Chapter #178

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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 (a couple of whom are still away) :             +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      15th level dark elven mage              (N) +
+   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) +
+   Lyra          12th level female dark elven mage       (N) +
+   Mongo         16th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                  (N) +
+   Rillen        16th level human warrior                (N) +
+   Date:    10/27/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                     +
+   Time:    late morning                                     +
+   Place:   Ged's castle, near the City of Greyhawk          +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+   "Patience is _not_ one of my virtues."                    +
+                   - Simon Phoenix, from _Demolition Man_    +

                   CLXXVIII.  Resolutions

  The adventurers have gathered for breakfast after a full
night of much-needed sleep.

Alindyar:  (looking much healthier than he did yesterday)
Mongo:  (wolfing down his food)  Good eggs.
Arnold:  Yah.
Ged:  You can thank the local farmers for the eggs.  And the
  meats...and the fruit for that matter...
Belphanior:  Well, I'm sure we do.  (he eyes Angus, who is
  standing nearby, unmoving)
Ged's grey cat:  (batting a discarded piece of ham around
  on the floor)  Meow!
Rillen:  (to Mongo)  Where is Gorin?
Peldor:  And Bosco.  Don't forget Bosco.
Mongo:  We left those two in the city.  I'm sure they found
  _something_ to do while we were gone.
Lyra:  Bosco?
Alindyar:  Gorin?  What is a "Gorin"?
Mongo:  (begins explaining Flint's death, and the finding of
  Gorin, to the two drow)
Peldor:  (begins talking about Bosco's soul's rescue at the
  same time)
Alindyar:  (he and Lyra quickly become confused)
Belphanior:  (muttering)  Maybe an ESP spell would have been
  a better idea...
Peldor:  (to Rillen)  I wonder what I'll do now?  We've had
  just about every adventure I can think of.
Arnold:  (about to tell Peldor to think harder)
Rillen:  I have yet to win the great fighting tournament.
Belphanior:  Really?  Let's go, then.
Rillen:  It doesn't happen again for almost a year.
Belphanior:  Oh.
Rillen:  I have missed two consecutive years, since I last
  competed.  I shall not miss a third.
Arnold:  (watching the wispy thing float above)  Aaa.
wispy thing:  pfffft.  (it leaves the dining hall)
Peldor:  (yawns)  I guess I'll get back to Greyhawk today.
Mongo:  (suddenly looks alert)  Yeah, I need to go too.
Rillen:  (shifting in his chair)
Ged:  (stands, addressing the group)  Hold, a moment, if
  you would.  I have to tell all of you something.
Alindyar:  Eh?
Mongo:  Well, speak up, then.
Ged:  I have been away for too long.  I find that I must
  stay here, in my lands, for a while.  I won't be joining
  you on any quests or other adventures in the near future.
Belphanior:  Didn't you already tell us this once before?
Ged:  Yea.  But this time I mean it.  I _cannot_ just go
  gallavanting around the world every other week.
Mongo:  Why not?
Ged:  Was I not clear?  My domain requires my attention.
  All I ask is that you leave me out of trips to faraway
  lands, for the next few months or so.
Alindyar:  (considering this)  Hmm.
Lyra:  (to Alindyar, quietly, in drow)  We should adhere to
  this condition, too.  We have much work to do...
Alindyar:  Aye.  (he now addresses the group)  Lyra and I
  will also be unavailable, as a general rule, for awhile.
Peldor:  (staring at Lyra's rump)  Aw, and we just got you
  back, too...
Alindyar:  Nevertheless...we have work to do elsewhere.
Lyra:  (she stands up next to Alindyar, preparing to cast
  a spell of teleportation)  Have no fear - we will return
  shortly, to provide you a means of contacting us, should
  that become necessary.  (she begins her spellcasting)
Peldor:  But-
Lyra:  (she and Alindyar vanish)
Mongo:  Well.
Ged:  (looking around)  I hate to be a bad host.  Take your
  time finishing breakfast and all that.  I must leave you,
  though - affairs of state call.  (he leaves, the grey cat
  running after him)
Arnold:  I guess he doesn't need me.
Belphanior:  "Affairs of state", my ass...he thinks he's a
  king now!
Peldor:  Lots of people _think_ such things.  Only a few of
  them are ever right.
Rillen:  (regarding the thief)

  Within the hour, the Greyhawk contingent was ready to
leave for the city.  This group consisted of Mongo, Peldor,
Belphanior, Rillen, Arnold, Angus (now shrunk again thanks
to a spell from Belphanior) and the wispy thing.  They made
good time, and arrived in the sprawling city at dusk after
a rather uneventful day of riding.  With the exception of
Belphanior, who cited personal business, the other four
adventurers headed to the Green Dragon Inn for a drink.

Mongo:  Ah, that would hit the spot!  A drink, to wet our
  thirsty gullets!
Rillen:  Aye.

  They entered the tavern...

Tanya:  (spies Peldor)  You're back!
Peldor:  (grins and waves cheerfully to all of his employees)
Bosco:  (sitting with Gorin at a nearby table)  Hi, boss.
Mongo:  Gorin!
Peldor:  Bosco!
Bosco:  The one and only.
Peldor:  Anything interesting happen while we were gone?
Bosco:  Not really.
Gorin:  Yeah, you could say that we just toured the city.
Mongo:  Well, that's good.  I'm glad to know that you guys
  stayed out of trouble.
Arnold:  (looking at someone else's mug of beer thirstily)
Tanya:  (looking shocked)  Oh, you fellows must be tired and
  thirsty!  (she draws up several mugs of cold beer)
Peldor:  Thanks, hon.  (he drains his mug instantly)  Ah!
Mongo:  (already drinking his second mug)  <glug glug>
Arnold:  Aaa.  This beer is good.
Peldor:  It ought to be.  I pay top coin for my stuff.

  They had a hot meal, more cold drink, and an early bedtime
this night.  Morning snuck up on the four (six) adventurers,
but it wasn't dawn that woke them.  No, rather, it was a very
excited-looking Belphanior.  The elf pounded on their doors
long before most of them would have preferred to awaken.

Mongo:  (opens his room's door groggily)  Huh?
Belphanior:  Breakfast!  We all need to talk!
Arnold:  (peering out of his own room, half-awake)  You've
  got to be kiddink.

  Shortly, the group who had stayed in Peldor's tavern was
assembled around a private table, in a private room.

Peldor:  (yawning)  Okay, out with it.  What's this great
  idea you have?
Mongo:  Yeah, let's hear it.
Belphanior:  It pertains to my quest - the only one we never
  went on.  Surely you all remember?
Rillen:  Aye, we do.
Arnold:  Yah.
Mongo:  Fair's fair.  Where are we going?
Belphanior:  To the west - to the lands of the Sea Princes!
Mongo:  What sea princes?
Peldor:  (muttering to himself)  What in the world would we
  want to do there...?
Belphanior:  As you may or may not remember, that kingdom is
  notorious for one thing.
Rillen:  Its naval might?
Belphanior:  Good guess...but no.  I speak, rather, of their
  widespread and well-accepted institution of...slavery!
Mongo:  Slavery?!?!?
Bosco:  Aie.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Rillen:  Slavery...
Belphanior:  Those of you who were with the party a long time
  ago may remember that we once visited the Sea Princes in
  the course of our travels.  I swore then to come back one
  day and rid the land of slavery-
Mongo:  And here you are now, ready to go for it.
Rillen:  A worthy quest.
Peldor:  Uh...I don't mean to stem your enthusiasm on this,
  but...going up against a whole _kingdom_?!?  Is this a
  fight we can win?
Belphanior:  I don't honestly know.  We'll have to use a
  great deal of spying...sedition...infiltration...
Bosco:  With Ged and the drow, we shouldn't have a problem
  making at least a dent in their slave trade.
Mongo:  I'm with you.
Rillen:  And I as well.  We must, after all, honor the pact
  we made a while ago.
Belphanior:  Well, let's go see Ged about it then.
Peldor:  (still wary of this adventure)  A whole _kingdom_?
  A challenge worthy of the greatest Peldors...
Mongo:  Peldors?

  They rode back to Ged's castle, and were quickly granted
an audience with the grey elf, at which point they presented
Belphanior's idea.

Belphanior:  What do you mean, _no_?!?
Ged:  No.  I said no, and I mean no.  I have much business
  to attend to here.
Rillen:  But the pact...
Ged:  (spreading his hands impatiently)  I don't mean to
  dishonor the pact - but your timing is...well, lousy.
Mongo:  Bah.  Maybe we don't need wizards for this mission
Alindyar:  (appears from a door)  Mayhaps not.
Belphanior:  Ah!  There you are!  Surely you'll join this
Lyra:  (also appears)  No, not this time.
Belphanior:  (slaps his forehead)  Aie!
Alindyar:  We just came here to discuss a few topics with
  Ged...not to embark upon a new quest.
Peldor:  (muttering)  No magical power...
Belphanior:  Hey!  I resent that!
Alindyar:  (hands Belphanior a large black pearl)  This is
  for you.  Shatter it, and Lyra and I will instantly be
  aware that your group is in dire straits indeed.
Belphanior:  Well, thanks.  Does that mean you'll help us
  at that point?
Alindyar:  One would hope so.
Lyra:  Maybe you should give that to someone who's a bit
  more...durable.  Like Mongo.
Alindyar:  Well...
Belphanior:  Don't worry, I'll be okay with it.  You can
  rest assured that I'll only use it if I _have_ to.
Ged:  Again, I can go with you, if you'd only wait a month
  or so...
Belphanior:  Nah.  Even I might reconsider this quest if I
  waited a month.
Mongo:  Fuck it.  I'm ready.  Let's get our stuff ready, so
  we can leave tomorrow.
Gorin:  I'm with you.
Mongo:  You sure?  This isn't exactly a big, dangerous trip
  like the last one, but-
Gorin:  I'm going.
Bosco:  Yeah, me too!
Peldor:  Well...shoot.  Count me in.
Rillen:  And you know I will go.
Arnold:  (looks at Ged)
Ged:  Go on, go if you must.  You're your own man now.
Arnold:  (turns to the others)  Ah-nold shall go.
Belphanior:  And I make seven.
wispy thing:  (hovers upside-down in front of the elf's face)
Belphanior:  'scuse me.  Eight.
wispy thing:  (grins toothily)
Peldor:  Hey, feel free to bring Angus too, if you want.
Belphanior:  Hmm.

  They said their farewells, and those who were to leave on
the morrow rode back to Greyhawk.

Belphanior:  Hmm, it's dusk already...maybe we'll leave in
  _two_ days, instead of tomorrow.
Mongo:  Bah.  I'm ready, whenever.
Peldor:  Maybe I should make out a will...

next time :  this madcap quest gets underway

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

notes     :  This is not a permanent party split...rather,
           think of the party now as a group of highly
           trained professionals (hmm, that's exactly what
           they are, isn't it?), some (but not all) of whom
           go on any given mission, depending on the needs
           of the individual members, the group, and the
             Speaking of the mission...this one came straight
           from Belphanior's player.  Can't object to that -
           and besides, he was talking about such a mission
           years ago.

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