Chapter #189

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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                    +
+                            tmiller@cimmeria.oit.gatech.edu  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   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:    12/5/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    late afternoon                                   +
+   Place:   the Hold of the Sea Princes, NE of Westkeep      +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "No good deed goes unpunished."                           +
+                                  - variously attributed     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                   CLXXXIX.  Pursuit!





  After an impressive display of fighting and magical prowess,
the adventurers, plus over a thousand freed slaves (the entire
slave population of Westkeep, in fact) have fled the city, and
have led their new charges through the grasslands for several
hours.

Bosco:  (smirking)  Yippee!  We did it!
Belphanior:  I wouldn't laugh so loud, so quickly.  They'll
  probably be sending someone after us.
Mongo:  So?  Who could they send who'd be able to beat this
  many pissed-off slaves, plus us?
Belphanior:  That's what worries me...
Mongo:  (considers this)  Oh.
Rillen:  Hmm.  (he glances back in the direction of the city)
Gorin:  I wouldn't worry about it - Westkeep's out of sight.
  I'm sure we'll spot anyone who comes toward us.
Rillen:  True, but still...
Rob:  I could use Trithereon's power to discern whether we
  are being followed, you know.
Peldor:  Nah.  We know we are, so why waste a spell?
Arnold:  You think like Ged, Peldork.
Peldor:  Gee, thanks.
Rob:  (looking for his belt purse, which he has apparently
  lost in the recent confusion)
wispy thing:  (flies to the southwest, presumably to scout
  things out)  sssss.
ex-slaves:  (following the adventurers, they congratulate
  themselves and generally make merry)
large male ex-slave:  (strolls up to the adventurers)
Peldor:  Who're you?
ex-slave:  I am called Garth.  These people have chosen me
  to represent them.
Belphanior:  Well, that's good.  Err, what exactly do you
  want?
Garth:  Simply to know where we are going, and what will
  happen once we get there.
Arnold:  (to Gorin)  This guy's not a regular slabve.
Gorin:  Yeah, he seems...cultured.
Mongo:  (talking to Garth)  Well, I suppose we're headed
  into Keoland.
Rob:  You should be safe there.
Garth:  That is good to know.  Still, what of the people
  of Westkeep?  They will surely follow us and try to...
  reclaim what they have lost.
Belphanior:  We know.  (he holds up a wand)  And we're
  ready for them.

  They continued to march along, though most of the eight
adventurers had managed to get their horses before fleeing
Westkeep.  In the early evening hours, perhaps an hour
before sundown, there was some commotion among the ranks.

wispy thing:  (returns from wherever it went, at this
  time, and orbits Belphanior's head)  Zzzzzz!
Peldor:  (pointing to the southwest)
Belphanior:  What now...?  (he turns to follow Peldor's
  pointed finger)
Peldor:  Look!

  Across the plains to the southwest, there rode a score
of heavily armed warriors.  These were heavy cavalry, armed
to the teeth and clad in full plate mail, riding huge war-
horses that were also protected, by barding.  Of more dire
import were the others who rode along with these warriors.
Besides a red-robed fellow, bearded but otherwise vague
from this distance, there was a gigantic humanoid of some
type, as well as three men of aristocratic bearing, perhaps
nobles.

Peldor:  If not for my eagle eyes, all those people would
  be mere specks.
Arnold:  I think they're spedcks anyway.
Peldor:  Maybe we should prepare spells.
Belphanior:  (glaring at Peldor)  What's this "we" crap?
  (he coughs)
Mongo:  Maybe we should prepare to ambush them.
Rob:  I bet they know we're up here.  (he gestures to the
  rather visible mob of a thousand ex-slaves)
ex-slaves:  (milling about, waiting to see what the
  adventurers do)
Rillen:  (draws his bow)

  Suddenly, one of the nobles rode forth, alone and bearing
a white flag.  He was still a half-mile away, but was coming
fast.

Belphanior:  I'll go out and meet him.  After all, this
  whole mission was my idea...(he rides forth, casting a
  quick spell upon himself)

  Shortly, the elven adventurer met the nobleman, on the
"neutral" ground between the mob of ex-slaves and the newly
arrived cavalry.

fellow:  I believe you have something that belongs to us.
Belphanior:  (smirking)  I believe otherwise.
fellow:  Let's settle this peacefully.  I am Huey, and my
  brothers over yonder are Dewey and Louie.  Between the
  three of us, we rule Westkeep, and have for several years,
  since our insane father died.
Belphanior:  Insane?  Must run in the family, if you've
  followed us thinking that we'll cooperate with you.
Huey:  Come now.  Despite your crimes, we are still fully
  prepared to pay you people off, for the return of those
  slaves.
Belphanior:  Interesting...how much are they all worth to
  you?
Huey:  We are prepared to offer ten thousand coins of gold
  for the lot.  (he winces slightly, as if he really doesn't
  want to part with the money)  A fair deal.
Belphanior:  Bah.  I'll make _you_ an offer, and I don't do
  this often.  If they're worth that much, I'd be happy to
  pay you the same amount, if it'll make you go away without
  making us all fight.
Huey:  (fuming)  The slaves...we want them _back_!
Belphanior:  (disgustedly)  As I thought...you don't care
  about lost money, you care about getting your slaves back.
Huey:  (trembling with anger)  I have been fair, but-
Belphanior:  (waves contemptedly)  Away with you.  If it's
  a fight you want, it's a fight you'll get!
Huey:  Aie!  (he rides away)  Prepares yourselves, foul
  slaverobbers!
Belphanior:  (casting a spell)
Huey:  (riding away)
Peldor:  (looking on)  Uh-oh.  I hope Belphanior honors the
  rules of truce...
Belphanior:  (quickly finishes his spell, which he casts
  upon himself, and hefts his staff, speaking a command
  word)
Huey:  (still riding away)
Belphanior: (flies into the air, toward Huey's companions,
  while tying a white rag to his staff)
Huey:  (whirls)  Eh?
Mongo:  What the hell's he up to...?
Gorin:  Beats the hell out of me.
Peldor:  Me too.

Belphanior:  (hovering over the cavalry and others, he yells
  to them, his voice amplified a hundredfold by his Shout
  spell)  YOU!
cavalry and others:  (all look up)
adventurers:  (also listening, as they too can hear their
  companion, even from this distance)
Belphanior:  I WILL ONLY SAY THIS ONCE.  WE HAVE RIGHTFULLY
  TAKEN THE SLAVES, AND ARE PREPARED TO FIGHT TO THE DEATH,
  A FIGHT WHICH YOU _WILL_ LOSE.  ANY WHO TURN BACK NOW WILL
  BE SPARED, BUT HEAR THIS:  ANY WHO REMAIN TO FIGHT MY
  COMPANIONS AND I WILL BE TREATED WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE.
cavalry:  (a few of them seem hesitant now)
Huey:  (to his men)  Bah!  Ignore this fool!  He-
Belphanior:  (interrupting)  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.  (he turns
  and flies back to the party)
huge half-orc:  (grunts in anger)

Mongo:  Huh.  He actually gave them a good choice.  Now I
  won't feel guilty about not holding back against those
  people down there.
Rillen:  I wouldn't have anyway.
Arnold:  Me neithder.
Belphanior:  (lands)  I don't think many of 'em are going to
  turn away...we'd best prepare for a fight.
Peldor:  But those guys look like wimps!
Belphanior:  Probably, but I was checking them out while I
  was close up.  The three fops are probably wizards, and
  that red-robed guy is a high priest, I think.  That half-
  orc looked dangerous, too.
Mongo:  Bah.  We can take 'em.
Rillen:  (to the slaves)  All of you-
Belphanior:  (he steps around Rillen)  Allow me.  (to the
  ex-slaves)  ALL OF YOU, GET BACK.  WE'RE ABOUT TO FIGHT
  A HELL OF A BATTLE, AND A LOT OF YOU WILL DIE IF YOU'RE
  ANYWHERE NEAR US.
mob of ex-slaves:  (they obey, running to the northeast)
Garth:  (remains behind)  Give me a weapon.
Belphanior:  BUT-  Hmm.  But you can't possibly-
Garth:  A weapon.  I insist.  I won't flee in fear like
  those others who know nothing of fighting.
Mongo:  Very well.  (he hefts a small magical sword)  How
  about-
Arnold:  (whips out a magical two-handed sword)  Try this
  insdead.
Garth:  (takes the big sword, and swings it around easily)
  This will do just fine.
Mongo:  Hmph.
Peldor:  (goes invisible)
Rob:  (drinks a potion of ESP, managing to nearly choke in
  the process)  <cough>
Mongo:  (pats his hammer and steps forth, Gorin on one side
  and Arnold on the other)  I'm ready.
Gorin:  (sips his potion of fire resistance, then uses a
  spare thong to tie his battleaxe to his hand)
Bosco:  (drinks the remaining half of his potion of giant
  strength)  Hmm, why stop there?  (tossing the empty beaker
  aside, he guzzles half of his potion of speed as well)
Peldor:  Er...
Rillen:  (regarding his only potion, one of water breathing,
  in disgust)  Damn.  (he backs up a bit, strings his huge
  bow, and begins sticking arrows in the ground nearby)
Garth:  (steps up beside Arnold)  I am ready as well.
Peldor:  (watching the foes to the southeast)  Holy shit!
  They're all going invisible!

  Surely enough, Huey and his two brothers had blinked away,
as had the high priest and the half-orc.  As the adventurers
watched, the entire cavalry, horses and all, also blinked
out of sight.

Belphanior:  (drinks his potion of undead control as he
  rises into the air)  Urp.  (he uses Blackrazor to haste
  himself)  Ahh.  (he grabs his trumpet of doom)





next time :  battle royal!

ftp site  :  ftp.cs.pdx.edu in /pub/frp/stories/adventurers

notes     :  As I write this, _The Stand_ is half over, the
           third and fourth parts to be shown later this week.
           I never read the book (either version) but I'm
           finding the miniseries fascinating.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


--
Thomas Miller                        tmiller@cimmeria.oit.gatech.edu
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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