Chapter #106

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                              +   +
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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                    +
+                        +
+   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:    1/4/572 C.Y. (Common Year)                       +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   the Free City of Greyhawk                        +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+   "Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate."        +
+                                     -  Thomas Jones         +

                     CVI.  Bounty Hunters

  The party has decided to venture to the Sea of Dust, but
first they must track down the only person who has made it
there and back (and survived to tell of it).  Since the man
vanished into the depths of the Amedio Jungle recently,
while on an exploratory expedition, the adventurers plan
to follow the same course, in hopes of finding the him.
  They have just left Greyhawk, and are now on a barge,
heading south along the Selintan river.

Ged:  Ah, what a mighty river!
Mongo:  Bah.  Give me the land, anyday.
Ged:  Never!  There is nothing like sailing along a river.
  Except, maybe, sailing along an ocean...oh well, we'll
  get to that soon...
Rillen:  (watching the riverfolk on shore)
Alindyar:  'Tis actually rather pleasant, this journey.
Lyra:  Yes.  I could get used to this sun.  (still shades
  her sensitive drow eyes, though, as she looks up at the
Alindyar:  Indeed.  While the clime remains cold, yonder
  star is more than tolerable.
Flint:  (sharpening his axe)  I hate rivers.
Arnold:  (sharpening his sword)  Dhey aren't so bad.
Belphanior:  (dozing lightly near the mainsail)
Peldor:  (playing cards with some crew members, he has
  amassed quite a pile of coins)  Heh heh.
crew member:  Maybe we should try a new game...

  They followed the river for two days, then disembarked
onto dry plainsland.  Though this was a slight departure
from their previously planned travel path, they had decided
to take the most direct route instead - a virtual straight
line to the Azure Sea.
  As they rested on the grassy plain near the riverbank,
a crew member was engaged in bringing their horses from the
barge.  Suddenly and without warning, a huge cone of frost
and ice bombarded the party, scattering them like tenpins.

Alindyar:  (seriously wounded, lies on the grass shivering)
Lyra:  (unconscious and slipping fast)
Belphanior:  (wounded, rolls aside, knocking icicles from
  his clothes, and then stands up)  Ambush!
Ged:  (wounded, falls down)  Oof!
Lightbringer:  (breaks its days-long silence)  What in the
  Nine Hells is happening?!?
Arnold:  (slightly wounded by the cone)  Aaa.  (stands, and
  whips out his huge sword)  Whaaaat?
Mongo:  (slightly wounded, is knocked over and lands on his
  rear)  Ow.  (stands up angrily)  That fuckin' HURT!!  (he
  unslings his hammer)
Flint:  (seriously wounded, but hefts his battleaxe)  Yeah!
  Good thing I sharpened my axe!
Peldor:  (somehow escaped the brunt of the blast)  Whoa...
  (wastes no time becoming invisible)
Rillen:  (rolls with the cold blast, and is quickly up, an
  arrow nocked in his bow)  Somebody is in big trouble.

  A black-cloaked female drow mage had just appeared about
fifty paces to the north, probably becoming visible after
her spell was cast.  About the same time, several attackers
rammed into the midst of the party.  A huge ogre, thirteen
feet tall, slashed at Ged with a ten-foot long pike.  A big
human warrior with a helm made from a skull engaged in melee
with Flint, hacking savagely.  Belphanior was bowled over by
the ferocious attack of what looked like a dwarf in full
plate mail.  Others approached the party, as well - a dark
form floating a foot above the grass, wielding a blade of
some black energy-force, stalked Arnold, while a figure in
white robes gracefully approached Rillen.  A human priest-
type, in red armor, had joined the drow woman on the hill,
and appeared to be spellcasting.

skullhelm:  (hacks at Flint wildly)  Die, dwarf!
Flint:  (barely blocking the lethal blows with his axe)
  Whoa!  Aie!  Argh!  (he takes a slash on his plate mail,
  and then kicks the attacker in the knee)  Hah!  (he uses
  his axe to drive the man back)
ogre king:  (stabs at Ged with his huge pike)  Hah hah!
Ged:  (barely dodges the attack)  Whoa!
ogre king:  See all these heads on my belt?  They're _elf_
Ged:  Wonderful.  You must be proud of yourself.
ogre king:  Yeah.  (he nicks the priest/mage, drawing blood)
Ged:  Aaargh!
iron dwarf:  (punches, kicks, and hacks at Belphanior with
  wild abandon)  Rrrraaaarrr!
Belphanior:  (injured pretty badly by this time)  Argh!
iron dwarf:  (kicks the elf in the stomach, knocking him
  from his feet)  Blaaaaargh!
Belphanior:  (lands nearby, out of breath, his sword still
  sheathed and blood streaming from his nose)  Argh...
Mongo:  (having approached the iron dwarf from behind, he
  raises his hammer)  Hey, you!
iron dwarf:  (whirls about)  Raaaargh!
Mongo:  Take _this_!!!  (he belts the small warrior right
  in the head, sending him sailing backwards)  Fucker.
wraith lord:  (attacks Arnold with its black energy sword)
  time to die, mortal...
Arnold:  Aaa!  (dodges the swing, and delivers a mighty
  overhead blow with his two-handed sword)  Ah-nold!
wraith lord:  (reels)  aaaaargh.
Rillen:  (fires two arrows at the drow mage)
female drow mage:  (the arrows are repelled from her body
  by magical protections)  Ha ha!
white-robed fellow:  (closes with Rillen)
Rillen:  What?!?
white-robed fellow:  (strikes out, smashing the warrior in
  the stomach with a white-robed arm)
Rillen:  Aaargh!  (falls to his knees, his bow, arrows, and
  staff falling to the ground nearby)
red-armored priest:  This is going rather well.  (he casts
  a Silence, 15' Radius upon Alindyar, who is tending to the
  wounded Lyra)
female drow mage:  Yes, it is.
Alindyar:  (busy bundling Lyra in blankets, to offset the
  shock effect of the cone of cold, he barely notices that
  he is now within a silenced area)
Flint:  (hacks at skullhelm again)
skullhelm:  (slashes at Flint again)
Ged:  (Lightbringer now in hand, he swings the morningstar
  at the ogre king)  Beware, foul one!  Boccob is ready!
ogre king:  Bah!  (he bats the elf aside with the butt of
  his pike)  Maybe I'll take _his_ head, too, when I'm done
  taking yours!
Ged:  Urgh.
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer at the twitching iron dwarf, and
  hits, driving the foe into the soft ground)  And stay the
  hell down!
iron dwarf:  (face down in the ground)  Rgggg...
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)
wraith lord:  (somewhat wounded, as black vapors leak from
  his cloak where Arnold slashed it open)  you shall pay for
  that, mortal.  (he hits Arnold's shoulder, draining life
Arnold:  Aaaaa!  (reels)
white-robed fellow:  (kicks Rillen, knocking him back)
Rillen:  Argh!  (springs to his feet in anger, and delivers
  a spinning kick right at the attacker)  Whaaaaa-  (his
  kick goes right through the fellow, as if he wasn't even
  solid)  Oof!  (he falls, off-balance)
white-robed fellow:  (closes in)

Belphanior:  (recovered, he whips his sword out and slashes
  at the ogre king, whose attention is wholly focused on his
  efforts to decapitate Ged)  Die!  (he backstabs the ogre)
ogre king:  (his back is split open)  Aaaaaargh!  (he wheels
  about, and slashes at Belphanior)  Damned elves!  They're
Belphanior:  (hit by the pike's pole)  Erf!
Ged:  Thanks, pal.  (since time is short, and spellcasting
  often isn't, he uses his wand of conjuration to summon a
  few monsters, rather than casting a spell)  Dekiro Nubari
bulettes:  (appear, two of them)
Ged:  Boccob sends minions!
bullettes:  (lend ears to the elf)  Roooorg?
Ged:  (points to the female drow and the human priest)  Get
  them!  Trample them!
bullettes:  (obey, burrowing though the ground like the land
  sharks they are)
female drow mage:  Uh-oh.
wraith lord:  (approaches Arnold again)
Arnold:  (slashes out wildly, hitting the undead and causing
  its attacks to miss)  Get away!
wraith lord:  argh.
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer, with mighty force, at Rillen's
  white-robed foe, hitting it square in the back)
white-robed fellow:  (staggers)
Rillen:  (uses the extra time to grab his quarterstaff)  Now
  it is _your_ turn, silent one!  (bashes the opponent with
  his staff, injuring it)
white-robed fellow:  (staggers yet again)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer, and then hurls it again, hitting
  the ogre king in the head)
Ged:  That's it!  Switch opponents!  (he hefts Lightbringer
  and heads purposefully toward the wraith lord)  Boccob!
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)
Belphanior:  (steps forward and slashes the badly wounded
  ogre king, disembowelling him)
ogre king:  (looks down at his spilt guts)  How?  (lashes out
  in his death throes, slicing Belphanior's arm open)  I can't
  get an elf...(he falls over, dropping his pike
  as he dies)
Belphanior:  Wanna bet?
ogre king:  urg.  (silent now, in a spreading pool of blood)
Belphanior:  (fully healed by the ogre's life force)  Aaaaah.
Alindyar:  (from within his silenced zone, he uses his deck
  of illusions, drawing forth a card and sending it toward
  the drow and priest with a neat flick of his wrist)
magical card:  (lands in the ground near the priest)
thief & three cohorts:  (illusions, they appear nearby the
  evil ones, and begin to split up and close in)
red-armored priest:  (casts Wall of Fire, surrounding the
  band with a blazing wall)  That should hold them...
female drow mage:  Fool!  Those were merely _illusions_!
  And now the-
bullette:  (surfaces, knocking both of them from their feet
  in a cloud of dirt and dust)  Rooorg!
other bullette:  (surfaces nearby, and prepares to munch on
  the priest's legs)  Rooorgroog!
iron dwarf:  (charges out of the dustclouds and leaps onto
  the second creature's back, sinking its axe into the tough,
  armored neck)  Raaaaargh!
bullette:  (rears and kicks, trying to shake the armored one
  off)  Rooooog!
red-armored priest:  Hah!
first bullette:  (turns and bites down on the priest, taking
  his entire lower half in its toothy jaws)  Roooooorgh!
red-armored priest:  EEEEYAAAAGH!
female drow mage:  Curses!  (she begins spellcasting)
skullhelm:  (slashes at Flint, wounding him again)  Hah!
Flint:  (his axe whizzes, smashing his foe's skull helmet,
  and most of his face, into fragments)  That'll teach you
  to shut up!
skullhelm:  AAARGH!  (begins swinging wildly)  AAARGH!
Flint:  (brings his axe to bear again, and chops the man's
  crotch from below)
skullhelm:  AAAAAAAARGH!
Flint:  That _had_ to hurt!  (leaps aside)
skullhelm:  (falls)
female drow mage:  (casts a spell of protection on herself)
Rillen:  (swings his staff again, at the white-robed one)
white-robed fellow:  (dodges the attack, and punches Rillen
  as he follows through)
Rillen:  Argh!  (reels)

Ged:  (approaches the wraith lord and Arnold)  Hold fast,
Arnold:  I am tryink!  (blocks another attack from the
  wraith)  Aaa.
Lightbringer:  Get that undead!  Kill it!
Ged:  Yea.  For Boccob!  (bashes the wraith lord with his
  holy weapon)
wraith lord:  whaaaAAAASCREEEEEE!  (blazes brightly as its
  substance falls apart)  AIIIIEEEEEEEEeeee....(vanishes,
  along with its cloak and sword)
Arnold:  Thankds!
Lightbringer:  Anytime.
Alindyar:  (still trapped within silence, he uses his wand
  to send a sticky viscous glob at the female drow)
female drow mage:  Bah!  (the missile misses her)
Alindyar:  (frowns)
female drow mage:  (casts a spell on Alindyar)
Alindyar:  (slowly turns to stone, a shocked expression on
  his face)
female drow mage:  Ha ha ha!
Ged:  Uh-oh!  She stoned Alindyar!
Flint:  (staggers toward Mongo)  Argh...
Mongo:  Look out!
skullhelm:  (covered in blood, he yet stands)
Flint:  Wha-
skullhelm:  (slashes Flint, felling him)  Ha!  (spits some
  blood and teeth out)  Who's next?
Mongo:  Why you...(hurls his hammer at the warrior, and then
  charges, before the weapon even reaches the opponent)
skullhelm:  (hit in the chest by the hammer, feels some ribs
  break)  Argh!  (he kicks Mongo with a spiked boot)  Stay
  your distance, wimp!
Mongo:  Urgh!  (he catches his hammer, and begins meleeing
  the warrior)  I'll kill you for that...
skullhelm:  Come on, then!  (he waves his sword)
white-robed fellow:  (hits Rillen again, sending him to the
  ground again)
Rillen:  (coughs up blood)  Argh.  (swings his staff at his
  opponent, but misses)
white-robed fellow:  (kicks the warrior again)
Rillen:  Urgh.  (unconscious now)
white-robed fellow:  (grabs Rillen's head, and his hands
  start glowing with pale fire)  ...
Arnold:  (running at full tilt, he barrels into the white-
  robed one, knocking him away from the fallen Rillen)  Get
  away from him, you weirdo!
white-robed fellow:  (stands up deftly, and faces off with
  the big warrior)
Arnold:  I don'd know what you were doing, but now Ah-nold
  is here to sdop you from doing it!
first bullette:  (successfully eats the red-armored priest)
female drow mage:  Damn!
second bullette:  (nearby and dead, demolished by the fury
  of the iron dwarf)
iron dwarf:  (stands, its axe and fists dripping bullette
  blood)  Rrrraaaaaaaarr!  (waves the axe in the air)
Arnold:  (slashes the white-robed one)  Aaa.
white-robed fellow:  (reels, then lashes out, punching his
  opponent in the belly)
Arnold:  Aaaaargh.  (backs up)  You're preddy strong, for
  such a wimpy-looking one.
Belphanior:  (casts Melf's Minute Meteors at the drow)
female drow mage:  (laughs as the spell is deflected)  Ha!
Belphanior:  Fuck.
iron dwarf:  (charges the other bullette, hacking wildly)
bullette:  (leaps forward in anger, to meet this challenge)

female drow mage:  (casts a spell at Belphanior, pointing
  her finger)  Die!
Belphanior:  Ack.  (falls, dead as a doornail)
Ged:  Boccob!  (begins hasty spellcasting)
female drow mage:  Not quite.
skullhelm:  (stabs Mongo in the shoulder, wounding him)
  Ha ha!  You are no match for me!
Mongo:  The hell you say!  (bashes the warrior in the arm,
  snapping bones)
skullhelm:  (switches his sword to his other hand)  Heh heh.
Mongo:  We'll see who's laughing, when I bust you again...
skullhelm:  Bah!  (swings, but his blow bounces from Mongo's
  armor)  Damn!
Mongo:  Hah _hah_!!!  (smashes his opponent in the stomach,
  snapping his back)
skullhelm:  (falls, spasming)  Curse you, dwarf!
Mongo:  And good riddance!
Ged:  (casts a Fireball at the drow)  By Boccob, take that!
female drow mage:  Ha ha.  (the spell explodes _around_ her,
  but a five-foot radius globe centered _on_ her remains
  unscathed)  My globe of invulnerability will stop all of
  your puny spells!  Ha ha!  (the area around her is burned
  and melted, including the bullette body, the red-armored
  priest's body, and the other bullette and the iron dwarf,
  who are locked in combat; the flames blaze on for several
  more moments)
bullette:  (roasted)  Rooooorgh!
iron dwarf:  (roasting inside his armor)  Raaaaaargh!
Arnold:  (misses the white-robed one)  Aaa.
white-robed fellow:  (silently kicks Arnold, knocking him
Arnold:  Aaaa!  (leaps back to his feet, and stabs the foe
  so hard that his sword comes out of the fellow's back)
  Hah!  Ah-nold!
white-robed fellow:  (vanishes, leaving its robes to fold
  and crumple around Arnold's sword)
Arnold:  Huh?
Ged:  (looks around, noticing the fallen forms of Belphanior,
  Flint, Lyra, Rillen, and Alindyar, as well as all the dead
  foes)  Damn, we're in trouble.
female drow mage:  (prepares her next spell)  Indeed.  Where
  will you now run as I use _my_ fireball on _you_?  Ha ha ha
  ha ha ha-  Urk!  (a long blue blade emerges from her chest
  as Peldor becomes visible behind her)  Gak!
Peldor:  Die, bitch!
female drow mage:  Argh...but how?
Peldor:  Oh, a little invisiblity, combined with me sneaking
  up behind you.  Apparently your magical globe can't stop
  one as mighty as Peldor...though it did a nice job of
  keeping me, not to mention you, from getting roasted by
  that fireball.  My compliments.
female drow mage:  Argh...(falls off of the sword, and sinks
  to the ground)  I'll kill you, thief...(she produces a wand
  from nowhere and points it at Peldor)
Peldor:  Err...
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer from afar, hitting the drow right
  in the head and snapping her neck)  Hey!
Peldor:  (spins to face Mongo, Ged, and Arnold, who are now
  approaching)  Good shot!  (stabs the drow again, for good
  measure, and kicks her body)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  Thanks.
Peldor:  (gingerly steps around small fires on the charred
  ground)  Well, she'll never be bothering us again.
Ged:  Yea.
Arnold:  (points to one of the blazing bullette bodies)  Aaa.

  A form was emerging from the smelly, flaming mess.  A short
form, one that held an axe high as it came into view.

iron dwarf:  (steaming, literally)  Rrraaaaargh!
Ged:  Shit.  Can't anything stop that little guy?
Arnold:  I, Ah-nold, can!  (he charges the armored dwarf)
Mongo:  To the battle!  (he also charges)
iron dwarf:  Raaaargh!  (screams in challenge)
Arnold:  (reaches the warrior first, and hacks it, dealing a
  mighty blow that should have cut the thing in two)  Aaaa?
iron dwarf:  Rrrrraaaaaaaar!  (belts Arnold with the axe,
  cutting open his side and knocking him back and out)
Arnold:  (bleeding profusely, doesn't get up)
Peldor:  Cripes!  He decked the big guy with a single blow!
Ged:  (rushes to Arnold, to cast a healing spell and stop the
  bleeding)  Boccob will save you, Arnold!
Mongo:  (to iron dwarf)  You'll pay for that!  (bashes the
  foe with his hammer)
iron dwarf:  (ignores the blow, and chops Mongo, denting his
  armor and cracking some ribs)  Rrrrarrrrgh!
Mongo:  (backs up)  Ow!  Fuck!
Peldor:  (trying to sneak around behind the thing and back-
  stab it)
iron dwarf:  Raaaaaar!  (whirls, and belts the thief with a
  gauntleted backhand)
Peldor:  Aie!  (sails backward)
Mongo:  (bashes the armored foe again)
iron dwarf:  (falls, wounded, but climbs to its feet again)

Peldor:  (to Mongo)  Back off!  I'm going to use my wand!
Ged:  (to Mongo)  Yea, back away!  I've got spells!
Mongo:  (backs up)  Okay.
iron dwarf:  (prepares to charge at Mongo)
Peldor:  (uses his wand of darkness to cloak their opponent
  in total blackness)
iron dwarf:  (covered in a dome of darkness, its cries of
  rage can be heard)  Rrrraaaarggh!
Mongo:  Wonder how long till he comes out-
iron dwarf:  (as if on cue, it charges in a random direction
  and leaps out of the darkness, but away from the remaining
  adventurers)  Rrraaaargh?  (turns and sees them, whirls,
  and charges again)  Rrrrraaaaarg!
Ged:  (casts Evard's Black Tentacles upon the thing)  For
iron dwarf:  (snared by a dozen of the tough, rubbery things,
  it falls, immobilized and being crushed)
Mongo:  Hah!
Ged:  I'd better use another spell, and roast that thing once
  and for all.
Peldor:  Why?
iron dwarf:  (snaps a tentacle)  Rrrrrrrgggg!
Peldor:  Oh, that's why.  Yep, fire away, that's what I say.

Ged:  (calls a Flame Strike down upon the iron dwarf)
iron dwarf:  (surrounded by a rain of fiery doom, screams in
  pain and rage as it roasts)  RAAAAAARGH!!!
Mongo:  Geez.  (he begins gathering the bodies of the rest
  of the party)
Peldor:  (begins gathering what's left of the opposition so
  that he can check for their treasure)
Ged:  (goes with Mongo, to perform necessary healing)

  They were engaged in healing (or pickpocketing, in the case
of Peldor) when a loud yell from nearby turned their heads.

iron dwarf:  (stands over the pitted, smoking site of the
  flame strike, axe in hand, his armor red-hot)  Raaaarrrgh!
Peldor:  Fuuuuuuck me.
Ged:  By Boccob...(begins casting a spell)
iron dwarf:  (charges forward, with alarming speed)  Raaarg!
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer, hitting the thing in the head and
  delaying it for a moment)
Ged:  (casts Transmute Rock to Mud on the ground all around
  the foe)
iron dwarf:  (immediately sinks)  Raaaarglub-  (it is out of
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)
Peldor:  Do you suppose he'll ever come out of there?
Ged:  Who knows?  Probably.  (begins casting another spell)
  We can take no chances, though.  Time to bury this thing
  once and all!
Peldor:  (watching little air bubbles come up from the mud,
  but fortunately, the area of the mud is wide indeed, and
  any who would walk across its bottom would have a long
  walk ahead)  Hmm.
Mongo:  (holds his hammer ready)
Ged:  (casts Dispel Magic upon his mud, turning it all into
  solid rock)  Ha.
Peldor:  Wow!  Nicely done!
Mongo:  Yeah...that oughtta stop the little bastard.

  They went about the process of healing the fallen...and
there were a lot of fallen this time.  Rillen, Arnold and
Flint were badly wounded, and unconscious.  Lyra, who had
missed the whole battle, was alive, thanks to Alindyar's
quick treatment.  Alindyar himself was now turned to stone,
but his condition could be remedied by Ged, who had the
spell of stone to flesh, and could cast it tomorrow.  The
state of Belphanior was more dire - he was truly dead, and
worse, spells to raise or resurrect the dead would have no
effect on him ("That _is_, after all, what a finger of death
does," quoth Ged).  It was Peldor who came up with the
solution to this dilemma; he simply grasped his friend's
luckblade and used its last wish.

Peldor:  I wish that our adventuring party was back in full
  health and spirits, as we were this morning.
Alindyar:  (becomes flesh again)  My word!
Lyra:  (springs up, totally healed)  What happened?
Belphanior:  Uhh...(stirs)  Where am I?
Ged:  (now healed fully)  Good move, Peldor.  Frankly, I'm
  surprised.  And impressed.
Arnold:  (all of his cuts and bruises vanish)  Whad's going
  on here?  (his life force is restored, too)  Yah!
Mongo:  (likewise, he is fully healed)  Aaaah.
Flint:  (likewise)  You can say that again.
Rillen:  (likewise)  Aaaah.
Peldor:  (himself healed, holds the now-nonmagical sword)
Belphanior:  Hey!  What are you doing with my sword?
Peldor:  Well, let's just say there's good news and there's
  bad news...

  As for the fallen foes, well, there wasn't much left of
them.  The white-robed fellow had vanished, and the wraith-
lord had been dispelled.  The iron dwarf was now buried for
good, so its secrets remained safe.  The ogre king yielded
a huge pike (Ged wanted to destroy it, since it was evil)
while the skull-helmed warrior yielded a bastard sword and
his armor.  The armor, though, like his other possessions,
was mangled beyond sensible hope of repair.

Belphanior:  A bastard sword.  How appropriate.

  The red-armored priest's burned body was gone (those who
were conscious at the time had not noticed the priest's
corpse slide into the mud created by Ged...) and the drow
mage had only a wand, a ring, and her clothes.

Ged:  No spellbooks?!?
Alindyar:  Perhaps she did not see fit to carry them about.
Ged:  Arg...even in death she spites us...
Lyra:  At least she's dead.  Stupid Zara.  I never did like
Mongo:  Who _were_ those people with her, anyway?  I know
  that those of you who first went to Greyhawk by land had
  a run-in with her, but I'd never heard about the rest.
Alindyar:  (remembers the adventure with him, Peldor, and
  the long-gone Halbarad and Peyote)  Ah...
Lyra:  Knowing Zara and her evil ways...they were probably
  bounty hunters.  A group of bounty hunters that she put
  together, knowing that she couldn't take us alone.
Belphanior:  Yeah, they looked like it.  Who knows how long
  they've been following us around the land, waiting for a
  time to strike?
Rillen:  Who cares, now?  They are dead.
Flint:  Yup.  (wipes some blood off of his axe)
Arnold:  Yeaaaaa.  (waves his sword about)
Mongo:  What a mighty battle!

  The remaining bodies were piled up, along with their
weapons (Ged cast a spell, and found that the skullhelm's
bastard sword was evil as well, so it and the pike earned
a place on the bonfire pile), and Alindyar used a fireball
to incinerate the whole mess.
  The group returned to the river area, from which everyone
had long since scattered, and reclaimed their horses, which
had been forced to watch the combat from afar since they had
been tied to the barge's railing.  Being fully healed, they
had no need to rest, and instead proceeded southward, toward
the coast and the Azure Sea.

next time :  the group crosses the waters to find savage,
           unexplored jungles

ftp site  :, in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers

notes     :  This bounty hunter party came about when I was
           at the gaming store one day.  I bought five or six
           of the weirdest little miniatures I could find, and
           later made up their stats and powers.  And _that's_
           how the evil group came to be...
             By the way...who really thinks that we've seen
           the last of the "iron dwarf"?
             I hope all of you had a good Memorial Day; part
           of mine was spent writing this (time well-spent...)

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