Chapter #184

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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:    11/20/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                     +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   the County of Ulek                               +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+   "There is no normal life, Wyatt.  There's just life."     +
+                            - Doc Holiday, from _Tombstone_  +

                CLXXXIV.  Unexpected Company

  After camping on the banks of the Kewl River, in the County
of Ulek, the adventurers are ready to continue on their trip.

Belphanior:  ...southwest, I say.  We'll skirt the Silverwood
  Forest, and then cross into Keoland.
Rillen:  Wasn't Rob from Keoland?
Mongo:  Ah, Rob.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Bosco:  I remember Rob!  I stole a-
Peldor:  (clamps a hand over the halfling's mouth)
Gorin:  Who's Rob?
wispy thing:  (looking at Belphanior quizzically)
Belphanior:  Rob was, well, this guy who travelled with us
  a long time back.
Mongo:  Until he got eaten by a dragon.
Peldor:  In the Underdark.
Gorin:  Eaten?  Dragon?  Underdark?
Mongo:  Don't worry, I'll tell you the whole story sometime.

  They rode onward for most of the day, and shortly before
dusk, they arrived in Niole Dra, the capital of Keoland.  A
few minutes later, they were riding through the large city's
streets and markets, on the pretense of searching for an inn
in which to stay the night.  After finding that rooms in the
city's inns were plentiful, the adventurers stabled their
tired horses, secured several nice rooms, and split up for a
while, to scout the wonders of the marketplace...

Bosco:  (peering at some mangos on a fruit stand)  Yuck!
fruit merchant:  What?!?
Bosco:  (pointing at one of the round fruits)  That one's
  rotten inside.
fruit merchant:  Nonsense!  My fruits are the finest in the
  land!  Cease your mischief at once!
Bosco:  (equipped, of course, with his new ring of x-ray
  vision)  Look, pal, I call 'em as I see 'em.  I'm telling
fruit merchant:  Away with you, lying halfling!  Your tales
  have no meaning here.  (he ushers Bosco away)  Begone!
rotund lady:  (having walked up, she is examining the mangos
  on the fruit stand)  Mmm, mangos...
Bosco:  (to the lady, as he's being pushed away)  Hey, don't
  look now, but his fruit is rotten...(he points back at the
  merchant)  Fungus everywhere!
lady:  Aie!  (she waddles away in terror)
fruit merchant:  (gesturing and cursing)
Peldor:  (as he and his henchman walk away)  Good job, Bosco.
Bosco:  Who, me?
Peldor:  (pulls two ripe mangos from his shirt)  Let's hope
  these ones aren't rotten...
Bosco:  Huh?!?  How'd you hide _those_?!?


Arnold:  (examining a two-handed sword)
sword dealer:  Yep, that's a nice one, isn't it?  It can be
  yours for a mere-
Arnold:  (whips out his own, magical sword)  Mine's better.
sword dealer:  (whistles)  Now _that's_ a piece of work.  I
  would be happy to take it off your hands...
Arnold:  I don't think so.  (he sheathes his sword)
sword dealer:  Oh, come now.  A mighty barbarian such as
  yourself needs a _better_ sword.  (he holds up a polished
  blade)  Like this.  I'll trade you.
Arnold:  (glares at the dealer, his eyes narrowed)  Ah-nold
  is not stupid, little man.
sword dealer:  (backs away in fear)
Gorin:  (examining a pair of small throwing axes at a nearby
  table)  Someday I'll have the time to learn how to throw
Mongo:  Bah.  (he hefts his hammer)  This is all I'll ever
  need.  Though I do have a crossbow, come to think of it.
Arnold:  (strolls up and hefts one of the hand axes)  Aaa.
  I could throw this thing a loooong way.
Gorin:  No doubt.
Mongo:  (wondering how far Arnold could throw his hammer)

still elsewhere...

Rillen:  (checking the marketplaces for necessary supplies
  that the party might have failed to bring)
Belphanior:  Good idea.  This is the last major city we'll
  find before we reach our destination.
Rillen:  Hmm.
bird:  (flying above, it considers, as birds are wont to do,
  the possibility of defecating upon those below)
wispy thing:  (appears in front of the bird)  boo.
bird:  Squawk!  (it flies away madly)  Squaaaaawk!
Rillen:  (wanders onward, down the street)
Belphanior:  (spots a small temple with a familiar-looking
  rune posted prominently above its door)  Hmm.  (he heads
  in that direction)
Rillen:  (occupied at the caltrop dealer's table)
wispy thing:  (occupied with the pursuit of some rats on a
  side street)
Belphanior:  (enters the crude temple)

  The place was sparsely furnished, though its interior was
a good deal larger than outside appearances would suggest.
The entry room was a rather large hall, obviously a place of
worship.  A cheap carpet covered the stone floor, and rows
of old, though sturdy, wooden pews lined the chamber.

Belphanior:  (wondering what simple god's humble priests
  might practice their trade here)
voice:  By the heart of Trithereon himself!  My old friend
Belphanior:  Huh?  (he whirls)  Oh, no...

  As darkness fell, the adventurers gathered in the common
room of the tavern they had agreed upon earlier.  A hearty
supper was ordered, and the group fell into discussion.

Mongo:  (looking around)  Where's Belphanior?
Arnold:  Yah, he's missink.  Missink in action.
Gorin:  Where could he be?
Peldor:  (looks at the wispy thing)
wispy thing:  (shrugs innocently)
Rillen:  Hmm, he was just with me at the marketplace.  Then
  he vanished.  Maybe he wandered away to chase trouble.
Bosco:  (coming up with different interpretations of that
  idea)  Hmm...
Belphanior:  (enters the inn, and makes his way to the table
  where the others are sitting)  Oh, man...
Mongo:  Where the hell have _you_ been?
Belphanior:  That's not're not going to
  believe who I found here!
Bosco:  Tell me, I'll believe anything.
Rob:  (strolls up, hands hooked in his belt)  Hi, guys!
Mongo:  ROB?!?
Rillen:  (trying to remember)  Rob...Rob...?
Arnold:  Rod?
Belphanior:  Yup.
Bosco:  Rob...(to Gorin)  That's Rob.
Gorin:  I can see that.
wispy thing:  (regards the priest quizzically)  ffs?
Peldor:  Uh...I don't mean to be rude or anything, Rob, but
  didn't you get snatched away by a dragon in the Underdark?
Mongo:  An _invisible_ dragon?
Rillen:  (finally remembers)  A _huge_ invisible dragon?
Rob:  Oh, that?  No problem.  I managed to...convince it to
  let me go.
Mongo:  (slaps his forehead)  Oh, of course.
Belphanior:  Told you they wouldn't believe you, Rob.
Rob:  (shrugs)
Rillen:  So what are you doing here?
Peldor:  Yeah, I thought you had to wander for twenty years
  or something.
Rob:  Theoretically...but when they found out that I had the
  power and experience to be a high priest, well, then they
  set me up here.  (he scratches his head)  Yeah.  I guess
  that's why.
Mongo:  Set you up?  Why?  I mean, where?
Belphanior:  In a nondescript temple near the markets.  I
  thought I recognized that rune...
Rob:  The mark of Trithereon.  I am rather high in his holy
  favor these days, you know.  (he makes a grand gesture,
  and bumps the lamp)  Eh?
Rillen:  (reaches out, lightning-fast, and catches the oil-
  filled lamp before it can fall)  Whew.
Mongo:  (staring at the priest)
Rob:  Uh...
Peldor:  _High_ in his favor.
Rillen:  How high is "high"?
Rob:  Raising the dead...parting control...
  astral travel...say, have you ever tried astral travel?
Arnold:  Not me.
Bosco:  Me neither, thanks.  I'm trying to cut down.
Peldor:  Ha.
Gorin:  (rather disinterested, he drains his mug of beer)
Mongo:  (wondering how they managed to encounter Rob this
  close to their destination)  Cripes.
Belphanior:  I was just telling Rob about how we were on
  our way to Greyhawk-
Bosco:  (stands up on his stool)  Greyhawk?!?  I thought we
  were headed southwest to free all the slaves and all that
Peldor:  (forcibly sits Bosco down)
Rob:  Southwest?  To free slaves?  You must mean the lands
  of the Sea Princes...Excellent!
Mongo:  Uh-oh.
Belphanior:  What do you mean, excellent?
Rob:  Such a quest is ideally suited for one of my talents.
Peldor:  I'll agree with that.
Rillen:  Talents?
Rob:  You may remember that Trithereon is the god of justice
  and retribution...well, I can't think of any higher form
  of justice than freeing the slaves.  Hmm...did you say
  _all_ the slaves.
Belphanior:  (resigned)  Every last one.
Rob:  Whew, that's a tall order.  I'll join your quest,
  though - you'll need me.
Rillen:  We will?
Belphanior:  Who knows?  A high priest might come in handy
  here and there.
Peldor:  Hopefully just "there"...
buxom serving wench:  (arrives with the group's food)  Uh,
  your...feast is ready.
Rob:  Feast?  All right!  I'm famished!  (he hefts a fork
  and a knife)

next time :  the journey's final leg

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

notes     :  Seemed a natural thing to do...

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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