Chapter #119

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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:    2/28/572 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   the Forgotten City, amid the Sea of Dust         +
+   Climate: hot outside, but fairly cool in the dungeons     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "My axe is clean and sharp,                               +
+    her blade is shining bright;                             +
+    she's hungry for her midnight snack,                     +
+    and heads will roll tonight..."                          +
+                                Krokus, from _Headhunter_    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                      CXIX.  Finale





  The adventurers have entered a room inhabited by three
female demons, half-snakes with six arms.  They bantered
with the party using telepathy, and they were apparently
able to understand Common, as they taunted the party with
their evil promises...

Peldor:  Yes!  A reward!  (steps right up)
Mongo:  Peldor, you fool!  Get back here!
Peldor:  Huh?  (faces the she-demons)  Aie!  No reward
  is worth this...(points his sword at the creatures)
blond she-demon:  (points all six of her weapons at the
  thief)  You'll pay for that comment, manling!
brunette she-demon:  You don't like our charms any more?
Flint:  Never did.
redhead she-demon:  You'll all pay for this!

  The demons slithered toward the party, and the various
adventurers readied themselves for battle.



    blond demon     brunette demon     redhead demon

   Peldor  Flint   Rillen     Mongo   Arnold  Belphanior




                Ged     Lyra    Alindyar



blond she-demon:  (wielding three different types of
  axes, two kinds of swords, and a pickaxe)  I'll now
  shred you fools!  (slashes and chops at Peldor and
  Flint, in a whirlwind of destruction)
Peldor:  (hit by one weapon, but somehow dodges the
  other two)  Argh!
Flint:  (hit by all three attacks against him)  Yargh!
  Ugh!  Argh!  (falls, stunned and reeling)
Peldor:  (becomes invisible)
blond she-demon:  (realizes that she now has a direct
  path to Ged)  Ha ha!  (begins slithering in the elf's
  direction)
Flint:  (staggers to his feet, and hacks at the demon,
  twice, missing utterly with the first attack but then
  hitting the tail hard with the second)
blond she-demon:  (the tip of her tail is severed, and
  black blood spews everywhere)  Aieee!  (she whips the
  tail up, and wraps it around Flint)
Flint:  (now being crushed to death)  Aargh!  (drops his
  battleaxe and struggles against the coiled green tail)
Peldor:  (invisible, tries for a backstab)
blond she-demon:  (magically spies the thief, and turns
  to face him)  Aha!
Peldor:  (attacks anyway, though now from the front)
  Let Flint go, bitch!  (his sword misses by two feet)
  Damn.
blond she-demon:  Ha ha ha ha ha!

brunette she-demon:  (wielding four swords and two axes)
  Prepare to be shredded, mortals!  (she whirls her many
  blades in a dizzying attack)
Mongo:  (hit by two of the three attacks, but only one
  hurts him through his armor)  Arg.
Rillen:  (dodges and ducks all three attacks)  I prefer
  to stay in one piece, monster.  (bashes the demon in
  the head with his staff)
brunette she-demon:  Argh!  (recoils, for the blow was a
  mighty one)
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer, bashing the demon's midsection
  and doubling her over, such is the force of the blow)
brunette she-demon:  Urgh!  (several ribs break)
Rillen:  Keep it up!  (swings his staff again, but lands
  a weak blow, doing no damage)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer, and lets it fly again)  Take
  that, she-bitch!  (the hammer misses)
brunette she-demon:  Bah.  (snags Mongo with her tail)
Mongo:  Argh!  (manages to catch his hammer as it comes
  back, but is now caught in the demon's coils)

Ged:  (hurls his golden lion statues to the floor as he
  shouts a command word)
golden lions:  (two, they appear)
Ged:  (points to the demon that bypassed Flint and Peldor
  and is headed for him)  Kill that thing!
lions:  (roaring, they bound toward the blond she-demon)
Peldor:  (decides to haste himself, using his magical
  feathers)

redhead she-demon:  (wielding six swords)  I prefer the
  swords, myself.  (she slashes and hacks at Arnold and
  Belphanior)
Arnold:  (only wounded by one of the blows, probably
  thanks to his plate mail)  Aaagh.
Belphanior:  (hit by two of the attacks, bleeds from both
  wounds)  Urgh!  Argh!  This has _not_ been my week!
redhead she-demon:  It will only get worse, elven fool.
Arnold:  (never once thinking to use his magical scroll
  of protection against demons to hold the opponents at
  bay)  Ah-nold!  (he hacks at the she-demon, but misses
  badly)  Aaaa.
Belphanior:  (uses Blackrazor to haste himself, and then
  slashes at the demon)  Die!
redhead she-demon:  (an arm is cut open by the attack)
  Argh!
Belphanior:  (stabs at the foe again, but misses)  I'll
  have your head, bitch!
redhead she-demon:  (tries to grab the elf in her tail's
  coils)  Stay still, fool!
Belphanior:  (fate finally favors the elf, as he leaps
  upward, dodging the tail)  Ha!  (he cuts the demon in
  the side)  HA!  Chew on that, hag!
redhead she-demon:  Aie!  (reels from the attack)
Arnold:  (standing behind the thing, he hacks the demon,
  lopping off an arm!)  Ah-nold!
redhead she-demon:  ARGH!
Belphanior:  (slashes at the creature for a fourth time,
  but misses)  Damn, she's quick!

golden lion:  (claws and bites at the blond she-demon)
  Snarl!
other golden lion:  (likewise)  Roar!
blond she-demon:  Argh!  Ugh!  (hurt by only a claw and
  a bite, of all the lions' attacks, but still staggers,
  for these are mighty lions)
Ged:  Good kitties...
Peldor:  (having snuck around to the rear of the demon,
  he tries for another backstab, and hits the monster in
  the back of the head!)  Peldor strikes!
blond she-demon:  Yargh!  (staggers again)

Alindyar:  (casts Feeblemind upon the brunette demon)
brunette she-demon:  Eh?  (she ignores the spell, due to
  her high magic resistance)
Alindyar:  Damn.
Lyra:  (casts Fumble upon the redhead she-demon)
redhead she-demon:  (ignores the spell)
Lyra:  Double damn.  (thinking about using her staff of
  striking)  It's times like this that I regret having
  little experience with weapons.
Alindyar:  Verily.  Our spells fail at every turn.



blond she-demon:  (crushing Flint in her coiled tail)
Flint:  Argh!  (tries to break free, but can't)
Peldor:  (uses his boots of striding and springing to
  leap up, over his opponent, and he lands behind her)
blond she-demon:  What?!?
Peldor:  (tries for a backstab, but finds himself now
  facing the demon)  Ah, well, it works on orcs.  (he
  slashes at her, but misses)  Usually.
blond she-demon:  (slashes and stabs at the thief with
  all six of her weapons)  Die, worm!
Peldor:  (miraculously dodges all but one of the six
  weapons)  Ugh.  Whew!
blond she-demon:  Ha ha ha!  You can't dodge my blades
  forever, fool!
Ged:  (having given up spellcasting, he has charged the
  demon, and bashes at her back with Lightbringer)  He
  won't have to!
blond she-demon:  (hit by the holy morningstar)  Aargh!
Lightbringer:  She's not an undead fiend...
Ged:  Well, we still have to fight her.

brunette she-demon:  (attacking Rillen, while dragging
  Mongo's armored form around in her tail coils)
Rillen:  (running and dodging, he avoids _all six_ of
  the attacks)  Whoa!  Yie!  Hai!
Mongo:  Aaaargh!  (he flexes, and with the help of his
  girdle, breaks free, and rolls away gasping)  Gasp!
Rillen:  (swings at the brunette she-demon, but can't
  hit her, through the web of blades she weaves)  The
  thing evades most of my attacks!  How can we hope to
  triumph?
Mongo:  Just keep at it!  (punctuates his statement by
  hurling his hammer at the demon, hitting her hard)
brunette she-demon:  Argh!  (reels, seriously wounded
  by now)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  See?
Rillen:  (grabs his magical horn and winds it)

Belphanior:  (slashes at the redhead she-demon again,
  but misses)  Damn it all...
redhead she-demon:  (slashes at the elf and Arnold)
Arnold:  (hit by two attacks)  Aaa!
Belphanior:  (also hit by two attacks)  Ugh!  Agh!  I
  sure can't take much more of this battering...
Arnold:  Hobefully, you won'd have to.  (he hacks at
  the demon, and lands another mighty blow)  Ah-nold!
redhead she-demon:  (staggers)
Belphanior:  (sensing opportunity, he recklessly leaps
  forth and swings his sword, risking all)  AAAAAA!
female she-demon:  ...  (regards the elf)  Whargggglg.
  (her head falls off)
Arnold:  Whaaad?
Belphanior:  YES!  (he absorbs the slain demon's life
  energy, and all of his terrible wounds are healed)
Arnold:  All ridht!

Rillen:  (holding his horn of Valhalla)
berserkers:  (seven of them appear and look around)
Rillen:  You, you, and you!  Slay that demon!  The
  rest of you, kill the other one!
berserkers:  (charge, three of them going for Rillen's
  for, while four head for the blond she-demon)

brunette she-demon:  What?!?  (she staggers, as three
  axes swing at her simultaneously)
berserkers:  (none of them hit, but they do give Mongo
  and Rillen a moment of breathing time)

blond she-demon:  Who are these fools?
berserkers:  (all four attack at once, and only one of
  them hits, though his blow is a mighty one, of the
  critical sort)
blond she-demon:  Aie!  (falls, her heart cloven in
  two)  Aghk!  (dies)
berserkers:  (chop and hack at the body as they sing
  songs of glory)
Flint:  (finally freed from the deadly coils, he rolls
  away)  Argh...



brunette she-demon:  (realizes that her sisters are
  dead, and she's the only one left)  Fools!  Mortal
  fools!
Peldor:  Who, me?
brunette she-demon:  (she begins waving her arms and
  chanting)  I should have done this from the start...
Alindyar:  By the gods, someone STOP HER!
Mongo:  Oh, yeah.  (quickly hurls his hammer at the
  demon, but misses)  Oops.
brunette she-demon:  Ha ha ha!  You are finished now,
  fools!
malformed little humanoid demon:  (appears)  Ork?
brunette she-demon:  No!  I wanted a greater demon!
  A true demon!  Or a whole pack!  But not a single,
  puny lesser demon....argh.  (wearily hefts her six
  weapons)
Belphanior:  (backstabs the demon, finishing her, and
  absorbs her life force as well)  Ahhhhh.
brunette she-demon:  (her form on this plane dies a
  disgusted death, knowing that she was vanquished by
  a band of mere mortals)  Another time, doomed ones,
  another time...
Ged:  What do you think she's trying to say?
malformed little humanoid demon:  Org?
berserkers:  (converge upon the thing)
malformed little humanoid demon:  (quickly slain, it
  never understands what was going on)

  The adventurers rested and bound wounds.  Only Flint
was truly hurt, and Ged had to use one of his mightiest
curative spells to heal the dwarf.  Peldor searched the
room, and eventually found a hidden door.  Meanwhile,
the weapons used by the she-demons melted into puddles
of slag, ensuring that no mortal hands would ever wield
them.  After fifteen minutes or so, the party was ready
to move onward.  They went through the secret doorway,
and moved down a long, dark tunnel.  The pair of golden
lions and the seven berserkers followed noisily.



  ________________             ________
  ______________  |           /  \  /  \
                | |__________/          \
                |____________           <
                             \          /
                              \__/__\__/



  They entered a hexagonal chamber which contained two
alcoves and a huge, chevron-shaped stone door.  Both of
the alcoves were big enough for a person to walk inside.
The left one was glowing with a blood-red glow, and a
pedestal within held some small object.  The alcove to
the right was sheathed in a green glow, and its pedestal
held a large, hide-wrapped book.  The stone door ahead
promised to be formidable, for it was well over ten feet
in height, and about eight feet wide.  Its stone was a
sleek, black variety, resembling obsidian.

Ged:  Boccob!
Belphanior:  (heads for the alcove containing the book)
Peldor:  (heads for the other alcove)
Mongo:  Greedy bastards...
berserkers:  (mumbling among themselves)

  Belphanior entered the green alcove, and approached
the pedestal containing the tome.  As he reached for the
thing, the elf became aware of numerous tiny slicing
sensations, all over his body.  Nevertheless, he took
the ancient book and exited the alcove.

Ged:  Holy...you're bleeding!
Belphanior:  Eh?  (notices that he is covered by small,
  razor-sharp cuts, and is bleeding profusely)  Ack!
  (he stumbles)  How'd that happen?
Rillen:  It must have been done while you were inside
  the alcove.
Peldor:  (poised to enter the red alcove, now pauses)
  What's this?
Alindyar:  Foul magic indeed.
Ged:  (he and Arnold begin removing the elf's outer
  clothes, in order to bind the cuts)  You're covered
  with these slices!  How in the name of Boccob did
  you survive this?
Belphanior:  I absorbed an awful lot of life energy
  from those two she-bitches a while back.  I'd say
  it's all used up now, though.  Sigh.
Ged:  (casts a minor curative spell on the elf, but
  oddly, it doesn't close up many of the cuts)
Belphanior:  I'm okay, really.  Let's get that other
  alcove checked, and then open that door.
wispy thing:  (on the ceiling, watching Belphanior)
Peldor:  (cautiously walks into the red alcove, but
  nothing happens to him)  Whew.  (he spies a ring of
  black metal on the pedestal, and grabs it)
Mongo:  Look, Peldor's glowing blue!
Peldor:  What...ARGH!  (he is chilled by a powerful
  magical effect, and falls to the floor)
Rillen:  (runs in, grabs the thief, and hauls him out
  of the alcove)
Peldor:  Urgh...(he is shivering, but alive)  Cold...
  so cold...(unbeknownst to the others, he is alive
  only due to his feather tattoos, one of which helps
  protect him from all forms of cold damage)  Argh.
  I feel like shit.  (shows the party the ring)
Ged:  Hey, that thing's evil.
Mongo:  (healing Peldor with his weird rod of curing)
  You poor fool.
Ged:  We don't need an evil ring.
Mongo:  Let's just keep it for now.  We may want to
  have some mage look at it later or something.

  The two new treasures were put in Mongo's portable
hole for now, and the party turned its attention to
the massive stone door to the east.  The mages' spells
of opening had no effect upon the thing, and neither
did Mongo's magical chime.  The thieves then began
searching for hidden catches or triggers, and after
five minutes, they found a loose rock that moved back
and forth.  However, it seemed to have no effect upon
the door.  Mongo tried putting his shoulder (with the
girdle's giant-level strength behind it, of course)
to the door, to simply push it open.  This tactic had
no effect either, though Mongo swore that he had felt
it give...a little.
  Finally, someone suggested that the loose stone be
pulled, Mongo push the door, and someone else use the
chime of opening, all at the same time.  This newest
plan was quickly carried out, and the intrepid party
was rewarded, as the massive stone door swung open,
revealing yet another dark, ancient passageway.
  They trekked down the tunnel, and presently emerged
into a huge underground cavern.  They were on a ledge
which overlooked a lake of lava, a few hundred feet
below.  No other ledges were visible - there were no
exits from this hot cavern, save the lava...



               .
         %%%%%%.
        %%     .   <----ledge
       %%       .
  ____/         .              lake of fire
  ____           .              (300' down)
      \          .
       %%         .
        %%        .
         %% %%%%%%%.
          %      % .
          %%%    %
          %%%%%%%%



  Before the adventurers could worry about the lake,
or even the notable niche/exit to their right, they
were confronted by a terrible apparition, which rose
from the fiery lava to confront them.  The thing was
a towering humanoid, twelve feet tall, and had huge
wings that flapped behind it as it approached.  Its
skin was a deep, dark reddish hue, and its huge hands
ended in sharp claws.  The fanged mouth dripped some
blackish substance into the air.  The monstrous thing
held, in its right hand, a sword that appeared to be
made of lightning.  In its left hand, the creature
grasped a large whip with many tails.

demon:  WHAT ARE YOU WORMS DOING IN MY HOME?
Mongo:  Worms?
demon:  QUIET, MORTAL.  I SHALL ASK THE QUESTIONS.
Alindyar:  (to Ged and Lyra)  'Tis a balor!  By far
  the most powerful of the demon races!  We are
  doomed!
demon:  DOOMED!  (suddenly whips Belphanior, snagging
  him with several whip tails)  COME TO ME, ELF.
Belphanior:  (being dragged toward the demon)  Aie!
Balor:  YOU WILL NOT FIND ME MAKING THE SAME MISTAKE
  AS MY CONCUBINES.  (snaps its fingers, and various
  demons begin to appear)
giant fly-demon:  (appears in the air)  Bzzzzz!
berserkers:  (some of them flee in terror)
gargoyle-demon:  (appears on the cave floor, and then
  lurches about, clicking its sharp claws)  Ssss!
huge two-headed demon:  (appears; one of its heads is
  that of a snarling dog, while the other is that of
  a writhing snake)  Hah.  (looks around, and hefts a
  huge battleaxe)
tiny demons:  (two of them, they appear and nip at the
  heels of the bigger demons)  Yip!  Yip!
Balor:  ADVENTURERS, YOUR TIME HAS COME.

  The horde of demons spread out and faced the party.

Ged:  Oh shit.
Rillen:  (guzzles his potion of speed)
Peldor:  (goes invisible, and hastes himself as well)
  Mighty Peldor and his henchlings face perhaps their
  mightiest-
Ged:  Shut up, would you?!?



molydeus:  (the two-headed demon)  Who dies first?  (it
  strides forth, its great four-bladed axe held ready)
Rillen:  (steps forth, and swings his staff at the
  opponent, landing a mighty blow)  Not I!
molydeus:  Oh, come now.  (chops at the warrior, and
  barely misses braining him)
Rillen:  (lightly wounded)  Agh.  (bashes the demon in
  the snake-face with his staff)
molydeus:  Sssss!  (the snake head snaps at Rillen)
Rillen:  (leaps aside as the venom-laden fangs miss)
molydeus:  (the dog-head bites at Rillen, but also
  misses)
berserker#2:  (hacks at the molydeus, and somehow hits
  it)  Yah!
berserker#4:  (hacks also, but misses)  Yah!
Rillen:  (swings again, and hits again)  You are not so
  talkative now.
molydeus:  (snarls in rage)
Rillen:  (swipes at the demon, and hits _again_)  Hai!
molydeus:  Argh!  Sss!  Rrrrg...(it now bleeds from a
  number of wounds)
Rillen:  Four for four...(smirks)
tiny demon:  (about to bite Rillen's leg)
Ged's golden lion#1:  (brings a paw down upon the manes
  and pulverizes it)  Roar!
Ged's golden lion#2:  (leaps over the berserkers' heads
  and onto the demon, ripping and biting)
molydeus:  What-  (manages to avoid the claws, but its
  snake head gets bitten by the lions' mighty jaws and
  bleeds profusely)  Aaargh!
Flint:  (charges the gargoyle-like demon, a nabassu)
  My axe has your number, foul fiend!  (he misses)
nabassu:  I think not.  (claws and bites the dwarf)
Flint:  Arg!  (hit by a claw, he bleeds)
berserker#6:  (hacks at the demon from one side, but
  misses)  Yah!
berserker#7:  (hacks at the demon from the rear, and
  manages to hit)  Yah!
nabassu:  You _dare_?!?
berserker#7:  Hey, I'm under orders here.
chasme:  (the fly-demon)  Bzzzzz!  (drones on, having
  a magical effect upon foes at hand)
Arnold:  Aaa.  (feels sleepy, but manages to avoid
  falling victim to the demon's power)  Ah-nold!  (he
  swings his massive sword at the demon, and cuts an
  insectoid leg off, so powerful is his blow)  Yaaa!
chasme:  BzzzzARGH!  (flies about in pain)
Peldor:  (invisible, trying to sneak behind the fly-
  demon, who is preoccupied with Arnold at the moment)
Balor:  (spots the thief easily)
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer at the Balor)  If we take
  out the leader, maybe...
Balor:  (struck by the powerful magical weapon)  I
  _FELT_ THAT.
Mongo:  Good.  (catches the hammer)
Peldor:  (still invisible, backstabs the chasme easily,
  splattering green bug guts everywhere)  Peldor goes
  on about his ways, unappreciated by his teammates...
  (he becomes visible)
chasme:  (falls, dying)  BZZZZzzzzz.....
Mongo:  Yeah!  (watches in disgust as the demon's body
  melts into a black puddle)
manes:  (the tiny minor demon)  Gglglg.  (bites and
  claws at Mongo ineffectually)
Mongo:  Huh?
Mongo:  (bashes the manes with his hammer, smashing it
  to pulp)  Ick.
Balor:  (pulling Belphanior closer, toward its flaming
  body)  DOES THE WORD "IMMOLATION" MEAN ANYTHING TO
  YOU, ELF?
Belphanior:  Aw, crap.  (struggles to escape, but the
  whip tails are too tightly wrapped around his torso)
  Hey, this isn't fair!  Can't we talk about this?
Balor:  OF COURSE NOT.  (he reels his victim into the
  flames)
Belphanior:  AAAAAARGH!!!  (various items on his body
  melt or ignite)  AAAARGH!
Ged:  Boccob!  (casts a Lightning Bolt at the Balor)
Balor:  (hit directly in the chest by the bolt, but
  ignores the spell)  HA HA!
Ged:  Crap.  He must be immune to lightning.
Belphanior:  (actually at the monster's chest area, he
  takes full damage from the bolt)  YEAARGH!!!
Ged:  What have I done?
Belphanior:  (sags, unconscious and charred)
Alindyar:  (uses his staff of the magi to create an
  Ice Storm in the vicinity of the Balor)  This might
  take some of the fire from the thing's step.
Balor:  (the spell fizzles around it)  YOU'LL HAVE TO
  DO BETTER THAN THAT.
Alindyar:  (slaps his forehead in frustration)
Lyra:  (sends five magic missiles at the Balor)
Balor:  (hit and hurt by the missiles)  OUCH.  (drops
  Belphanior, and raises its whip again)
Lyra:  The magical missiles worked...
Ged:  ...but most of our other spells aren't...(he
  digs in his pack as he moves to one side)
Alindyar:  Remind me, if you will, never to venture
  into the Abyss.
Lyra:  Right.

molydeus:  (its two heads bob and weave as it points
  at the foes around it; Evard's Black Tentacles then
  appear)
Rillen:  (beset by two of the magical things, he is
  crushed a bit, and one tentacle vanishes)
golden lion#2:  (chews the one tentacle grabbing it
  in half, and turns to the demon once more)
berserkers:  (the four of them receive the other ten
  tentacles, and fall, slowly being crushed)  Yah!
nabassu:  (finds that, with those two berserkers gone,
  only Flint now faces it)  My thanks, brother demon.
molydeus:  Go to hell!
golden lions:  (both of them rip and tear at the two-
  headed molydeus now)
molydeus:  What is-  Aie!  (raises its axe to defend
  itself)
golden lion#1:  (hits with a claw)  Roar!
golden lion#2:  (hits with a claw and a bite - the
  latter locking on the demon's throat)  ROAARR!!
molydeus:  Argh!  (blood spews from the huge tear in
  its throat)  Glrglg...(falls, dead)
golden lions:  (watch the corpse suspiciously, as it
  begins to bubble and evaporate)  Grrr...
Rillen:  (snaps the remaining tentacle on himself)
  Ah, the priest's lions have slain the thing.  Now I
  can get down to business.  (eyes the distant Balor)
nabassu:  (grabs Flint, palming his head like a ripe
  coconut)  Now I take your life!
Flint:  ACK!  (he is drained of two life energy levels
  by the demon, and collapses, too weak to battle any
  longer)
nabassu:  Ha ha ha!
Arnold:  Ha ha dhis, monsder.  (he chops at the demon,
  drawing blood on its shoulder)  Aaa.
nabassu:  (uses an innate power to heal itself of all
  the damage it has sustained thus far)  Bah.
Arnold:  (hacks at the demon again, but misses)  Aaa.
Alindyar:  (casts Feeblemind at the nabassu)  Perhaps
  this will have an effect.
nabassu:  (utterly fails to resist the spell)  Blork.
  (stands there, grinning like a moron)
Mongo:  (seeking targets, he hurls his hammer at the
  dazed-looking nabassu, smashing it with a mighty
  blow)  Yeah!
Belphanior:  Uh...(wakes up, finding that he is now
  sliding across the floor, away from the Balor)  ...
  What the fuck?
Peldor:  (doing this from afar, using his telekinesis
  ring)
Belphanior:  Wha-?  (comes to a stop right behind the
  feebleminded nabassu)  Hmm.  (hefts his sword and
  stands, his blackened, charred form not unlike that
  of a demon)
Mongo:  (far to one side, he catches his hammer)
Belphanior:  (backstabs the helpless nabassu, slaying
  it instantly)  HAH!  (absorbs considerable life
  energy)  Yessss....
nabassu:  (melts and dissolves)
Belphanior:  Ahh.  (turns to the black puddle nearby)
  I love it when they do that.
Arnold:  You do?
Ged:  (approaching the Balor, he chants holy words of
  power as he holds a magical talisman high)  Boccob!
  Narflatzu!  Behindar!
Balor:  WHAT FOOLISHNESS IS THIS?
Ged:  (attempting to dispel the Balor with the item)
  By Boccob, I command you to begone!  I banish you!
Balor:  (ignores the elf, and then whips him)
Ged:  (totally entangled)  No!  (grabs Lightbringer
  and flails about with it, trying to hit the Balor)
Balor:  IMMOLATION!
Ged:  No, by Boccob!  No!  (he actually hits the Balor
  with his morningstar before being set aflame)  ARGH!
  AAAAARGH!
Rillen:  (nearby, but out of melee range, he uses his
  sling to fire his magical red sling stone at the
  Balor)  This should fire him up.
Balor:  (watches the sling stone miss him and hit the
  wall nearby, exploding into flame)  EH?
Rillen:  Damn.  (gets his last magical sling stone
  ready)
Balor:  (watches Ged burn, with glee)
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer at the Balor, but misses)
  Crap!
Arnold:  (charges the Balor)  Led go of Ged!
Lyra:  (prepares a mighty spell)

Ged:  (being roasted)  AAARGH!  (he falls unconscious
  from the pain and damage)
Arnold:  Led him go, I said!  (hacks the Balor, and
  hits him so hard that he actually does let Ged go)
  Aaa!  (winces from the great heat of the demon's
  flames)  Hod.
Balor:  ARGH!  (tosses Ged away like a flea)
Arnold:  Ah-nold is ready!  (waves his sword)
Balor:  IS HE?  (for the first time in this battle,
  he uses his sword, swinging it in a huge arc and
  hitting Arnold's sword, and then his neck)
Arnold:  (his sword is smashed to shards)  Aaa?  (he
  is instantly decapitated)
Balor:  HAH.  (kicks the body away and grins)  NEXT?
Rillen:  Foul fiend!  (fires his black sling stone at
  the Balor, hitting him in the head)
Balor:  EH?  (the powerful stone explodes in a spray
  of acid)  YEAAAARGH!!!  (he thrashes about madly,
  with such force that the floor shakes)  AAAARGH!!!
Alindyar:  So demons take damage from acid...I shall
  have to remember that.
Mongo:  Way to go!  (he hurls his hammer at the Balor,
  careful to aim for the legs, to avoid the acid; he
  hits it in the groin area)  Ow...(winces)
Balor:  YEAARGH!!!  (he doubles over)
Belphanior:  (casts Stoneskin upon himself)
Lyra:  (rushes forth, and casts Dismissal upon the
  demon)  BEGONE, FIEND!
Balor:  (ignores the spell, as the magic is thwarted
  by its inherent resistance)  BAH.  (stands erect
  once more, and whips Lyra, easily hitting her)
Lyra:  (now _she_ is being dragged into the Balor's
  flames)  Aie!  Help!
Alindyar:  (quickly casting a spell)  Momentarily...
golden lions:  (leap upon the Balor, but are quickly
  driven back by its flames)  Roar!  (they paw the
  floor uselessly)  Rearrg!  Snarl!
berserkers:  (all but forgotten now, they die one by
  one in the Evard's tentacles)
berserker#7:  (as the gods of fate are feeling kind
  this day, he manages to break free from the magical
  tentacle)  Yah!  (looks around and sees all of his
  dead companions)  YAH!  (turns toward the distant
  Balor)  YAH!  (charges)  YAH!
Alindyar:  (casts Death Spider upon the Balor)
Balor:  (resists the spell, barely)  BAH.
Alindyar:  Aaa!  (kicks the wall in frustration)  Ow.
Lyra:  (immolated, ignites)  Aieee!
Mongo:  (spots a running form, coming closer)  Holy
  shit!  Who's _that_?
Berserker#7:  (vaults over Ged's smoldering form and
  hacks at the Balor in a bizarre suicidal attack)
Balor:  WHAT?!?  (takes an axe in the head)  AARGH!
Berserker#7:  (hanging onto the Balor, he grinds the
  axe deeper into its skull)  YAH!  YAH!  YAH!
Balor:  YEAAARGH!  (lets Lyra go, and grabs at the
  berserker, who is now aflame)
Berserker:  YEAAARGH!  (he mimics the Balor as he
  tries to dice its skull)
Peldor:  (now behind the Balor, goes for a backstab
  but misses wildly)  Yipes.

Balor:  (grabs the berserker, who has already burned
  to death)  BAH.  (flings the melted body aside)  I
  ...HURT.  (his head is dripping flaming blood from
  the huge gash inflicted by the late berserker)
Mongo:  It's only gonna get worse, buddy.  (hurls his
  hammer)
Balor:  BAH.  (deflects the weapon with his sword)
Peldor:  (slashes at the demon again, from behind, and
  hits)
Balor:  AARGH!  (whirls, and hacks at the thief with
  the huge sword)
Peldor:  Ugh!  (wounded; he narrowly ducked another
  decapitating blow)
Balor:  (pointing his finger in the air)  BEHOLD MY
  POWER, MORTALS!  (a Symbol appears over his head)
Alindyar:  (distant, but running toward the melee for
  some reason)  Aie!  The symbol of death!
golden lions:  (both vanish, reverting to figurine
  form as they perish from the spell)
Alindyar:  (realizes what has happened)  Whew.  (after
  all, he was the weakest of those left fighting)
Peldor:  Death spell?  (still hasted, he slashes the
  Balor again, from the front, and hits again)  Wow!
  I mean, err, the power of Peldor-
Balor:  ENOUGH ABOUT PELDOR!
Belphanior:  (now in front of the Balor, slashes at
  the demon, but misses)  Oops.
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer at the demon, but misses)
Rillen:  (dashes toward the Balor)
Balor:  (surrounded, and actually wounded quite badly
  at this point)  BY THE ABYSS...(uses another innate
  power, and blinks away)
Rillen:  (stops short, in surprise)  Wha-
Mongo:  Where the fuck'd he go?
Balor:  (reappears in the air above the lava, where
  the remaining adventurers can't possibly reach him)
Peldor:  (points)  There!
Alindyar:  (casts Stop at the Balor)  Cease yourself!
Balor:  (ignores the spell)
Alindyar:  Aie.
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer at the Balor again, and hits
  this time)  Yeah!
Balor:  (recoils)  ARGH!

Rillen:  (looking at his bow)  Hmm.
Alindyar:  Unless you possess enchanted arrows, forget
  that notion.  Normal weapons and missiles are of no
  use against the demons.
Rillen:  (puts the bow away)  What can we do here, if
  the thing is out there?
Peldor:  Hmm.  (he notices that the Balor is wounded
  badly, and drinks his potion of flying, and then
  goes invisible)  I've got to get out there above
  that lava...
Balor:  (making arcane gestures again as he floats in
  the air above the lava lake)
Belphanior:  Everybody spread out!  Spread the fuck
  _out_!!
Balor:  (creates a symbol of stunning in the air)
Alindyar:  Aie!  (stunned, drops his staff)
Belphanior:  Yow!  (stunned, drops his sword)
Peldor:  (invisible, and now flying over the lake of
  lave, he wonders why he wasn't stunned)
Mongo:  (safely on the ledge, but wondering the same
  thing)
Rillen:  (likewise)  It is just the two of us left now.
Mongo:  Where's Peldor?
Balor:  (able to see invisible creatures, _he_ knows
  where Peldor is)  I CAN SEE YOU, THIEF.  WHY YOU
  STILL PERSIST WITH YOUR INVISIBILITY IS BEYOND ME,
  HOWEVER.
Peldor:  Old habits die hard, I guess.  (slashes at
  the Balor, but misses)
Balor:  MOMENTARILY, I SHALL USE MY SYMBOL OF INSANITY
  TO RID MYSELF OF YOUR COMPANIONS ON THE LEDGE.  THEN
  YOU SHALL BE THE LAST.
Peldor:  (stabs at the demon again, due to his earlier
  hasting...and hits!)  Aw, shaddup.
Balor:  (in its weakened state, its heart is pierced
  by Peldor's well-aimed blow)  NO!  IT CANNOT BE!
  (it begins to flicker and melt)  NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Rillen:  What is happening?
Peldor:  (watching in fascination, he inadvertently
  turns visible, since he attacked)
Mongo:  Oh, there's Peldor.
Rillen:  Peldor killed it!
Balor:  (vanishes in a fiery explosion that singes
  Peldor's eyebrows; an item remains behind, and it
  starts to fall down toward the lava)
Peldor:  Yeow!  (flies forward, and grabs the thing)
  Yuck.  (he is holding a disembodied eye)
Rillen:  (staring in disbelief)  After all that, the
  _thief_ killed it!
Mongo:  Wonders never cease, do they?

  Those who were left regrouped on the ledge.  Since
Belphanior was incapacitated, Peldor took it upon
himself to search the southern alcove.  Rillen was
hot on his heels, though, and together they entered
the tunnel.  It led to a small cavern, containing a
trio of chests.  The chests rested in a pile of coins
of all types; there had to be at least a hundred
thousand coins piled here.

Peldor:  Rillen, my friend, we've hit the jackpot!

  The thief found and disarmed several traps:  on the
first chest was a poison needle trap of fiendish
quality; the second chest had a gas trap; the third
chest had a blade trap.  Peldor, with his skill, was
able to get around all three, and the chests were
laid open for all the adventurers to see.



CHEST#1:
  several thousand more gold coins
  numerous gems, of all sizes
  bottle containing bubbling liquid
  black metal trumpet
  various jewelry items

CHEST#2:
  necklace
  red cloak
  hundreds of platinum coins
  a vial of dust
  black cube

CHEST#3:
  ninety-eight huge diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds
  dirty horn
  brass ring
  mirror
  chain mail (human-sized)
  arrow
  two-handed sword
  old wooden box
  small blue crystal pyramid



  Eventually, Alindyar and Belphanior were no longer
stunned.  Mongo had been binding the wounds of those
who were still alive.  Arnold was definitely dead,
though; Mongo wrapped his head carefully in a length
of cloth, hoping that someone could re-attach it at
a later time.  Those who were able helped load the
treasure into Mongo's portable hole; not one of them
felt that they hadn't earned it.

Rillen:  (to Peldor)  See to it that that eye-thing
  you caught makes it into the treasure pile.
Peldor:  What eye-thing?  Oh, this eye-thing...

  Suddenly, as the coins were being loaded (or just
shoveled) into the hole, the floor began to shake.
Huge cracks opened up, and lava spewed out.  Those
in the ledge room prepared to run back the way the
party had come, but falling rock sealed that passage
against any exit.  The cavern was falling apart at
an alarming rate.

Rillen:  We need to get out of here.  Now.
Mongo:  We need a spell.
Alindyar:  I could teleport us...but not all of us.
Mongo:  Bullshit.  We'll just cram everyone in the
  portable hole again.  Then you can teleport.
Alindyar:  Oh, yes.  Of course.  (realizes that even
  when one has nigh-godlike intelligence, one can
  still forget things)  Hmm.  (begins spellcasting,
  hastily)
Mongo:  Hurry!  (he tosses Ged, Flint, Arnold, and
  Lyra's unconscious bodies into the hole)
Belphanior:  (he and Rillen leap into the hole too)
Peldor:  I guess we're going to have to leave some
  of this coinage behind...(jumps into the hole)
Alindyar:  (regards Mongo)  Ready?
Mongo:  Ready.  Let's split.  (lava licks at his
  boots)
Alindyar:  (casts his spell, and the party leaves
  the cavern, the dungeon, the Forgotten City, and
  the Sea of Dust behind)
wispy form:  (sails into Alindyar's vicinity at the
  last moment, and is caught in the teleport with
  the drow and the dwarf)



  They materialized in a field outside of the City
of Greyhawk.

Alindyar:  Here we are.  Whew!  (the temperature
  change from the dungeon to this cool plain is a
  significant one)
Mongo:  We made it!  (he lets everyone who can walk
  out of the hole, and hauls the rest out)
Belphanior:  You know, Ged's not going to be too
  happy when he finds out that we left the Forgotten
  City.
Mongo:  Tough.  It was that, or be roasted.



  They entered the city, and immediately headed for
the temple of Boccob.  The priests there were most
understanding, and one, who seemed to be in charge,
recognized Ged.  The burn wounds of Ged, Lyra, and
Belphanior were treated (actually, Belphanior had
many other kinds of wounds too) and Arnold's head
was reattached to his body.  The high priest (what-
ever his name was, Ravel or something like that),
upon being told that Arnold had been Ged's faithful
henchman, took it upon himself to bring the warrior
back from the dead.  Flint's lost levels were also
restored at this time.  By nightfall, most of the
adventurers were bedridden - Lyra, Belphanior (who
finally agreed to rest), Ged, Arnold, and Flint
all rested, weak or comatose but alive and well.
  Mongo filled up a chest with excess loose coins
from the recent dungeon, and paid the temple for
its work.  After that, he, Peldor, Alindyar, and
Rillen went out for dinner, and then retired to an
inn (their usual spots at the Green Dragon Inn were
occupied this night) until the morrow.



  Meanwhile, at a place far away from Greyhawk (in
more ways than one) an odd court held session.

minor demon:  (dashes in)  Master!  (bows and kneels
  at the feet of a huge figure on a throne)  The-
grossly fat demon on throne:  I KNOW.  SOMEONE ON THE
  PRIME MATERIAL PLANE HAS SLAIN A BALOR.
various demons in the chamber:  (gasping in disbelief)
minor demonoids:  (cringing in fear)
fat demon:  THERE SHALL BE A RECKONING FOR THIS!  (he
  slams his throne in anger, cracking the arms)  I
  SWEAR IT!  (he reaches down and grabs a minor demon,
  popping it into his maw)  <crunch crunch>





  Back in Greyhawk, morning came, and the rising sun
only reminded Ged of all the business to be attended
to.

Ged:  I want out of this bed!
sub-priest:  (bows)  Not to offend, O great one, but
  our orders are to-
Ged:  The hell with orders!  Why am I here, and how
  did I get here?!?
Belphanior:  (walks in)  Let me explain what happened
  after you were knocked unconscious.
sub-priest:  (looks gratefully at the elf, and then
  departs)

  Belphanior told Ged of the battle, of Arnold's
death, of how Peldor slew the Balor, of the great
treasure and the cave-in that followed its finding.
He also informed Ged that he could expect to now be
missing a few items - apparently the Balor's fiery
immolation was a powerful one.  As Ged inventoried
his items, he was angered to no end to discover that
he had lost his ring of shooting stars and a scroll
of priestly spells.  Belphanior's loss had been much
worse - his magical quiver, the magical longbow and
arrows within, and a shield had all been melted
beyond hope of recovery.

  By midday, they were all up and about, and so they
met, in a great (and private) dining hall inside the
Green Dragon Inn, to divide the loot from the great
adventure.  Those items that were magical were laid
out for all to see, and then they were divided based
on the rolling of knucklebones.



black potion (from wall safe)       - Peldor
human-sized scale mail              - Mongo
wand (from vampire coffin)          - Ged
vial of dust (from coffin)          - Lyra
archaic dagger (from coffin)        - Lyra
empty bottle (held nycadaemon)      - Alindyar
book (from alcoves)                 - Belphanior
ring (from alcoves)                 - Belphanior
eye-thing (from Balor)              - Belphanior
bottle containing bubbling liquid   - Ged
black metal trumpet                 - Belphanior
necklace                            - Flint
red cloak                           - Flint
other vial of dust                  - Peldor
black cube                          - Peldor
dirty horn                          - Mongo
brass ring                          - Mongo
mirror                              - Alindyar
human-sized chain mail              - Arnold
arrow                               - Rillen
two-handed sword                    - Arnold
old wooden box                      - Ged
small blue crystal pyramid          - Rillen



  In addition, Ged got the five ancient Suel tomes, for
research purposes.  The monetary treasure was immense,
too, enough perhaps for each adventurer to build a large
palace with.  Armed with their new wealth, the members
of the party hit the city, taking care of various tasks
and affairs, a process that would likely be quite time-
consuming.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    3/1/572 C.Y. (Common Year)                       +
+   Time:    midday                                           +
+   Place:   the Free City of Greyhawk                        +
+   Climate: cool                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



  Alindyar and Lyra studied extensively, the former in a
position to gain a new spell, the Prismatic Spray.  With
this addition to his already-formidable spellbook, the
drow would have a good spell for combat situations.  As
for his new treasures, the empty flask, he suspected, had
the power to force creatures inside - a power he did not
particularly care to test at this time.  Alindyar's new
mirror seemed to have great potential, but some studying
would have to be done first.  Lyra's dust apparently had
the effect of rendering invisible things visible; her new
dagger carried a powerful enchantment indeed, able to cut
even the strongest hides and armors.

  Belphanior trained for a time, and gained experience in
the arts of both warfare and stealth.  Yet, his greatest
perils and rewards were yet to come, for the curious elf
experienced many strange things as he tried to learn what
his new items could do.  The book was indeed the Book of
Beasts, and contained powerful magic of summoning.  The
ring was cold on his finger, but not much else; it seemed
to have an aura of evil, but the elf was sure that it
also held some sort of useful power.  The trumpet, when
presented to one sage, elicited a terrified response -
the old man said that the item, if winded, would summon
undead!  Belphanior thought this was neat until the sage
also told him that the blower would have no control over
the things summoned.  As for the weird eye-thing...well,
it seemed to beckon to Belphanior, promising great power
if he would only gouge out one of his own eyes and put
the new eye in!  The elf pondered this for many a night,
while, unbeknownst to him, an intangible wisp of a form
floated above his head.  Finally, one night, the elf took
the disembodied eye in one hand, and a sharp dagger in the
other, and heated the latter item over a small cooking
fire...

  Ged gained significant power in the eyes of Boccob, and
was now able to pray for spells such as Blade Barrier and
Heal.  Arnold trained little, for he was just glad to be
alive.  The pair spent most of their time at the site of
Ged's castle, where the influx of funds was welcomed by
all.  The place had come along nicely, and was nearing
completion.  Ged's new wand seemed to have some power to
help those who became possessed by evil spirits.  The
bubbling potion seemed ready to explode, and Ged was
loath to carry it on his person.  His greatest find,
however, came when he was examining his new wooden box,
a last-round treasure pick.  The container opened as
he examined it, and within, he found some crumbs that
were remarkably fresh and well-preserved.  On a hunch,
he cast a spell on them, and found that they were both
magical and Good.  With that, Ged promptly ate all the
crumbs; while they were quite tasty, they seemed to
have no effect upon him.  Until the next morning, that
is, for the elf rose from his bed stronger, more quick
of mind and wit, faster on his feet, healthier, and
even more pleasing to behold than ever before.
  Not quite sure what had happened to him, Ged simply
decided to play things by ear.
  As for Arnold, he quickly sold his new chain mail,
and used the money to have his plate mail repaired
by the finest smiths in the city.  Arnold's new two-
handed sword seemed much like his old one, but had a
slightly better feel to it.  Runes along the blade
spoke of unknown powers, as well.

  Mongo trained with his hammer, making significant and
rapid improvements to his skills.  Flint helped his liege
train, but did not train much himself.  Mongo sold his
new scale mail, and kept the money thus gained.  His new
ring had unknown powers, for no sage could help him with
the item.  The same result happened with the dirty horn.
Flint's items both turned out to be cursed, and he was
rather unhappy about his item choices after that.

  Peldor trained in the thieves' guild, and once more made
the masters there rather worried.  They seemed anxious to
be rid of the young rogue.  Peldor's new potion was most
likely a poison of great potency; his vial of dust would
cause those nearby to sneeze uncontrollably.  As for the
small black cube, the thief had no clue, nor did any of
the sages (several wanted to buy it, for a high price,
and the thief decided that if they wanted it that bad
then it had to be worth even more; he kept it).

  Rillen spent many days and nights perfecting his staff
technique, as well as his unarmed-combat style.  The
sages were able to help him discern the purpose of his
new magical arrow (to slay demons) but not the strange
blue pyramid of crystal, which now had a pale white
flame burning within.





+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      14th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra       10th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior    10th/11th/12th level high elf w/m/t  (CN)   +
+   Ged           11th/12th level grey elf priest/mage (NG)   +
+      Arnold      9th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+   Mongo         13th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+      Flint       9th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        16th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen        13th level human warrior              (N)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    6/1/572 C.Y. (Common Year)                       +
+   Time:    midday                                           +
+   Place:   the Free City of Greyhawk                        +
+   Climate: nice and cool                                    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



  Thus, finally and at long last, business of all kinds
was out of the way.





next time :  the final quest begins

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

notes     :  ...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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