Chapter #193

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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:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      15th level dark elven mage              (N) +
+   Arnold        11th level human warrior               (NG) +
+   Belphanior    12th/14th/14th level high elven w/m/t  (CN) +
+      small immaterial wispy thing                           +
+   Lyra          12th level female dark elven mage       (N) +
+   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:    12/11/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                     +
+   Time:    midday                                           +
+   Place:   east of the Dreadwood Forest                     +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "Equally guilty is he who has it in his power to avenge   +
+    a misdeed and fails to do so."                           +
+                                       - the Olympic Truce   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





           CXCIII.  A Meeting of Two Parties





  Having escaped a potentially dangerous trap back at the
Hool River, the adventurers, plus about eleven hundred
grateful friends, have been marching northward for days.
Having skirted the Dreadwood to the west and moved parallel
to the coast, they are now less than an hour from crossing
the southeastern border of Keoland.

Rob:  The authorities there will sympathize with our cause,
  I guarantee it.
Belphanior:  Well, that's good to know.
wispy thing:  (flying ahead, above the party)  sss.
Mongo:  Good job back there at the river, everyone.  We
  could have ended up fighting with ten ships' worth of
  people.  Not that I'd really have minded...
Peldor:  That would have been a battle worthy of the legends
  of Peldor.
Rillen:  But still, it was one better avoided.
Alindyar:  Verily.
Bosco:  We're great heroes!
Lyra:  Indeed we are, small one...(she glances at the mob
  of slaves behind the adventurers)
Gorin:  We've got to offload those people somewhere, and
  soon.
Rob:  Keoland.  Soon.

  As they marched further, the walls of a city came into
view, on the horizon.  Yet, the place was an hour away,
and the whole group hastened its pace.  However, they were
not fated to finish this trip without incident.

Belphanior:  (looks up suddenly, his face rather pale)  I
  sense souls!  Directly ahead!
wispy thing:  (floating around, it nods in agreement)
  Ssss!
Garth:  (halts the mob of ex-slaves)

  Suddenly, a group of figures came into view ahead; they
must have been invisible until now.  First and foremost was
a stocky, weatherbeaten woodsman with a long scar running
down one side of his face, from eyebrow to chin.  Though
the scar was terrible to behold, the man's eye was intact,
as if he had shut his eye while the cut had been delivered.
Besides this fellow, there were the following:  a seven-
foot tall warrior, clad in a loincloth and not much else;
a priest, wearing dark blue robes lined with silver trim;
a green-cloaked half-elf, probably a woodsman like the other
fellow; a centaur, bearing a powerful-looking longbow of
silver; a wizard, floating upon an invisible platform; and
last (but certainly not least) a huge earth elemental, who
hulked over even the tall warrior.

priest:  Behold - the evildoers themselves!
Peldor:  (squinting)  Huh?
woodsman:  Oh, no.  No.
half-elf:  I'll be damned!  This is too good to be true!
centaur:  (clearly confused, he turns to the woodsman)
  What troubles you, friend?
Mongo:  Fuck me...it's-
Belphanior:  Halbarad!  Peyote!
Halbarad:  YOU?!?
Peyote:  Dudes!
mage:  What the _hell_ is going on here?
huge warrior:  You know these people?
Rillen:  What are you doing here?
Halbarad:  Perhaps it is we who should be asking you that
  question.
Peyote:  Gnarly!  It was _you_ guys who stole the slaves
  and wrecked Westkeep!
Belphanior:  Opinions vary.
Peldor:  Wrecked the town?  Is _that_ what they're saying
  about us?
Bosco:  Clearly someone's been exaggerating here.  We only
  wrecked _most_ of Westkeep.
Halbarad:  We have been tracking you for the better part of
  a week!  You are wanted, dead or alive!
Peyote:  Well, I believe their exact words were "preferably
  dead"...
centaur:  Aie!  So let us press the attack!
mage:  Really.
Halbarad:  It won't be that easy, I'm afraid.  Let us have
  a truce, and confer on recent events.

  Everyone got together in a big circle, though some of the
companions of Halbarad and Peyote were clearly reluctant to
parley.

Arion:  (the mage)  So let me get this straight...you went
  to Westkeep specifically to free all the slaves there?
Peldor:  Well, also to steal-
Mongo:  Exactly, wizard.  We made it our mission to travel
  to the Hold of the Sea Princes and liberate some slaves.
Belphanior:  Westkeep just happened to be the first place
  we came across.
Halbarad:  Hmm.  We were merely passing through, recently,
  when we heard about a band of evil bandits who had come
  through and stolen all the town's slaves.
Peyote:  Don't forget the burned-down buildings.
Peldor:  A trifling coincidence.
Arion:  And the giant slug...the umber hulk...the shambling
  mound.
Belphanior:  (spreads his hands)  What can we say?  These
  things happen.
Peyote:  They never did catch that shambling mound...
Alindyar:  Did you know that they sent some others after
  us, as well?
Lyra:  Well, not _us_...we weren't there, really, not at
  that time...
Peyote:  (really confused now)  Whoa.
Belphanior:  Don't worry, all that really matters is that
  they tried to kill us, and we killed them instead.
Arnold:  Yah.
wispy thing:  (nods in agreement)  pfffss.
Rillen:  You are aware, are you not, that your employers
  are slavers, who buy and sell people as if they were
  animals?
Gorin:  They treat them like animals, too.
Bosco:  Heck, they probably even _breed_ them like animals.
everyone:  (staring at Bosco)
Belphanior:  (coughing again)  Well, anyway, those are the
  people who hired you.  What do you think?
Gallant:  (the centaur)  Hmm, I had not considered these...
  ramifications of our employment.
Halbarad:  Truly.
Arnold:  You should consiber them now.
Peyote:  'Twould seem so.  (he chews a piece of grass)
Proctor:  (the priest of Heironeous)  It also seems that
  those from Westkeep kept us ignorant of certain...details.
Peldor:  Mainly that we're great heroes, and we don't just
  wander the world killing and looting as we see fit.
Belphanior:  (somewhat inspired by this theoretical case)
Bosco:  Yeah, we're not bad guys!
Halbarad:  No, we believe you.  Have no fear.
Turok:  But we can't just let-
Peyote:  Enough, dude.  Circumstances have changed.
Proctor:  Indeed.  My magicks tell me that you people are
  telling the truth, for the most part.  (he glares at
  Peldor)
Peldor:  What?  We needed the money to buy stuff for the
  slaves.  It seemed only appropriate that the slave-
  owners pay for that.
Turok:  Hmph.  Good point.
Peldor:  (to Proctor)  Well, I'm happy that you're happy.
Proctor:  Of course, now I wonder why I didn't use these
  same spells on the folks in Westkeep...
Rillen:  (looks over his shoulder uneasily, at the massive
  earth elemental)  And who is this?
Peyote:  Oh, that's Blok.  He's kinda indebted to me, and
  he follows me around and stuff.
Turok:  And stuff...like smashing enemies.  Heh.
Halbarad:  That reminds me-
some slave:  Eeeeeeek!
huge wild tiger:  (stalks into the truce camp)  Grrrrr.
wispy thing:  (its eyes wide)  fboo.
Halbarad:  Surely you remember Zephyr.
Peldor:  Yep.  Does he still tear people's limbs off?
Halbarad:  Only occasionally...usually when someone really
  deserves it.
Bosco:  Usually...(like an idiot, he tries to pet the big
  cat)  Nice kitty..
Zephyr:  Grrrr!
Bosco:  Eep!  (withdraws his hand)
Peyote:  (waxing philosophical)  Beware the wrath of the
  great cat...some ancient civilizations regarded cats as
  gods, you know...
Rob:  (fast asleep)  Zzz.
Arion:  So what do you propose that we all do now?
Belphanior:  Well, that depends.  Have they paid you yet?
Proctor:  Heavens, no!
Turok:  Only an idiot pays for a job like this before.
Belphanior:  My mistake - I thought everyone in Westkeep
  was an idiot.
Peyote:  Clearly we can all see that neither side wants to
  fight.
Proctor:  This is true.
Gallant:  Well, I for one cannot rightfully see how we are
  obligated to bring all these slaves back.  Or even why
  we should...
Halbarad:  I agree.  This mission was a mistake.
Alindyar:  An error?
Peyote:  You called it, dude.
Mongo:  Glad to see that you agree with us.
Arion:  In fact, I'd say it's time to go our separate ways.
  I, for one, have business in the northwest...(he begins
  spellcasting)
Belphanior:  (he, as well as Mongo, Gorin, Rillen, Arnold,
  and the wispy thing, tense up)
Arion:  Relax!  I'm just casting a Fly spell.
Alindyar:  Fly?
Arion:  Is there any other way?  (he goes airborne)  Good
  luck to all of you...(he sails away)
Lyra:  (grinning)  He doesn't know Teleport...
Proctor:  (surprised)  Teleport?
Halbarad:  Well, he's not exactly an archmage.
Peldor:  Not like Peldor.
Peyote:  I see that you haven't changed, dude.
Proctor:  _Teleport_?
Belphanior:  (to Halbarad)  What happened to your face?
Halbarad:  Eh?
Belphanior:  (makes a finger motion by his own face)
Halbarad:  Oh, the scar.  That was a...close encounter
  with an ogre king.  Have no fear, his head ended up
  on a pole.
Mongo:  Well, that's good.
Proctor:  _Teleport_?!?!?
Lyra:  What's your trouble, priest?
Proctor:  Any mage who can cast Teleport is a mage to be
  reckoned with.
Alindyar:  That would be me.
Lyra:  And me.
Belphanior:  (lying)  And me.
Halbarad:  (regards the elf)  Hmm.
Proctor:  It is probably good that we didn't have to fight.

  Handshakes were exchanged all around, and peace was made.
Then, everyone decided to continue northward, to the city
ahead.

Rob:  That should be...hmm...(he consults his map)  Ah, here
  it is.  The city of Gradsul!
Mongo:  What kind of name is that for a city?
Peyote:  Hey, I think it's cool!
Peldor:  You would.





next time :  the matter of the ex-slaves is dealt with on
           a royal level

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

notes     :  Heh heh.  No, really, quite a few of you have
           been clamoring for the dynamic duo to return...
           well, they're here, at least for the time being.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


--
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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