Chapter #210

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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:    evening                                          +
+   Place:   an alien city called "New Orleans"               +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "Beware of the man who does not drink."                   +
+                                                 - proverb   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                    CCX.  Party Time!





  Having just eaten a hearty dinner and consumed much in the
way of potables, the adventurers have wandered into the mass
of drunken, yet joyous, people that is Mardi Gras...

Ged:  (pushed aside by a huge woman with a bottle clutched
  in one hand)  These people have had entirely too much
  alcohol.
Peldor:  (staggering mildly)  They're not the only ones!
Bosco:  Yeah!  (he casually snags some guy's watch)  Now
  what's _this_?
Mongo:  We need more grog!
Paula:  (spies a hurricane stand)  Gotcha!  (she leads the
  party over in that direction)  Peldor?
Peldor:  What?
Paula:  I'm too young to buy this...go up to that counter
  there and tell them you want ten large hurricanes, then
  pay them.
Peldor:  Got it.  (he wanders toward the counter)  Wait
  a minute.  Pay?!?

  Shortly, Peldor returned, bearing a paper tray which
contained ten large cups.  Each was filled with a bright
red drink of some sort.

Mongo:  Huh?  This isn't grog!
Paula:  Better - it's a hurricane!
Alindyar:  Hurricane?  No winds of-
Paula:  The drink!  Try it, you'll like it!
Lyra:  (scowls at her mate)
Peldor:  (already sipping from one cup)  Ahh...
Mongo:  Hard liquor, eh?  (he begins passing out cups of
  the stuff)  C'mon, plenty for all!
Peldor:  (almost objects)  ...hmm, maybe I should have
  bought eleven...or twelve...
Mongo:  Or twenty...
Paula:  Don't worry, there's more where this came from!
Alindyar:  (sips his drink)  Interesting.
Lyra:  Bah.  It's good!
Bosco:  (holding his cup with both hands)  Yeah!  Good!
Arnold:  Yah.
Ged:  (even he has gotten into the spirit, now taking
  large sips of his own drink)  By Boccob, this is a fine
  liquor.
Paula:  Told you.
wispy thing:  (apparently sniffing at Belphanior's drink)
  Sppf?

  They had barely received these new drinks when Paula
found what she had been hunting for over the last few
minutes...

Paula:  (pointing)  Up ahead!  That's the parade route!
Mongo:  That's where we're going?
Alindyar:  (repeatedly buffeted aside by drunken revelers)
  Ugh!  Oof!
Lyra:  We need to forge a path through these people if we're
  to get where Paula wants to go.
Rillen:  Say no more.  (he and Arnold, side by side, begin
  bulldozing through the crowd)
Arnold:  Aaaaaa.
Paula:  That's the spirit!  Everyone, grab their backs and
  follow!
Mongo:  (follows Rillen, as does Belphanior, and the others
  come closely afterward)  Hah!  This is fun!
Belphanior:  (somewhat drunk at this point)  Yee-hah!
wispy thing:  (floats along above, at an altitude of perhaps
  twenty feet)  Spppppf!
Peldor:  (stares some other drunken fool in the face)  URP!
drunken fool:  You called it, dude!

  Within minutes, they had moved to within ten feet of a
barred metal barricade.  About four feet high, the thing
was linked to others like it, and prevented the mob from
spilling into the street, which was clear except for the
police officers standing guard there.

Belphanior:  Hey!  It's those guys!  (he grasps his sword
  handle)
Paula:  No!  They're _not_ the ones who shot you before!
  There's thousands of cops in this city, and the ones who
  attacked you...you'll never see them again!
Belphanior:  Oh.  (looks around)  Maybe I won't have to
  kill anybody then.
Ged:  That's certainly a relief.
Paula:  (remembers the dead fellow in the hotel room)  Whew.
Arnold:  (looking at the barricade through several rows of
  people)  The peoble won't move out of the way.
Paula:  Yup.  You've gotta move them!
Arnold:  O-kay.  (he cheerfully begins pushing his way up,
  followed closely by Rillen)
crowd member:  (pushed aside)  Hey!
Rillen:  (glares down at the fellow menacingly)
crowd member:  (decides to seek another vantage point for
  the parade, one far from here)
Mongo:  Hmph!  (he muscles his way through the crowd, most
  of whom are taller than he is, though only a fraction as
  strong)  Aha!  (he grabs the metal barricade, and looks
  back at the others from his new position at the front
  row of the crowd)  What are you all doing back there?
Rillen:  (looks at Arnold)
Arnold:  (looks at Rillen)
Belphanior:  Heh heh heh.

  Soon, the entire party was behind Mongo.  Arnold and
Rillen flanked the dwarf on either side, and the others
stood behind them.

Paula:  (trying and failing to look over Arnold's head)
  This'll never work.  Us short people need to be in the
  front.
Bosco:  Yeah!  (he appears in front of Rillen)  Here I am!
Rillen:  (considers palming the halfling's head with one
  hand and lifting him into the air)  ...nah.
Ged:  (thinking how funny that would have looked, he
  snickers)
Peldor:  (on the ground, looking up some young lady's
  skirt, he also snickers)
Lyra:  What a fool.
Ged:  The consummate fool.
Paula:  Come on, let us up there!
Arnold:  Aaa?
Mongo:  Hell, I'm short, and I'm staying right here!
Rillen:  (looks around, and realizes that he does indeed
  block the view of a great many people)  Hmm.

  Paula sort of rearranged the group, putting Bosco and
herself in front with Mongo.  Behind these stood Peldor,
Ged, and the two drow, and behind them were Belphanior,
Rillen, and Arnold.

wispy thing:  (still hovering above, it orbits a lamp post
  happily)  Gleeeee!
Paula:  _Now_ we're ready for the parade...hey!  Here it
  comes!  (she points excitedly)

  From one end of the barricaded street, a strange thing
approached.  Well over twenty feet high, it rolled along
slowly on huge wheels, stopping periodically.  Three tiers
of people stood on the sides of the thing - which Paula
informed them was a "float" - throwing glittering beads
and other objects into the crowd.  The people were garbed
in outlandish costumes, and most of them wore strange
masks.  The adventurers found it humorous now that they
had at first mistaken such revelers for demons.  Behind
the first float was another, about two hundred feet back,
and still another, beyond that.

Alindyar:  How many of yon...floats are there?
Paula:  Probably forty or so.
Mongo:  What are those beads all about?
Ged:  Magical, perhaps?
Peldor:  (pops up behind a nearby blonde)  Magical beads?
Lyra:  (to Alindyar)  Look, dear.  A fool.
Alindyar:  Indeed he is.
Paula:  (laughing)  No, the beads aren't magical.  They're
  just...well, you've gotta catch them.
Mongo:  Why?
Paula:  You just do.
Mongo:  Oh.
Belphanior:  (staggering, he grabs Arnold's shoulder for
  support)  Must...be woozy from before...
Arnold:  Naah.  You're drunk.
Belphanior:  Urp?  I mean, I am?  Heh heh.  (he looks up
  at the moon)  Awoooooo!
Mongo:  Drunk as a skunk.
Paula:  Now when the parade comes, you have to try and grab
  as many goodies as you can.
Peldor:  (holding a long string of golden beads in one hand
  and a pair of pink panties in the other)  I'm ready!
Ged:  Looks like you've already started...
Peldor:  Yep!  (he lurches to one side)
Lyra:  (to Alindyar)  I want some of those beads.
Alindyar:  Very well, we shall try our hand at this contest.
Paula:  Use both hands, you'll catch more that way.

  Shortly, the float drew near, and the loot, chiefly beads,
began flying.  The adventurers found themselves in friendly
though intense competition with the surrounding crowd, for
the sailing beads and other things.

Bosco:  (a string of silvery beads rings his head neatly)
  Hah!
Mongo:  (catches a small, ovalish object, pointed at either
  end)  What the hell is this?
Paula:  (already holding three strings of beads)  That's a
  football!
Mongo:  Oh.  What do I do with it?
Paula:  Keep it!
Mongo:  Gotcha!  (he downs the remainder of his hurricane
  and tosses the cup aside)  Ahh!
Paula:  That's the spirit!
Alindyar:  (as yet, without any beads)
Lyra:  (pouting, she finally manages to pluck some from the
  air)  There we go.
Ged:  (catches some shimmering green beads, and slips them
  around his neck, already thinking of ways to enchant the
  things later on)
wispy thing:  (dodging and ducking the flying beads, even
  though it _is_ immaterial)  Bffft!  Spfff!
Belphanior:  (repeatedly snatches beads from the grasp of
  other, surrounding people)  Hah!  Whoa!
Arnold:  (he and Rillen, due to their height, do fairly
  well at the bead-catching)  Aaa.
Rillen:  Well spoken.
Peldor:  (nowhere to be seen)

  Eventually, the float passed, and the hail of beads ceased
for a time.

Paula:  (decked out with shining beads, some of which seem
  to glow in the moonlight)  Looks like I win!
Bosco:  (reaching between the metal barricade's bars, he
  picks up strings of beads that have fallen in the street)
  Mine, all mine!
Mongo:  I got a good bit myself...hey, where's Peldor?
Ged:  (snickering)  Probably trying to get lucky with some
  young harlot...
Peldor:  (reappears suddenly, numerous cups and bottles in
  hand)  I'm back!  And I've brought fresh drinks for all!
Belphanior:  (regards his fellow thief quizzically)  How in
  the hells did you get all that back here without dropping
  any of it?
Peldor:  The magic of Peldor!  (he begins handing out large
  bottles of beer and cups of hurricane drink)  You can
  always trust to the mighty Peldor to provide for the needs
  of all!
Ged:  Yea, right...(he nevertheless takes an offered drink)
Mongo:  Well-done, thief!  You're being useful for a change.
Peldor:  (looks hurt)
Arnold:  (to Peldor)  Well, _I_ abbreciate you, Peldork.
Peldor:  Uh...thanks.

  Before they could do much else, the next float arrived,
and after this point, drunken chaos reigned.  Mongo helped
Paula catch beads that bigger people might have bullied her
out of, while Bosco (who was inexplicably attracting an
awful lot of attention from the ladies atop the floats) got
a hell of a lot of beads.  In-between floats, the halfling
scavenged fallen beads from the street, darting forth when
the police officers weren't looking.  Ged and the drow had
numerous beads as well, though they didn't act quite as
wild as their companions while acquiring them.  Peldor, on
the other hand, was totally out of control, disappearing
half the time.  He always seemed to find his way back to
the others, though, and most of those times he brought
fresh liquor for his companions.  He used his magical ring
to help snag the most attractive beads, most of which he
gave away to nearby ladies within moments.  Belphanior was
nearly as drunk and just about as wild; this was the
happiest he had seemed in quite some time.  The elf soon
abandoned any reservations about losing control, to frolic
and leap with Peldor and random crowd members.  Fortunately
for Ged and the two drow, the twin towers that were Rillen
and Arnold remained behind them, shielding them from most
of the pushing, drunken people in the mob.  The big warriors
were not only gaining large numbers of beads, but also the
attentions of quite a few single women, or groups of such
women.
  The parade lasted for some time, and when the last float
had passed, everyone had tons of beads, most were drunk,
and Peldor, Rillen, Arnold, Belphanior, and Mongo all had
nubile young ladies at their sides.

Lyra:  (though quite intoxicated, she is still taken aback)
  Who...?
Alindyar:  (just stares)
Peldor:  (grinning like the fool he is)  Heh heh.
redhead:  (hanging from the thief's arm, she walks tipsily)
  Heheheee...
Ged:  New friends, eh?
Arnold:  Yah!  (he dances drunkenly)
tall blonde:  (dances merrily with the warrior)
Peldor:  New friends for all, if you had tried!
Ged:  Bah...(he thinks about saying something, but decides
  against it)
Paula:  Hmph.
Bosco:  (holds Paula's hand)  Don't worry, I'll still hang
  around with you!
Paula:  That's nice of you, Bosco.
Peldor:  Isn't Bosco a saint?
Rillen:  (to Paula)  Now where can we go?  To continue this
  great adventure?
black-haired lady:  (on Rillen's arm, she points)  That way!
Rillen:  You're pointing at a brick wall.
black-haired lady:  (breaks into fits of giggling)
Rillen:  (looks at Paula inquisitively)
Paula:  Well, at this point, you usually wander through the
  crowd aimlessly, til dawn.
Peldor:  Sounds like a plan!
Belphanior:  (his inebriated mind wonders briefly where the
  wispy thing got to, and whether it found itself a woman)
tall, leggy brunette:  (wearing leather and holding hands
  with the elf)  Hey, wake up, there!
Belphanior:  Huh?  Oh!  (he breaks into a fresh round of
  hysterics)
Mongo:  Come, let us try to walk!  (he leads the others
  toward a larger street, jammed with singing and yelling
  people)  Let's go, m'dear!
short brunette:  (about five feet tall, but still slender
  and pretty, she clutches the dwarf's muscular arm)  I'm
  ready!
Rillen:  (stumbles, almost falling and dragging down his
  ladyfriend with him)  Oooop!  (he bursts into laughter,
  as does she)
Ged:  How droll.  (watching the behavior of those around
  him, he realizes that he's drunk as well, and begins
  laughing uncontrollably)

  Soon, the adventurers, plus their various friends, were
pushing and shoving their way through a thick crowd, and
loving every minute of it...

Belphanior:  Ho, what's this?  (he is looking up at a
  second-floor balcony)

  A short distance above, on the balcony, a number of people
of both sexes were lined up, leaning over the rail, drunk,
gesturing happily at the people below.  Said people were in
turn yelling upward at those on the balcony.

Belphanior:  What in the Nine Hells is going on here?
men on ground:  (chanting to some woman on the balcony
  above)  Show your tits!  Show your tits!
Lyra:  Oh my gods...
woman on balcony:  (lifts her shirt, exposing herself for
  a full five seconds)
Ged:  Boccob!
Peldor:  (snorts drunkenly)  I doubt _he_ had anything to
  do with those...
Bosco:  Aie!

  The men on the street began throwing beads up to the
laughing woman, whose shirt was back in place now.  She
caught as many of the hurled beads as she could, grinning
all the while.

Lyra:  How revolting!
Alindyar:  (murmured with a hint of sarcasm)  Indeed.
Bosco:  Nah!  I loved it!  In fact, I want to see it again!
  (he begins chanting, starting the crowd going again)
Mongo:  (to Peldor)  He's finally snapped.
Peldor:  Good for him.  (he begins scanning the balcony for
  shirts to telekinetically lift)
Belphanior:  Myself, I snapped years ago.

  The young ladies with several of the adventurers didn't
seem to mind the ogling at all - in fact, one of them lifted
her _own_ shirt shortly thereafter, in response to a group
of men on the balcony!

Arnold:  (less than two feet away from a gigantic pair of
  breasts)  Aaa.
Lyra:  Oh, for the love of...
Ged:  (averts his eyes)  This place is un...URP!...holy.
Alindyar:  (rather reluctantly)  Perhaps we should move on.
Peldor:  (watching another strip-show from another balcony)
  Perhaps not.

  Eventually, they moved down the street, though the scene
was about the same everywhere.

Peldor:  What a place!
Mongo:  Yeah...
Arnold:  I _like_ it.
Rillen:  Aye.
Bosco:  I, I, I too!
Ged:  This place has its finer points...and its barbaric
  points.  Like all places.
Belphanior:  Maybe...but its points are mostly of the finer
  variety...(he eyeballs his female friend)
tall, leggy brunette in leather:  Hmm...what are you looking
  at me like that for?
Belphanior:  Just had an idea...(he whispers something in
  her ear)
tall, leggy brunette:  (bursts out in hysterics)  Oh, you
  devil, you!
Belphanior:  I try my best...
Alindyar:  Hmm?
Lyra:  (rather close to Alindyar)  I think we should go back
  to the hotel now.
Alindyar:  Whyever?
Lyra:  (her hands disappear from view)
Alindyar:  (begins spellcasting)  Say no more.
Ged:  Hey, you can't just tele-
Alindyar:  (he and Lyra vanish)
Peldor:  Guess they didn't need a room key to get back in.
Bosco:  (looks around)  What's going on?
various ladies with the party:  (confused, and drunk, they
  quickly favor the latter condition and forget about the
  pair of vanished drow)
Peldor:  Bah!  Party poopers!  Who needed 'em, I ask?

  The festivities, and with them the remaining adventurers,
continued long into the night...





next time :  at last...homeward bound!

notes     :  Most of the events in this episode were pieced
  together from my own Mardi Gras experiences.  If you've
  never gone, try and make the trip.  What you'll want to
  do is find out which weekend in February immediately
  precedes Ash Wednesday; that's the weekend (and the two
  days after it, if possible) that you want to go to New
  Orleans.
    I've been three times (1990, 1991, 1994) two of which
  Peldor was there for, one of those with Ged too.  Old
  whats-his-name...Halbarad, he lives there, so he always
  makes it, as does Peyote, most of the time, though we
  never go with those guys.  Well, we did pass 'em on the
  way up, last time - Paula was doing 93...
    If you'll be in that area for 1995's Mardi Gras, let me
  know and I'll give you a number where I'll be.  Then you
  can meet me, Paula, Peldor, Rillen, and whoever else we
  bring...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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