Chapter #120

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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      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                                    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "My men are not expendable.  And we don't do this kind    +
+    of work."                                                +
+                                - Dutch Schaefer             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                 CXX.  The Final Quest Begins





  The adventurers have been training, building strongholds,
experimenting with magic items, and generally minding their
own business for three months.  As they finally regroup in
the Green Dragon Inn, summertime is upon the land.

Ged:  (walks in with Arnold, and spots the others at their
  usual table)  Aha!  There they are!
Arnold:  Hi!  (waves cheerfully)
Mongo:  Hey guys!  Have a seat!  (to Arnold)  Did you ever
  get that armor patched up?
Arnold:  Of courdse.
Peldor:  (talking to Belphanior)  And then-  Oh, there's
  Ged and Arnold.
Belphanior:  Yeah.  (he glares around, one of his eyes now
  red in the iris, rather than brown; both still glow with
  a dim red aura, though, as before)
Ged:  Yo!  Barmaid!  Wine!
Flint:  You're in an awfully good mood today.
Alindyar:  Yes, you appear rather feisty.
Ged:  Ah, I've been eating well.
Arnold:  Bud also-
Ged:  ...and also, I have started attracting followers!
Peldor:  (turns in interest)  Followers?
Ged:  Yea.  They first began showing up at my castle last
  week.  Ever since then, they just multiply.  Word must be
  getting around.
Peldor:  Followers, eh?  The mighty Peldor must have his
  own followers, too.  If the puny Ged can have them, why,
  surely Peldor can too!
Lyra:  Hah!
Peldor:  (wondering where his followers are)  Hmm.
Rillen:  Who would want to follow a thief?
Peldor:  Lots of people.  Kings, queens, gods...
Ged:  Enough of your blasphemy, fool.
Belphanior:  (glaring at Ged)
Alindyar:  (always quick to notice things, he wonders if
  Belphanior has some kind of eye infection)
Peldor:  I'll be back shortly!  (goes away with hopes of
  finding some followers)
small cat:  (climbs out of Ged's backpack)
Ged:  (looking around for the barmaid, so he can get a bowl
  of milk)
cat:  (looks around, excited)
Lyra:  Who's the furry one?
Ged:  This is my familiar, the great...uhh...well, I haven't
  named him yet.
Alindyar:  Familiar?
Ged:  Of course.  (pets the cat)  I summoned him last week.
  He's quite a mouse-hunter, you know.
Alindyar:  I see.  (wondering what kind of familiar he could
  tolerate)
Mongo:  So...what are we going to do next?
Arnold:  Yah, we need a new quebst to go on.
Ged:  Something worthy of a full-fledged priest of Boccob.
Peldor:  (strolls back into the inn)  There is no mission
  so puny.
Ged:  I thought you were going away.
Peldor:  Even one as mighty as Peldor cannot seek out his
  disciples when there is a quest to be planned.
Ged:  Oh.
Peldor:  So, what new challenge awaits us?
Flint:  We haven't decided yet.
Mongo:  Something fun would be good.
Belphanior:  Fun?  (wondering where he can gain even more
  magical power from)
Alindyar:  An expedition with numerous challenges.
Lyra:  (wondering why adventurers choose this lifestyle)
Rillen:  What about those ruins within the hills outside
  the city?
Belphanior:  Eh?
Ged:  What ruins are those?
Rillen:  I recall some drunken fool talking about ruins.
  Castle Greyhawk, or something like that.
Mongo:  Drunken fool?  Are you sure it wasn't Peldor?
Rillen:  Positive.
Belphanior:  Hey, _I_ know about these ruins.
Arnold:  Aaa?
Ged:  Well, speak up!  We're listening.
cat:  (cocks an ear, as if he, too, was listening)
Belphanior:  I just so happen to know some of the history
  of this area.  Centuries ago, you see, this whole place
  was nothing but a town.  But one man had the major role
  in bringing people and wealth to the region.  That was-
Ged:  Zagyg!
Belphanior:  Indeed!  (to Ged)  How'd you know?
Ged:  Zagyg was the chief student, for a time, of Boccob.
  His skill with magic was second to none.
Belphanior:  Anyway, Zagyg built a huge - I mean HUGE -
  castle in the hilly region just outside the city.  The
  place was called...Castle Greyhawk.
Ged:  From there, he ruled and expanded.  His greatest
  treasures were hoarded there, and his mightiest magical
  experiments took place there.
Belphanior:  Then, one day, everybody disappeared.
Ged:  Vanished.
Belphanior:  Without a trace.
Ged:  I've heard this story.  The castle itself has long
  since collapsed, but the dungeons beneath hold a great
  many secrets.
Belphanior:  (to Ged)  Hey, are you thinking what I'm
  thinking?
Ged:  Of course.  (to everybody)  What say you?  Shall we
  venture forth and have those long-lost secrets for
  ourselves?
Mongo:  Yeah!  (raises his glass, sloshing beer all over
  a passing barmaid)  Uh...oops.
barmaid:  Oh, now you've gone and ruined my shirt!
Mongo:  (hastily comes up with a handful of silver coins
  and hands them to the girl)  Sorry?
barmaid:  (her eyes light up)  Oh, thank you!  (she bends
  down and kisses Mongo on the cheek)  Thank you!
Mongo:  (possibly blushing)  Go away.  Go buy a new shirt
  or something.  (drains his beer)  And bring me another
  beer.
barmaid:  (scurries away)
Alindyar:  Anyhow...
Rillen:  This mission sounds good to me.  We do not even
  have to travel far.  (raises his staff)  Count me in.
Arnold:  (realizes that he has no choice)  Yah!  Me too!
  Ah-nold is ready!
Flint:  Let's go for it.
Lyra:  Sounds like a good idea to me.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Belphanior:  (grinning)  I'm ready.  Shall we go today?
Ged:  (wondering if he has all his affairs at his castle
  taken care of)  Hmm, come to think of it, Deryck _is_
  here in the city...I could give him enough cash to go
  on with things for a week or so...
Mongo:  And there we have it!  A toast!  (raises his mug
  into the air, an example quickly followed by everyone
  else)  To...adventure!
Alindyar:  How original.  (they all drink)
Belphanior:  So, we meet back here in, say, an hour?
Mongo:  Sounds good to me.
Ged:  (to Peldor)  Belphanior seems awfully happy today.
  Any ideas why?
Peldor:  You've got me.  Maybe he got laid.



  About an hour later, they met, their horses saddled
and their equipment packed.  Ged had brought along a
whole score of armed troops, his followers and fellow
worshippers of Boccob.  Quickly leaving the city, they
rode to the north, and a half hour later, they could
see an ancient structure in the distance.  The path
they rode along led up to a chasm, which was spanned
by a narrow bridge of fragile-looking stone.

Belphanior:  Appearances can be deceiving.

  The bridge led to a ruined tower built atop a sheer
pinnacle of rock.  To its right and left, other stone
bridges led to two other, smaller towers, also built
atop rock pinnacles.  These two were also ruined and
crumbling.  A valley floor was visible some hundred
feet below.  As the adventurers approached the chasm,
they passed a large stone falcon.  The thing was more
than seven feet in height, and was leaning precariously
against a tree.  Heavy weeds suggested that the thing
had been here for a very long time.

Ged:  Who can know the ways of Zagyg?

  They reached the stone bridge, and prepared to cross.
Unfortunately, the horses refused to go beyond this
point, instead pacing the ground in terror and drooling
uncontrollably.

Alindyar:  Methinks someone is trying to convey a point
  here.
Rillen:  (dismounts)  Who will guard the horses?
Ged:  (points to Deryck)  My faithful henchman Deryck,
  and these loyal servants of Boccob who have come with
  us, shall guard the mounts.
Deryck:  Aye.
Belphanior:  Very well.  (dismounts)

  They left their horses with the half-elf, and walked
out onto the thin bridge.

Mongo:  Hmm, it didn't look safe, but it feels pretty
  sturdy.

  Most of them were quite uneasy as they crossed the old
stone bridge, but everyone made it without incident.  It
was obvious that the main castle was nothing but ruins,
for its once-formidable outer walls were now worn down to
rubble.  Through the open, smashed doors they saw the
remains of a grand courtyard.  Pillars and flagstones lay
strewn about, and weeds and bushes had cropped up every-
where.  The adventurers felt uneasy again, almost as if
some malevolent force wanted them out of this abandoned
place.
  Old, pale bones littered the walkways, suggesting that
others had come this way before...and died.

Mongo:  This sure is a lot of bones.  (he leads the party
  through a gateway and into a central building)
Ged:  Maybe there are undead around.
Lightbringer:  I have sensed none of the foul ones.  Yet.

  They entered what had once been a large domed chamber,
but was now a ruined shell, its open ceiling allowing a
measure of sunlight to shine inside.  Rubble was strewn
around a small, arched doorway framing a set of stairs.
The stone steps led downward into darkness.

Ged:  Well, this is it.
Mongo:  Yeah.
cat:  (snarls at the surrounding walls)
Belphanior:  (looks around)  Someone approaches!  Twelve
  someones, in fact!

  The adventurers quickly girded themselves for battle,
and shortly, a mob of ogres entered the chamber from two
different directions.  The big humanoids stopped short,
obviously surprised that the party was ready for them.

Belphanior:  Hah!  Stupid ogres!  (he strides forth)
ogres:  (several charge the elf)
Mongo:  Battle!  (he raises his hammer)
Ged:  For Boccob!  (begins spellcasting gestures)
Rillen:  (leaps forth to face an ogre)
Flint:  (charges an ogre)
Arnold:  Ah-nold!  (charges two ogres)
Alindyar:  (readies a wand)
Lyra:  (pondering possible courses of action)

cat:  (runs around, and dashes between an ogre's legs)
Belphanior:  (glares at some ogres, his eyes glowing red)
  Be still!
ogre#1:  Huh?  (it finds itself held fast)
ogre#2:  (resists the effect)
ogre#3:  (held in place)
ogre#4:  (held in place)
Belphanior:  Hah!  (slashes ogre#1, slaying it instantly)
Rillen:  (bashes an ogre, knocking it back)  Away, thing!
ogre#5:  Ugh!
Flint:  (ducks an ogre's swing, rolls under its legs, and
  chops at its back)  Take that!
ogre#6:  Gak!  (reels)
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer at an ogre, and hits)
ogre#7:  (its neck is broken, and it dies)
Arnold:  (hacks at an ogre, and cuts it in half)  Aaaaa!
ogre#8:  (falls in two pieces)
Ged:  (casts Sleep upon the ogres)
ogre#9:  (falls asleep)
Ged:  Only one?  (astounded)
Lyra:  (decides not to waste a spell, since the party
  has broken through the ogres' formation and is making
  mincemeat out of them)
Belphanior:  (slashes ogre#2, wounding it)  Die!
Alindyar:  (uses his wand of viscous globs to snare one
  of the ogres in a glob of sticky glop)
ogre#10:  (held fast)  Huh?
Peldor:  (invisible, and having leaped over the heads
  of the ogres, due to the lack of a ceiling here, he
  backstabs an ogre, and slays it)  The mighty Peldor
  strikes again!
ogre#11:  (dies)  Ack.
Peldor:  (becomes visible)
Arnold:  (chops out at another ogre)  Aaa!
ogre#9:  (asleep, dies instantly at Arnold's hands)
Flint:  (chops ogre#6, hitting again)
ogre#6:  (slain)
Flint:  Yeah!  (whirls to find another opponent)
Rillen:  (lashes out at ogre#5 again, and hits again)
ogre#5:  Argh!  (falls, its spine snapped)
Rillen:  These creatures are puny.
Mongo:  Yeah.  (hurls his hammer at another ogre)
ogre#12:  Arg!  (walloped by the weapon, falls, dead)
cat:  (leaps aside as the ogre's huge body falls)  Meow!
Rillen:  (bashes ogre#4, who is held fast thanks to
  Belphanior)
ogre#4:  (dies)
Belphanior:  (stabs ogre#2 again, slaying it)  Ahh.
Mongo:  (looks around, sees one ogre left, held, and
  another who is stuck by Alindyar's wand)  Damn ogres!
  (hurls his hammer at the held ogre)
ogre#3:  (perishes)

  Only one ogre, the one caught by Alindyar's wand, was
still alive.  The humanoid looked around, then swung its
broadsword at Alindyar, who was the closest.

ogre#10:  Kill!
Mongo:  (slaps the ogre with his hammer, braining it)
  Nope!
Alindyar:  My thanks, friend.  That savage creature...
Rillen:  Those ogres fought like orcs.
Flint:  They just don't make ogres like they used to.
Mongo:  Who gives a shit?  (dusts himself off)  Let's go
  down those stairs.
Arnold:  (wipes blood from his sword on one of the slain
  ogres' tunics)
Peldor:  (retrieving measly gold coins from the foes'
  corpses)
Ged:  Ah, petty thievery...
cat:  (paws and bats at a loose coin that Peldor dropped
  on the floor)
Peldor:  Hey!

  After resting for a moment and catching their breath,
the adventurers descended.  The arched stairwell led to
a series of steps that were ten feet across.  Traces of
debris littered the landing at the bottom of the steps.
The stairs ended at the landing, but another set faced
the other way, and led down.  Following these stairs,
the party saw that they would have to cross another
landing, then go down more stairs, then another landing,
then more stairs...
  They descended, but their haste caused them to miss a
trap of sorts.  After they had all passed the first of
the landings, a set of vertical metal bars slammed down
from above, totally blocking the way back up.

Mongo:  (immediately grabs the bars, and heaves)  Urgh!
  Ugh!  Ungh!  (shrugs)  these things are strong.  Even
  I can't bend 'em.  (tries again)  Uuurgh!  Whew.
Belphanior:  Someone try a Knock spell.
Alindyar:  I do not have that spell.
Ged:  I'll cover it.  (casts Knock upon the bars)
Rillen:  Nothing is happening.
Ged:  Boccob!  These bars are enchanted at a level far
  beyond our capabilities.
Alindyar:  Even-
Ged:  Yea, even yours.
Alindyar:  Indeed.  (ponders this)
cat:  (trots between the bars, looks around, and comes
  back)  Meow!
Ged:  (pets the cat)  Good boy.
Peldor:  What can we do?  Should Peldor cast one of his
  spells?
Ged:  Wha-
Mongo:  Hey, who gives a shit?  Let's go down, and worry
  about these later.
Rillen:  I agree.  (they head down)
Alindyar:  But...

  They descended again...and found _another_ of the sets
of bars, which slammed down behind them after they had
crossed the third landing.  However, the fun wasn't over
yet - as they approached the fifth landing, Belphanior
spoke up.

Belphanior:  Souls!  I mean, another dozen creatures.
Mongo:  Where?  I see nothing.
Belphanior:  (rotating)  Uh...somewhere behind this wall
  here...
Ged:  Enough nonsense.  (prepares a spell)  I'll have a
  little surprise ready.
Belphanior:  Cool.
Ged:  Uh, Belphanior?
Belphanior:  Eh?
Ged:  You'd better put that lightning rod somewhere far
  away...
Belphanior:  Uh, right.  (holds the rod in his hand)  I
  think I'll just toss it when the time seems right.

  They continued, carefully, and as they headed for the
sixth landing, Belphanior turned around, pointing with
his sword toward the way they had come.  Ged followed
him closely.

Belphanior:  Whatever's coming, it's up there and headed
  this way...
trolls:  (a pack of them, all in armor, appear above)
  Nrrg!  (they, like the ogres earlier, are obviously
  surprised to find a prepared party)
Belphanior:  (hurls the lightning rod at the trolls)
  Let 'er rip!
Ged:  (finishes his spellcasting)  Boccob!

  The immense (moreso in this small stairwell) magical
bolt arced up at the trolls, and hit them with a loud
cracking sound.  The metallic armor the trolls were
wearing could not have helped them much, and the things
were fried like cornhusks.

cat:  Meooooooow!
Ged:  Yea!  Boccob strikes once more!  Ten trolls, now
  melted into sludge!
Belphanior:  Twelve.
Ged:  Huh?
Belphanior:  Twelve trolls.
Ged:  Whatever.  (sees no movement up there)  Are they
  all dead?
Belphanior:  (holding Blackrazor out, he can detect no
  souls)  All dead.
Mongo:  Hey, that was good and all, but could we get
  going?  (stamps the ground impatiently)
Ged:  Sure.  (heads toward the rest of the party)
Belphanior:  (heads back up the stairs, to retrieve his
  lightning rod)

  They continued, but didn't seem to learn, for, a few
minutes later, someone triggered another trap - a cloud
of noxious green gas spewed from the ceiling!

Ged:  Cloudkill!  Everyone run!  (they all head down
  the stairs, and the gas follows them, rolling over
  the ground)
cat:  (runs faster than the party members, taking the
  steps five at a time)

  They finally emerged from the stairway, into a small,
square room with a door and a passageway.  Rubble was
strewn all over the floor, and in their haste to escape
the gas from above, the adventurers failed to notice
the annoying caltrops spread all over the floor until
they stepped on some.

Mongo:  YEOW!  (he hops around, a caltrop imbedded in
  his boot)
cat:  (deftly avoids the caltrops)
Peldor:  (at the rear of the party)  Good thing there
  were no monsters waiting in that room...





next time :  the exploration continues

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

notes     :  This is a big f***ing dungeon, folks...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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