Chapter #240

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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:    7/10/574 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:    early afternoon                                        +
+   Place:   Alindyar's extradimensional lair                       +
+   Climate: temperate                                              +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "A bad beginning makes a bad ending."                           +
+                                                   - Euripides     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                    CCXL.  Various Pursuits





  After teleporting into Zara's old tower and recovering the hidden
treasure chest from its mines, Alindyar and Lyra have returned to
their otherworldly hideaway.

Lyra:  So, tell me again how you intend to open this chest, without
  risk?
Alindyar:  'Tis simple.  I shall conjure an unseen servant, and
  have _it_ open the chest.  For safety purposes, we can allow all
  of this to take place in a separate chamber...
Lyra:  (moves the chest, atop the Tenser's disc, into the nearby
  "danger room" that Alindyar has constructed)  Ready.
Alindyar:  (quickly creates an unseen servant, which appears as a
  hazy outline to his trained eyes)  You.  Kindly go in there and
  open that chest.
unseen servant:  (obeys)

  As the chest was opened, a powerful electrical blast ensued, one
that probably would have killed even Mongo Thunderhead.  The unseen
servant was vaporized, but this had kind of been expected anyway.
Though the stink of ozone filled the room, both drow could now see
the gleam of long-lost treasures from within the opened chest.

Alindyar:  Excellent.  (he carefully lifts a potion bottle from
  inside the chest)  What is this?
Lyra:  Never mind that...look at _this_!  (she holds up a weird
  skull, of bleached bone)
Alindyar:  Aie.  'Tis an ugly thing, some forsaken monster, perhaps.
Lyra:  Well, it's magical too...(she watches Alindyar recover a few
  more potion bottles)
Alindyar:  (holds one vial up to his eye)  Tar?
Lyra:  What's this...?  (she recovers a small pouch of thick felt)
Alindyar:  (examining an amulet)  Hmm.
Lyra:  (finds that the felt pouch contains several small globes of
  glass, each filled with some kind of mist)  Odd.
Alindyar:  Now for...some gems?
Lyra:  (removes ten large rubies)  Wow.  These must be worth a small
  fortune...apiece.
Alindyar:  Aye.  (holds up a small metallic crucible)  I can only
  wonder what we might cook in this.  (he looks into the chest)
  Ahh...

  At the bottom of the container, below all the other treasure which
had been removed, was a thick black book.

Lyra:  Zara's spellbook...it must be.
Alindyar:  (carefully examines the thing)  I discern no magical
  traps or runes.  Let us see what Zara was truly capable of.  (he
  opens the book)
Lyra:  (whistles)
Alindyar:  By the gods...

  Indeed, the spellbook was a great treasure, for it detailed not
only several unique drow spells, but also four illusion-style
incantations that neither of the drow had heard of before.  The
new magicks promised to add significant power to both dark elves'
repertoires.

Lyra:  Not quite a full spellbook, but still-
Alindyar:  Aye.  These spells will help us greatly.
Lyra:  Eh?  (she lifts a second book, from beneath the first)  I
  wonder what this could be.
Alindyar:  (scanning the pages)  A treatise...on the construction
  of golems!  (he beams)  I believe our next long-term project is
  clear.

  While the gems, felt pouch, and chest itself weren't magical,
everything else was, and the drow found themselves with quite a
haul, considering the work involved.  From their magic, the drow
were even able to learn the fundamental dweomers of each magical
item...



4 potions             ?
weird skull           divination
glass gas globes (7)  evocation
amulet                alteration
crucible              evocation
spellbook
  (3) Dark Wings                   \
  (4) Acid Bolt, Backlash           \
  (6) Summon Spider                   > spells unique to the drow
  (7) Vipergout                     /
  (9) Black Blade of Disaster      /
  (3) Lorloveim's Creeping Shadow
  (5) Mind Fog
  (6) Lorloveim's Shadowy Transformation
  (7) Shadowcat
manual of stone golems



Alindyar:  Ah.
Lyra:  Shall we split the items, or share them?
Alindyar:  (looks offended)  Why, share, of course.

  For the next several weeks, the drow busied themselved with their
new items.  Alindyar found that the amulet lengthened the duration
of spells cast by the wearer, while Lyra learned that the small
crucible was able to magically heat its contents.  The weird skull
seemed to be waiting to say something, but the drow couldn't figure
out exactly what, or how to trigger it.  As for the seven globes of
glass, they simply needed to be thrown and shattered in order to
release the potent gases within.  One orb contained sleeping gas,
another poison gas, another concentrated fog, and so on.
  After transcribing all of Zara's spells into his own books (and
some into Lyra's too, of course) Alindyar set out to create a stone
golem.

Alindyar:  This shall be a great undertaking, I fear...several
  months, at the very least.
Lyra:  What about raw materials?
Alindyar:  Ah, yes.  I must find a skilled sculptor, and a large
  slab of strong rock.  The operation will cost quite a bit, too,
  for certain magical components.  I fear that I may need to stay
  in Greyhawk for a time.
Lyra:  Oh.
Alindyar:  'Tis unfortunate, but we cannot bring a sculptor _here_
  to work on this.  (he adopts a serious look)  No one shall ever
  come here - we cannot risk others learning of this place.
Lyra:  No, that would be bad.
Alindyar:  So, to Greyhawk I shall go!
Lyra:  Well, count me in.  I'm not staying here by myself...not for
  three months.  Expending the energy to teleport, back and forth,
  would be a waste.
Alindyar:  Agreed.

  They gathered up the vital things they needed, including a good
bit of coinage, various tomes and books, and magical inks.  By the
time the day was ended, they were ready to venture to Greyhawk.
Via the power of teleportation, the journey was a trivial one, and
they were soon standing outside one of the city's gates.

Alindyar:  Methinks an illusion is called for here.  I would rather
  not have the city guards and such hindering our work.
Lyra:  Sounds good.  (she wonders what form to adopt)

  Using powerful illusion spells, the two dark elves disguised
themselves as human merchants, and then entered the city.  The
first order of business was the securing of long-term accomodations
for their stay.

Alindyar:  The Green Dragon Inn, perhaps?
Lyra:  We might get a good price...but I'd rather not have to deal
  with that scoundrel Peldor.
Alindyar:  Very well.  (they pass by the Green Dragon Inn, which
  appears to be under renovation at the moment)

  They secured lodgings at the Gold Dragon Inn, instead, and spent
the remainder of the evening eating, unpacking, and taking care of
other business.  On the morrow, Alindyar set out to find a worthy
stonemason, after renewing his illusionary form.  Searching the
Artisans' Quarter for hours, and talking with various masons and
sculptors, he finally settled on one fellow, a middle-aged dwarf
named Schaffer Stoneshaper.

Schaffer:  Yep, I can make you a heck of a statue...ten feet tall,
  you said?  And _how_ heavy?
Alindyar:  (recites the specifications)
Schaffer:  Ah.  Yep, it'll take about a month, if you want detailed
  features.  You'll have to work with me on that part...and this'll
  cost a pretty penny, too.
Alindyar:  Money is not something I need worry about.
Schaffer:  You're the boss, boss.

  Thus, Alindyar commissioned the creation of his golem's body.
Once every other day or so, he checked in on Schaffer, pointing
out his preferences for the statue's major (and later, minor)
details.  When he wasn't conferring with the dwarven mason, he
studied the ancient manual of golems, in preparation for the work
he would have to do later.  Meanwhile, Lyra stayed in the inn,
copying spells and looking into some of the research that Alindyar
didn't have the time for right now.
  Despite both dark elves' tendency to enjoy privacy (specifically,
the privacy offered by their extradimensional home), they found
that they actually enjoyed being in Greyhawk.  In the few moments
they weren't busy, they explored the many wonders of the Free City.
The library...the Guild of Wizardry...the Foreign Quarter...they
found all of these places quite interesting and informative.  It
was even rumored that the drow had been seen entering the house
of the mighty archmage Bigby - but such rumors often remained
unconfirmed, forever.
  The days flew by, and the huge golem's stone form became more
and more refined and detailed.  Alindyar began working the
necessary enchantments upon the body; fine gem dust, fabricated
from valuable but now-crushed gemstones, was worked into the
stone of the statue.  Mystical pastes and salves were applied to
the rocky body, and at some junctures, Alindyar infused the
creation with certain magical energies, via spellcasting.  All
of this went well, and Schaffer seemed to understand.

Schaffer:  Ah, mighty magic.  This statue is a work of art.
Alindyar:  Indeed.  I am muchly pleased with your work.  It is
  among the finest I have seen, in many kingdoms.
Schaffer:  (beams with pride)  Thanks.  (he sips some wine from
  a nearby jug)
Alindyar:  Soon, 'twill be completed.  Of course, it can then walk
  out of here and follow me home.
Schaffer:  (chokes on his wine)

  Now that Schaffer truly understood what was amiss, he seemed to
be in a greater hurry to finish the golem.  By the week's end, the
construct was ready, and after persuading the dwarf to take a long
lunch break, Alindyar cast the final spell from the magical manual
of golems, as Lyra stood watching.

Alindyar:  Here we go...(waves his hands in arcane gestures, as
  the spell is cast)
Lyra:  (whistles)

  The gigantic stone form began grinding and rumbling, as its
limbs moved, slowly, impossibly, but surely!

stone golem:  (turns its head to regard Alindyar)
Lyra:  It's ALIVE!
Alindyar:  (regards her)
Lyra:  (shrugs)  I've always wanted to say that...
Alindyar:  Whatever.  (to the golem)  Take a step forward.
stone golem:  (does so)
Lyra:  Why?
Alindyar:  We must ensure that the construct can follow orders
  and such.
Lyra:  True...how strong is it?  (to the golem)  Lift that forge
  from the floor.
stone golem:  (just stands there)
Alindyar:  Err, sorry.  (to the golem)  From this point on, you
  shall obey _either_ myself or this woman.
stone golem:  (absorbs these orders)
Lyra:  Lift the forge, please.
stone golem:  (does so, now, with considerable ease)
Alindyar:  Strong.
Lyra:  Yes.  Maybe now we can distract legions of foes until
  we have time to work our magic.
Alindyar:  Aye.  (he looks around)  We had best get this golem
  out of here discreetly...before the dwarf returns.
Lyra:  But how?  Ah, I've got it!  The spell of reduction?
Alindyar:  Verily.
Lyra:  Good thing I know that spell.
Alindyar:  All according to plan.
Lyra:  (to the golem)  Set the forge down, carefully.  (she
  begins her spellcasting as the golem puts the heavy stone
  forge back in place)

  Soon, the gigantic golem was a tiny statuette, which Alindyar
picked up.

tiny stone golem:  (looking around, perhaps confused, perhaps
  oblivious)
Alindyar:  I should leave the dwarf his payment.
Schaffer:  (walks in)  Okay, where's my payment?
Alindyar:  (produces several sacks of coinage, as well as some
  rather large gemstones)  Here.
Schaffer:  Ah...(looking around)  Where's the statue?  I didn't
  see it walk out...
Lyra:  It's been sent away.
Alindyar:  Do not concern yourself with it now.  We must be
  leaving.  (he slyly slips the shrunken golem into a pouch)
Schaffer:  Okay...(he begins stacking his money into piles)
Lyra:  Farewell...(the drow leave the stonemason's shop)
Schaffer:  (notices his forge, which appears to be slightly
  out of place)  ...?

  Alindyar and Lyra next ventured to Ged's castle, to speak
with the elf about golems, spells, and other such subjects.
However, the elf, as well as Arnold, was long gone.

Deryck:  (recognizing the pair of dark elves from previous
  encounters)  Yep, he went away for a few months.  He was
  after some kind of buried treasure.
Alindyar:  Oh.
Lyra:  Well, he won't be able to talk with us about anything,
  then.
Alindyar:  Oh well.  Let us now teleport back to Greyhawk...

  And so they did, appearing inside their room at the Gold
Dragon Inn.  Since their work in Greyhawk was done, it was
now time to return to Alindyar's extradimensional home.  They
gathered their possessions and clothes, and paid the innkeeper
downstairs.

Lyra:  Time to be leaving...
Alindyar:  Aye.  This was an interesting adventure.  (he
  prepares another spell of teleportation)  Ready?
Lyra:  Always.
Alindyar:  (snaps his fingers)

  Usually, when they teleported, there was a brief period of
disorientation (this was virtually nil for experienced tele-
porters, such as the two drow were) and then they appeared at
their destination.  This time, however, something was amiss...

Alindyar:  (finds himself sprawled on the floor of the den
  of his extra-dimensional lair)  What?!?
Lyra:  (finds herself sprawled across Alindyar)  Whoa, what
  the hell happened?
Alindyar:  Something is wrong with this pocket-dimension...
Lyra:  (quickly looks around)  You can say that again.

  The place was a shambles, in more ways than one.  Every
single item in every single room was either missing or
vandalized, and broken bits of items were scattered every-
where.

Alindyar:  My mirror...where is my mirror?  (he quickly finds
  that the scrying item is missing)  Aie!
Lyra:  Who...when...
Alindyar:  "Why?" would be a good question as well.  We had
  best have a look at the control pedestal.  (they head for
  that room)

  However, an unusual problem now became apparent:  some of
the chambers that Alindyar had created, long ago, were now
gone!  Even in the chambers that remained, there were some sort
of strange sucking or popping sounds coming from the walls and
floors.

Alindyar:  The control room is gone - vanished!
Lyra:  (watches an adjacent hallway suddenly close up on itself)
  That's not all...this place is disappearing!
Alindyar:  (watches in horror as the room they teleported into
  folds in upon itself)

  Words could not adequately describe what the drow were seeing,
as the pocket dimension slowly collapsed.

Alindyar:  Say, we should get out of here.
Lyra:  Uh...I'm all out of teleportation spells.
Alindyar:  And I as well...(he produces a scroll)  Which is why
  I have scribed several of these.  (he unfurls the scroll)
Lyra:  (watches another hallway vanish, closing in upon itself)
  Hurry...
Alindyar:  (now reading the scroll)

  After a few more tense moments of watching their home and most
of their worldly possessions disappear, the drow teleported out
of the dying dimension, mere heartbeats before it closed in on
itself once and for all.

  At that very moment, in a certain room within the Gold Dragon
Inn, in Greyhawk, Alindyar and Lyra appeared, blinking in from
(literally, now) nowhere.

Alindyar:  (quite upset)  My mirror...
Lyra:  Everything...all of it.  The library, the laboratory, our
  treasure, our possessions, our clothes...gone.
Alindyar:  Well-
Lyra:  Well, what?!?
Alindyar:  -we must solve this mystery, figure out exactly how
  this occurred.  Of course, it is obvious that someone was in
  our home...based on the state of things.  Whoever it was is
  almost certainly responsible for everything.
Lyra:  And if they're not, I pity them.  Looters.  Thieves.  We
  have to find out what happened, and how.
Alindyar:  Aye.  And then...then, someone shall pay for this!





next time :  they try to figure out what happened

notes     :  The new drow spells are from _The Drow of the
  Underdark_ while the other new spells are from the _Tome of
  Magic_.  Some of the items are from the _Tome_, but others
  are from a helpful reader, Leonard Bottleman.
    This is probably a good time to remind all of you readers
  that if you have ANY ideas - magic items, spells, monsters,
  plotlines, anything - all you have to do is tell me, and your
  ideas stand a good chance of making it into the stories.  I'm
  a fairly creative guy, but I don't want 100% of the material
  to come out of my head (I exhausted most of my good, original
  ideas in the first 125 or so episodes...)
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