Chapter #227

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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 (or more accurately, a fragment of it):         +
+                                                             +
+   Arnold        12th level human warrior               (NG) +
+   Ged           14th/14th level grey elf priest/mage   (NG) +
+   Mongo         17th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+      Gorin       8th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    7/4/574 C.Y. (Common Year)                       +
+   Time:    midday                                           +
+   Place:   near the Selintan River, southwest of Greyhawk   +
+   Climate: warm                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "I don't care how long you've been around, you'll         +
+    never see it all."                                       +
+                      - Bob Lemon, former White Sox manager  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





               CCXXVII.  The Suss Forest





  After deciding to return to the lost Sueloise city, deep
within the Suss Forest, Ged has assembled a caravan and
headed southwest.  His intention is to delve into the lost
dungeons (which the entire party had explored, partially,
some years ago) and recover untold treasures and magicks.
Besides the miners, porters, and guards, he is accompanied
by Arnold, Mongo, and Gorin.

Ged:  (riding alongside Arnold)  We should be there in a
  matter of weeks.
Arnold:  Yah.
Mongo:  You do realize that we'll have to move right
  through the heart of the Wild Coast?
Ged:  Yea.  Boccob's might will protect us, though.
Gorin:  But will it find this...lost city that we seek?
Ged:  (looks offended)  Absolutely!

  Just then, a small figure on a small pony rode forth
from behind the adventurers, slowing down when it had
matched pace with their mounts.

Bosco:  Okay, okay, everybody relax - I'm here.
Ged:  Boccob!
Bosco:  Try again.
Mongo:  (incredulous)  You!
Ged:  (sputtering)  Who-  Why-  Where-
Bosco:  Relax.  Peldor seemed busy, so I took some time
  off, and followed you.
Arnold:  (grinning)  Yah.  Glad to have you alonk.  (he
  claps the halfling on the back, almost knocking him
  from his pony)
Bosco:  Oof.  (rights himself)
Ged:  Who invited you?
Bosco:  Hey, you need someone to open chests...pick locked
  doors...disarm traps...you need _me_!  (grins cheerily)
Mongo:  Uh...I'm not so sure.
Ged:  No, absolutely not!
Gorin:  But maybe he has something to offer.
Arnold:  Yah.
Ged:  Pickpocketing skills, nothing more.
Bosco:  Ah, but those days are behind me now!  I'm an honest
  thief!
Ged:  An oxymoron.
Arnold:  (wondering why Ged thinks that Bosco's a moron)
Mongo:  (to Ged)  Maybe you should cut him in for a piece
  of the action.
Ged:  I'm not so sure...
Bosco:  Sure you're sure!  Everyone wants Bosco!
Arnold:  Aaa.
Mongo:  How about ten percent?
Ged:  Five.  Five percent.
Bosco:  (looks amazed)  Twenty!
Ged:  Aie!
Bosco:  I'll come along for twenty percent of the take.
Ged:  Never!  Why, that would have you making more from this
  operation than _I_ am!
Bosco:  (shrugs)
Ged:  Five, or you're gone.  I don't care which.
Bosco:  (sighs)  Ah, the unappreciated...okay, you've got
  me.  Five percent.
Arnold:  (wondering what his own percent of the treasure is)

  They continued along their way, following the Selintan
southward, almost to the area where it opened into the
Woolly Bay.  Turning westward, the caravan moved into the
Wild Coast region.  As the days went by, the group rode
southwest, cutting through the heart of the kingdom to
get to the Suss Forest.  There were several close calls,
when different bands of roving bandit-types met up with
the group, but the potential marauders realized that the
wagons were all empty.

Bosco:  See, it's 'cause the horses pulling the wagons
  are moving pretty fast, and the wagon wheels aren't
  digging very deep ruts in the road.  Bandits always
  know these things.
Ged:  (drily)  Thank you for enlightening us.
Bosco:  No problem.  (he rides on)

  They passed several cities:  Narwell, Safeton, even Fax
eventually.

Ged:  Ah, Fax...where it all began.
Mongo:  Yup.
Arnold:  (confused)

  The caravan stopped at every possible town or city to
re-stock its supplies, for several dozen men, dwarves,
and horses consumed a lot of food and drink.  After the
city of Badwall, where an extra-large load of supplies
was purchased, the group made ready to enter the Suss
Forest itself.

Ged:  (to the assembled wagon-drivers, miners, porters,
  and guards)  Well, it's been easy up to now.  But now
  we enter this dreaded forest, which teems with hostile
  life.  So...everyone be careful, and keep an eye out
  for any trouble.
Mongo:  Maybe we should have hired a few woodsmen, to help
  guide us through the place.
Ged:  Bah.  My magic will locate the Lost City without
  fail.
Mongo:  Actually, I was thinking of scouts...searching
  ahead for humanoid or monster tracks, stuff like that.
Bosco:  Scout?  (he rides forth)  Did someone say "scout"?
  I can do that!
Ged:  (sensing an opportunity here)  Really?  Wow, we sure
  could use a good scout right about now...
Bosco:  Consider it settled, then.  I shall take the point.
  (he rides ahead of the lead wagon, whistling)
Mongo:  Hey, you got rid of him.
Ged:  (beaming)  Yea.  I just hope he has the sense to
  avoid getting lost in the forest.

  They entered the woodland, guided by Ged's divination
magic.  Apparently, Boccob was in favor of this expedition,
for Ged seemed confident that the Lost City lay somewhere
ahead.  They found an old riding-trail, so that the wagons
would have a road to roll over, and pushed deeper into the
forest.

  Over the course of the next four days, the band suffered
only one attack.  A force of perhaps fifty goblins made an
ill-fated attempt to hijack the caravan, but between Ged's
magic, Arnold's sword, and Mongo's hammer, the dimunitive
humanoids barely had time to engage the guards that Ged had
hired...

Mongo:  (cleaning his hammer)  Crap, did any of the little
  fuckers get away?
Ged:  I think not.
Gorin:  Bosco went to make sure, I think.
Arnold:  Ah-nold is again vigdorious!
Mongo:  Hmph.  Stupid goblins...
Ged:  Let's hope they don't have a few thousand friends.
  I'd hate to have to set this forest on fire...
Arnold:  (thinking about how, if he were here, Belphanior
  would have set the place ablaze long ago)  Aaa.

  They pressed on, guided by Ged's magic, and the very
next day, after hours of searching through underbrush and
tangled weeds, and many false starts, something was at
last found...

Ged:  (excited)  Yes!  We're close, by Boccob, we're close!
Bosco:  (looking around)  Close to what?
Mongo:  (thinking about how this area seems familiar)
  You'll see, kiddo.
Gorin:  (readies his weapon)
dwarven miners:  (looking around in anticipation)

  Ged was now praying to himself, obviously communing with
Boccob.  The caravan, with the adventurers at its head,
moved through the dark forest, slowly.  They were well off
the beaten path now, and it took a long time to get the
wagons through the trees.  It was a fortunate thing indeed
that the Suss wasn't a dense forest; in fact, its packed
earth- and weed- floor was firm and level.  Getting the
horses and wagons through was difficult, but not at all
impossible.

Ged:  There!  (he points to a thicket of dense weeds)

dwarven miners:  (begin chopping the thick, tough under-
  growth away)

Mongo:  No way...it couldn't be...

  But it was!  Beneath perhaps four feet of tangled weeds
and thorns, a square hole lay, steps descending into its
darkness.  A few white, cracked bones were scattered here
and there, and the remnants of a torch-stub rested on one
of the higher steps.

Ged:  Here we are - the Lost City!
Mongo:  (to Gorin)  See those bones?  We fought those
  skeletons, right here on this spot, years ago!
Gorin:  Wow.
Bosco:  Are there any _more_ skeletons here?
Ged:  Without a doubt.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Lightbringer:  (pipes up)  Skeletons?  Undead?  Why wasn't
  I told about this?
Ged:  You've been told now.
Lightbringer:  Very well.  I stand prepared.
Bosco:  You can't stand - you're a morningstar.





next time :  into the Lost City!

notes     :  Credit for the "Bosco stowaway" idea goes to
  Lance Dooly.  Peldor has voiced his approval, though.
  Sorry about the delay in writing this episode - I've had
  a lot on my mind, of late.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



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