Chapter #102

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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...                                     +
+                                                             +
+                            Thomas Miller                    +
+                            tmiller@cimmeria.gatech.edu      +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY (or a part of it; they have split for now):     +
+                                                             +
+   Ged           10th/11th level grey elf priest/mage (NG)   +
+      Arnold      9th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    9/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+   Time:    midmorning                                       +
+   Place:   the Free City of Greyhawk                        +
+   Climate: moderate to cold                                 +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "But if for no other reason, Evil must be destroyed so    +
+    that we can once more guide our own destinies."          +
+                                       - The Darkest Day     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                       CII.  Construction





  The party has split into sub-groups to pursue individual
ambitions and missions.  As the sun shines one fine morning,
Ged and his henchman Arnold are out and about scouting the
land market.

Ged:  (turns away from some desk-bound official in the city
  council building they are in)  Boccob!  These people ask
  far too much for land!  We've got a castle to build!  And
  a temple after that!  We've no time for dealing with the
  inflated land prices here!  Why, even Peldor could get
  ripped off in this market...
Arnold:  Hmph.
Ged:  (turns this way and that, to show off his new robes
  of Boccob to any who might be watching)  What do you
  think, Arnold?
Arnold:  I think maybde we should look oud furdher from
  the cidy.  The land midht be cheaper dhere.
Ged:  Why, of course!  Brilliant, young Arnold, simply
  brilliant!  Let us get the horses, and we'll go have a
  look.  Gather three days' food.  (hands Arnold some gold
  coins)
Arnold:  (scratches his head)
Ged:  Three days' food, for _two_.  Meet me at the inn.
Arnold:  Okay.  (merrily heads for the marketplace)
Ged:  (dreaming of his own temple of Boccob, goes to get
  the horses)

  Shortly, they were off.  The pair rode westward for a
few hours, following the River Road from Greyhawk.  This
wide, well-used walkway ran nearby and parallel to the
great Selintan River, all the way south to Hardby, in fact.
However, they left it after ten leagues or so, opting to
use the ford and continue westward, rather than follow the
river, and the road, south.  They followed a trail west,
toward the Free City of Dyvers, for ten more leagues.  At
this point, they left the trail, following a crude map
purchased earlier at a small village, and headed northward,
toward the great lake, the Nyr Dyv.  Though there was no
established path here, but the terrain was flat and grassy,
and the horses had an easy time of it.  By nightfall, the
duo had reached a small farming community on the shore of
the Nyr Dyv.

Ged:  (looks around, then out at the lake)  This is a great
  place to build a castle!  Or, it would be, if I could see
  the lay of the land in this darkness.
Arnold:  Maybde we should camp here, and look at the land
  in the morbning.
Ged:  Yea.  (accosts a farmer)  Excuse me, friend, but we
  seek an inn or tavern here.
farmer:  Sorry, purple-robed one, no inns here.  Maybe you
  could stay in someone's barn.
other farmer:  Say, them's some weird robes you got there.
  Where'dja find 'em, eh?
Ged:  Bah.

  Eventually they found a barn (!) where the owner had some
space (not for free, of course), and they spent the night in
the barn with the farm animals, having paid to do so.

Ged:  This is humiliating.  We have to sleep in a barn with
  the farm animals!
Arnold:  So?  (reclines lazily in the hay, and begins to go
  to sleep)  I can think of worse places to stay.
Ged:  Hmm.  Someday soon, I shall dominate this land, and
  all the peasants will know of Boccob, and his faithful
  servant, Ged...

  Soon, they were asleep, much to the amusement of the horses
and chickens in the barn, who nosed, pecked and clawed at
their possessions with interest.

  Dawn was heralded with a loud, extremely disturbing crowing
sound, and Ged was up and about immediately.

Ged:  Time to survey some land!
Arnold:  Whadb?  Zzz.

  They ate a brief breakfast (Ged wouldn't let Arnold borrow
any eggs from the chickens' nests) and then rode out toward
the shore of the Nyr Dyv.

Arnold:  Whad's this, a sea?
Ged:  No, it's the Nyr Dyv!  The largest inland body of water
  in the Flanaess.  I have decided that my temple and land
  must overlook the lake.  You know how I love the water.
Arnold:  (silent as they ride for a half hour along the shore
  and away from the farming village)
Ged:  (silent as he gazes longingly out onto the lake's blue
  waters)
Arnold:  Say, whad's THAT?  (points)
Ged:  Hmm?  Hey!  Boccob!  A castle!  On my future land!  It
  cannot be!
Arnold:  Loogs pretty old to me.
Ged:  Yea...almost dilapidated.  Shall we have a look?
Arnold:  You're the boss.  (they approach)

  The place was quite old and run-down.  A crumbling square
wall surrounded the place, but its full twenty-foot height
was evident in only a few places.  Huge holes penetrated the
stone barrier, some exposing the interiors of dusty rooms.
There was no standing structure above the ground floor; it
appeared to have fallen long ago.  A rickety-looking wooden
drawbridge spanned a narrow moat filled with murky water.

Ged:  This isn't a very big castle.  Maybe whoever built it
  moved on to a bigger place, somewhere else.
Arnold:  Maybde it's haunted.
Ged:  Come, we must investigate.  (they head for the lowered
  drawbridge, first tying their mounts to a handy boulder)
Arnold:  We must?  (draws his sword)

  They crossed the bridge carefully, for it was creaky and
unhinged, making for a shaky walk.  The rusted iron flywheel
for the drawbridge rested on the ground inside the gate, a
length of scummy chain beside it.  The interior side of the
wall was webbed with broken and rotting ledges and ladders.
The main keep of this castle stood before the pair, its open
double doors revealing a large, dark hall.

Arnold:  I'll need to light a tordch.  (does so)
Ged:  Yea.  Let's have a look inside this place.

  They entered the hall, passing through its empty, silent
length before entering another room.  This second place had
the appearance of a dining hall, but the huge table and its
attendant chairs were rotted and smashed.  Two doors led to
other places; they went through one (literally; the rotted
portal all but crumbled before Arnold's sword pommel) and
found themselves in some kind of old laboratory.  The whole
place was blackened and charred, as if by a mighty fireball,
but something moved in a closet to one side.

Lightbringer:  (pipes up, and begins glowing)  Foul undead
  lurk here!  Sound the alarm!  Marshal the forces!  Let
  there be a RECKONING!!!
Ged:  (sighs)  So much for the element of surprise.
Lightbringer:  We need no surprise to deal with those...
Arnold:  (faces six shambling, wrapped forms)  Mummdies!
  Bud I shall not run in fear like lasd time!  (waves his
  sword)  Aaaaa.  Come, bandage people, come and face me,
  Ah-nold!
mummies:  (comply with the warrior's request)
Ged:  (chants to Boccob)  By the power of the almighty
  Boccob, I banish you, foul undead!  Begone!  BEGONE!
Arnold:  Bandish them to where?

  The mummies recoiled in terror, and retreated into their
closet, where they appeared to have been eating some wild
animal before the two adventurers showed up.

Lightbringer:  They must DIE!  Kill them!
Ged:  They're already dead.
Lightbringer:  Do something!  They are evil, and cannot be
  allowed to roam freely!
Ged:  Oh, all right.  (casts Burning Hands into the closet,
  igniting all of the mummies)  It's not like this will
  burn the castle down or anything...
mummies:  (run around blazing; one flees the closet and
  hits a wall and falls, rolling around)
Ged:  Stop, drop, roll...and burn.  Heh heh.  Belphanior
  would have appreciated that joke...
Arnold:  I tink we should get oud of here.  (they do, and
  head back into the dining room, where they then take the
  other exit)

  That exit led into a kitchen-type place, which was now
staffed by a band of zombies.  The things were playing
with various knives and other utensils, and making quite
a mess.

zombies:  (begin walking toward the pair)  Oooooo.
Ged:  Damn!  (brandishes his holy symbol again)  AWAY!
zombies:  (eleven of them disintegrate, leaving seven to
  menace the two adventurers)
Arnold:  Why didn't you bladst them all?  (charges at the
  foes before they can grope at him)  Aaaa!  (hacks one
  into small bits)  Aaaaaa!
Ged:  Shit!  There's too many!  (backs up, and brandishes
  Lightbringer)  Here they come!
Lightbringer:  Bring them on!
Ged:  It sure is a lot different without Mongo and Rillen
  and Belphanior in the front lines...
Arnold:  How is thad?  (cuts another zombie in half)
zombie:  (gropes at Arnold, but misses)
zombie:  (gropes at Arnold, and hits, clawing him for a
  minor bit of damage)
zombie:  (gropes at Arnold and misses)
zombie:  (gropes at Arnold but can't get through his
  plate mail)
zombie:  (gropes at Ged, but misses)

Ged:  Yie!  (bashes the zombie with his weapon)
Lightbringer:  HA!
zombie:  (disintegrates)
Ged:  For Boccob!
Arnold:  Yah!  (slashes another foe into pulp)

  The zombies tried to overpower Arnold, but by now there
weren't enough, and shortly, all of them were sliced into
bloody bits, or disintegrated by Ged and Lightbringer.

Ged:  A mighty victory!
Arnold:  (examines his wounded arm)
Ged:  Let me fix that for you.  (sets Lightbringer down)
Lightbringer:  Hey!
Arnold:  Id's okay.  (but already, Ged has cast a minor
  spell of healing upon him, closing the wounds)  Aaaaaa.
Ged:  There.  (picks up his weapon)  Let's see what else
  is waiting for us around here.

  They explored the kitchen, but found nothing, and thus
went back into the main hall (the one before the dining
room), for there were caves there, noticed by Arnold -
caves that weren't part of any normal castle construction.

Ged:  Hmm.  Let's check this out.  (he leads the way into
  one cave)
Arnold:  Wait, thad's my job!  (he runs after the elf)
Ged:  This looks like it was...burrowed.

  They explored four cave-tunnels, finding nothing, but
the fifth and last passage led into a larger area, a big
hall of some kind.  They only had a moment to notice the
spiral stone staircase going downward, for a massive,
spotted mauve creature launched itself from the shadows
at them - a sixty-foot long, razor-mawed purple worm!

Ged:  By Boccob!
Lightbringer:  _That_ is no undead.
Ged:  No shit.
Arnold:  Badck!  (pushes Ged out of the way and charges
  the rapidly-approaching worm, sword raised high)  Aaaa!
purple worm:  (roars in challenge)

Arnold:  Aaaaa!  (hacks the worm, slicing a large chunk
  from its neck)  Take dhat, worm.
purple worm:  (snorts and lunges, knocking Arnold aside
  with a mere wave of its head)
Arnold:  Oh shiiiiidt!  (sails into a wall, dropping his
  torch)
purple worm:  (squashes the torch, then looks at Ged and
  gnashes its teeth)
Arnold:  (groggy)  Hey!  He smashed my tordch!
Ged:  For Boccob!  (casts a Lightning Bolt into the maw
  of the thing)  Take THAT!
purple worm:  (fails to dodge the spell, and literally
  eats the lightning bolt!)  Rrrrragh!  (a huge hole is
  blown out of its back as the lightning bolt ravages
  its insides)  Rrrrrrgh!
Ged:  Yes!  By Boccob, a direct hit!
Arnold:  (leaps up and attacks again, slicing the worm's
  head in half with a perfectly-aimed blow of his huge
  sword)  Aaaaa!
purple worm:  (undulates and thrashes about, then dies)
Ged:  Victory!
Arnold:  Vigdory!  (he brushes himself off)
Lightbringer:  Too bad it wasn't an undead...

  Having defeated the mighty worm, the small group could
only do one thing - descend the dark spiral staircase.
They did so, after Arnold lit another torch to illuminate
the way.  The staircase exited into a small room, which
contained only one exit, and a half-rotted wooden chest.

Arnold:  (pokes at the chest with his sword)  Where's
  Peldork when we need him?

  The chest promptly fell apart, though, yielding a pile
of golden coins, a sheathed dagger, a sack containing a
weird musical instrument, and two crushed potion bottles.
The small items were quickly pocketed (backpacked?), but
the gold was too much to carry, and was left here for now.
The pair of adventurers took the exit, a doorless passage,
and walked through a round tunnel into a cave-like area.
Two tall, broad monsters with big, bug-like eyes and two
sets of mandibles were here, busy eating a dead, purple
baby worm.  They promptly stood up and lumbered toward
the intruders.

Ged:  Umber hulks!  Avoid their gaze at all costs!  (he
  begins spellcasting)
Arnold:  Ridght.  (he charges blindly, and hacks at one
  of the monsters, inflicting a bloody wound)
umber hulk:  (paws at Arnold, wounding him)
other umber hulk:  (also paws at Arnold, and wounds him)
Arnold:  Argh!  Argh!
Ged:  (casts a Slow spell on the umber hulks, and both of
  them are affected)  Boccob!  What luck!
umber hulk:  (moves about slowly, intending to bite Arnold
  but not quite sure what's wrong)
other umber hulk:  (watches its claws move about slowly in
  front of its face)
Arnold:  (takes this opportunity to slash the monster he
  wounded earlier, and the thing is knocked off its feet
  by the force of his blow)  Yah!
umber hulk:  Rargh!  (topples, and falls, pawing at the
  ground uselessly)
Lightbringer:  That's it!  Get them!  Bash them!
Ged:  Not now.  We need spells...

Arnold:  (hacks the slowed, wounded hulk, slaying it)
other umber hulk:  (claws and bites Arnold, and also has
  a chance to lock gazes with him)  Rergh?
Arnold:  Rergh?  (begins wandering around, having fallen
  prey to the monster's confusion gaze)  Ergh?
Ged:  Damn!  (casts a Polymorph Other upon the creature)
  You shall be a rat!
umber hulk:  (fails to resist this powerful magic, and is
  quickly compressed into a large rat with large compound
  eyes)  Squeak!  (it attacks Ged, biting at his foot)
Ged:  Ugh.  (kicks the rat away)  So much for that.  Now
  where did Arnold get to?
rat:  (scurries off into a tunnel)
Arnold:  (still wandering around)
Ged:  Damn this waste of spells...(casts Dispel Magic on
  his henchman)
Arnold:  (returns to his senses, such as they are)  Huh?
Ged:  You look wounded.  (casts a curative spell)
Arnold:  (healed muchly)  Thandks.
Ged:  (looks around)  Several exits...hmm.

  They tried one exit (all of the passages leading out
were round and obviously monster-made) and discovered a
small chamber filled with weird purple fungus.  This was
left alone, and soon, another exit led to a caved-in
section of tunnel.  The third exit tried ended abruptly,
apparently abandoned by whatever had been digging it.
  The fourth and last exit led to a rotting door, and
they advanced beyond this into a large dungeonlike room.
Something stirred in the darkness...

Ged:  Hold that torch up!
Lightbringer:  (blazes into life)
Ged:  Never mind.
Arnold:  Uh-oh.

  A huge skeleton, perhaps fifteen feet tall, moved out
of the darkness and toward the pair of adventurers.  Its
huge hands flexed in anticipation, and its teeth ground
and gnashed with some damnable hunger.

Ged:  (holds up his holy symbol with great determination)
  Away, O granddaddy of all undead vermin!  I command you
  to go back, by the power of the almighty Boccob!  BACK!
giant skeleton:  (ignores the priest, and advances)
Ged:  Aie!  It's too strong!  (raises Lightbringer)
Arnold:  (charges the skeleton)  Die, skeledon!  (he hits
  it with his sword, inflicting minor damage)
giant skeleton:  (swats Arnold, bowling him over)
Arnold:  Aaaaa.  (rolls into a wall)  Oof.
giant skeleton:  (swats Ged, knocking him from his feet)
Ged:  Aaargh!  (stands up shakily)  You shall pay for
  that, skeletal scum!  (bashes the undead)
Lightbringer:  Perish!
giant skeleton:  (avoids being disintegrated/dispelled,
  but suffers significant damage from the holy weapon)
Ged:  Hey!  It didn't dissolve!
Lightbringer:  My powers are not limitless, you know.
  But we can still burn it with my holy flames!  Hit it
  again!
Ged:  (can't manage another attack at the moment, due to
  positioning)
Arnold:  (tries to tackle the monster, but can't knock it
  down)  Aaaaa.
giant skeleton:  (regards the relatively puny human with
  its hollow eye sockets)

Arnold:  (jumps back, and brandishes his sword)  Ah-nold!
  (beats his chest and attacks)
giant skeleton:  (suffers some damage from the sword blow,
  and then gropes Arnold, tearing gashes in his side)
Arnold:  Aaaa!
Ged:  (clobbers the skeleton from behind, smashing its
  ribcage into flinders)  For Boccob!
giant skeleton:  (teeters and totters)
Arnold:  (in a desperate fit of fury, leaps forth and
  chops the thing's head in half)  Yah!
giant skeleton:  (shatters into small pieces)
Arnold:  Agh.
Ged:  Whew.
Lightbringer:  And so another undead scum is disposed of.
Ged:  (notices that Arnold is once again wounded, and
  heals him of most of his damage)  We really could use
  some more front-line warrior support here...
Arnold:  Yah.  Judst a Mongo or two.

  There was a single door leading out of this chamber, and
the pair took it, finding a smaller room, perhaps once a
bedroom, beyond.  An ancient draped bed stood in one corner,
and a rusty washbasin nearby contained a rotted towel and
some crusty soap.  Before they could do anything, a pack of
dark forms drifted from beneath the bed, and toward the two
adventurers.

Ged:  By Boccob!  Wraiths!
Arnold:  There sure are a lod of them...
Lightbringer:  Do something!
Ged:  I am.  (turns the undead)  Boccob is tired of your
  undead faces!  GO BACK!
wraiths:  (due to a certain factor of luck, all twelve of
  them are turned back, and they flee into a dark corner)
Ged:  Yea!  Perfect!
Lightbringer:  We must still slay them!  We are obligated
  to rid the world of them.
Ged:  <sigh>  Yea, I guess you're right.

  Very carefully, Ged, Arnold, and the holy morningstar
sought out the wraiths, one by one, and destroyed them by
bashing them with Lightbringer.  The weapon's power proved
greater than the wraiths', and they were summarily reduced
to ashes.

Arnold:  I get the feeling thad we shoulbd be looking for
  some treasure...
Ged:  But where...?  Ah!  Of course!  (looks under the bed
  while using Lightbringer to provide illumination)  Aha!
Arnold:  Whad?
Ged:  There's something here...some kind of door...hmm, we
  need to get the bed out of the way, though.
Arnold:  Say no more.  (sheathes his sword, and lifts one
  corner of the massive bed, then hurls it aside with a
  mighty effort)  Dhere.
Ged:  Good job.  (they now regard a square metal hatch in
  the floor, under the bed)  It's got a pullring.  Where's
  Peldor when we need him?  Ah, never mind.  (he casts Find
  Traps)  Well, it's safe.  I should have used this a while
  ago.
Arnold:  Safe?  (grabs the ring and heaves, exposing a very
  small cubical space containing a few items)  Phew!  (he
  sets the heavy trap door down beside the hole it covered)

  They found a silken pouch containing nine sapphires, a
ring of blue metal, a scroll in its tube, and a leather-
bound tome.  That was all, but just as they lifted these
items from the hole, the ground began to shake.

Ged:  Uh-oh.  I've got a bad feeling about this...
Arnold:  (looks around)  Time to RUN!  (they flee, and
  head for the entrance to the castle, above)

  They made it out just as the whole castle collapsed into
rubble (Arnold got bonked on the head by a sizable rock as
he fled, and was knocked out, but they were already safe,
fortunately) and quickly found their mounts, still tied to
the small boulder.  The horses seemed agitated, and had to
be calmed down.  Ged and Arnold rode a short distance away
before turning to watch the dust settle.

Ged:  Well, THAT was certainly a good way to kill an
  afternoon.
Arnold:  Nod to mention a few undeads...
Ged:  Of course.  And we got some good stuff, too.  (he
  begins evaluating the treasure)  Magical?  (casts a
  Detect Magic)  Hmm, now I could conceivably detect any
  magical traps...



THE MAGIC ITEMS:

dagger +2           - Arnold
lyre                - Ged ("Arnold, do you play the lyre?
                            No?  I thought not.")
ring                - Ged
scroll vs demons    - Arnold
old spellbook       - Ged



  Since there seemed to be nothing better to do, the pair
decided to eat lunch.  It was during this break that the
riders approached.

Arnold:  Riders?
Ged:  Uh-oh.  (stands up)
Arnold:  Aaaa.
Lightbringer:  Well, _these_ certainly aren't undead!

  The two adventurers (and one magical morningstar) were
confronted by a force of thirty well-armed warriors, who
bore some insignia they had never seen before.

tall leader-type:  (approaching middle age, he is fairly
  stocky, with a shaved blond scalp and blue eyes)  What
  in the HELLS have you done here?!?
Ged:  (taken aback)  Pardon?
leader:  That castle!  What did you DO with it?
Arnold:  We-
Ged:  Sh.  I am Ged, a priest of the almighty Boccob.  We
  were exploring yonder place (points offhandedly to the
  rather large pile of rubble) when numerous foul undead
  attacked us.  We fought back, and won, multiple times,
  and after one of the combats, the whole place just went
  to pieces.  So it was.
leader:  Well, I'll be DAMNED!  (strides forth and shakes
  Ged's hand)  We've been shirking that place for years!
  And now you've gone and levelled it!  I'll have to make
  a report of this - surely you'll be due for a medal!
Ged:  Medal?
Arnold:  Mettle?
leader:  I am Tigran.  Tigran Gellner, commander of the
  City's Cairn Hills force.  Pleased to meet you.
Ged:  The pleasure is mine.  Do you have a place we can
  stay for a bit, and talk business?
Tigran:  Of course; come with us.  (they ride to the east)

  Ideas were already forming in Ged's head, and he asked
Tigran who owned all of this land.

Tigran:  The City of Greyhawk, of course.  Why?
Ged:  Well, I'd like to settle here, maybe build a manor
  or a small castle...
Tigran:  The City doesn't usually sell this sort of land.
Ged:  But I have a lot of money.  And surely I deserve a
  chance to fortify this area, on the city's authority of
  course.  And under its jurisdiction, ultimately.
Tigran:  Hmm.  It couldn't hurt, to have one such as you
  in the vicinity.  I'll see if I can put in a good word
  for you with the City Council.  Meanwhile, you can stay
  at our hill fort there.  (indicates a speck in the far
  distance)

  Within two days, a response came - the answer was yes!
Ged would be allowed to purchase, initially, a three-by-
three league plot of grassland, touching on the Nyr Dyv.
His land was a plot just east of the ruins of the older
castle (to avoid vengeful spirits, the council's minion
said).  The price of the land was hefty (forty thousand
coins of gold), but was reasonable considering the land
prices closer to the city.  Ged returned at once to the
city, to make the necessary withdrawal from his account
at the city vaults; he augmented his raw coinage with the
nine sapphires from the castle, and was able to meet the
price of the land while still retaining significant coin
for the hiring of workers and other necessary people.

  In the weeks that followed, Ged, Arnold, and the man
who they had hired for his architectural expertise, one
Marcus Lindsellicus, drew up plans for the castle.  It
was a major undertaking, involving the hiring of a lot
of workers and specialists.  There were bricklayers and
carpenters, carters and cartwrights, grooms and laborers,
limners and linkboys, plasterers and porters, quarriers
and weavers, tanners and tinkers, even a gardener or two
to make sure that the land was fertile.  A clerk was a
late addition to the army of hirelings, for his skills
at accounting would be needed to help manage this whole
operation.
  As the work commenced, under the supervision of the
great Lindsellicus, it quickly became obvious to Ged
that he would need a lieutenant, a second-in-command,
someone to run this place when Ged and Arnold were out
adventuring.  For this, Ged went to Greyhawk's guild
of warriors, and held interviews one day.  He used the
spells of Detect Lie, Know Alignment, and Detect Evil to
ensure that he didn't make an unwise decision.  After a
full three hours of searching, Ged found exactly what he
was looking for in a fellow named, simply, Deryck.  This
half-elf's honesty and good nature were quickly evident,
as was his skill as a ranger.  He had spent years among
the Gnarley Forest to the south, and had many friends
there.  In addition, Deryck was an extremely competent
leader and strategist, having previously commanded bands
of woodsmen in forays against humanoids in the western
part of the Gnarley.  Ged's offer interested the young
half-elf greatly, and within moments, a suitable salary
had been agreed upon.  Ged decided to give the ranger a
token of his trust, namely, his sling of seeking; this
gift was greatly appreciated by the elf's new friend, who
swore his loyalty to Ged and his castle.

  A few days later, when Ged and Arnold were visiting the
construction site, Ged just happened to be strumming his
new lyre, trying to learn how to play it.  Suddenly, a
wild-eyed, red-bearded man ran from one of the holes in
the ground (for the foundation) and began yelling!

Ged:  (quits playing and approaches the fellow)  Who the
  hell are you?
fellow:  I'm Scotty, one o' yer hired help.  I'm the
  chief miner, yes I am, and somethin's afoot in them
  thar foundation mines!  They be a'diggin' themselves,
  strangest damned thing I ever seen, yep, diggin tunnels
  an' fillin' holes, just like on yer drawins!
Ged:  How?  Who?  What?
Arnold:  Id starded when you were playink that thing...
Ged:  (looks at the lyre)  This?  (strums its strings)

  The earth rumbled slightly, as somewhere nearby, a new
passage dug itself.

Scotty:  See?  Thar it be again!  I've played many a fine
  instrument, but ne'er one the likes o' that one!  Can
  it really be doin' these things?
Ged:  (gazes at the lyre)  It must be an item of...of...
  of building!  That's it!  (turns to Scotty)  Can you
  use the help that this thing gives?
Scotty:  Why, yea, sure!  But we'll be needin' to know
  whence it's playin' so's we can get outta the way!
Ged:  Deal.  (he begins playing the instrument once more)
Scotty:  I've never seen a thing quite like it!

  By experimentation, Ged learned that the item would
function like this only once per week - but when it did,
it would build in a half hour what should have taken a
full week, for five score workers!  The device seemed to
have tuned itself to Ged's mind, and he quickly mastered
its use, and then used it to help build his castle.  The
fact that he found it exactly when he needed it seemed to
be a godsend...

  A few days later, Ged was busy studying his magical
libram (he finally had some time on his hands!), while
Arnold was watching the stonemasons work with no little
fascination.  A lone rider approached, heading for Ged.
He was elderly, of average height and build, with grey
hair which was thinning out.  His grey-blue eyes bored
holes into Ged, and his beaked nose and thin, bloodless
lips made odd contortions as he observed the elf.

Ged:  (looks up from his book)  Who are _you_?
man:  Someone you should get to know.  (he dismounts)  I
  am Ravel Dasinder...(tosses back his cloak, revealing
  purple robes with a familiar symbol sewn on)...the Free
  City of Greyhawk's Patriarch of Boccob!
Ged:  Er...uh...um.  Oh.
Ravel:  And you are a sub-priest of Boccob, planning to
  erect a temple here, am I not correct?
Ged:  Uh, basically, yea.  I've never been called a "sub-
  priest" before, though.
Ravel:  It's all relative.  (walks forth and shakes Ged's
  hand)  Nice work on that haunted castle.  Tigran told
  me all about it.  Good way to get started here, it was.
Ged:  Err, thanks.  (wondering if he should bow to the
  high priest)  Undead, you know.  They had to be gotten
  rid of.
Ravel:  Yes, yes.  I have no doubt that your temple will
  be a fine one, when finished.  We shall be talking more
  often, you and I.  (he gets back on his horse)  Do stop
  by sometime and have a meal with me.
Ged:  Sure thing.  Until we meet again...
Ravel:  (rides away, checking out the castle as he goes)
Ged:  (muttering to himself)  I knew he looked vaguely
  familiar...



  After a week, Ged finished the libram of silver magic,
and advanced in the wizardly ways.  He also incorporated
the spells from the new spellbook into his own book, as
Deryck supervised the castle work with Arnold.  Ged was
now the master of several new spells, such as the fire
shield, the animation of the dead, and the spell of true
seeing - mighty spells indeed.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY (or a part of it; they have split for now):     +
+                                                             +
+   Ged           10th/12th level grey elf priest/mage (NG)   +
+      Arnold      9th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    11/24/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                     +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   one days' ride west of Greyhawk                  +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



Ged:  We have much to be thankful for.
Arnold:  Led's have a feast!

  A great feast commenced, and for the next several weeks,
construction continued, at least until the new year, and the
rendezvous with the rest of the adventurers.





  Meanwhile, somewhere in the Wild Coast, evil was afoot.

female drow mage:  (looks over her companions as the band
  approaches a small town)  It is fortunate that you were
  for hire, fiend.  (reins in her horse, a huge black evil
  animal)
wraithlike one:  (floating a foot above the ground, he/it
  whispers in a hissing tone)  not for hire.  for souls.
  if these...adventurers are indeed as powerful as you
  claim, it shall be my pleasure to take their lives...
tall warrior with skull-helm:  (frowns at the wraithlike
  one)  Bah!  I deal with no hissing ghouls from hell!
  (draws his sword)  Away, you!  (his horse rears)
wraithlike one:  (a blade of black energy appears in one
  hand)  have a care, mortal, lest I become...offended.
tall warrior:  (growls menacingly)
horse:  (neighs menacingly)
female drow mage:  Enough!  Save your hostilities for the
  adventurers, damn you!
big red-armored priest:  (holds the warrior back)  Hold,
  for she is right.  Fighting amongst ourselves now will
  be counter-productive.  (pats his own mount on the head)
white-robed man:  (looks on curiously, yet silently, from
  his pale white horse)
pale white horse:  (looks half-dead)
female drow mage:  (points to the town ahead)  Perhaps
  the worms in this shoddy place can tell us where to
  find the next ally we seek.
tall warrior:  (sheathes his sword)  So be it.  For the
  price you are paying me, I will track anyone to the ends
  of the earth.  It can't hurt to fight alongside a demon
  or two, I guess.
female drow mage:  Good.  The adventurers must die!





next time :  Belphanior and Peldor get into trouble, and we
           find out more about these bounty hunters

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

notes     :  This story just goes to show that:
           1)  building a castle can be interesting and
               involve role-playing, and
           2)  you can't be a 10th level priest and remain
               unknown in the land for long.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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