Chapter #208

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                                +
                              +   +
                            +       +
                          +           +
                        +               +
                      +                   +
                    +                       +
                  +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                    +                       +
                      +      Epic II      +
                        +               +
                          +           +
                            +       +
                              +   +
                                +

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+    Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells,    +
+  and other terms used in these stories are the property of  +
+  TSR, Inc.  However, this does not mean that TSR in any     +
+  way endorses or authorizes their use, and any such items   +
+  contained within these stories should not be considered    +
+  representative of TSR in any way, shape, or form.          +
+    Due to the nature of the Internet, these stories have    +
+  been widely available since 1991.  I have given them to    +
+  the world freely, and have never intended to market them   +
+  or in any way make money.  However, due to TSR, Inc.'s     +
+  copyright restrictions, old episodes of the Adventurers    +
+  are no longer being archived on any ftp site anywhere.     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+    The player 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                           +
+   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:    late afternoon                                   +
+   Place:   an alien city called "New Orleans"               +
+   Climate: moderately cold                                  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "There ain't no rules around here!  We're trying to       +
+    accomplish something!"                                   +
+                                          - Thomas Edison    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                   CCVIII.  The Plan





  After seeking knowledge in the depths of the public library,
Alindyar, Ged, Arnold, and Paula have returned to the hotel
suite, where they now find all the others resting and relaxing.

Ged:  (looks at Belphanior, then at Peldor, then at the
  corpse propped up in the corner)  I'm not even going to
  ask.
Belphanior:  Well, that's good.  (looking significantly
  healthier, he strolls around the suite's spacious living
  room)  So, what mighty knowledge have you two come up
  with?
Alindyar:  (opens his bag of holding, pouring a couple
  dozen books onto the floor)
Lyra:  Wow.
Peldor:  Yeah, I'm impressed too.
wispy thing:  (flies through the books, grinning)  Ssss.
Arnold:  (wondering if the magi kept the book about Curious
  George)  Aaa...?
Mongo:  (picks up a random volume and stares at it rather
  quizzically)  "Applied physics"...huh?  How is this gonna
  help us get home?
Lyra:  (flips through a tome entitled "Basic Principles of
  Geology")  Interesting...here, Mongo, read this one.
Alindyar:  (discreetly stashes a few of the books, such as
  "The Complete Illustrated History of the Civilized World",
  back in his magical sack)
Bosco:  (reading some leatherbound volume about magic)  Can
  you guys really do this stuff?
Ged:  Pardon?
Bosco:  Drain the blood out of living-
Alindyar:  (closes the book on Bosco's finger)  That will be
  enough of that, lad.  You are thinking of witches and
  warlocks.  Evil ones.
Bosco:  Oh.  (quickly losing interest, he starts talking to
  Paula about tonight's parades and activities)
Rillen:  (leafing through "Sun Tzu's The Art of War")  This
  man is a genius.
Ged:  See, we didn't just get the books we needed - we also
  got something for the rest of you to do while we work-
Alindyar:  Enough.  We must begin.
Belphanior:  (somewhat perturbed that he didn't get to go to
  the library, he makes a note to visit a weapons store at
  some point)  What is it you plan on beginning?

  At this point, Ged explained their plan to the others.  It
seemed that, in the recesses of the library, he and Alindyar
had communed with Boccob, asking pertinent questions.  From
those answers, as well as the books of knowledge they had
found in the library, they had learned that they needed an
item of magical power to focus their attempts to return home,
to help open a transdimensional gateway through which they
could return.  One such item was in fact right here in New
Orleans, within a museum.

Paula:  That would be the city's main museum!  I know where
  the place is!
Lyra:  Well, what are we waiting for?

  They departed with all due haste, though Peldor disguised
himself first, just in case.  This of course served to remind
Belphanior that he, too, needed some kind of disguise.  The
party rectified this by purchasing a strange hat in the hotel
gift shop; this headgear effectively obscured the elf's long,
pointed ears.  Using some soot, Belphanior darkened his face
from its usual pale tone.  A new set of clothes (the elf was
practically naked from his recent ordeals) completed the
disguise, and the party proceeded to follow Paula into the
city.  They didn't bother to check out of the hotel, but they
did take all of their possessions.  Armor, helmets, etc. were
stashed in the portable hole for now, but most everyone opted
to hang onto their weapons...just in case.
  Emerging onto the cold city street, the adventurers looked
around, watching the crowds and traffic.

Paula:  The museum's a few blocks away...let's take a cab.
Belphanior:  (peering out from beneath his Chicago Cubs
  baseball cap)  Cab?
Alindyar:  What, pray tell, is a "cab"?
Paula:  It's a car...err...one of these things that people
  drive around in.
Lyra:  Oh, the odd metal carriages.  I see.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Paula:  (sizing up the party)  Hmm, we might need _two_ cabs
  for the lot of you.  (she steps out into the street and
  starts waving her arms)
Mongo:  HEY!  (he prepares to attack, should one of the cars
  hit the girl)

  Several cars went by but didn't stop; the adventurers had
no way of understanding that those ones weren't taxicabs.
Suddenly, as if from nowhere, a huge car pulled over to the
side of the road.

Paula:  (looking over the station wagon)  Yeah, this'll do
  the job.  Everyone get in.
Peldor:  (rubbing his chin)
Belphanior:  Okay.  (he hops in the front seat of the cab,
  and turns to regard the driver)  Greetings.
cab driver:  Hi there.
Paula:  We need to go to the museum.

  The adventurers piled into the metal chariot, which
fortunately had a large backseat and an even larger trunk
area.  Quarters were cramped, but everyone managed to fit
in, and thus begun a strange journey.  The driver wove in
and out of traffic, narrowly missing other cars as well
as signposts and trash cans.  Belphanior and Peldor, who
were sitting in the front seat with the driver, seemed to
enjoy the ride, despite its seemingly dangerous nature.
Others were not so content...

Ged:  By Boccob!  This is a battering we're taking!
Alindyar:  Aye.
Lyra:  That driver should be more careful.
Bosco:  Nah.  This is fun!
wispy thing:  (darts between various characters, though
  it keeps clear of the driver)  Pfffft.
Rillen:  Why?
wispy thing:  (grins)  Sssss!

  The bumpy, thrilling cab ride ended after a few minutes,
which was too long for some, not long enough for others.

Paula:  (hands the cab driver several bills)  Keep the
  change.
cab driver:  Thanks!
Peldor:  We should thank you, good sir.  That ride was a
  truly great experience!

  The adventurers unloaded themselves from the cramped car
and spread out on the street.  Looming ahead of them was a
huge building, over whose double doors a stone-etched sign
proclaimed "New Orleans Museum of Arts"...
  A much smaller sign on the doors conveyed a simpler and
more important message, though.

Paula:  Closed?
Ged:  Impossible!
Paula:  Well...it's after four...and it IS Mardi Gras...
Belphanior:  Bah.  Let's break in.
Mongo:  Yeah!
Peldor:  We could pull it off.  No problemo.
Rillen:  Or we could wait until tomorrow.
Paula:  Yeah...then you could see Mardi Gras for real.
Lyra:  We haven't already?
Paula:  Not really.
Bosco:  Yeah, she's right.  We were only here for a few
  minutes before we found her the other night.  And besides,
  I wanna party!
Mongo:  Party?
Rillen:  A celebration...
Ged:  (pondering the various legal issues here)  Taking
  books from a library is one thing, but breaking into a
  museum...
Belphanior:  If we did that, more police might come.  Of
  course, I'd fireball 'em this time.
Paula:  Fireball?  Maybe we'd better wait and come back
  here tomorrow.  They open at nine o'clock.
Alindyar:  What is a "clock"?
Mongo:  Hell, I don't care.  We can party tonight, and then
  leave tomorrow.
Rillen:  Fine by me.
Peldor:  Yeah, me too.
Alindyar:  Hmm.  This is somewhat unwise...given the urgency
  of our efforts to get home...
Lyra:  Ah, lighten up a little.  We're in no hurry.
Ged:  So we spend our last night here, and seek our home
  world tomorrow?
wispy thing:  (grins)  Spk!





next time :  the party experiences Mardi Gras, firsthand,
             no holds barred!

notes     :  I've finally figured out how I want the whole
  Earth adventure to continue, and end.  It's all starting
  to come together.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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