Chapter #251

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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                    +
+                          +
+  THE PARTY:                                                       +
+                                                                   +
+  Alindyar     16th level dark elven mage                     (N)  +
+  Arnold       12th level human warrior                      (NG)  +
+  Belphanior   13th/14th/14th level elven warrior/mage/thief (CN)  +
+     Otto      6th/8th level dwarven warrior/thief           (CN)  +
+  Ged          14th/14th level grey elven priest/mage        (NG)  +
+     Nenya     8th/9th level female elven warrior/mage       (NG)  +
+  Lyra         12th level female dark elven mage              (N)  +
+  Mongo        17th level dwarven warrior                    (CG)  +
+     Gorin     8th level dwarven warrior                     (CG)  +
+  Peldor       19th level human thief                         (N)  +
+     Bosco     10th level halfling thief                      (N)  +
+     Tanya     5th/11th level female human warrior/thief     (LN)  +
+  Rillen       17th level human warrior                       (N)  +
+  Date:        1/5/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     quite cold                                          +
+  "There's another bastard...and he's getting further away         +
+   every minute."                                                  +
+                           - from _Once Upon a Time in the West_   +

                   CCLI.  Deja Vu the Hard Way

  Four days have passed since the great battle with the beast from
beyond the stars.  Things have returned to some sense of normalcy,
or what passes for it in the adventurers' lives...

Ged:  (with Mongo, at an armor shop)  Are you sure you should be
  walking around?
Mongo:  I told you already, the arm's as good as new!  I feel great!
  (as if to prove his point, he picks up an old steel tankard, and
  crushed it in his hand)  See?
Ged:  Yea.
Mongo:  Told ya.  (turns to the armorer)  And you.  Now let me get
  this straight:  you're telling me that you can't fix my armor?
armorer:  I can patch the holes, milord.  But the very integrity of
  the suit is ruined.  There are simply too many rents and tears.
  (he holds Mongo's shredded plate mail torso-piece up to the sun's
  light, where bright rays shine through numerous holes)  Ruined.
  I wouldn't trust this armor to save your life again, and I'd be
  doing you a grave disservice if I charged you to patch it up and
  then sent you on your way.  That would be a great waste of your
  gold, and a week of my time.
Mongo:  Oh, well.  (to Ged)  Let's go.

  They left the armorer's shop, returning to the streets of Greyhawk
once more.

Mongo:  Dammit, that's the fourth armor shop I've visited, and they
  all say the same thing.
Ged:  The armor's ruined.
Mongo:  Right.  Hell, I myself know enough about armoring and black-
  smithing to have guessed that.  But no one seems able to even try
  to fix it.
Ged:  Maybe that has something to do with the great magics of the
Mongo:  Maybe.  Or maybe I just need to go find one of the great
  dwarven blacksmiths.  They can fix anything, you know.
Ged:  I have no doubts.
Mongo:  Well, one way or another, it seems that I have to find some
  new armor.  This must be a sign from the gods...Clangeddin.  New
Ged:  There should be plenty of new armor available here in the
Mongo:  Sure, but none as good as the armor I had, I'd bet.  (he
  thinks for a moment)  I'll just have to look elsewhere.
Ged:  For armor?  Isn't that a bit extreme?
Mongo:  Not for one whose armor sees daily use.  (he storms away)
  Only the finest armor will do!
Ged:  Hmm.  Wonder what's bothering _him_?

  Elsewhere, the drow were busy resting and recuperating from the
recent trials and tribulations...

Alindyar:  (reclining in a plush armchair that he recently bought
  and had delivered to the tavern room)  Ahh...(he plucks a grape
  from a bunch on an endtable, and pops it into his mouth)  This
  is the life.
Lyra:  (stretched out on the bed, not unlike a supple cat)  A good
  idea, this was - taking a few days off from studies and other
Alindyar:  Yes, 'twas a brilliant idea.  (he ponders)  I am glad I
  thought of it.
Lyra:  It was _my_ idea, silly!  (she tosses a pillow at her mate,
  narrowly missing his head)
Alindyar:  Witch!  You'll pay for that...(he grabs the grapes, and
  begins pelting Lyra from his perch in the chair)
Lyra:  (ducks as a grape sails over her head)  Whoa!  Okay, buster,
  now you've done it.  (she prepares to spring)

  On the other side of Greyhawk, several of the warriors were busy
at the guildhall's training area...

Arnold:  (sparring with Gorin)  Yah.  You can use the axe as a
  shielbd, too.
Gorin:  (expertly blocks a sword blow)  Don't be telling me about
  that - I grew up fighting giants in the Yatils.
Arnold:  You have learned much, but sdill-
Gorin:  Oh yeah?  (rolls under a sword slash and bowls the big human
  off his feet)
Arnold:  (falls)  Aaa.
Gorin:  Better be careful, big guy.  Some woman might try that move
  on you somed-
Arnold:  Aaa!  (he kicks outward, catching the dwarf in the rear
  and sending him tumbling to one side)  Nebver let your guarb down.
Gorin:  (gets to his feet, grinning)  Clever...
Rillen:  (applauding from the side)  Excellent moves...if a bit
Arnold:  Ah-nold is _not_ clumbsy.
Gorin:  Yeah!  Who're you calling clumsy, pal?
Rillen:  (sighs)

  Still elsewhere in Greyhawk, Bosco, Tanya, and Nenya were enjoying
a fine lunch at one of the city's more upper-class restaurants.

Bosco:  (absolutely thrilled that he is eating lunch with what he
  earlier referred to as "two of the finest ladies in Greyhawk")
  Waiter!  Another tankard of that wine, if you please.
waiter:  Of course, sir.  (he scurries off quickly, for Bosco has
  already slipped him several golden coins)
Nenya:  (obviously impressed)  Such service!
Tanya:  (plays along)  Really.  Bosco, you must be a man of great
  power in these parts.
Bosco:  Yes, indeed.  The name of Bosco is well-known in all finer
  establishments.  The hero of Greyhawk, they call me.  (he looks
  around to see if anybody is listening)  Not to mention juggernaut
  slayer...or dragon-rider.
Nenya:  When did you ride a dragon?
Bosco:  After I stabbed my sword into the back of its neck.  It's
  not often that you find a guy willing to take on a fearsome beast
  such as a dragon!  (he empties his mug of wine)
waiter:  (as if on cue, arrives with a fresh bottle of wine, and
  promptly refills Bosco's mug)  How about some more hot bread and
  Celenian butter before your meal, sir?
Bosco:  That sure would hit the spot, Cheeves.
waiter:  Very well.  (he snaps his fingers, and a bread-boy brings
  a piping hot loaf of bread and a small silver bowl of butter over)
Nenya:  More of that delicious bread?  (she takes a piece)  Mmmmm.
  (she wonders why Ged never takes her out into the city like this)
Tanya:  (kind of wondering the same thing, she resolves to have a
  chat with the elven girl - when Bosco's not around)

  Meanwhile, Peldor and Belphanior were at Sental Nurev's office
in the city council building.  The Captain-General of the Watch
was engaged in a heated debate with the two thieves, and various
city officials were gathered around.

Belphanior:  -I am _still_ to be tried for my so-called crimes?
Sental:  The law is the law, good fellow.
Peldor:  This is ridiculous!  He helped save the city, not four
  days past!  What kind of thanks is this?
minor official:  (obviously reading from a pre-memorized list)
  Assault on a city official...destruction of city property...
  endangering the citizenry...arson...flying within city limits...
  failure to-
Belphanior:  You forgot resisting arrest.  Look, someone highly
  placed in your city government took away the land and building
  that I had rightfully paid for, and I wasn't here to stop it.
  Upon my return, I inquired, and was blocked with a wall of
  bureaucracy that would've stopped an army!
Sental:  (obviously torn on this issue)  There are courts whose
  purpose it is to decide such matters.  Any evidence of fraud
  would be promptly investigated.
Belphanior:  I seriously doubt that.  Especially if it led to one
  of your precious city officials.  (he eyes certain of those
  present, his red eye glowing brightly)
other minor official:  Eep.
assistant mayor:  (trembles under the elf's gaze)
Peldor:  (to Sental)  What if we have evidence of the fraud?
random official:  (blinks nervously)
Peldor:  (notices this)  What's the problem...Sir Dorian, is it?
Sental:  (still talking to Belphanior, lines of doubt across his
  coarse face)  Where is this evidence?  And why wasn't it brought
  forth before?
Belphanior:  Because there was no time!  Also because it was only
  recently acquired.
Sir Dorian:  (trying a desperate gambit)  There have been several
  robberies recently...documents of importance to the city were
  stolen from officials' homes!  So _you_ were the thief!
Belphanior:  I never said-
Sir Dorian:  (to his personal bodyguards)  Arrest that elf!  On
  my authority as a noble of Greyhawk, arrest him!
two bodyguards:  (move in)
Sental:  Now wait just-

  Both fellows grabbed at Belphanior, but he dodged one attacker,
sending that man away with a kick to the chest.  The other bodyguard
managed to get a grip on the elf's arm, but was quite surprised when
Belphanior tossed him away like a rag doll.

bodyguards:  (getting to their feet, swords drawn)  Grr...
Belphanior:  (his sword drawn now as well)  Whoever takes one more
  step toward me dies, got it?
Sir Dorian:  Murderous scum!  (to the bodyguards)  Quickly, in the
  name of the city!  Arrest him before he flies away, like before!
  Beware the elf, all of you!  He's a wizard as well - he could kill
  all of us at any moment!
Belphanior:  Well, at least you're right about SOMEthing...
two bodyguards:  (approach Belphanior)  We'll get him, and good!
Sental:  No!

  Though Sental was trying to avoid violence, it broke out anyway,
as the first of the bodyguards slashed at Belphanior.  The elf
easily blocked the blow, and before the foe could react, Blackrazor
was buried in his throat.

Belphanior:  I warned you!
second bodyguard:  (tackles the elf from the side, and they both go
  crashing to the floor)
Sental:  Order!  Order!  (he calls for city guardsmen)  Sir Dorian,
  you will pay for this!
Sir Dorian:  (too enraged to really be listening, he draws a dagger
  himself, and moves toward the area where Belphanior and his body-
  guard are wrestling, for the elf's back is facing him)
Belphanior:  (punches his assailant in the face, and then tosses him
bodyguard#2:  (stunned, spitting out teeth)  Ghak!
Belphanior:  (spins to face Sir Dorian, grinning)  You can't sneak
  up on me.  Now the time has come for a reckoning.
Sir Dorian:  What are you talking about?
Belphanior:  Where's your new mansion being built, Dorian?
Sir Dorian:  Quiet, you maniacal fool!
Belphanior:  (yelling now, so that all may hear)  It's being built
  upon the rubble of _my_ building, as well as an entire block of
  poor peoples' homes!
Sir Dorian:  Aaaargh!  (he charges, dagger flashing)  I'll kill you!
Belphanior:  (kicks the dagger out of the noble's hand, and grabs
  his collar, drawing the fellow's face close)  I warned you:  to
  attack me is to die!
Sir Dorian:  Go to Hell!
Belphanior:  You first.  (he runs his sword through the opponent's
Sir Dorian:  Urgh...(falls, amidst a widening pool of blood)
Belphanior:  (mutters something in Old Elven)
Sental:  (to the dozen or so guards who are filing in)  Arrest that
city guards:  (charge Belphanior)
Belphanior:  (in the blink of an eye, he produces a wand, and points
  it at the onrushing guards)  Stop or burn!
city guards:  (stop, looking at Sental nervously)
Peldor:  (quite shocked by this sudden turn of events)
Sental:  You can't get away!
Belphanior:  I don't intend to.  And you won't take me without one
  hell of a fight.
Sental:  That may be...(he notices that Peldor is next to him, and
  both are behind the city guards)  But will you risk injuring your
Peldor:  (coolly)  I'm not worried.  A Peldor can always take it.
Belphanior:  (pondering the situation)  Hmm, hadn't thought of that.
  Or did I?  (he speaks a command word, and a thick gout of white
  foam sprays forth from the wand, covering the guards)
Peldor:  (spreads his hands)  See?  Told you.
Belphanior:  (backs up a bit)
Sental:  Aie!  Get him!

  The city guards tried to charge, but slipped over the foam and
one another, and things got messy.

other guard:  (having just entered, he aims and fires his crossbow)
Belphanior:  (takes the bolt in his leg)  Argh!  (he looks at the
  missile in disbelief)  The one day I _don't_ cast Stoneskin, and
  this happens...(he begins some incantation)  Who'd have believed
yet another guard:  (aims his crossbow)  I'll get him!  (he fires)
Belphanior:  (watches the bolt sink into the wall, three feet to
  his left)  Eh?
guard:  I missed!  How did I miss?!?  I had him in my sights!
Belphanior:  (exchanges glances with Peldor)
other guard:  (raises his crossbow again)
Sental:  You won't escape this time, elf!
Belphanior:  I did it once, and I'll do it again...(he vanishes)

Sental:  Damn!  (he looks around in anger)
Peldor:  (slumps into a chair)  What a fracas.
Sental:  Aye...(he regards the still form of Sir Dorian)  Dead?
guard:  (examining the body)  Yes, sir.
Sental:  And one of Dorian's bodyguards as well.  Two more murders
  to add to the charges.
Peldor:  You know, Dorian was guilty.  (he holds out some scrolls)
  Perusing these will tell you that.
Sental:  Yes, I had that feeling.  (he eyes Dorian's corpse)  He'll
  never pay for his crimes now.
Peldor:  I'd say he already has.
Sental:  Still, it doesn't justify murder on Belphanior's part.  I
  have tried to be reasonable, but the laws are the laws, and those
  who break them must be tried and punished.
Peldor:  Self-defense, I believe, is also covered in the city's laws.
Sental:  True, but Belphanior's broken enough of the other laws to
  be put away for life, maybe even executed.  Once we catch him...
Peldor:  He won't come back, you know.  And you'll never find him,
  not if you scour the four ends of the earth.
Sental:  We shall see.

  Outside the city, Belphanior appeared from thin air, under the
shade of a large tree.

Otto:  Ho.
Belphanior:  Well, they didn't listen, and chaos ensued.
Otto:  (eyes the bolt in the elf's leg, and the blood on his shirt)
  I take it we're leaving Greyhawk?
Belphanior:  Yes.  (he spots the two horses, saddled and ready, tied
  to the tree)  You knew what would happen.
Otto:  I suspected.
Belphanior:  You don't have to ride with me, you know.  If you do,
  someone will spot you, and you'll become an accomplice.
Otto:  (laughs)  It won't be the first city I'm wanted in.
Belphanior:  Very well, then.  Let's go.

  They saddled up, and turned their horses southward, toward the
Wild Coast.

Otto:  I couldn't think of a better place to go have adventures.
Belphanior:  Nope.  There is no better place.
Otto:  I do have one question, though.
Belphanior:  Shoot.
Otto:  What'd you do with Angus?  I mean, I don't see him around,
  so I assumed that you didn't bring him, since he'd only slow us
  down.  Where is he?
Belphanior:  Oh, he's in a safe place, have no fear.

  Back in Greyhawk, some hours later, Peldor finally returned to
his inn, weary and exasperated from dealing with the city officials.
The thief waved to Tanya, who was tending bar, to tell her the news
of what had happened.

Tanya:  I think you'd better go look in the wine cellar.
Peldor:  But why?
Tanya:  Just go.
Peldor:  (heads down the stairs, and immediately spies the huge form
  standing in one corner)  Whoa!
Angus:  (just looms there)
Peldor:  What's this?  (he finds a note tied to one of the golem's
  thick, iron fingers; it is written in the secret hand of thieves)

           /   Can't bring Angus where I'm going -    /
          /   took the liberty of leaving him with   /
         /   you.  Don't worry, I commanded him to  /
        /   obey your every order without fail.    /
       /   I'll come back for him someday.        /
      /                                    - B   /

Peldor:  Oh, boy.

next:   who knows?

  To clear up a frequent question:  Between stories 249 and 250
Belphanior, Otto, and Angus (shrunken) teleported back to the far
northwest, wherever Belphanior had hidden the leaden box containing
Lao Khan's anti-magic sphere.  Then Belphanior had Angus return
to normal size, and the trio began the trek back to Greyhawk, the
golem carrying the heavy box.  This was the only way they could
bring it back to civilization.  The box is buried somewhere in the
wilderness near Greyhawk, and only Belphanior (and perhaps Otto)
knows its precise location.

ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  I tried something new this weekend:  white-water rafting.
  Naturally, I loved it.  If anyone ever invites you to do this,
  and you're not sure, just go out and try it.  I'm glad I did.
  Next up:  rock climbing?

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