Chapter #110

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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:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   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:    2/18/572 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   Gradsul, a city in Keoland                       +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "It is not true that life is one damn thing after         +
+    another - it is one damn thing over and over."           +
+                                 Edna St. Vincent Millay     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                    CX.  Westward Bound





  The adventurers have returned from the wild continent of
the Amedio Jungle, and are currently in the large coastal
city of Gradsul, in southeastern Keoland where the Sheldomar
River empties into the Azure Sea.  They are even now having
breakfast with Kiel Morgan, the explorer they have recently
rescued, and discussing their upcoming quest to the faraway
Sea of Dust.  The group is assembled around a large table as
they eat and talk.

Kiel:  So you _really_ want to go to the Sea of Dust?
Ged:  The Forgotten City, no less.
Kiel:  Inconceivable!
Belphanior:  Absolutely.
Ged:  However foolish it may sound...
Peldor:  ...for we lust after buried gold and magic!
Rillen:  Speak for yourself, _thief_.
Kiel:  Hmm.
Alindyar:  So, you have actually _been_ there?
Kiel:  Yes.  It was a most...harrowing experience.
Ged:  What can you tell us about it?
Kiel:  Well, there's the Sea in general, and then there's
  what I know of the Forgotten City in particular.
Belphanior:  Let's start with the sea, then.
Kiel:  Hmm.  First of all...avoid breathing the dust when
  you can.  It turned out to be harmful to the internal
  organs.  Really harmful, as in coughing up blood.
Belphanior:  (thinking about bottling some of that dust
  when he gets a chance)
Kiel:  Use a thick scarf or something like that, while you
  travel in the Sea.  It will filter the dust from the air
  you breathe.
Ged:  Hmm...sounds good.
Kiel:  And, as you no doubt know already, the Sea itself is
  a total wasteland, hundreds of leagues wide and deep.  It
  is not uncommon for people to enter it and become totally
  lost, disoriented - they seldom emerge.
Arnold:  Aaaa.
Kiel:  Also, watch out for huge underground worms.  They
  tunnel all over the place there.  You'll be walking along,
  and all of a sudden...POW!  (claps his hands together)
Belphanior:  Whee.
Mongo:  (fingers his hammer)
Kiel:  Once you find the city-
Peldor:  How will we know when we're there?
Kiel:  It's a city.  Mostly buried in dust, but still a city.
  Look for the tops of ancient buildings.  In fact, I would
  recommend heading for the royal palace, in the center of
  the ruins.  All entrances were blocked off by dust, when I
  was last there, and many large windows were also blocked.
  Often, a roof will have caved in, filling the chamber below
  with dust.  Anyway, we headed to the tallest spire we could
  see - the old palace - and found some intact passages
  within minutes.  I suspect that the palace was the most
  sturdy of the buildings of the city.
Ged:  Wow.  How'd you know about the palace?
Kiel:  Ancient lore.  We almost had a map of the whole city
  before we went on that trip.
Peldor:  Map?
Belphanior:  What about when we actually get inside the
  ruins?  What then?
Kiel:  Watch out for the monsters!  Undead were there, in
  mass proliferation.  Especially in the catacombs.
Rillen:  Catacombs?
Kiel:  Yes.  You'll know them by their walls.
Alindyar:  (furiously taking notes)
Kiel:  If you feel a sudden temperature drop, beware...for a
  soul sucker is nearby.  Those things will drain the life
  out of you faster than any undead.
Mongo:  Hmmph.
Kiel:  Also watch out for the red corridor.  It leads to an
  evil dragon of a type not seen on Oerth for millenia.
Belphanior:  (perks up again)  Oh?
Kiel:  I shit you not.  And another thing to watch out for:
  one of the lower levels of the ruins has somehow been
  overrun by demons.  They are numerous and evil, and led by
  a prince, I think.
Ged:  You think?
Kiel:  We - those who still lived - teleported away before
  the demons could kill us.
Ged:  Oh.
Kiel:  Standard operating procedure, you know.
Flint:  This is getting better by the minute...
Kiel:  Finally...do not, under any circumstances, try to
  break through the black door.  Apparently there is a key
  which we were unable to find...if you try to force the
  portal, or tamper with it, a terrible trap will then be
  sprung.  I lost three henchmen to that one.
Arnold:  (looks at Ged)  Aaa.
Belphanior:  Sounds like a good trap.
Kiel:  The yield from the adventure - what we retained,
  anyway - was high in monetary loot and antiques, but low
  in magical treasure.  However, I suspect that there was
  more magic there than we found.  I also believe that a
  lot of cursed items are scattered throughout the city.
Ged:  Oh boy.
Kiel:  So...that is my synopsis.  I would recommend that
  you journey west, whether by land or by sea, until the
  Hellfurnace Mountains confront you.  Once you get through
  them - no easy task - you will stand at the edge of the
  Sea of Dust itself!
Peldor:  I still don't see exactly _how_ we're gonna find
  the city, in the middle of that wasteland.
Kiel:  Ah, but I have the answer.  (opens up a strange bag
  that he definitely didn't have before)  After all, you
  people saved my life back there.  I have found a reward
  for each of you.  (pulls a weird, spherical, metallic
  contraption from the bag and hands it to Belphanior)
Belphanior:  Thanks.  Err, what _is_ this?
Kiel:  For you, Belphanior, a magical compass.  You simply
  state who or what you seek, and the golden needle will
  point in the general direction of your quarry.
Belphanior:  Aw, you shouldn't have...
Kiel:  (produces a rather cheap-looking necklace)  For
  you, Peldor.
Peldor:  Me?  (takes the thing, wondering if this is some
  kind of lesson in humility)
Kiel:  A necklace of obscurity.  Wear it, and you cannot
  be scried in any way, shape, or form.  Perfect for one
  such as you.
Peldor:  (shakes Kiel's hand)  Thanks.  Really.
Alindyar:  (wondering who would bother to scry for Peldor
  anyway)
Kiel:  (hands Rillen a longbow made of fine and rare wood
  and strung with a silver string)  For you, fine warrior,
  a bow of doubling.
Rillen:  Doubling?
Kiel:  Yes.  The bow will duplicate any non-unique arrow
  you nock in it, and when you fire, the second arrow
  mirrors the first exactly.  If one hits, both hit.  If
  one feathers an eye, so will the other.  And so forth.
Rillen:  My thanks.  (hefts the new bow)  Good feel, too.
Kiel:  Did I mention that it's magical?
Rillen:  Hmm.  A good gift.
Kiel:  (pulls from the sack a pair of leather-bound tomes,
  one thick, the other thinner, and hands them to Alindyar
  and Lyra)  For you two...infinite spellbooks.
Alindyar:  Pardon?
Kiel:  They can hold many more spells than would appear.
Alindyar:  How many?
Kiel:  A hundred, or thereabouts.
Lyra:  Wow.
Kiel:  Think of them as a "his and hers" matching set.
Alindyar:  Truly, we are indebted to you.
Ged:  (fuming)  Hey, _I_ needed a book like that...
Kiel:  I have something here that you will like even more.
Ged:  You do?
Kiel:  Yes.  (produces a small blue sphere and hands it
  to the elf)  See?
Ged:  Huh?  What the hell is _this_?!?
Kiel:  A magical sky ship.  Simply say the command word
  and the sphere will become a huge air-filled balloon.
  You can sail through the skies inside its cabin.
Ged:  Hmm.  (somewhat dubious, makes as if to test the
  item out right now)
Kiel:  Err, I wouldn't play with that here.  You'd only
  attract all kinds of attention to yourself.
Ged:  Oh.
Kiel:  (hands Arnold a ring of green metal)  For one as
  mighty as you, Ah-nold, I have a ring of health.
Arnold:  Ring of healdth?
Kiel:  It will render your body immune to all but the most
  otherworldly of sicknesses, diseases, and afflictions.
Arnold:  Oh.  Aaaa.  (puts the ring on)  Ah-nold!
Kiel:  (holds forth a small crystal orb)  Mongo...a most
  honest and hard-working warrior, you deserve something
  like this.
Mongo:  (squints at the transparent sphere)  I do?
Kiel:  Yes.  It is the orb of fate.  Once per week, you
  may ask the orb a simple question.  It will glow white
  if the true answer is "yes", or it will dim to black,
  should the answer be "no".
Mongo:  Oh.  (decides to test the thing, and looks at it
  as he speaks)  Will someone die on this quest?
Kiel:  (chuckles as the orb quickly becomes grey)  I said
  _simple_ questions.  The item cannot read the future.
  For that you will need an oracle.  Next time, try asking
  something like "Did Peldor steal anything from me this
  week?"
Peldor:  Hey!  No fair!
Kiel:  And the orb will only work for one owner at a time,
  so don't try swapping it among yourselves.
Mongo:  Thanks again.  (pockets the orb)
Flint:  (wondering what he will get)
Kiel:  (hands the dwarf a shield made from a single big
  grey scale)  For you, Flint Firelips.
Flint:  Wow...
Kiel:  The Dragonshield.  This item...well, let's just say
  you'll find dragon breath a lot less painful, if you get
  the shield up in time before the lizard spews its foul
  breath upon you.
Flint:  Good!  Thanks!
Kiel:  (addresses the whole party)  Well, I've briefed you
  on the Sea of Dust and the Forgotten City, and thanked
  you for saving me from the cannibals...so...I wish you
  happy trails.
Ged:  And what of you?
Kiel:  I will be returning to Greyhawk, to rest and plan
  the next great expedition.  If you make it back from the
  Sea of Dust, feel free to look me up, if you need jobs.
Mongo:  Uh, sure.
Kiel:  Farewell!  (he wanders toward the docks)
Belphanior:  Well, I'd say we did okay, all in all.
Alindyar:  Indeed.  However, we have not yet embarked on
  our journey to the wasteland.
Ged:  He's right.  This is going to be the most dangerous
  quest yet.





next time :  the trek

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

notes     :  ...
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