Chapter #235

previous chapter (#234)                                                                  next chapter (#236)





                                  +
                                +   +
                              +       +
                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      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 copy-    +
+  right 1995 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 elven priest/mage        (NG)  +
+     Nenya     8th/9th level female elven warrior/mage       (NG)  +
+  Mongo        17th level dwarven warrior                    (CG)  +
+     Gorin      8th level dwarven warrior                    (CG)  +
+  Bosco        10th level halfling thief                     (CN)  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    7/18/574 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:    early evening                                          +
+   Place:   a dungeon beneath the floor of the Suss Forest         +
+   Climate: mild                                                   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "Things go right so they can go wrong."                         +
+                                                     Maah's Law    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                 CCXXXV.  A Flurry of Problems





  After a busy day of adventuring, the party has explored all of
the caved-in areas, faced and beaten the dreaded juggernaut, and
discovered a hall full of ancient art items and relics.

Ged:  A good day's work.  Let's get the miners and porters down
  here, to haul this stuff up.
Mongo:  Yeah.  It's suppertime!
Bosco:  Mmm...food...

  With that, they returned to the upper levels of the buried
city.  While they rested, bound wounds, checked previously bound
wounds, and ate, the miners and laborers worked busily to bring
the long-lost Suel treasures to the surface.  Actually, Ged was
too worried about possible breakage or theft to eat much, and
after wolfing down a slice of roasted meat and a roll, he grabbed
a wine-jug and headed back down into the dungeon, to supervise
operations there.

Ged:  (scribbling on a scroll)  Where's Calvin when I need him?
  (to a porter)  Careful with that vase.
porter:  (grumbles quietly)
grey cat:  (nuzzles up against its master's leg)  Mrowr?
Ged:  Hi there.  Have you come to help me?

  The elf's familiar had been with the caravan since it left Grey-
hawk, though it had been keeping a low profile.  It now seemed to
be content to sniff at the ancient Sueloise treasures and artworks,
and it followed Ged and the porters as they went back and forth from
the dungeons to Ged's tent.  The latter place was the location to
which all treasure was being moved, and the various porters came and
went, carting items up from below.

Ged:  (carefully examines a fragile clay pot, covered with runes)
  Hmm.
porter:  (carries in a small silver chest)  Where should I put this?
Ged:  Hmm?  Oh, over there, by the larger chest.
porter:  (does so, and then leaves)

  Thus it was that, while the others ate and prepared for bed, Ged
worked long into the night, making sure that every last piece of
Suel treasure was carried up and catalogued.  A quick spell told him
which were magical and which weren't, and accordingly, he divided
the items into five distinct piles, to be sorted through later.

#1  items found before the huge golden chest
#2  magical items from huge golden chest
#3  non-magical items from huge golden chest
#4  magical items from diamond-shaped hall
#5  nonmagical items of art from diamond-shaped hall



  Only after this task was completed could the grey elf sleep;
even then, it was a restless sleep, filled with dreams and visions
of ancient magics and treasures.  The night passed quietly, with
no attacks or disturbances.  However, something of import did
occur before the morrow; sometime shortly before dawn, it began to
rain, a torrent of pounding water that hit the camp hard, soaking
everything and everyone.

Mongo:  (running around in his underwear, his shield held above
  his head)  Gods damn it!
Bosco:  (wanders by, totally wet and rather miserable-looking)
  Your tent wasn't waterproof either, huh?

  Besides the tents, just about everything else was soaked.  The
ten wagons were waterlogged, as were some of their contents, and
the porters and guards looked quite unhappy.

guard:  (to porter)  This sucks.
porter:  Yeah.
Ged:  (wandering around in the rain)  Hmm, perhaps a spell would
  help keep the camp dry.
Arnold:  (to Ged)  Aren't you worried about the treadsure getting
  wet?
Ged:  Already took care of it, with a wall of force.  Now, if only
  I had a way to cover the entire _camp_...
Bosco:  Sure is one hell of a storm...
Gorin:  This isn't a storm - this is a monsoon!
Nenya:  (appears, shielded from the rainfall by an invisible
  barrier of some kind)  Agreed.
Mongo:  Shit, shit, shit.  Shit!
Ged:  What?
Mongo:  This kind of rain'll seep into the ground...and the lost
  city beneath us.  Water will build up, and dirt will turn to mud.
  Mining could get a lot harder.
Gorin:  Damn, you're right.
Mongo:  Then again, we've got experienced miners...the dungeon may
  not become too difficult for them.
Arnold:  (shows up, holding a wet sack over his head)  Aaa.  The
  dundgeon.
Bosco:  That must be where all the dwarves are - in the dungeon!
Nenya:  Maybe it's dry down there.
Mongo:  Some places, I'd bet.
Ged:  Hmm, maybe we should move the vital items below.  (he begins
  barking orders to the porters)

  For the next few hours, the entire caravan - adventurers and
hirelings alike - worked to move as much as possible into the
ancient dungeon.  While certain of the top rooms were becoming
waterlogged, there was still plenty of dry space.

Nenya:  To be sure, even a puddle-filled room would be better
  than the camp above ground.

  Overall, the operation was a success; most of the supplies
were saved from ruin, and the dull, distant thumping of the
rain above reminded everyone that they were better off in the
dry dungeon.  Only the wagons and the tethered horses remained
in the camp above.

Arnold:  I made sure the hordses were all tied up.  I even tried
  to put a tend over their heads...but it didn't work.  (he looks
  down sadly)
Mongo:  Don't worry, I'm sure they'll be okay.
Ged:  Hmm.

  Also, the camp had gained a certain strategic advantage by
moving underground, for the bulk of the equipment, not to mention
all the treasure recovered from below, was better protected from
any attackers.  This was put to the test, though, as a band of
hobgoblins swarmed the camp during the rain, screeching loudly
as they pillaged and destroyed.  The adventurers and the guards
they had hired emerged from the dungeon to combat the attackers.

Mongo:  Hobgoblins!  (he hurls his hammer at the nearest of the
  humanoids, pulverizing its head)
Bosco:  Hey!  Where's your armor?
Mongo:  No time to put on that plate mail, little guy...
Arnold:  Yah, me neidher.
Gorin:  Or me...why do these hobgoblins come here like this?
Nenya:  Why, indeed?  It's the nature of the beast.
Ged:  Boccob!  Will they never learn?  (he produces his fire-wand)
Gorin:  Apparently not...(he holds back)  Spells?  I don't want
  to get in the way of your magic.
Nenya:  (spellcasting now)  Good idea.
Arnold:  (having been ready to charge, he looks unhappy)  Aaa.
Bosco:  (nowhere to be found)

  Momentarily, Ged had targeted the largest congregation of foes,
and aimed his wand accordingly.

Ged:  Knec.

  A tiny mote of whitish flame sailed from the wand's tip, toward
the gathering of hobgoblins.  Landing in their midst, it suddenly
exploded into a fireball of monstrous proportions.  Entire groves of
trees were incinerated in an instant, and scores of the attacking
humanoids were annihilated, burned to a crisp by the fiery explosion.

Ged:  The power of Boccob!
Mongo:  The power of that wand...
Bosco:  (appears atop a nearby tree)  Whoa!
Gorin:  What are you doing up there?
Bosco:  Nothin'.  (he hops down, landing nimbly on the forest floor)
Arnold:  Aaa?
Mongo:  What?
Arnold:  They're all runnink away...
Nenya:  The fire...the forest...
Ged:  Not to worry.  I've been through this kind of situation before.
  This time, however, you will notice that the rain extinguishes the
  fire almost immediately.
Nenya:  (launches magic missiles at several nearby hobgoblins)
hobgoblins:  (several fall, while one flees in terror, clutching a
  badly burned posterior)  AAAaaaaaaaaargh...
Bosco:  What a pain in the butt.
Arnold:  Aaa.  The hodgoblets are running away...
Gorin:  Yup.
Mongo:  Good for them.  Maybe this little encounter'll knock some
  sense into them.
Ged:  If not, then we'll be ready for whatever they try next...

  One camp guard had been slain, and two others wounded, in the
attack, but all in all, the wagons and treasure were safe.

Ged:  Perhaps I should call upon the power of Boccob to bring the
  slain guard back to life...?
Nenya:  That is not a task to be taken lightly.
Mongo:  Yeah.  Or is it?
Ged:  No, it demands a lot of power.  Still, it is something to
  consider...

  As Mongo and Arnold led groups of guards into the forest, to make
sure the hobgoblins were long gone, the others prepared breakfast
and made plans for the day's mining work.

Ged:  The way I figure it, all the known passages and cave-ins are
  now cleared out.
Bosco:  Yeah, we've been busy.
Ged:  That's you, Bosco.  King of the diggers.
dwarven mining chief:  So what's next?
Ged:  I was hoping that you could tell me.  What areas of the place
  are most likely to be near other, buried areas?
dwarven mining chief:  Uh...well, actually, I suspect that we've
  totally cleared the building.
Ged:  Ah.  I understand that, but there's a whole _city_ down there!
  I want to excavate more of it than just this single building.
dwarven mining chief:  Hmm.  That might be troublesome...we'd have
  to dig exploratory passages, in various directions.  They might
  cave in...especially with the recent rain.
Ged:  Hmm.
dwarven mining chief:  Also, I'm not so sure that the rest of the
  city is right here.  Earth movements tend to pull buildings apart
  over the centuries...a tower that used to be right next to the
  building we're in now might have been shifted a hundred feet away
  over the years.  Also, we don't have a map, or any other idea about
  how the place was laid out.  In fact, the building we're in now
  could have been _outside_ the city itself, for all we know.
Ged:  Good point.  (he takes a drink from a wine-flask)  What about
  supplies?  How are we doing?
supply master:  (a specialized hireling)  We've got food for almost
  two weeks more.  Assuming nobody else dies.
Ged:  (thinking about the dead guard)  Hmm.
Arnold:  What about the roods, from the trees in this foredst?
dwarven mining chief:  Ah, yes.  If we do any exploratory mining, in
  any direction, we're going to have to start felling trees and
  chopping through roots.
Nenya:  Sounds like a potential ecological disaster.
Ged:  Could be...if nothing else, a lot of work.
dwarven mining chief:  Aye.
Arnold:  Maybe we should sdill try.
Ged:  I agree.
dwarven mining chief:  (sighs)  Very well...you're the one paying our
  salaries.
Nenya:  (to Ged)  Err...
Ged:  What is it?
Nenya:  Were you going to bring that dead guard back to life?  Not
  that I think it's feasible, but...
Ged:  Oh, yes.  I knew there was _something_ I needed to do before
  before we departed...(he wanders away, to find the body)  By the
  way, Nenya...it's highly feasible, for one of my power.
Mongo:  Hmph.
Nenya:  What?  It's just not possible to go around bringing every
  dead person you find back to life.
Arnold:  Aaa?

  Ged did succeed in returning the unfortunate guard to life, and
the man was alive, albeit barely.  His sleeping form was loaded into
a wagon and covered with blankets, and Ged instructed the other
guards to keep the recovering fellow well-fed and rested.  Meanwhile,
the dwarven miners started looking for other buried buildings and
chambers; for the next week, they dug exploratory tunnels in various
directions.  They used shovels; they use magic.  They worked hard
and they worked overtime.  However, their great efforts were for
naught:  they didn't even find a _piece_ of another sunken building.

dwarven mining chief:  I'd say that we'd might better close up our
  operations and head back.
Ged:  (pondering this)  But there could be so much _more_.
Nenya:  We've already got enough treasure for fifty lost cities!
  Why, it could take years just to analyze and test it all.
Ged:  (thinking of all the magic items, his eyes light up)  Ah...
Bosco:  (thinking of all the coinage and gems, _his_ eyes light up)
Mongo:  Well, I don't think there's anything left here.  Not that we
  can find, anyway.
Gorin:  So we're going home?
Mongo:  Hmm, no more smashing?
Arnold:  No more mondsders?
Gorin:  No more gold?
Ged:  We've got more than enough...besides, to finish this excavation
  we'd need a lot more miners.
dwarven miner chief:  This is true.
Mongo:  (nods)  Hmm...I _do_ have other things I could be doing, in
  Greyhawk.
Bosco:  Hey, me too!
Nenya:  (having reclaimed almost all of her light-pebbles, she holds
  up a glowing pouch)  I'll have to re-coat these with clay.
Bosco:  (to the elven maid)  Say, could I have one of those?
Nenya:  Well, I don't know...they're awfully difficult to create...
Bosco:  Oh.  Well, let me know.  (he wanders away happily)
Gorin:  What about all the treasure?
Ged:  Oh, yea, that...I've had the porters start loading all the art-
  work and other non-magical items into the wagons.  I'd like to put
  the magical items into the portable hole, for now.
Mongo:  A good plan.  (they begin surveying the treasure piles)



THE LOOT:

pre-golden chest treasure (all non-magical):
  heaps and heaps of golden coins
  a dozen medium-to-large gemstones, all uncut
  a wand (sealed within a rusted metal case)
  a few dozen coins of gold, some small gems, cheap-looking brooch
  diamond from inside salt golem - 5-10K at least

magical items from huge golden chest:
  15 potion or oil vials
  quiver of 22 arrows (quiver nonmagical)
  pouch of marbles
  silver ring
  2 wands
  book
  3 scrolls
  mace
  sword
  iron armband
non-magical items from huge golden chest:
  3 urns, 1 vase
  6813 gp
  gems (13x100 gp, 7x500 gp, 3x1000 gp)
  12 golden bricks (600 gp each)
  ring, staff, sword, trident
  book of Suel history
  book (treatise on magical item construction)
  (chest itself - solid gold!)

magical items from diamond-shaped hall:
  small silver chest
  small wooden coffer
  steel trident with etched lightning bolts
  pair of wooden shoes
  small, multicolored spherical gem
  golden harp floating within a glass sphere
  glass box containing greenish clay
  coil of silvery-grey silk rope, on wall peg
  well-preserved brown wool robe, with hood
  large, glittering opal with luminous center
  golden ring, set with a tigers-eye gem
  small plate of blue glass in a silver frame
  glowing tin box
  jewel-encrusted tube of precious metals
  large ornate tome covered in green hide
  foot-long wand-like purple stick
  a single, ancient gold coin, on a pillow
  bowl containing four strange black spheres
  diamond-studded amulet
  skull, in whose mouth is a spoon
nonmagical items of art from diamond-shaped hall:
  small statuette of a laughing man
  large sealed urn of carven stone (EMPTY)
  painting of an ancient battle
  tapestry of an erupting volcano
  tapestry of an ocean/sky scene
  vase of sparkling crystal
  glass flute
  mosaic tapestry of a flower-filled garden
  painting of a tower of pure gold
  tapestry depicting a city in the clouds
  tapestry depicting a funeral of some king
  small checkered board, and metal pieces
  bejeweled crown of platinum
  huge glowing ruby, on a pedestal
  strange device of wires and metal balls



Ged:  Hmm.  Maybe we'd better divide this all up later.
Mongo:  You want to use your magic to figure out what everything
  does?
Ged:  Well, that too...

  As the porters packed up the camp and loaded the wagons, the
adventurers did what they could to seal the dungeon - just in case.
Nenya cast a Wizard Lock upon the stone hatchway, after which the
miners buried the entrance with rocks and dirt.  Then Ged used a
spell to further cover the entire place.

Nenya:  A spell of digging, eh?
Ged:  It's saved our hides at least once.  Besides, there's no sense
  in having the evil humanoids of the forest running amok down there.
Mongo:  Hell, they'd probably die off pretty quick.
Gorin:  No doubt.
Arnold:  Ah-nold will be happy to help them die...



  Meanwhile, as the guards and porters packed their final supplies
away and prepared to move with the caravan, a faintly glowing black
cloud hovered out from the freshly turned earth covering the dungeon
entrance.  Masked by the rain and forest shadows, it went unnoticed
by the humans and dwarves...even as it flowed toward, and then INTO,
one of the human guards, vanishing entirely.

guard:  (his eyes begin to glow with a slight black fire)  Ahh...



  Elsewhere, at the head of the caravan, the adventurers readied
their mounts and themselves, for the road back to Ged's castle was
a long and tiresome one.

Nenya:  At least the rain stopped.
Ged:  (grins slyly)  Boccob may have had something to do with that...
Gorin:  (looking back at the burned, trampled patch of forest that
  had served as the camp)  Well...
Mongo:  Well, nothing.  It was a fine adventure - and we got to kick
  the juggernaut's ass.
Bosco:  Yeah!
Ged:  Back to Greyhawk we go!

  The caravan rolled out, heading northeastward, and the party left
the Lost City of the Sueloise, probably for the last time.





next time :  a shocking surprise

notes     :  Sorry for the long delay in posting this one - chaos
  is running rampant right now.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




previous chapter (#234)                                                                  next chapter (#236)