Chapter #219

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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  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   WARNING:                                                  +
+                                                             +
+     This story is a flashback of sorts - it has no place    +
+   in the continuity of the current storyline.  The roving   +
+   adventures of Belphanior and Rillen will be continued     +
+   in episode #220.                                          +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "...and now for something completely different!"          +
+                                           - Monty Python    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





             CCXIX.  The Tale of Young Luke





  Seated around the big bonfire along with a group of his
contemporaries, young Luke was the center of attention.
Though most of the other kids, including young Luke, had
already told their stories, his was the favorite, and
everyone knew it.  Besides, a bunch of recent arrivals
had surely missed the first telling.  The other children
(mostly fellow ten-year-olds) looked up at him with great
anticipation.

little boy:  Tell it again!
young Luke:  _Again_?
little girl:  Yeah, again!  We wanna hear how it happened!
other little girl:  We wanna hear everything.

  Young Luke sighed, and began the re-telling of his now-
famous story...

  "It was a normal day...normal, that is, until the flying
halfling came.  He just kinda sailed into town, shooting
fire and lightning from his hands."

  Young Luke made erratic gestures with his own hands, as
if to drive home his point through gesticulation.  Some of
the younger kids recoiled at this.

  "Well, it wasn't too long before a bunch of buildings
were burning, what with the fire-shooting part and all.
Every time he shot lightning, people got roasted, and a
biiiiiig hole got dug in the ground.  People were really
worried, ya know?
  Then..._they_ showed up.  The greatest heroes ever to
walk the land.  I guess they had heard about the flying
magical halfling or something, 'cause they were ready
to fight him and save the day.  First thing they did
was make a big sheet of ice, right on top of that flying
halfling!"

  This drew whispers of awe from the assembled throng -
real _magic_ had been used!

  "They musta surprised the little guy, 'cause after
that big ice sheet popped into the air above him, he
got knocked down to the ground.  Then the black elf
made more magic - he covered the ice and the halfling
with giant spiderwebs!  I didn't see any spiders,
though, so he musta been a _real_ powerful wizard.
Anyway, all that stuff didn't stop the halfling, not
for long anyway.  He busted right outta there, covered
with flames.  The fire must not have hurt him, though,
since he was laughing.  He wasn't scared of the great
heroes, nosiree - he snapped his fingers and zapped a
bunch of our townspeople.  They got all bad, all of a
sudden, and attacked the heroes!"

  The other children recoiled in shock at the mention
of this vile deed.  Young Luke looked around, noticing
how they were all hypnotized by his storytelling, and
then went on.

  "I guess the heroes didn't want to hurt any of the
people, 'cause the wild elf - we never did know his
name, though some people made up their own names for
him - made fire jump up from the town streets!  It
covered the controlled people...no, didn't burn 'em,
stupid, just kept 'em away from the heroes.
  Then the mighty dwarf they called the Mongol lifted
his thunder-hammer and threw it at that halfling!  The
little guy was tough, though - the hammer bounced off
of his head with a DING and came back to the Mongol's
hands.  The halfling must have had a headache, 'cause
boy was he mad after that.  He said some magic words
or something, and the Mongol fell over, yelling.
  About then was when the big black warrior shot his
sling stone at the flying halfling.  Hit the little
sucker in the belly, too, and everything exploded in
snow!  We thought winter had come early that year!
The halfling fell to the ground, frozen like a big
snowball, but he busted out of that, too - shot ice
and snow all around."

  Young Luke could see that some of his listeners were
shivering now, as if the ice and snow had hit _them_,
too.

  "Well, then the halfling started to fly away again.
I guess the heroes wanted to catch him pretty bad -
one of their wizards made a big bag of white flour fly
after him.  It busted him upside the head, and he got
knocked for a loop, and started coughing.  It was
pretty funny."

  Young Luke began imitating what he had witnessed that
day, coughing and hacking like crazy.  Most of the kids
around him thought it was pretty funny, and laughed for
a while.  A few of them were still scared, though, and
obviously wanted to know what had happened after that.

  "Well, while the flour made a cloud in the air, the
silver-haired elf - he was their leader, you know -
was standing nearby, invisible.  That's right - no one
could see him.  Not even the flying coughing halfling.
So the elf jumped up and slapped the halfling.  That
was pretty stupid, mainly since it made him not invisible
any more, but also 'cause the halfling punched him and
knocked him away like a fly.  The elf yelled at the
Mongol, who threw his hammer again.  This time he hurt
the halfling bad, which is what we thought only 'cause
he spun 'round and 'round in the air, head over heels."

  The surrounding children just stared in awe.

  "The great heroes must have known that that was the
time to strike!  Their priest, Rod, walked up like he
was indestructible or something.  He pointed his finger
at the halfling - the finger was glowing - and yelled
some powerful magic words.  Whatever they were, the
halfling didn't like ;em, 'cause that's when he really
started screaming and spinning around in the air.  The
whole time, the great priest Rod just stood there,
pointing his finger and telling the halfling where to
go.  Suddenly, the little guy's body fell to the street,
and he seemed to be knocked out.  All the others walked
up and looked at him, I guess to make sure he was dead.
Some of the guys that walked up hadn't even done anything
in the fight - they must have been historians or something
like that.
  Well, after the fight was over, everyone started fixing
and cleaning.  The town elders wanted to cut off the
halfling's head, but the heroes must have wanted it for
themselves, 'cause they paid the town elders a lot of
money to keep the head.  Soon after that, they rode on
out of town, and took the halfling with 'em.  That was
the last time - the first time, really - that we saw that
band of mighty heroes!  Rod...the Mongol...all of 'em will
always be remembered here in Targ.  They saved the day,
'cause that's what heroes go around doing."

  Satisfied with his story, and proud of himself for
showing the other children that true meaning of bravery,
nobility, and heroism, young Luke stood up.

young Luke:  And that's it.  I saw it with my own eyes,
  way back on that very day, years ago.
other children:  (whispering in awe)

  Thus it was that the young lads and lasses were inspired
to try and be good, and grow up to be mighty heroes:  strong
warriors, powerful wizards, and holy priests.  Young Luke
had given them something to think about on this day.





notes     :  This Friday (November 4, 1994) marks the 3-year
  anniversary of the posting of episode #1.  Hard to believe
  it's been that long...oh, by the way, the events recounted
  in this episode originally happened in episode #77.
    Hmm.  On a whim, I'm going to ask all of you readers to
  do something for me.  I'm curious as to just how many of
  you there are out there...I've made a brief survey and put
  it below.  This way, I can get a feel for not only the
  number of total readers, but other things as well.
    PLEASE take a minute and mail your answers right back
  to me.  Any one of these stories takes an hour, minimum,
  for me to write.  I'm only asking you for a minute here.
  I really want to know about the people read these - that
  means you.  (Yes, you!)

 ---------------------------8<--------------------------------
   1)  How old are you?
   2)  What is your major (or occupation) ?
   3)  What country do you live in?
   4)  How long have you been reading the Adventurers?
   5)  Who is your favorite character (only ONE, please) ?
   6)  Which episode/storyline was your favorite?
 ---------------------------8<--------------------------------

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