Chapter #181

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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:    11/8/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    early morning                                    +
+   Place:   the Welkwood Forest                              +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+   "It is a crime to wander in my land without leave.  Do    +
+    you forget that you were in my kingdom, using the road   +
+    that my people made?"                                    +
+                        - the elven king, from _The Hobbit_  +

                     CLXXXI.  Faeries

  The adventurers are continuing to ride through the Welkwood,
headed westward toward Celene.  Having gotten off to an early
start this morning, they have made significant progress...

Belphanior:  ...bullshit.  We should have been out of the
  forest by now.
Mongo:  (utterly lost in this woodland)  I get along great
  underground or in mountains, but this is elf territory.  I
  couldn't tell you how far into this damned place we are -
  or aren't - if my life depended on it.
Rillen:  (looking around)  Still the trees grow larger than
  they should.
Gorin:  Yeah.  (he pats the trunk of a massive tree)  These
  are pretty big, even for roanwoods.
Bosco:  Looks like a million feet.  (inspired by yesterday's
  events, he wonders if he could climb one of the tall trees)
Arnold:  I woulbn't try it.
Peldor:  Bah.
wispy thing:  (floating along behind the party)  ssss.
Belphanior:  (suddenly alert)  Yo!  People are approaching,
  from all around!  Everywhere!
Peldor:  (becomes invisible and wanders away to one side)

  Everybody readied their weapons and formed a ring, for
optimal defense.  Moments later, scores of elves appeared
from the surrounding forest.  Scattered among these were a
few horse-like creatures, each with a single sharp horn
protruding from its forehead.

Bosco:  (his eyes widen in amazement)  Unicorns!
Belphanior:  And faeries!
Mongo:  Huh?
Belphanior:  Grey elves.  Like Ged.
Rillen:  I see.
Mongo:  They don't look happy.
Gorin:  Wonder what they want?
Arnold:  Maybe they want to say "hi".  (he addresses the
  nearest grey elf cheerfully)  Hi!
Peldor:  (sitting on a nearby tree branch, invisible, he
  rubs his chin, considering the odds)
Bosco:  (wanders over to a unicorn and reaches out to touch
unicorn:  Neigh!  (it rears back)
grey elves:  (glaring menacingly at Bosco)
Bosco:  What did I do?
grey elf:  (chastizes Bosco in grey elven)
Arnold:  (quickly steps in front of Bosco protectively and
  points at the grey elf)  Shud up, you.
Belphanior:  (trying to calm down the agitated grey elves)
  Now, need for violence...heh heh.
Rillen:  (wondering if the elf is serious)
grey elf:  (a leader-type, he steps forth proudly and begins
  babbling in a strange tongue)  Ixwali b'un ilhi sarbin!
Mongo:  Huh?  (he shakes his head no)  We don't understand.
grey elf:  (speaks again, in a different language)
Belphanior:  Ah.  (begins conversing with the elf, in high

grey elf:  (rather arrogantly)  Who are you people, and what
  is your business in our forest?
Belphanior:  Hmm, you weren't here the _last_ time we came
  through.  Are you really sure it's your forest?
grey elf:  Do not try my patience, commoner.
Belphanior:  Or you mine...(his eye glows red)  We are mere
  travelers, headed westward on a great quest.
grey elf:  A great quest?  Those are rather rare these days.
  What are you up to?  Robbery?  Or perhaps a mission for
  the dwarves?  I can see that you have two in your party
Belphanior:  Oh, come now-
grey elf:  We do not take kindly to random ruffians wandering
  amidst our forests.
Belphanior:  We're just passing through...westward, like I
  said.  (he considers the consequences of starting a battle
grey elf:  Into Celene?  Where are you going after that?
Belphanior:  You really want to know? companions
  and I are riding to the lands of the Sea Princes.  Once
  there, we intend to free all the slaves and start a civil
  war of epic proportions.
grey elf:  (looks flabbergasted)
Belphanior:  (shrugs)  Well, you asked.
other grey elf:  (speaks to the first in the strange tongue
  that none of the adventurers can understand)
first grey elf:  Aie.  He says that his magic shows that you
  speak the truth.
Belphanior:  Naturally.
first grey elf:  (declines to shake Belphanior's hand)  I
  am called Firindral.  (he gestures to the other elves)
  These are some of the folk of the forest, hereabouts.
Belphanior:  We-
Firindral:  While we do not usually take kindly to wandering
  adventurers in our domain, is a noble one, if
  somewhat insane.  Pray, continue onward, to your fate.  Or
  your destiny.
Belphanior:  Well, on behalf of my companions, I have to say
  that I'm glad you approve.  Of course, if you have any
  magical items, or perhaps spellbooks, that you'd care to
  loan us as we pursue our noble quest-
Firindral:  (looks sternly at Belphanior, and points to the
  west)  Out.

  With that, the ring of elves parted in that one direction,
affording the seven adventurers an exit.  They rode westward
quickly, wishing to leave the impudent grey elves far behind.

Belphanior:  Little bastards.
Mongo:  Yeah, they weren't too happy with us.
Bosco:  Can't imagine why.
Belphanior:  I'll tell you something else.  All those twerps
  knew how to speak Common, I'm pretty sure.  They just like
  making people talk to them in _their_ language.
Rillen:  Maybe they don't like outsiders walking around in
  their woodlands.
Peldor:  Hey, _I_ don't like walking around there either.
Gorin:  Only elves are that protective of their forests.
Rillen:  You would no doubt act the same way, if intruders
  marched through your native mountains.
Gorin:  Hmm, good point.
Mongo:  Bah.  Assholes are still assholes.
Belphanior:  Yeah.  Maybe we should've fought them...
Arnold:  (shaking his head negatively)  Naa.
wispy thing:  (sailing around Bosco's pony)  ssss.
Bosco:  Hey!  Cut that out!
Gorin:  (looking around)  Say, where'd Peldor get to?
Belphanior:  (cracks a grin)  Oh, I'm sure he'll turn up
Rillen:  (looking at Peldor's horse)  Hmm.
wispy thing:  (it also looks at the horse)  pff.
Peldor:  (sitting on the horse, invisible, he begins to
  whistle loudly)
Gorin:  Hey!

  Before the day's end, they emerged from the western edge
of the forest, into a lush, healthy grassland.

Mongo:  (looking around)  Where the hell are we?
Belphanior:  Celene.  Land of elves, elves, and more elves.
Gorin:  Grey elves?
Belphanior:  Yup.
Peldor:  Wonderful.  A land of Geds.
Belphanior:  (not looking too happy either)  The best thing
  is probably to ride on and get out of these parts before
  too many other people find out what our mission is.
Bosco:  You mean we can't tell anybody?
Belphanior:  (eyes the halfling)
Bosco:  _Anybody_?!?
Arnold:  Nod a good idea.  Then we'd have peoble trying to
  stop us...
Belphanior:  Or join us.
Arnold:  Yah, there is that.
Mongo:  We don't need anybody to join us.  They'd just get
  themselves killed.
Peldor:  Perish forbid.  We're already going to get ourselves
  killed!  Why would we want anyone _else_ to do it with us?
Belphanior:  Oh, calm down.  This is a mission of great glory
  and prestige!
Rillen:  Honor.
Bosco:  Glory, honor...where's the treasure in it?
Peldor:  Exactly.  Where?
Mongo:  Don't worry about money - this is a great quest we're
Belphanior:  We'll be legends.
Peldor:  Yeah...what will the historians say, years from now?
  I can see it now..."The most futile quest ever conceived.
  They were noble...they were benevolent...they were stupid."
Gorin:  You're not chickening out on us, are you?
Peldor:  Not I.  I just don't see what we can possibly hope
  to accomplish.
Rillen:  Accomplish?  If we can free seven slaves - that's
  one for each of us-
Peldor:  Yeah, I can count just fine.
wispy thing:  (looks extremely put out)
Rillen:  -then we'll have saved seven lives that were being
  wasted.  That is enough for me!
Bosco:  (now thinking of himself as a great liberator)  Cool!
Peldor:  (still not convinced)  Hmph.
Belphanior:  Seven slaves freed, eh?  Sounds like a quota...
  I'll remember that.

  They rode through eastern Celene, camping in the plains at
night, mostly.  One night they stayed in a small town of
elves and half-elves...

Bosco:  The guy was half-elf and half-human, I tell you!  He
  was just like that guy Ged hired...Deryck what's-his-name!
Mongo:  Go to sleep, Bosco.

  Five days after leaving the Welkwood Forest, they arrived
in Courwood, that small city just east of the foothills of
the Lortmil Mountains, just after midday.

Peldor:  (his eyes light up)  Courwood!  Now this brings back
Belphanior:  (to Mongo)  At least he seems happier now.

next time :  the Lortmils

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

notes     :  Hmm, it's about time to take a look at what Ged
           and the drow are up to.

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