Chapter #213

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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      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                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "I could've killed 'em all.  I could've killed _you_.     +
+    Let it go.  Let it go or I'll give you a war you         +
+    won't believe."                                          +
+                                      - from _First Blood_   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                   CCXIII.  Renegade!





  Inside Greyhawk's city council chambers, a rather angry
Belphanior was carrying on a losing argument with a short,
flustered city councilman...

councilman:  Sorry, sir, but that's the way it is.
Belphanior:  What the hell do you mean?!?  I was away on a
  quest of earth-shattering importance!  In a whole other
  universe, to be sure!
councilman:  We've heard it all before...but it doesn't
  matter.  Unless I hear it from the mayor himself...(he
  looks around sadly)  Too bad, pal.
Belphanior:  No, too bad for _you_, if you don't get someone
  in here who has some power.  Someone who's in charge.
councilman:  Can't do it.  They're all busy, and besides-
Belphanior:  (stares the fellow down with glowing red eyes)
  NOW!
councilman:  Eep.  (he runs off toward a hallway)
Belphanior:  Damned bureaucrats...

  Soon, the assistant mayor was in the office, having been
roused from his lunchtime nap and brought in here by the
trembling councilman.  This new fellow, however, was a man
of much more stubborn disposition, not easily intimidated
even by one such as Belphanior.

assistant mayor:  -and there's really nothing we can do.
  You weren't here to defend your...property, and so it
  was demolished without incident.  (he yawns)
Belphanior: Without incident?!?  I had an _iron golem_ in
  there!  Not to mention many valuables and magical items!
assistant mayor:  Was all of this insured?
Belphanior:  Insured?
assistant mayor:  Insured through the city's commissioner
  of insurances and warranties-
Belphanior:  Hell, no!  I didn't have any such thing!
assistant mayor:  Oh, well, then.  If you had had _proof_
  of your belongings, then you might qualify for some sort
  of compensation, but...(he shrugs)  And we never heard
  tell of any golem, anyhow.
Belphanior:  (his eye glowing red now)  Dammit-
assistant mayor:  Say no more, lout.  I'll have the guards
  show you out.  (he gestures to some smirking guardsmen
  nearby)  Please throw this...fellow outside.
guardsmen:  (swaggering as they approach)  Okay, skinny.
  Go quietly, or else...
Belphanior:  (his eye glowing _bright_ red now)  Grr...
assistant mayor:  Ho, ho, my good fellow.  These are some
  highly trained guardsmen of the Free City!  You'd do well
  not to invoke their wrath, you know.
guardsman:  Yeah.  (he grabs Belphanior by the collar)
Belphanior:  (puts his hand on the hilt of his sword and
  grimaces)  Unhand me at once.
all guardsmen:  (grab the hilts of their own swords)
assistant mayor:  Whoa, there, elf.  You'd best leave my
  office quietly.
other guardsman:  (grabs the elf's arm)  Come on, fella.
  You're outta here.



  The bystanders nearby would later report that the first
thing they saw was the lightning bolt blowing the roof off
of the council building.  Said roof's pieces quickly fell
all over most of these bystanders, while the bolt arced
upward, into the sky, where it dissipated in short order.
Following this discharge was a tremendous explosion, one
which blew out windows in a radius of several city blocks.
Tongues of flame licked out of these windows, and within
moments, council chamber employees began fleeing from the
now-burning building, screaming and yelling.

Belphanior:  (sails out of the gaping hole in the roof)
  You're lucky I let you live, you sanctimonious fools!
  (spotting a patrol of city guards aiming crossbows in
  his direction, he points a wand at the area over their
  heads, and a bolt of lightning issues forth, demolishing
  a small tower nearby and sending the guardsmen dashing
  for cover)  Bastards!

  The elf flew southward, perhaps seeking new targets,
perhaps seeking to leave this scene.  No one would ever
know for sure, however, for the flying fleeing one was
quickly accosted by a band of guardsmen riding griffons.

sergeant:  You there!  Land and surrender immediately!
Belphanior:  (chuckles)  Or...?
sergeant:  Or we shall rip you to shreds and see your
  carcass scattered over the city!  (the aerial riders
  now surround the elf)
Belphanior:  Well, I just don't think I can do that.
  See, I've got a gripe, and the city council really
  isn't helping me settle it.  So I destroyed their
  building.
sergeant:  Sounds like a confession to me.
Belphanior:  A warning is more like it.
sergeant:  You _dare_?!?  What bravado!  What foolishness!
Belphanior:  I'm warning you idiots one last time.  Leave
  me be.  Or else.
sergeant:  Lesser men have tried, dolt.  (he signals his
  troops to attack)

  The riders began diving and swooping, as their mounts
sought to rend the flying elf with their mighty talons and
razor-sharp beaks.  However, Belphanior simply hovered in
place, grinning, and the first attackers to come near him
were repelled, bounced off of some invisible barrier!

mounted soldier:  Aie!  (he almost runs into a building's
  spire)
sergeant:  A magical wall!
Belphanior:  (uses his eye to summon a cloud of darkness,
  which quickly covers the sergeant and several of those
  near him)  Fools...

  The elf dove then, somehow evading the griffons, and
vanished into an upper floor of some building.  The open
window he went through was too small for the griffons to
fit through, and thus it was some time before the riders
were able to get into the building.  At this point, they
found that the elf had simply vanished - there was neither
hide nor hair of him - not the least trace!
  Within the hour, cordons were posted around the city.
All outer walls were heavily guarded, and all who exited
the city (especially elves) were checked thoroughly.  All
patrols were placed on full alert, and the city guard was
mobilized on double duty for the duration of the search.
  Despite all of this effort, all of this manpower, all of
the precautions taken to avoid letting the elf slip through
the city's perimeters, he did just that.  Even the city's
more powerful magi couldn't find him via scrying and spells,
so complete was his escape.  They would later question his
friends, all members of a powerful band of roving adventurers
and fortune-seekers, but to no avail - none of these truly
had the faintest idea where the renegade elf had gone.

(actual testimonies taken from the elf's fellow adventurers,
 as reported in the _Greyhawk City Gazette_ later that week)

Rillen:  "Who knows?  Who cares?  Leave him be, that's my
  advice to you."

Ged:  "Huh.  Serves him right, by Boccob.  We all knew that
  something like this would happen someday."

Arnold:  "Aaaaa.  Thatd's all I have to say."

Alindyar:  "Fascinating.  He failed to kill anybody."
Lyra:  "He must have been ill."

Mongo:  "Hell no, I don't know, and get the fuck out of my
  face!  Whatever he did is his own business."

Gorin:  "I hardly knew the guy, but he was a hell of a
  fighter."

Peldor:  "No comment."

Bosco:  "He did that?!?  Really?!?  Wow!"





  About a week later, in the northeastern borders of the
Shield Lands, a lone rider entered the small hamlet known
as Bonn.  After tying his mount, a huge black stallion,
outside the town's sole tavern, the rider drew back his
hooded cloak, revealing himself as a tall, lanky elf.  He
entered the tavern, ordered a large mug of ale, paid for
one night's lodgings, and relaxed at a corner table.
  Not more than five minutes after he had arrived, the
crimson-cloaked elf was approached by a massive figure,
also hooded and cloaked.

Belphanior:  Who the hell-
figure:  (draws back his hood)
Belphanior:  Rillen!
Rillen:  Mind if I join you?
Belphanior:  I suppose not.  (he gestures to an empty chair)

  Somehow, a second mug of ale had appeared in front of the
huge black warrior.  Somewhere, a serving wench smirked.

Belphanior:  So, what brings you here?  More to the point,
  how'd you track me?  I didn't intend to be followed...
Rillen:  Actually, it was pure coincidence.  I was headed
  northward, seeking a secret...and this morning, I saw you
  on the road ahead.
Belphanior:  Yeah, well, after I put a few kingdoms between
  Greyhawk and me, I went back to the old standby cloak.
  If anyone's following me now, anyone who's after me, well,
  let 'em come.  I'm ready.
Rillen:  Hmm.
Belphanior:  So where are you headed?
Rillen:  I'm not sure.  I'll know when I get there.  For
  now...northward.
Belphanior:  Hey, me too.  I guess.  I hadn't really decided
  where I was going.  Just had to get out of Greyhawk for a
  while.  I've realized that it's not where I intend to
  settle down.
Rillen:  (considers recent events)  Wise choice.
Belphanior:  Well, you're welcome to ride with me.  The way
  will be hard, though.  No telling where I'm going, and the
  lands to the north of here aren't exactly hospitable, if
  you know what I mean.
Rillen:  No matter.  I could use some extra practice in the
  next few weeks...
Belphanior:  Then we'll go northward!  (they toast, with a
  "clink" of glasses)
Rillen:  To...adventure.
wispy thing:  (appears from inside Belphanior's hood)
  Ffffffyrp!





next time :  the dual "solo" adventure begins

notes     :  This was one of those spur-of-the-moment ideas
  that kinda took hold of my mind.  You'll see why within a
  few episodes.
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