Chapter #212

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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:    daytime                                          +
+   Place:   unknown, presumably somewhere on Oerth           +
+   Climate: sub-freezing                                     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "There's no place like home..."                           +
+                        - Dorothy, from _The Wizard of Oz_   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                 CCXII.  Home, Sweet Home





  For nearly two days (though it doubtless seemed like a lot
longer) the adventurers have been in a parallel universe, on
a world called Earth.  Having finally found a way home, they
had wrapped up their business and stepped through the magical
archway...

   ...and found themselves face-down amidst mounds of black
snow!

Ged:  Boccob!
Bosco:  Brr.
Alindyar:  'Tis the Black Ice.
Lyra:  This is about where we left this universe from...or
  is it?  (she looks around)
Rillen:  I don't see the great city of metal.
Belphanior:  (consulting his compass)  That's 'cause it's
  almost a full day's march to the northeast.
Mongo:  Hmph!  I wonder if we should go back there and see
  what's up?
Arnold:  (trying to remember the city and the demon)
Peldor:  Back?  Back to the City of the Gods?  (he was
  thinking instead of the City of Greyhawk)
Ged:  (a thought suddenly hits him)  Boccob!  We have to
  find the remaining runes of power!
Alindyar:  Ah, yes...
Mongo:  (looking northeastward)  To the city, then?
Belphanior:  I wouldn't waste your time.  (he shows the
  others his magical compass)  Neither the Rune of Time nor
  the demon are still there.  In fact, the compass can't
  find them at all...
wispy thing:  Brrrft!
Peldor:  (muttering)  There you are.
wispy thing:  (nods)  Srrrrp.
Alindyar:  What of the other Runes?
Belphanior:  I'm not sure what they're called, exactly...
  Lyra's got one, of course.
Rillen:  What of Peyote and the other fool?
Belphanior:  (again consults the compass)  Ah...they are
  far to the south...very far...
Ged:  By Boccob, there's only one answer...we must teleport
  back to Greyhawk and talk with Ravel Disander.
Peldor:  (trying hard to recall who that is)
Ged:  (begins spellcasting)
Arnold:  Greyhawk?
Alindyar:  Yes, I agree.  We must repair to the Free City
  and see what is what.
Bosco:  Yeah!  (he looks around, confused, since he's pretty
  much forgotten all the details of the quest for the Runes)
Ged:  Everyone link hands, now, as I complete my spell...
  (they do, and he does)

  Instantaneously, the entire party appeared in the temple
of Boccob, within Greyhawk's walls!

acolyte:  (recoils in surprise)  Aie!
Ged:  Calm down, lad.  I must see Ravel immediately.
acolyte:  Uh...I shall fetch him.
Ged:  Please.



   Quite a while later, the bewildered party was still
sitting at a stout oaken table, talking to the grey-haired
high priest and facing an uncommon period of respite...

Ged:  You mean to tell us that we've been missing for _five
  months_?!?
Ravel:  That is correct.  The last that I knew, I helped
  send you north, to the Black Ice to meet Idris and his
  friends.  You parted company with them, found the City of
  the Gods, battled a demon...there was an accidental, very
  magical explosion and you were all gone!  Vanished!  No
  amount of scrying could find any trace of you.
Mongo:  Then how do you know all this?
Ravel:  Your other companions...the ranger and druid - they
  eventually returned here and relayed all this to us.
Belphanior:  Certainly was considerate of them...
Peldor:  (wondering how his various holdings and interests
  have fared for five months without him)  Crap.
Alindyar: Five months...150 days...over 2...Every minute we
  spent in the plane of New Orleans was over an hour of time
  back here!
Lyra: That's nice, dear.
Peldor:  I wonder if we aged.  I don't feel five months
  older.
Ged:  By Boccob, this is unacceptable!
Rillen:  What are you going to do about it, turn back time?
Peldor:  Heh.
Ravel:  I realize that this is quite a shock, but you must
  bear it nonetheless.
Alindyar:  But what of the Runes...the various groups who
  sought to gather them all?
Ravel:  Well, there was a confrontation of sorts, within
  the City of the Gods...agents of the Scarlet Brotherhood,
  Iuz, the Circle of Eight...also some other adventurers
  who were on our side...and your friends, the ranger and
  druid, they were involved as well.
Ged:  What happened then?
Ravel:  Essentially, the various parties present battled
  to a standstill.  When some of them began to flee, or
  should I say vanish magically, the others realized that
  without the Star Rune, the entire set of seven Runes
  could never be united.
Rillen:  The demon...
Ravel:  Yes, your battle with him somehow sent the Star
  Rune...elsewhere.  No one knows quite where it is.  I
  was actually hoping that you knew...
Ged:  You can debrief me later...for now, I'm curious as
  to the fate of the Water Rune.  (he looks at Lyra)
Lyra:  What?
Ravel:  Ah, yes, you would be the carrier of the Water
  Rune.  We'd like to keep it here, in the temple of
  Boccob, for safekeeping.
Alindyar:  Preposterous!
Ged:  (tries to avoid grinning)
Peldor:  No temple is safe...especially not a temple of
  Boccob!
Bosco:  You want her to give our Rune back to you?
Ravel:  Basically.
Lyra:  I don't think that's fair.
Mongo:  Well, it _is_ a party item...and if one of us
  can't hold it, then it's probably better off with none
  of us...
Rillen:  (folds his arms)  Agreed.
Belphanior:  (considers asking where the Fire Rune is)
Lyra:  Well...
Alindyar:  (about to resume this line of argument)
Ged:  It's only fair that you hand it over.
Ravel:  Remember, you will always be welcome in our
  temples, here and in the outlying regions of Greyhawk.
  Our resources will always be at your disposal, should
  you require something.
Ged:  Within reason.
Ravel:  Of course.
Lyra:  Oh, all right.  (she hands the Rune over to Ravel)
Alindyar:  (rather upset)
Peldor:  (makes a note to offer to steal it back, if the
  drow will pay his price)
Lyra:  (to Alindyar)  Come.  We have five months worth of
  maintainence to make up for...not to mention what's in
  the lab...
Alindyar:  Eh?  Aye...(he begins spellcasting, then
  addresses the others)  We shall remain in contact...
  (they pop out of existence)
Ravel:  Well.
Mongo:  Hey, I need to go find Gorin, too.  Hmm...?  (he
  turns to look at Belphanior)
Belphanior:  Already on it.  (he views his magical compass)
  He's right here in the city...try Peldor's tavern.
Mongo:  Yeah!  Thanks!
Peldor:  (thinking of Tanya)  An excellent idea.  Let's go.
Bosco:  Go, go, go...(the three of them leave)
Belphanior:  Hmm, I have some catching up to do as well...
  (he takes a bow, exiting)
Rillen:  Me too.  (he follows the elf)
wispy thing:  (chugs along after the pair)
Ravel:  What was _that_?
Ged:  I'm not quite sure.
Arnold:  Aaa.



  For the next several days, each of the adventurers went
about his or her own business, training, studying, doing
research, inventorying...



  Alindyar and Lyra pretty much kept to themselves, within
their extraplanar hideaway.  The former mage learned three
new spells:  Permanent Illusion, Shadow Walk, and Mass Charm.
Unfortunately for Lyra, she was as yet unable to gain any
mystical knowledge.

  Arnold trained and practiced, spending much time at the
Guild of Warriors, honing and refining his swordplay.
After this was done, he rejoined Ged in the elf's castle.

  Belphanior went immediately to his hideaway, the small
building in the slums of Greyhawk, but was shocked to find
that the entire block had been torn down!  Where the place
had once stood, the place that housed his laboratory, his
secret treasure cache, and the rest, there was now only a
heap of rubble and dust.  Of Angus the iron golem, there
was nary a sign.  Against his gut instincts (for perhaps
he had learned something from his recent brush with death)
Belphanior set out to learn, covertly, what exactly had
happened...but that is a story for another time.

  Ged spent hours talking with Ravel Disander, but then
retreated to his castle and land, where he found that his
loyal servants had done an admirable job of keeping things
running smoothly in his absence.  Of course, the grey cat
had died again, and had to be brought back to life, a fact
which only strengthened the grey elf's resolve to abstain
from lengthy quests in the future.

  Mongo found Gorin, who was of course glad to see his
liege alive again, and the pair had much catching up to
do.  First, though, both dwarves spent many long and
sweaty hours in the Guild of Warriors, sparring and
practicing.

  Peldor returned to his inn and Tanya, and was content
as only the cat who ate the canary could be.  This, too,
is a story for another time...

  Rillen wasted no time resuming his rigorous training,
for only three months remained until this year's great
fighting tournament.  Of course, simply learning the
location and nature of the event would be an adventure
in itself...



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      16th level dark elven mage              (N) +
+   Arnold        12th level human warrior               (NG) +
+   Belphanior    13th/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         17th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+      Gorin       8th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+   Peldor        19th level human thief                  (N) +
+      Bosco      10th level halfling thief              (CN) +
+   Rillen        17th level human warrior                (N) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    6/20/574 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    noon                                             +
+   Place:   the Free City of Greyhawk                        +
+   Climate: warm                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





next time :  Belphanior's exodus begins

notes     :  Damn, but a lot of things got done in this one.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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