Chapter #1086

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                         +                       +
                       +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                         +                       +
                           +       Epic VI     +
                             +               +
                               +           +
                                 +       +
                                   +   +

+     Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and other     +
+   terms used in these stories are the property of Wizards of the Coast  +
+   which has in no way endorsed or authorized their use.  Any such       +
+   property contained within these stories are not representative of     +
+   Wizards of the Coast in any fashion.                                  +
+     The player characters depicted in these stories are copyright       +
+   1991-2021 by Thomas A. Miller.  Any resemblance to any persons        +
+   or characters either real or fictional is utterly coincidental.       +
+   Copying and/or distribution of these stories is permissible under     +
+   the sole condition that no money is made in the process.  In that     +
+   case, I hope you enjoy them!                                          +
+   Daffodil       11th level human druidess of Obad-Hai                  +
+   Halbarad       15th level human ranger of Ehlonna                     +
+   Peyote         12th/12th level half-elven fighter/druid of Obad-Hai   +
+   Relmar         18th level human high priest of Pelor                  +
+   Rillen         18th level human warrior monk                          +
+   Songa          13th level human huntress                              +
+   Date:          11/20/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                           +
+   Time:          late morning                                           +
+   Place:         the temple of Pelor, in the Free City of Greyhawk      +
+   Climate:       warm and pleasant                                      +
+   "The question is not if, but how."                                    +
+                                                          - unknown      +

                   MLXXXVI.  Coming to Terms

  After a four-month voyage, another four months of being stranded, and
a harrowing escape as the strange island tore itself free from the world
and vanished into the sky...the adventurers have finally returned to the
known world.  After spending the last week resting and recovering, they
now prepare to discuss some of the things that happened while they were
far beyond the edge of any known map.

Relmar:  (beckons the others into the dining-hall, closing the door after
  everyone's inside)  None shall disturb us here.

  The high priest had seen to it that a massive breakfast/lunch feast was
laid out; after spending the last months working and surviving alongside
the others, he was well aware that some of them had gigantic appetites.
The table had platters of eggs, cheeses, sausages, ham, chicken, cheeses,
loaves of baked bread, assorted fruits and vegetables, and several juices
as well as water and wine.

Peyote:  Chow time, man.
Daffodil:  (to Relmar)  Many thanks for this.  The food here has been
  nothing short of excellent.
Halbarad:  And thank you, as well, for allowing us to remain here while we
  recover and seek answers.
Relmar:  (shrugs)  It was the least I could do.  We all had wounds to heal
  from, and I had much communing to do with the Shining One.
Rillen:  (takes a seat, and tucks into the food, piling a bit of everything
  onto a plate)
Songa:  (quietly)  I have to say, it _has_ actually been nice staying here.
Rillen:  After all that time eating meat from wild game, and whatever came
  from the garden, I've got no problem eating finer food.  Same goes for
  the's a welcome change.
Songa:  (nods)

  These two, like the others, could have afforded to stay in any of the
plentiful inns within the Free City...but that wasn't the point.  Relmar
had extended the hospitality of his deity's temple, and truthfully, they
had all been in need of a quiet, peaceful place to recover from recent

Relmar:  (takes his seat last, after all of the others have done so)  Very
  well, then.  (he clasps his fingers)  I've reached out to Eyer-
Peyote:  He's alive, then?
Relmar:  (nods)  Him and Leila both.  They were successful in making it
  out of the mountains, back to the beach and the wreck of the _Odyssey_,
  and eventually off the island and back to civilization...where they then
  have spent the last three months trying to secure backing for a rescue
  mission to the island.
Halbarad:  Trying?
Relmar:  Sadly, the true identity of most of those who funded the initial
  voyage remains unknown, and so their efforts have been slow going.
Halbarad:  While, meanwhile, people were dying on the island.
Relmar:  You must understand, this involves a great deal of politics.  It
  seems that the failure of the _Odyssey_'s voyage made many of those who
  financed and planned it...reluctant to do so again.
Songa:  It didn't fail!  Such a trip was, simply by its nature, full of
  risks and unknown dangers.
Rillen:  All things considered, the ship and its crew did pretty well.
Relmar:  I realize all of this, but others who weren't there do not.  I
  can assure you that both Eyer and Leila have been doing everything in
  their power to move things along...but it's not that easy, considering
  that the destination destroys ships' hulls and nullifies magic.  The two
  of them actually gave up dealing with governments and monarchs, not a
  week past, and have been pursuing private sponsorship and funding.  It
  was a great relief to them when I appeared the other day, alive and well
  with an accounting of what happened after they left.
Halbarad:  What do they think of the unknown fate of Kiel, Og, and all the
  rest from the ship?
Relmar:  They grieve, as we do.  Certainly moreso than the largely-unknown
  backers of the voyage.
Songa:  This is why I don't deal in politics, or civilization.  In my home
  land, a second ship would have been sent, no matter its size or crew...
  we would have _tried_, not stalled for months hiding behind vague excuses
  and reasons.  (she slams her fist on the table)  Damn it.
Halbarad:  We all agree, I think.  (he shakes his head)  But there's really
  nothing we can do about it now.
Rillen:  (changing the topic)  So what about the others from the ship?  Or
  the island itself?  What do we know?
Relmar:  Ah.  I've communed with Pelor, as I suspect you two- (he nods to
  Peyote and Daffodil) -have done with your deity, Obad-Hai.
Peyote:  We sure did, but not much is clear.
Daffodil:  We got the sense that the island - or continent, really - was
  some sort of land created by other gods...lost gods.
Halbarad:  What?
Relmar:  (nods)  These other gods built that strange land, so far from
  the Flanaess that none found it until now.
Halbarad:  Or at least didn't live to tell of it.
Relmar:  Right.  The water that ruined wood, and the wall of mists, and
  the magic-killing field, were all their creations, I suspect.  It seems
  likely that the green stones had something to do with the third thing.
Songa:  Now that I think about it, the door within the mountain pass was
  also made for someone or something quite tall - larger than us.
Peyote:  Gods...
Relmar:  It's also apparent that the huge wheel in that underground tower
  was some sort of failsafe, which I suspect was faulty or broken, since
  it didn't just remove the magic-nullifying field but also caused the
  whole place to rise into the sky and return to whence it came.  Probably
  some other plane of existence.
Halbarad:  And that's where Kiel Morgan and all the others, the crew and
  passengers, are?
Relmar:  That, we don't know, and may never know.  Eyer and Leila report
  that there was no sign of anyone in the beach camp - they had vanished
  with no trace, and no sign of violence or disturbance.
Peyote:  I wonder if that slime got them.
Relmar:  It's certainly possible...or they may have departed to parts
  unknown...or been taken.  (he shakes his head)  Although it bothers me
  greatly, the fact is that we don't know their fate, and we'll likely
  never know.
Songa:  (suddenly shatters the goblet she's been drinking from, which she
  was unconsciously gripping a bit too firmly as her anger built)  Ouch.
Rillen:  (moves to bind the bleeding wound with a loose strip of cloth)
Relmar:  (quickly gets up and walks over, working a healing spell)  Allow
Peyote:  (quietly)  Intense.
Daffodil:  (in a low tone)  I can't say I blame her.  The entire voyage
  was fashioned, designed, and backed by a bunch of people who we don't
  even know, but who did nothing to help when things went bad.  We should
  all be upset.
Peyote:  I'm too mellow to do that...but yeah, I get it.
Halbarad:  (silently considering all of this, and wondering if someone
  should eventually be held accountable for their lack of concern in this
  entire matter)
Relmar:  (like Rillen did before, he gracefully redirects the subject away
  from the tough one and toward something easier to talk about)  So, what
  will all of you do next?
Peyote:  Daffodil and I will return to the service of Obad-Hai, and see
  what he has in store for us.
Daffodil:  And maybe start a family at the same time, if possible.
Peyote:  That...would be cool.
Halbarad:  I suppose I'll return to a life of scouting and helping others.
  I've already heard that there are orc infestations in a number of places.

  The ranger hadn't yet shared it with any of his companions, but when the
magic-nullifying field had ceased, he'd found that the adverse effects of
the encounter with the beholder had ceased along with them.  There was no
telling how this had happened, but the end result was significant:  spells
and magic, both beneficial and harmful, now affected him as they affected
normal people.  It seemed that whatever effect the ichor from the mangled
eye of the unusually powerful beholder had caused, the island's weird aura
had undone it.

Halbarad:  (blinks, coming back to the conversation)
Relmar:  (to Rillen and Songa)  And what about you two?
Songa:  Rillen and I need to take some time to think...about all of this,
  and past things, and future things.  (she stares grimly at the bloody,
  makeshift bandage on her newly-healed hand)
Relmar:  (looks around)  I, too, have other duties and obligations - ones
  which were put in the care of others while I was away, but which I must
  now deal with.  You are all welcome, of course, to remain here as long
  as you wish, and after you depart, you'll always be welcome here if you
  ever return.  It has been...interesting sharing adventures, and I wish
  you well, wherever your roads take each of you.

next:       Mongo's journey
released:   8/6/2021
notes:      Well, that's it.  The main point I want to make is that when
  I originally left this group on the island facing an uncertain future
  (episode 950, released at the end of 2006, more than fourteen years
  ago) I intended to retire from writing at episode 1000.  There was no
  plan to revisit these characters, and as such, their arc was kind of
  written into a corner.  So when I returned to it (because that was the
  right thing to do) I had some challenges.  I honestly surprised myself
  by writing eleven more episodes with them, as I had originally planned
  to only write two or three.  All in all, I think I did a pretty good
  job, all things considered.  It may not have been what every reader
  wanted, but it had some fun and strange parts - which is about all you
  can ask for in fantasy fiction.
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