Chapter #84

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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:   early evening                                     +
+   Place:  the Underdark                                     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





             LXXXIV.  A Trio of Beasts Most Foul





  The party has just eliminated the threat of a roomful
of small, evil vermin.  The adventurers are now walking
through a tunnel to the creatures' lair.


Mongo:  I see it!  I see it ahead!
Belphanior:  What?  Looks like a big, empty room to me.
  (snorts)  Stinks, too.
Alindyar:  As well it should - Ged roasted those small
  vermin.
Ged:  Ah, the mighty power of Boccob's wand...
Peldor:  Enough about Boccob, okay?  (the party enters
  the chamber)

  They were in a large, roughly rounded cavern now.
The place was blackened and covered with soot, and the
walls were still hot to the touch.  Tiny burnt bones lay
strewn everywhere, and it was Belphanior who found the
puddle of gold and other treasure - all melted now, of
course.

Peldor:  (pointing accusingly at Ged)  And you said that
  _I_ was bad because I wasted _one_ magic item?!?!?
Ged:  Well...err...umm...
Mongo:  Enough.  There's always more where these came
  from.
Rillen:  Very well.  (eyeing the single exit passage)
Belphanior:  (leads the party through the passage)

  The passage was narrow and very curvy.  Near its
end, there were numerous bits of broken glass on the
floor, and these had to be carefully stepped over to
avoid nasty cuts.

Alindyar:  Beware the glass.
Belphanior:  Glass?  Who gives a shit about _glass_?

  The next chamber was a large, though oddly shaped,
cavern.  Two strange creatures were within, and they
ceased their squawking conversation to regard the
adventurers.  The larger one stood fully six feet in
height, and had two round heads on long necks.  The
creature had no arms at all, but its beaks were quite
large, and its tail was comprised of a number of very
brightly colored feathers.  The smaller avian stood
only a mere two feet in height, but sneered at the
party with a more ferocious look than its companion.
Abruptly, both of the birds advanced on the party.

Alindyar:  Beware!  That small one appears to be a
  cockatrice!
Ged:  Boccob!  Then its touch turns one to stone!
Alindyar:  Yes.
Belphanior:  (regards the larger bird, which is
  bobbing its two heads to and fro as it approaches)
  I'll just attack _this_ one, instead.  It looks like
  a wimp.  (he advances on the large bird)
large bird:  (regards the elf, then steps forward
  and pecks at him with both heads)  Squawk!
Belphanior:  (ducks one bite, but gets clipped by
  the other, and instantly turns into glass along
  with all of his items)
Mongo:  FUCK!  (the party scatters most rapidly)

small bird:  squeak.  (stalks random party members)
Ged:  Boccob!  (begins spellcasting)
large bird:  (advances on Mongo, both heads bobbing
  about mindlessly)  Squawk.  Squaaaaaaaaaaawk.
Mongo:  Stay back, you peckerhead!
Rillen:  (prepares to combat the small bird)
Lyra:  (spellcasting)  We must concentrate on the
  larger of the two.
Alindyar:  Aye.  (begins a spell)
Arnold:  (mortally afraid of being turned into a
  glass statue, looks around fearfully)  Aaaaaa.
Ged:  (casts Slow upon the larger bird, but the
  spell fizzles, and the thing is not affected)
  Boccob!  Magic resistance!
Alindyar:  (casts a Web upon both birds, but the
  web unravels totally as soon as it touches the
  larger bird)  Mayhaps it is totally immune to
  spells.
Lyra:  Don't say that.  (blasts the large bird
  with Magic Missiles, but they dissolve upon
  hitting it)  Damn Lolth's eyes!  Perhaps you
  are right!
Peldor:  (nonchalantly telekineses the smaller
  bird into the larger one)  When Little Bird
  met Big Bird...
small bird:  squ-  (turns into glass)
Peldor:  (grins and takes a bow)
Mongo:  All right, Peldor!
Ged:  Arnold!  Get Belphanior - err, his glass
  statue - and move it out of harm's way.  It
  won't do to have him get shattered in this
  battle.
Arnold:  Ridht.  (hefts the statue, which is
  a fairly light load for him)
Ged:  And be careful with that.
Arnold:  Ridht.  (carries the statue to a far
  corner of the chamber)

large bird: (snaps at Mongo, but ineffectually)
  Squawk!
Mongo:  (reluctant to hit the creature with his
  hammer, for fear that the weapon might turn
  into glass)  Argh!  (backs up)  I need a club!
Rillen:  (draws his bow)  Sorry, no clubs here.
  How about a few arrows, though?
Mongo:  Fine, go for it!  (continues to back up)
Ged:  (casts Flame Strike upon the bird)
large bird:  (watches the spell fizzle around
  itself)  Squawk?
Peldor:  (on a whim, telekineses his seemingly
  indestructible meteorite out of his pack and
  into the bird)  Peldor strikes again!  (in all
  actuality, the thief just wants to find out
  how indestructable the rock really is)
large bird:  (reels from this mighty impact - and
  the meteorite is not turned into glass)  Squa!
Rillen:  (astutely observes the above)  That is
  what I was waiting to hear.  (fires a magical
  arrow, hitting the bird in the head)
large bird:  Screeeee!  (flagellates about)
Mongo:  Yahr!  (hurls his hammer, hitting the
  bird in one head, causing the head to bounce
  about)  Take that, birdbrain!
Lyra:  (doesn't want to risk wasting another
  spell)  I wonder if any spells will affect
  it?
Alindyar:  (casts a Blindness spell, which,
  somewhat predictably, fails against the big
  bird)  ...
Lyra:  Hmm, guess not.
Rillen:  (hits the bird with another arrow)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer, and immediately
  hurls it again)  Yah!
large bird:  (hit, falls, dead)
Ged:  Boccob's luck guides us today!
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  That one was for
  Belphanior.
Alindyar:  Speaking of whom...

  The party made their way to the far end of
the room, where Arnold had reverently set the
glass statue of Belphanior down.  Peldor used
his ring to move the two bird corpses into an
alcove, far away from the party.  Ged tried a
spell of healing, to no avail - the glass elf
remained so.  Mongo touched Belphanior with
his healing wand, that with the snakes wound
around it, but this had no effect either.  The
adventurers rested and brainstormed at the same
time, but were stumped for answers.  No spell
or item that they had seemed able to reverse
Belphanior's transformation.  They all knew
that the elf had a sword containing at least
one more wish - but that sword was now glass
along with the rest of Belphanior.  They even
tried speaking the wish aloud, anyhow, just
in case, but the attempt was unfruitful.
  It was Rillen who came forth with the final
solution.  He began rubbing his ring, the one
supposedly of djinni summoning, and wondered
if a djinni could bring the glass elf back to
life.  The consensus seemed to be that it was
worth a try, so the warrior said the proper
command word, half-expecting that nothing
would happen.  But not so!  The stream of gas
that billowed from nowhere quickly formed
itself into a vaguely humanoid shape, as the
party, never having seen a djinni before,
gaped in awe.  Well, not _all_ of them -
Alindyar just gaped.

djinni:  (in a ridiculous accent)  Greetings,
  my master!  What can I do for you?
Rillen:  Uh...(points to the glass statue that
  is Belphanior)  This elf must be made human
  once more.  Can you help?
djinni:  (wondering if this is part of his
  contract)  Hmmmmmmm.  Not directly, master.
Mongo:  Shit.
Rillen:  (drumming his fingers on a wall)
djinni:  However...
Rillen:  What?  What?!?
djinni:  I am empowered to grant you three of
  your wishes.  Therefore, you may _waste_ one
  of them on this elf...
Rillen:  Waste?
djinni:  Well, he _was_ after all stupid enough
  to get himself into this predicament...
Rillen:  Bah.  I do not recall asking what you
  thought of the matter.  He is my companion, and
  that is all that matters.  Thus I wish that
  Belphanior the elf was flesh and blood again,
  alive and well as if he had never met that
  glassing-bird.
djinni:  (sighing)  Very well.  (snaps his fingers
  and vanishes into the ring, as Belphanior is
  transformed into live flesh once more)  Only
  two mooooooooooore.........
Belphanior:  (leaps up into the air, sword above
  his head, then lands, looking confused)  Huh?!?
Rillen:  Let us just say that you owe me one.
Belphanior:  (considers this)

  The adventurers searched the chamber while
explaining to Belphanior what had happened.  The
two birds had no treasure, so the party decided
to venture into the next chamber.  Peldor, now
invisible, stayed behind, and carefully cut all
ten of the brightly plumed feathers from the
deceased larger bird's tail.  Somehow, only the
thief, whose wisdom was underestimated with good
reason by most of the others, sensed the great
magic that was contained within the feathers.
He stuffed them carefully into a pouch, and then
put the pouch at his belt, and joined the others.
  The next chamber was larger than the birds'
lair.  So was its inhabitant - a very strange
creature indeed.  It had a body like a dragon,
and wings to match, but hands like those of a
man, though with oversized fingers.  The thing's
snaggletoothed head had several horns jutting
out here and there.  Alindyar began muttering
something about a "jabberwock", while Mongo
charged forth bravely to do battle.

Mongo:  Chaaaaaarge!  (runs into the room)
jabberwock:  (turns and breathes frost all over
  the dwarf and most of the others)
Mongo:  Argh!  (falls, chilled severely)
Belphanior:  (likewise)  Fuck!
Rillen:  (likewise)  Brr.
Arnold:  (likewise)  Aaaaaaa.
Ged:  (takes minor damage, as he was standing
  to the side)  Boccob!  Another foul beast!
Alindyar:  (begins preparing a spell)
Lyra:  Jabberwock?  (also begins a spell)
Peldor:  (invisible, moves around the room)
Ged:  (begins casting a spell upon himself)
Mongo:  (the first to recover, he sends his
  hammer flying in a deadly arc, smashing
  the thing in the chest)  Yeah!
jabberwock:  Blargh!
Mongo:  Says you, ugly.  (catches his hammer)
Alindyar:  (casts a Fear spell, but it does
  not affect the monster in the least)
Lyra:  You know...(casts Charm Monster, also
  to no effect)  Legends have it that the
  jabberwock is _immune_ to spells...
Belphanior:  What do you mean, THE jabberwock?
Ged:  (completes his spell, and begins to
  change in form, growing larger)
Alindyar:  We must beat it by force alone!
Ged:  (still mutating)  I'm working on it...
Rillen:  (leaps forth and bashes the thing in
  the leg with his staff)  You are one ugly-
Arnold:  (runs up from the opposite direction
  and heaves a mighty blow, sending purple
  blood everywhere)  Ah-nold strikes!
jabberwock:  (disdainfully grabs each of the
  warriors in one clawed hand, and electric
  shocks course through their bodies)  Blah.
  (tosses both victims aside casually)
Rillen:  (lands nearby, unconscious)
Arnold:  (ditto)
Mongo:  Did it _kill_ them?!?  (hurls his
  hammer again, denting the monster's head)
  'Cause if it did, well, then, I'll kill
  IT!!!
Ged:  (now in the polymorphed form of a huge
  frost giant, steps up and punches the weird
  monster with a large, beefy fist)  Hah!  I
  feel GREAT!
jabberwock:  Uhr?  (reels)
Ged:  (beats his chest)  Boccob!  I love it!
Peldor:  What's gotten into him?  (invisible,
  backstabs the creature, wounding it quite
  terribly)  For Peldor!  (becomes visible)
jabberwock:  (turns and breathes all over
  Peldor and Belphanior, a blast of flame
  this time)  Blargh!
Peldor:  (knocked unconscious by the damage)
Belphanior:  (very, very close to death now)
Lyra:  (turns)  All the monsters react like
  that when Peldor announces his name...hmm...
jabberwock:  (whips Ged with its tail, scoring
  a line of blood across his frost giant chest
  and causing great pain)  Bleeeeer!
Ged:  (fails to save against the pain, and is
  feeling almost dizzy)  Aaaaaaaagh!
Belphanior:  (staggers up and delivers a weak
  slash - which is just enough to penetrate
  the monster's heart and slay it)  ...?
jabberwock:  (falls, dead)
Belphanior:  (as the thing was not intelligent,
  he gains no power from its demise, and slumps,
  feeling tired)  Whew.

  The party knew that it was time to rest for
the night.  Most were hurt or tired, and all but
a few of the party's spells were spent.  Mongo
used his wand to heal those most direly wounded
(Rillen, Arnold, Peldor, and Belphanior) but
then had to stop - even the mighty wand had its
limits, it seemed.  Mongo was unable to heal Ged
or himself, but fortunately Ged had exactly two
healing spells left.
  The jabberwock had a pile of items to one side.
A ridiculous number of golden coins, minted in
no stamp that any of the party recognized (save
the drow), composed the bulk of the treasure.
Within this pile were a number of small boulders
of iron, a silk pouch containing dice, some old
boots, a badly rusted helm, and a wand.  When
Alindyar cast his spell of magical detection,
the dice, the boots, and the wand registered.
The party set a watch, and rested here for the
night.  No further exits were evident - this
chamber was the end of the side passage.





next time :  a truly unbeatable foe (no kidding)

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

notes     :  Ten VERY magical jub-jub bird tail feathers - and
           now a single person has them all...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++






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