Chapter #253

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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.                                             +
+    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:                                                       +
+                                                                   +
+  Alindyar     16th level dark elven mage                     (N)  +
+  Arnold       12th level human warrior                      (NG)  +
+  Ged          14th/14th level grey elven priest/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)  +
+  Rillen       17th level human warrior                       (N)  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        1/8/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "It's _good_ to be the king!"                                    +
+                            - from _History of the World, part I_  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                   CCLIII.  The Keep of Fools





  With the defeat of the great monster a few days ago, Ged has
turned his attention to damage control.  The beast had landed in
his farmsteads and caused considerable damage, and the time has
come to repair and rebuild.  With Arnold and Nenya, the grey elf
is now touring his lands.

Ged:  (riding past a creaking hut)  Hmm, another house damaged by
  the monster's rampage.
Arnold:  How?  The think didn't sdep on it.
Ged:  Its passing must have made the earth shake...and rattled the
  structure.  See the cracked wood, there?  And that foundation.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Ged:  (to Nenya)  Make a note, please.
Nenya:  Right.  (she scribbles something on a parchment)  Same
  compensation as the last one?
Ged:  What would you recommend?
Nenya:  This house has a damaged foundation.  The whole thing
  should probably be rebuilt.
Ged:  So be it.
Arnold:  Thad's...(counting on his fingers)  Six dambaged homes
  so far.
Nenya:  The beast left nothing but destruction in its wake.  All
  the grass...all the trees.
Ged:  I had no idea it ate so much.
Nenya:  I had no idea it ate vegetation.
Arnold:  (envisioning a gigantic salad)  It must have been hunkgry.
Nenya:  We need to plant new crops in all these places.  The time
  will soon be upon us.
Ged:  Well, then, we'll pay for that, too.  I've got plenty of
  money...and besides, all must know what it means to have land
  under the domain of Ged.
Nenya:  Truly.  According to the records, you have much more money
  than necessary.
Ged:  Perhaps an investment of some sort?  But what...?
Arnold:  Maybde you should get more land.
Ged:  And expand...yes, Arnold, you've hit upon it!  I shall buy
  more land, and find more people to live on it.
Nenya:  I'd recommend all that land to the north and west.  It's
  level, and appears fairly fertile.
Arnold:  (mumbling something)
Ged:  What was that?
Arnold:  Nothink.
Nenya:  We'll need to scout ahead...find out who owns that land.
  I don't see any homes or farms, though.
Ged:  Come, let's ride onward for a while and check it out.

  They rode through the wilderness, and found the lands to the north
and west to be ideal.  Though snow covered the ground, Nenya was yet
able to determine that it would be well-suited for crops, once the
winter was out.  Riding onward, they took stock of these potential
new lands...until they spotted something in the distance.

Ged:  What _is_ that?
Nenya:  A small keep.
Arnold:  But who would live all the way oud here?
Ged:  There's only one way to find out.  Come on.  (they ride for
  the keep)

  Approaching, they saw that the keep was not a large one, perhaps
three floors in height.  It was simple but sturdy, a round structure
fashioned from large stone blocks.  A few barred windows dotted its
surface, and a small gate allowed entrance.  No guards or sentries
were visible as the trio rode toward the gateway.

Ged:  (eyeing the keep)  Hmm.
Arnold:  Maybde nobody's home.
Nenya:  I doubt that.

  Just then, the door opened, and a cheerful-looking fellow strolled
out.

man:  Hello there.
Ged:  Greetings.
man:  Fine day, isn't it?
Ged:  Indeed it is.  Say, is the master of your keep in?
man:  Nope.
Ged:  Well, then.  When shall he return?
man:  You don't understand.  He's not here, and he's never here.
Ged:  Oh.
Nenya:  I'm afraid we don't understand.
man:  (smiling, as if everyone should know what he's talking about)
  He'll be here someday, though.  Until that glorious day, it is our
  duty to wait here for him, as loyal servants must.
Ged:  It almost sounds like you revere him as a god.
man:  Oh, he is one.  The legends have told us of this.
Nenya:  Wait.  Let me get this straight.  You're waiting around in
  this old keep, for your liege, who you've never even seen?
man:  (shrugs)  Who can understand these things?  Certainly not us,
  his lowly mortal servants.  We were put here to wait, and wait we
  shall.
Ged:  Uh...how long have you been waiting, now?
man:  Just over four years.  But our wait will be over someday, and
  the master will lead us to great glory.
Arnold:  (looks dubious)
Nenya:  Hmm.
Ged:  Who is this master, anyway?  Or is his very name sacred too?
man:  Oh, his name is sacred indeed, but it can be spoken.  With the
  proper reverence, of course.
Ged:  Then what is the name?
man:  Our master is one called "Peldor".
Ged:  (nearly chokes)  What?!?!?
man:  Ah, so you too have heard of his greatness.
Nenya:  Something like that.
Ged:  Peldor?!?  _The_ Peldor?
man:  The one and only.
Ged:  That's not what I-  This Peldor, is he a human, a man?
man:  (simply)  He is a god.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Ged:  What does he look like?
man:  Who can ever know what form a god will take?  We shall know
  him when we see him.
Ged:  By Boccob!  This is too much.  (to Nenya)  I must ride for
  Greyhawk.
Nenya:  Why ride?
Ged:  Good point.  In my amazement, I must be forgetting myself.
man:  It is easy to understand such awe, when one is speaking of
  the mighty Peldor.
Ged:  (spellcasting)  Quiet, you.  (to Nenya)  Take my horse back.
  I shall return later today, perhaps tonight.
Nenya:  (looking like she wants to go too)  Err...okay.
Ged:  (teleports away)
Arnold:  Peldork...madster of a keep.  Aaa.
Nenya:  This is too much.

  Shortly, in Greyhawk's Green Dragon Inn, Peldor was joined in his
late lunch by a frantic, breathless Ged.

Peldor:  What's up?  You look excited.
Ged:  Let's get to the point.  Why do you have a keep in the middle
  of nowhere?
Peldor:  Why what?  What the hell are you talking about?
Ged:  To the northwest of my castle!  I was just there!  A keep,
  full of faithful followers!
Peldor:  Sounds like a good deal, but I don't know what you mean.
  I've never built any keeps out there.  (thoughtfully)  Or anywhere
  else, for that matter.
Ged:  Hmm.  Well, they knew you.  They're waiting for you, to be
  sure.
Peldor:  Near your land, you say?  That really _is_ the middle of
  nowhere.
Ged:  How dare-
Peldor:  I guess there's only one thing to do.  We'll have to ride
  out there and see what this is all about.
Ged:  Yes.  Yes, indeed.

  Peldor informed Tanya and Vinnie that he would be away for several
hours, and then had his best horse brought around.

Peldor:  One must, after all, ride in style, when visiting one's
  worshippers.
Ged:  (fuming)
Peldor:  Say, do you need to borrow a horse?  Or do you plan on
  running alongside?
Ged:  Grr...

  Within ten minutes, they left the city, riding in the direction
of Ged's castle and lands.  This trip, as it always did when Ged
didn't teleport, took several hours, and it was late in the day
when they finally saw the elf's castle in the distance.

Ged:  The keep is about fifteen minutes' ride beyond the castle,
  there.
Peldor:  Well, let's go.  (they ride on)

  Soon, the pair approached the keep, and eventually dismounted.

Peldor:  It is a nice little keep.
man:  (emerges)  By the gods!  He's here!  He's really _here_!  (he
  prances and dances in absolute joy)  He's here!
Ged:  (frowns, disgusted)
Peldor:  I'm here?  I mean, I am here.
man:  After all these years...you've finally come to us!  (others
  are now coming outside)  The great Peldor is here at last!
Peldor:  How'd you know it was me?  Reputation?  Godly aura?  Or
  perhaps the birds told you?
man:  (shrugs)  We just knew.  Quickly, you must come inside, and
  meet all of your followers.
Ged:  (looks dubious)
Peldor:  Hold your horses, man.  Who are you?  What is your name?
man:  Forgive me, milord.  I am called Bernard.  I am the leader of
  these people - well, not the real leader, that being you, but for
  the time we've been here.
Peldor:  Of course.
Bernard:  Your loyal subjects await, inside.
Peldor:  Yes, indeed, I must meet the followers.  (to Ged)   If all
  of this bothers you, you might want to ride back to your castle.
  I can come by later and let you know what's going on.
Ged:  Hmm.  No, I'll come with you.
Bernard:  (to Ged)  You actually _know_ the great one?!?  You must
  be very lucky, and muchly enlightened...
Ged:  Yea, yea.
Peldor:  To the keep!  (they head for the gate, thronged by the
  gathered people)

  Bernard led them into the keep, and showed them around.  It turned
out that the place housed a mere dozen people - four families, to be
exact.  One family had two children, two had one, and the last had
none.  Bernard's was one of those with one child; he introduced the
two adventurers to his wife Nadine and their infant son, Bert.

Peldor:  Yes, yes.  (still somewhat amazed, though he's not going to
  let Ged pick up on that fact)  How have you people been surviving
  here?  What do you eat?
Bernard:  We've fashioned several small gardens nearby, and we hunt
  wild game upon occasion.  It has been a sparse diet, though, since
  winter fell.
Nadine:  We lead a simple life.
Peldor:  Not any more.  I can't be responsible for you people, not
  this far out.
Bernard:  We can be responsible for ourselves.  Just tell us what
  to do.
Peldor:  (looks at Ged, and sighs)
Ged:  You know...
Peldor:  Eh?
Ged:  I was thinking about purchasing all of this land, including
  this area, from the city.  Perhaps we could work something out,
  to our mutual satisfaction?
Peldor:  Sure.  I'll sell you the land, and the keep, for fifty
  thousand coins of gold.
Ged:  You can't do that!
Peldor:  Sure I can.  It's my keep, even if you stumbled upon it.
Ged:  Robbery, pure and simple.  Besides, I don't have that much
  money lying around...
Peldor:  Hey, relax.  I was just pulling your leg.  Actually, you
  can have the land for a smaller fee...say, a thousand pieces of
  gold.
Ged:  That's much more reasonable.  I'm glad you see it my way.
Peldor:  However, I still own the keep, and can come use it anytime
  I wish.
Ged:  Argh...you drive a hard bargain.  But if I own the land, the
  keep isn't that significant.  Wait.  Should a war arise, I will
  of course need to use the keep for military purposes.
Peldor:  Agreed.  But you have to build these families houses, and
  make sure they have adequate farmland-
Ged:  Not a problem.  Once they join my lands, they become part of
  my supply chain.
Peldor:  Good.  But I wasn't done yet.  I also require certain
  magical spells, transcribed onto scrolls for my benefit.
Ged:  Unthinkable!  You, casting spells?  How?
Peldor:  Even thieves can learn such things, if they're good
  enough.  And I'm so much more than a thief.
Ged:  Which spells?
Peldor:  (thinking, he names several lower-level spells that the
  drow didn't know, though he doesn't tell Ged that)
Ged:  Hmm.  I suppose I could do that.
Peldor:  Very well, then.  I'll send my personal page to fetch them,
  oh, two days hence?
Ged:  Deal.
Peldor:  Say, have you met my page yet?  He's a wee lad I found in
  the streets of Greyhawk.  His name's Hobbes.
Ged:  I haven't met him yet, but I suppose I shall, in two days.
  Shake on the deal?
Peldor:  Certainly.  (they do so)
Ged:  Excellent, then.  We'd better talk with the people here.
Peldor:  (to Bernard and the rest)  My friend here is going to help
  you build better homes, and cultivate more of this farmland, once
  the winter's passed.  We shall send some more food here shortly.
people:  (cheering)
Peldor:  And I shall come to visit from time to time.  You should
  have no trouble thriving and surviving here.  For now, though, I
  must leave.
Bernard:  We are honored to have met you.
Peldor:  And I am honored to be honored.
Ged:  (as they ride away)  Hmph.
Peldor:  Oh, one more thing.
Ged:  What's that?
Peldor:  They won't have to worship Boccob, will they?  Because if
  they do, the deal's off.  I couldn't live with the thought of my
  followers worshipping your god.
Ged:  Grr...

  And thus, the deal was made.  Two days later, when the page Hobbes
arrived at Ged's castle, the elf gave him several scrolls, as well
as a small sack of money - the fee Peldor had requested.  Bernard
and the others received a shipment of fresh food and other supplies,
more than enough to last them through the winter.  When spring came,
new homes would be built for them, and more land allotted for their
farming needs.
  Ged made a rather large land purchase, from the city of Greyhawk,
and gained several square leagues of the territory bordering his
cirrent land.  Nenya was put in charge of pre-spring agricultural
planning and work.

Ged:  You know, Arnold, maybe she should have been a druid.
Arnold:  Whad's a drood?





next:   divergence
ftp:    ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
www:    http://www.gatech.edu/oit/staff/ns/thomas.miller/adv.html
notes:  Another loose end cleared up.  It took long enough, though.
  Time for a 4-day weekend in Panama City.  I'll be back in town
late Sunday night.
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