Chapter #202

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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                                  +
+   "Dead or alive, you're coming with me."                   +
+                                                - Robocop    +

                CCII.  When the Dead Walk

  While the other adventurers acclimate themselves to the
strange world they are now in, Peldor has ventured out on
his own, presumably to track Belphanior, or at least his

  Peldor walked through the morning's pedestrian traffic,
mingling into the crowd rather effectively.  He decided
that it was a good thing that the party had found clothes
more appropriate to the normal garb of this world's people.
Though his shortsword was in Mongo's portable hole - the
girl Paula had said something about weapons laws here, and
the innumerable complications that might arise from breaking
them - the thief still had his magical throwing daggers.
However, by the looks of these people, Peldor would have
no problem should he manage to get into a fight.  Not that
he would, the thief thought to himself as he walked along;
a good thief didn't look for trouble or attention.  And
Peldor was one of the best.
  The thief walked along, disguised in what seemed like
normal clothes.  Even his magical hat was re-shaped now,
made to resemble a hat he had seen someone wearing a few
minutes ago.  After all, a good disguise was essential.
Of course, good directions never hurt, either - and at the
moment, Peldor wasn't sure just where he needed to go.

Peldor:  (to some young lady)  Excuse me, miss?
young lady:  Hmm?  (she meets Peldor's gaze and gasps)
Peldor:  (using his persuasiveness effect - why not? -
  during this conversation)  I'm searching for a place
  called "Memorial Hospital"...I believe it's near here.
young lady:  Uh...yes, it's about three blocks that way.
  (she points down one street)  On the left.  You can't
  miss it.
Peldor:  Why, thank you.  (he tips his hat to the lady
  and goes about his way)
young lady:  Hmm...he seemed nice...

  Meanwhile, within the depths of the structure called
"Memorial Hospital", two young morgue attendants were busy
wheeling in the new arrivals.

Bill:  (at the head of the gurney)  Man, they sure shot
  the shit out of _this_ one...
Ted:  (at the foot of the gurney)  Yeah, man...(he picks up
  the clipboard attached to the gurney's foot, and begins
  reading)  Police report #90210...18 July 1994...11:06...
  blah blah, blah blah blah...aha.  Subject unknown.
Bill:  (staring at the mess on the gurney)  Yep.
Ted:  (continues reading)  Location, Royal Street...hmm...
Bill:  What's it say?  Who is he?  What happened?
Ted:  Don't know, man.  It's just got the stuff I already
Bill:  Bummer.

  They wheeled the remains into the pathology lab, where a
short, middle-aged man was opening large metal drawers set
into one wall.  Each of these contained a refrigerated body
from some recent mishap; some had been autopsied, while
others hadn't.

Bill:  Fresh meat, dude!
Dr. Smithers:  Oh, okay.  Hmm, put that  (he
  indicates an open, empty drawer/slab)
Ted:  Got it, man.  (they slide the remains of Belphanior
  into the drawer, and close it)  Have fun.
Dr. Smithers:  Undoubtedly.
Bill:  Brr.  (he and Ted leave beat a hasty retreat)

  Before too long, Dr. Smithers was ready to do the autopsy
on this new one.  Usually he didn't cut the new ones for a
day or two, but he had other work to do today, and he didn't
want to have any backlog.  So, the good doctor shuffled the
forms in his clipboard, uncapped a pen, and began making his
preliminary examination.  Sure enough, this fellow was in a
bad way, so to speak.  Aside from being dead, of course, he
had at least forty-three bullet holes; the doctor suspected
that there were more, but he really couldn't tell.  Must
have been a gang war victim or something, he thought as he
continued, muttering to himself.  Before long, the doctor
gasped to himself, for the wounds were of such quantity
that he was unsure where to begin the examination.  In fact,
most of the wounds were so extensive that the bones and
organs beneath were clearly visible.  It wasn't hard at all
to see the corpse's various internal damages.  Apparent
compound fracture, right humerus.  Depressed fracture,
frontal lobe of cranium.  Various fractures, multiple ribs.
Right radius and ulna completely crushed.  Both lungs
probably punctured, multiple regions.  Pelvis appeared to
be cracked.  Simple fracture, left femur.  Apparent crushed
left patella, fibia, and tibula.
  Looking back over the body, the doctor realized something
that made him drop his clipboard:  the corpse had long,
pointed ears!  Approximately five inches long, he noted
after he regained the clipboard, and, sure enough, tapered
to a point at the superior end.  Holy shit, Dr. Smithers
mouthed silently to himself.  Pointed ears!  Continuing his
notations at this point (for he was nothing if not efficient)
the good doctor jotted down something about an apparent case
of redeye.  The left retina, cornea, iris, even the _pupil_,
were all completely red, a bright crimson color that was most
unnatural.  By God, what the hell was going on here?!?
  Dr. Smithers made a note to dissect that eye later, maybe
on Friday, just to see what its inner tissues looked like.
For now, he'd have to be content with the standard autopsy.
Speaking of which...where were all the syringes and needles,
anyway?  Damn it, he thought as he eyed the door, we're all
out down here.  I'll have to go upstairs to Supply and get
some more, to get this damned autopsy done before lunchtime.
Sighing, the doctor set the clipboard down, re-covered the
mangled body with a sheet, and headed for the hall, slamming
the door behind him.
  Back in the pathology lab, strange sounds came from the
covered corpse lying on the cold metal slab...

  Meanwhile, outside the hospital, Peldor lingered for mere
moments before heading toward an open door.

Peldor:  (having disguised himself in the same strange
  white attire as the important-looking people who are
  going in and out of the door)  Hmm.  (he casually enters
  the hospital through the physicians' entrance)

  Beyond the door was a corridor, through which a lot of
busy people walked.  Peldor wandered down this hallway,
then turned and headed for a side hallway.

Peldor:  (standing before a diagram of some kind)  Hmm...
  what's this?  "Directory"?

  As the thief studied the large plaque on the wall, he
didn't notice the slight wispy thing which was floating
along behind him, hugging the ceiling.

wispy thing:  pffffs.

  A short time later, Dr. Smithers made his way back to
the pathology lab, supplies in hand.

Dr. Smithers:  (selects a scalpel)  Aha.  (he approaches
  the form under the white sheet)  Time to go to work...

  As the doctor prepared to make the primary incision, a
pale, bony hand suddenly shot up, grabbing the man's hand
in an icy grip and causing the scalpel to point toward the

Belphanior:  I wouldn't do that if I were you.
Dr. Smithers:  AAAAAAAAA!  (he drops the scalpel)
Belphanior:  (lifts the sheet, looking over his body)  Oh,
  the pain.
Dr. Smithers:'re _dead_!
Belphanior:  Opinions vary.  (his red eye glows fiercely)
  (he stands up, wrapping the sheet around himself)  Where
  are my clothes?
Dr. Smithers:  Uh...well...
Belphanior:  (twists the scalpel out of the doctor's hand
  and points it at his throat)  NOW.
Dr. Smithers:  Eyah!
Belphanior:  Where are my equipment?
Dr. Smithers:  Err, I'd guess the police took your things.
Belphanior:  I see.  (he stalks around the lab)
Dr. Smithers:  (ponders his chances of escaping)
Belphanior:  (finds a white gown, and dons it, tossing the
  sheet aside)  Don't even think about trying to escape.
Dr. Smithers:  Uh...
Belphanior:  Never mind.  (he picks up a metal basin and
  bashes the good doctor on the back of the head, knocking
  him to the floor)  Hmph.  (he wanders about the room,
  barely noticing the drops of blood which fall from his
  body)  Where the hell am I?

  Surveying his immediate surroundings, the elf realized
that he was in some kind of underground castle; the lack
of windows and the oppressive atmosphere told him that.
His mood grew significantly better when he saw, atop a
nearby metal table, his bracers of defense and gauntlets
of ogre power.  Though somewhat worse for wear, the items
were still there, and Belphanior donned them, happily.
He still needed the white robe, though, since he didn't
prefer to walk around naked.  As he headed toward the
nearest door, the elf was suddenly wracked by myriad
pains, and staggered to his knees.

Belphanior:  Argh!  (he trembles in pain)  Maybe...I'm
  not fully healed yet...(he examines his wounds)  Ugh.
  _Definitely_ not healed yet.  But...

  As the elf rested against a wall, he tried to figure
out a reason for his survival.  After all, the arcane
weapons of the strange militia soldiers had torn his very
flesh from his bones, and all but drained his body of
blood and guts.  Though, to be sure, none of his wounds
were bleeding now, as they had been mere minutes ago -
and _that_ was odd indeed.

Belphanior:  (surveys his healing wounds with his red,
  glowing eye)  What in the hell...?  Hmm.

  Suddenly, the elf felt a bit stronger, and he rose to
his feet.  Opening the glass door, he saw a few people
wandering the hallway outside.  It struck him that the
white robe he was wearing seemed to be a common garb in
this castle, and thus he decided to keep it for now.
Pushing the door open cautiously, Belphanior checked the
hall, then padded away silently, closing the door behind

  As the elf was making his escape, Peldor was elsewhere
in the hospital, gathering information with his magical
powers of persuasion.

Peldor:  So let me get this right:  dead people who came
  here yesterday are on the ground floor, down those
  stairs there?
intern:  Yeah...that's where they always take 'em.
Peldor:  Got it.  Thanks so much for your help.
intern:  No problem.  (he walks away, with the impression
  that he's just helped the nicest fellow in the world)
Peldor:  (heads down the stairwell)

  Meanwhile, Belphanior crept up behind a petite young
lady who was sitting behind a white desk.

receptionist:  (hangs up the phone)  Geez.  You'd think-
Belphanior:  (glares into the woman's eyes)  Where are my
receptionist:  Uh...what?
Belphanior:  My weapons!  (his red eye glows with anger)
receptionist:  Eyaaaah!
Belphanior:  Don't toy with me, woman.
nearby security guard:  Hey!  You!
Belphanior:  (whirls about)  You look like one of those who
  took my weapons.
security guard:  Hey, buddy, what are you doing out of bed?
Belphanior:  (walks toward the man with determination)
security guard:  Whoa there...(he gets a close look at the
  still-healing wounds on the elf's body)  Uh...
Belphanior:  (swats the fellow aside, knocking him against
  a wall)  Bah.
security guard:  (knocked out)
Belphanior:  (driven by some primal instinct, he takes the
  man's police baton and gun, and heads for a nearby stair-
  well)  Bye.
receptionist:  (grabs the phone and begins dialing as soon
  as the elf is out of sight)

  About this time, Peldor was headed down the very same
stairwell, and he bumped into Belphanior as the other was
coming upward.

Belphanior:  (raises his baton)  Yaaa-  You?!?
Peldor:  YOU?!?
Belphanior:  Hmph.
Peldor:  Holy shit!  You're walking and talking!
Belphanior:  Yeah...not sure exactly why, though.
wispy thing:  Pffffs.
Peldor:  Huh?
wispy thing:  (orbiting both their heads)  Sssss.
Belphanior:  You too?  I should have known.
wispy thing:  (adopts a quizzical expression)
Peldor:  Listen, we'd better get out of here.  The-

  Just then, there were loud shouts from above, and several
of the blue-garbed militia-type men appeared on the landing.

security guard:  (pointing at the pair of adventurers)
  There they are!
Peldor:  Uh-oh.

next time :  chaos reigns

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

notes     :  I just got back from New Orleans, where I spent
  Labor Day weekend.  Now I have fresh ideas for this Earth-
  bound adventure...places I've actually been...

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