Chapter #113

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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:    2/23/572 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    just after dusk                                  +
+   Place:   somewhere in the Crystalmists or Hellfurnaces    +
+   Climate: cold and icy, with snow falling                  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "I'm half asleep when something comes to me, softly...    +
+    something out of synch with the rhythm of the forest...  +
+    something that raises the small, primitive hairs on the  +
+    back of my neck...the sound of something being eaten."   +
+                            - Frank Castle, aka the Punisher +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                    CXIII.  Snowbound





  After crash-landing on an icy, snowy mountainside, the
adventurers have marched down somewhat from the crash
site and holed up in a small cave.  Their campfire, though
small, has warmed them up considerably, and they are all
in better spirits as they sit around the fire, wrapped
in their blankets, and eat dinner.

Mongo:  Good thing that I was carrying those extra
  blankets in my portable hole.
Lyra:  (cozy inside her blanket of warmth, with Alindyar,
  she smirks)  Hah.  (to Alindyar)  And I was beginning
  to wonder if I'd ever get a chance to use this magical
  item.
Alindyar:  Believe me, _I_ appreciate it.
Belphanior:  (to Mongo)  What else do you have in there?
Mongo:  Ah, just stuff.  All kinds of stuff.
Peldor:  (a gleam in his eye)  Good stuff?
Mongo:  Just stuff, I said.  Don't get any ideas.  (he
  walks over to a loose pile of rocks and picks one up)
Arnold:  (wondering what Mongo's up to)  Aaa?
Peldor:  (looking around innocently)  Ideas?  Who, me?
Rillen:  (checking out the back of the cave)  All seems
  well, here.  No animals or monsters.  Though I am sure
  we would have known by now.
Belphanior:  Yup.  (carries a medium-sized rock over to
  Mongo)  Here you go.
Mongo:  (setting up a barricade of rocks and boulders by
  the cave entrance)  We'll take no chances, though.  I
  could use some sharpened spikes.  Or iron spikes.  Or
  anything.
Peldor:  (pulls a smaller pouch out of his magical pouch
  of holding)  Will these do?  (tosses the pouch)
Mongo:  (catches the pouch and looks inside)  Caltrops!
  Hell yeah!  Thanks!  (sprinkles some pointed bits of
  steel around the cave entrance)  Hmm, we could still use
  some sharpened spikes, though.
Peldor:  Ah, the ways in which Peldor goes unappreciated.
Ged:  (casts a spell)  There.  Another Wyvern Watch, to
  protect us as we sleep.  No spikes required.
Flint:  We still ought to set a watch, though.  I'll
  take first watch.
Arnold:  Me too.  (leaps up, swathed in blankets)  Aaaaa.
  Ah-nold is ready for anythink.  (unsheathes his sword)
Mongo:  Yeah.  (peers outside)  It's snowing harder than
  ever out there.  We wouldn't get far in this crap.

  They went to sleep, one by one, except those who were on
watch....

Flint:  (looking at the others who are asleep)  Yawn.  I'm
  sure tired.
Arnold:  Me too.  (slaps himself)  But we can'd get any
  sleebp yet.  Have to finish our shifdt.
Flint:  (looking out the cave entrance)  Hey, there's
  something out there.
Arnold:  (squinting)  I don'd see anythink.
Flint:  (stands up)  I saw it, I tell you.  Something's
  out there.  I'm going to go have a look.
Arnold:  Led the boss's sbell take care of it.  One think
  Ah-nold has learned is that the boss has some preddy
  powderful magic.
Flint:  Hmm.

  Just then, Ged's Wyvern Watch was triggered, as a huge
form thrust its hairy body through the cave entrance!
A furry maw, impossibly big, gnashed its sharp teeth and
drooled profusely at the adventurers in the cave.  The
visitor was positively the largest bear any of the group
had ever seen.

others:  (waking up in confusion)
Belphanior:  What the hell's going on?!?
Mongo:  (curses, grabs his hammer, puts on his helmet,
  and stands up, in his underclothes)  I'm ready for
  battle!
Ged:  Wha-  (half-asleep)  Attacked?
Peldor:  (rolls over)  Zzzz?
Flint:  Hey, no offense to your liege, but I don't think
  his spell worked that time.
Arnold:  No shidt.  (charges the bear, slashing wildly)
  Aaaaaa!
giant bear:  (gropes into the cave with a huge paw and
  swats Arnold away, taking only minimal damage from
  his sword)  Grrrraaaaaar!
Arnold:  (knocked back, several huge bloody gashes in
  his side)  Aaaaaa.  If I had had dry clodthes, I would
  have been wearing my ah-mor!
Flint:  (faces off against the bear)  Stay the hell out!
  This is our cave!
giant bear:  (trying to pull itself further in)  Raargh!
Flint:  (hit by a small rock)  Hells and damnation!  The
  thing's about to cave in this place!
Belphanior:  (standing to one side, half-naked in his
  blanket, casts a spell)  I'll give it something better
  to do than bother us...
giant bear:  Raaaaargh!  Raaaargh!  Raaa-  rrr?  (begins
  squirming about)  Rrrrrg?  (paws itself)
Flint:  Huh?
giant bear:  (frantically begins pawing and scratching
  at its back, and ends up outside the cave)  Raaargg!
Belphanior:  Heh heh.
Ged:  What are you standing around for?!?  (he runs forth,
  and casts a Burning Hands through the cavern entrance
  at the bear)  For Boccob!
giant bear:  (singed pretty badly, decides to hunt for
  its midnight snack elsewhere)  Rrrrr.  (wanders away)
Ged:  Hah!  The true power of Boccob showed him!
Peldor:  Hey, it's just an animal...
Flint:  (to Belphanior)  What did you do to him, to get
  him backed out like that?
Belphanior:  A spell called Irritation.  It inflicts a
  terrible itching rash on the victim.
Alindyar:  One mage's target is another mage's victim.
Ged:  Eh?
Lyra:  Nothing, he's just babbling.  Lack of sleep and
  such.  (kicks Alindyar)  Quit taunting that chaotic
  fool, you twit.
Alindyar:  (grimaces)
Arnold:  (gets up, dripping blood)  Ah-nold has been
  hurdt!
Ged:  Hmm, we'll fix you right up.  (prepares to cast
  a healing spell)  Wounded in the line of duty, eh?
Arnold:  Yah.  But the bear didn't get padst Ah-nold
  this night.
Ged:  Good job, Arnold.  (casts a healing spell on his
  henchman)  Good job.
Arnold:  Aah.
Peldor:  (finally wakes up)  What's going on?  Bah.
  I'm going back to sleep.  (makes good on his word)
  Zzzzzzzz...
Rillen:  Foolish thief.

  They all eventually went back to sleep, after setting
up a second bonfire, near the cave entrance, to keep out
any further intruders.  Mongo and Belphanior decided to
stand guard next, so that Flint and Arnold (the latter
needing rest badly) could sleep.

Mongo:  Yawn.  I'm still tired.  (closes his eyes)
Belphanior:  Go to sleep.  I can stand guard by myself.
Mongo:  No way!
Belphanior:  Sure I can.  I'm too excited to sleep now
  anyway.  Now go back to sleep, I insist.
Mongo:  Well...okay...(goes back to his warm cozy niche
  around the main campfire)  Ahh...zzz...
Belphanior:  (stares silently into the outer fire, the
  flames dancing before his eyes, and thinks of unknown
  things)



  Morning saw a tired and grumpy group of adventurers
trying to fix breakfast, but only seeming to get in each
others' way.  Eventually, everyone had eaten, and plans
were made for the day's travel.  A fresh layer of soft
snow evidenced the night's weather, and the crisp air
of the mountains stung the adventurers' faces as they
emerged from the cave, in their newly dry clothes.

Mongo:  We need to keep on going down.  I think we're
  doing pretty good, actually - once we find a pass,
  we're home free.
Peldor:  Well, that's good to know.  (wondering what his
  dream about a large bear meant)

  Actually, things got worse before they got better.  An
hour or so after they set out from the cave they had spent
the night in, the adventurers encountered some unfriendly
mountain inhabitants...

Belphanior:  What's this?  (kneels down to look at some-
  thing in the snow)
Mongo:  Wow.

  The elf had found a huge footprint in the snow.  Its
depth and size hinted at something large and non-human.

Rillen:  (readies his staff)
Mongo:  I don't see any other footprints.  What the hell
  does this mean?
Ged:  (shrugs)  You've got me.
Rillen:  (looking around)  It means that we are not alone
  here.

  They continued marching through the snow, and a few
minutes later, an ambush was sprung!  The snow on all
sides erupted, as a pack of huge, white-furred humanoids
leapt from their hiding places and attacked the party.
There were at least a score of the big monsters, and
they had the party totally surrounded.

Peldor:  Hey!  We're totally surrounded!
yeti:  (claws at Mongo, inflicting minor damage)  Rargh!
Arnold:  Aaaa!  Id's the abdombinabdle snowmen!
Alindyar:  Who?
yeti:  (claws at Rillen, but misses as the warrior ducks
  the attack)  Raargh?
yeti:  (claws at Belphanior, raking bloody furrows in
  his side)  Raargh!
Belphanior:  Aaargh!
Ged:  (beginning spellcasting as the party's warriors
  absorb the attacks)  For Boccob...
yeti:  (claws at Peldor, who's still visible for some
  reason, and injures him)  Yaaargh!
Peldor:  Urgh.  (backs up, and becomes invisible)
yeti:  (claws at Arnold, but can't dent the plate mail)
Belphanior:  (slashes at a looming yeti viciously)  Get
  back, furface!
yeti:  (wounded seriously, backs away)
Arnold:  (chops at a yeti, and hits, cutting it in two)
  Ah-nold!
Mongo:  (bashes a yeti with his hammer, driving it back
  somewhat)  Fight on!  These things aren't too tough!
Flint:  (chops at a yeti, but misses)  Oops.
Rillen:  (bashes a yeti with his staff, wounding it)
Peldor:  (backstabs a yeti, slaying it as his strike
  nearly decapitates it)  Hah!  (turns visible)  Uh-oh.
Ged:  (casts a Flame Strike upon a group of yeti who
  haven't yet entered melee)  Burn, bastards!
yeti:  (eight or so are instantly roasted by the mighty
  column of flame as it appears and descends)  Aaiee...
Alindyar:  (follows up his fellow mage's spell with a
  timely Magic Missile, blasting five different yeti
  at once)  Ahem.
other yeti:  (those who still live, they flee suddenly,
  bounding away into the surrounding snow)
Belphanior:  Fucking...(quicky gets his bow out, and
  begins firing arrows at the fleeing foes)  I'll show
  them...
Peldor:  Hey, the battle's over.
Ged:  Due, in large part, to the utter mightiness of
  Boccob.
Arnold:  Aaa.  Ah-nold is hurdt again.
Belphanior:  Me too.
Peldor:  Me too.
Ged:  Geez, guys, why don't you just line up?

  Shortly, they had bound and healed wounds, and were
ready to move on.  Oddly enough, there were no further
yeti attacks - it seemed that the beasts has learned
their lesson, said Belphanior.  Even more oddly, after
a few more hours' descent, along the mountain pass Mongo
had found, the temperature changed radically.  First the
snow and ice thinned out, then became scarce, and finally,
nonexistent.  It was merely cool now, rather than freezing.
By the time the party stopped for lunch, the climate was
warm again.  A few hours after that, it was quite hot.

Mongo:  Cripes!  (wipes sweat from his brow)  This is just
  friggin' ridiculous!
Belphanior:  Well, we _did_ descend the mountain...
Mongo:  Yeah, but it's like another part of the world
  now!
Arnold:  Hot.
Peldor:  Hey, that's why they call these mountains the
  Hellfurnaces, isn't it?
Alindyar:  One would suppose so.

  As the group quickly learned, the Hellfurnaces were not
exactly the most hospitable of places.  As they walked on
their path, following Belphanior's magical compass (he
had just taken another reading, to re-orient the group),
a band of gigantic humanoids appeared and blocked further
progress.  The giants had jet-black skin and red or orange
hair, and looked well-armed and armored.  There were only
four of them, but they _were_ giants.

Mongo:  (whispers to the others)  Fire giants...
Flint:  Geez, they must be twenty feet tall.
fire giant leader:  Stop right there!  Not only do we have
  you surrounded, but we have boulders!  You can be smashed
  into bloody pulp, or you can become our slaves after we
  take your loot.
Peldor:  A bandit is a bandit is a bandit...no matter how
  tall.
Lyra:  Words of wisdom, from a great scholar of our time.
Peldor:  Of course.  The great Peldor is many things.  He-
fire giant leader:  Stop babbling amongst yourselves and
  surrender!
Belphanior:  Very well, we accept your generous offer.
  (he holds up a wand)  Here is my own personal greatest
  treasure - a wand that...allows the user to command the
  dead!  Yeah, that's it!
fire giant leader:  The only dead around here are going to
  be you, if you don't put that wand down.
Belphanior:  Bleezum!  (his wand sprays forth a cone of
  foam, covering the leader and one other giant)
Alindyar:  Bleezum?  What kind of a command word is that?!?
fire giant leader:  (sputtering and spitting)  Ptui!  Smash
  them!  Kill them all!
fire giant#2:  (hurls a huge boulder at Belphanior)  Die,
  elf!
Belphanior:  Whee.  (he dodges aside, and watches the rock
  smash into the side of the mountain pass)
Arnold:  (in the path of the boulder, gets a late jump and
  gets hit by boulder splinters)  Aaargh!
fire giant#3:  (wiping foam from his eyes)  Damn it...
fire giant#4:  (hurls a boulder in the direction of Mongo
  and Flint)  I'll squash you like the bugs you are!
Mongo:  (gets nicked by the boulder, and knocked aside)
Flint:  (dodges the boulder, and charges the giants)  Ya!
Ged:  (spellcasting)
Alindyar:  (spellcasting)
Lyra:  (spellcasting)
Belphanior:  (to the magi)  Say, I don't suppose any of
  you are planning on casting a lightning-type spell?
Lyra:  I am, actually.  What concern is it of yours?
Belphanior:  None.
Lyra:  Oh, then quit bothering me.  Can't you see that I'm
  busy spellcasting?
Rillen:  (pulls out his bow and some arrows)  A bow of
  doubling, eh?
Belphanior:  (puts the wand away and gets his silver rod
  out)  Hey, Peldor?
Peldor:  (now invisible, and hasted)  What?
Belphanior:  Can you put this rod near one of the giants
  before Lyra finishes her spell?
Peldor:  (invisibly grabs the rod)  Of course.
Arnold:  (recovers, and charges the giants)  Aaaa!
Flint:  (hacks at the ankle of a giant, scoring a solid
  hit)  Ha!
fire giant#4:  Yeeeargh!
Flint:  Ooo, I bet that hurt!  (ducks through the giant's
  legs as it grabs for him, and hacks the other ankle)
fire giant#4:  Aaaaargh!
Flint:  (jumps back)  And there's more where that came
  from, bucko!
Rillen:  (fires an arrow at fire giant#3)  Here we go.
  (fires one arrow, and a second instantly appears and
  shadows the original; both hit the giant)
fire giant#3:  (the arrows punch through his armor and
  imbed themselves in his chest)  Yow!  Yargh!
Rillen:  Hmm, it really _does_ work.
Arnold:  (charges the fire giant leader)  Ah-nold will
  stdrike back for the boulbder attack!
fire giant leader:  What?
Arnold:  (chops the leader, driving him back, groping
  for his weapon)  Ah-nold strikes!
fire giant leader:  Aaargh!  (slashes Arnold with a huge,
  15' long sword)  Stay back, flea!  That will teach you!
Arnold:  Oooughpf!  (sails backward, his plate mail now
  slashed open at the chest region, and falls, barely
  conscious)  aaa...
fire giant#2:  (stomping toward the party's magi, a giant
  axe raised in his hands)  Heh heh.
Alindyar:  (points at fire giant#2 as he casts his spell)
  Stop!
fire giant#2:  (fails to save, and his feet are rooted to
  the spot he was standing in)  Huh?  What the hell?
Ged:  (casts Evard's Black Tentacles in the vicinity of
  the fire giant leader)  This one's for Arnold!
fire giant leader:  (suddenly covered by writhing black
  tentacles, some of which begin to crush him)  Argh!
Lyra:  (casts a Lightning Bolt)  Now someone gets fried.
  (watches her bolt veer away from her intended target,
  and instead home in on fire giant#3)  What?!?
fire giant#3:  Huh?  (blasted by the magical bolt, and
  wearing metal armor, he really gets it)  AARRRRRGH!!!
  (he dances as the volts elecrify his body)  AARRRRGH!!
Peldor:  (invisible, yet still nearby, he is hit by some
  of the residual charge in the ground, and turns visible)
  YOW!  Ugh...we're gonna...have to be...more...careful...
  with that damned...lightning rod...(collapses)
Lyra:  Lightning rod?
Mongo:  (stands up, looks around, and draws a bead on the
  wounded fire giant#4, who is meleeing with Flint)  I've
  got your number, pal...(hurls the hammer, and it strikes
  hard and fast...but bounces off of the giant's plate
  mail)  Huh?
fire giant#4:  Little bugs...
Mongo:  (catches the hammer, and hurls it again)  Eat this,
  you big galoot!
fire giant#4:  (pounded in the head, staggers)
Mongo:  I should have known to aim for the head in the
  first place.  (catches his hammer)
Rillen:  (hits the giant with another - two more, thanks
  to the magical bow - arrow(s))
fire giant#4:  (seriously hurting now)  Argh!  Argh!
Belphanior:  (puts the rod away and gets his sword out)
  It sure is fortunate that these giants came along, for
  Blackrazor is hungry...very hungry...



Flint:  (hacks at fire giant#4, chopping it once but
  missing it once)  Take that!
Mongo:  (bashes fire giant#4, hitting two of three times)
  And that!  And that!
fire giant#4:  (perishes under the rain of dwarven blows)
Mongo:  (he and Flint knock heads in a sort of dwarven
  high-five)  All right!
Ged:  (brings down an ice storm upon the entire area)  By
  Boccob, there shall be a reckoning!
fire giants:  (weaken a bit due to the extreme cold)
Belphanior:  That sure is refreshing...(begins to position
  himself for a backstab)
Peldor:  (twitches on the ground)
Arnold:  (stirs on the ground)
fire giant#2:  (still rooted to the spot he was standing
  in, rages and swings his axe in great anger)  Why can't
  I move?!?  You puny fleas shall pay for this!
fire giant leader:  (trying to snap all of the Evard's
  Tentacles at once, but there are simply too many, and
  he remains somewhat immobilized)
Rillen:  (feathers fire giant#3 with two more arrows)
fire giant#3:  Aaargh!  (dies, bleeding from six arrow
  wounds now, and also roasted from the lightning bolt)
Rillen:  (fires at fire giant#2, but misses with both the
  original arrow and the duplicated one)  Damn.
Belphanior:  (sneaking around behind the fire giant leader)
fire giant#2:  (sees that Belphanior is within his reach,
  and chops at the elf, wounding him severely)  Hah!
Belphanior:  Aargh!  (crawls away painfully)
Lyra:  (Magic Missiles the giant)  Try that on for size.
fire giant#2:  (yells as the missiles burn holes into his
  flesh)  Yaaargh!
Lyra:  Doesn't feel good, does it?
Alindyar:  (casts Web upon the fire giant leader, further
  complicating his situation)  Heh.
Belphanior:  (changes his mind, and backstabs fire giant#2
  suddenly, inflicting a mighty wound and slaying the giant)
  Ahhh.  (his wounds are healed by the giant's life force)
  Much, much better.

  The adventurers then turned their attention to the fire
giant leader, who was webbed up and still snapping black
tentacles.  They were going to try and reason with him,
but he snarled and waved his sword at them as he broke
free of his bonds, and Mongo and Belphanior attacked the
giant without further hesitation, soon slaying him.

Mongo:  I try to give even the monsters a chance, but any
  giant is an exception.
Belphanior:  Yup.
Ged:  Oh well.
Rillen:  (picks Peldor up and sets him standing against a
  boulder)  Wake up, now.  No one else wants to search the
  bodies.
Peldor:  (his hair standing straight up)  Huh?
Alindyar:  (snaps his knuckles)  Ah, the power of spells.
Ged:  (heals Arnold's wounds, to a large extent)  Boy, we
  need to get your armor fixed.
Arnold:  Yah.

  The giants had only monetary treasure, and this loot was
put in Mongo's portable hole for safekeeping (except for
the gems that Peldor managed to secrete in his pockets via
sleight-of-hand).  The adventurers piled up the bodies by
a large rock outcropping, and then decided to move on, in
case more giants showed up.
  By dusk, the parched land to the west of the Hellfurnaces
was in sight, a few more miles ahead.  The party camped at
the very edge of the mountains that night.

Mongo:  Hell, we must have crashed _right_ on the western
  fringe of these peaks, judging by how quickly we got out
  of the mountains.
Alindyar:  This Sea of Dust - it is ahead, there?
Belphanior:  Right.  The nastiest wasteland in the world.
Mongo:  I guess we see just how nasty tomorrow...
Ged:  (wondering if his sky balloon will still work, he
  prays to Boccob)





next time :  by land or by sea, the party crosses the Dustsea

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

notes     :  The Stop spell that Alindyar used is, like some
           other spells he has, from the supplement "Drow of
           the Underdark" (highly recommended)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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