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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 +
+ firstname.lastname@example.org +
+ THE PARTY: +
+ Belphanior 12th/14th/13th level high elven w/m/t (CN) +
+ Ged 13th/14th level grey elven priest/mage (NG) +
+ Arnold 11th level human warrior (NG) +
+ Mongo 16th level dwarven warrior (CG) +
+ Gorin 4th level dwarven warrior (CG) +
+ Peldor 18th level human thief (N) +
+ Rillen 16th level human warrior (N) +
+ Date: 6/11/573 C.Y. (Common Year) +
+ Time: noon +
+ Place: Ged's Castle, a day's ride from Greyhawk +
+ Climate: pleasantly warm +
+ "Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody." +
+ - Mark Twain +
CL. Sink or Swim
Having agreed to take turns leading the others on quests,
the adventurers are currently engaged in Peldor's choice -
finding the lost soul of his previous henchman Bosco and
returning it safely to the body. Within Ged's castle, they
are discussing the various options.
Ged: So, you see, I have communed with Boccob and learned
of the whereabouts of Bosco's wayward soul.
Peldor: You have, eh? (he scowls)
Ged: Of course. I would have told you anyway, but without
our help, I doubt you'd have been able to travel there.
Belphanior: Enough drama. Where is the soul?
Ged: Hurled into the Ethereal Plane by the power of the deck
of many things, the soul ended up on...the elemental plane
Peldor: Say what?
Ged: Water. That's where all the weird aquatic monsters
come from. Not to mention the water elementals.
Mongo: Sounds like a lot of critters.
Ged: Yea. From what I understand, the place is just one
big ocean of endless water, with neither surface nor air.
Peldor: So, where in this plane is the soul?
Ged: Bosco's soul has gone to the castle of Silthis, a
duke among his kind. We'll just have to go talk to him
and see if he'll be reasonable.
Rillen: How do you know it is male?
Peldor: Silthis, eh? The plane of Water, eh? Okay, let's
Belphanior: I was hoping for the Nine Hells, or the Abyss,
or somewhere like that.
Ged: You may yet regret your words. The plane of Water is
no place for the weak and puny...
Belphanior: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So how do we get there?
Ged: Well, I've mastered my amulet of the planes, but it
only works for one person. So that option's out.
Ged: Now if _you_ alone were going after the soul, Peldor,
I'd send you.
Peldor: You would?
Ged: In a heartbeat. But we're all going, so we have to
find some other way. Besides, last time I checked, you
couldn't breathe underwater.
Peldor: Blub blub.
Mongo: (fuming) WATER?!?
Belphanior: (decides not to tell the party about his well
of many worlds, since he can't control it anyway)
Rillen: (wondering how he's going to breathe underwater)
Mongo: What about other spells?
Ged: Therein lies the answer. (he makes mystical gestures
in the air) With sufficient preparation, I can cast the
mighty Plane Shift, and take us straight to the Elemental
Plane of Water.
Ged: It is indeed. You see, with this spell I can take up
to seven others along for the ride.
Arnold: (strides into the room) Can I go?
Ged: Uh...(considering recent issues) I guess so. There
shouldn't be anything here that requires your immediate
Arnold: Yaaaaaaaaaa. Where are we going, anyway?
Mongo: (counting) ...five...Arnold makes six...so Gorin
Ged: What's that?
Mongo: You said you could take seven.
Ged: Seven others.
Mongo: Whatever. So Gorin can go with us. (looks at his
apprentice) You're going plane-hopping, kid!
Gorin: (jumps for joy) Yay!
Ged: Err...(he realizes that Bosco would make eight)
Peldor: (to Rillen) Well, I don't see why not to let
Belphanior: What about getting back? Not that I'll be
in any hurry to get back, but...
Ged: A sensible question.
Belphanior: (glaring) Don't patronize me.
Ged: I'll simply have to pray for _two_ Plane Shifts.
Mongo: (slaps his forehead) Of course!
Ged: (babbling to himself) Of course, that means no
Cure Critical...or Flame Strike...or Raise Dead...
Peldor: Oh well.
Gorin: Raise dead? (he looks worried) What would we
need to raise the dead for?
Mongo: Say, how is he going to breathe? How are any of
you going to breathe there? (he fingers his necklace
of adaption) I mean, I'm covered, but...
Ged: Hmm...well, I have a ring that allows me to breathe
water...not to mention a potion...and the spell...but
that only affects one person...hmm.
Rillen: It seems to me that we need some special potions
or something, to let us breathe underwater.
Mongo: Yeah. And what about our equipment and stuff?
Ged: Yea. Salt water's not good for armor and weapons.
Peldor: Hey, I have a question.
everyone: (turns to regard the thief)
Peldor: Once we get there and everything, how do we know
where to go? And how the hell does one _hold_ a soul
anyway? We've got to carry it back here, you know...
Ged: Blast it! Too many questions! Boccob...hmm. Aha!
I know what is needed!
Belphanior: I give up. What?
Ged: I must consult with Ravel!
Peldor: Who's Ravel?
Ged: Ravel Disander, you fool. Greyhawk's current High
Priest of Boccob. He'll know what to do!
Belphanior: Well _that's_ good to know.
Rillen: Let us hope that this plan does not un-ravel.
Ged: I must go into town. Peldor, why don't you and some
of the others go retrieve Bosco's body?
Peldor: Uh...err...because it's in the town of Targ, deep
within the Yatil Mountains, almost a month's journey from
Ged: No matter - these quests of ours may span years, all
told. Besides, you can take the sky balloon.
Peldor: I can?!?
Ged: Of course. Arnold will go with you, though, to fly
the thing. I've trained him, you know.
Ged: That should cut your travel time in half.
Rillen: One would hope so...
Arnold: I'll go get my armbor. (he leaves the room)
Belphanior: I'll accompany you guys. Targ...that's the
town where they were all "targ-ets"...heh heh.
Peldor: Yeah, they were, thanks to Bosco...
Rillen: We left the small one with some nuns, right?
Ged: Anyway, you three can go get the body and bring it
back here. By then, I'll surely know all the answers.
Thus, the group split for a time, the two thieves and
Arnold taking the fabulous sky balloon northwest, the other
adventurers remaining in Ged's castle. As the balloon trip
was no doubt uneventful and boring, we shall turn instead
to the actions of Ged, Mongo, and Rillen.
Gorin: And me too!
Mongo: Yeah, you too. You can go with us, don't worry.
Rillen: Ged has been away for almost two days. What could
be keeping him?
Ged: (strides into the hall, a look of triumph on his face
and a map clutched in one hand) We've got it!
Mongo: What? What do we have?
Ged: Answers, friend, answers! I've been instructed to
go talk to a powerful wizard.
Rillen: Wizard? Why? What do we need another wizard for?
Ged: Because he is as one with the oceans, the lakes...
Gorin: This is getting weird.
Mongo: Don't worry, kid, the elf knows what he's doing.
Ged: Right you are. (he unfurls the map) We must go see
the mighty Tenser!
Rillen: Who the hell is Tenser?
Ged: Ah, how little the undisciplined know-
Rillen: Never mind that - I am highly disciplined. Where
is this Tenser?
Ged: About twenty-five leagues to the northeast, on the
southern shores of the Nyr Dyv. We'll just follow the
coast; the trip should take less than two days.
Mongo: What can this guy do for us, again?
Ged: He's a master of all things seaborne, not to mention
illusions and such. Alindyar would have liked to meet
Rillen: Thus he might provide some useful information for
our upcoming quest.
Mongo: Enough. Let's get the hell out of here.
They departed within minutes, riding northward, to the
Selintan's banks, before turning eastward.
Ged: We'll follow the river, and, Boccob willing, we'll
be there in no time.
Rillen: This should prove interesting.
Gorin: (busily engaged in discussion with Mongo, they
are comparing and contrasting the wonders of carpentry
and blacksmithing) So you see, it's plenty useful!
Mongo: Yeah, but still...
Gorin: I can make anything out of wood! Back in the
hills, it was _me_ who they came to for cabinets, and
chairs, and shelves, and-
Mongo: That's good, but a nice set of plate mail is a-
Rillen: (to Ged) At least they get along.
Since peace reigned in the land, there were none of the
incidents which might be expected in less civilized parts.
Ged was even able to procure the party free rooms at a
manor the four stopped by at dusk...
baron: You're the mighty Ged, from Greyhawk?!?
Ged: None other. Boccob's loyal servant.
baron: By the gods! We've heard of you here. Your work
is legendary - all those quests, all that gold...
baron: Can I offer you and your servants rooms for the
Mongo: SERVANTS?!? We are no servants! (he unslings his
hammer and hurls it a nearby boulder, shattering the rock
Mongo: We are heroes on equal footing with 'mighty Ged'
here! Got it?
baron: Sure. You must be Mongo, of the Thunderheads.
Mongo: That's right. And this is Rillen, and this is
Gorin, an apprentice of mine.
Gorin: Hi there.
Mongo: (catches his hammer)
Ged: You'll have to excuse him - his temper gets out of
baron: Uh...right. Let's get you to those rooms.
They spent the night at the baron's manor, and morning
found them well-rested and refreshed for the day's journey.
Ged: Let's be off! He whom we seek may well be impatient
baron: I'll see you later, then.
Ged: Farewell, good sir.
Rillen: (casually waves goodbye)
They continued riding, and it was late in the day when
they approached their destination. There it stood, atop
a promontory of rock that jutted out from the shore of the
Nyr Dyv like a spike - the tower of Tenser the archmage!
Rising high above the water which almost totally surrounded
it, the spire was visible for miles. Occasional windows
dotted its massive sides, but it looked both abandoned and
ominous. The pathway to the tower's entrance was narrow,
perhaps a few feet wide at best, and the adventurers had
to be careful as they slowly advanced across the pathway
Mongo: Now remember, Gorin, keep quiet. We like to let
Ged do all the talking at times like this.
Rillen: Aye. Only a wizard can talk sensibly to a wizard.
Ged: I hope he knows we're coming...
Half an hour later, when the four finally reached the
base of the tower, the massive door swung open of its own
accord. They entered, walking through a short entry hall
that led into a larger chamber. Sitting in a large chair
was a blue-robed man, an elderly human of average height
and slightly less-than-average weight. His dark brown
hair fell over a prominent and jutting nose. The room was
decorated with varying shades of blue, and hardly seemed
like a cold stone tower, from this perspective.
Rillen: (wondering what illusions are assailing his well-
Ged: (steps forth, his hand held in greeting) Greetings,
O great one-
man: Enough of that! Normally I'd have amused myself in
watching you wander through illusions, but any friend of
Disander is a friend of mine. (he stands up and shakes
Ged's hand) Tenser. Pleased to make your acquaintance.
Ged: The pleasure is all mine. After all, you're the one
who invented the floating disk...and the trans-
Tenser: Enough, I say. My credentials aren't that much
more impressive than yours, my friend. Why, in a few
decades, you fellows may...Say, who are your friends?
Ged: May I introduce Mongo, dwarven warrior of great
repute, and his apprentice, the mighty Gorin.
Mongo: (grins) Good thing he didn't call us "servants".
Tenser: So you're the one who brought Stormcrest back to
Oerth, eh? Well met, my good fellow, well met. Use the
Ged: And this is Rillen, an honorable warrior from a
Rillen: (nods politely)
Tenser: Of course. (he walks into the room, betraying
no trace of his age as he moves) You're planning on
venturing into the elemental plane of Water, eh?
Ged: Err...yes. We seek a soul that ended up there.
Tenser: Few things 'end up' anywhere. (he leads them
into a laboratory) Especially souls. Now, you'll be
needing something that allows you breathe underwater.
Ged: Yes, and also some advice about how we can keep
our equipment from being ruined.
Tenser: Of course, of course. (he digs through a pile
of odd-looking items)
Ged: (to Rillen) I'm glad Peldor isn't here...
Tenser: Who's Peldor?
Ged: Uh, just a fool who we know.
Tenser: Ah, here they are. (he holds up two pouches)
The first of these contains a number of roots of the
Gorin: Gorka, gorka, gorka.
Mongo: What's a gorka?
Tenser: Not a 'what', a 'who'. The Gorka tree grows in
only one place on this whole planet. Old Gorka is its
caretaker, and has been for centuries. But never mind
that - these are some of its roots, and each of them,
when eaten, confers the ability to breathe and move
normally while underwater. In addition, one need not
worry about the frigid temperatures and tremendous
pressures that might be encountered, or the problem
of vision underwater.
Tenser: He might possibly have had something to do with
Mongo: Wow. How long is this stuff good for?
Tenser: Oh, about a day. Give or take a few hours. It
depends entirely upon the eater's stamina.
Ged: Directly or inversely?
Tenser: Directly; hardier souls - oops, no pun intended -
will enjoy the root's properties longer.
Mongo: Ah, good.
Ged: What's in the other pouch?
Tenser: (holds up the second pouch) This is dust made
from the remains of a cloud dragon of largest size.
Ged: _Cloud_ dragon?
Tenser: Exactly. If you sprinkle this mystical powder
over items, they will be rendered utterly waterproof
for a period of one day.
Mongo: No way.
Tenser: Believe it. Such dust is, to put it mildly, a
rarity. Use it, and the roots, wisely.
Ged: What can we offer you in return for these wondrous
items? Money? Assistance?
Tenser: (smiles knowlingly) Well, perhaps a small boon
from one of you would aid my cause...(to Ged) What is
that ring you wear?
Ged: This one?
Tenser: No, that other.
Ged: It turns away spells which would otherwise harm me.
(he ponders recent battles) At least, it's supposed
Tenser: I could use such a ring, if you don't mind.
Ged: (quickly weighs the facts in his mind, and takes
the ring off) It's yours, friend.
Tenser: I certainly thank you. (he regards Mongo)
Mongo: No, you can't have Stormcrest. I have a lot more
giants to kill yet!
Tenser: No, my boy, I don't want the hammer. I could
scarcely lift it anyway, much less use it. No, I was
thinking of that ring you have there.
Mongo: This one? No, it's my fireproofer, and I need it
too. More than one fire-user has met their doom while
wondering how I survived their attacks.
Tenser: Actually, I was going to tell you that it is much
more than a mere protection item.
Mongo: It is?
Tenser: Indeed. (he regards Rillen) Have you anything
Rillen: Hmm. (he holds up his blue crystal pyramid) The
purpose of this thing yet eludes me...
Tenser: (takes and examines the crystal) Hmm. Hmmmmmmm.
Now _this_ is strange. Ah, how I love a good puzzle...
(he casts a spell, and the item begins to glow) Ah, I
Mongo: You do? (looks around) I don't see anything.
Ged: (to Mongo) Shh, he's scrying.
Tenser: (hands the pyramid back to Rillen) I couldn't
possibly take this from you. You _do_ know what it is,
do you not?
Rillen: Not really.
Tenser: You can use it once, and only once - but upon
shattering, a fire elemental chieftain, one of their
lords, even, will be summoned to serve you for an hour.
Rillen: Well...I never suspected. I will make sure it
gets used in a hot spot.
Tenser: Use it wisely - an elemental lord's power is a
thing to behold. (he looks around) I think it is best
that you fellows get going. A difficult task lies
before you, and you have much planning to do.
Rillen: An excellent suggestion. We shall be on our way
Ged: By Boccob, I say again, Tenser - I don't know how
we can possibly thank you enough for your help.
Tenser: Don't thank me yet. (he winks) I might turn up
someday and ask _you_ for something.
Ged: Story of our life...
They said their farewells, and departed the tower of the
archmage. Their mounts were rested and watered, somehow,
though no stableboy was in evidence. They rode out, and
headed in the direction of Greyhawk.
Tenser: (back in his tower) Ideas?
other man: (about the same height, but immensely fat, he
blinks into existence nearby, and pours himself a glass
of brandy) He seems competent enough. Nice guy - for
an elf, that is. And he serves Boccob, to boot. As for
his friends, I'd say they pack a lot of firepower, for
warriors. That hammer...whew. One can go far with
allies like that.
Tenser: (joins the other at a table) Well, they are in
our debt now, in any case. I'm sure the Circle will
find something useful for Ged to accomplish.
other man: Aye, that we will. (they toast)
Almost two days later, Ged, Rillen, Mongo, and Gorin
arrived at Ged's castle. Since the others weren't due back
for three more weeks, Ged began researching the necessary
information for the mighty spell. After all, this was no
mere acolyte's spell, but rather an incantation of utmost
power. Ged had to research material pertinent to the trip
that the party was to undertake, and this meant hours at
Greyhawk's libraries, as well as the Wizards' Guild. For
over two weeks, the warriors were left with little to do.
Mongo made sure that Gorin got some training in practice
melee, using his magical axe, chain mail, and shield. At
times, Rillen lent his expertise to this endeavor, while
at other times he simply meditated.
Nearly a month after Peldor, Belphanior, and Arnold left
in the magical balloon, they returned. Lashed to the deck
to prevent an accidental fall was the mindless shell of
Bosco. As they walked out of the balloon's cabin and onto
the grass of Ged's courtyard, the thieves greeted their
companions with the usual glee.
Belphanior: Are we ready to go yet?
Peldor: (leading Bosco onto solid ground) Boy, those nuns
had just about had it with the little guy here.
Ged: How's that?
Belphanior: Heh heh. Soul or no, he was somehow up to his
old habits. He had stashed things in his pockets.
Mongo: Really? Like what?
Belphanior: Oh, gems, coins, small baubles...he had a good
little trove built up there. I don't think he knew what
he was doing, but the nuns wouldn't have any of it.
Arnold: (having secured the balloon, he disembarks) Yah.
They indsisted that we take Bodsco away, imbediately. Id
was good that we got dhere when we did.
Peldor: Those nuns! They corrupted Bosco. I'll tell you,
nuns these days...you can't trust a one of them!
Peldor: What's the world coming to?
The grey elf explained the use of Tenser's gifts to the
others, and the group planned to leave on the morrow. It
was Rillen who came up with the unhead-of idea...
Rillen: <sniff> Phew! Someone smells.
Mongo: (looking around)
Ged: Don't look at me! I had a bath this morning.
Rillen: Aha! (he produces a large towel) Where are your
Ged: Uh...(suddenly glad that he had guest bathhouses built
in his castle) Follow the page. Hey, Calvin!
Calvin the page: (appears) Yeah?
Ged: Lead this warrior - and any others who wish to go - to
the guest baths.
Calvin: Okay! (he zips away)
Rillen: (follows, taking gigantic strides) Slow down, lad.
Peldor: Err...(he follows Rillen) It _has_ been weeks.
Belphanior: (follows Peldor) Couldn't hurt...
Mongo: (wipes dusty grime from his arm) Oh, all right.
(he trundles after the others, grumbling)
Gorin: Bath? (he heads in the same direction)
Arnold: (looking around)
Arnold: O-kay! (he heads for his quarters, which naturally
have their own bath)
+ Date: 7/13/573 C.Y. (Common Year) +
+ Time: noon +
+ Place: Ged's Castle, a day's ride from Greyhawk +
+ Climate: pleasantly warm +
Strangely enough, all slept well - perhaps Ged's castle was
indeed built on holy ground - and before long, it was morning
and the adventurers were eating breakfast.
Mongo: So you're just gonna cast this spell and that's it?
Ged: Basically. We'll first go to the Ethereal plane,
which can be used as a springboard to the Inner Planes.
Now, if we wanted to go to the _Outer_ Planes, we'd need an
Belphanior: (eyes alight) Ah...the Outer Planes. Say,
how about we check out some Outer Planes after we find
Bosco's soul? The Hells, the Abyss, Gehenna - they are
but ripe apples, waiting to be plucked...
Mongo: (gets that worried look in his eyes)
Ged: No, no, no! We have no business going to the planes
of Evil, and if you're smart, neither will you! Get a
grip on yourself, man.
Belphanior: I was just asking...
Peldor: Look, let's just get Bosco back to normal, then we
can argue about other crap, okay?
Mongo: Yeah, he's right.
Peldor: (has some laborers he brought carry in some sacks
that jingle) Set 'em down here, boys.
Belphanior: What's that stuff?
Peldor: Loot. In case we have to buy Bosco back.
Mongo: Boy, you covered it all, didn't you?
Peldor: (proudly) Yep.
Belphanior: (looks at the wispy form perched on his left
Ged: Hey! I thought that thing was history! Gone away to
Belphanior: So did I. It showed up this morning. I guess
it was on vacation for a while...
wispy thing: (grins toothily)
Gorin: (to Mongo) What's that?
Mongo: We're not quite sure.
Rillen: So how will we get where we need to go?
Ged: Here's how it works: we all join hands, and I cast
the spell. It'll take a minute, and then we'll be in
Ethereal form. From there, follow my lead. Let's meet
in the laboratory, in half an hour. Get armored up and
all that - then we'll use the roots and the dust.
Somewhat nervously, they donned their armor, oiled their
weapons, and double-checked their inventories. Deryck was
given specific orders, and the stone golem was brought in
for added security.
Ged: Now, Deryck, I can't stress this enough-
Deryck: I know, I know. Your bodies will be absolutely
helpless while you're "gone", so we have to make sure
that this chamber is locked, barred, and guarded.
Ged: Yea. (to the stone golem) Stay in here, and kill
anyone who enters.
stone golem: (adopts a guarding pose by the door)
Ged: Okay, Deryck, we'll see you later.
Deryck: Aye. (leaves the room)
Ged: (shuts, locks, and bars the door) Hmm. (he Wizard
Locks the door, then casts Explosive Runes upon it) It
never hurts to be over-cautious. (he casts a Glyph of
Warding upon the door as well) Heh.
Belphanior: (adopts a sagely pose) There's no such thing
Ged: (regards the party) Okay, I've got the dust. Ready?
Ged: (goes from person to person, sprinkling the dust on
each adventurer's armor, clothes, weapons, and packs,
after which all such items glow with a faint blue light)
Mongo: I don't understand-
Ged: No worries. If Tenser says it'll work, then it'll
Ged: (hands a root to everyone but Mongo and himself) Eat
Peldor: (sniffs the root) Is this some kind of cooking
spice? Or a hallucinogen perhaps?
Ged: Just eat it.
Belphanior: (munches the bitter root cheerfully) Doesn't
wispy thing: (immaterially sniffs the root)
Belphanior: Well, I don't know how you can eat this, so
you'll just have to stay behind, okay?
wispy thing: (ignores Belphanior, floating around upside-
Ged: Not to mention that we're up to full capacity for my
Ged: (hands Mongo one of the roots) Just in case, eh?
Mongo: Gotcha. (he stashes the root in a convenient pouch)
Peldor: (forces Bosco to eat one of the roots) C'mon, chow
Ged: Everyone ready? (begins spellcasting)
Ged: Don't worry, this won't take a second.
Patience was not a common virtue among this group, but
they somehow managed to remain quiet for an entire half-
hour. As Ged completed his spell, there was a shimmering
effect, and the whole group was suddenly amidst a barren,
translucent emptiness. Nothingness was visible in every
Mongo: (looking around) What the fuck?!? (he realizes
that there is no solid ground, and everyone is floating)
wispy thing: (regards Belphanior)
Belphanior: Yow! (counting heads, he comes up with a
total of eight) Eight. (to the wispy thing) How the
hell did you manage to come along? You're number nine!
wispy thing: (grins, and flies in circles happily)
Rillen: (regarding the weird space around the party)
Peldor: What's going on?
Ged: Relax. This is the Ethereal Plane. It links various
Peldor: (looking around nervously)
Ged: Not quite. That's an Outer Plane.
Belphanior: (observes a bit of ethereal flotsam that zooms
Bosco's body: (mindlessly floats in place)
wispy thing: (regards Bosco's body)
Ged: Okay, listen up. We move by thought here, or should
I say we move by _my_ thoughts? Anyway, just relax and
let yourselves be carried along by the ethereal winds.
Rillen: (bats his arms around) Right.
Peldor: Hey, whatever you say. (he spots a speck at the
extreme limit of his enhanced vision, but decides to
keep his mouth shut since it's not the direction they
are heading) Whatever you say.
Ged concentrated, and the party began to sail silently
through the emptiness. All in all, it was kind of spooky,
but Ged seemed to know what he was doing, and after what
seemed like a short time, the group was entering a strange
blue field that appeared out of nowhere.
Mongo: What's this?!?
Ged: Don't worry. I'm just guiding us into the elemental
plane of Water.
Mongo: Oh. Of course.
They descended (?) into the stuff, and suddenly had the
sensation of floating.
Ged: We're there.
Belphanior: It's a little cold...but we're alive.
Peldor: And breathing. Don't forget that.
Rillen: And free to move normally. (he revels in this)
Mongo: (breathing normally anyway, due to his amulet, he
feels neither cold nor pressure, despite having not eaten
one of the Gorka roots) Hmph.
Ged: (breathing normally, he nevertheless feels both cold
and a dragging slowness) Dammit. (he eats one of the
magical roots, and is liberated from said ills) Guess
my ring's only good for breathing underwater.
Arnold: (staring at his sword, which appears to be dry)
Gorin: This is the weirdest thing that's ever happened to
Bosco: (waving his arms mindlessly) Urp.
Ged: Now, I've done my best to put us in this plane at a
point near the castle of Silthis, but still...
Belphanior: (holds his magical compass out) Silthis?
The device's needle spun around and around, before coming
to rest, pointing in one direction.
Belphanior: All right! We're in business!
Rillen: A good thing.
Peldor: Actually, I'm the businessman here...hmm, good
thing I left Tanya in charge. She's a competent girl.
Mongo: What the hell are you two babbling about?
Peldor: Oh, nothing much. C'mon, let's get going. I
want to find Bosco's soul.
They moved - swam, really - through the water, headed
in the indicated direction. For some reason (lack of any
"downward" planetary pull, perhaps) they didn't sink at
all, but rather moved easily. The water was surprisingly
clear, and even those without keen vision could see for
quite a distance. Unfortunately, as they were about to
learn, most creatures native to this plane also happened
to be practically invisible in water...
Belphanior: Whoa! Souls ho!
Mongo: (hefts his hammer) Where?
Belphanior: There! No, I mean there! Uh...
Without any warning, a pair of long, snake-like things
sailed into the midst of the party, attempting to surround
victims with their coiled bodies.
Mongo: (finds himself entrapped) Damn it! (he pounds on
the watery form surrounding his body and shield arm)
Belphanior: (likewise finds himself totally snared) Fuck!
Rillen: (moves to help Mongo, bashing the thing with his
Ged: What the hell...?
Arnold: Yah! (he tries to pry Belphanior's attacker off)
Belphanior: (watching the swordpoint) Careful!
Mongo: (somehow has a revelation) Wait a minute! (he has
realized that the creature isn't crushing him, but rather
trying to drown him) Ha ha ha!
Peldor: What in _the_ hell are you laughing about?
Mongo: Ha ha! It wants to drown me...so come on! Drown
me! Ha ha!
Belphanior: (gets the joke) Heh heh...ha ha ha ha!
Arnold: I'm combfused.
Belphanior: We _can't_ drown!
As the party floated there, laughing, the pair of watery
things must have realized something was amiss, for they
ceased their attack.
Mongo: (frowns) Can't you cast a spell, to talk with them
Ged: Frankly, I don't want to waste that powerful a spell.
(he is thinking of Speak With Monsters)
Peldor: Well, let's just be on our way.
Ged: Now hold on a minute. I didn't say I couldn't do it.
(he brandishes the hand with the ring of water elemental
command on it) You! Yes, I'm talking to you!
watery snake-like things: (undulate)
Ged: (begins talking in a gurgling tongue that none of the
other adventurers can understand) Gruglgurlgurlg.
Ged: Rgrlgrl, grlg rgurlgur. Luglrguglru, glurglr. Grlg!
watery snake-like things: (turn and swim away)
Mongo: What was that all about?
Ged: Grugr, glurlgl glurlguglurlug. Oh, sorry.
Ged: Those were the monsters known as "water weirds" back
on our plane. In our present state, of course, we have
nothing to fear from them. They were basically attacking
like that based on pure instinct. Anyhow, I told them
that we were gods from another world, come to speak with
the mighty Silthis of the seas.
Belphanior: Did you threaten them?
Ged: Didn't have to. They knew Boccob's power when they
saw it. They told me to head in that direction. (he
points with Lightbringer)
Lightbringer: We're not going to find any undead in this
place, are we?
They moved in the direction indicated by the creatures,
which agreed with Belphanior's magical compass. Before too
long, bits of coral and rock came into view. Next came a
series of floating, underwater reefs. There were small
fish and weeds everywhere.
Ged: Ah, how I love the water!
Suddenly, all the fish darted away, vanishing in a matter
of moments. Everyone got the feeling that something was
about to happen.
monstrous shark: (fully fifty feet long, it has appeared
from behind a cloud of debris, and is headed right for
Gorin: Aie! (he raises his axe)
Ged: (trying to talk to the shark)
giant shark: (deems the elf weak and helpless, and ignores
his attempts at communication)
The huge beast tore through the party's ranks, swallowing
Belphanior, Arnold, Gorin, and the hapless Bosco whole
before swimming away!
Mongo: Fuck! (he hurls his hammer after the shark, but it
only moves about ten feet before losing momentum, sinking
Peldor: (uses his telekinesis to grab the weapon and pull
it back) Maybe the Gorka root doesn't apply to weapons.
Mongo: (grabs the hammer) Whew.
giant shark: (heading back toward the group, its huge maw
Mongo: (prepares to strike a mighty blow)
Ged: (pondering what spells might help in the underwater
Rillen: (extends his staff's bladed end and awaits the
shark, away from Mongo so that both won't be targets)
giant shark: (snaps at Rillen, ripping large gashes in
Rillen: Aarrgh! (he stabs at the shark, tearing a gash
in its side)
Peldor: (misses the shark, but gets grazed by its rough
Mongo: (wallops the shark's tail, cracking cartilage)
Ged: (casts a Burning Hands at the shark, but the spell
fizzles) By Boccob! I should have known it wouldn't
giant shark: (swims away, bleeding, then turns for another
Rillen: Look there, on its side!
A sword blade was sticking out of the shark's side, and
it sawed back and forth, seeking freedom. Another blade
appeared from the shark's belly.
Mongo: I'd say the thing didn't find Arnold and Belphanior
Even as they watched, one of the swords tore a gash in
the shark's rough hide, and Arnold's upper half popped out
and looked around.
Arnold: Aaa! I've been eaden! (he hacks and slashes at
the shark, and soon kicks his legs free) Aaa! (he pulls
Bosco's body out of the shark's gut)
Bosco's body: <pop>
Belphanior: (similarly escapes from the other side of the
predator) Ugh! (he pulls Gorin after him)
Gorin: (chops the shark in parting) Take that!
giant shark: (badly wounded, it flees, trailing blood)
Ged: Let's get out of here, before other...things come
for the blood. (he casts a Cure Serious Wounds upon
Belphanior: Good thing we got out when we did - those
digestive juices were just getting started.
Gorin: Yeah. My axe was, too.
Mongo: Don't worry, kid, you did fine.
Ged: I guess you don't have to worry about washing the
gore off of yourselves.
Belphanior: Yeah. Too bad, eh?
wispy thing: (orbits Belphanior's head happily)
As the party continued along, following the compass, a
huge floating rock loomed in the distance. Various aquatic
creatures could be seen swimming or floating around it.
The rocky mass was well over a mile in diameter, and its
size dwarfed everything else as the party swam toward it.
Rillen: I was thinking that a water-dwelling king would
have a castle made of water.
Ged: What a concept.
Mongo: What? It's just an island. An underwater island.
Belphanior: Not that. (he points to the area beneath the
wispy thing: (doing flips in the air)
Rising from the depths (of course, the depths were all
around them) was the biggest squid the party had ever seen.
Well over a hundred feet in length, the monster was armed
with ten long tentacles, two of which were barbed, the
spikes being five feet long apiece.
Gorin: Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit.
Mongo: Good point.
Ged: (recalling the lore of the seas that he has learned,
as the beast swims nearer)
Belphanior: Now _that's_ a soul.
Peldor: Squid: it's not just for breakfast anymore.
Rillen: (looking at the thief) Are you mad?!?
wispy thing: (blinks rapidly, though it has no eyelids
on its beady little eyes)
Ged: (sallies forth alone, his ring glowing) Halt! Halt
and parley with us, kraken!
Belphanior: Kraken? I had thought them legends...
Rillen: Apparently not.
Peldor: Maybe he's wrong.
Arnold: Whad's he doing?
Ged was talking to the kraken in a bizarre language of
clicks and screeches...
kraken: KKLCKLCKLKC, SCR SCREE SLKCLKC.
Ged: Klkclkcl. Clcklckclkclc scree scree...
kraken: GIVE ME ONE REASON NOT TO EAT YOU.
Ged: There's no need to fight-
kraken: I AM WAITING.
Ged: Now look here. We realize your position as ruler of
the underseas, but we are travelers from another plane,
and we're here on business. We must speak with the great
kraken: HOW ODD.
Ged: How's that?
kraken: I AM SILTHIS.
Silthis: I WAS NOT AWARE OF ANY IMPENDING VISITS BY OUT-
Ged: Say, you talk pretty eloquently for a kraken.
Silthis: OF COURSE I DO. I _AM_ A GENIUS, YOU KNOW.
Ged: Yea...well, here's our quest. Long ago, one of our
companions was accidentally deprived of his soul. The
errant soul came here, and I have learned that it ended
up in your possession.
Silthis: WHAT OF IT?
Ged: Well, the soul in question is crucial to a conflict
in our world, out of the water. We simply must retrieve
that soul - the fate of nations depends on it.
Silthis: HOW DROLL.
Ged: Come now. We are agents of some of the most powerful
forces on Oerth. Besides, a fight wouldn't help anyone
here. (he gestures to the others, who are doing their
best to look menacing) Besides myself and the other
archmage, we have capable warriors armed with artifacts
of tremendous power. I have no doubt that you would win
such a battle, but at what cost?
Silthis: (sizes up the others)
Ged: Besides, if we fail, others will come, others even
more powerful than we are. You could have a war of your
own on your hands. Err, tentacles.
Silthis: HMM. YOUR WORDS HAVE IMPORT.
Ged: (notices that a large crowd of marine creatures has
gathered around the party, including some evil-looking
humanoid-things with tridents, a giant sea snake, three
giant sea slugs, and a school of sharks)
Mongo: (prepares to wind his horn of siege, if necessary)
Ged: Please, co-operation would really be helpful here.
Perhaps we can offer you wealth in exchange...
Silthis: PERHAPS. (it gestures to its servants) THESE
SLAVES WILL ESCORT YOU TO MY FORTRESS. THERE YOU SHALL
AWAIT MY DECISION.
Ged: Fair enough. (he ventures back toward the others,
Belphanior: What's the good word?
Ged: Klklkcclkc scree clkclkclk clkcc. Oh, sorry again.
I'm just not used to this.
Mongo: Yeah. (he eyes the surrounding creatures) What's
Ged: We're supposed to follow those humanoid-things to
that big floating rock. Then we have to wait.
Peldor: Why? We have to talk to Slithis, or whatever
his name is.
Ged: Uh...that _is_ Silthis.
Peldor: That? Uh, okay.
Ged: Keep in mind that we _are_ on the elemental plane of
Mongo: (muttering) If we go to the rock-place, fine. My
horn'll work better there, if I have to use it.
Rillen: I hear you. (he prepares himself for battle)
Belphanior: I hate to say it, but that kraken looks fairly
tough. Of course...(his evil eye glows)...I _could_ take
him out, if necessary.
Ged: Let's just see what happens.
Belphanior: (to Ged) Hold on a second...aren't squids the
ones without any bones or cartilage?
Ged: Yea, they are.
Belphanior: And that's a squid, isn't it?
Ged: Yea, it is.
wispy thing: (stares at the guards, gnashing its teeth)
scaly humanoids: (recoil)
Peldor: (to Mongo) The money I gave you is still in the
portable hole, right?
Peldor: Whew. I'm glad I thought ahead.
Arnold: Me doo.
They sat upon a rocky shelf which protruded from the
fortress side, and waited. It was obvious that the scaly
humanoids wanted very badly to eat the party, but feared
the retribution of the kraken. About ten minutes later,
a pair of the things swam from a cavern nearby, dragging
a semi-material form between them.
Bosco's soul: Peldor!
Bosco's body: (twitches)
Bosco's soul: (slips from the grasp of its captors and
disappears into the body where it belongs)
Bosco's body: (convulses)
Bosco: (begins flagellating) Whee! I'm home!
Silthis: (floats into view, dwarfing all its minions) I
HAVE BEEN KEEPING THIS SMALL ONE AS A SLAVE, FOR HE WAS
TOO SMALL TO MAKE FOR GOOD EATING.
Rillen: (wondering what would have happened if the soul
had been attacked on this plane, he gets a headache)
Silthis: A LUCKY THING FOR YOU, THAT I TOOK SUCH GOOD
CARE OF THE WAIF. NOW I SHALL DEMAND PAYMENT.
Peldor: What's the price?
Silthis: GEMS, COINAGE - SHOW ME SUCH BAUBLES AS YOU
MIGHT HAPPEN TO HAVE UPON YOU.
Mongo: (holds the portable hole open)
Peldor: (begins pulling out sacks of coins - silver, gold,
electrum) I have all this and more! Gems, jewelry, all
manner of treasures! A veritable fortune!
Ged: (translates, wearily)
Bosco: (begins asking all kinds of questions, in his
shrill little voice) Where did you guys come from? How
did you find me? where are-
Peldor: Shh, not now, Bosco.
Ged: See, a fortune in treasure is now yours.
Silthis: (to Ged) THAT IS GOOD, BUT NOT ENOUGH. I DEMAND
A MAGICAL ITEM OF POWER AS WELL. AN ARTIFACT.
Ged: (translates, eyeing Peldor) It's your call, thief.
Peldor: (examines his inventory) Hmm. (he holds up the
strange black cube) I don't know what this is, but you
are welcome to have it.
Peldor: (throws in a few of his potions, for good measure)
Silthis: (holds the cube in one tentacle) HMM. VERY WELL,
Silthis: NOW BEGONE FROM HERE. OUR DEAL ENDS WHEN YOU ARE
OUT OF MY SIGHT. (his slaves drag away the sacks)
Ged: (translates) Let's go.
The adventurers warily backed away from the kraken, its
fortress, and its servants. They left as fast as they
wispy thing: (looking back wistfully)
Belphanior: What if he comes after us?
Ged: Not a problem. (he concentrates, and the party is
abruptly drawn back into the Ethereal Plane) See?
wispy thing: (inexplicably with the party still, it grins)
Peldor: Look, everyone! Bosco!
Bosco: (gratefully thanks everyone twice) Thanks, I don't
know how much longer I could have remained sane there.
Peldor: Well, it's over now.
Belphanior: Too bad about the loot you had to give up...
Peldor: Loot? Oh, that was mostly copper, painted with
a special mixture known only to us thieves.
Belphanior: You mean...?
Peldor: Yep. Formula "X".
Mongo: So you _cheated_ the squid-thing?!?
Ged: (gapes in wonder)
Peldor: Mostly. I just kinda got rid of all my copper.
Some of the other stuff was real, like the silver, but
all the gold was really copper. And the copper was, of
course, copper anyway. The gems were a mixed batch, but
mostly flawed, really.
Belphanior: What about that black cube?
Peldor: Well, since I couldn't prepare for giving away a
magic item or two, that was real. But the potions I
gave...he got the sweet water, but he also got the acid.
Rillen: A stroke of genius!
Peldor: Yeah, someone's going to be in for a real surprise
when they drink that one...that's what they get for taking
an artifact from Peldor.
Ged: Well, I guess it was all justified. I mean, it was
immoral to bargain with an evil creature...but we had to
have the soul.
Bosco: Yeah, no kidding!
Lightbringer: Just be glad it wasn't undead...
They sailed merrily through the ethereal plane, making
good time, not that time was a factor here. Soon enough,
Ged decided that it was time to return to the plane of
Oerth, and he went about casting another Plane Shift. It
was fortunate indeed that the priest was in the favor of
his diety. Joining hands, the adventurers watched as the
elf cast his spell. A shimmering nimbus appeared around
the party, and within moments, everyone was sitting in
Ged: See? I told you we had nothing to worry about!
next time : Ged's quest
notes : Whew. Long episode, eh? I was happy with the
end result; for episode 150, I wanted to create
a self-contained story, one that took care of old
loose ends and set up a few new ones. In addition,
the episode had to be sizable - 150 is, after all,
150. Well, I think the prescription was totally
filled by the above story.
On another note, the "Underrated Monster of the
Week" award goes to the Giant Shark. I mean, what
other monster can swallow foes whole on any roll 4
or more above what it needs to hit? With a thac0
of 5, this fella is ready to kick some serious ass.
previous chapter (#149)
next chapter (#151)