Chapter #105

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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 (reunited at last):                             +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      13th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra       10th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior     9th/11th/11th level high elf w/m/t  (CN)   +
+   Ged           10th/12th level grey elf priest/mage (NG)   +
+      Arnold      9th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+   Mongo         12th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+      Flint       9th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        15th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen        12th level human warrior              (N)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    1/1/572 C.Y. (Common Year)                       +
+   Time:    lunchtime                                        +
+   Place:   the Free City of Greyhawk                        +
+   Climate: cold outside, but quite toasty indoors           +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "As a rule, I hate reunions.  They only seem to lead to   +
+    more trouble than ever before."                          +
+                            - Yod Ironbeard, of the dwarves  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                        CV.  A New Quest





  The party has engaged in a few months of land-grabbing,
castle-building, thieving, fighting, or whatever.  As they
agreed to do four months ago, they are meeting at their
favorite tavern, the Green Dragon Inn in Greyhawk.

Rillen:  (sitting at the party's usual table)  Where is
  everyone?  I hate it when I am on time and all others
  are late.
Mongo:  Relax, it's hardly lunchtime.  (orders another
  mug of beer)
Flint:  Yeah.  (begins thinking about what he wants to
  eat for lunch)
Arnold:  Yah!  (strolls in with Ged)
Ged:  Hi, guys.
Mongo:  Hey there!  Have a seat and join us for a beer or
  three!
Ged:  (signals to a barmaid)  I'll have wine.
Arnold:  Beer!  (grabs a huge mug from the bar)
Peldor:  (walks in)  Aw, come on, guys!  You know that no
  party's complete without Peldor!  (accepts a mug of new
  beer from the weary bartender)
Belphanior:  (trots in, looking relaxed for a change)
Mongo:  What's up?
Belphanior:  Not too much.  (finds and drains a mug of
  beer)  Ahh.  The good stuff.
Arnold:  Where are the drows?
Ged:  They'll show up sooner or later, I'm sure.
Alindyar:  (materializes with Lyra)  Yes.  And that is
  _drow_ in the plural.
Arnold:  Hey!  Where'd you combe from?!?
Alindyar:  Elsewhere.  (he seats himself, and motions to
  the barkeep)  Fine white wine, please.
barkeep:  (hustles off)
Peldor:  So, what did everyone do?
Mongo:  Well, there was this tournament, you see, with a
  million fighters kicking and jumping and-
Rillen:  Not really a million.  (drains his cup)
Mongo:  It was kinda neat.
Ged:  Castle Ged is being built even as we speak.
Peldor:  (looks at Belphanior)
Ged:  No!  Don't even _think_ about trying to rob me!
Arnold:  Yah!  And we foudght some monsders too!
Alindyar:  We did nothing much.  Just a bit of research
  and a bit of spellcasting.
Lyra:  That's putting it mildly.
Ged:  Hmm.
Mongo:  (gets another beer)
Peldor:  (likewise)  Urp.
Ged:  So....what did you two rascals do to occupy your-
  selves for all those cold months?
Belphanior:  Uh...
Peldor:  Well, did you hear about the big church robbery
  last month?
Ged:  No.
Peldor:  That's okay, 'cause it wasn't us.  Actually, we
  traveled to new and exciting lands, and met all kinds
  of new people.
Belphanior:  And killed some of them.
Peldor:  But not _all_ of them.
Belphanior:  No, I suppose not.  Well, there's always next
  time...(sips his drink)
Mongo:  What in the hells are we gonna do next?
Ged:  Yea, a new quest is called for here.
Alindyar:  Verily.
Peldor:  (talking to Mongo about a magical crossbow bolt
  that he has)  It's a great deal!
Mongo:  Yeah, I'm sure I've got something to trade for it.
Peldor:  That gets me thinking...(turns to Belphanior)  I
  have a shield...a magical shield...
Belphanior:  What kind of shield?  What does it _do_?
Alindyar:  (to Lyra)  Ah, that reminds me...since I now
  have a new staff, you are welcome to use my old one.  A
  staff of striking, it is - a fine weapon.
Lyra:  Hmm.

  The conversation quickly degenerated into a bartering
session, for those who had excess or unusable items to
get rid of.  Several deals were made; Mongo bought the
enchanted crossbow bolt from Peldor, and then promptly
gave it to Flint (actually, he decided that this was as
good a time as any to go ahead and give Flint his crossbow
of speed and his other magical bolts); Belphanior traded
a set of valuable gems to Peldor for the latter thief's
magical shield; Lyra took Alindyar's old staff as her new
weapon.  Everybody seemed happy for the moment.

Ged:  (babbling to Arnold)  ...to the Sea of Dust.
Belphanior:  (perks up)  What's this about the Sea of Dust?
Ged:  Oh, I was just talking to Arnold here about the lost
  treasures and magic rumored by legends to be there...
Peldor:  What's a "Sea of Dust" ?
Ged:  Well, once upon a time, the Bakluni and Suel tribes
  were at war.  The greatest of the Sueloise archmagi used
  their powers to bring the Invoked Devastation down upon
  the Baklunish empire...reducing it to ruins!  This is the
  region we now know as the Dry Steppes, to the north of
  the Sea of Dust, beyond the Hellfurnace mountain range.
Peldor:  Wow.  Go on.
Ged:  But the Baklunish wizards, in a bitter last-ditch
  effort, brought a Rain of Colorless Fire to bear upon
  their enemies.  The entire Suel nation was reduced to a
  bed of dry ash...which we know as the Sea of Dust.  It
  lies far to the west, beyond the Hellfurnaces.
Belphanior:  Hear, hear.
Alindyar:  So this is a desert you speak of?
Ged:  Worse than any desert.  Untold dangers make the
  place quite inhospitable.
Mongo:  But why would we want to go there?
Ged:  The _knowledge_!  The _magic_!  The _treasure_!  For
  a thousand years, forgotten cities have gone untouched
  and unexplored by anyone...
Belphanior:  (a gleam in his eye)  Think of it!
Peldor:  (already planning the spending of this loot)
Mongo:  Gems?  Monsters?  These are the only reasons _I_
  would want to go!
Ged:  Monsters aplenty, no doubt.
Belphanior:  Yep.
Arnold:  Mahn-sters!  Ah-nold stands ready!
Flint:  As does Flint!
Alindyar:  (to Lyra)  This could be a good opportunity to
  gain new and unique magicks...
Lyra:  I hear you.
Rillen:  (not really interested in this quest, but decides
  to go with the majority)  Hmmph.
Ged:  Actually, guys-
Lyra:  (glares at the grey elf)
Ged:  -and ladies...actually, I've been planning this Sea
  of Dust trip for a while now.
Mongo:  Oh really?
Ged:  Yea.  And I have found a guide, one who has actually
  _been_ there and back!  Such a person is of course rare
  in the extreme, but he lives right here in Greyhawk.  He
  has supposedly been _inside_ one of the lost cities...
Rillen:  Who is he?
Ged:  He's a great explorer, perhaps the best there is.
Peldor:  Well...what are we waiting for?

  Soon, at the residence (a manor) of one Kiel Morgan...

guard:  Good day.
Ged:  Hi there.  Ged, of Boccob, here to see Kiel.
guard:  Begging your pardon, but the boss hasn't been at
  home for a while.  Maybe three weeks.
Ged:  What?!?  I just talked with him a week ago!  Or was
  it a month?  Shit.  Where did he go?
guard:  He embarked on an expedition to a jungle far in
  the south...the Amedio Jungle.
Ged:  When do you expect him back?
guard:  Oh, about a year.
Ged:  Ack!
Mongo:  What do we do now?
Belphanior:  (thinking of attempting the Sea of Dust on
  his own)
priestly type:  (comes rushing out)  Are you looking for
  Kiel?
Peldor:  Sure we are, why do you ask?
priest:  Because I've lost contact with him.  I usually
  scry, to co-ordinate the expeditions and such, and we
  talk using a magical bowl he has.  But I haven't been
  able to speak to him since two nights past!  I fear
  that something terrible has happened!
Ged:  Hmm.  Well, since we need to talk to him anyway, I
  suppose that we can go south and find him.
priest:  Yes!  That would be great!  I'm sure a generous
  reward would be due you if you brought him back safely.
Peldor:  How generous is generous?
priest:  _Generous_.
Peldor:  Whee.  Let's do it.
Ged:  We need no reward-
Belphanior:  !
Ged:  -but we can use it to reimburse our travel expenses
  later on.
Mongo:  Come on, folks, let's get our stuff packed.

  They spent the rest of the day outfitting themselves for
the journey.  Though it was wintertime, it would be hot in
the jungles of the south, and appropriate measures were
taken.  Ged made a useful transaction at the temple of
Boccob, trading his ring of shooting stars to the High
Priest, Ravel Disander, for a decanter that could produce
a constant supply of water.  Such was the urgency with
which Ged wanted to go to the Sea of Dust (actually, he
already had two other magical rings anyway) - and he made
no point of mentioning his hopes that the ruined Sueloise
cities within the wasteland would contain the secret to
recharge his ancient Sueloise fire wand...
  Also, Ged rode out to his construction site, to inform
Deryck that he was soon embarking on a great quest ("This
happens all the time, you'll get used to it.") and that the
half-elf was now in charge of all operations until further
notice.  Ged left a hefty sum of money, as well as the lyre
of building, with Deryck, to facilitate construction.  It
was fortunate that Scotty, now the construction foreman for
the site, was a regular lyre-player himself...

  Mongo stocked a goodly amount of rations and supplies in
his portable hole, while the magi prepared their traveling
spellbooks for travel.  Alindyar and Lyra had kept their
master spellbooks at their "hideaway", but had all the
spells they might need in Greyhawk with them.  Belphanior
and Ged plotted a course, planning to sail downriver along
the Selintan, into the bay.  Once the open water had been
reached, the party could pay some ship captain to sail to
the jungle-covered continent, far to the south.  From the
shore, the adventurers would follow a copy of a map given
them by Kiel's priest friend; this map would take them
along the same path that the explorer had followed, and
they would presumably find him, or learn of his fate.

  It sounded like a good plan for a difficult quest, one
that would rank among the greatest that the adventurers
had ever undertaken - a journey that would either bring
great fortune, or swift and merciless death!

  And, somewhere to the south of the city, the drow mage
and her companions waited for the adventurers.





next time :  sinister forces strike!

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

notes     :  This episode will mark the end of book 6.  It
           looks probable that book 7 (episodes 106 - end)
           will wrap up the series.  If you don't yet know
           what will happen after that, check out the FAQ
           list at the ftp site.
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