Chapter #78

previous chapter (#77)                                                                  next chapter (#79)






                                +
                              +   +
                            +       +
                          +           +
                        +               +
                      +                   +
                    +                       +
                  +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                    +                       +
                      +                   +
                        +               +
                          +           +
                            +       +
                              +   +
                                +



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1992 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to any   +
+  persons or characters either real or fictional is utterly  +
+  coincidental.  Copying and/or distribution of these tales  +
+  is permissible only under the sole condition that no part  +
+  of them will be used or sold for profit.  In that case, I  +
+  hope you enjoy them...                                     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      11th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra        7th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior     8th/8th/9th level high elf w/m/t    (CN)   +
+   Ged            9th/9th level grey elf priest/mage  (NG)   +
+      Arnold      7th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+   Mongo          9th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        12th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen         9th level human warrior              (N)   +
+   Rob           10th level human priest              (LG)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:   7/15/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                       +
+   Time:   morning                                           +
+   Place:  the Yatil Mountains                               +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                LXXVIII.  The Portal





  Having dealt with the menace of the possessed Bosco, the
party has departed the mountain town of Targ, and is riding
northward.

Ged:  Are you _sure_ that you can get us out of this range
  of mountains?
Mongo:  No sweat.  My mountaineering skills are almost as
  good as my cooking skills.  Speaking of which, I think
  it's lunchtime.
Peldor:  Aw, come on.  We just ate breakfast a couple of
  hours ago!
Mongo:  Quiet, you scrawny human.
Peldor:  Scrawny?  Me?  (looks at himself)
Rillen:  We could ride for a bit longer before we break
  for food.  But, I am getting hungry again too...
Alindyar:  What voluminous stomachs you warrior-types have.
Belphanior:  Hey, Rob's belly there is bigger than Mongo's
  _and_ Rillen's, put together.
Rob:  (ignoring this prattle, as he daydreams)  Huh?
Mongo:  (munches on some bread)  Bah.
Alindyar:  Look!  (points to the side of the rough trail)

  Near the party was a large track of some kind.  It was
not unlike that of a large lion or tiger, though without
a ranger, the party couldn't confirm this.

Belphanior:  I sense a soul!  (points with his sword, to
  the side of the road, and the tall weeds there)
Rillen:  It could be an ambush.
Lyra:  Or the attempt thereof...
Peldor:  Or just some lost soul.
Ged:  Let's check it out, then.  (they leave the horses
  tied to some roadside shrubbery and begin to explore
  the grass)

  Suddenly, there was a shriek from above, and a fearsome
monster swooped from the sky, divebombing the party.  It
had the hindquarters of a large, black goat and the fore-
quarters of a huge lion.  Three heads glared ferociously
at the adventurers - one lion head, one goat head, and a
red, scaly dragon head.  Large, dark wings sprouted from
its broad back.

Mongo:  What in the holy fuck is-  OOF!  (he is buffeted
  as the beast's front paws and goat horns slash at him)
  Agh!  Ugh!
chimera:  (its lion head bites the dwarf's arm, and lifts
  him up into the sky with it)  Graar!
Mongo:  Agh!  It's got me!  (tries to unlimber his hammer
  and attack the beast)
Rillen:  (readies his bow)  What is that thing?
Alindyar:  Chimera!  A deadly denizen of evil parts.
Rillen:  Oh.  I was wondering why someone would sew two
  extra heads and some wings onto a lion.  I guess this
  explains it.
Arnold:  Eggsplanes id!  (unsheathes his sword and chops
  a bush in half, since the chimera isn't in his range)
Ged:  (preparing a spell)  Yea.

chimera:  (its dragon head breathes fire at the party)
Alindyar:  Argh!  (ducks aside, but is charred a bit, and
  his spell ruined)  Damn Lolth's eyes!
Lyra:  (dodges the brunt of the blast, but also gets her
  spell ruined)  Double damn...
Belphanior:  (not really in the path of the stream of
  flame, rolls to one side anyway)  Ha!  (climbs up onto
  a large boulder nearby)  Come and get me, bastard of a
  three-headed monster!
Ged:  (also not in the flame's path, still spellcasting)
Arnold:  (gets crisped by the flame)  Aaaaaaaaaa.  (puts
  out minor fires in his hair)
Peldor:  (dodges the flames, suffering only incidental
  damage)  Aha!  Peldor's great speed and unearthly
  quickness come through again!  (turns invisible as he
  sheathes his sword, and wanders around)
Rillen:  (burned somewhat)  Argh!  What a hothead.
Rob:  (avoids serious fire damage)  Whew.  This heat is
  hot!  (begins spellcasting)
chimera:  (bites and claws Mongo with all available limbs
  and heads, as it carries him around in the air)  Grargh!
  Grmph!
Mongo:  Argh!  That hurts, you fucker!  (finally gets a
  grip on his hammer, and bashes the thing on its goat
  head a couple of times)  Take that!  And that!
chimera:  Graaaaaaar!  (drops the troublesome dwarf and
  circles around for another strafing run)
Mongo:  (lands on the ground about 20' below)  Oooof!
Rillen:  (fires an arrow, hitting the chimera in one
  rear leg)
Ged:  (casts Blindness upon the chimera)  Boccob take
  your sight!
chimera:  (fails to save, blinded)  Rreaargh!  (begins
  to dive and circle erratically)
Belphanior:  Perfect.  (waits for an opportune moment,
  then leaps upon the monster, stabbing wildly)  Die,
  die, die!
chimera:  Rargh!  (tries to shake the elf off by looping
  and rolling)
Belphanior:  Hah!  You won't get rid of me that easily!
Rillen:  (hits the chimera in one head's eye, with his
  next arrow)  That will stick with him for a while.
Rob:  (casts Spiritual Hammer, and bashes the chimera
  with it)
Alindyar:  There you go, lad.
Arnold:  (tries to slash the chimera as it swoops by
  him, but misses)  Aaaaaaaa.

Belphanior:  (stabs the monster again)  Ha ha ha!
chimera:  (flies into a boulder, stunning itself and
  dislodging Belphanior)  Raargh!  Grrraaaargh!
Belphanior:  Wha' happen' ?  (sits up)
Mongo:  It's hammer time!  (hurls his weapon at the
  beast, crushing its goat head into pulp)  Yeah!
Rillen:  I never liked goats anyway.  (fires another
  arrow, hitting the monster in its flank)
Peldor:  (uses his telekinesis ring to slap the thing's
  crushed goat head against the other two heads)  You
  know what they say - three heads are better than one!
chimera:  Raaargh!  (extremely wounded and irritated)
Rillen:  Are you getting a little aHEAD of yourself?
Ged:  Argh!  Stop it with the stupid puns, already!
  (casts a Burning Hands, roasting the monster)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  Yeah!  (hurls it again,
  and hits the chimera again, in the chest)
chimera:  (not built to take this kind of punishment,
  it plummets from the sky, dead)
Ged:  Boccob!  Chalk another one up to the mighty team
  of Ged and Mongo!
Belphanior:  Hey, what about me?
Rillen:  And me?
Rob:  And _me_?

  The party healed and bandaged their wounds, and by
then, Belphanior had located a cave - the lair of the
chimera, apparently.  Peldor would have dashed right
in, if the elf hadn't restrained him.

Belphanior:  Hold on.  There are others back there...
  though somewhat distant...souls waiting to be fed
  to-
Peldor:  Look, here come the others.  (points to the
  party, which is approaching)  How are we ever going
  to get treasure without all of _them_ showing up
  first?!?
Belphanior:  Don't sweat it, we'll find a way.

  The group entered the cavern, cautiously.  The place
was not overly big (only about forty feet by twenty);
in fact, it seemed to be some kind of old mine.  Back
against one wall was a small pile of treasure - some
worn gold coins, a few gems, and a rusty ring.  More
interesting was the secret door, found by Belphanior
to the chamber's rear.  It was cleverly set into the
surrounding stone.  Some pushing and pulling caused
it to pivot, on a central axis, and a dark passage
loomed beyond.  Rob created some powerful light, and
the group moved into the tunnel.  Peldor produced a
strange torch that gave off green light, thus giving
the party a second light source.
  They didn't have to go far before they found a door.
The old, wooden thing creaked as Belphanior opened it
(he had already disarmed the two poison dart traps by
the time the party reached the portal), and they all
entered a large cavern.

Belphanior:  A soul!  (draws his sword)
Mongo:  (looks around, hammer raised)  Where?
Belphanior:  Uh...(looks upward)  Yaaaaaa!

  At that moment, the gigantic spider dropped down
from above, landing right on top of the surprised elf.
They both went down in a heap, and Belphanior's left
leg and arm could be seen protruding from beneath the
spider's bulk, the arm waving Blackrazor wildly, yet
ineffectively.

Mongo:  Holy shit!
Alindyar:  (looks around)  Beware!
Ged:  What?
Rillen:  I have a bad feeling about this...

  From the nearby shadows, a quartet of shadowy figures
appeared, their ebon skin glistening in the pale glow
of Rob's light spell - Drow elves!

drow#1:  (to Alindyar)  Who are you?!?  Who is this
  woman?
Alindyar:  Err...umm...
drow#2:  (to drow#1)  Forget it!  He seeks to infringe
  upon our territory!
drow#1:  It must be.  Kill them!
drow#3:  (a priestess, begins spellcasting)
drow#4:  (a mage, he begins spellcasting too)
Mongo:  (bashes the huge spider atop Belphanior, and
  black juices spurt everywhere)  Get off of him, you
  oversized arachnid!
Rillen:  (uses his boots of speed to sprint toward
  the drow, staff raised)  Hold that pose.
Alindyar:  (begins spellcasting)
Lyra:  (likewise)
Ged:  Boccob!  (also begins a spell)  Arnold!  Cover
  us!
Arnold:  Ridht.  (waves his sword and interposes his
  bulk in front of the magi)  I vill protect you!
Rob:  (hefts his mace)  Yeah!  Me too!
Peldor:  (hurls his torch at drow#1)  Hey, you!  Here,
  catch!

drow#1:  Whaaaat?  (instinctively catches the torch,
  and also instinctively drops it, not realizing that
  the item gives off no heat or flame)  Bah!  (raises
  his sword)  It is time to die, intruders!  (closes
  with Peldor)  Beginning with you, rogue!
drow#2:  (closes with Arnold)  Prepare to die, large
  oaf.
drow#3:  (her spell is interrupted by Rillen's staff,
  as it descends in an arc and bashes her head)  Agh!
Rillen:  It is not _nice_ to cast spells at people who
  are trying to have a swordfight.
drow#4:  (casts Hold Person upon some of the party)
Alindyar:  (saves, but his spell is ruined)  Damn!
  Can I do _nothing_ of consequence today?!?
Lyra:  (fails, is held fast)  ...
Rob:  (saves, easily)  Huh?  (hits the giant spider
  with his magical mace)
Ged:  (saves, gets his spell cast simultaneously)  My
  spell!  Where is it?!?
drow#4:  (his magic resistance stops Ged's Slow spell)
drow#3:  (likewise for her)
Rillen:  (also in the area of effect, but saves, and
  swats drow#3 again, knocking her down)  What?
drow#1:  (slowed)  Wwhhaaaatt?
drow#2:  (not slowed)  A spell!  (scores a minor wound
  on Arnold)  Not a very good spell, though.
Arnold:  Aaaa.  Aaaa!  (slices a chunk out of the drow)
  Don'd cud me!
Peldor:  (easily hits drow#1)  Ha!  Peldor shall win!
Ged:  (muttering as he gets his wand)  Only with _my_
  magical assistance, to slow his foe...
drow#1:  (misses Peldor)  Ddaammnn!
Mongo:  (squashes the big spider, and he and Rob then
  pull it off of Belphanior)  You okay, pal?
Belphanior:  (examining the places where the spider
  fangs penetrated his belly)  Argh.  My magical gem
  must have saved me from the deadly poison.  (stands
  up, then throws up nearby)  Bleeaargh.  I am ill.
Rob:  Yikes.  (pats the elf on the back)  It'll be
  okay.
Belphanior:  (turns, his red eyes glowing)  I know.
  Nothing's wrong that a few _souls_ won't fix!
Mongo:  (headed for the melee)
Belphanior:  (likewise)
drow#2:  (slices Arnold again)  I shall take you apart
  a piece at a time, oaf.
Arnold:  Argh.  Aaaaa.  (slashes at the drow, who
  ducks the attack)  Aaa.

Ged:  (wins initiative and points his wand at drow#4,
  the mage)  Axui!
drow#4:  (goes up in flames)  AAAAAAGH!  (runs around
  screaming)  AAAAAAGH!
Ged:  Hmm.  That got him.
Peldor:  (misses drow#1)  Damn.
drow#1:  (uses an innate drow ability to cover Peldor
  in darkness)
Peldor:  What?!?  (fumbles around)
Mongo:  (tackles drow#1)  You shithead!
drow#2:  (also uses darkness, on Arnold)
Arnold:  Aaaaa.  I can't see any more!  (fortunately,
  he knows blind-fighting, and even more fortunately,
  he gets a critical hit on drow#2 at that moment)
drow#2:  (bisected, dies)
Arnold:  (runs around, his darkness hemisphere with
  him)  Aaaaaaaaa!  Can't see!
Mongo:  (cursing, smashes drow#1 with his hammer)
drow#1:  Argh!  (brings darkness down around him and
  the dwarf)
Mongo:  You think _that_ is gonna stop me from beating
  your head in?!?
Arnold:  (running around, momentarily encases Rob in
  darkness as he runs by the priest)  Aaaaaaaa.
Rob:  Huh?  What was that, an eclipse?
Ged:  Hardly, Rob.  We're underground.
Rob:  Oh, that's right.
Peldor:  (inside his darkness zone, drops to the floor
  as Arnold runs into/over him)
Arnold:  Whaaaaat?!?
Peldor:  Stop, Arnold!  It's me, Peldor.  Quit that
  running around, you're only confusing the others.
  We should sit here until someone gets rid of this
  darkness on us...
Alindyar:  (busy carting Lyra out of the way of the
  battle, looks in that direction)  Eh?
Arnold:  Jusd _sit_ here?  There is battle to be had!
Peldor:  Not for us, in this darkness.  Now calm down
  and be quiet!
drow#4:  (runs into a wall, and collapses, blazing
  and dead)
Rillen:  (hits drow#3 again, with his staff)
drow#3:  (produces a small dagger and stabs Rillen
  with it)  Hah!
Rillen:  Bah.  Huh?  (falls, poisoned)  Erk.
drow#3:  Ha ha!  (prepares to cut the fallen warrior's
  throat)  Now I will make you pay!
Belphanior:  Oh, no you won't!  (backstabs the drow
  priestess, slaying her)  Aaaaaah.  (absorbs the life
  energy of the priestess)  Aaaaaaaaaaaaah.
Rob:  (tries to get over to Rillen to neutralize the
  poison)  Excuse me, excuse me.  Coming through.
Alindyar:  (dispels Peldor's and Arnold's darkness,
  restoring their functionality)  There you go.
Arnold:  Thanks!  (charges drow#1, who is trying to
  defend himself from Mongo's rain of hammer blows)
  I'll help you!  (chops off the drow's arm)
drow#1:  Argh!
Mongo:  Hey, thanks!  Not that I needed any help,
  though.

  It was all over, soon after that, as Mongo's hammer
proved somewhat mightier than the drow's sword.  The
various spells of protection that the drow priestess
amd mage had cast beforehand proved to have been in
vain.  Rob was able to restore Rillen's health with
his magic, and the party rested and bound wounds.
Lyra was freed from the holding spell, as well.
  The large cavern had a few smaller, side chambers,
and it appeared that the drow had taken up quarters
in these.  The rooms were quickly searched, and a
number of items were recovered for examination.
  Also, the drow were stripped of all armor, weapons,
and items, and a pile was made.  Alindyar cast a
spell to detect magic (for the first time - Ged
usually did the honors, but Alindyar had just learned
this spell) and there was much magic to be had.  All
of the drow armor and weapons were magical, as well
as their boots and cloaks.  There were a few other
items as well, both from their bodies and their
quarters...

Alindyar:  Hold.  (picks up a drow sword)  This is
  magical, yes - but only under the earth, in the
  drow world.  Up here, on the surface, it shall be
  nonmagical within days, due to lack of the mystic
  radiations under the earth.
Belphanior:  You mean to tell us that all this crap
  is _useless_?!?
Alindyar:  Affirmative.  Except, those items not of
  drow manufacture should not have this problem.
Ged:  Which are those, I wonder?  (begins to poke
  through the treasure pile)
Lyra:  Let me help you, there.  (does so)

  Soon, those items which seemed non-drow in make
were put in their own pile.  This (much) smaller
pile consisted of:  the rusty ring (from back in
the chimera's lair), a silvered dagger, a black
wand, a javelin, a tome, two potions, a cloak,
and a silver case.  This last item had been under
the floor of one of the drow's rooms, but the
thieves had discovered it.  Ged instantly knew
that it was somehow holy; he and Alindyar deduced
that the drow must have found it somewhere, but
couldn't open it or use it (so they instead hid
it).  Inside the case was an ornate horn, which
Ged and Rob realized could only be used by those
of Good nature.
  One of the side tunnels ended in a larger area.
A pair of huge doors, some 20' high and 10' wide
each, were set into the stone.  Runes upon them
declared:

  THIS IS A PORTAL TO THE UNDERWORLD.  VENTURE
BEYOND AT YOUR PERIL BUT EXPECT NO RETURN HERE.

Belphanior:  Underworld?
Ged:  What?  By Boccob, that's got to be the
  most inane inscription I've ever read.  But
  still, the doors _are_ highly magical.
Alindyar:  (looks at Lyra)  The Underworld.  We
  know what that is, do we not, my sweet?
Lyra:  Yes...
Mongo:  Well, what are you waiting for?  Fill
  the rest of us in!
Rob:  Yeah!
Alindyar:  Well...the Underworld is another
  name for the Underdark - that series of all
  tunnels, roads, and cities deep beneath the
  surface of the world.  'Tis where Lyra and
  I came from.  There are many openings to the
  world above, some magical in nature, like
  this portal.  I would not be surprised if we
  could go through it, but not return by it.
Peldor:  So it's a one-way door to the lands
  below the Oerth?
Lyra:  Basically, yes.
Ged:  Hmm.
Belphanior:  Hmmmmmmmm.  This holds great and
  numerous promises.
Ged:  Indeed.  Boccob would no doubt demand
  that we investigate.
Peldor:  No doubt.
Arnold:  Whad aboud the treasure?  Led's splid
  it ub first!
Peldor:  He's right.  We should divide the magic
  now, if we are to go through that portal...
Alindyar:  Agreed.
Rillen:  (leaning on a wall nearby)  Yes.
Ged:  Very well...(prepares to cast Identify)
Alindyar:  I have that spell now, as well.
  Methinks I shall cast it and assist you in
  the items' identification.
Ged:  (grumbling)  Whatever.



THE MAGICAL TREASURE:

rusty ring (human influence)  - Alindyar
dagger +3 (of throwing)       - Peldor
wand of magic detection       - Belphanior
javelin of seeking            - Rillen
manual of golems (stone)      - Ged
potion of extra-healing       - Arnold
potion of flying              - Rob
cloak +3                      - Lyra
holy horn                     - Mongo



  Obviously, there were pretty slim pickings this
time.  Mongo had the benefit of winning the dice
roll, and instantly chose the horn.  He of course
winded it immediately, and was pleased to see the
effect of doing so:  a large quantity of food and
drink appeared from the horn - it was a true and
great cornucopia.  The others pocketed their own
new items, some happily, others grudgingly.
  They rested for a day before gathering near the
large metallic doors.  Spells proved ineffectual in
getting the doors to open, but Mongo saved the day
with his chime of opening, which was able to do what
the mages' spells could not, through some fluke of
fate.  The massive portals rumbled, and then slowly
opened inward...





next time :  the Underworld

ftp site  :  ccosun.caltech.edu, in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers

notes     :  By the time this gets posted, finals will be
           in progress.  Since it's Christmas vacation for
           most of us, I won't be posting again until early
           January, so have a great break, or a great three
           weeks, or whatever...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++






previous chapter (#77)                                                                  next chapter (#79)