Chapter #145

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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:    12/27/572 C.Y. (Common Year)                     +
+   Time:    midday                                           +
+   Place:   Ged's castle, near Greyhawk                      +
+   Climate: extremely cold                                   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "In this business you either sink or swim or you don't."  +
+                                          - David Smith      +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





               CXLV.  Peldor the Businessman





  As Rillen rode toward Ged's partially-finished castle, he
noted that construction was proceeding as rapidly as before.
The place would probably be finished within a month, at this
rate.

Ged:  (wanders out of the castle, pointing upward)  There's
  my main gate.  (he walks across a drawbridge)  And there's
  my moat.  Yes, things are going well.  Say, nice to see
  you.  It's been what, two weeks now?  How are things?
Rillen:  Maybe not so well.  Guess what has happened?
Ged:  Uh...(knits his brows)  Peldor robbed the city vault?
Rillen:  Hmm, interesting guess...but no.
Ged:  Damn!  Well, what is it, then?
Rillen:  Mongo has left the city - headed eastward, I think.
  He told no one, but simply rode away, all by himself.
Ged:  Hmm.  Strange.  I hope he's okay.  That business with
  Flint, and everything...
Rillen:  Aye.  There is more, though.  Peldor has...how can
  I put this?  He _bought_ the Green Dragon Inn.
Ged:  He did WHAT?!?
Rillen:  Bought it!  Paid the last owner, old Roscoe, some
  sum of money - enough, I would suppose, to ensure a happy
  retirement for the old fellow.  Peldor has taken over all
  operations of the place.
Ged:  Wow.  Maybe this means we'll get free rooms while in
  the city.
Rillen:  From Peldor?  I seriously doubt it.  But anyhow-
Ged:  You mean there's more?!?
Rillen:  Of course.
Ged:  Let me guess.  Peldor's trying to get the temple of
  Pelor, god of light, renamed to suit him?
Rillen:  Not quite.  Actually, Belphanior has dropped from
  sight.
Ged:  Hmm.  Not surprising.
Rillen:  It has been two weeks.  Unusual, even for him.
Ged:  True.  Say, have you seen Arnold?
Rillen:  No.  Why?
Ged:  I sent him into town to pick up his armor.  It should
  have been fixed by now.  No matter - I'm sure he'll turn
  up sooner or later.  He's getting fairly competent at
  taking care of business; I dare say he's matured a good
  deal since I first hired him on.
Rillen:  That is good.  Well, how goes the castle?
Ged:  Well.  It should be done well before spring.  With any
  luck, people will move out here, farmers mostly, and I'll
  have a small township going.
Rillen:  Sounds like fun.
Ged:  Yea.  Of course, the only temple in the area will be
  that of Boccob...

  They kept on talking, and before long, the day had passed.
Then the next day passed, and the next.  On one occasion,
they went to Greyhawk, to check up on Peldor.

Ged:  (he and Rillen enter the Green Dragon Inn)  Let's
  see what he's up to-
Rillen:  Whoa!
Ged:  It's completely remodeled!  And in only two weeks?!?
  Boccob's blessed bones!  I never-
bouncer:  (standing six-foot-eight, he blocks the way in)
Rillen:  Eh?
bouncer:  Excuse me, gentlemen, but I'll have to ask you to
  please leave your weapons at the door.  (he points to a
  nearby counter, which is manned by a grizzled dwarf with
  a waist-long beard)  With him, if you please.
dwarf:  (grins)  Hand 'em over, fellas.
Ged:  Sure.  (he hands Lightbringer to the dwarf)  That's
  it for me.
Lightbringer:  What??!
Ged:  Shh.  The rules are the rules, you know.
Lightbringer:  (grumbling)
bouncer:  Are you wearing any armor today, gentlemen?
Ged:  Not me.
Rillen:  Me neither.  (reluctantly hands over his staff)
  I would have hoped that Peldor might have made his rules
  different from every other classy inn of Greyhawk.
Ged:  Nah.  That's why they're classy.
dwarf:  Heh heh.  You got it, dude.
bouncer:  I assume you know our owner, from the way you
  speak of him.  (he signals to a serving wench)  Go find
  the boss.
waitress:  (bustling)  Sure thing!
bouncer:  Old friends, eh?
Rillen:  Indeed we are.
Ged:  (makes his way into the inn, where an attractive woman
  is busy tending bar)  Did Peldor hire you, too?
woman:  Of course.  What's your pleasure?
Rillen:  Nothing for me, thanks.
Ged:  (thinking to truly test the quality of Peldor's new
  establishment)  Wine.  Velunan wine, white if you have any.
bartender:  Coming right up.  (she looks through the racks
  of bottles behind the bar, about fifteen feet from the
  two adventurers)
Ged:  Pretty competent.  And pretty.
Rillen:  For all we know, she can fight, too.
bartender:  (returns, with a wine bottle and a glass)  Yep,
  I can.  (she gestures to a scimitar hanging over the bar)
  Beat a lot of so-called swordsmen, back in the old days.
  I can also hit you with a dagger at fifty paces, climb a
  sheer wall, and hear things said about me by people who
  don't know I'm listening.
Ged:  Uh...
Rillen:  (stares dumbfounded)
waitress:  Sure you won't have a drink?

  Just then, Peldor walked into the room, chatting merrily
with a couple of local politician-types.

Peldor:  Ah!  My old friends finally show up!
Ged:  Well, we were kind of in the area and just figured
  we'd see what you had done...
Rillen:  Basically.
Peldor:  I've done all kinds of things.  (he ushers the
  two men into a padded booth, where they are instantly
  catered to by some waitress)  Improved the security -
  Vinnie there's not only a good bouncer, but he's polite
  too.  Customers like that, you know.
Ged:  Yea, we noticed.
Rillen:  Vinnie?
Peldor:  But that's not all.  I also paid off most of the
  waiters.  Any place run by Peldor has got to have plenty
  of comely young waitresses.
Ged:  Figures...
Peldor:  And I've more than doubled our alcohol selection.
  A wise investment for me, at this point.  Also we have
  some of the finest chefs in the land now!  (he grins)
Rillen:  So instead of merely being an excellent inn, this
  is now an outstanding inn?
Peldor:  Something like that.  We've also added a casino
  upstairs.  In fact, I had three additional floors added
  first thing.
Ged:  Three floors?!?  Already?!?
Peldor:  Yup.  That's over two dozen more rooms.  And I've
  had all the rooms refurbished - they're a lot nicer now.
Rillen:  I am impressed.  You really are taking this thing
  seriously.
Peldor:  Of course.  Why, you wouldn't believe the sorts
  of people I've had to hobnob with, due to my new status
  as a city mogul.  Politicians - see those two over in
  the booth there?  One's the mayor's assistant, and the
  other is on the city council.
Ged:  Hmm.
Peldor:  That's not it, though.  There's also leading magi
  and priests, merchants, generals, nobles...why, they all
  know me.  Or soon will.  Being a businessman is a serious
  undertaking, you know, both socially and economically.
bartender:  (refills Ged's wine glass)
Peldor:  (points offhandedly to the bartender)  Say, I'm
  sure you've met Tanya here...
Rillen:  Yes.  Most impressive.
Tanya:  (beams)
Peldor:  Isn't she, though?  All that, and she can make
  drinks, too!  What a deal!  Good help _is_ hard to find,
  but once you've found it, you're set.
Ged:  Must be your charming personality.
Peldor:  Yep, that's what I figured.  (to Tanya)  For the
  record, these are some of my old adventuring buddies.
  They get the VIP treatment whenever they show up.
Rillen:  (looking around at the many happy patrons)  Looks
  to me like everyone is getting the VIP treatment.
Peldor:  Maybe, but I want my staff to know who you guys
  are.  Ahh, 'my staff'...I like the sound of that...now
  where did I put those cigars?
Ged:  Well, we really must be going.
Peldor:  No, no, no!  Stay for dinner, I insist.
Ged:  Can't do it - I've got a castle to check on.  Say,
  do you know anything about Mongo?  Or Belphanior?
Peldor:  Not really, why?
Ged:  They've both dropped out of sight.  Word is, Mongo
  left the city.
Peldor:  And he didn't even see my place yet!  How rude!
Ged:  Oh well.
Rillen:  Does this new business mean that your adventuring
  days are at an end?
Peldor:  Oh, heavens, no!  Anytime the need arises - or
  the desire strikes - I'll leave the staff in charge and
  split.  That _is_ what I hired them for...
Ged:  Hmm.  Well, we've got to be going.
Peldor:  Okay.  If you need to find me, you know where I
  am.  (he heads upstairs)
Rillen:  (he and Ged leave, and wander along the streets
  of the city)  That was interesting.  Moreso than I ever
  suspected it would be.
Ged:  Yea.  You know, it wouldn't surprise me in the least
  if the scoundrel was running a den of thieves from that
  place...(he looks at Rillen)
Rillen:  (looks at Ged)
both:  Nah, couldn't be.

  Before the day was out, they found Arnold, who was busy
shopping (!) for new clothes in the marketplaces of the
city.

Rillen:  I think I shall stay in town for a while.  I need
  some peace and quiet to read those books I have.
Ged:  Very well.  We'll see you when we see you.





next time :  what Belphanior's up to

notes     :  I hope this episode was as refreshing to read
           as it was to write.
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