zola, the Feared
Over the years, Zola became more of a myth, lurking in the shadows with his dark magic, dispatching his targets with practiced ease. By this time, both the humans and elves lived in fear of being singled out by the Scars, and the two races came together to eliminate what they considered to be a threat to both people.
The Pel Adoran nobility hired an outsider, a dwarven constable named Jesrug. They hoped that his status and neutrality would help in their fight against the Scars. Constable Jesrug showed amazing efficiency by arresting numerous lesser members of the Scars before turning his investigations toward the upper echelon of the assassin guild.
Zola was given the task to find the weaknesses of this dwarf, and he infiltrated into his house under the guise of a humble servant. For months, Zola observed Jesrug, feeding back information to Mezriss and the other members of the Scars, hoping to find a moment when they could catch the dwarf unaware.
The Scars picked a moment when Jesrug was alone along the misty docks of Pel Ador. Several key members of the Scars, including Zola, cornered the dwarf and made their move. However, the constable proved wilier than they expected, and the city guard soon surrounded the Scars. The organization had fallen victim to a sting orchestrated by Jesrug. A massive battle ensued and every member of the Scars fought for themselves. Zola did his best to get away, but was ultimately defeated and imprisoned by Jesrug's men. Sitting in the fetid dungeons of the city prison, Zola fumed at his bad luck while waiting for his execution.
A day before he was to be beheaded in the main square, a team of Scar rogues and assassins broke the sorcerer out of prison. Zola is currently laying low among several Scar safe houses, waiting for the right time to return to his nefarious trade.
About the Author
Eric Cagle is the administrative assistant to the R&D Department at Wizards of the Coast. Don't let the title fool you: He's also a regular gamer. Eric has edited several different projects for R&D, codesigned a D&D sourcebook due in 2002, and participated in numerous playtest assignments. He promises to never again create a character whose name sounds like a digit.