Chapter #149

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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                    +
+                    +
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Belphanior    12th/14th/13th level high elf w/m/t  (CN)   +
+   Ged           13th/14th level grey elf priest/mage (NG)   +
+      Arnold     11th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+   Mongo         16th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen        16th level human warrior              (N)   +
+   Date:    6/10/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    midmorning                                       +
+   Place:   the Free City of Greyhawk                        +
+   Climate: pleasantly warm                                  +
+   "Originality is the art of concealing your sources."      +
+                                                - unknown    +

                   CXLIX.  The Pact

  For over six months, each of the adventurers has been
taking care of personal business.  However, they are all
back in or near Greyhawk at this time, and trouble is

Ged:  (within his temple of Boccob, he communes with his
  god, asking questions and receiving answers)
acolytes:  (standing outside the closed temple, under
  orders to keep everyone out)  Ho-hum.
Deryck:  (returns from outside)  Where's Ged?
acolyte:  Within.  (he points to the sealed doors)  None
  may enter.
Deryck:  But I must speak with-

  Suddenly, the doors opened, and Ged strode out, dressed
in regal purple robes.

Ged:  What is it?
Deryck:  While in the city, I learned that the one called
  Mongo has returned.  Since you told us all to let you
  know if this happened, here I am.
Ged:  Ah, excellent.  And timely, too, considering what I
  have learned.  Say, where's that lad I hired?
page:  (appears)  Here I am!
Ged:  Young Calvin, I have a job for you.  I want you to
  find these people, and bring them here...tell them it's
Calvin the page:  (takes a list of names and locations)

  The next day, Calvin was in Greyhawk itself, searching
for the adventurers.  Peldor was, of course, the easiest
to find, and he assured the lad that he would venture out
to Ged's castle that night.  Rillen and Mongo were found
in the Warrior's Guildhall, and agreed to ride out to the
castle later.  Try as he might, the page could not find
Belphanior, until he had the bright idea to go to the
city library and look in the records there.  After all,
the records _were_ public knowledge.  It was for flashes
of wisdom like this that Ged had hired the young lad.

  Soon, at Belphanior's building in the Old City...

Belphanior:  (hears a knock at his door)  Who could that
  be?  (he opens the door, revealing a wide-eyed lad at
  his doorstep)  Huh?
lad:  Are you the one called Belphanior?
Belphanior:  Maybe.  Who wants to know?
lad:  If you are he, and I think you are, then know that
  Ged the Mighty requests your presence at his castle for
  dinner tonight.
Belphanior:  Oh, he does, does he?
lad:  (staring in wonder at the huge iron golem inside the
  building)  Whoa!
Belphanior:  Oh, don't mind Angus there.  Say, how did you
  find me?
lad:  Easy.  I looked in the city records of landowners
  inside and outside the city.  There you were.
Belphanior:  (kicking himself for forgetting that records
  of these things were kept)  Oh.
lad:  Anyway, that's the message.  (he dashes away to his
Belphanior:  Well.  (he goes back to his writing)  Angus,
  my friend, we have a dinner date.
iron golem:  (just stands there)
Belphanior:  Of course, you can't eat, but still...

  Later that night, much later, Belphanior showed up at
the castle of Ged, and was admitted and directed to the
great hall.  The elf noted that the place was now totally
finished, and most impressive as well.  Entering the hall,
he realized that he was the last of the group to arrive.

Belphanior:  Hi.
Ged:  Well, it's about time!  I thought you might be dead
  somewhere!  Of course, since I hadn't heard from you in
  months, I had thought you dead anyway...
Belphanior:  Me?  Never.  (he notices the huge stone golem
  standing nearby, and decides to heckle Ged)  Hmm, nice
  golem there.  I was going to bring my IRON golem, but it
  walks much too slowly...
Ged:  I-  _Iron_ golem?!?
Belphanior:  But of course.  They're the best of the lot.
  I'm surprised that you don't have one too.
Ged:  (sputters)
Belphanior:  Oh, well.
Ged:  Bah.
Belphanior:  But forget all that - what is it that you
Peldor:  Yes, what indeed?  I've a tavern to run!  Being
  a responsible businessman is a busy job!  (he signals
  for more food and drink)  One brimming with important
  work, I tell you!
Rillen:  We can all see how busy you are, thief.
Peldor:  Shh!  Keep it down - I've got a reputation to
  uphold here.
Belphanior:  I see that some of us have gained some new
Mongo:  Yup, I did.  He saved my life!
Peldor:  Wow.
Mongo:  His name is Gorin, and he'll be training with me
  for a while. with us.
Rillen:  Once we find some new quest to undertake.
Ged:  True.  First, I have some ideas.
Peldor:  Uh-oh.
Ged:  I think that, before we find our next quest, we take
  some time to set down a few new conventions.
Mongo:  Like what?
Ged:  Well, first...(he picks up his familiar)
grey cat:  Meow!
Ged:  This little fellow's not going into dungeons with us
Belphanior:  Now whatever made you say that?
Ged:  Too risky.  He's just a baby.  (he pets the cat)  I
  might even suggest that we hold off on henchmen at some
Rillen:  Meaning what, exactly?
Ged:  Well, Arnold here isn't really a henchman anymore.
Peldor:  He's not?
Ged:  No.  Since he's served so well for so long, gaining
  so much experience...well, it seemed rather inappropriate
  to keep him around strictly for support in my battles.
Rillen:  Oh.
Ged:  So, I've hired him on as captain of my guards here.
Arnold:  (beams proudly)
Mongo:  Err...congratulations, big guy.
Ged:  He may still come with us, depending on the situation
  and other things, but he needs to...well, to get out from
  under my shadow, if you know what I mean.
Arnold:  Yah.
Ged:  Simply put, he's graduated from being a henchman.
Rillen:  With honors, I would say.
Peldor:  It's not going to be the same...
Arnold:  Nevber fear - I'll be back.
Peldor:  (babbling to Gorin)  Did I ever tell you about the
  time I ripped that demon in half with my bare hands?
Gorin:  (obviously fascinated)  Really?
Peldor:  Yeah.  He never stood a chance.  It was deep within
  the dungeon of blah blah blah blah...
Gorin:  (listens, mesmerized)
Mongo:  (noticed what's going on)  Hey!  Don't you pay heed
  to this fool's stories - half of them are complete crap.
Gorin:  Aw, you're spoiling it for me...
Peldor:  (scowls)
Rillen:  (yawns)
Belphanior:  (to Ged)  You hinted at other changes.  What
  were these ideas of yours?
Ged:  I just think we need to be careful about who we take
  into dangerous places.  (he eyes Mongo's new henchman,
  who is standing nearby nervously)  This holds true, of
  course, for any henchmen or followers that any of us's a dangerous world out there.
Belphanior:  Good point.
Mongo:  (begins to sputter)
Rillen:  How are they going to gain skill and experience
  if they never do anything?
Mongo:  Exactly!
Peldor:  They?
Rillen:  I had plans to gain some students in the near
  future.  I am really thinking of "henchmen" rather than
Ged:  Whoa, now.  I'm not suggesting we cut them out of
  all the action, just that we let them guard the horses
  sometimes.  When it seems prudent.
Belphanior:  Good point.
Peldor:  You already said that.
Belphanior:  Oh, so I did.
Mongo:  Well...we'll have to see.
Ged:  That's all I'm asking.
Rillen:  It seems that the glory days of henchmen in our
  party are past.
Belphanior:  That, or we're getting old.
Peldor:  So far, I fail to see the point of all this.
Ged:  There is more.  Much more.  Let me mention a few
  topics:  Bosco.  My fire wand artifact.  Red dragons.
Peldor:  Bosco?
Ged:  Demons.  An evil red-robed elven mage.
Mongo:  Huh?
Ged:  That's right, I've been speaking with Boccob, and
  I know things.  All kinds of things.  It seems that we
  all have our own loose ends.
Peldor:  Bosco?
Ged:  (continues unabated)  Divinely inspired, I came up
  with an idea.
Belphanior:  Really?
Ged:  Of course.  I think each of us should have the help
  of the others for one quest, task, journey - whatever.
  Something of that person's choosing.
Peldor:  You mean like, I want to go track down Bosco's
  soul, and so you guys help me do it?  Because it's my
Ged:  Exactly.
Mongo:  And then each of us gets to help on the other ones'
Ged:  (beaming)  Exactly.
Belphanior:  Well, it's a change of pace, I'll give you
Rillen:  This idea seems fair.
Ged:  It's fair, it will broaden all of our horizons, it
  allows each of us help that he might not have if alone.
Peldor:  And it sure beats the taking on of random quests.
  Count me in!
Ged:  (surprised)  Really?  You?
Peldor:  Who else?
Belphanior:  It's chaotic, in a lawful way.  I agree.
Rillen:  Aye.
Mongo:  Oh, what the hell.  Does this make us crusaders?
Ged:  Maybe.
Peldor:  I want to do mine first.
Belphanior:  Well, I'm sure not ready to decide mine, so
  go right ahead.
Mongo:  Ditto.
Rillen:  This is a worthy quest?
Ged:  Yea, what do you have in mind?
Peldor:  What else?  I want to find Bosco's soul, and get
  it back into his body!

next time :  the hunt is on!

notes     :  I need more ideas for quests, otherwise we'll
           continue to see things like this...

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