Chapter #81

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



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1993 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)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:   7/16/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                       +
+   Time:   late, late morning                                +
+   Place:  the Underdark                                     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                 LXXXI.  Swamp Terrors





  The party had set out in the direction in which Rob
disappeared.  After they had been walking for a mere
ten minutes, something approached them.

Belphanior:  Hark!  Enemies dead ahead!
Peldor:  Souls?
Belphanior:  No, undead.  (his previously cast spell to
  detect undead has alerted him to some shadowy forms
  lying ahead in ambush)  _Dead_ ahead, get it?  Ha!
Ged:  Evil undead, too!  (his own detection spells go
  off)  Boccob!  (brandishes his holy symbol and starts
  chanting)  Now that Rob's gone, it's all up to _me_.
Alindyar:  You relish this, no?
Ged:  Shut up.

  A number of shuffling forms appeared from the shadows
ahead.  The marauders consisted of a trio of crusty
skeletons, two hunched humanoids with yellow teeth and
dirty hair, a rotting mummy, and a floating wraithlike
being.

Belphanior:  Undead with souls, too!  Oh, joy!  (moves
  to the side to facilitate Ged's turning attempts)
  Hurry up and turn them so I can attack whatever is
  not repelled.
Mongo:  (his helm's diamond begins to glow with a
  bright light)  Huh?
Ged:  Evil spawn, begone from our path!  Disperse!
greater skeletons:  (crumble into dust instantly)
Lyra:  I guess they took you literally...
wights:  (turn and flee in defeat and fear)
mummy:  (likewise flees, dropping bits of bandage in
  its wake)
wraith:  (also flees)
Ged:  Boccob is triumphant once more!
Peldor:  Bah.  Puny Boccob.
Rillen:  Those people smelled.
Belphanior:  (disappointed that there was no battle)
  Damn.
Mongo:  (his helm's jewel goes dim once more)  Oh,
  well.  There's always another time to fight the
  undead.
Alindyar:  No undead wander aimlessly here in the
  Underdark.  Someone or something was no doubt
  guiding them.
Belphanior:  Well, if they show themselves, we can
  always kill _them_ instead of their servants.
Ged:  That's looking on the bright side...

  The adventurers resumed their march.  Peldor held
his green torch high, at the rear of the party, as
he (being human) could not see in the dim light of
the huge tunnel.  Arnold, as well, now held a torch
to help him see here.  Rillen, the only other human
in the party, did not seem to be overly worried
whether there was much light or not; he held his
quarterstaff at the ready.
  The party found a side passage, but it led only a
short way back, to a dead-end cavern.  Nothing was
to be found there, so they returned to the main
tunnel and continued on their way.  Soon, a major
obstacle was reached...

Mongo:  Pugh!  What's that _smell_?!?
Belphanior:  (peering ahead)  Swamp.  A swampy area
  lies ahead of us.
Rillen:  (covers his nose)  This is not healthy.

  Ahead of them, the tunnel was encrusted with muck
on most of its surface.  The floor and walls (up to
about fifty feet) were covered in greenish-brown
slime.  A stench like no other manifested itself.

Rillen:  (uses his staff to test the depth of the
  mud on the floor ahead, and finds it to be about
  a foot deep)  Hmm.  There is no other way across.
Ged:  Wonderful.  We have to trod through the mud,
  eh?  I think not.  Surely I have a spell to help
  in this situation.
Belphanior:  Hey guys, if it helps, I detect no
  souls here...
Ged:  Well, _that's_ good to know.
Arnold:  (watching the mud in front of the party)
  Huh?  Whad's thad?  (points ahead)  Look!
Ged:  Not now, Arnold-  What?!?

  Something was moving - no, rising - from the mud
and slime.  It looked vaguely humanoid, but was
fully ten feet tall.  Roots and vines crossed its
thick limbs, and between them were masses of brown
and green vegetation, perhaps rotting.  The thing
seemed to be facing the party, challenging their
intrusion into its domain.

swamp thing:  AROOOOOOOOOO!
Belphanior:  (begins spellcasting)
Ged:  Boccob's blasted bones!  (begins digging in
  his pack)  Where's that potion of plant control?
  Where the hell did I put it?!?
swamp thing:  (advances)
Rillen:  (bashes the thing with his staff)  Take
  that, vegetable.
swamp thing:  (ignores the blow, and punches the
  warrior hard enough to stun him)
Rillen:  Ugh.
Belphanior:  (casts a Flame Sphere upon the creature)
  Chew on that, you!
swamp thing:  (hugs the blazing sphere of flame to
  its chest, extinguishing it)
Belphanior:  Huh?  I've never seen such a thing!
Ged:  Aha!  (triumphantly holds aloft a small potion
  bottle)  My plant control potion!  (drinks the
  vial's contents quickly)  Glug, glug.  Urp.
swamp thing:  (shambles toward Mongo, who prepares
  to attack as Arnold circles around)
Alindyar:  Try the potion!
Ged:  Yea...(steps in front of the creature and holds
  up one hand)  STOP!
swamp thing:  (halts in its advance)
Ged:  (motions it to one side)  Aside!  We will pass
  without further incident.
swamp thing:  (complies)
Ged:  (to the party)  Now!  Go!
Mongo:  (tromps through the mud without hesitation)
Arnold:  (mindlessly walks through the muck as well)
Rillen:  (removes his boots and follows them)
Alindyar:  I have no wish to coat myself in mud.
  (casts Fly and zips right over the mud, Lyra in
  his arms)  There we go.
Lyra:  (somewhat relieved that she didn't have to
  waste a spell for this)  Thanks.
Alindyar:  My pleasure.
Belphanior:  (waiting)  Hmm...
Ged:  Spells?!?  Oh, come _on_!  We don't have time
  for this!  Just walk through the mud!  You can
  clean up later.
Belphanior:  (hesitantly dashes through the mud)
Peldor:  (telekineses himself over the mud)  Hah.
Ged:  (realizes that he has no clean way over the
  muck)  Hey!  No fair!  Wait a second!
Belphanior:  Oh, come on.  Just walk through the
  mud, now.  What are you waiting for?
Ged:  Grr.  (prepares to walk through the mud)
  Damn it.  It'll take _weeks_ to clean up...
Peldor:  (uses his ring to lift the elf over the
  muck layer)  Hey, look at Ged fly!
Ged:  Wha-  (lands on the far side, with the rest
  of the party)  Hey!  (elated, but doesn't want
  to have to thank Peldor)
Peldor:  That's for saving me from the poison the
  other day.
Ged:  Oh, thanks.  I guess.
Peldor:  Never let it be said that Peldor forgets
  his debts.
Lyra:  Perish the very thought!
Peldor:  (beaming)  Of course, servants of Boccob
  have their natural place among the muck and the
  slime, so...
Ged:  Quiet, fool.

  The shambling mound just stood there, per Ged's
command, and the party moved onward, ignoring the
numerous bodies and skeletons which lay rotting
amidst the muck.  Those who had trod through the
mud found that the stuff produced a noxious odor
when dried.  Actually, even those who had not trod
through the mud were forced to detect this effect.
Just as the swampy area and the big monster were
out of sight, it was unanimously decided that the
time had come for Mongo, Arnold, Belphanior, and
Rillen to clean the mud from themselves.

Ged:  (casting a spell to Create Water)  This will
  provide a way for you people to bathe yourselves
  and clean up...
Arnold:  Bathe?
Mongo:  (produces a basin from his portable hole,
  and he and the others start cleaning away the mud)
Ged:  Phew.

  Meanwhile, Alindyar and Lyra talked quietly, and
Peldor examined the walls, perhaps in quest of some
secret doorway.  The thief didn't notice the thing
behind him until the last moment, when he spun about
in a blur, and came face to face with a nightmarish
countenance!  The thing that stood next to Peldor
could best be described as a humanoid weed.  It had
limbs like men, but they were thin, and appeared to
be woven of green strands.  Patches of fungus were
liberally spaced over the thing's body.  Perhaps
most disconcerting of all was the utter lack of a
face on the thing's head-mass.  Peldor had suddenly
found himself looking into a bulb of fungi and weeds
that held no expression whatsoever.

Peldor:  Yagh!  (leaps backwards, really spooked)
Rillen:  Looks like there is a fungus among us.
Ged:  What in Boccob's name is that thing?!?
Lyra:  Make that _those_ _things_.

  Indeed, though no sound had been made, no less
than a dozen of the creatures stood near Peldor
now.  They did nothing, just stood there silently
and intimidated the party.

Ged:  Boccob!  (tries to command the things since
  his potion is still in effect)  Go away!  Stay
  back!
things:  (slowly advance on the party, some of
  whom have no boots or leg-armor on right now)
Alindyar:  Aaa!  The fungus that walks like a man!
  (retreats, trying to cast a spell and get back
  at the same time)
Lyra:  Beware their touch!  If he is right, then
  the mere touch of one of these creatures means
  certain death!
Peldor:  Shiiiit!  (retreats)  Someone cast a spell
  or something!
Belphanior:  (about to attack, barefoot, backs up)
Ged:  Yea.  They're not listening to the potion's
  power, so...(uses his wand)  Uh...NDREK.

  This previously unused command word produced a
mighty effect indeed.  A twenty-foot wide swath of
flame appeared in front of Ged (thus between the
party and the things) and then moved forward very
rapidly, until it hit the wall behind the things.
The flames lasted for a full minute, and the party
took advantage of this to move a hundred feet down
the huge tunnel.  When the flames died out, there
was no sign of the things, or any remains for that
matter.

Ged:  Wow!  What an awesome weapon this wand is!
Alindyar:  You are gloating...
Lyra:  Wouldn't you?
Peldor:  Death?  I was just standing a few inches
  from that thing...(shudders)
Mongo:  (trying to put his boots back on while
  standing)  How embarrassing.  A battle, and I was
  barefoot.
Rillen:  I would have fought anyway.
Belphanior:  Yeah, me too.
Alindyar:  Not a good idea.  Those creatures have
  the hellish ability to grow spores on anyone
  they touch.  Death is quick and painful, and no
  known spells can slow or halt the process.
Lyra:  The drow call them "the fungus that walks
  like a man" for want of a better term.
Ged:  Well, they walk no more.  Let's get a move
  on.
Arnold:  Yah!

  The adventurers, no longer smelling of underground
swamp mud, moved onward in the huge tunnel.





next time :  a small golem

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

notes     :  ...
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