Chapter #186

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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:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   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) +
+   Rob           15th level human priest                (LG) +
+   Date:    12/4/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   Westkeep, within the Hold of the Sea Princes     +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+   "Hey, these are my kind of scum."                         +
+                            - Han Solo, from _Star Wars_     +

                CLXXXVI.  Reconnaisance

  After arriving in Westkeep, a walled city within the Hold
of the Sea Princes, the adventurers have procured rooms in
a tavern.  After a good night's sleep, they have met behind
closed doors, to discuss their plan of action.

Belphanior:  Okay, Peldor and I will go and scout the city
Peldor:  I'll be in disguise.
Rob:  (looking confused as usual)  Disguise?
Peldor:  (uses his magical hat to shift his appearance to
  mimic that of Rob)
Rob:  Aie.
Belphanior:  (coughs)  Ahem.
Peldor:  Sorry.
Belphanior:  As I was saying, we'll check out places of
  import here in Westkeep...guard posts, treasuries, city
  leaders' homes, and the like.
Mongo:  And me, Rillen, and Arnold will head over to the
  marketplace, to check out the slavers' houses.
Rillen:  Right.
Arnold:  Yah.
Belphanior:  Bosco, your mission will be to buy weapons.
  Gorin will accompany you.
Gorin:  Me?
Bosco:  Weapons.  Right.  (scratches his head)  What will
  we need weapons for?
Mongo:  The slaves we end up with will need something to
  fight with.
Bosco:  Oh.
Belphanior:  Don't arouse any suspicions - just get crates
  of weapons, a bit at a time.  And it wouldn't hurt if you
  bought yourselves a wagon first.  That way you'd actually
  look like merchants.
Mongo:  Gorin'll make sure all goes well.
Gorin:  Right.
Bosco:  Right!
Peldor:  (eyeing Rob)  Err...
Rob:  What about me?
Belphanior:  What about you?  Oh, I guess we need to find
  someplace to keep you out of trouble.
Rillen:  Is there such a place?
Peldor:  Doubtful.  Maybe Rob could quietly scout out the
  various temples know, to see which ones might
  pose a threat.
Belphanior:  Hmm, a good idea.
Rob:  Yeah, I could do that.
wispy thing:  (appears from a fireplace)  pst.
Belphanior:  Well...let's get to it, people.

  With that, the group split up, each adventurer to his own
task.  In the city's higher-class district, Belphanior and
Peldor wandered, dressed in expensive clothes and wearing
quite a bit of jewelry.

Belphanior:  We fit right in.  Hey, look there.
Peldor:  (disguised as a princess)  Yeah, I see it.  Looks
  like the city vault.  (his voice is, of course, female as
  well, part of the magical hat's power)
Belphanior:  Hmm, I bet their slave trade would collapse if
  we emptied that place.
Peldor:  Probably.
passing nobleman:  (leading two female slaves by leashes)
  Good day, sir and madam.
Belphanior:  Good day to you, too.
Peldor:  (glances after the fellow)  He was checking me out.
Belphanior:  Sorry about the princess idea...but we look a
  whole lot less suspicious this way.
Peldor:  Sure.  Geez, you'd think he'd be happy with two
  women...I guess his slaves aren't enough for him.  This
  land's people really _are_ degenerate.  Slavery!
Belphanior:  Shh, keep your voice down.  Yeah, I detest
  slavery.  This land has got to be cleaned up.
passing slave:  (collared, he kneels, waiting for the pair
  to pass)
Peldor:  Mind telling me why?
Belphanior:  Huh?
Peldor:  Why you hate slavery so much?  Not that I care for
  it either, mind you.  Just curious.
Belphanior:  Hmm, I'm not totally sure, really.  I guess
  there are a lot of reasons, all mixed together in my head.
Peldor:  (lying)  I see.
Belphanior:  That building there looks like the main city
  guardpost.  I bet they gather their militia there.
Peldor:  Could be.  That mansion across the street belongs
  to someone important, I'd bet.
Belphanior:  Hmm, maybe we should hit it tonight.  (coughs
  again)  I must be sick or something.
Peldor:  Well, it _is_ winter...

  Meanwhile, elsewhere in Westkeep, some of the others were
checking out the slave markets.

Mongo:  Damn, I can't believe it.  They're really _selling_
  these people!
Arnold:  (looks on disdainfully)  Yah.  Someding will have
  to be done.
Rillen:  (shaking his head)  How can a land like this still
  exist, in this day and age?
Mongo:  I understand it's the only place on the continent
  where this goes on, legally and officially.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Rillen:  We need to make a note of which of these markets
  are the main ones.
Mongo:  Also, it couldn't hurt to figure out who the main
  slavers are.
Rillen:  I assume we'll start buying soon.
Arnold:  Yah, tomorrow maybe?
Mongo:  Let's wait till we hear from Bosco and Gorin.  (he
  leads the way to what appears to be a major auction block)
  C'mon, let's see what kind of shit goes on here.

  Somewhere nearby, in the non-slave marketplace, those two
were even now engaged in some haggling...

Bosco:  Come ON!  I've got to get a hundred of these swords
  by tonight!  We've got mercenaries waiting in the northern
weapon merchant:  But I've not heard of any such war...
Bosco:  Perrenland, good fellow.  There's _always_ a war
  going on in those parts.
weapon merchant:  Perrenland?  I've heard rumors-
Bosco:  Well, I live there, and I'm telling you, they need
  weapons.  My associate-
Gorin:  (bows)
Bosco:  -and I have a wagon waiting outside.  However, your
  swords aren't worth a thousand coins of gold, for a mere
weapon merchant:  Hogwash!  Why, these-
Gorin:  (holds up a sword)  See here?  (he holds up his axe
  and nicks the sword's blade with it)  Soft steel!
Bosco:  (gets right up in the merchant's face)  Look, just
  between you and me, I could care less about the quality
  of merchandise that those Perrenlanders get.  But I've
  got to get a good deal, one appropriate for the quality
  of merchandise that _I'm_ the middle man for.  And my
  friend here just proved that _your_ swords are...well,
  shall we say, not top-notch.  If you'll excuse the pun.
weapon merchant:  (clearly not used to dealing with people
  who know what they're doing)  Err...what will you pay for
  the lot, then?
Bosco:  (leans up on the counter)  I was just getting to

  Still elsewhere, Rob was wandering, observing the temples
of Westkeep...

Rob:  (mumbling to himself)  No temple of
  figures.  Heathens.
slave child:  (almost bumps into Rob, actually because the
  latter isn't watching where he's going)  Oops!
Rob:  Eh?
slave child:  (cowers in fear)
Rob:  Wait...(he reaches out to comfort the imp)
slave child:  (starts crying)
Rob:  (grimaces)  Yes, something will indeed have to be done
  about this land...something dire...

  At dusk, the adventurers regrouped, behind closed doors,
to discuss their findings.

wispy thing:  (looks at Belphanior, then flies off)  pfft!
Rillen:  What's he up to?
Belphanior:  He'll make sure that no one's listening outside
  our doors, windows, or chimneys.
Bosco:  Well, that's good!
Arnold:  (notes that Belphanior seems a bit pale)  Aaa.
Mongo:  So, how'd we all do?
Gorin:  Well, Bosco and I bought a hundred swords, and also
  a hundred axes.
Bosco:  Yeah, the wagon's parked outside.
Belphanior:  (suddenly worried about obvious giveaways like
  this)  It is?!?
Gorin:  Relax, we left it in a locked stable that we rented.
  It's right next to the other merchants' caravans' wagons,
  and we registered our destination as Perrenland.
Belphanior:  Hmm.  Sounds good.
Mongo:  As for us...well, we've figured out that there are
  two main slave merchants, really, in this city.
Rillen:  More specifically, they are called Ranulf and Nobb.
Arnold:  (hands Belphanior a slip of paper)  Addresses.
Belphanior:  Excellent.  (looking at Peldor)  We'll have to
  pay these fellows a visit one night.
Peldor:  (now disguised as Ged)  Indeed.
Rob:  Ged!  Where did _you_ come from?!?
Peldor:  Uh...I just teleported in.  Yea, that's it.
Rob:  Truly we can't be stopped now, with all this magical
Peldor:  Of course not.  Hmm, maybe the time has come to go
  forth and seek new worshippers.
Rob:  Of Boccob.
Peldor:  Naturally.
Belphanior:  (grimacing)
Rillen:  What did _you_ learn, Rob?
Rob:  Eh?  Oh.  Well, first, there aren't any temples here
  that would be considered "good", in the strictest sense
  of the word...
Belphanior:  Get to the point.
Rob:  Most of the gods worshipped here are chaotic, gods
  without honor or compassion.  I quickly concluded that
  this place needs a good cleaning up.
Mongo:  Yup.  I knew that the minute I saw all those poor
  slaves in the marketplace.  Disgusting.  I'd like to
  see all of them freed and wielding swords.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Rillen:  A civil war, perhaps.
Belphanior:  We could just earthquake the whole place...
  couldn't you, Rob?
Rob:  Huh?  Oh, sure, but think of all the innocents.
Gorin:  Good point.
Bosco:  There are innocents here?
Peldor:  Belphanior and I found the city's treasury, and
  the mayor's house, and the main gathering point for the
  city militia, and the council hall, and...well, we got
  all the strategic targets.  (he grins, rather pleased
  with the day's work)
Rillen:  I'd say we all had a productive day.
Mongo:  Yeah.  What next, though?
Belphanior:  Okay then.  Here's what I suggest we do for
  the next phase of our plan...

  The adventurers continued to talk for hours, formulating
the next stages of their mad, yet noble scheme.

next time :  chaos is instigated

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

notes     :  Oh, this is gonna be fun...

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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