Chapter #174

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                              +   +
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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/14th level high elven w/m/t  (CN) +
+      small immaterial wispy thing                           +
+   Ged           14th/14th level grey elven priest/mage (NG) +
+   Mongo         16th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+      Gorin       6th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                  (N) +
+      Bosco       7th level halfling thief              (CN) +
+   Rillen        16th level human warrior                (N) +
+   Sylvie, a siren (guest)                              (NG) +
+   Date:    10/10/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                     +
+   Time:    late morning                                     +
+   Place:   Ged's castle, a day's ride from Greyhawk         +
+   Climate: cold outside, but cozily warm indoors            +
+   "We could tangle spiders in the webs you weave."          +
+                              - from _The Lion In Winter_    +

             CLXXIV.  A Blast From the Past

  Somewhere within one of the farmsteads on Ged's land, a
rooster awakened.

rooster:  Cock-a-doodle-doo!

  With that, the sun rose.  The adventurers, however, being
weary and wounded, did not.  It was almost noon when they
finally began dragging themselves out of bed.

Ged:  (walking around sleepily)  Boccob, it's a good morning
  to be alive!
Mongo:  (also wandering down the hall where all of Ged's
  guest rooms are located)  You know, you're right.

  Within the hour, all were awake and around the breakfast
table, enjoying a hearty meal which included fresh eggs,
bread, bacon, and sausages.

Ged:  (talking with his mouth full)  There _are_ advantages
  <chomp>  to renting out your land to  <chomp>  farmers...
Mongo:  (already on his fourth helping)  Mmm-hmm.
Peldor:  (still half-asleep, he nevertheless eats hungrily)
Arnold:  Aaa, this is good foob.
Gorin:  Damn right - and I was hungry too!
Belphanior:  (eats in silence)
Bosco:  (playing with his food, he manages to catapult an
  egg yolk into one of Ged's chandeliers)  Aie.  (he looks
  around, but sees that no one witnessed this feat)  Ha.
wispy thing:  sss.  (having seen the trick, it flies up to
  investigate the egg)
Rillen:  (discussing recent events with Sylvie)  So where
  _do_ you come from, anyway?
Sylvie:  (not looking too healthy today)  A faraway sea...
  but that's all behind me now.  The time has come to make
  a new home...somewhere...
Ged:  I would highly recommend the Nyr Dyv.
Rillen:  Who asked-
Sylvie:  Nyr Dyv?  Where's that?
Ged:  It's a rather large lake, a day or so to the north.
  I can't think of any other bodies of water, near here,
  that don't lie amidst dangerous lands.
Sylvie:  That sounds perfect!  When can we go there?
Ged:  Why, today, I suppose.  Though I'm supposed to talk
  with Deryck and take care of some things...
Mongo:  Don't forget the treasure from that tomb.
Belphanior:  Ah, yes...six scrolls, was it?
Rillen:  Among other things.
Peldor:  Well, hey, _I_ have to go back into the city
  anyway - I'll take her to the lake.  Anyone want to go
  with us?
Rillen:  I shall go.
Mongo:  Hmm, maybe I could take care of some business in
  the city too.
Belphanior:  But first the treasure...
Ged:  Right.

  The elven priest-mage left the table early, and prepared
the magical items for identification.  About an hour later,
Calvin the page appeared.

Calvin:  Hey, Ged says come to the lab, pronto!  (he zips
Belphanior:  That lad irks me.

  They proceeded to Ged's workroom, where the elf had laid
out the treasure according to general type.

Belphanior:  No more sages for us, eh?
Ged:  I've done what I could do...who's got the die?
Peldor:  (holds up the battered die)  Here.
Gorin:  (looks puzzled)
Mongo:  It sure beats drawing straws, kid.

ITEM PICKING ORDER (determined by dicing) :


various coins           \
97 x 10 gp gems           \
10,000 gp diamond           > to be divided later, somehow
50,000 gp emerald          /
100,000 gp sapphire      /

ring of free will....................Gorin 1
rod of lordly might..................Mongo 1
charm vs wounds......................Rillen 1
sceptre of the winds.................Peldor 1
cloak of protection +3...............Arnold 1
shortsword of defending..............Bosco 1

scroll (mage 3)......................Ged 3
scroll (mage 2/1)....................Belphanior 2
scroll (mage 1/1/1/1)................Belphanior 1
scroll (mage 0/0/3)..................Ged 2
scroll (priest 3/2/1)................Ged 1
scroll of protection from undead.....Rillen 3

potion of dimunition.................Peldor 2
potion of extra-healing..............Gorin 3
potion of extra-healing..............Arnold 2
potion of fire resistance............Gorin 2
potion of flying.....................Mongo 2
potion of gaseous form...............Belphanior 3
potion of storm giant strength.......Bosco 2
potion of invisibility...............Arnold 3
potion of speed......................Bosco 3
potion of sweet water................Mongo 3
potion of treasure finding...........Peldor 3
potion of water breathing............Rillen 2

Sylvie:  It appears that you people have this treasure-
  choosing business down to a fine art.
Ged:  Yea.

  Shortly, those who wanted to return to Greyhawk were
ready to leave; this group included Peldor, Bosco, Rillen,
Belphanior, Mongo, and Gorin.  They borrowed some of the
fastest horses in Ged's stable...

Ged:  (eyeing Peldor)  Just make sure they come back.
Peldor:  Of course.  Who would want to steal horses from
Ged:  (clenches his fists)  Why, you...

  They rode away, leaving Ged and Arnold at the castle, to
attend to local affairs.

Ged:  (in his audience chamber/conference room, with Deryck
  and Arnold)  So, what's this pressing business you were
  talking about?
Deryck:  Well, first of all...I don't know how to tell you
  this, but...your cat died.
Ged:  What?!?!?!?
Arnold:  I knew something was missing.
Deryck:  Aye.  About four days after you left, the little
  one curled up into a ball and-
Ged:  Enough!  I shall attend to that in due course.  What
  other foolishness has transpired in my absence?
Deryck:  Land of Boccob troubles-
Ged:  Eh?  What's that?
Deryck:  The various sub-priests have been arguing amongst
  themselves - a religious matter which I didn't get involved
  in.  Then, there were the orcs-
Arnold:  Orgs?  Where?
Deryck:  We defeated them...but their mere presence seemed
  an ill omen.
Ged:  Really...and to think, this used to be such a nice
  area to live...
Deryck:  To sum it up...err...
Ged:  Spit it out, man.
Deryck:  It's just hard for things to operate smoothly when
  your liege is gone for months at a time.  You know?
Ged:  Hmm.
Arnold:  Yah.
Deryck:  The masses are losing faith...
Ged:  Fear not - I shall retire to my chambers, and ponder
  these matters.
Deryck:  (scratches his head)  Very well.  (he turns to
Ged:  Oh, Deryck?
Deryck:  Yes?
Ged:  Hire fifty more soldiers.  Good ones.
Deryck:  _Fifty_?!?
Ged:  I've had a...sudden influx of gold.
Deryck:  Very well.
Arnold:  (heads to the armorer's shop, to see what can be
  done about his damaged armor)  See you later.

  Meanwhile, outside the city of Greyhawk...

Peldor:  (leading the others toward the city gates)  Okay,
  this is it.  The Nyr Dyv is a short ride to the north.
  I've got pressing business inside the city, though...
Rillen:  Not a problem.  I will escort Sylvie to the lake.
Belphanior:  Okay, see you later.  (he heads toward the city
  gates)  I'll be by later, Peldor.
Peldor:  Gotcha.
Bosco:  Bring some cards.
Belphanior:  Yeah, sure.  (he rides away, shaking his head)
Mongo:  Well, me and Gorin have to get our armor fixed, too.
  Those weapon blows do take their toll...
Peldor:  Okay.  Come by later if you want.  I think I'm
  going to declare a two-for-one special tonight.
Bosco:  Yeah!
Mongo:  I'll be there.  (he and his henchman ride into the
Peldor:  (to Rillen)  You're invited too.
Rillen:  Right.  (he and Sylvie ride northward, along a
  well-used trail)

  Thus, they all split, each taking care of his own business
in the area.  Belphanior found a notice on the door of his
small building in the slum quarter; this note indicated that
the property was condemned.  Furious, the elf sped to the
city council tower and sought out the appropriate official.

Veebler:  (a short, pudgy city official)  That's right, the
  city is claiming that land and all that stands upon it.
  We've got a renovation project in the works, you know.
  You should have paid your monthly property taxes.
Belphanior:  But I was away-
Veebler:  Too bad, isn't it?  You'll have to evacuate the
  premises immediately.
Belphanior:  Look here, you.  I bought that land fair and
  square, and I've got plans of my own for it.
Veebler:  Come now.  The land's worthless, and besides, it's
  in the worst part of the city.
Belphanior:  I like it anyway.
Veebler:  I tell you, it's impossible!  You're behind on
  your taxes, my good fellow.
Belphanior:  Here, I have the money now.
Veebler:  Hmm...well, you DO realize that a hefty late fee
Belphanior:  Whatever.  Just get your stupid ledger out and
  record my payment.
Veebler:  Very well.
Belphanior:  And I'll be paying for the next three months,
Veebler:  (his eyes widen)
Belphanior:  I expect to hear no more shit out of you.  (he
  leans over the desk, and his red eye glows brightly)  Or
  I'll get mad.
Veebler:  Eep.

  Meanwhile, Mongo and Gorin had left their armor to be
repaired, and were headed to Peldor's inn for some serious
drinking.  Peldor was already there, of course, having
returned an hour before; Bosco was still roaming the city
streets, as he had been saying something about buying a
few things.

Peldor:  (in his office upstairs, talking with Tanya and
  Vinnie as he counts piles of coins)  Well, I see that
  business has been booming.
Vinnie:  Yup.
Tanya:  Better than ever.  It would help, though, if our
  proprietor was around once in a while...(she offers a
  sly smile)
Peldor:  Hmm, perhaps you're right.  I _do_ have a civic
  duty here.
Vinnie:  Well, time to get ready for tonight's business.
Peldor:  How so?
Vinnie:  Got two dozen kegs to bring in the back door.
  (he spreads his arms)  Big kegs.
Peldor:  Ah, of course.
Vinnie:  (leaves)
Tanya:  It's a festive night you've planned.
Peldor:  Yeah...say, I'm getting hungry.  What do you say
  to dinner at the Patricians' Club?
Tanya:  Whoa!  Isn't that a bit on the expensive side?
Peldor:  Not at all, not for me.
Tanya:  But who'll tend bar?
Peldor:  Don't worry - you've earned a night off.  I'll
  call someone in to take care of the bar.
Tanya:  Well...I'd need some time to get ready...
Peldor:  Would an hour be enough?
Tanya:  Very well, an hour.  (she walks away gracefully)
Peldor:  Hmm.  (he heads for his quarters on the top floor,
  where several fine suits are ready)

  While all of this foolishness was going on, Rillen and
Sylvie had reached the edge of the Nyr Dyv, and were by
the shore, a fair ways away from any docks or boats.

Rillen:  Well...
Sylvie:  I owe you and your companions a great debt.  At
  some time in the future, you may need my help for some-
Rillen:  Perhaps, but-
Sylvie:  Rest assured, I'll help in any way I can.  You've
  made a friend for life.  (she pecks the big warrior on
  the cheek, and then dashes into the water)
Rillen:  Err...
Sylvie:  Farewell!  (she becomes as one with the water)
Rillen:  Well, I guess she _is_ a siren...(he looks around)
  Why am I talking to myself?

  Day became night, and everyone had a fairly happy time.
Mongo and Gorin ended up at the Green Dragon Inn, quite
drunk even before they got there.  Bosco quickly joined
them, and soon Belphanior and Rillen showed up as well.
Peldor was nowhere to be found, but Ged and Arnold came
by, much later.

Ged:  (holding his grey cat)
grey cat:  (looking unhappy)
doorman:  I'm sorry, sir, but pets aren't-
bouncer:  It's okay, they're good friends of the boss.
doorman:  Oh.
bouncer:  You'll learn, kid.
Arnold:  (cheerfully)  Yah.
Ged:  Hmph.  (he and Arnold walk into the sprawling, cozy
Mongo:  Well, look who finally showed up!
Ged:  Greetings and salutations.
Rillen:  (raises a mug)
Belphanior:  I see you found your cat.
Ged:  Yea.  Well, actually, he had died-
Bosco:  (chokes on his ale)
Ged:  -but Boccob and I took care of that.  Let's just say
  that when I go away, kitty here goes with me.
Mongo:  Oh well.
Rillen:  (drains his beer and begins talking with a waitress)
Arnold:  (quickly finds a full mug of beer)  Urdp.
Bosco:  (hefts his smaller mug)  Ha!
Belphanior:  (to Ged)  You look troubled.
Ged: castle and lands have suffered greatly while
  I was away.
Belphanior:  These things happen.
Ged:  No more.  From here on out, I'm putting my people and
  land ahead of wandering and quests.  (he holds up a mug)
Mongo:  (staring in disbelief)  What are you saying?
Ged:  I've got responsibilities now...obligations.  To fully
  meet them, I'll need to lessen my adventuring.  But have
  no fear - this isn't the end.  It's just that these months-
  long quests are too much for me at times.
Rillen:  Oh.  I always enjoyed wandering, myself.
Ged:  Well, that's-
Peldor:  (strolls in, dressed to kill, Tanya on one arm, a
  bottle of rare wine in the other)
Mongo:  (whistles)
Arnold:  Aaa.
Belphanior:  (grinning)  Who's the sharp-dressed man?
Tanya:  (also well-dressed, in an expensive silk outfit,
  her long red tresses flowing, she is truly ravishing, as
  evidenced by the turned heads of every male in the inn)
Bosco:  (gaping)  Now _that's_ a woman!
Gorin:  (swats the halfling in jest)  Shh!
Rillen:  Wow.  I'm impressed.
Ged:  (even he is stunned by the pair)  I never suspected
  that he could be this classy...
Bosco:  Or that she could be such a-
Gorin:  (kicks Bosco)
Peldor:  Hi, everyone!  You can relax now, we're here!  (he
  pulls a chair out for Tanya)
Tanya:  (takes the offered seat, smiling)  My thanks, noble
Peldor:  Anytime, milady.
Ged:  Oh, for-
Mongo:  (thrusts a flagon at the elf)  Have another beer,
Belphanior:  Really.

  They celebrated life itself until late into the night,
and Peldor granted classy rooms to everyone who didn't (or
couldn't) walk home.  It was the happiest night that some
of the friends had had in a long time.

  In the days afterward, the miscellaneous affairs of the
adventurers seemed to sort themselves out nicely.  Ged's
lands and tenants were in order once more; Belphanior's
property was saved from repossession; Mongo, Gorin, and
Arnold got their armor repaired; Peldor was simply happy.
  A full week after they had returned, Ged was doing some
spell transcription in his study one night.

Ged:  (copying magical text at a rapid pace, whistling)
grey cat:  Meow?  (it regards a section of floor nearby,
  and hisses)  Hsss!
Ged:  Eh?

  Suddenly, there was a shimmering effect, and weird arcane
energies filled the chamber, culminating in a bright flash
of light that illuminated the place as well as the sunniest

Ged:  (shielding his eyes)  Boccob!  (he hefts Lightbringer
  and squints)  What...?

  As the energies dissipated, a thin, dark figure was left
behind in their wake.  The newcomer was dressed in badly
tattered clothes, was covered with small cuts and bruises,
and generally seemed near death.

Lyra:  Help us...(she passes out)

next time :  wouldn't you like to know?

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

notes     :  I wonder how big part 175 will end up being.
           To avoid the inevitable questions later, here are
           quick run-downs of some of the "new" items found:
           *  Ring of Free Will - wearer is immune to all
              possession/control type attacks and spells
           *  Charm vs Wounds - wearer heals at triple normal
              rates (doesn't apply to curative spells though)
           *  Sceptre of the Winds - has weather controlling

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