Chapter #201

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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:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   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                           +
+   Ged           14th/14th level grey elf priest/mage   (NG) +
+   Lyra          12th level female dark elven mage       (N) +
+   Mongo         16th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                  (N) +
+      Bosco       8th level halfling thief              (CN) +
+   Rillen        16th level human warrior                (N) +
+   Date:    unknown                                          +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   an alien city called "New Orleans"               +
+   Climate: moderately cold                                  +
+   "Nobody _has_ to do _anything_."                          +
+                                         - Charles McCabe    +

                    CCI.  Fitting In

  After being transported to an alternate dimension, the
adventurers have helped acclimate themselves to their new
environs with the help of a homeless waif-girl.  However,
things aren't looking good at the moment, as Belphanior has
managed to get himself ripped to pieces by arcane alien
weapons; said pieces have been taken away.  Also, Peldor
has vanished, presumably to track Belphanior, or at least
his remains.

Ged:  (looking around the tavern-type place that the party
  has just entered)  Again, what did you call this place?
Paula:  It's called a "hotel"; we just rented a room in it.
Rillen:  We did?  For how long?
Paula:  A whole week.  It's normal, really, for Mardi Gras
  time.  'Course, the hotel clerks looked at you guys kinda
  funny...not that I can blame 'em...
Mongo:  Hmph.
Paula: talks, especially here.  (she gazes in
  amazement at the roll of green papers in her pocket)  I
  still can't believe we got all this money...
Mongo:  Don't worry, your briefcase is safe with us.  It's
  in my portable hole.
Paula:  Whatever.  Hey, it's your money too, guys.  I sure
  wouldn't have had a chance to spend _any_ of it if you
  hadn't come along and saved me.
Arnold:  Aaa, don't mention it.  It was nothink.
Paula:  Well...
Alindyar:  Have no fear, lass.  We have all done the right
  thing, 'twould seem.
Bosco:  (wondering how he can get some of the green papers
  for himself)
Arnold:  (stares at passers-by as the group walks down a
  corridor of marble)  Hi dhere.
young lady:  Uh...err...
Paula:  (leads the group to a series of shiny metal doors)
  We have to go up...let's see, the ninth floor.
Bosco:  (spots some white buttons inset into the wall, and
  begins pushing them)  Hey, what's this-

  Suddenly, one pair of the portals slid open silently,
revealing a small, illuminated room beyond.

Arnold:  Aaa.
Alindyar:  (regarding the chamber in wonder)
Paula:  Come _on_.  (she drags Arnold and Ged into the room
  and stares at the others)  It's called an elevator, and
  it'll take us up.
Lyra:  Hmm.  (she and Alindyar enter the strange little
Alindyar:  Up where?
Bosco:  (sees dozens of little white buttons on a wall
  within the chamber, and bounds into it with the others)
Mongo:  What the hell.  (he and Rillen enter the thing)
Paula:  (points to a button)  Push that one, Bosco.
Bosco:  (does so happily)

  With a sudden lurch, the small room began shaking!

Mongo:  Whoa!
Ged:  By Boccob, what is the-
Paula:  Re-LAX!  We're going up.
Arnold:  I always wanted to move up in the world.
Rillen:  (glares at the warrior)
Mongo:  Hmm, she's right.  We're moving upward...
Alindyar:  Rather rapidly, I might add.
Paula:  (points to some glowing numbers on one wall)  Look
  there - those show you where we are at any given moment.

  Just then, the "elevator" came to a smooth halt, its doors
opening with a faint hiss.  Beyond stood a number of elderly
humans, most of whom gaped at the adventurers.

Bosco:  (leaps out)  Boo!
elderly lady:  (recoils in shock)  Aie!
Paula:  Sorry, elders, no room here.  (she mashes a button
  and the doors begin to close)  We're a couple floors short.
Rillen:  (grabs Bosco's collar and hauls him back in right
  before the doors close)  Get back here, you.
elderly fellow:  Young whippersnappers-  (the door closes
  on his words)
Lyra:  (watching the numbers)  We're rising again.
Mongo:  Yup.

  Shortly, they reached what Paula described as the tenth
floor, and disembarked from the small moving chamber.

Alindyar:  A peculiar conveyance, that.
Lyra:  I get the feeling that we haven't seen anything yet.
Bosco:  Whaddya mean?!?  We've seen all kinds of neat things
Lyra:  Never mind.
Paula:  (holding a pair of keys with round white objects
  attached)  Let's see here...
Bosco:  (grabs one of the keys)  Now I know what _this_ is!
Ged:  (grabs the key in turn from the halfling)  So do we.
  Hey, what's this?  (he examines the round white object
  attached to the key)
Paula:  It's a keyring.
Alindyar:  No, he means what substance is it fashioned from?
Ged:  Right.
Paula:  Oh.  (she holds up the white keyring of the other
  key)  This stuff's called "plastic"'s light, tough,
  and cheap.
Arnold:  (having grabbed the key, he bends the "plastic"
  easily)  Yah.
Paula:  And pretty common here.
Rillen:  (looking around at the marble walls, potted plants,
  and thickly carpeted floor)  A nice where are
  we going?
Bosco:  (having regained the key, he reads a number from its
  keyring)  One-oh-six-six.
Paula:  Yup.  Ten-sixty-six.  That'd  (she opens
  a door of thick wood)

  Beyond the door, there unfolded a massive series of rooms.
Immediately in front of the adventurers was a lounge, with
several plush couches and chairs of rather unusual hides and
skins.  Against one wall was a huge square of glass, and a
number of weird-looking lamps were scattered around the
chamber.  While hallways led away to either side, ahead was
a large, open area with a bar-like shelf and some other,
unrecognizable features.

Paula: _this_ is what a thousand a night buys.
  (she turns back and regards the adventurers, most of whom
  are also gawking)  Well, don't just stand there like
  people from a faraway country!  Let's check it out!
Arnold:  But we _are_ pe-
Bosco:  (somersaults into the room and onto a couch)  Ta-da!
  Boy, this place sure is neat!
Rillen:  (heads down one of the halls)  These look like
Arnold:  (enters a massive bedroom)  Yah.  (he nonchalantly
  lifts a massive bed, with one arm, to look underneath)
  No monsters.
Paula:  (eyeing the warrior in confusion)
Arnold:  Aaa.  (spreads his hands)  Where we come from, you
  have to check for these thinks.
Paula:  Err...right.
Mongo:  (heads for a massive set of curtains)  Hmm...
Lyra:  (wanders past the bar-like shelf and begins examining
  various knobs and buttons on smaller shelves behind it)
Ged:  (looking through the room at the end of the other
  hallway, he finds a smaller room within)  Boccob!  A tub!
Paula:  And a shower...and a sink...yup, this place has
Ged:  (regards the girl)  Why are you helping us like this?
Rillen:  (enters the room)
Paula:  Besides the fact that you probably saved my life?
  Well, I've got a shitload of money now, but still, I've
  never had too many friends.  Until now.  You people...well,
  you obviously need help, to find your friend, if not also
  to get home.  You've been nice to me and haven't asked any
  questions, which is more than I can say for anyone else.
Ged:  Like who?
Paula:  Nevermind that.
Rillen:  Don't worry.  We won't let anyone take your money
Paula:  Oh, no!  _That's_ not what I meant.  (she looks
  ashamed)  I'm not helping you so you can protect me.  I
  just...well, I kinda like you guys.  And you _definitely_
  need some help to get by here.  And besides, that, you're
  pretty cool.
Ged:  Hmm.  Well, Boccob thanks you, Paula.
Paula:  Boccob?  Is there one of you I haven't met yet?
Ged:  (goes into a speech about Boccob)
Rillen:  Come, young Paula.  Let us rejoin the others now.

  In the main room, Bosco was sprawled on a couch, facing
the large glass square.  In the halfling's hand was clutched
a small wand of some kind, but more prominent was the image
within the box of glass.  It depicted moving, talking people
surrounded by alien scenes.  As Ged and Rillen watched, the
image changed suddenly, now showing different people, doing
something with sticks of wood and unusual gloves.  The drow
were sitting, one on either side of Bosco, also engrossed by
the images.  Mongo and Arnold were standing by the massive
curtains, which were now opened, revealing a million tiny
lights ahead and below.  However, they were now staring in
awe at the magical square of glass, like the others.

Bosco:  Hey, look what we found!  It moves and talks!
Alindyar:  ...fascinating!
Ged:  Boccob!  (he dashes forth to examine the images more
Rillen:  I won't even ask.
Paula:  That's a TV.  A pretty big one, I might add.
Lyra:  "Tee-vee"...
Paula:  It shows programs.  Dozens of 'em.  All kinds...
  News and sports and movies and even sex-
Alindyar:  Hmm...(he eyes Lyra)
Mongo:  Tee-vee?  What the hell do you use it for?
Paula:  Well, most people just sit in front of it all day
  and get fat.  But it's kinda educational, I guess, if
  you watch the right stuff.
Ged:  Educational?  This?
Bosco:  (mashes a button on his black wand, changing the
  image yet again, this time depicting a group of people
  fighting)  Hah!  I get it!
Mongo:  Bah.
Rillen:  Wait, keep that one.  (he sits on one arm of the
  couch)  That looks like martial arts of some kind...
Paula:  Oh geez.  (she wanders down one of the halls)
Mongo:  Where are you going now?
Paula:  To drain...ah, nevermind.
Mongo:  It's okay, _that_ I understand.
Bosco:  (pushes another button, and the sound from the
  huge glass square grows louder)  Whee!  I love it!
Alindyar:  (tries but fails to swipe the tiny black control
  wand from the halfling's hand)  Damn.
Bosco:  Mine, mine, mine!

  They remained in the chamber for several minutes, seeing
what the "tee-vee's" various images were.  Some, like the
one depicting animals in the wild, they understood.  Others,
like the one of a huge metal ship in the ocean, made some
sense.  Still others, such as the image of a lump of metal
moving through a starry black sky, remained unexplainable.

Paula:  Hey, I'm back!  (she picks up a strange blue box)
  Now this is called a phone.  You can use it to call, err,
  talk with, people who are far away.  (she begins pushing
  tiny buttons on the "phone")  Here, I'll show you.
Alindyar:  Why not use a simple Message spell?
Lyra:  (pokes her mate in the ribs)  Quiet, you.
Bosco:  (engrossed with the "tee-vee")
Mongo:  Bah.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Ged:  (examining the area Lyra was looking through before)
  Boccob!  Artifical heat!  And water!  At the merest turn
  of a knob...
Lyra:  I noticed that too.
Alindyar:  They must pipe it through this whole structure.
Ged:  This place's technology...astounding.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Mongo:  (touches a spiraling circle of silver metal, and
  yanks his hand back)  Yow!
Lyra:  Watch it, that one was on.
Mongo:  Burned me...friggin' place is out to get us.
Bosco:  (still engrossed with the "tee-vee" images, his
  mouth hangs loosely)
Rillen:  How can we be sure it's not hypnotizing him?
Lyra:  Good point.  You know what they say about weaker
Arnold:  (scratches his head unconsciously)
Paula:  (puts the phone down)  Whew.
Rillen:  What's going on now?
Ged:  Yea, didn't it work?
Paula:  Oh, yeah, it worked.  We're having pizza delivered!
  (she sees that everyone's looking at her oddly)  Hmm, I
  guess I'd better explain what pizza is...

next time :  Peldor, Belphanior, and even the wispy thing!

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

notes     :  It feels good to have finally published another
  episode.  Of course, it also feels good to be happily and
  firmly entrenched in a relationship again.  Several people
  who know me personally, among them Ged and Peldor's players
  and one of my primary proofreaders, can attest firsthand to
  this fact.  We all went out yesterday for lunch, shopping,
  and a movie.
    Hmm, I guess I should mention that next month (September
  1994) Ged's player returns to Tech, to begin grad school in
  EE.  He just visited this past weekend.  Anyhow, I'm sure
  you'll all join me in welcoming him back.

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