Chapter #182

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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:    11/13/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                     +
+   Time:    afternoon                                        +
+   Place:   Courwood, in western Celene                      +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+   "By the time we've made it, we've had it."                +
+                                          - Malcolm Forbes   +

                    CLXXXII.  The Lortmils

  Having nearly made it through the forests and lands of the
elves, the seven adventurers are now in Courwood, preparing to
venture further westward, into the lands of the dwarves and
halflings:  the mighty Lortmil Mountains.

Peldor:  At least those native peoples are better represented
  in our party.
Mongo:  (looking at Gorin)
Gorin:  (looking at Mongo)
Bosco:  (looking around)
wispy thing:  (floats into Belphanior's backpack)
Belphanior:  (ignoring the wisp)  Hmm, maybe we should stay
  here in Courwood until tomorrow.
Arnold:  Why?
Rillen:  Warm beds...warm food...a bath...
Belphanior:  My sentiments exactly.
Mongo:  Bath?  Beds?  You guys are wimps.

  They found a tavern and secured rooms for themselves, then
set out to look for good food and drink.  After a few minutes
of walking down a broad avenue, the seven adventurers finally
found a nice-looking tavern.

Peldor:  After all, it's not like we're hurting for money or
Bosco:  (salivating)  Hot food...

  They had a filling meal, one consisting of steaming mutton
and vegetables in a tasty stew, as well as loaves of fresh
bread and bowls of fruits.  Fine wine rounded out this most
welcome repast, and afterwards, not a one of the adventurers
regretted stopping in Courwood.

Bosco:  (patting his distended stomach)  Urp.
Mongo:  (yawning)  Time for bed.
Peldor:  (already half-asleep at the table)  Yeahhzzzzzzz...
Rillen:  (pondering the soft, pampered city life)  Hmm.

  They retired for the night, and slept more soundly than
they had in quite some time.  Morning found the party happy,
refreshed, and ready to go.  They left Courwood well before
noon, and rode southwest, toward the mountains looming on
the horizon.  It wasn't long before they entered the hills
that marked the beginning of said mountains.

Mongo:  These are pretty thick mountains.
Peldor:  Thick?
Mongo:  The Lortmils are some of the oldest mountains in the
  world...these hills that we're walking through used to be
  mountains themselves, thousands of years ago.
Gorin:  Aren't these parts known for their mineral deposits?
Mongo:  Yup.  Gems and
Peldor:  (having a daydream involving wagons full of such
Belphanior:  Sounds like a good place to come from.
Bosco:  Or to live...
Arnold:  (guiding his horse through the rough terrain)  Yah.
wispy thing:  (divebombs a lizard that is crawling across a
  boulder)  sssssff!
lizard:  Rrrbit!  (it leaps away in terror)
Rillen:  So just dwarves and halflings live in these parts?
Mongo:  Mostly dwarves...mountain dwarves.  But a number of
  halflings and gnomes live in these parts too.
Gorin:  Hmm.
Mongo:  I'm sure we'll see some of them before too long.

  Sure enough, not long after midday, they noticed a large
group of short, armored figures marching their way.

Arnold:  Where are their hordses?
Mongo:  When you've got a place that's home to thousands of
  dwarves, ponies get hard to keep real fast.  We dwarves
  aren't usually ones to ride, anyway...doubly so for the
  mountain dwarves.
Rillen:  Mountain dwarves?  Isn't that an oxymoron?
Mongo:  What'd you call us?
Belphanior:  Never mind.  What he's asking is this:  what's
  the difference between "dwarves" and "mountain dwarves"?
Mongo:  I'm a hill dwarf.  Gorin too.  Mountain dwarves
  stay deep within mountains, and tend to be more isolated
  than us hill dwarves.
Peldor:  But don't you like mountains and mining, too?
Mongo:  They're like...hobbies.  Not ways of life, though,
  like they would be if I was a mountain dwarf.
Rillen:  Hmm.
Arnold:  (watching the approaching dwarves, who number about
  a hundred)  Aaa.  Here they come.
Mongo:  (dismounts and walks forth, addressing the dwarves
  in dwarven)

Mongo:  Ho, there!
dwarven leader-type:  (walks forth)  Well met, cousin.  (he
  clasps hands with Mongo)  I'm Galain Rockhelm.
Mongo:  Mongo, of the Thunderheads, at your service.
Galain:  Hmm, you and your friends hardly look like hired
Mongo:  Huh?
Galain:  For the humanoid skirmishes to the north?
Mongo:  Nope, never heard of those.  We're headed south and
  west, to the Sea Princes.
Galain:  Oh.  Well, that's why we're marching like this, so
  heavily armed.  We've got to get to the north to join up
  with the greater force there.
Mongo:  Oh?
Galain:  Yeah.  We'll be going into battle with the great
  lord, Yod Ironbeard.
Gorin:  (following this conversation with some interest)
Belphanior:  (able to speak dwarven, he also follows the
  discussion, though with considerably less interest)
Mongo:  Yod Ironbeard?  Hmm, I've heard that name before.
Galain:  Wouldn't surprise me one bit.  He's a legend in
  these parts...especially after he and his friends killed
  that fire dragon a few years back.  Talk about revenge
  for a whole people...
Mongo:  You're not talking about Thunderdelve Mountain...?
Galain:  Of course.  Where have you been?
Mongo:  You wouldn't believe me if I told you.  Hmm, so the
  very one who slew that dragon cleaned out the mountain and
  cleaned out those dungeons?  I'll have to make a point to
  meet him someday.
Galain:  Hah, right.  Well, we really have to get going...
Mongo:  Best of luck to you.  (they clasp hands)

  The dwarves marched by, regarding the adventurers with
curious looks.  Within a few minutes, they had moved up the
road, and the party continued on its way.

Peldor:  Well, dwarves seem a whole lot friendlier than the
Mongo:  (looks hurt)  Of course.
Belphanior:  Well, _I_ think that just about everybody's an
  asshole, regardless of race.  But that's just me.
Arnold:  (philosophically)  Some people are aaaasholes.
Bosco:  (practicing coin tricks in his saddle)
Rillen:  (looking at the peaks looming ahead)  Are we riding
  for a mountain pass?
Belphanior:  Yeah, I think so...
Mongo:  Yup.  There should be plenty of passes through those
  mountains.  Of course, we could ride to the south, around
  the mountains, but that would add a few days onto our trip.
Belphanior:  Nah, we don't want to do that.
Rillen:  I agree.
Peldor:  The mountains, then...
Gorin:  We ought to be okay.

  Indeed they were.  The section of mountains ahead was far
enough south to be free of monsters and humanoids, and they
had an easy time navigating the mountainous passes.  Three
different times, they encountered dwarven war parties, but
these were friendly, or at least indifferent; it barely took
the adventurers three days to get through the mountains and
emerge into the County of Ulek.  This kingdom of gnomes and
halflings was also a friendly one, and after three more days
of riding, they group had reached the eastern bank of the
Kewl River, where they camped and talked of local matters
with, well, with the locals.

Bosco:  Potatoes?!?
halfling merchant:  Yep...they're selling like hotcakes
  these days.
Bosco:  Potatoes...geez, who would have believed it?
wispy thing:  (toying with some halfling children)
halfling children:  (rather happy)  Ha ha!
Peldor:  (asleep in a hammock that he mysteriously procured)
Arnold:  (bartering with a gnomish merchant, over some fine
Gorin:  (sitting on the riverbank, sharpening his axe and
  watching the barges go by)
Belphanior:  (aside, to Mongo and Rillen)  We won't enjoy
  friendly lands for too much longer.  Our trip's more than
  halfway over...

next time :  an intermission, as we check on Ged & the drow

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

notes     :  These last few episodes have been used to detail
           not only some of the locations in the Greyhawk
           world, but also some of the seven adventurers'
           personalities.  Rest assured, though, wild days
           lie ahead...
             The softball season has started...and yours truly
           is batting .666 in real games, .750 in practice
           games, and .714 in home run derbies.  My fielding
           could use some work, though.  Ah, well, you can't
           have it all.

Thomas Miller              
Systems Support Specialist II          Georgia Tech Network Services

"What good is being a hammer when you can't find a deserving nail?"

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