Chapter #281

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                                +   +
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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                    +
+                          +
+  Rillen      17th level human warrior                      (N)    +
+  Date:        2/17/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        early evening                                       +
+  Place:       some remote mountains                               +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
+  "...and that is what Evil does:  forces us all down dark         +
+   pathways we otherwise would not have trod."                     +
+                                           - from _The Dark Tide_  +

                CCLXXXI.  The Pursuit of Vengeance

  For more than two weeks after leaving the massacre at the monastery,
Rillen has roamed the surrounding mountains, searching for some clue
as to the identity and whereabouts of whoever killed his master and
the other monks.  No one has been able to tell him much of anything,
and some of those he has encountered have proven downright hostile.
In one small town between mountain peaks, Rillen runs into trouble...

big stocky fellow:  (grabs the medallion from Rillen)  Nope, never
  seen this symbol.  But it looks kinda valuable.
Rillen:  It is.  To me.
big fellow:  Not anymore.  It's mine now.
other big, apish men:  (gathering around)  Yeah.  Hah hah.
Rillen:  (sighs)  I'm not in the mood for this.
man:  Then leave.  (he turns to his friends, and they all begin a
  fresh round of laughter)
Rillen:  Okay, I'll make this simple for you.  Give the medallion
  back to me, turn, and leave.  Otherwise, I can't guarantee that
  you'll walk away from here.
man:  (makes a face)  Oooo, we're sure scared now!  Aren't we, boys-
Rillen:  (drops the man with a lightning-fast kick to the sternum)
man:  Urngh!  (falls, dropping the medallion; he lies on the ground
  trying to catch his breath)
Rillen:  (picks the medallion up, tucking it away in a pouch)
other men:  (surrounding him now)  Not so fast, you.  No one drops
  one of us without paying the price.
Rillen:  It's you who shall be paying the price, and it won't be a
  cheap one.  (he grabs an attacker's arm, and uses the man's great
  momentum to swing him around, into another attacker)
men:  (their heads collide loudly, and both go down)
third attacker:  (gets his arms around Rillen's neck)  Hah!  Got you
Rillen:  (tenses his thick neck and shoulder muscles, to protect
  against any choking or bone-breaking)  I think not.  (he flips
  the man over his shoulder, then lands a kick to the foe's face)
man:  (immediately ceases all movement)
Rillen:  (backs away, facing the remaining men)  That's one dead and
  three badly wounded.  So far.
others:  (three in number, they just stand there, staring)
Rillen:  Leave now, or you will most certainly regret it later.
others:  (pick up the wounded, none of whom have been able to get
  to their feet yet, and flee the scene)
Rillen:  Fools.  (he checks his backpack to make sure nothing was
  damaged or knocked loose, then finds his horse and leaves for the
  next town)

  The warrior rode through the mountains, following a lack of clues
rather than tangible ones.  By making sure that nobody in a given
town had seen or heard of the symbol on the medallion, he was able
to systematically eliminate that town from his quest.  This trial-
and-error process took weeks, and was totally fruitless.  Until,
that is, Rillen rode into a small village at the foot of a huge
mountain.  The first man he queried knew nothing.  The second told
him to talk to someone else, and then fled into a house.  The third
one, a wizened shepherd who tended his flock on the outskirts of
town, didn't answer the warrior's question immediately, which was
a sure sign that he knew something.

man:  (just stands there, dumbfounded)
Rillen:  Again:  do you know this symbol?
shepherd:  (looking around fearfully)  Legends...only legends.  It
  is said that, somewhere high on the peak above us, an ancient
  clan of mystical warriors makes its home.
Rillen:  Where?  (he shakes the comparitively tiny old man like a
  rag doll)  Why?
shepherd:  Please, master!  Mercy!
Rillen:  (realizes what he's doing, and sets the frail fellow down
  carefully)  Sorry.
shepherd:  Sometimes, the tales say, these warriors leave their
  sanctuary and roam the area...and these are terrible times for
Rillen:  If these people are the ones I'm looking for, there will
  be no sanctuary.
shepherd:  None in this village were alive the last time the last
  time the evil ones came.
Rillen:  Hmm.  Evil ones, you say?
shepherd:  That's right.
Rillen:  That makes sense, and will wipe away any remorse from what
  I must do.
shepherd:  You intend to go up the mountain, then?
Rillen:  My destiny, it would seem.
shepherd:  (gazes up at the nearby mountain, fearfully)  The Dark
  Mountain...good luck, fellow.  You'll need it.

  Stopping in the village, to re-stock on supplies, Rillen decided
to stay the night.  It was almost dark anyway, and he was tired, and
it might very well be some time before he slept in a warm bed again.
Procuring his new supplies first and a room second, he went to bed
early, in order to get a good night's rest.  His sleep was plagued,
though, with scenes involving his deceased master, the other monks,
and a variety of men and creatures that might have killed them.
  Still, it was a physically restful night, and Rillen woke early,
to get an early start.  He decided to leave his horse in the care
of a stableboy.  The terrain on the mountain was likely to get too
rough for a horse, at some point, and Rillen didn't want to leave
the animal to die or be eaten by mountain predators.  Whatever
waited at the mountaintop, Rillen would reach it on foot.
  As the sun rose on the horizon, the big warrior set out on his
journey.  Garbed in a massive, thickly furred cloak, he wore heavy
boots and leggings.  He carried a backpack, which rested lightly
on his broad back.  Looking back at the small village only once,
Rillen began the long ascent up the mountain.

next:   the trek is underway
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  Yeah, yeah, I know.  The shortest episode ever.  Think of
  it as a coda.  Much more to come in the next few episodes.
    Tonight marked the first night of the new baseball playoff
  format.  In the one game I was able to watch, the _______ beat
  the _______ _-_.  You know, I could deal with any of these teams
  winning the World Series, though I tend to disfavor the Reds and
  Dodgers because they won it within the last ten years.
    USA is showing reruns of Highlander's 2nd season now, which of
  course means that I'm taping them.  Since I own the entire 1st
  season, and have 19 of 22 3rd season episodes on tape, I'm going
  to soon own it all.  I even find time in-between all the other
  stuff to tape the 4th season episodes which are now airing.

    Time for more fan mail.  This time, we'll deal with everything
post-tarrasque that leads up to the Thunderdelve adventures, i.e.

>>  Peldor should add a rotating restaurant on top of the Green
>>  Dragon.  Angus could supply the power!
>>  Bosco's definitely fun.  No I didn't have any comments, I thought
>>  he was doing fine on his own.  Two women for one halfling is
>>  pretty darn good!
>>  Rance

  That's Bosco for you!

>>  for a world full of magic (both items and monsters) and cities
>>  which have been around a _long_ time, the high-ranking greyhawk-
>>  ians are not very impressive.  they never have a clue that the
>>  person whom they face might do something as (relatively) common
>>  as a teleport, and the soldiers have obviously never had to face
>>  any kind of magical defense or attack.  even the adventurers
>>  themselves are often guilty of this attitude.  no one has ever
>>  heard of divination spells, etc. etc.
>>  for this reason, *otto* is now my favorite member of the group.
>>  at least he takes everything in stride, assumes nothing, and is
>>  ready to strike REALLY REALLY HARD first time around, since you
>>  never know what the other guy is capable of doing.
>>  dpm

  I will say that (according to the GH boxed set, which I place
some stock in) Greyhawk has strict laws against certain magic use
within the city.  The high-powered magic of the campaign world has
always annoyed me.  Anyway, your point is valid.
  Glad you like Otto.  What made him what he is today?  Why does he
act like this?  We'll find out soon enough.

>>  Interesting....veeery interesting.  I was a bit surprised that
>>  Sental wasnt a _little_ more on Belphanior's side, once presented
>>  with the evidence of wrongdoing, but thats just me.  I have this
>>  mental image of Sental saying something like, "We are eternally
>>  gratefull for the services you have rendered to this city --- and
>>  you are under arrest for...."
>>  Mongo's armour...His quest to find new armour (or get his old to
>>  a dwarven smith to repair) ought to be interesting reading.
>>  Tanya and Nenya and Bosco...Bosco?  The ladies man?  Cool...
>>     <chuckle>
>>  Gorin and Arnold and Rillen...Arnold clumsy....hehehe....gotta
>>  love it.
>>  As always, nice story.  Looking forward to the next.
>>  Tom

  As will be revealed eventually, Sental's got problems of his own,
which might well have led to his sloppy judgement.

>>  Hello, for the first part of this message i wanted to say that
>>  it has been a long time since i wanted to write you to compliment
>>  you on your writings.  Since i first read you, your style has
>>  evoluated toward a style that i like and your stories has become
>>  better, the adventures of the group represent. a path that the
>>  AD&D campaigns i played never went.
>>  I read each new story with some expectations and i wait with
>>  interest the implication of the bold group of the Adventurers in
>>  the Greyhawk's war.
>>  Patrick

  Cool, thanks.  Evoluated?
  Anyway, on to 252 may remember this one as the
Halbarad solo adventure, in the woods...

>>  1.  It seemed a bit uncharacteristic that it would wait so long
>>  while Halbarad got his gem might seem clearer, if after
>>  he can see the creature, we see the monster "scoping" out
>>  Halbarad, making us think that he is sizing him up and doesn't
>>  see the man getting out a magical gem as a threat...  (It's
>>  probably just me, but I'd have killed him right away if I was
>>  the predator! :])

  Hmm.  Who can know the ways of the wild beasts?

>>  2.  Also..the year is 275 which is the current year..what happened
>>  to the tiger?  Did he leave him behind?  Did he pass away?
>>  Patrick

  Ah, somebody remembered the tiger!  I have no idea what happened
to it but if we see more of Halbarad, we may find out.  And it's not
necessarily dead.

>>  All in all though, a very exciting episode.  I couldn't look
>>  up from my screen until I was done!
>>  Eric

>>  Nice "what if" story.  A change of pace is useful, sometimes.
>>  Very enjoyable.
>>  Richard

>>  before i caught on.  i'm impressed that you had me confused
>>  that long! and i must say that this was one well-written battle:
>>  that the predator would be defeated was predictable (after all,
>>  he _is_ an Adventurer) but the story certainly made a strong
>>  point on how he was barely able to win, even with magic.
>>  on the down side, you're only increasing the demand for your
>>  stories . . .
>>  dpm

  Glad you liked it.  Remember, too, that I never identified the
thing as any particular creature.

>>  Two words: Just A-W-E-S-O-M-E !!!
>>  BTW, I was planning to mail you and suggest you write stories
>>  about Halbarad, Peyote and Rob. As I saw, you beat me to it.
>>  VP

  Hmm, I guess a Rob story is coming next.

>>  GREAT STORY!  I've been an avid reader of your stories for a
>>  couple of years now, and I have loved them all.  Never really
>>  got to read much about Halbarad, but after that story he has
>>  become one of my favorites, if not my favorite over all, the
>>  way you depicted him was just too cool.

  Yeah, it's amazing what I can do once I don't have to deal with
certain players.  Although Rob will never change.

>>  Keep up the great work, your stories are awesome.
>>  Sincerely,
>>  Wright S. Frazier II

>>  Halbarad's solo..Hmm. This seems vaguely familiar:-) But
>>  seriously, I loved this story. I'm not quite sure why, but I
>>  think it was the way all the others were cut down by the
>>  predator, but Halbarad survived, though he had to use all his
>>  ranger skills to do so. Also, in the movie Arnie had guns and
>>  high-tech equipment whereas Halbarad only had medieval weapons,
>>  though he made good use of his bow and magic items:-).
>>  Brilliant:-)
>>  Sean

>>  i really liked the halbarad vs predator story.  i was totally
>>  in the dark about what was going on until the second bandit was
>>  killed.  the story was well written, and entertaining.  i'm a
>>  huge predator fan, watch the laserdisc at least once a month ;-).
>>  kal

  Me too.

>>  So when does the "alien" from aliens arrive ????
>>  Kerry

  Don't know if I can touch that one in a mainstream story.  It
would probably have to be a "what if?" type story.

>>  Just a thought...
>>  Ever considered a romantic interest between Arnold and Nenya?
>>  Jim

  Not really, though it would surely piss Ged off!

>>  This episode really cracked me up! (heehee) Especially Ged's reaction to
the fact that some people worship Peldor as their god :D
>>  About Ged's disappearance, is he on pilgrimage (sp?) ? It would suit his
level of power well. Pray, do not tell he's on his way to immortality
already (hehheh)?
>>  -VP

>>  hola,
>>  just wanted to drop you a line about the latest batch of stories
>>  that came down the mailing list....i like the way that you've
>>  been dealing with the adventurers' lives in the city.  you're
>>  making what has a lot of potential to be boring into a lot of fun.
>>  kal

>>   I don't think I've ever actually taken the time to thank you
>>  for your story posts. I have been a GM for about 10 years now,
>>  but have still learned many new (and nasty) tricks from your
>>  posts.  I am also impressed by the amount of personality that
>>  the adventurers have.
>>  Hannes

  And now for a simulated mail message, the likes of which I get all
the time:

>>  Hi there, I love your stories but I missed episode ###.  Could
>>  you send it to me?  Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  For some time now, there has been a little line near the end of
the stories, which tells you a place you can get the old stories.
It's amazing how many people miss this line.  Or maybe they don't
read anything after the end of the actual story?  I guess I'll never

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