Chapter #144

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



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1994 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:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   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)   +
+   Mongo         15th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen        15th level human warrior              (N)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    ???                                              +
+   Time:    daytime                                          +
+   Place:   some plain                                       +
+   Climate: bitterly cold                                    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "Life is what happens while you are making other plans."  +
+                                         - John Lennon       +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                CXLIV.  A Time For Rebuilding





  After a great battle, with numerous casualties, in another
dimension, the adventurers (or what remains of their group)
have used a magical portal to return to their home plane.
  Or have they?

small green lizard:  (sitting on Peldor's nose)  Ribbit!
Peldor:  Zzzzz.
Mongo:  (awakens)  Huh?  (sits up and looks around)  What
  the hell...?
Rillen:  (stands up and limps around)  I guess this means
  we made it back.
Mongo:  But where the hell are we?
Belphanior:  (stirs)  Brr.
Arnold:  (his mangled body doesn't stir)
Mongo:  Geez, we've been through hell.
Ged:  (wakes up and groans)  Yea.  Say, it sure is cold...
  I know we didn't leave during winter...
Belphanior:  Oh, my aching head...I think we're all fairly
  half-dead.
Mongo:  No shit.
Rillen:  Too bad about your hammer...
Mongo:  (holds up the hammer he took from Mongo-2)  Well,
  it wasn't really a total loss.  Like Flint.  (he hurls
  the hammer at a bush, and it plows through the thing,
  uprooting it, before returning to Mongo's hand)  This
  one comes back, too, see?
Ged:  Maybe they're the same hammer, essentially.  (he
  kicks Peldor)  Wake up, you lazy vermin.
Peldor:  (stirs)  Uhh?
small green lizard:  Roark!  (starts chewing on Peldor's
  moustache)
Peldor:  Aie!  (he swats the thing, sending it sailing
  into some scrubby grass)  Damn!  (he sits up)  Ow.
Mongo:  Isn't there some way to bring Flint back?  Some
  kind of magic, or something?
Ged:  Not where a sphere of annihilation is concerned...
Belphanior:  Yea, anything zapped by that sucker is GONE,
  if you know what I mean.
Mongo:  Cripes.
Rillen:  What of the drow?
Ged:  Well, Alindyar broke his staff - they call it a
  'retributive strike' - which gave him a fairly even
  chance of either being lost like Flint or transported
  to another plane.
Rillen:  In the latter case, then, we might hear from
  those two again.
Ged:  I doubt it.  Suppose they got popped into, say, the
  elemental plane of fire?  (he begins preparations to
  cast a spell of major healing upon Arnold, who is still
  comatose)
Belphanior:  Besides, Lyra may not have suffered the same
  fate as Alindyar.  She might have simply been shredded
  in the blast.  Like the evil Ged.  There's no guarantee
  for someone who just grabs onto he who carries out a
  retributive strike.
Rillen:  Hmm.  One would like to be optimistic, but yet...
Mongo:  Man, this SUCKS!

  Ged cast his healing spell upon Arnold, causing the
henchman to finally wake up.  Next, the party gathered
themselves and prepared to march.

Arnold:  (looking around)  Flint didn't make it?  Aaa.
Mongo:  Afraid not...
Arnold:  He was a good warbior.  I'll miss fidhting with
  him.
Belphanior:  (gets his Kiel's Compass out and talks to it)
  Greyhawk City?

  The compass point swung to mark a certain direction,
giving the adventurers a course to journey along.

Ged:  To hell with this.  Everyone link hands.  (he begins
  spellcasting)
grey cat:  (peeps out of Ged's pack)  Meow?
Peldor:  Yeah, I agree.  What's going on?
Rillen:  Quick travel.
Belphanior:  Magical travel.
Ged:  Teleportation.  The drow seemed more prone to use
  this, but...(he completes his spell, and the adventurers
  blink out, leaving the plain empty once more)
small green lizard:  (it pounces upon a grasshopper and
  eats it)  Glurp.



  The six adventurers reappeared amidst Ged's castle site,
landing in a small natural crater.

Ged:  (looks around)  Huh?  Where are the workers?  Where
  are the guards?  Where IS everybody?
Mongo:  Maybe they took the day off.
Peldor:  What day is it, anyway?
Belphanior:  I detect a few souls nearby...
Ged:  Come on.  Let's find out what the hell's going on
  around here.  (he leads the way into the half-built
  castle)

  Shortly, they found a group of ten or so guards, huddled
around a roaring fire.

fellow:  (stands up)  You're back!
Ged:  Deryck!  what the hell's going on around here?
Deryck:  What do you mean?  We ran out of money!
Ged:  Ran out of money?!?  How?  I left plenty.
Deryck:  Yes, but not enough for six months...
Ged:  SIX MONTHS?!?!?
Deryck:  The gold you left lasted for about two months,
  but after that, it was all I could do to persuade a
  few guards to remain with me, to guard the place.
Belphanior:  Wow.
Ged:  And the workers?
Deryck:  When the pay runs out, the workers have to move
  on...it's a living...
Peldor:  (scratches his head)  I need some more sleep.
Rillen:  Six months?  How?
Arnold:  Aaa.
Ged:  There must have been a lapse in the fabric of time
  and space...
Belphanior:  Time didn't pass equally on both worlds...
Ged:  But journeying as we were through the dimensional
  barriers, we couldn't have seen the difference...until
  now...
Belphanior:  Where's Alindyar when you need him?
Ged:  Time displacement...Boccob!
Mongo:  Huh?
Deryck:  Huh?
Ged:  No matter!  We must deal with the situation as best
  we can. (to Mongo)  Could you open the portable hole?
Mongo:  Sure.  (does so)  Wow, it's a mess in there.  We
  really need to get into the city and liquidate some of
  this treasure.
Belphanior:  And split up the magical items.
Ged:  Time enough for that later.  (he grabs a sack, but
  can't lift it)  Ungh!
Mongo:  Here, allow me.  (he hefts the bulging sack and
  lifts it out of the hole one-handed)
Ged:  (opens the sack after Mongo sets it down, spilling
  gold all over the floor)  Deryck!  Go into town and get
  all the workers back!  And that Lindsellicus architect
  guy too!  Here, take my stone horse!  Oh wait, that got
  melted in a recent battle.  Hmm.
Deryck:  We have a few horses here, still.
Ged:  Very well.  Make haste, we've got work to do!
Mongo:  I think I'll go with him.  I need to get back to
  Greyhawk and take care of some things.
Belphanior:  Me too.
Rillen:  I can stay here for the time being.  What say we
  meet back here in a week's time, after things are taken
  care of?
Mongo:  Will do.
Peldor:  Fine by me.  I've got all kinds of stuff to do
  in Greyhawk...
Belphanior:  I'll be there.  One week.  And be ready to
  divide the loot.



  Thus it was that the party split, each in need of some
time to take care of various business...

  Belphanior bought a small building within the city,
and went to work blocking the first-floor windows and
doors.  He hired the finest stonemasons to complete
this task, and within days, the casual observer could
never tell that the place used to have a ground floor.
Next, the wily elf had bars of the sturdiest sort put
in all second- and third- story windows.  Doubtless he
would have made more modifications, but the week was
up, and he had to go meet the others at Ged's castle.

  Ged put his castle construction operation into full
swing, hiring on hundreds of laborers of all kinds.
For underground mining work, he had a band of dwarves
hired; for defensive work, he consulted with grizzled
veterans of wars past.  Sparing no expense, the elf
worked like mad to get his castle finished as quickly
as possible.  Needless to say, the highly magical lyre
of building was employed to hasten the process.  As
for Arnold, the big warrior's plate mail had to be
repaired, as it was ripped in several places.  This
was a weeks-long process, apparently, but Ged paid
for it, as he wanted Arnold to have the finest armor
he could.  Arnold walked around in normal clothes for
now, complaining about being naked.

  Mongo sulked for two days, going on a drinking spree
rivaling any the party had ever had previously.  After
this, he visited the warriors' guildhouse with the
intention of testing the hammer he had taken from the
evil Mongo.  After all, it was only fair.  However,
this new hammer proved dangerous for now, exhibiting
strange powers that Mongo could not yet control.  It
caused a lightning bolt to strike the target range,
obliterating a large portion of the place.  Mongo then
decided to carry out further tests outside the city
limits, and only after consulting a sage.  After some
time with two sages who couldn't help him, the dwarf
found one who could.  The hammer was made of a metal
never seen on Oerth, and seemed to have been forged
by dwarves, for dwarves.  In the hands of anyone but
a dwarven warrior, the hammer was merely an immensely
heavy lump of metal.  In Mongo's hands, however, and
with his giant-strength belt, the weapon proved even
mightier than the old hammer.  Besides the known
property of returning to the thrower, it had many
other powers and effects as well.  The sage hinted
that he would need to spend a few days in the field
with Mongo, to fully test the hammer.  A significant
monetary fee would also be necessary.  Mongo agreed
to all of this, but elected to wait until after he
talked with Ged and the others, for examining and
testing the hammer would take time.
  The dwarf did one other thing before meeting his
companions; he went to the finest banks and jewelers
in Greyhawk, as well as visiting the city mint and
the city vault.  Shortly after this, he had another
great idea, and dug in his pack for the ring he had
possessed for quite some time but never used...

  Peldor headed into Greyhawk, rented the royal suite
at the city's finest inn, and embarked on a gambling
spree of epic proportions.  Using his hat of disguise
and his skills at cards and dice, he was surely able
to con a lot of people out of a lot of money.  This
was dampened, of course, by the immense amount of
spending that the thief did.  He bought many things,
some of them verging on the ridiculous (the life-
sized pink elephant he had sewn and stuffed for some
noblewoman comes to mind.)  He gave money away to
various sorts of people; in some cases he won it
right back from them.  After a week of this nonsense,
Peldor bought a top-quality stallion and a silly hat
and headed out to Ged's castle.

  Rillen sought a bowyer/fletcher for a very simple
purpose.  Frustrated by the occasional ineffectiveness
in battle of normal arrows, he wanted to possess a
number of magical arrows for such cases.  He was able
to have a quiverful of magical flight arrows made, at
a high price, but he was happy and paid the asked fee
without debate.  The warrior's next order of business
was to seek out the lackeys who had been left with the
party's horses when they entered Zagyg's dungeon, six
months ago.  Rillen wanted his magnificent black horse
back, for the animal was one of a kind.  After a great
deal of exasperation, he located the animal, in one
of the city's better stables.  Apparently, no one had
been able to break the mount, for it had refused to
let anyone ride it.  Rillen purchased the animal, who
was of course glad to see its master.  He informed
the horse merchant that if he ever found the hired
help who took his horse, those fellows would regret
the day they had ever been hired by the party.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   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)   +
+   Mongo         15th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen        15th level human warrior              (N)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    12/13/572 C.Y. (Common Year)                     +
+   Time:    midafternoon                                     +
+   Place:   Ged's castle, near Greyhawk                      +
+   Climate: freezing cold, with winds to match               +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



  The adventurers have regrouped in Ged's castle, which has
seen surprising progress in the past week.

Peldor:  Okay, I've called you all together today to-
Ged:  Quiet, you.  Mongo, have you the treasure?
Mongo:  Yep.  (he opens his portable hole, and begins taking
  gold ingots out and stacking them up on the floor)
Peldor:  Wow, we got all this from Zagyg's dungeons?
Belphanior:  (watches in amazement as the ingots continue to
  pile up)  Yeah.
others:  (likewise)
Mongo:  Hey, I could use some help here!

  Soon, the group was looking at two piles, one of golden
ingots, the other of miscellaneous magical items.

Mongo:  Okay, here's the deal.  I traded all the non-gold
  coinage for gold, and then had it all melted down and
  re-forged into ingots.  We actually avoided a good bit
  of city tax on this deal, since the coinage wasn't
  minted in Greyhawk.
Ged:  Impressive.
Mongo:  Not as impressive as the net worth.  (scratches
  his head)  Oh yeah.  Seven hundred fifty-three thousand,
  and change.  Or thereabouts.
Peldor:  (his eyes glaze over)
Mongo:  Of course, you have to add on all the other gold
  and stuff I've been keeping for you guys...and Alindyar
  and Lyra's share of it...
Belphanior:  Well, we can all split _that_ part up now.
Mongo:  Not so fast.  I traded all their shares for a few
  really nice gems.  Which I've stored away safely in the
  city vault.  We'll see what happens in, say ten years
  or so.
Ged:  Good idea, I guess.
Mongo:  And also, I'm going to have to ask you all to
  take your loot away and store it yourselves, since I
  can barely fit it all in the portable hole as it is.
Peldor:  Noooooo problem.
Mongo:  Of course, we can still use the hole when we're
  out on quests and stuff.  For temporary storage.
Belphanior:  What about this magic, here?
Mongo:  (chuckles)  Well...I kind of used my ring of
  wishing to find out what everything is good for...
Belphanior:  You did what?!?
Mongo:  I wished to know the powers of every one of these
  magical items.  (points to the immense pile)  Also the
  new hammer I got...heh heh...but that's a story for
  another time...
Ged:  Wow!  So we don't have to cast any identify spells
  today.
Belphanior:  Or tomorrow...or the day after that...
Rillen:  Truly this is a vast store of magical weapons,
  armor, and other items.
Peldor:  Yep.
Ged:  Ah, yes, the magic...old Zagyg sure did help us out
  in that respect...(he gets out the old ivory die that
  the party always uses to determine item choosing order)
Belphanior:  Ah, the die of fate.  (he rubs his hands
  together)
Peldor:  How do we know you didn't sabotage it?
Ged:  How do we know _you_ didn't?



Magic items taken from the ruins of Greyhawk but never
  divided up (all items are identified due to Mongo) :

boots, winged
ring of protection +1
ring of water walking
staff of withering
wand of wonder
libram of gainful conjuration
libram of silver magic
manual of golems (iron)
elf-sized elven chain +4
large shield +1/+4 vs missiles
longsword of dancing
shortsword of sharpness
gauntlets of ogre power
girdle of hill giant strength
manual of gainful exercise
manual of puissant skill at arms
bastard sword +1
longsword +3
battleaxe +3
javelin of piercing
dwarf-sized chain mail +3
human-sized plate mail +2
medium shield +5
wand of fireballs
bracers of archery
Daern's instant fortress
helm of brilliance
amulet of the planes

6 barrels with various weird contents



  Ged won the dice rolling, followed by Belphanior,
Peldor, Mongo, Rillen, and Arnold, in that order.
Arnold was given a full share due to his excellence
in combat situations in the course of recent events.

Arnold:  Aaa.  (he grins)  I'm a full membder now!
Belphanior:  So, Ged...you get to go first...
Ged:  (takes the girdle)  At last!  Skinniness is no
  longer a factor in combat!
Lightbringer:  Thanked be the gods...
Ged:  I _heard_ that.
Belphanior:  Hm.  (takes the gauntlets of ogre power)
Peldor:  (takes the Daern's instant fortress)  One like
  me could use something like this...
Mongo:  Geez, there's not much here that I care for.
  (he takes the longsword of dancing)
Rillen:  (takes the bracers of archery)  Hmm.
Arnold:  (takes the helm of brilliance)  I don'd know
  whad this does, but it sure is preddy.

Ged:  (takes the libram of silver magic)  Boccob!
Belphanior:  (takes the libram of gainful conjuration
  gleefully)  Heh.
Peldor:  (takes the winged boots)  Now Peldor can fly!
Mongo:  (takes the shortsword of sharpness)  Someday
  I'll have an army to outfit with this stuff...
Rillen:  (takes the manual of puissant skill at arms)
  Perhaps more meditation of this sort will prove to be
  useful.
Arnold:  (takes the human-sized plate mail +2, figuring
  that he might need a spare set or armor someday)  Aaa.

Ged:  (takes the amulet of the planes)  This shall prove
  handy, by Boccob!
Belphanior:  (takes the wand of wonder)  Chaos forever.
Peldor:  (takes the ring of water walking)  Peldor is one
  worthy of walking on water.
Mongo:  (takes the battleaxe +3)  Maybe it's time I hired
  some henchmen, so that I can give them all these arms.
Rillen:  (takes the manual of gainful exercise)  Two to
  read, now.
Arnold:  (takes the bastard sword +1 just because it
  resembles his two-handed sword)  Aaa.

Ged:  (takes the medium shield +5)  Almost missed that.
Belphanior:  (takes the wand of fireballs)  Fire, fire,
  fire!
Peldor:  (takes the longsword +3)  Good backup weapon.
Mongo:  (takes the large shield +1/+4 vs missiles)  Maybe
  I can use something in this pile after all.
Rillen:  (takes the javelin of piercing)  Good point.
Arnold:  (takes the ring of protection +1)  Don'd I have
  two rings alreaby?

Ged:  (takes the elf-sized elven chain +4)  Boccob truly
  smiles upon me today.
Belphanior:  (takes the manual of iron golems)  Me too.
Peldor:  Bah.  I don't need a staff, but I'm sure not
  going to pass up a free one.  (he takes the staff of
  withering)
Mongo:  (takes the dwarf-sized chain mail +3, grumbling)



  It was decided that the 6 barrels with various weird
contents should be kept at Ged's castle for now, since
that seemed to be the safest place for them.

Ged:  So...what now?
Belphanior:  Hmm, I don't know.  I suppose I'll spend a
  few days organizing equipment and stuff.
Peldor:  Yeah, me too.
Mongo:  Ditto.  (he looks bored)
Rillen:  We need a new quest.





next time :  some reader's suggestion may be implemented

notes     :  By dividing the loot in this episode, I took
           care of a major dangling loose end.
             All I have to say about the hammer Mongo took
           from Mongo-2 last episode is this:  the weapon
           is an ancient (not to mention otherworldly)
           dwarven artifact.  Think of it as a souped-up
           hammer of thunderbolts.  And yes, it does have
           drawbacks.  They'll be revealed in due course.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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