Chapter #103

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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):     +
+                                                             +
+   Belphanior     9th/10th/11th level high elf w/m/t  (CN)   +
+   Peldor        13th level human thief                (N)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    9/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+   Time:    midmorning                                       +
+   Place:   the Free City of Greyhawk                        +
+   Climate: moderate to cold                                 +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "When you've got talent like ours, the world is your      +
+    oyster."                                                 +
+                                    Calvin                   +
+                                                             +
+                                                             +
+   "Even foolery is dangerous in the hands of a fool."       +
+                                    Jasper                   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                       CIII.  Kidnapped!





  The party has split into sub-groups to pursue individual
ambitions and missions.  Even now, Belphanior and Peldor are
pondering their next mighty quest.

Peldor:  Whatever will we do for the next few months?
Belphanior:  Actually, several options come to mind...we
  could go decimate some small country...we could try and
  rob the thieves' guild...we could kidnap someone really
  important...
Peldor:  All great schemes, yes.  Let's look further into
  this kidnapping thing.

  For the next week, the two thieves scouted the Free City
and surrounding areas, scoping out potential targets and
assessing the dangers associated with those targets.  The
main problem with a Greyhawk-based victim seemed to be the
high level of penalty if the pair got caught - Greyhawk had
strict laws to prevent that sort of thing.  Through a fluke
of fate, Peldor learned of a princess, from a noble (and
rich) house in Dyvers, who was due to be married within a
week.  She seemed like an ideal victim - and also fell well
outside the jurisdiction of Greyhawk.

Belphanior:  What the hell, let's go investigate this a bit
  further.  There's no reason to stay in Greyhawk, right now
  at least.
Peldor:  Yup.

  So it was - they rode west, to Dyvers, for the next couple
of days.  While on the road, they passed a large caravan of
tradesmen, headed northwest for some new castle that was now
being built.  Before they knew it, they were in Dyvers, and
the two quickly began seeking information on their target.
The young, nubile Princess Tessa, daughter of one of the more
powerful nobles in the city, was to be wed to the great lord
William of Dyvers, who was probably the _most_ powerful noble
in the city.  As they still had four days to execute their
insidious plan, the thieves decided to take it slow and easy,
and scout the manor where the princess was currently living.
  They did so, and after the second day, learned that she had
a daily ritual, a morning ride in the grasslands to the north
of Dyvers.  This knowledge immediately led to much planning.

Peldor:  Okay, we'll do it tomorrow.  She'll be on her little
  ride about midmorning.  We can just lie in wait, and when
  we see her...we'll pounce!
Belphanior:  Sounds good to me.  Where will we flee while we
  await our ransom?  The north?
Peldor:  Hmm.  I hadn't thought about that.  I guess we could
  hide somewhere.  Surely they can't have enough magic to
  locate one as mighty as Peldor!
Belphanior:  Surely not.  I guess if they found us, we could
  always flee into my well of many worlds...
Peldor:  Well of who?  Ah, nevermind.  They don't - won't -
  dare attack, since we could kill the princess at any time.
Belphanior:  Kill?  Hm, I hadn't thought about that.  But-
Peldor:  Not that we'd actually have to _kill_ her.  All the
  great thieves have to _use_ such threats, though.  That's
  how we get what we want.  Of course, if she's pretty, then
  we _really_ won't want to kill her.
Belphanior:  Oh, perish the thought.
Peldor:  Okay then.  We've got food, we've got wine, we've
  got your spells, and all our equipment.  Not to mention
  three of the most expensive, fastest horses in the land.
  And then the mere name of Peldor...I think we're ready to
  do this tomorrow.
Belphanior:  Yep.  The fact that little Tessa's supposed to
  get married the day after we kidnap her can only add to her
  value.
Peldor:  Can I pick 'em, or what?  Ah, time to get set up,
  here.  We've got a big day tomorrow.

  They retired for the night, not renting a room in an inn,
as that would be too conspicuous.  They left Dyvers, Peldor
using his magical hat to disguise himself as a smelly dwarf
(the smelly part was easy, with the right dung), Belphanior
wearing a black cloak with a hood, to cover his ears and
mask his complexion.  They exited the city through the east
gate, figuring that the north was the first place people
would look, and the south was the second.  They backtracked
around in the wilderness for a while, losing the disguises
near a small stream (where Peldor washed away most of his
disguise) and burying them in a deep hole.  Next, they went
around to the north of the city, and camped out in the high
grass, expecting the princess to show up in the morning as
she had for the last couple of days.

  The next morning, Peldor was up early, again disguising
himself.  He used his disguise skills as well as his hat,
just to be sure; this time he became a tall half-orc with
one eye and one ear.  Belphanior cast spells of Stoneskin
and Invisibility on himself, and smeared soot all over his
face so as to hide his skin tone, should he need to.  They
waited, and before long, the princess showed up, riding a
small white horse.  A single guardsman accompanied her, a
big galoot by the looks of him.

Peldor:  (goes invisible also, and waits as the pair ride
  right toward their ambush place)  This is just like the
  last two days!  I can't believe they're so stupid!
Belphanior:  (also whispering)  Shh!  Get ready!  (he
  douses a rag with some liquid from a small bottle)
Peldor:  (readies a leather jack filled with sand)
princess:  (rides to within earshot)  Oh, look at those
  pretty flowers!
guardsman:  Yeah.
Peldor:  (stalks the pair as they rest for a moment)
princess:  I bet the flowers they've got planned for my
  wedding are nicer, though.
guardsman:  Yeah.
Belphanior:  (somewhat behind the princess now)
Peldor:  (bashes the guard with the sap, knocking him out)
Belphanior:  (grabs the princess from behind, and covers
  her mouth with the rag, putting her to sleep with the
  special sleep poison he bought months ago, when he was
  far away from this area)  Hah!
princess:  (goes to sleep)
Peldor:  (both he and Belphanior are visible now)  Good!
  We got 'em both!
Belphanior:  (carries the princess over to where the three
  horses are tied, grazing quietly)
horse:  (looks up)  Neigh?
Belphanior:  (sets the sleeping princess onto the horse,
  and ties her in place lightly)  Here, have a princess.
Peldor:  (meanwhile, has left a scroll, with a crude coal
  drawing of a pierced eye, on the ground)  That ought to
  throw them off for a while.  (notices that the princess
  was carrying a lot of supplies and clothes in her saddle
  bags)  Eh?
Belphanior:  (mounts)  Let's go!
Peldor:  (mounts)  Yeah...(they ride northward)
Belphanior:  The pierced eye?  What's that, a tribe of
  orcs?
Peldor:  I guess so.  Actually, I just made it up on the
  fly.
Belphanior:  Cool.  (they ride on for some time, heading
  northwest)

  A few hours later, they approached the southwestern shore
of the Nyr Dyv, and at this point, the sleeping princess
was drugged again, and turned invisible by a spell from
Belphanior.  Peldor also became invisible, by his sword's
power, and thus it was that the old ferryman saw one tall,
skinny, dirty man on a horse, leading two riderless mounts
before him.

old ferryman:  Hi there!
Belphanior:  (pulls his hood more tightly around his head)
  Greetings.  Passage for one, please.
old ferryman:  Sure, eh, err, that'll be ten silver.
Belphanior:  (pulls out a pouch, and makes a big deal out
  of digging for coins, dropping copper pieces onto the
  ground)  Uh, lessee here, I _think_ I have enough...
old ferryman:  (looks on eagerly)
Belphanior:  Ah, yes, here we go.  (hands the ferryman a
  combination of copper and silver coins that sums up to
  the required fee)
Peldor's horse:  (stamps the ground impatiently)

  They boarded the barge, and then began to cross the wide
river.

old ferryman:  Say, my ferry's dipping awfully low into the
  water...
Belphanior:  Err, I've got these horses loaded down awful
  heavy.
old ferryman:  Oh?  Good, I thought for a minute there that
  I had sprung a leak.  Awful heavy, them horses are...
Belphanior:  Yeah, w-  I'm headed westward, toward Veluna.
  Could be a long trip.  I needed all kinds of supplies
  and food.
old ferryman:  Ah!  That, me lad, sounds like a fine trip!
  A fine trip indeed!

  Soon, they were across, and Belphanior bid farewell to
the old geezer.  Twenty minutes later, the half-invisible
group was riding rapidly northward, directly into the heart
of Furyondy.

Peldor:  (still invisible)  Heh heh.
Belphanior:  Maybe if someone tracks us, that old guy'll
  tell them that we went to Veluna.
Peldor:  I would have picked his pockets, if I thought he
  had anything worthwhile.  But somehow, I got the feeling
  that he only had about ten, maybe eleven silver pieces.
princess:  (stirs)
Belphanior:  Looks like Sleeping Beauty here is ready to
  wake up and face the music...
Peldor:  (notices for the first time how attractive their
  kidnapped princess is)  Wow.  She's sure a looker.
princess:  (sits up)  Wh- Where am I?
Belphanior:  (decides to let Peldor do all the talking)
Peldor:  Princess Tessa, I presume?
princess:  Yes...(looks around)  Who- ?
Peldor:  I am...err, Bonnie.  And this is Clyde.  (points
  to Belphanior)
Belphanior:  (squints and looks mean)
Peldor:  I'm afraid we've kidnapped you.
Tessa:  Kidnapped?!?  Oh my _gods_!!
Belphanior:  (grins)  Heh heh.  You _should_ be scared.
Peldor:  Have no fear, you'll be ransomed when the time
  is right.
Tessa:  (begins to laugh)
Belphanior:  What the hell are you laughing at?!?
Peldor:  (looks around)  I don't see anybody chasing us.
  I think we made a clean getaway.  What's so funny?
Tessa:  Ha ha!  I can't believe it!
Belphanior:  (growing irritated)  What?
Peldor:  Yeah, what?
Tessa:  On the day that I finally run away from home, I
  get kidnapped!  Ha ha ha!
Belphanior:  WHAT?!?
Peldor:  I beg your pardon?
Tessa:  That's right!  You idiots!  I ran away!  Fled!  I
  never had any intention of marrying that clod Sir William
  but no one would listen to me.  So I decided to run away
  rather than marry someone who I didn't love.  Ha ha ha!
  Kidnapped!  That's a good one!  I don't even _want_ to go
  back to Dyvers!
Belphanior:  Shit.
Peldor:  Double shit.
Tessa:  In fact, this is perfect!  I'll never make it back
  there now!  Ha!  (tosses her idiotically long and bulky
  outer dress away, leaving a more travel-suitable, normal-
  looking dress underneath)
Peldor:  Those things come in layers?  Wow, I didn't know
  that.
Belphanior:  Quit your gawking.  We have to do something!
  Wait a minute.  We can still ransom her - the fact that
  she ran away from home does not discredit the fact that
  we kidnapped her.
Tessa:  What?!?  You can't be serious!  I don't _want_ to
  go back!  You can't _make_ me go back!
Belphanior:  Watch us.
Peldor:  I think-
Tessa:  NO!  NO!  (begins wailing)
Peldor:  Shit, she'll attract the attention of some guards
  or someone this way.  Quiet, girl.
Tessa:  (wailing and keening loudly now)  aaaaaaugh!
Belphanior:  (gets the sleeping potion and rag out)
Tessa:  It's not _fair_!  I don't _want_ to be ransomed!
Belphanior:  (puts her to sleep again)  Shh.  Someone will
  hear you.
Tessa:  (now asleep)  zzzz.
Belphanior:  Hmm.  Handy stuff, this.  (puts the potion away)
Peldor:  Don't worry, we can still get our money's worth out
  of this.  They'll still pay to get her back.  They _have_
  to.  We have nothing to worry about.
Belphanior:  Think so?



several days later...

Belphanior:  (looks back)  They're gaining on us!  I can see
  the dustclouds in the distance!  Hiya!  (spurs his mount)
Peldor:  Shit!  Invisibility means nothing if you still make
  footprints and leave dust in your wake!  Besides, how could
  _I_ have known that Sir William was a really good friend of
  the fucking king of fucking Furyondy?!?!?!?
Belphanior:  I don't know, but I think they sent their whole
  army after us!  Hiya!  (spurs his horse again)  The KING of
  the whole LAND...!!
Tessa:  (tied to her horse, yelling and screaming)  I could
  have told you THAT!  (looks back)  Don't let them catch us,
  you idiots!
Belphanior & Peldor:  SHUT UP!!!

  Belphanior saw the wide river ahead, and the lone ferry at
the shore, seemingly ready to go.  He also saw the dozen or
so Furyondian guardsmen, border guards stationed here in the
somewhat unlikely event of a Horned Society invasion from the
north.  The guardsmen gaped in surprise, as nothing remotely
eventful had happened here in months.

Belphanior:  Fuck...(slows down a bit, and begins making the
  motions of spellcasting)
Peldor:  What are you doing?!?
Belphanior:  Quiet!  (casts Chaos upon the band of guardsmen
  ahead)
guardsmen:  (immediately begin bickering, arguing, brawling,
  or wandering about aimlessly)
Belphanior:  Yes!  They've left their barge unguarded!  Now
  we ride on board and cast off!  (the wind whips his cloak
  around wildly)
Peldor:  What?!?
Belphanior:  No, wait, I've got a better idea!  (grabs his
  compressed, magical folding boat and tosses it into the
  water, speaking a command word, and reins in his horse)

  The item transformed into a large boat, complete with sails
as well as oars.  They boarded hastily, and set out across the
river, while the guards milled in total confusion.

Peldor:  Good job!
Tessa:  Good job?!?  It was an _excellent_ job!
Belphanior:  I'm not done yet.  (gets out his wand of acidic
  spheres and points it at the big ferry tied at the shore)
Peldor:  What now...?
Belphanior:  (drills the ferry with several acidic spheres,
  and it begins sinking slowly but surely)  Heh.
Peldor:  (nods)  That'll teach them to mess with us.  There
  can't be another barge or ferry within miles of here.....
  We're home free!

  As they sailed across the river, taking full advantage of
the great winds, a large force of soldiers arrived at the
shore they had just left.  The men tried to board their
ferry and pursue the trio, but quickly capsized the ruined
boat and sank into the water, cursing and yelling threats.
  Making haste, the two thieves and their quasi-prisoner
reached the other side, disembarked onto shore, and had the
folding boat collapse back into a small box.  They mounted
their horses next, and rode northward, having little idea
that they were headed directly into the chaotic, extremely
dangerous land of the Horned Society, ruled by the dreaded
Heirarchs and patrolled by their mighty humanoid armies...

sometime later...

orcs:  (mill about on a plain, grunting and blabbering)
orc chieftain:  Okay, c'mon guys, let's get back to base.
orcs:  (obey grudgingly)
orc scout:  (runs toward the main group, huffing and puffing
  heavily)  Cap'n!  Cap'n!
orc chieftain:  What?  What?
orc scout:  There's three people coming, from the south!  I
  think one of 'em is an elf!  Also a girl!
orc chieftain:  Really?
orc scout:  Really!  They's still about a mile away!
orc chieftain:  Heh heh.  (gestures to his troops)  Men!  We
  is gonna make an ambush!
orcs:  (let out a cheer)

nearby...

Belphanior:  (his sword tingles)  Eh?
Peldor:  Hm?
Tessa:  (stares at Peldor)
Belphanior:  Yo, don't look now, but there are numerous and
  sundry souls nearby...a few hundred feet away, at least...
Peldor:  (looks around)  I don't see anything.
Belphanior:  That's probably because somebody is about to
  ambush us.  (sheathes his sword and begins spellcasting)
  Now listen closely, we don't have much time.  Here's the
  plan...
Peldor:  (he and Tessa lend ears to the elf)

shortly...

Peldor:  (leads the party of three along the trail, on foot
  now, as is Belphanior - Tessa is still on horseback, and
  holds the reins to the other two horses)
orc:  (appears from a grassy knoll to one side)  Hey!
Peldor:  What do you want?
orc:  We's got you surrounded!  Throw down yer weapons!
Peldor:  Uh...(silently uses his feathers to haste himself)
Belphanior:  (raises his hands in the air)  I demand to
  speak with your leader!
orcs:  (they all pop up from the high grass, about fifty of
  them; they surround the trio in a horseshoe-shaped line)
orc chieftain:  (walks forth)  Don'tcha make a move, or my
  troops'll feather you!
Belphanior:  Are _you_ the leader?
orc chieftain:  That's me, Sluggo Bloodnose, o' the orcs!
  (several sub-chiefs gather directly behind him)
Belphanior:  I see.  (puts his hands behind his head)
Peldor:  (at this signal, he becomes invisible, and uses his
  boots of striding and springing to leap to one side)
Belphanior:  (says the final phrases for his Confusion spell
  and lets the orc chieftain and the orcs behind him have it)
Tessa:  (holding Belphanior's cube of force in her hand, she
  speaks the command word that the elf told her about)  Err..
  Bleemis!  (a force cube pops up around her, protecting her
  from the rain of arrows and spears that is now flying in
  her and Belphanior's direction)  Wow.  (forgets that she
  was supposed to be holding the reins...the other horses
  gallop away rapidly, though in the confusion of battle,
  no one has the chance to pay attention)
Belphanior:  (leaps and dodges about, relying on his great
  dexterity and his Stoneskin spell to protect him from any
  lethal shots)  Yie!  Whoa!  Whee!
orc chieftain:  (confused, brains one of his soldiers)  !
orcs:  (about ten of them, nearby the leader, also confused
  by Belphanior's spell, they mill about mindlessly)
orc shaman:  (the only one in his vicinity who saved versus
  the confusion, he prepares to cast some spell at the elf)
Peldor:  (backstabs the shaman, slaying him before he can do
  his vile deed)
non-confused orcs:  (charge at Tessa)  Yaaarggh!  (bounce off
  of the invisible field put up by the cube)  What?!?
Tessa:  Eeeeeee!  (realizes that she isn't in any danger)
Peldor:  (now visible, leaps aside as an orc charges him)
Belphanior:  (largely protected from harm by his Stoneskin
  spell, gets a few minor nicks and scrapes from the arrows
  whizzing around him)  Shit!  My stoneskins are used up...
  (begins thinking about spells that won't take too long to
  cast)
orcs:  (seeing Belphanior alone now, and away from the cube
  of force and Tessa, they decide that he's outnumbered, and
  draw their swords as they circle him)  Heh heh.
Belphanior:  Uh-oh.
orc:  (in his foolishness, charges Tessa again, and again is
  bounced back from the force field)  Ooooof!
other orc:  (fires an arrow at Peldor, but misses)

orcs:  (thirty of them now surround Belphanior, babbling to
  no end as they close in)
orc sergeant:  Heh heh.  We's got you serrounded now, elf!
Belphanior:  (looks about)  Yeah, that's one way of looking
  at it.  (casts Mirror Image, and suddenly there are six
  Belphaniors instead of one)  Hah!  HAH!  Orcish fools!  WE
  SHALL NOW KILL YOU ALL!  HAHAHAHA!
orc sergeant:  Huh?!?
Peldor:  (uses his wand of darkness to engulf a bunch of the
  humanoids in total, inky blackness)
orcs:  Aie!  (they begin fleeing in every direction)
Belphaniors:  SEE?!?  (they all begin advancing on the orcs
  who surround them)
orcs:  Aaaaaa!  (most of them break formation and run)
orc sergeant:  No!  You fools!
Peldor:  (uses his ring to lift the sergeant into the air)
orc sergeant:  AAAAAA!
Peldor:  (hurls the orc away)
orc sergeant:  Aaaaaaaaaaa..........   <whump>
orcs:  (those who remain)  Get them!  (they begin attacking
  the Belphaniors)
Belphanior:  (the real one; since he knows that the orcs
  don't know which images are images, he is able to dodge a
  path through the ring of foes)  Whoa!  Whee!
Belphanior images:  (perish upon being struck)  <pop>
orc:  (attacks Peldor, scoring a small cut in the thief's
  leather armor)  Ha!
Peldor:  Argh!
orc:  (misses Peldor)
orc:  (misses Peldor)
Tessa:  (safe in the cube of force, looks on, terrified)
orcs:  (menace the princess, making faces at her, but can't
  get at her)  Blerg!  Blarg!  Boog!
Tessa's horse:  (stamps the ground, inside the cube)  Neigh!
orc:  (slashes a Belphanior image, dispelling it)  Huh?
orc:  (slices the real Belphanior)  Die!
Belphanior:  Arg!  (leaps aside)
orc:  (swings but narrowly misses the elf)
Belphanior:  (whips out his sword)  All right, have it your
  way.

Peldor:  (slashes an orc, slaying it)  That's what happens
  when you mess with Peldor!
other orc:  (staring wide-eyed, no doubt in awe of the
  mightiness of Peldor)
Peldor:  Well, don't just stand there!  Fight!  Or perhaps
  you'd rather flee, to live and tell all the other orcs of
  Peldor another day?
orc:  Aaaa!  (turns and bolts)
Peldor:  I thought so!
Belphanior:  (slashes an orc, killing it and absorbing its
  life energy through his sword)  Ahhh.
orc:  (stabs at the elf, but misses)
Belphanior:  (guts the attacker, and gets his life energy
  too)  Ha!  At this rate, I could fight the whole mob of
  orcs!  (looks around)  Hey!  Where'd they all go?
Peldor:  (faces ten orcs; the rest have fled)  To face the
  mighty Peldor is to face doom, smelly ones!

orcs:  (charge Peldor)  Aaaaaa!  Die, human!
Peldor:  Whoops!  (turns and flees, leaping high into the
  air with his magical boots)
Belphanior:  (casts Melf's Minute Meteors, and five of the
  fiery missiles sail toward the orcs chasing Peldor)  Hey
  idiots!
orcs:  (four of them are hit by the blazing fire-spheres,
  and either die or ignite, or both)
orc:  (gets lucky and dodges the missile)
other orc:  (splashed by the missed missile as it impacts
  on the ground nearby, his boots are set aflame)  Aaaa!
  (he runs around stamping the ground)
Peldor:  (turns and slashes a sixth orc, downing it)  Ha!
  Peldor commands the magicks of the ages!
orc:  (charges Belphanior, slashing wildly, but its blow
  is deflected by the elf's armor)
orc:  (charges Belphanior, but trips and falls instead)
orc:  (chops at Peldor, but misses)
orc:  (slices Peldor, wounding him)
Peldor:  Argh!  You'll regret that!
Tessa:  (silently wondering how to shut down the cube's
  force field)

Belphanior:  (releases his other five missiles, decimating
  the remaining orcs)  Ha!
Peldor:  Yeah, hah!  (looks around, confirming that no more
  orcs remain)  Whew, what a battle!
Belphanior:  Yeah.  (turns to Tessa)  You can say the word
  to deactivate the field now.
Tessa:  What word?
Belphanior:  Garzik.  (the cube's field vanishes)  Give me
  that cube.
Tessa:  (hands the item to the elf)
Peldor:  Say, do we really want to continue riding into an
  obviously hostile land?
Belphanior:  (notices for the first time that only Tessa's
  horse remains)  What the hell happened to our horses?!?
Tessa:  (looks around)  Oooooops.
Belphanior:  Fuck!  (draws his sword)  I ought to kill you
  now and save us all a whole lot of trouble!
Tessa:  (cowers)  Eeeeee!
Peldor:  (grabs Belphanior's shoulder)  Now, now.  We need
  to come up with a better plan than _that_.
Belphanior:  Fuck, fuck, fuck.  Fuck!  (stomps on the head
  of a slain orc)  Damn!
Peldor:  (begins searching the dead orcs' pockets)

  They eventually decided to turn back and head southwest,
out of this land.  Since they didn't want Tessa escaping on
horseback, they let her walk, too, and loaded the horse up
with supplies.  Then they trekked in a southwest direction,
hoping to avoid pursuers from both the Horned Society (since
a number of orcs got away and no doubt warned somebody) and
from Furyondy, to the south.

a few hours later...

Peldor:  (spots something in the air behind the group)  Hey
  ho, what's this?
Belphanior:  (whirls about)  Somebody's flying after us!
Peldor:  Shit, you're right!  (draws his sword)
Belphanior:  Uh...(gets his staff ready)

  The distant shapes grew nearer, and as they did, it was
obvious that they were...blue.

Peldor:  Blue?!?
Belphanior:  Crap!  The last time we fought someone who was
  blue, they were-
Peldor:  - Ogre magi!  (uses his ring to push Tessa far to
  one side, away from him and Belphanior)  Look out!

ogre mage:  (fires a cone of cold at the pair of thieves)
Belphanior:  (utters a command word simultaneously, and his
  staff sends an immense bolt of lightning toward the ogre
  magi in the air)  Whee.
Peldor:  (thinking about going invisible, but has no time)
  Incoming!
Tessa:  (lands in some soft high grass)  Oof!

Peldor:  (manages to roll aside somewhat, and is frozen a
  bit by the chilly blast, but lives on)  Argh!
Belphanior:  (likewise, escapes the brunt of the blast)
Tessa:  Eeeeeee!  (cleverly hides in a bush, out of harm's
  way)
horse with supplies:  (roasted, dies)
ogre mage#1:  (utterly fails to resist the deadly bolt of
  lightning, and is incinerated right there in the air;
  only a single item survives the humanoid, some kind of
  rod, and it falls from the sky to land near Tessa)
Tessa:  (eyes the smoking metal rod as it slowly scorches
  the grass it rests upon)  Huh?
ogre mage#2:  (his magic resistance saves him from a fate
  similar to his late companion)  Grazbut!
ogre mage#3:  (wounded by the bolt, but not seriously)  O
  shizbar!

Belphanior:  Find some way to delay them for a bit!  (he
  begins casting Vampiric Touch upon himself as the two
  ogre magi approach)
Peldor:  (uses his ring to TK one ogre mage into the other,
  buying Belphanior a short bit of time)
ogre magi:  (intending to fight from the air, they collide
  and one dips down to a mere ten feet above the ground)
  Nik dar shibrah!
Belphanior:  (takes advantage of this opportunity to run
  and leap into the air, grabbing a blue ankle and holding
  on)
ogre mage#2:  (his magic resistance fails, and he falls prey
  to the elf's spell, losing all of his energy as Belphanior
  gains it)  Psoooft.  (falls from the sky, unconscious)
Belphanior:  (newly healed, but now falling with the ogre
  mage)  Oh shiiiiiiiiit!
ogre mage#2:  <crunch>
ogre mage#3:  (speaks now in Common, to Peldor)  I will take
  the woman.  You have invaded our land, and the Dreaded One
  has commanded that you be brought to him.  Dead or alive,
  it matters not.
Peldor:  Bah.  How dare you speak to the mighty Peldor that
  way?
ogre mage:  What?!?  (readies a wand)
Peldor:  Uh-oh!
ogre mage#3:  (points his wand at Peldor and speaks a command
  word)  Nglik!

  A forked bolt of electricity arced toward Peldor...but was
diverted by some unknown force, and blasted into the ground
near Tessa, startling her.

Tessa:  Yie!  (runs for some bushes farther from the battle)
ogre mage#3:  What?!?  (looks at his wand in disbelief)
Belphanior:  (leaps from the ground, apparently having made
  it through his fall, and backstabs the big humanoid)  Die!
ogre mage:  (perishes and falls to the ground)  urk.
Peldor:  Hey!  I though you were a goner!
Belphanior:  Nope.  I landed atop that fellow (points to the
  twisted body of ogre mage#2) and survived my fall.
Peldor:  Well, that's good.  Say, let's search the bodies.

  They found, from the two intact ogre mage corpses, a good
bit of treasure:

wand of lightning
scroll with mage spells
3 potions
crossbow bolt
bean

numerous valuable gems
a few platinum coins



Tessa:  (approaches)
Belphanior:  Yeah, it's safe to come out now.  What have you
  got there?
Tessa:  (using a ripped bit of cloth to hold the steaming
  metal rod that fell from the ogre mage in the sky)  This
  fell from that thing you blasted...also it-
Belphanior:  Cool.  (takes the rod)  Ow, it's hot.
Peldor:  Our last horse - along with the bulk of of our
  supplies - has been melted...
Belphanior:  Great.



  They split up the loot, Peldor taking the bolt, the bean,
and all three potions; Belphanior got the wand, the rod, and
the scroll.  The monetary treasure was split evenly between
the pair.  They resumed their march to the south, and walked
for hours across the grasslands.  Peldor and Tessa engaged in
much hearty conversation, while Belphanior kept to himself.
After a while, a large force approached...

armored men:  (on horseback, and bearing the logo of Furyondy
  on their shields)  Hold, there!  (they surround the trio,
  and there are hundreds of them)
Peldor:  Who the hell are you?!?
leader-type:  (steps forth)
Tessa:  Oh, no!
leader-type:  I am Sir William, of Dyvers.  And _you_ are in
  big trouble.
Belphanior:  (looks around at the dozens of archers facing
  him and Peldor, bows drawn)  So I see.  (begins thinking
  of ways to blast out of this situation)
Sir William:  Have no doubt that we will feather you where
  you stand, should you make one move.
Peldor:  Aw, come on.  You're supposed to say "one false
  move"...
Sir William:  Quiet, fool.  (looks at Tessa)  So these two
  are your kidnappers, eh, my love?
Tessa:  No!  It's not like that at all!  Let me-
Sir William:  (to a guard)  Take her back to our quarters
  in the camp.
Tessa:  (dragged away, protesting)
Peldor:  Any bright ideas?
Belphanior:  (to Peldor)  I think we should fight.
Sir William:  I _heard_ that...
Peldor:  (to Belphanior)  Let's just play along.  I have a
  notion that things might work out okay...

  The thieves were taken under close guard, and put in some
kind of guest tent.  The whole affair was rather like an
unsteady truce - Belphanior and Peldor had to be careful so
that they didn't get shot full of arrows, while the guards
seemed to fear the possibility of them attacking (after all,
these _were_ the great rogues who made off with the princess
right in her own land!)  After the pair had been held in the
tent for an hour or so, Sir William came to speak with them.

Peldor:  Look who's back.
Belphanior:  Yeah, I see him.
Sir William:  Well, gentlemen, I'm afraid that there's been
  a terrible misunderstanding.
Peldor:  There has?
Sir William:  Of course.  My dearest Tessa has told me all
  about how the ogres and orcs kidnapped her, and how you
  two brave lads then followed that evil band, ultimately
  dispatching them to the hells where they belonged.
Peldor:  She told you about that?!?
Sir William:  She told me everything.  After all, we never
  got a chance to see what manner of foul humanoids did the
  kidnapping - all we did was chase them from a distance.
  It's a good thing that you two brave heroes were around
  to happen upon the vile miscreants as they retreated into
  their own land.
Peldor:  Well, sir, it was our pleasure to rescue her.  It
  was obvious that she was the fairest of damsels, and we
  couldn't just stand by while those vile scum spirited her
  away to parts unknown.
Belphanior:  (staring, wide-eyed with disbelief)  Rescue?!?
Peldor:  Yes!  Don't just sit there and let me take all the
  credit!  (to Sir William)  He's _so_ modest, isn't he?
Sir William:  Indeed he is!  (claps the elf on the shoulder)
Peldor:  It was all his plan, to rescue her.  Without his
  spells, there would have been no hope.
Belphanior:  No hope whatsoever.  Nosireejimbob.
Sir William:  Well, you two are due for an apology, if not
  a medal or two.  You shall dine in Chendl, the capital of
  Furyondy, with the king and I, no?
Peldor:  Well, err, umm-
Belphanior:  (grins)  A free meal is a free meal!  We'd be
  simply _delighted_ to go there with you.  (begins hatching
  a plot to rob the king's palace)
Sir William:  Glad to hear it.  (to the guards)  Let them go,
  and give them free run of the camp.
guards:  (sheathe their swords and unstring their bows)
Sir William:  Now...
Peldor:  Eh?
Sir William:  ...if I could just figure out why the princess
  is giving me the cold shoulder...
Peldor:  Well, I think I know what the problem is, if you've
  got a minute to listen...
Sir William:  (cocks an ear)  Go on.
Peldor:  Ahem...

  And so it was that the pair of thieves not only escaped an
imminent demise for their ill-fated kidnapping, but managed
to twist the facts around, with the princess Tessa'a help
(the fact that Peldor may have exercised some of his magical
persuasiveness power on the naive young girl did not escape
Belphanior's notice, though.)  They remained as guests of
King Belvor IV for almost a week, and were showered with
praise from all concerned.  Great tales of the daring rescue
attempt began to circulate, and it became obvious to the
thieves that they would never be able to follow any thiefly
pursuits in this region.  Furthermore, princess Tessa had
it out with the noble but aloof Sir William, informing him
that she absolutely would not marry him because, well, he
was aloof.  William took it all in stride (since Peldor had
already talked with him and prepared him for this) and let
it be known that he would seek a different wife.
  Weeks later, Belphanior and Peldor headed back to Greyhawk
to take care of business before their reunion, Sir William
returned to Dyvers to look for a new wife, Princess Tessa
followed him, to return to her normal life, Belvor IV was
tickled by the whole affair...and they all lived happily
ever after.

  Or did they?



Peldor:  (on the thieves' one-night stopover in Dyvers, he
  prepares for sleep in his tavern room, which is next door
  to Belphanior's room)  Hm.  I wonder what this stupid
  bean is good for?  Eh?  (hears a footstep in the hall,
  and a soft knock is issued from outside)  What's this?
  (draws his sword and opens the door)  Hey!
hooded figure:  (rushes in, and then speaks in a soft and
  female voice)  Hurry, close the door before someone sees
  me here!
Peldor:  (quickly closes the door and then boldly unhoods
  the visitor)  Well met, princess Tessa.  Err, what do you
  want at this hour, anyway?
Tessa:  (blushes)  I wanted to thank you for what you did...

  With a grin, Peldor pulled the curtains closed over his
window.



  About a month later, back in Greyhawk, after training and
such things were over and done with...



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY (or a part of it; they have split for now):     +
+                                                             +
+   Belphanior     9th/11th/11th level high elf w/m/t  (CN)   +
+   Peldor        15th level human thief                (N)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    12/28/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                     +
+   Time:    midmorning                                       +
+   Place:   the Free City of Greyhawk                        +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



  Both thieves gained much from their adventure, despite its
odd ending.  Belphanior copied the scroll's spells into his
own spellbook, and also learned a few on his own, as he grew
in wizardly power.  Peldor seriously considered forming his
own guild, since he was a better thief now than almost all
thieves in the city, but fortunately the reunion was coming
in less than two weeks, and he decided to go drinking in that
time instead.





  Meanwhile, somewhere in the northern reaches of the Wild
Coast, future trouble was a-brew...

female drow mage:  (surveying the town they recently razed,
  watching in glee as houses burn and people flee)  Ha ha!
  Too bad for these townspeople that they were in our way!
huge ogre-type with ten-foot pike:  Yeah.  (skewers some
  passing guard)  They threw me in jail, can you _believe_
  that?!?  (hurls the dead man from the pike contemptuously)
big red-armored priest:  I've no doubt that it took a score
  of them, my new friend.
huge ogre-type:  (grins)  Yeah.  At least.
female drow mage:  I had heard the legends...of an ogre who
  was more powerful than other ogres...who reaped elf heads
  by the dozen...
huge ogre-type:  Yeah, that would be me, all right.  (chops
  a nearby farmer in half with a single blow)  These idiots
  shouldn't have ever bothered me about those cows I ate...
wraithlike one:  (floating a foot above the ground, he/it
  whispers in a hissing tone)  it would appear not.
tall warrior with skull-helm:  (to ogre-type)  You are one
  of the mightier warriors I have ever worked with.  With
  this group, how can there be any doubt?  Those adventurers
  are dead meat!
huge ogre-type:  (waves his pike in the air)  I sure do hope
  they've got an elf or two with them.  Gualgin here is sort
  of hungry...
white-robed man:  (looks on curiously, yet silently, from
  his pale white horse)
pale white horse:  (looks half-dead...still)
female drow mage:  Yet, there is one more who we must seek.
  He...it...is, according to this parchment (waves a scroll
  about) imprisoned somewhere in the Cairn Hills.
tall warrior with skull-helm:  Well, what are we waiting
  for?  Let's leave this shitpile town and find this ally!
big red-armored priest:  What manner of ally are we seeking
  in those haunted hills, anyhow?
female drow mage:  One who was forged ages ago by the darker
  powers of the Underdark...a mortal, bathed in molten lava
  and encased in alien metal...tempered by hate and fueled
  with rage...
huge ogre-type:  Sounds neat.  Let's go get this guy.
female drow mage:  'Tis no _man_ we seek...





next time :  a pair of drow get into trouble

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

notes     :  This was a fool's quest, and I told them that it
           would be next to impossible.  They didn't listen,
           and this is the adventure they got.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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