Chapter #154

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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:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Arnold        11th level human warrior               (NG) +
+   Belphanior    12th/14th/13th level high elven w/m/t  (CN) +
+      small immaterial wispy thing                           +
+   Ged           13th/14th level grey elven priest/mage (NG) +
+   Mongo         16th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+      Gorin       4th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                  (N) +
+      Bosco       6th level halfling thief              (CN) +
+   Rillen        16th level human warrior                (N) +
+   Date:    8/16/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   the Raker Mountains, north of the Flinty Hills   +
+   Climate: warm                                             +
+   "Confidence is always overconfidence."                    +
+                                        - Robert Byrne       +

          CLIV.  World Tour, part 4:  Bone March

  After a horrendous battle, the adventurers have triumphed.

Ged:  (regarding the carnage)  Whew.
Arnold:  (petrified, his massive form stands still, a statue
  among the living and dead)
Belphanior:  (badly wounded from his fall from the sky, he
  lies bleeding)
Mongo:  (dancing uncontrollably due to the spell cast upon
  him)  Help!  I can't stop!
Gorin:  (wandering around in the carnage)  We've got to do
Peldor:  (lying on the ground, bleeding, he appears to be in
  pretty bad shape)
Bosco:  (unconscious, he sleeps blissfully, snoring)
Rillen:  (blinded, he makes his way toward Ged)  It is over?
Ged:  Boccob...
wispy thing:  (floating around, it looks at Ged expectantly)

  The first order of business appeared to be Peldor.  Ged
cast a powerful curative spell upon the thief, but after
this, the strange laughing and twitching began anew.  Ged
tried a Dispel Magic, which did work to stop the bleeding,
and then cast another healing spell.  Peldor looked rather
terrible, bruised and torn as he was, but he lived.  After
this, Ged healed Belphanior and Bosco.  Gorin helped out by
binding various wounds.
  Since Mongo seemed uninjured, though tired, Ged turned
his attention to the stony form of Arnold.  Fortunately, a
simple (!) Stone to Flesh spell was all that was required
to set things right.

Arnold:  (collapses in shock)  Aaa.
Ged:  Hey!  Are you okay?
Arnold:  (recovering)  Yah.  Whad habbened to me?  (he
  stares at the dancing Mongo and wonders what the hell's
  going on)  Whad habbened to _him_?
Ged:  Don't worry about it right now.  (he prepares a Cure
  Blindness spell)  Rillen, I'm going to try and heal you
  now.  Unless it was some unearthly spell, I should be
  able to restore your vision within due course.
Rillen:  Well, that reassures me.

  Ged cast his spell, and Rillen could suddenly see again.

Rillen:  (prances about happily)

  Speaking of prancing, by the time Ged was ready to try
and figure out how to help Mongo, the dwarf had already
ceased his seemingly unstoppable dancing!

Mongo:  (staggers around dizzily)
Ged:  Hey!  You're better!
Mongo:  Uh...daa...yeah...
Gorin:  I think he'll be okay.  (he helps Mongo sit down
  on a rock)  Take it easy.
Ged:  Yea.  (he looks around at the battlesite)  We ought
  to check out that cave...

  Ged, Arnold, Rillen, and Gorin dragged (or carried, if
one prefers to think of it that way) the unconscious ones
into the cave.  The place was quiet and empty, its entry
chamber a roughly-hewn squarish cavern.  A single passage
led deeper into the cave.  Leaving Arnold and Gorin to
watch the others, and the cave entrance, Ged and Rillen
headed down the passage.  It seemed to be a kind of main
hallway, with crudely cut rooms on either side.  One was
a storage chamber, with barrels of wine and water and a
couple of crates full of dried meat.

Ged:  Guess that elf didn't like much variety in his diet.
Rillen:  Well, this food certainly was not meant for the
  death knight...hmm, what _do_ they eat, anyhow?

  Another room held a small table, a few chairs, and a
shoddy firepit.  The other two rooms were similar, in that
they both appeared to be living quarters.  However, that
was where the likeness ended.  The first chamber had a few
pieces of wooden furniture, a washbasin, a small desk, and
a padded chair.  It seemed livable, if a bit messy.  The
second chamber, though, contained only a few weird candles
and an empty pot.

Rillen:  Maybe this is where the death knight stayed.
Ged:  What's this sudden fascination with the death knight?
  Just let it go.
Rillen:  No, that was you who did that.
Ged:  (fumes)
Rillen:  Not to worry, though.  As he said, there was no
  honor lost in the matter.

  A quick search of the second quarters yielded nothing,
so the pair returned to the first.

Ged:  (casts Detect Magic and surveys the room)  Ah.
Rillen:  (busy looking through a dresser)  Eh?
Ged:  Don't bother with that, there's nothing in there.
  It's all in the desk.
Rillen:  It is?
Ged:  (searching the desk)  Hmm, it's locked.  No magic
  on it, though...he must have figured this place was
  secure.  (he begins considering ways to get the desk
Rillen:  No magic?  (he smashes the lock with his staff,
  and opens the desk)  There, it's open.
Ged:  Oh.

  Inside the desk were a few items of interest.  A thin
book, bound in some unusual hide, was an obvious treasure.
Also in the desk were a silver key, a tiny statuette of
some black stone, and a scroll tube.

Ged:  (examines the book)  Yes!
Belphanior:  (wanders into the chamber)  Nice spellbook,
  there.  Don't run off with it, now.  (he begins looking
  around the place)
Rillen:  You woke up.
Belphanior:  Naturally.  (he finds a loose stone in the
  floor, and pulls it up, revealing a hidden cavity)  Hey!
  There's a little chest in here.  Can't believe you guys
  missed this.
Rillen:  Hmm.
Ged:  (detects no magic from the chest)  It's clean of any
  magical glyphs or runes.  Is it locked?
Belphanior:  Yup.
Ged:  (tosses the silver key to the other elf)  Try this,
  it might work.
Belphanior:  (finds that the key does indeed work, and also
  notes a double needle trap as he bypasses it)  Hmm, kinda
  makes you wonder what would happen if you _didn't_ have
  the key...

  Inside the chest were several pouches, each containing a
dozen or so high-quality gems.

Belphanior:  (holds an emerald up to his face)  Damn, these
  are _nice_.
Rillen:  (caring nothing for that treasure, he is examining
  the small statuette)
Ged:  Well, only this spellbook and that statue are at all
  magical.  (he opens the scroll tube, and unrolls the
  papers within)  Hmm.

  Written in a strange language, the documents made little
sense.  Ged cast a spell to allow him to understand the
writings, but this availed him little - he still couldn't
make sense of the scrolls' contents!

Ged:  Boccob, but this is weird.
Belphanior:  Let me see.  (he takes a look at the papers)
  Hmm, looks encrypted to me.
Ged:  Yea, that's what I suspected.
Belphanior:  Maybe Peldor can make some sense of it.
wispy thing:  (appears, flies around the room, and leaves)
Ged:  Huh?
Belphanior:  Don't ask me, I don't know.

  They returned to the others, bearing their findings.  It
was decided that a day or two of rest was in order, for the
sakes of the wounded, and so the party holed up in the
cavern for the next few days.  All the loot was put inside
Mongo's portable hole, except for the spellbook.

Belphanior:  Why wait?  Let's start copying spells out of
  it _now_.  I've got the necessary inks right here.
Ged:  Hmm...(he ponders the idea of getting new magicks)
  Okay.  I guess we're the only two left who can use it

  For three whole days, while the others rested, the two
magi transcribed the mystical contents of the tome to their
own spellbooks.  Ged gained the spells of Protection From
Evil, Dispel Magic, Cone of Cold, Hold Monster, and
Mordenkainen's Sword; Belphanior got Pyrotechnics, Ice
Storm, Disintegrate, and Mass Suggestion.  Obviously, the
thin book that they recovered from the elf wizard wasn't
a complete collection of his spells, but, search as they
might, they couldn't find any other spellbooks in the

Ged:  Damn, what a shame.
Belphanior:  Yeah, _he_ certainly won't be needing them.

  When everyone was reasonably recovered (with much help
in the way of magic, of course) the group prepared to leave
the area.  Rillen had already taken it upon himself to
retrieve the horses, days ago.  Rather than go back the way
they came, the adventurers opted to continue northeastward.

Arnold:  Yah.  Thad's where I came from.
Mongo:  It is?  You came form Bone March?
Arnold:  No, nod there.  From the moundains fardher norbth.
Mongo:  Oh.
Gorin:  You mean...the barbarian lands?
Arnold:  Yah.
Peldor:  Boy, you sure came a long way.
Rillen:  Yes, it must have been a great journey.
Mongo:  Yeah, how'd you do it?
Arnold:  Aaa.  Thad is a sdory for another time.
Belphanior:  I'll bet.
wispy thing:  (does loops in the air)
Arnold:  Maybe we could go back dhere, for Ah-nold's quebst.
Ged:  Well...fine by me.
Belphanior:  What's Bone March?
Mongo:  We'd have to cross it, or skirt it, to get to his
Gorin:  It's a land full of humanoids...
Belphanior:  Sounds good to me.  Let's go!
Rillen:  Is this wise?

  They departed, riding northeast for several days, and
finally emerged into some rough hills.  Twisted vegetation
dotted the barren landscape, and the very air here seemed
to convey menace.

Mongo:  Welcome to Bone March, folks.

  Naturally, they only had to ride for a few hours before
they were sighted by a small army of rough-looking humanoids.
Numbering perhaps a thousand, the troop had somehow gotten
around the adventurers, surrounding them before they ever
realized what was going on.

Ged:  But how-?
Belphanior:  Even my sword only lets me know about 'em to
  a distance of sixty paces or so...
Mongo:  Like I said, welcome to Bone March.  (he hefts his
  hammer)  Anyone have any good ideas about how to fight
  off a whole army?

next time :  trouble

ftp site  : in /pub/frp/stories/adventurers

notes     :  Time to see if a party of a few, albeit a few
           of the rather powerful, can really beat an army.

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