Chapter #138

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                              +   +
                            +       +
                          +           +
                        +               +
                      +                   +
                    +                       +
                  +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                    +                       +
                      +      Epic II      +
                        +               +
                          +           +
                            +       +
                              +   +

+    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                    +
+                        +
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      15th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra       12th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior    12th/13th/13th level high elf w/m/t  (CN)   +
+   Ged           13th/13th level grey elf priest/mage (NG)   +
+      Arnold     11th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+        ?             grey cat (familiar)             (NG)   +
+   Mongo         15th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+      Flint      11th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen        15th level human warrior              (N)   +
+                                                             +
+   WITH SPECIAL GUEST STARS:                                 +
+                                                             +
+   Belphanior-2  15th level elven ranger              (LN)   +
+      Sparky          extremely large wolf             (N)   +
+   Peldor-2      18th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen-2      13th level human ninja                (N)   +
+   Date:    several days after arrival                       +
+   Time:    midday                                           +
+   Place:   the fortress of the evil Ged, in an alternate    +
+              dimension                                      +
+   Climate: warm indoors, cold outside                       +
+   "He disagreed with something that ate him."               +
+      - note found on shark attack victim, _License To Kill_ +

                  CXXXVIII.  Gator Bait

  The party has split into two groups, to facilitate their
invasion/search of the evil Ged's fortress.  While one group
is busy getting into trouble, the other is practically lost...

Mongo:  I _told_ you we should have turned left at that last
Peldor:  Bah.  Peldor is never wrong.
Peldor-2:  Much less two Peldors.
Flint:  Agh, I knew he - they - would say something like that.
Alindyar:  It would seem that a Peldor is a predictable beast.
Peldor:  Hey, I'm not a beast!
Lyra:  (looking around)  I think we're making too much noise.
Rillen-2:  I concur.

  They found that the stairway they were in continued upward,
but a large hatch-like thing stood before their current
position on the steps.

Peldor:  What's this?
Mongo:  Trouble, maybe.  But I know that you're all gonna say
  we should open it anyway.  (he grabs the hatch's flywheel
  and gives it a mighty heave)  Ungh!  (the wheel spins, and
  the hatch opens with a hiss)
Flint:  What's that smell?
Peldor-2:  Smells like...fresh water.
Lyra:  It's pretty dark in there...
Rillen-2:  Time to investigate what lies within.  (he enters
  the smelly area without waiting for the others)
Mongo:  Let's go.  (they all follow him, and then the dwarf
  closes the hatch)  Wouldn't want anybody following us...

  They were in some kind of waterway, standing on a catwalk
about five feet above a series of channels.  Water flowed
this way and that, through these ducts - the catwalks went
not only left and right, but also straight ahead.  Unlike
the hallways outside, this area had no torches mounted in
sconces along the wall; all was dark.

Lyra:  (casts Light on the end of her staff)
Flint:  That did the trick.

  They could now see that the ceiling of this area was high
and curved, its apex being perhaps twenty feet above their

Peldor:  What do you figure this is?
Mongo:  Hmm.  My guess would be some kind of waterway for
  the lake water to be piped into the fortress.  I don't
  know how in the world he pumps it, though.
Alindyar:  Ingenious!  What a feat of engineering!
Rillen-2:  Glad you like it.
Flint:  So, which way to go?
Peldor-2:  Well, if we went right, that would be closest
  to the general direction we were headed.
Lyra:  Except we were going upward.
Peldor-2:  True, but think.  These sewers might be a good
  way to get deeper into this place without being detected.
Rillen-2:  This is true.
Mongo:  Well, let's get going.

  They headed down the catwalk to their right, moving with
care lest someone slip and fall, for the catwalks were wet
with moisture.  After walking for a few minutes, and making
two turns, they found that their catwalk dead-ended into a
larger hatch.  Going through this portal, they entered a
large, domed chamber, with strange metal pipes running from
the ceiling into the water.  The catwalk split into several
other catwalks and crisscrossed the pipe arrays.

Mongo:  Wow.  (closes the hatch)
Alindyar:  A fully functional water transport system.  Quite
Lyra:  Stop drooling.
Peldor:  See any exits?
Peldor-2:  No.  Not yet.
Flint:  Shh.  Did you hear something?
Rillen-2:  (cocks an ear)  Yes.

  Without warning, the catwalk began to buckle and shake,
and a section of it collapsed, dumping Lyra, Rillen-2, and
Mongo into the water.

Mongo:  <splash>
Lyra:  <glub>  What-
Flint:  (holding onto a rail with one hand)  Whoa!
Alindyar:  (at the rear of the party, he is safely on solid
  footing)  Yie.
Mongo:  (neck-deep in the water, due to his short stature)
  What the hell?
Rillen-2:  (lands gracefully, and stands at the ready in
  the waist-deep water)  Quiet!
Peldors:  (both of them manage to retain their footing on
  the twisted catwalk)  Yikes!  Yipes!

  Suddenly, an enormous form burst from under the water's
surface, grabbed Mongo in its huge, tooth-filled jaws, and
disappeared under the water with a mighty splash.

Lyra:  (staring wide-eyed at the water)
Flint:  What...the...hell...was...THAT?!?
Peldor: got me on that one.
Peldor-2:  Yeah, me too.  Must have been forty feet long,
  though, whatever it was.
Alindyar:  (never one to waste time, he begins spellcasting)
Peldor:  (to Lyra)  Stay calm.  There's no need to panic.
Lyra:  That's easy for YOU to say!

  Bubbles came up from the spot where Mongo had been taken,
but for long seconds, there was nothing more.  Then, just
as suddenly as the surprise attack, Mongo's thrashing form
was ejected from the water.  The dwarf, cursing and holding
a huge tooth in one gloved hand, sailed through the air,
landing in the water far to one side.

Mongo:  Fuckingdamnshithell-  <splash>
Flint:  What?!?

  Then, the huge monster surfaced again, moving with great
speed toward Lyra and Rillen-2.  It was long, scaly, and
dark green - an alligator of some kind, but of a size that
defied description.

Lyra:  Aie!
Rillen-2:  Aside, you.  (pushes Lyra back and to the left,
  and whips out his katana)
Lyra:  Whoo-  <splash>
gigantic alligator:  (ignores Lyra, heading straight for
  the warrior)
Rillen-2:  (slashes the reptile with his razor-sharp sword)
  You'll not have me without some pain, beast!
gigantic alligator:  (its snout is mangled badly, and its
  attack is diverted, the huge jaws snapping at empty air
  rather than live prey)  <chomp>
Alindyar:  (casts Blindness upon the lizard) Robbed of
  your sight, you may yet cease...
gigantic alligator:  (resists the spell)
Alindyar:  Then again, mayhap not.
Peldor-2:  Does he always talk to himself during battle?
Peldor:  Afraid so.  (they both position themselves for
  backstabbing jumps)  Let's get that sucker!
Flint:  (moving to help Mongo out of the water and onto a
Lyra:  (waves her Light-ed staff at the creature's eyes)
  Stay back!
gigantic alligator:  (looking around with its beady little
Peldor-2:  Ready?
Peldor:  Ready!
Peldor-2:  (leaps onto the alligator's back, slashing madly
  at the thing's neck)  Die, foul-
gigantic alligator:  (wounded seriously)  Graaar!  (it
  rears and bucks, dislodging Peldor-2 easily)
Peldor-2:  (takes a dive)  <splash>
Peldor:  (also jumping to the attack, he manages to slice
  the lizard in the head, but then falls into the water)
  Whoooops!  (turns to face the bloody, angry alligator)
  Nice crocodile...
Alindyar:  (clinically)  'Tis an alligator.

gigantic alligator:  (surges forward and chomps Peldor,
  dragging him underwater and out of sight in one motion)
Mongo:  (having emerged from the water, he and Flint run
  down the catwalk toward the battle area)  Damned lizard!
  No damned lizard thrashes Mongo around like that!  (he
  hurls his hammer at the thing's back, which is still
  visible above the water)  Cough!  (he spits out blood)
gigantic alligator:  (undulates in pain)
Rillen-2:  (slashes the creature twice, drawing blood
  both times)  Keep at it!
Flint:  (following the example of the Peldors, he leaps
  down at the alligator, axe-first)  Blood!  (he buries the
  entire blade of his weapon in the monster's back)  Hah!
gigantic alligator:  (dives, taking the axe, and Flint,
  with it, leaving a bloody trail in the water)
Alindyar:  What is needed here is a lot of sharks.
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  Where'd he go?
gigantic alligator:  (resurfaces, about ten feet back)
Flint:  <glub>  Get the thing!  (grips his axe)
gigantic alligator:  (rolling, trying to dislodge Flint,
  who stubbornly refuses to let go)  Graaaak!
Mongo:  Fucker!  (hurls his hammer again)
gigantic alligator:  (hit directly in the head, its brain
  is crushed, and it slowly ceases its thrashing)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  Yeah!
Flint:  Whew!  (rips his axe out of the carcass)
Rillen-2:  A worthy foe, that was.
Lyra:  (staring at the warrior in disbelief)
Peldor-2:  Most of us are soaking wet now...and where's
  my evil twin Skippy?
Mongo:  Oh, he'll turn up somewhere.  He always does.
Alindyar:  Do not be so certain.  I think he may have been
Peldor:  (holding onto a catwalk to one side)  Who, me?
  Are you guys talking about me behind my back again?
Flint:  How the hell'd YOU survive?
Peldor:  I am Peldor!  What more needs to be said?
Lyra:  (to Mongo)  How did _you_ manage to avoid being
  eaten by the thing?
Mongo:  I think my armor helped to save me at first.  Then
  I started pulling out teeth.  The monster didn't like
  that, not at all.  I guess I wasn't an easy meal...but
  I lived.  (examines his armor, which is badly dented and
  rent)  Hey, I think I broke some ribs too.

  Those who were in the water got out, and then there was
much healing and rest.  Though this group didn't have Ged,
it did have Mongo's healing rod, which sufficed to close
all major wounds and banish fatigue.  Mongo himself was
the worst off, as he was badly wounded from his episode
in the alligator's mouth, but his wounds were cured to a
large extent.
  Looking around, the adventurers saw a ladder which went
up thirty feet, and continued out of sight through a hole
in the ceiling.  As this looked more promising than the
rest of the catwalks and waterways, they decided to check
it out, and began climbing.

next time :  back to the group with feebleminded Ged

notes     :  I finally finished that damned Super Nintendo
           game, "The Secret of Mana".  And it's about time.

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