Chapter #261

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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                    +
+                          +
+  THE PARTY:                                                       +
+                                                                   +
+  Mongo        17th level dwarven warrior                    (CG)  +
+     Gorin     8th level dwarven warrior                     (CG)  +
+  Bosco        10th level halfling thief                      (N)  +
+                                                                   +
+  special guest stars:                                             +
+                                                                   +
+  Yod Ironbeard, dwarven hero and king                             +
+     Spikey, halfling warrior                                      +
+     Sparkey, halfling warrior (twin brother of Spikey)            +
+     100 of the finest dwarven warriors of Thunderdelve            +
+     six dwarven priests of Clangeddin, Moradin, et al.            +
+  Date:        2/10/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        noon                                                +
+  Place:       Thunderdelve Mountain, in the northern Lortmils     +
+  Climate:     temperate, within the mountain                      +
+  "No bastard won a war by dying for his country - he won it by    +
+   making another bastard die for _his_ country."                  +
+                                                  - from _Patton_  +

                   CCLXI.  War in the Deeps!

  After finding a gigantic underground cavern, occupied by an
orcish army, Mongo and the others have been cut off from that
impending battle by a cave-in set by the orcs.  However, the
matter is far from over...

Yod:  I haven't come this far to be stopped by any damned orcish
  trick!  (he waves his battleaxe menacingly)  The retaking of
  Thunderdelve shall continue!
Mongo:  Err...exactly what do you have in mind?
Yod:  Think:  of all creatures, what's the best for digging and
Spikey:  (looks at Sparkey)
Sparkey:  (looks at Spikey)
Mongo:  Best for digging?  You mean besides dwarves?
Yod:  Naturally.
Mongo:  Hmm...
Gorin:  Umber hulks?
Yod:  Better than that.
Mongo:  (shrugs)  Beats me.
Yod:  Allow me to demonstrate, then.  Are you ready?
Bosco:  (steps forward)  Thrill me.

  Yod began waving his axe in the air, chanting ancient dwarven
words of power.  He invoked the power of Moradin, the Soul-Forger;
he called upon the might of Clangeddin Silverbeard, the father of
battle; he summoned the forces of Dumathoin, god of secrets under
mountains.  There was a slight tremor in the rock surrounding the
party...and then, the great battleaxe began to glow with an eerie
black light.

Yod:  O master of earth and stone!  I call on your might now, to
  help the dwarves in their time of need!
Gorin:  Wh-
Yod:  Shh!  (he gestures at the ground before the group)

  The very rock itself swelled and shifted, rising up from the
ground.  Up...and up...and up.

Bosco:  Whoa!

  Before the adventurers, there now stood a titanic form, its
head scraping the ceiling some twenty feet above.  Composed entirely
of rock and dirt, the creature had no defined lines or joints in its
body.  When it moved, there was a sound like a rumbling or grinding.
The massive thing stared down at them with small, sunken eyes as it
clenched and unclenched its huge fists.

Yod:  O great one, I have need of your services once more.  There
  are orcs beyond that rubble, and we must get at them.
thing:  ORCS?
Yod:  And once we get at them, we need your help to defeat them.
Yod:  (shrugs)  With all due respect, it's not such a trivial task
  for us.
thing:  VERY WELL.  SUCH IS THE POWER OF THE PACT.  (it lumbers
  toward the cave-in)
Gorin:  Now what in the world is _that_?
Yod:  Friend, you're looking at the earth elemental king.
Bosco:  That's an earth elemental king?
Yod:  Not _an_ elemental king, kid - _the_ elemental king.  On the
  plane of earth and rock, he's a god.
Mongo:  I believe it.
Spikey:  (watching the elemental as it reaches the rubble)  Look.
Sparkey:  Check this out, Bosco.

  Dwarves dig earth more efficiently than any of the world's other
people.  Larger creatures, such as umber hulks and bullettes, dig
it faster, and in larger amounts.  However, none of these can even
remotely compare to the power of an earth elemental.  As they all
watched in fascination, the gigantic elemental scooped away huge
handfuls of rubble and dirt, tossing them to the side.  It was only
a matter of moments before the way was clear.

Yod:  (wastes no time)  Dwarves of Thunderdelve, are you ready for
  a fight!
dwarven warriors:  (cheering and yelling in answer)
Yod:  Behind me, then!  (to the earth elemental)  Precede us, and
  clear the way.  Concentrate on the more heavily armored orcish
  forces.  Do what you will, but no orc needs to be left alive.
earth elemental:  AS YOU WISH.  (it turns, and barrels through the
  last remaining rubble, thundering down into the giant cavern)
Bosco:  (sighs)  Earth elementals:  they're not just for mining
orcs:  (below, they cringe as the monstrous elemental thunders in
  their direction)
Yod:  Let's go for it!
Mongo:  (hefts his hammer)  Gorin, Bosco!  To me!  Attack!

  Following the elemental into the cavern, the adventurers charged
into battle.  They immediately confirmed that the orcs weren't ready
for this sudden move; whatever the humanoids had been doing, they
were now scattered throughout the cavern instead of gathered at the
far end.  Many were resting and their weapons and shields weren't in
their hands.  Mongo had felled four before his next target brought
a shield to bear.

Mongo:  (smashes through the shield with one hammer-blow)  Hah!
orc:  (squeals in surprise before its neck snaps)
Yod:  (slashes with his axe, at two orcs who charge in from one
  side)  Die!
orcs:  (both are repelled, bleeding and broken)
Gorin:  (ducks a sword-blow)  Whoa!
orc:  Huh?
Gorin:  Stupid orc.  (chops with his axe)
orc:  Aieeargh!  (it falls, nearly cut in two)
Gorin:  Never stand there watching if your sword misses.
Spikey:  (somehow gets under an orcish shield)  Hi there!  (his
  shortsword flashes)
orc:  Eeeargh!  (crumples, gutted)
Sparkey:  (blocks an orcish sword-blow with his hand ax)
orc:  Hah!  Got you now, peck!
Sparkey:  (stabs with his dagger, felling the shocked orc)  I hate
  that word...
Bosco:  (still possessing giant-level strength, he mows through any
  and all orcs who dare to challenge him, much like Mongo and Yod
  are doing)  Yippee!  (every one of his blows slays an orc, truly
  something that he's not used to)  I love it!
orc:  (stabs at the halfling)  Die, you little shit!
Bosco:  (his plate mail shirt deflects the sword-point)  Hey, it
  really _does_ work!  (he casually dispatches the attacker)

  As much destruction as Mongo, Yod, and Bosco were causing with
their giant strength, their exploits yet paled before the sheer
power of the earth elemental king.  The gigantic form moved through
the orcs like a knife through butter; every sweep of its massive
rocky arms crushed several foes at once.  Their weapon-blows had
absolutely no effect on the elemental, though by the time most of
them realized this, they were unconscious or worse.
  Behind the second wave (Yod, Mongo, et al) came the armored squad
of dwarves.  Their fury upon seeing the gathered orcish horde was
great indeed, and they charged at the hated foes with all the anger
and determination of people defending their homes.  The orcs held
their weapons steady and prepared to meet the charge, but in truth,
they were disheartened by the combination of the elemental, the
triple threat of Yod, Mongo, and Bosco, and the onrushing dwarves.
Their leaders had trouble controlling them, and their morale was
  Following in the wake of destruction wreaked by the gigantic earth
elemental, the dwarves smashed into their hated foes.  Axes rose and
fell, and warhammers smashed against steel and flesh.  Here an orc
lost its arm, thanks to a whizzing axe-blade; there an orc's face
was smeared into paste by a steel hammer-head...

dwarven lieutenant:  Thunderdelve will be ours again, lads!  Keep
  up the fight!
orc:  (prepares to throw a spear at the leader)
dwarf#78:  Foul scum!  (he hurls a throwing ax at the orc)
orc:  Argh!  (its face split by the sharp weapon, it falls backward
  into its fellows, blood spraying everywhere)
dwarven lieutenant:  Good work!
orc:  (slashes at a dwarf, cutting his leg at the armor-joint)
dwarf#31:  Argh!  (he backhands the orc with a mailed fist)  Back!
orc:  (reels, its jaw broken)  Urgk!
dwarf#43:  (lashes out with twin axes)  Die, orcish trash!
orc:  Arg-  (reels, its head cloven in twain)
other orc:  (crumples, its neck spurting blood)  Glagk!
random orc:  (stabs a dwarf in the belly)  Hah!
dwarf#67:  (chops at the orc with his axe, even as he himself falls)
  Last mine, bastard!
orcs:  (two of them, they try to tackle a voluminously fat dwarf)
dwarf#99:  (just stands there as the orcs bounce off of his huge
  body)  Ho, ho, ho!
orc:  Huh?
other orc:  Uh-oh.
dwarf#99:  Heh.  (he grabs each orc's head in one hand, and smashes
  them together)
orcs:  (both go down, unconscious and bleeding)

  The orcish forces, who had regrouped and massed in the center of
the cavern, were now split down the middle.  The dwarves had crashed
through the front lines, and continued to advance, toward the orcish
king.  The direct assault would work, provided the orcs didn't have
time to regroup, but Yod had counted on the elemental taking out
more of them, lending more support to his dwarves.  As it turned
out, though, the orcs were generally faster on their feet than the
huge elemental.  It didn't take them long to realize that their
weapons weren't affecting it, and despite its slow movement, one
blow from its huge fists almost certainly meant death.  Thus, the
orcs began avoiding the elemental, seeking to engage dwarves or run
elsewhere in the battle, rather than face Yod's summoned helper.

earth elemental king:  (lumbering about, searching for foes to smash)
orcs:  (doing everything but stopping to fight the huge foe)
orcs:  (scrambling over one another to avoid the huge foe)
orc#185:  (knocked down by his bretheren, his last sight is the heel
  of the earth elemental king)  AIIIIEEEE!  <Sploot>

  Regrouping after the initial confusion, the orcs were now fighting
with more gusto; after all, they did outnumber the dwarves almost
ten-to-one.  Being taller, they had longer reach, and their polearms
and spears kept the shorter weapons of the dwarves at bay, more often
than not.  Orcs closed in from every side, and only the dwarves'
tight ranks and great strength kept them from being split up and
massacred.  The elemental was little help, as it had plowed so far
ahead that it was now effectively at the rear of the orcs' ranks.
Slowly the dwarven forces were forced to give ground against wave
after wave of orcish warriors.  Minutes passed like hours, and here
and there a veteran dwarven warrior fell never to rise again, but all
along the wall of dwarven might, the orcish losses were incredible.

  Yod and Mongo (and Bosco) kept busy moving up and down the orcish
lines, breaking the deadly walls of axe- and sword- wielding orcs
backed up by their second rank of pikes and halberds.  With every
giant-strength blow landed by one of the trio, five orcish warriors
were knocked back, reeling and bruised if not outright slain.  Still,
it was tough going, as they quickly realized...

ogre:  (knocking aside orcs as he leaps forward to smash at the
  dwarves with a huge hammer)  YAAARRRR!
Gorin:  Ogres!  Comin' this way!
Mongo:  Shit...Yod!  They've got ogres!
Yod:  I see 'em!
Bosco:  (flying up beyond the battle)  Hmmm.  Big targets.

  Little Bosco flew higher and higher above the battle, though no
one had time to spare to watch his ascent.  Reaching the ceiling,
he flew over to one of the larger stalactites, glancing for a moment
at the battle below.

Bosco:  (takes out his stone dagger)  The right tool for the job.

  Cutting quickly and easily through the stone, Bosco soon freed
the stalactite.

Bosco:  Pilot to bombadier!  Pilot to bombadier!
bombadier:  Bombadier here.
pilot:  We're over the target now.
bombadier:  Check.  (tugs on the stalactite one final time)  Bombs

  With a snapping sound, the rocky spear broke free, plummeting down
toward the battle...

ogre:  (barely has time to look upward as the three-hundred pound
  spike spears it through the chest)  Aaaaargh!  (falls)
dwarf#56:  Piercers!
Bosco:  Heh.  (he begins working on a second stalactite)

  By flying around the ceiling and hiding between the massive
stalactites, Bosco was able to keep himself hidden from the view
of anyone but those directly below him, and by the time any ogre
looked upward, it was too late.  Despite the halfling's thinning
of the ogrish ranks, though, the dwarves weren't out of the woods

Yod:  (chops at an orc, knocking it back into three of its fellows)
  We're getting surrounded here!
Bosco:  (bats away a halberd with his sword, then pushes the orc
  hard, knocking it down and earning a respite)  No shit!
Mongo:  Maybe we need to take out the king!
Yod:  We need to break up this attack first!  Cover me!  (he digs
  in a pouch)
Mongo:  What've you got there?
Yod:  Earth seeds!  (holding dozens of tiny pebbles in one fist,
  he flings them into the orcs' ranks)  Watch!

  At first, the orcs didn't even notice as the tiny pebbles rained
down upon them.  As soon as each pebble impacted the cavern floor,
however, the rock around it rose up, obeying the pebbles' magical

Yod:  Earth seeds!  They bring the rock to life, and it ensnares
  anyone within reach.
Bosco:  Handy.
Mongo:  But what if-
Yod:  It ignores dwarves and gnomes for some reason.  That's why we
  call the pebbles "earth seeds" - we think they were created by
  dwarven and gnomish gods.
Mongo:  Incredible!

  Indeed they were.  Throughout the orcish ranks, random bunches of
the smelly humanoids were held fast, the very rock beneath their feet
having rebelled and snared them.  This caused great confusion and
mayhem among the orcs, and the dwarven warriors sallied forth with
newfound strength, half of their blows landing on orcs who were
unable to move their feet.  The orcs recoiled before this new and
successful rally and the dwarven line surged forward once again.

As the dwarven forces collided with the next wave of the orcish
horde, it became apparent that even the great dwarven endurance was
being taxed.  The veterans had been fighting a fierce, relentless
battle for nearly half an hour against a force of larger and more
numerous foes.  Against such pressure even the finest dwarves could
not last forever.
  Behind the lines, the six priests conferred closely over the
echoing din of the battle, and hit upon a plan.  Advancing on the
battle front, they began casting in unison calling upon the fires
of the Soul-forger.  Moments later, fire sprang from the very stone
just beyond the dwarvish line engulfing hundreds of orcs.  Every orc
within the fire was dead in seconds and those beyond it could do
nothing but recoil from the heat.

Jorga:  (leader among the dwarven priests)  Rest but a moment!
  When the flames die, we charge again!
other priests:  (heal a few wounded dwarves, and re-cast prayers
  to aid the tired warriors)

  Meanwhile, the monstrous earth elemental approached a division of
armored orcs; these foes had stayed clear of the main battle thus
far.  Though this elemental king was somewhat faster than any normal
elemental, the orcs still retreated faster than the creature could
charge.  Once they were a safe distance back, they let their spears
fly, a wave of more than fifty sharp, steel weapons.  As the earth
elemental was tremendously large, most of these hurled missiles hit
it, and the thing quickly disappeared, sinking into the ground!

orcish lieutenant:  Good job, ya slackasses!  We kilt it!
orcs:  (cheering, they ready pikes and move to flank the dwarven
dwarven lieutenant:  Uh-oh.  (to his troops)  Beware!  Orcs coming
  in from the side!

  Suddenly, without any warning, the earth elemental king exploded
from the ground below the orcish heavy infantry, and tore its way
into the surprised orcs, who had now learned the terrible truth about
the nature of earth elemental movement.  The orcs' heavy armor would
have served them quite well against the swords and axes of the
dwarves, but against the mighty elemental's crushing blows, it was
all but useless.  Orcish bodies flew in all directions as the earth
elemental systematically demolished what was perhaps the orcs' most
powerful force.
  Of course, Yod saw this too, and quickly decided to capitalize on

Yod:  (to Mongo)  Hey!  See that big orc there, way in the back?
Mongo:  The one in the shining armor?
Yod:  Yeah.  That's Grimthaard.  Come on, let's go after him!  With
  that armored division out of the way, we may be able to get to
  him!  Or at least close enough for your hammer or my axe to do the
Mongo:  Right!  (he hurls his hammer, knocking aside a half-dozen
  orcs who were standing in the way)
Yod:  (cuts down a dazed orc)  Outta the way, you!  (another swing
  of his axe sends several orcs reeling back)

  They cut and smashed their way toward the orcish king, and none
could stop their advance, it seemed.  The armored Grimthaard saw
them coming, however, even from afar; he quickly barked an order to
some nearby underlings.  Immediately, several unusually-garbed orcs
began chanting and gesticulating wildly.

Yod:  Shamans!  They're working magic-
Mongo:  Got 'em.  (he throws his hammer, crushing one shaman's head)
Yod:  (chops an orc, knocking it aside bleeding)  There're still a
  bunch of other shamans!  We need archers!
Mongo:  _They're_ the ones with archers!  Look out!
Yod:  (he and Mongo crouch)
orcish archers:  (loose a volley of arrows at the two dwarves)
Yod:  (his head-to-toe plate mail deflects all arrows that hit it)
  Hah!  That's why you wear plate mail, Bosco!  (looks around)
Mongo:  (also saved from the brunt of the arrows, since the armor
  loaned to him by Yod is full plate as well)  Good thing you had
  extra armor.
Yod:  Yeah.  Still, we can't get at those shamen until the archers
  are disposed of.
Mongo:  Yeah.  Hey, what's-

  Suddenly, a blazing ball of flame appeared, engulfing the two
dwarven warriors in an inferno of destruction!

Gorin:  (kicks an orc in the face)  Damn!
Bosco:  (using an armored orc to bat aside other orcs, he stops as
  he spots another large sphere of flame, this one headed his way)

  The ball of fire rolled toward the halfling, roasting any orcs
who didn't get out of its way.  Bosco leaped aside right as the
flame sphere would have hit him; the armored orc, whom he had just
dropped, was burned to death instantly.  As the fiery ball passed,
nothing remained of Bosco but his plate-mail shirt...

Gorin:  (watches Bosco's armor fall with no sign of Bosco)  Fuck!
  He's been incinerated!
Spikey:  Aie.
Sparkey:  He wasn't fast enough that time.
Bosco:  *CLANG*  (his arms, legs and head pop back out of the
  appropriate holes)  Ow!  OWW!  It's burning me!  Water!  Water!

  Trailing smoke, Bosco ran over to the nearby river and leaped in.
However, he didn't sink - he simply stood atop the river's surface,
slowly moving along as the waters flowed.

Bosco:  Aaa!  Forgot about my ring!  (he slips a ring off of one
  finger, and instantly sinks, generating a large puff of steam)
Gorin:  (parries an orc's attack as he follows Bosco)  Whoa!
orc:  (tries again)
Gorin:  (bats the foe's sword aside, using his shield, then chops
  its head asunder)  Bosco!
Bosco:  (suddenly pops out of the river, his ring once again on his
  finger)  Ahhhhhhhhhhh.  (he wipes water from his eyes, then blinks
  as he spies the orcish shamans hard at work, making life miserable
  for the dwarves)
oricsh shaman:  (waves its arms, and several nearby dead orcs rise
  to fight again)
dwarf#77:  aie!  Foul sorcery!  (he chops at one of the zombies,
  severing an arm)
orc zombie:  (marches onward relentlessly)  Bloooooargh...
other orcish shaman:  By the power of Gruumsh!  (casts Sleep upon one
  group of dwarves)
dwarf#06:  (falls asleep)
dwarf#49:  (resists the magic)
dwarf#88:  (falls asleep)
orcs:  (move in on the suddenly-weakened contingent of dwarves)
Bosco:  This has _got_ to stop.  (he goes airborne, flying toward the
  shamen from one side)

  As he flew, Bosco sheathed his sword and dug in one pouch, coming
up with a red marble.

Bosco:  Yod's not the only one with magic rocks!  (he drops the marble
  amidst the orcish spell-casters)  Heh heh...

  The tiny enchanted sphere hit the ground and instantly became _two_
marbles!  One of these hit the ground on its next bounce, and _it_
then became two marbles as well!  The other marble bounced into a
shaman's leg, and two marbles bounced off.  As one might imagine,
this magical chain-reaction was out of control within seconds, and
the orcish shamen began slipping and falling amidst a sea of little
red marbles.

Bosco:  (cheering himself on)  Yeah!  (he sails down, winged boots
  flapping away, to attack the distracted spell-casters)

  Meanwhile, the blazing sphere that had engulfed Yod and Mongo was
still in place...

orc:  (approaches)  They's dead.
other orc:  Fer sure.

  Suddenly, a hammer came flying out of the fiery conflagration,
crushing one of the orcs' chests.

Mongo:  (emerges from the fire-sphere, his beard and hair singed, his
  armor steaming)  GAAAARGH!  (he immediately spies the shamans, and
  hurls his hammer in absolute rage)
shaman:  (pulverized)
fire-sphere that grazed Bosco:  (instantly vanishes)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)

  It appeared that Yod, too, had some resistance to heat and flame,
for the dwarf-king walked from the fires, more angry than wounded.

Yod:  Fucking scum!  (he throws his axe at a big orc who guards the
big orc:  Aghk!  (dies instantly as the weapon rips through its
Yod:  (catches the axe)  Hah.  (looking around, he spots the earth
  elemental king, nearby but to one side, and calls to the gigantic
earth elemental king:  AYE?
Yod:  Now that you've decimated their armored division, we need your
  help over here, against their king and his sorcerors!
earth elemental king:  VERY WELL.  (it lumbers toward those foes)
Grimthaard:  (his eyes widen as he sees the big elemental coming for
  him)  Stop it!  Kill it!  (he retreats into a shadowy crevice in
  the rear of the huge cavern)
shamen:  (furiously working their magicks)

  Now that their attention was focused on the elemental, Yod and
Mongo were able to strike from either side...

Yod:  I'll take the left flank, you take the right.  (he charges, his
  hurled axe preceding him)
orcish shaman:  (falls, decapitated)
Mongo:  Gotcha!  (he charges up the other side, bashing orcs aside
  with every step)

  Though the orcish archers still protected their shamen, the sight
of the oncoming elemental struck fear into their cowardly hearts,
and many of their arrows fell short.  Of course, even those that did
hit the lumbering elemental did it no harm, but more importantly,
Yod and Mongo were all but left alone by the archers, making their
advance faster and easier.
  The shamen hurled fire, acid, and magical bolts at the elemental;
these only irritated it before it tore into their circle.  Orcish
bodies went flying in all directions.  Some shamen decided to flee
before they could get pulverized by the elemental, but as they did
so, they were unable to cast spells, and Yod and Mongo intercepted
them and dealt with them.
  Behind the dwarven leaders, the main battle raged on...

Bosco:  (narrowly dodges the crushed body of a shaman as it lands on
  the cavern floor, right where he was standing)  Hey, watch it!
dwarf#74:  (cuts an orc down with a mighty slash)  Got 'im!
dwarf#32:  (bashes an orc in the face with the butt of his axe, then
  finishes the foe with a reverse chop)  They die like any other
  orcs I've fought.
dwarf#74:  Yeah.  (he parries a weak orcish sword-thrust, then hits
  the orc in the face with his shield's edge)
orc:  Urgh!  (falls, stunned)
dwarf#32:  (slays the foe with an axe-blow)

  Between the frontal assault of the elemental king and the side
attacks of Yod and Mongo, the shamen were quickly extinct.  In fact,
the orcs in general were mostly dead, or dying; about a third of the
dwarves lay slain, and another third were badly wounded.  Still, many
orcs had retreated, their fear of their leaders no longer greater
than their fear of the dwarves.  The cavern was filled with orcish
bodies, and blood was everywhere.  The place was beginning to have
that stink that comes to a battlefield when the work is done; all
that remained now was the messy part.

Bosco:  (walking alongside Gorin, Spikey, and Sparkey as they head
  for the far end of the cavern, where Yod and Mongo are resting
  against a cavern wall)
Gorin:  Quite a battle.  (he chops a dying orc with his axe)
Bosco:  (somewhat shocked)  Hey!  What'd you do that for?
Spikey:  Even orcs deserve to be put out of their misery.
Sparkey:  Besides, war is hell.
Bosco:  Oh.

  The dwarven priests, who had purposely stayed well away from the
battle, now moved about, healing the more grievously wounded among
the dwarven warriors.  Gorin et al soon rejoined Yod and Mongo.

Yod:  Damned shit-eating bastard got away!
Gorin:  Who?  The orc king?
Mongo:  Exactly.  While his shamen and personal guards died at our
  hands, Grimthaard fled...
Yod:  ...into the depths of the mines.  (points to a small, dark
  passage)  That way.
Bosco:  (examines the passage, which wasn't there when the battle
  started)  This was a secret door.  Primitive, though.  It didn't
  even close itself.
Spikey:  (looking around, he surveys the carnage)  What now?
Sparkey:  Yeah, what can we do?
Bosco:  Well, there's only one thing to do!  We have to go after
Yod:  Aptly put, Bosco.  We have to follow Grimthaard...follow him
  into the lower reaches, hunt him down like the vermin he is, and
  put him out of our misery, once and for all!

next:   deeper into the depths they go!
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  After a period of relative silence, the TSR-copyright
  debate has reared its ugly head again.  But not with me.  No,
  right now they're going against a guy who calls himself Morpheus
  and (up until 12 July 1995) maintained a Web site that had ALL
  of the net.books and other "derivative works" that TSR doesn't
  like to see.  If this debate interests you, check out the news-
  group rec.arts.frp.dnd to get the complete story.  I would urge
  every one of you, though, to consider what TSR's doing, and what
  they have the right to do, and what they don't...and make up your
  mind for yourself.

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