Chapter #123

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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)   +
+        ?             grey cat (familiar)             (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:    evening                                          +
+   Place:   the ruins of Greyhawk Castle, north of the City  +
+   Climate: cool                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "This time, it seems, I was too clever for my own good."  +
+                                    - Conan of Cimmeria      +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





             CXXIII.  Guardians Fell and Fearsome





  The adventurers have explored parts of the upper three
levels of Greyhawk Castle, and are now somewhere on the
fourth level.

Mongo:  (looking around at the room he, leading the party,
  has just entered)  Hmm.  Another square room.

  The chamber was thirty feet on a side, square-shaped, and
had two doors, set in opposite walls.  The doors were made
of iron, and were massive, being twelve feet high and eight
feet wide.  Above one door were runes, the color of ivory;
above the opposite door were blackened holes, obviously the
former location of similar runes.

Alindyar:  'Twould appear as if the second set of runes was
  blasted away by some powerful force.
Ged:  Yep.  (examining the runes)  These resemble Sueloise
  inscriptions, but yet...(casts Read Magic)  Boccob!  (he
  finds that he is unable to decipher the engraved runes)
  Amazing!
Peldor:  It must be.
Ged:  I cannot read these!
Mongo:  (pushing on the door with the intact runes)  Ugh.
  (he pushes harder)  Ugh!  This thing is sealed tight.  I
  would guess there's a bar or a wall on the other side.
Lyra:  (casts Knock, and the sound of a heavy metal object
  falling to the ground is heard)  Not any more.
Rillen:  (pushes the door open, revealing an immense iron
  bar on the floor of the room beyond)  Here is your bar,
  Mongo.
Mongo:  Wow.  (wondering what such a powerful barricade
  would be needed for)  Tough stuff.

  Beyond the doorway, and the big iron bar, was a short and
empty hallway.

Belphanior:  (spots the door at the end of the hallway)  I
  detect no souls behind that door.
Ged:  That's good.  Then again, that might be bad...
Rillen:  Maybe.
grey cat:  Meow.
Ged:  (picks the cat up and puts it into his backpack)  You
  had best stay out of trouble.
grey cat:  (swats at Ged with a paw as he disappears into
  the pack)  Meow!
Peldor:  What foolishness.  Whoever heard of someone taking
  a _cat_ into a dungeon?
Ged:  Quiet, fool.  A mage's familiar is an important ally
  and companion.
Alindyar:  (pondering the possibility of getting a familiar
  sometime soon)  Hmm.
Ged:  (lecturing Peldor)  But yet, a familiar cannot be
  exposed to dangerous battles.
Peldor:  (wondering what use a familiar could possibly be)
Rillen:  Hmm.
Belphanior:  (spots a familiar wispy form float out from
  under the door ahead)  Eh?
wispy thing:  (sails around Belphanior's head rapidly)
Belphanior:  What now?  Are you trying to tell me something
  here?
wispy form:  (bobs and weaves in the air by the door)
Rillen:  Enough of this.  We have to open the door sooner
  or later.
Flint:  Yeah!
Mongo:  (cautiously pulls the door open, and leads the band
  into the next room)  What the hell...?

  The chamber beyond was huge, about fifty feet square, and
in its center stood a gigantic statue.  At first glance,
the adventurers thought that the thing was made of glass,
but as they approached, they realized that such was not the
case.

Alindyar:  (shields his sensitive eyes from the brilliant
  statue)  'Tis not glass...
Belphanior:  No shit.  It's _diamond_!
Peldor:  (making plans for his retirement)
Mongo:  Cripes.  That thing must be worth millions!
Belphanior:  How the hell are we going to get it out of the
  dungeon, though?
Ged:  It may not matter.  Look!  (points to the thing)

  The huge statue jingled as it came to life - with steps
that shook the floor, it lumbered toward the adventurers!

wispy thing:  (flies around crazily)
Belphanior:  I guess maybe he _was_ trying to warn us of
  something.
Arnold:  Whadever this sparkly thing is.
Lyra:  A golem?
Mongo:  Fuck-  (swatted by the golem, he flies into a wall,
  his plate mail dented)  Ugh!
Arnold:  (also in the front rank, he hacks at the golem,
  but his blow lands poorly, and the monster ignores it)
  Aaaa.
diamond golem:  (punches Arnold, knocking him forcefully
  to the floor)
Arnold:  Aaargh.  (he drops his torch, and it goes out)
Peldor:  (goes invisible at about the same time)
Rillen:  We need light!  (moves through the darkness with
  grace, though he can't see anything)
Ged:  I'm on it!  (begins spellcasting)
Belphanior:  (notices that the golem has a dull outline of
  a bluish tint that _can_ be seen, barely, with the aid
  of infravision)
Alindyar:  I shall try to stop the monster in the meantime.
  (begins spellcasting)
Mongo:  (to one side, he stands up)
Belphanior:  (slashes at the golem, but misses)  Shit!
Flint:  (chops at the golem, and hits, chipping a tiny bit
  of diamond off of the construct)  Yeah!
Arnold:  (gets up painfully, but can't see anything)  Aaa.
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer at the golem, hitting it squarely
  in the face)  Yah!  Take that, diamondhead!
diamond golem:  (staggers a bit)
Ged:  (casts Continual Light upon the ceiling of the room,
  illuminating everything with a blazing light)  Boccob!
diamond golem:  (stands up straight)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  Look out!  It's up again!
wispy thing:  (orbits the golem's head, distracting it)
golem:  (swats at the thing, without effect, as its huge
  diamond hands pass harmlessly through the intangible
  form)
wispy thing:  (continues to bother the golem)
Belphanior:  Attaboy!
Rillen:  (bashes the golem with his staff, hitting it in
  the knee and chipping a piece of diamond away)
Alindyar:  (casts Stop upon the golem)  Halt!
diamond golem:  (ignores the spell)
Lyra:  (casts Magic Missiles at the golem)
diamond golem:  (ignores the missiles as they bounce off)
Lyra:  The damned thing must have magic resistance...
Alindyar:  Aye.
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer again, but misses)  Damn it!
Flint:  (chops at the golem again, but his blow glances
  away)  Double damn!
Peldor:  (tries a backstab, but his blow bounces aside)
  Even the mighty Peldor is foiled by this thing.
Alindyar:  How amazing.

diamond golem:  (whirls with uncanny speed, and punches
  the thief, knocking him down)
Peldor:  Argh...(lands, bleeding, and doesn't get back up)
wispy thing:  (weaves its way around the golem's head once
  more)
diamond golem: (bats uselessly at the irritant)
Arnold:  (charges the golem, hacking at it)  Ah-nold!
diamond golem:  (recoils, diamond chips flying as Arnold's
  sword hits it)
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer at the golem, hitting it in the
  chest)  Yeah!
diamond golem:  (turns and walks toward Mongo, ignoring
  Arnold)
Flint:  (hacks at the thing again, and hits again)  Keep
  it up, guys!
diamond golem:  (ignores Flint as well, as it charges at
  Mongo)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  Come and get some, you!
Rillen:  (looks at all the diamond chips that now litter
  the floor)  Surely our attacks are having _some_ effect
  on the thing...
Ged:  I sure hope so.  (casts Evard's Black Tentacles at
  the golem)
diamond golem:  (ignores the spell as it fizzles)
Ged:  Boccob...
diamond golem:  (punches Mongo, twice)
Mongo:  Argh!  Urgh!  (falls, bruised and bleeding)
Arnold:  (hacks at the golem again, but misses)  Aaaa.
Alindyar:  Away from the thing!  I am casting a powerful
  spell!
Arnold:  (backs away)  O-kay.
Rillen:  (pauses in his charge)  Spell?
wispy thing:  (continues to flit around the golem)
Alindyar:  (casts Prismatic Spray at the golem)
diamond golem:  (ignores the spell as it dissolves into
  colorful wisps)
wispy thing:  (ignores the prismatic wisps)
Lyra:  (casts Hold Monster, but the spell has no effect
  on the golem)  Gods be damned!
Rillen:  Enough spell nonsense!  (swats the golem, and
  knocks a huge chunk out of its head)
Flint:  That's the way to go!  (chops at the golem, but
  misses)
Belphanior:  (dashes forth, his sword raised)  Save some
  for me!
Rillen:  (bashes the golem again, landing a solid blow
  to its torso)  Fall, damn you!
Belphanior:  (slashes the golem, hitting it in the head)
diamond golem:  (its head shatters, and it drops to its
  knees)  <crunch>  (cracks appear in its body, and then
  it falls apart, breaking into millions of tiny diamond
  fragments)
wispy thing:  (dances around in the air)
Flint:  We did it!
Belphanior:  (sheathes his sword, and grabs a handful of
  the diamond bits)  And we're rich, too!
Rillen:  (looks at the fallen Mongo and Peldor)  Aie!
Ged:  (already checking Mongo's condition, even as the
  two drow tend to Peldor)  He'll live.
Lyra:  And this one too.  (lets Peldor's head drop back
  to the floor)
Peldor:  <bonk>  Uhhhh...?
Ged:  Hmm, looks like both of them are bruised up quite
  a bit, but they'll recover in time.  With help from
  the great Boccob, of course.  (he begins casting some
  spells of healing upon the two fallen adventurers, as
  well as the walking wounded)
Belphanior:  (feels something weird in his hand)  Huh?
  (looks in astonishment as the diamonds crumble into
  dust)  No!  (sees that every single bit of the golem's
  body is now dust)  Damn!  We've been cheated by the
  gods!
Peldor:  (stirs)  Royally...(lapses back into blissful
  unconsciousness)
Belphanior:  (cursing to himself, he doesn't notice that
  the wispy thing has perched itself on his shoulder)
Flint:  Well, how about that?
Alindyar:  (to Lyra)  Spirit or no, the thing _has_ been
  useful to the party)
Lyra:  Yes, it has.  I'd also say that it has chosen its
  master.
Alindyar:  I suspect that it did that quite some time ago.

  As the adventurers rested and bound wounds, Belphanior
examined a wall to one side.

Flint:  What are you doing there?
Belphanior:  This wall hides a panel.  (gropes around,
  and quickly slides a section of stone wall away)
Arnold:  Aaa!  How did you know?
Belphanior:  I just did.  (his left eye glows brightly,
  red)  I just did.

  The uncovered panel led to a large square room, which
contained a pair of huge chests.  The things were about
ten feet wide, and their tops were higher than most of
the adventurers' heads.

Arnold:  (lights another torch, and moves into the room
  after Mongo, Belphanior, and Rillen)  Aaa.  (looking
  at the massive chests)
Mongo:  How the hell are we going to get inside _those_?
Rillen:  Climb on top, I suppose.
Belphanior:  (already inspired with the same notion, he
  scales the side of one of the chests, and begins to
  check the massive container for traps)  Damn, a poison
  needle here would _really_ hurt...
Alindyar:  Verily.
Mongo:  It'd be the size of a dagger!
Flint:  Well, that's what thieves are for.
Belphanior:  (examining the chests, he discerns no traps)
  These are clean.  Maybe whoever put them here figured
  that the golem would protect his loot.
Ged:  By "his" you mean Zagyg.
Belphanior:  Possibly.
Ged:  Of course it was Zagyg.  He built this place, and
  besides, what other mighty power could have created a
  guardian like that golem?  Ah, someday I, too, shall be
  one of Boccob's servants who ascends to godhood...
Mongo:  What's that?  Zagyg and Boccob know each other?
Ged:  But of course.  The great Zagyg was Boccob's prime
  minion for a long time.  After that, his power became
  that of a demigod.
Flint:  Wow.
Belphanior:  (opening first one chest, then the other)  I
  think we've done well, folks.  Look at this...
Alindyar:  (whispering)  By the gods...

  The two chests were loaded to the brim with what was, in
all likelihood, the greatest treasure trove the adventurers
had ever laid eyes upon.  One chest held countless numbers
of shiny golden coins, which were mixed in with numerous
giant rubies.  A couple of rings, a rod, a staff, a wand,
and four ancient tomes rested atop the piles of monetary
treasure.  The second chest was filled with silver coins,
amidst which were scores of fire opals.  Two large books
rested near a suit of disassembled chain mail armor, and
to one side was a large shield.  Imbedded within the coins
were two swords, and a large warhammer was buried to the
haft next to the blades.  A belt and some gauntlets could
be seen, half-buried in silver and gems.

Ged:  The forgotten treasure hoard of Zagyg!
Mongo:  Whew!
Belphanior:  Damn...we could retire after taking all this
  stuff.
Alindyar:  Why, even _I_ could live comfortably with the
  treasure here.
Mongo:  Eh?  How's that?
Ged:  He's saying that this hoard could last for his - and
  my own - two thousand year lifespan.
Belphanior:  Natural lifespan.
Ged:  Whatever.  Anyway, let's get this stuff loaded.
Mongo:  Err...right.

  That task was easier said than done, and it was hours
later that the adventurers, sweating and exhausted, had
filled Mongo's portable hole with the treasure.  Even
then, the bulk of the silver had to be left behind, for
there were simply too many coins, and the gold (as well
as the magical items) was more valuable.
  The adventurers decided that it was time to camp for
the night, and they did so, using the secret treasure
chamber since it was reasonably secure.  The door panel
was barred using one of the chests (the one still full
of silver coins) which Mongo, Arnold, Rillen, and Flint
managed to push over.  Thus, the party spent the night
safely, despite being camped deep within a dangerous
dungeon.



  In the morning (or thereabouts, for there was no way
to tell whether the sun was up in the world above) the
adventurers, rested and healed, prepared to continue
their explorations.  After a quick and rather efficient
breakfast, they headed southwest, back through the room
containing the stairs.  Beyond the other door in that
chamber (which was barred with a huge iron bar, like the
other door that the party had opened yesterday), they
found a long hall, about eighty feet long and twenty feet
wide.
  This corridor was scorched black, like the runes in the
previous chamber.  The charred walls were further marred
by huge gouges, which appeared to have been made by heavy
claws.  A wide, roughly-hewn tunnel led away to the right
of the party, and an iron trap door could be seen at the
far end of the corridor.

Mongo:  So, what is it to be?  The tunnel, or the trap
  door?
Belphanior:  (using his sword, he detects no souls in the
  nearby tunnel)  Nothing's in the tunnel. Nothing alive,
  anyway.
Lightbringer:  (pipes up)  No undead, either!
Ged:  (looks at his weapon, surprised because it has been
  silent for some time now)
Rillen:  I say we check that trap door.

  They did, and though the thing was heavy, they were able
to lift it.  A rush of foul smoke and soot blew out from
the chamber beneath, suggesting that the trapdoor had been
closed for quite some time.  An iron ladder led down into
inky blackness.

Lightbringer:  (using its Detect Evil powers)  Traces of
  Evil linger here...
wispy thing:  (goes nuts, flying around and around in a
  meaningless pattern of circles)
Belphanior:  Hey!
Mongo:  Little guy must be trying to tell us something...
  (he grumbles as he climbs down the ladder, his hammer at
  the ready)

  The others followed the dwarf down into the chamber below
the hatch.  The room was large and octagonal, and in its
center were the remains of a stone sphere.  The thing had
once rested half-above, half-below the floor, but its upper
portion had been blasted to bits.  This was evidenced by
the proliferation of black soot that coated most of the
walls and floor.  The remains of some magical runes lay on
the floor, melted, and a twisted iron door rested nearby,
crumpled like paper.  Eight doors led out of here, one set
in each face of the chamber; each had an iron door that
resembled the ruined one on the floor.  All eight of the
doors were opened.

Belphanior:  (pokes his head into one of the outer chambers
  and frowns)  It's empty!  (the room is spherical, and a
  good twenty feet in diameter; the elf barely avoids a
  fall into the room)
Rillen:  (checks another of the rooms)  This one too.
Alindyar:  Most passing strange.

  Soon, the adventurers had discerned that all of the rooms
were empty.  Somewhat baffled, they stood amidst the rubble
and discussed the implications of their findings.

Mongo:  So, what the hell happened here?
Arnold:  Yah, whad habbened?
Ged:  Well, I'd guess that this was some kind of prison at
  one time.  Whatever was held in the central sphere-room
  broke out, and either freed the other eight prisoners or
  they got out sometime later.
Alindyar:  Aye.  (points to the melted runes on the ground
  and frowns)  Who can say what manner of beings were kept
  here?
Ged:  If it was Zagyg that put them here, I'd think they
  were demons or devils.
Belphanior:  But then...where are they now?
Lyra:  (looks around nervously)

voice from afar:  Long gone.
Belphanior:  (whirls)  What?!?
voice:  (deep, low, and male)  I said, they are long gone.

  The voice belonged to a dark figure, standing at the door
to one of the outer spheres.  The person was wearing dark
purple robes, and his arms were raised in gestures that
could only be spellcasting movements.

Lightbringer:  A-

  Numerous arcs of lightning shot forth from the hands of
the stranger, and danced toward the adventurers, crackling
fiercely.

wispy thing:  (looks at Belphanior and makes a face much
  like a frown)
Belphanior:  (realizes something)  Oh shi-  (all of the
  lightning converges upon him, as he desperately digs in
  his belt pouch)

  Aided by the magical lightning rod that the elf carried,
the chain lightning spell arced toward him.  Perhaps the
only thing that saved the elf was the fact that Arnold,
clad in plate mail, was standing between the attacker and
Belphanior.

Arnold:  (blasted by the lightning on its way to the elf)
  Aaaa!  (he staggers and swoons)
Belphanior:  (desperately tosses the rod back toward the
  spellcaster, but not before an bolt of electricity arcs
  through him)  Eyagh!

  The remaining arcs in the lightning chain followed the
spinning rod, and were thus diverted away from the party
in general.

Mongo:  That fucking...(grabs his hammer)
Alindyar:  (begins spellcasting)
Lyra:  (likewise)
Belphanior:  (staggers and lurches about, his hair on end)
  Ek...uk...gr...
Flint:  (charges the foe)  I'll cut his nuts off!
Arnold:  (charges the foe, from a different angle than the
  dwarf)  Ah-nold!
Rillen:  For a distant spellcaster, another tactic is best
  called for.  (readies his bow)
Peldor:  (turns invisible and slinks in some direction)  A
  job for the mighty Peldor, this is...
Ged:  (spellcasting)
Lightbringer:  Kill that undead!
Ged:  What undead?
Lightbringer:  That lich over there!  Charge it!
Ged:  Lich?
Alindyar:  Lich?
Lyra:  Lich?
Lightbringer:  What, is there an echo in here?
Ged:  (furiously trying to finish his spell)
grey cat:  (leaps from its master's backpack and runs far
  to one side)  Meow!  (dodges an invisible Peldor)
Peldor:  Huh?
Lich:  (spellcasting)

Lich:  (points at Ged)  Die, priest of Boccob.
Ged:  (feels icy death grasp his body...briefly, before his
  ring of spell turning repels the Finger of Death spell)
  Aie!  (his own spell is ruined, though)
Lich:  (his spell is turned back upon him, but being a lich
  renders him immune to it)  How...?  Ah, you fools are a
  measure more formidable than I thought.
Alindyar:  Indeed.  Now, witness _my_ power.  (casts Feeble-
  mind at the lich)
Lich:  (resists the spell)  Bah.
Flint:  (reaches the lich, somehow)  Hey!  (chops at the foe
  with his axe, but misses)
Lyra:  (casts Hold Monster at the lich, but of course, it
  has no effect)  Oops.
Lich:  Is that the best you can do?  Now you shall pay for
  entering the great prison!  (floats up into the air)
Lyra:  (muttering something about not knowing of a lich until
  too late)
Arnold:  (slashes at the undead, but too late, for the foe
  is already twenty feet in the air)  Aaa.
Flint:  Fucker got away!
Arnold:  Aaa.  (they stand below the floating lich and
  swing uselessly at him)
Ged:  (attempts to turn the lich, using his holy symbol)
Lightbringer:  I said attack!  I demand it!
Ged:  Quiet.  We _will_ attack.  In a moment.  (addresses
  the lich)  By the greatest power of Boccob, I command you
  to turn away!  Away with you!
Lich:  (resists the turning attempt)  It will take more
  power than _that_, mortal fool.
Ged:  Err...
Lightbringer:  Now!  Attack!  (the weapon uses one of its
  powers to lift itself, and Ged, into the air)
Ged:  Wha-?
Lightbringer:  The holy power enables us to seek out the
  undead, wherever they choose to hide!
Ged:  Oh.  Well, then...(he swings the morningstar as they
  draw near the lich)  You!
Lich:  (draws forth a wand)
Rillen:  (fires a pair of arrows at the lich, but they fail
  to wound it)
Lyra:  You probably need magical arrows.
Rillen:  Magical?
Alindyar:  Have you no magical arrows?
Rillen:  No...
Belphanior:  What?!?  The thing's floating in the air, and
  our spells are failing, and Ged's flying around waving
  that stupid morningstar, and you don't have any magical
  arrows?!?
Rillen:  Indeed not.  (pulls out his staff)  I will have
  to improvise.
Belphanior:  Aie!  (whips out his sword, uses it to haste
  himself, and charges in the direction of the lich)  What
  kind of an operation _is_ this?
Lyra:  No comment.
Mongo:  Well, there's plenty of people waiting around on
  the floor...if we can just knock the fucker out of the
  air...(hurls his hammer, and hits the lich directly in
  the chest)  Like that!
Lich:  Argh!  (some of its ancient bones snap like twigs
  as Mongo's hammer smashes into its body)
Mongo:  Yeah!
Flint:  (on the ground, hurls a small hand axe up at the
  lich, but misses)  Damn!
Mongo:  (catches his hammer, and hurls it again)
Lich:  (hit again, it sinks toward the floor)  Yargh!
wispy thing:  (divebombs the lich)
Lich:  (obviously irritated)  What in the hell?
wispy thing:  (flies away)

Lich:  (points its wand toward Mongo, who it perceives as
  the greatest threat)  Stop!  (a thin beam of light is
  emitted, and hits Mongo)
Mongo:  Yow!  (he falls, unmoving, his eyes wide open)
Lyra:  Aie.
Flint:  He got Mongo!
Alindyar:  Inconceivable.
Ged:  You'll pay for that, foul one!  (he swings his holy
  weapon at the lich)
Lightbringer:  Yes!  (it glows like never before)
Lich:  How-? ARGH!  (it gets hit, and begins to burn)
  AieeeEEEEAAAARGH!  (pieces of its body begin to dissolve
  away)
Ged:  Perish, foul fiend!
Lightbringer:  Back to the abyss from which you came!
Lich:  (its remains fall to the floor, still burning)
Ged:  What power!
Lightbringer:  Let all undead, no matter how powerful, take
  notice when Lightbringer is near.
Ged:  Indeed, they will.
Belphanior:  (stops running when he sees that the lich is
  no more)  Bah.
Rillen:  (checking Mongo)
Alindyar:  What ails him?
Rillen:  He seems alive...just unmoving.
Alindyar:  Fell paralyzation, no doubt.  He should recover
  soon.
Ged:  (glancing at Mongo and the drow)  He needs to recover
  now.
wispy thing:  (flies from the air and comes to rest atop
  Belphanior's shoulder)
Belphanior:  Oh, there you are.
Rillen:  (rests on his staff, then unstrings his bow)
grey cat:  (slinks out of the shadows and jumps into Ged's
  arms)  Meow?
Ged:  Good boy.  You hid well during that battle.
Rillen:  Rather like Peldor...
Peldor:  (becomes visible)  Hey, it's not _my_ fault that
  you guys killed that thing before the mighty Peldor was
  ready with his backstab!

  The adventurers rested and bound what wounds they had,
and Mongo regained the ability to move sooner than expected
as Ged cast a Dispel Magic upon the dwarf.

Ged:  We don't have time to waste sitting around here.  He
  should be okay now.
Mongo:  (flexes his arms)  I can move again!  Thanks, pal.
Ged:  No problem.

  Finding nothing else noteworthy here (including the way
by which the lich appeared - it must have used magic), the
intrepid party went back up, to the long hallway.  They
entered the roughly-hewn tunnel, and moved through it for
a few minutes.  After passing by a side passage that led
to a dead end, they entered a crossways of sorts.  Four
other tunnels led away from the small chamber; the group
took the rightmost of these, and entered a larger cavern.
This place was empty, but a passage led away, so they
followed it.  This latest tunnel led to a tremendously
large underground cavern.  Its roof was a hundred feet up,
and the thing was at least two hundred feet wide.  Despite
being this far underground, the whole place was as bright
as a sunny day, no doubt due to some great magic.  A clear
stream ran down the cavern's middle, and it stretched to
the right and left, as far as the eye could see.  Along
the stream were dozens of grass huts, around which stood
or meandered scores of large, reptilian figures.

Rillen:  Lizard men!
Mongo:  How'd you know that?
Rillen:  I encountered some of them once.
Mongo:  Oh.
Lyra:  Look!  They've spotted us!

  The humanoid lizards were grabbing spears and tridents
and pointing excitedly at the adventurers.

Rillen:  I have a bad feeling about this.
Belphanior:  And those guys are a little big to be lizard
  men.
Flint:  (squinting)  Yeah, you're right.
Arnold:  Don'd lidzard men eat humans?
Rillen:  Yes, usually.
Ged:  What foulness!
Lyra:  Don't worry, they probably eat elves too.
Peldor:  Hell, we must be like a gourmet meal to them.
grey cat:  Meow!  (wondering if lizard men eat cats too)
Mongo:  (pulls his orb of fate from a belt pouch and then
  holds it up)  Okay, orb, question of the day:  Do those
  scaly things intend to attack us or eat us?
orb:  YES.
Belphanior:  Well, fuck.  (turns to look at the wall of
  approaching lizard men)
Mongo:  We need a fireball or something.  (readies his
  hammer anyway)
Alindyar:  (already on the job, he is spellcasting)  Fear
  not, friend dwarf.  My magic shall...educate yonder
  lizard people as to the follies of flesh-eating.
Ged:  (casting a spell as well)  And Boccob will have a
  role in that education, too, you can be sure of it!
Peldor:  Yep, we can.
Lyra:  Here they come...
wispy thing:  (leaves Belphanior's shoulder and flies
  amongst the lizard creatures, distracting some of them
  a bit)
Belphanior: Hey!  Come back here!  You'll get fried!
Alindyar:  'Tis too late to stop my spell now...

  The lizard men (or were they possibly lizard kings?)
were now charging the adventurers, and were about fifty
feet distant, though closing fast.  The fireball that
flew forth from Alindyar's outstretched hands blazed in
its fiery fury as it exploded amidst the onrushing man-
lizards, scattering them (and igniting them) like so much
dry firewood.  Moments afterward, Ged's lightning bolt
ripped through what survivors there were.  Most of the
huts were now in flames, and the heat of the conflagration
was such that the adventurers had to back away, in the
left direction of the huge cave-tunnel.  There was no way
that they could travel in the rightward direction, with
the flames and heat, so they began checking various side
passages in the other direction.  It was in one of these
that Peldor found a sinkhole.  The opening was unusual in
that the rocky floor of another level was visible beyond
it.  However, the hole was only a foot wide.

Mongo:  How can we get down there?
Peldor:  (trying to squeeze through the small opening,
  unsuccessfully)  Too bad I got rid of that potion of
  shrinking awhile back.
Arnold:  Do we have a shovbel?
Flint:  Or a pickaxe?
Mongo:  Nothing that would tear through that rock...
Rillen:  Acid?
Belphanior:  Hmm.  (the wispy thing appears nearby, and
  flies onto his shoulder)
Mongo:  Guess the little guy made it through the magic
  the magi cast...
Belphanior:  (regarding the wispy thing)  What the hell
  _are_ you?
wispy thing:  (winks)
Peldor:  Uh, about that hole...
Ged:  Yea.  (thinking carefully)  Polymorph Self?  Dig?
Lyra:  Move Earth?
Alindyar:  (trying to be helpful)  Teleport?
Ged:  No...aha!  I've got it!  Rock to Mud!
Lyra:  Ah, messy.
Alindyar:  But nevertheless effective.
Ged:  Of course.  (begins spellcasting)

  Soon, the narrow hole had been widened, and the group
descended to the fifth level of Zagyg's dungeon.  The
room they dropped into was a huge cavern, bigger by far
than the last one.  It went hundreds of feet in every
direction, and had many side tunnels and alcoves.  It
also had something else...

Mongo:  (looking around)  Uh-oh.
Belphanior:  What?
wispy thing:  (floats to and fro, excited)
Mongo:  (putting his hand up)  Shhhh.  (points to the
  center of the cavern, which is barely visible in the
  light of Arnold's torch)

  There, atop and amidst a huge mound of treasure, was
the largest red dragon they had ever seen, fast asleep.





next time :  roasted toasties

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

notes     :  Oh boy, oh boy.  I was back from my vacation a
           week or so ago, but new car buying details have
           sidetracked me.  Until now, when part 123 is done
           at last.  This one (and the next two as well) will
           be slow going, because each covers an entire level
           of dungeon exploration.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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