Chapter #146

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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.oit.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:    12/24/572 C.Y. (Common Year)                     +
+   Time:    midday                                           +
+   Place:   a small building in Greyhawk's Old City area     +
+   Climate: extremely cold                                   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "I'm not a good man.  Not the worst, either.  Just a      +
+    breed apart."                                            +
+                    - Butch Haynes, from _A Perfect World_   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





               CXLVI.  Belphanior's Hideout





  Although Belphanior was thought missing by his companions,
he was in reality no farther away than anyone else, save
Mongo.  Within the small building he had purchased, his work
continued unabated.  He had already blocked up all ground-
floor doors and windows with stone, and barred the windows
on the upper two stories.  Over the course of the next few
weeks, he went to work on the rest of the place, now that
any immediate business with the other adventurers was out
of the way.
  Changing his mind about his choice of a door, he had the
old doorway knocked out and enlarged.  The new door was big,
ten feet high and six feet wide; in addition, it was built
of solid iron, a good four inches thick.  There was a good
reason for the extreme size of the door, one which he would
see to in due course.
  First, however, Belphanior had a variety of items and
supplies brought to the place.  Food, drink, furniture,
magical supplies, and firewood were but a few of the many
things the elf stocked his building with.  Some of the
items, like the poisons, were rather illegal, and had to
be brought in with care.  After he had furnished his home
to his liking, he made a great fire.  Of course, he had
already inspected the fireplace, to ensure that it was too
narrow even for a halfling to slip through.  Setting up
candles, herbal tea, and other items, the elf began his
studies, focusing on those magic items recently gained.
  For a week, he delved into the magical libram he had
acquired, and gained some measure of expertise in the
wizardly arts.  However, this was only the first of his
goals.  Using his new magical manual, Belphanior had the
means to construct an iron golem, an automaton of huge
size and surpassing power.  Of course, the five thousand
pounds of raw iron that would be required presented a bit
of a challenge, but the raw metal, like everything else,
could be had for the right price.  Anyhow, the golem took
four months to complete, and they were months of utter
concentration and performance of mystic rituals.  Lesser
men (or elves) might have wondered if all this was worth
the trouble, but in the end, looking at his finished
creation, Belphanior knew.

Belphanior:  It's _alive_!!!  Whew, I've always wanted
  to say that.
iron golem:  (crafted to appear demonic, pointed ears
  and all, it regards Belphanior)
Belphanior:  Whatever _am_ I going to name you?
iron golem:  (shrugs)
Belphanior:  Maybe I could bring you along on quests...
  you could guard the horses...heh heh.  Nobody would
  try and steal them, that's for damn sure!  Heh heh.
  (regards his laboratory)  This shit is fun.

  Giving his golem standing orders to guard the place
and drive away any intruders, Belphanior turned his
attention to his cellar.  It was, in truth, all part of
the plan.  Originally, while in search of the most ideal
location in which to purchase an old building, the elf
had gone to the city libraries and consulted the ancient
maps of Greyhawk.  Somewhere within, he had found the
old sewers and waterways diagrammed out in detail.
  Carefully making notes, the elf had been well-prepared
when the time came to select a site.  Deep within that
section of Greyhawk known as the Old City (and, more
specifically, within the Slum quarter), Belphanior found
the perfect place.
  Nestled among other buildings as it was, the place he
had chosen barely stood out at all, save for its newly
barred windows.  Even this wasn't entirely out of place,
given the sort of people who inhabited this section of
town.  Anyhow, he took a pickaxe to the cellar wall and
began digging.  By the time he got tired, he had totally
forgotten about food, drink, or rest back in the cozy
floors above.
  Nay, what lay underneath was far more interesting.  The
old passages and streets of Greyhawk's Undercity, buried
beneath the city streets above, formed a maze of sewers,
catacombs, and tunnels, one that only the brave or very
foolhardy dared to trod.  Belphanior was both, and he was
able to access this web of dank underpassages by moving a
huge stone block, which his makeshift tunnel ended at.
Thus, with the moving of the stone block (a feat that few
could hope to accomplish without ogre strength, like he
possessed), easy access to the Undercity was had.
  Heartened greatly, Belphanior set out, wandering this
dark, smelly region for hours, learning its myriad paths
and ways.  Given his magical eye, to see in the darkness,
and his magical sword, to detect the presence of others
nearby, he had little trouble moving about safely.  In
fact, by using the sword to discern that no sentient life
was nearby, he could ensure that any moving of the stone
block went unnoticed.  Such was his measure of security
from the various undesirables that roamed the Undercity.
  Within a few days, Belphanior had found several ways up
to the city streets, ways that would deposit him in any
number of interesting locations.  Making maps only in his
mind, he quickly became a master of the mazes beneath the
city of Greyhawk.  Satisfied at this point, the elf then
turned his attention back to more typical matters.  He
learned a new spell, the Forcecage, and added this to his
spellbook.
  The next order of business was to further bolster the
small building's defenses.  Belphanior bought hundreds of
tiny razor blades, dipped them in a mixture of blood and
dung, and sprinkled the little things all over the sills
of his barred windows.  Though his roof had no accessway
to the floors below, he made sure to spread plenty of
caltrops up there.  It was a simple matter to rig a few
poisoned spikes near the stone block that closed the way
to the sewers.  After all, one could never be too safe.

  At this point, much time had passed from Belphanior's
last meeting with his adventuring companions...



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    5/15/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    daytime                                          +
+   Place:   the City of Greyhawk                             +
+   Climate: rather warm                                      +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



  Said companions had not remained idle during this time,
either.  Rillen had trained somewhat, and read both of his
magical tomes.  He also learned that his bracers of archery
couldn't help him, such was his skill already.  As for Ged,
he finished his castle, and did what he could to attract
settlers.  Surrounding the castle were several farmsteads,
docks, and the like - prime features, perhaps, of a small
but growing community.  Ged erected a sizable temple of
Boccob outside of his castle, and it was blessed in short
order by Ravel Disander, Greyhawk's High Priest of Boccob,
himself!  Disander was rather pleased to see Ged, such a
powerful force for the diety, making his home in the city's
outskirts.  Ged also found the time to read his magical
books, and he not only advanced in the wizardly arts, but
constructed a golem himself, though it was of stone.  Had
he known of Belphanior's iron golem, Ged would doubtless
have been green with envy.  The elf learned the spell of
stunning with a word of power, and looked forward to its
use in future combats.

  As for Mongo, well, that is a story for another time.





next time :  we find out what Mongo's been up to

notes     :  It's about time that some of these characters
           finally set down roots, considering their levels.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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