Chapter #179

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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 (currently missing three members):              +
+                                                             +
+   Arnold        11th level human warrior               (NG) +
+   Belphanior    12th/14th/14th level high elven w/m/t  (CN) +
+      small immaterial wispy thing                           +
+   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) +
+   Date:    11/2/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   a private room beneath the Green Dragon Inn      +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+   "The world is a madhouse, so it's only right that it      +
+    is patrolled by armed idiots."                           +
+                                         Brendan Behan       +

            CLXXIX.  The Suicide Squad Sets Out

  Those of the party who have agreed to accompany Belphanior
on his chosen quest have assembled early one morning, mere
minutes before they are to get underway.

Belphanior:  Three days!  I can't believe it took us _three
Rillen:  (shrugs nonchalantly)  I had to retrieve my black
  crystal pyramid from Tenser.
Belphanior:  Tenser, eh?
Rillen:  Aye.
Mongo:  (checking his newly-repaired and polished armor)  I'm
  ready.  I'm pumped.  Let's go!
Gorin:  (likewise checking his weapons, specifically his now
  razor-sharp axe blade)  Yeah.  (he begins whistling)
Peldor:  (counting some supplies that are laid out on a table
  nearby)  Lamp oil...twenty.  (he closes that chest)  Greek
Belphanior:  Mmm, greek fire.  I like greek fire...
Peldor:  Whatever.  (he closes that chest too)
Arnold:  (fully armored, he takes each chest Peldor checks
  and lowers it into the portable hole)  Aaa.
Peldor:  Five hundred feet of rope...(he stacks some coiled
  ropes up)  Maps...fine maps, indeed.
Gorin:  Maps are always good.
Bosco:  At least we're going prepared.
Rillen:  The only way to go.
wispy thing:  (hovering near the supply table, curious)  sss.
Peldor:  Too bad we can't take Angus.
Belphanior:  Yeah...but he'd slow us down.  Way down.  It'd
  take almost half a year, at standard golem walking speed.
  I'd love to have him along, but no can do.
Gorin:  Couldn't you shrink him again?
Belphanior:  It only lasts for a bit over an hour.  Angus is
  just too damn heavy.  (he curses)  I still can't believe
  the others won't come with us.
Rillen:  Well, to be fair, the drow were never involved in
  the pact...
Belphanior:  True, but there's still Ged.  It would seem that
  his word is worthless.
Peldor:  Bah, we don't need that fool.
Bosco:  (jumps a foot into the air)  Yeah!  That fool!
Peldor:  Settle down, Bosco.
Arnold:  Geb's not a bad guy.  Just busy.  Things have been
  falling apard while he was away.
Belphanior:  Hmph.
Mongo:  Enough about Ged.  Let's get this show on the road!

  They went to the tavern's stables, where their horses were
already saddled, thanks to Peldor's highly efficient stable
boy, Cecil.

Cecil:  They're fed and watered.  And their saddledbags are
  fully loaded.
Peldor:  Excellent job, Cecil.  Remind me to give you a raise
  when I get back.  If I get back.
Cecil:  No need, boss.  You're already paying me-
Rillen:  (takes his horse's reins from the lad)  I'll take
  these.  (he ponders his new black horse)  I intend to make
  sure that _this_ mount stays alive.
Belphanior:  Sounds like you're still upset about the demise
  of your last horse.
Rillen:  Indeed I am.  Good mounts are hard to find.  That's
  why I bought barding for this one.  (he slaps the chain
  mail happily)
black horse:  Neigh!
wispy thing:  (floating over Belphanior's head, it seems to
  understand that some great quest is about to commence)
Bosco:  (having trouble getting aboard his pony)  Darnit...
Arnold:  Aaa.  (he grabs Bosco by the collar and lifts him
  up with one arm, setting him in his saddle)
Bosco:  Whoa.  I feel like a sack of potatoes.
Arnold:  (cheerfully)  Don't worry, you weigh even less.

  Shortly, they were all mounted and ready to begin their
journey.  Because they left early in the morning, they made
excellent time across the grasslands south of Greyhawk, and
had reached the banks of the Selintan by nightfall.  They
camped at this point, amidst the tents of the riverfolk who
had come ashore for the night.  These people, also known as
the Rhennee, were rather like gypsies in their manners and
habits.  Peldor and Bosco spent several hours in their camps,
gambling and trading with the riverfolk.  Despite the party's
power, a guard was set, for one never knew who would attack,
even in "non-hostile" areas.
  The next morning, they found a ford and crossed the river,
then rode southward, into the Wild Coast.  The small city of
Safeton was almost four days away, and the adventurers would
have to be rather careful; the land that they were now riding
through was a dangerous one.

Belphanior:  I grew up in these parts.  Bandits everywhere!
Rillen:  I could use some practice, myself.
Peldor:  You may just get your chance...look!

  Several hundred feet away from the party, some kind of
battle was going on.

Mongo:  Battle going on?!?  And we're not in it?!?
Belphanior:  C'mon!  (he spurs his mount toward the fray)
others:  (they follow quickly)

  As they approached, they got a better view of what was
going on.  About a dozen bandit-types were divided into two
groups, which were doing battle.  Another dozen dead men,
from both sides apparently, were scattered around on the
bloodstained grass.  As the seven adventurers (plus one
small wispy thing) approached, the combatants paused, all
of them regarding the new arrivals suspiciously.

bandit:  Who the hell are _you_?!?
other bandit:  (an ally of the one who spoke)  Maybe they're
  with _those_ scum!  (he points at the group which his group
  was fighting)
bandit from other group:  Never!  We don't know who these
  people are!
Rillen:  We mean no harm...but we can deal it out, if you
first bandit:  They must be here to steal the gem!
other bandit:  Yeah!  the gem!
third bandit:  Aha!
Peldor:  Gem?  What gem?
bandit:  The gem that we took.
opposing bandit:  You mean, stole from us!
first bandit:  After you stole it from Sluggo, and slit his
other bandit:  Poor Sluggo...
another bandit:  We never did such a thing!
Rillen:  (looking highly confused)
first bandit:  Aie!  You did too!  It was-
Belphanior:  (points to the bandit)  Shut up.
all bandits:  (cease their arguments)
Bosco:  (having dismounted in the confusion, he is wandering
  around the area)
Mongo:  You people are nuts!  Arguing about a _gem_?!?
bandit:  A big gem...
Mongo:  Cripes!  That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!
Arnold:  (points a scolding finger at all the bandits)  Yah.
Gorin:  (watching Bosco)  Hey-
Bosco:  (holds up two halves of a small broken diamond)  Look
  what I found!
bandits:  Aie!
first bandit:  The gem!
Rillen:  Hmm, it would seem that your argument is moot now.
other bandit:  The gem has been shattered in the battle!
third bandit:  Now _nobody_ has it!
other bandits:  (cursing)
Gorin:  Serves you right.
Bosco:  (tosses one piece of the gem to one group, and the
  other piece to the other group)  There you go.
first bandit:  (shrugs)  Well, I guess we don't need to
  fight any longer.
other bandit:  (eyeing the party)
Belphanior:  (glares at all the bandits, his eye glowing
  bright red)  Don't even think about it.  We kill dragons
  and demons on a regular basis.
third bandit:  Hmm.  (he wanders away)  I'm outta here.
other bandits:  (murmuring in agreement)

  Within five minutes, the bandits were all on their merry
way, and the party was riding southward again.

Rillen:  An odd group...
Mongo:  Dipshits, one and all.
Belphanior:  Really.  Fighting and dying over a gem that
  couldn't have been worth more than a thousand coins of
Peldor:  Two thousand.
Bosco:  (snickers)

  They continued riding, and had no major encounters over
the next few days.  Before they knew it, they had reached
Safeton, the northernmost major city in the Wild Coast.
They wasted no time finding a tavern to sleep in, and since
all the party members were tired from the days of wilderness
travel, everyone went to bed rather early.

next time :  the journey continues

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

notes     :  Don't ask, 'cause I don't know.

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