Chapter #238

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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 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):                +
+                                                                   +
+  Alindyar     16th level dark elven mage                     (N)  +
+  Lyra         12th level female dark elven mage              (N)  +
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+   Date:    7/9/574 C.Y. (Common Year)                             +
+   Time:    late evening                                           +
+   Place:   Alindyar's pocket dimension                            +
+   Climate: temperate                                              +
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+   "Believe me, nothing is trivial."                               +
+                                              - from _The Crow_    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





              CCXXXVIII.  Long-Unfinished Business





  It has only been mere weeks since the party last split, but the
drow have been hidden away in their extradimensional lair, working
on various types of research.  The place was vastly different now,
for Alindyar had created many interconnected chambers and hallways.
He found that he enjoyed living in luxury; after all, what could be
more comfortable than having a limitless home, with every single
chamber that one might desire?  Indeed, the dark elf had shaped his
lair into something hauntingly beautiful.  Sharp angles marked the
edges of walls and ceilings; tall, narrow arches of dull, jet-black
stone stood between each hall and chamber.  While the floors now
consisted of sleek rock, carpeted in most places, the walls and
ceilings were formed of sculpted stone, conveying images of weird
beasts and alien places.  Such carven decorations would have taken
a score of skilled artists a year to create, but Alindyar had done
it overnight.  In fact, the mage had a much tighter rein on the
pocket-dimension than ever before; it was now child's play for him
to construct new rooms and halls.  However, he was content with the
current configuration of the place, and had stopped altering it
long ago, turning his full attentions to magical research.
  And indeed, the drow's determined efforts had borne much fruit.
With the aid of certain tomes and scrolls perused in Greyhawk's
Guild of Wizardry - perused with more than a little help from the
library's caretaker, one Jawal Severnain - Alindyar had mastered
the arcane formulae for several highly useful spells.  One of these
was capable of making permanent certain magical dweomers; another
had the power to confer mighty enchantments upon a common item.
The other three were a trio of spells which prolonged the duration
of previously cast spells.  Alindyar's efforts had begun to take
their toll, for despite the dark elf's keen intellect and great
aptitude for learning, he had learned a lot recently.  Pouches of
wrinkled skin were beginning to show underneath his blazing violet
eyes, and he appeared fatigued as he rested in a high-backed chair
of black wood.

Alindyar:  (yawns)
Lyra:  (examining these new entries in Alindyar's spellbook, she
  quickly catches on)  It appears that there is a method to your
  madness.
Alindyar:  Verily.  I may wish to create certain magical items, and
  I am now prepared.  (he looks around)  We have the time...and we
  have the privacy, away from fools.
Lyra:  And now we have the enchantments.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Lyra:  (folds her arms)  So, what shall we create?
Alindyar:  (thinking)  Hmm.  I confess...I know not.
Lyra:  Hmm.  Well, I have obtained a couple of new spells myself.
  But, I've also had an idea...something that has occurred to me,
  of late.
Alindyar:  Namely...?
Lyra:  Well...remember Zara?
Alindyar:  The she-bitch?
Lyra:  Err, that would be _one_ way to speak of her.
Alindyar:  What about her?  She is long-dead, food for the worms,
  and good riddance, I say!  (he shakes a fist in the air, and the
  floor of the place trembles, ever so slightly)
Lyra:  (pauses, for a moment)  Of course she's dead, but when I was
  working with - for - Zara, she had a cache of hidden treasure and
  magic, beneath the earth.
Alindyar:  (raises an eyebrow)  Eh?
Lyra:  (smugly)  I thought that might catch your interest.
Alindyar:  Indeed it has.  Why did you not speak of this in the very
  beginning, when first we met?
Lyra:  It slipped my mind at the time...and things have been fairly
  hectic ever since, no?
Alindyar:  (thinking of their first meeting, the battle, the hasty
  courtship, and the years since; he kind of fades out)
Lyra:  Alindyar?
Alindyar:  Eh?  Hectic, yes.  Even I cannot argue with that.  Hmm,
  exactly how far beneath the earth are we talking about?
Lyra:  Not very...maybe a couple hundred feet.  Not nearly the span
  which would take us back to the Underdark.
Alindyar:  Good.
Lyra:  Fear not - I have no desire to return to that forsaken place.
  I would much rather stay here...with someone who is capable of
  caring for another dark elf.  (she moves into Alindyar's arms)
Alindyar:  Aye...(he hugs his mate tightly to him)  I care for you
  more than anyone, drow or otherwise.  (his hands wander)  You see?
Lyra:  (flushed)  Err...Zara's lair-
Alindyar:  -will still be there tomorrow.  Come to bed.
Lyra:  Oh...

  Thus, they retired for the evening, taking a break from the great
rigors of studying, research, and the like.

  Sometime the next morning, near a clearing within a forest in the
vicinity of the town of Tragidore, the drow blinked into existence.

Lyra:  Too bad we couldn't teleport right into the treasure chamber,
  but it was protected from such invasions.  Why, most people didn't
  even know of its existence...
Alindyar:  No matter - we shall find the place soon enough.
Lyra:  (points)  There.

  Ahead, through perhaps ten feet of foliage, was a structure that
neither of the drow had seen in many years:  a squat, cylindrical
tower, greater than a hundred feet in diameter and about twenty feet
high.  Though windowless, the building had a set of double doors on
its eastern side.  Vines and moss covered the walls and roof of the
structure, and weeds and shrubs had encroached from the surrounding
forest, covering the ground outside the tower.

Lyra:  Look, though - the doors are clear of greenery.
Alindyar:  And that would appear to be a crude footpath, leading up
  to the doors.  (they exchange glances)  Perhaps the place is yet
  occupied?

  As if to answer that question, the doors burst open, and a pair of
orcs marched out.  The squat, ugly humanoids were dressed in filthy
armor, and were quite dirty and unkempt.  Though the drow couldn't
hear them at this distance, the orcs were joking and laughing about
something.  They looked up at the sky, through the forest's ceiling,
muttered something, then quickly disappeared into the forest to the
southeast.

Lyra:  It seems that we must reclaim the treasures of Zara by force.
Alindyar:  'Twould appear so.





next time :  into the tower they go

notes     :  After perhaps my longest gap ever between stories, I'm
  back, and you've just finished reading my efforts.  I'd like to
  take this opportunity to thank Rick Glotzbach (aka Belphanior) for
  helping me break out of my depression.  You see, Rick invited me
  along on a 4-day weekend Hilton Head/Savannah trip which turned
  out to be _exactly_ what I needed.  I wish #238 was a Belphanior
  story, but it's not; that won't stop me from dedicating it to Rick
  anyway.  Relationships may come and go, but good friends don't,
  and the best ones are always there for you.
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