Chapter #12

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*****
*
*  The characters and events contained in this writing are copyright
*  1991 by Thomas Miller...copying and distribution of these stories
*  is permissible only under the condition that no part of them will
*  be used or sold for profit.  In that case, I hope you enjoy them.
*
*****


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THE PARTY:

Alindyar, 3rd level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 2nd/2nd/2nd level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 3rd/2nd level grey elf priest/mage (NG)
Halbarad, 3rd level human ranger (NG)  <DEAD>
Mongo Thunderhead, 3rd level dwarf fighter (CG)
Peldor, 4th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 2nd/2nd level half-elf fighter/druid (N)
Rob, 3rd level human priest (LG)
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         XII.  Back From the Grave; the Departure from Aria



  The party has returned to the town of Aria, in the northern reaches
of the Principality of Ulek.  They bear much treasure, but also one
casualty: the ranger Halbarad, dead from the jaws of a dragon.  The
adventurers hope to use their newfound wealth to bring him back to
life...

Ged:  Let us find a priest.  A _powerful_ priest.
Alindyar:  Aye.  Halbarad would have done no less for us, were the
  situations reversed.
Mongo:  Damn straight!  A priest!
Belphanior:  Yeah...
Rob:  Where are we going to find a priest that mighty in a town this
  small?
Peyote:  Alas.  Rude deal, man.
Peldor:  Have no fear.  _I_ will find the man for the job! (departs)
Mongo:  Now where in the hell is HE off too?
Peyote:  If he finds a priest who can do this, then I'm a red dragon!
Belphanior:  Hmm.  Neat idea...

  The party wandered around for a while, eventually finding the inn
where they stayed recently.  They bought several adjacent rooms there
for a period of a week (pay in advance?  No problem...).  Within an
hour Peldor rejoined them.

Peldor:  I have found us a priest.
Ged:  No!  Really?  Wonders never cease!
Mongo:  Where is it?  The priest, I mean?
Alindyar:  What manner of priest might one such as _you_ find, Peldor?
Belphanior:  Yeah!  Who is he?
Peldor:  No, no.  "It" is a she.  Dianna, that is, high priestess at
  the temple of Pholtus, a couple of blocks down the street.  The
  fair lady informs me that she will perform the required casting,
  provided the subject is of good virtue, and pure of heart.  In this
  case, we should have nothing to worry about.  Halbarad was about as
  "good" as they come.
Ged:  Well, I don't believe it!  You did something useful...
Peldor:  Of course I did.  Let it not be said in the legends that
  Peldor was unkind to his companions!
Ged:  Hmph.  Boccob is watching you, rogue.
Alindyar:  Truly Boccob must smile upon even one so base as he.
Mongo:  Okay then!  Let's go and get this done!

  Mongo, Peyote, Ged, and Peldor carried the body for a while,
until they get to the temple.  The others remained in the tavern,
guarding the treasures garnered from the dungeons of Lunok Castle.

Peldor:  There!  See?  The most venerated temple of Pholtus, he of
  the Blinding Light!
Ged:  Indeed.  (they go inside)
woman:  (obviously a priestess)  Welcome.  What do you...oh, it is
  you again!  Are these your friends?
Peldor:  Yes, you could say that.  Gentlemen, this is Dianna, the
  high priestess of the sacred order of Pholtus.  My lady, these
  are (gesturing) Ged, Peyote, and Mongo.
Dianna:  (looking at covered body of Halbarad)  This must be the
  one you spoke of.
Peldor:  (pulls off the tarp covering the corpse)  Yes, this is
  the ranger.  Got bitten by a dragon a couple days back.  He's
  pretty torn up about it.
Dianna:  Err...yes, I see.  Bring him to the holy shrine back
  here (walking away) and place him upon this altar.
Belphanior:  Altar?
Ged:  Altar?
Mongo:  (to DM) I watch her carefully.  One false move, and...
DM:  Okay, okay.  It's a shrine, not an altar.  Geez.
Dianna:  (returns with many herbs, paints, etcetera)  These are
  the things we will need.  (begins placing different things in
  different places near and on the body)
Ged:  Uh...what ARE you going to do with him?
Dianna:  I shall cast a spell to raise the dead.  Him, in fact.
  By the way, have you sufficient funds to donate to the temple
  for this service?
Mongo:  Oh yeah.  (dumps out a bag of gold and platinum coins)
  I take it this will be enough?
Dianna:  Oh, definitely.  (begins chanting and waving her hands)
Ged:  Wow.
Peyote:  Watch and learn, dude.  This is a master at work.
Mongo:  D'you think she can really do it?
Ged:  Absolutely.
Peldor:  Of course she can.  I wouldn't have found her for us
  if she couldn't!
Dianna:  (spellcasting in high gear now)
Halbarad:  (twitches)
Dianna:  (still gesturing)  His soul is returning to us...
Mongo:  It is?
Ged:  I'll have to learn how to do this someday.
Peldor:  Me too.
Halbarad:  (body convulses, and is then prone)
Peyote:  Far out.  What happened?
Dianna:  Your companion has returned.  Incidentally, I got rid
  of his lycanthropy while I was at it.  No extra charge.
Halbarad:  (opens eyes)  I am _so_ tired...
Mongo:  (leans over the prone ranger)  Hey buddy?  Is that you?
Halbarad:  Yes.  Yes, it is.  Who else would it be?  Please get
  your smelly beard out of my face.
Mongo:  Well I'll be damned!
Ged:  Hopefully not.
Dianna:  Whew.  If you'll excuse me, I am somewhat weary from
  this incantation.  Please present the money to the alcolytes.
Mongo:  Sure.  Whatever you want, babe.  (hefts the heavy sack
  and carries it over to two alcolytes in the doorway.  Between
  them, they drag the treasure out of the room and disappear.)
Peldor:  (to Dianna)  Any chance of a date tonight?  A woman
  like you, and a guy like me...well, the possibilities are
  endless!
Dianna:  No thanks, I'm busy tonight.  Maybe some other time.
Ged:  Heh heh.
Mongo:  Thanks again, Dianna!

  The four adventurers helped Halbarad out of the temple, as he
was still weak.  They arrived back at the inn, and there was much
celebration as the party members welcomed back their companion.

Peldor:  See there?  I am a kind soul after all.
Ged:  Without a doubt.
Mongo:  Maybe I'll believe that.  Someday.
Peldor:  (looking wounded)
Belphanior:  So, what's it like being DEAD??
Halbarad:  Strange, but I'd rather not talk about it.
Alindyar:  No matter.  Shall we divide up yonder treasure?
Peldor:  Yea!  The treasure!
Ged:  Well then, I shall detect for magic.  (does so)


THE LOOT (magical items only; much of the cash went to Dianna):

bastard sword +            -  Peyote
stone horse                -  Ged
potion of feather falling  -  Ged
ring of regeneration       -  Mongo
leather armor +3           -  Halbarad
carven staff               -  Belphanior
medium shield +1           -  Ged
black pouch (accessibility)-  Peldor
necklace of prayer beads   -  Rob
carpet of flying           -  Alindyar


  After splitting the monetary treasure equally, many of the party
members sought out a mage to identify their items, providing the
above details.  (Had they thought about it, they might have sought
to have their other items analyzed as well, since they still had a
considerable amount of cash left at this point  -DM).  Also of note
was a trade between Mongo and Halbarad.  The dwarf gave up his axe,
the magical one (he had decided he liked the heavy warhammer better
anyway), in trade for the ranger's ring of protection.  Halbarad
had been wanting to upgrade from the tiny hand axe he had been
using, and took a liking to the larger battle axe almost immediately.

  The group spent the next few weeks in training, practicing their
various skills by day, and living it up by night.  The town of Aria
celebrated its release from the specter of grim Castle Lunok, and
indeed, no more strange monsters came in the night and carried off
the townspeople.  The party members received training as appropriate.
Wisely, they did not question why it was that the town had masters
who could train them, yet had done nothing to explore the haunted
castle in all these years.  The will of the gods was evident here.
  After all this passed, they departed the town, and were seen off
by many of its inhabitants.  They wished the party good luck, and
thus ended the adventurers' time in Aria.





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THE PARTY (on the road again...) :

Alindyar, 4th level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 3rd/3rd/3rd level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 4th/3rd level grey elf priest/mage (NG)
Halbarad, 4th level human ranger (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 4th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Peldor, 5th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 3rd/3rd level half-elf fighter/druid (N)
Rob, 5th level human priest (LG)
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  They traveled to the east, moving slightly southward at the same
time.  Peldor had seen fit to buy a map of the area back in Aria...
this turned out to be a good move on his part, as the party could
see what lands they journeyed in.  At the moment, they were in the
northeastern part of the Principality of Ulek, and journeying in
the general direction of the Pomarj.  This land was inhabited by
hostile humanoids and bandits, but for some reason the party did
not mind the idea of such encounters.  They traveled through a
hilly region for half a day, then found grassy plains as they went
further eastward.  Two days later, they arrived at the medium-
sized city of Drek, at the fringes of the Pomarj region.

Ged:  Drek?  What sort of name is that for a city?
Belphanior:  Not a bad one, considering what kind of city it is.
Mongo:  Let's find a bar!  I'm thirsty!

  The group made their way to a raunchy-looking tavern near the
gate to the city.  A sign over the swinging double doors named the
place as the Rogues' Den.  The sounds of conversation and loud,
raucous singing come from within.

Peldor:  (swatting open the small double doors as he enters)  The
  Rogues' Den!  This is just the kind of place I've been looking
  for.
Ged:  Undoubtedly it is. (he, and the others, enter)
Mongo:  (accosts a scantily-clad waitress)  Hey, we need a table.
waitress:  No problem. (she finds a large table and quickly wipes
  it clean with a dirty rag)  There ya go!
Mongo:  Thanks babe.  (the party takes seats at the thick oaken
  table)
waitress:  What'll it be, boys?
Mongo:  Beer!  Your finest beer!  Bring a lot!
waitress:  You want a pitcher, pal?
Mongo:  Hell no!  Bring a KEG!
Peyote:  Right on dude!
Peldor:  A keg.  Yeah...
Belphanior:  I want wine.  A carafe of expensive wine.
Alindyar:  I'll have wine as well.
Ged:  Wine.  Boccob will keep me from overindulging, I am sure.
Halbarad:  I'll share in the ale.
waitress:  How 'bout you, babe?
Rob:  Me?  Oh...I'll have wine too, I guess.
Peldor:  Heh.  Get the priest drunk, then everything else goes to
  hell in a handbasket.
Belphanior:  (to DM)  I look for pockets to pick.
DM:  You hear shouts, and cheers, from one table nearby.
Mongo:  Hey, what's going on over there?
drunken person:  It's 'e arm-wrestlin' contest!  Urp!
Mongo:  Hey!  I want to play!  Can I play?
Belphanior:  Yeah!  What an idea!
Mongo:  (making his way over to the table.  A large brute has just
  broken the arm of some wretch.  A small, wiry man with slicked-
  back hair looks around with beady eyes.)
wretch:  (cradling broken arm)  aaaa...
Mongo:  (to himself)  I can beat this chump!
"Slick":  Any other challengers out there?  Ten-to-one odds for a
  match with Snod here!
bystander:  (trembles)
Mongo:  (looking around)  Okay!  You're on!
Belphanior:  (comes to watch, along with Peldor and Ged)
Belphanior:  (to DM)  I position myself behind Slick there.
Mongo:  (seating himself at the table)
Snod:  Ha.  Stumpy!  Come to get arm smashed?
Mongo:  Nope.  Have you?
Snod:  Ha.
Mongo:  What are the rules here?
Slick:  No rules.  Wrestle until someone's arm hits the table.
Snod:  Hrg.  Won't take long.
Mongo:  Damn right it won't.  Let's get it on!
Peldor:  I order another round of drinks for everyone.
Belphanior:  (to Slick)  I want to put a hundred gold on my buddy
  there.  You good for it?
Slick:  No problem man.  (takes the small sack of gold from the
  elf with a grin)  Ten to one!  Heh.

  The contest of strength began.  The combatants pitted their brawn
against one another, neither giving even an inch easily.  After a
span of perhaps fifteen seconds, Mongo gained an advantage, which
turned into a lead.  Just as soon, he lost the precious inches as
the burly human struggled and drove his arm back.

Ged:  This is boring.  I liven it up.  (to DM)  I cast a command
  spell on the guy Mongo is fighting, trying to be subtle and say
  the word only to _him_.  I tell him, "Lose".
DM:  Okay...he gets a glazed look in his eyes, and his arm drops
  suddenly to the table.
Slick:  Hey!  What gives?  What in the hell is going on here?
Belphanior:  I'll take my _thousand_ in gold now, please.
Slick:  No.  I don't think so.  (a number of evil-looking rogues
  have surrounded the table and some of the obvious party members
  near it)  I think that _you_ will be giving _me_ some more of
  your money now.  Heh heh.
Mongo:  Dammit!
Barkeep:  Yeah.  And then you troublemakers can get out of my bar.
  After you pay us all.  We don't need your kind in here.
Slick:  Say, boy, that's some nice shiny armor you've got there.
Mongo:  Eat shit and die.  You want it, you come take it from me.
  IF you can.
Snod:  (rises)  Yup.
Ged:  Uh...
Belphanior:  You've gone and done it now, priest.
someone:  Fight!  Fight!

  Some of the patrons of the bar drew weapons, or else picked up
chairs or bottles.  Others left in a hurry.  Peyote, Halbarad, Rob,
and Alindyar were still relatively unnoticed at their nearby table.
  Ged looked around and wondered if they would get out of this mess
with their skins intact, and hoped Boccob would forgive him.





next time:  the barfight; much chaos

**********************************************************************
NOTES:  I said Belgar would turn up...I guess I lied.  He's somewhere
nearby, I'm sure, and will pop up sooner or later.
  Be warned: the people in the bar above are essentially evil, if not
altogether chaotic.  Blood will be spilled by the otherwise-kindly
party in episode XIII.
**********************************************************************




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