Chapter #293

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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                    +
+                          +
+  Alindyar     16th level dark elven mage                     (N)  +
+  Lyra         12th level female dark elven mage              (N)  +
+  Peldor       19th level human thief                         (N)  +
+  Tanya        5th/11th level female human warrior/thief     (LN)  +
+  Date:        2/15/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
+  "There is no knowledge that is not power."                       +
+                      - seen on the _Mortal Kombat 3_ video game   +

                CCXCIII.  The Coming of Leonardo

  After an extended vacation, Peldor et al have returned to Greyhawk
and the Green Dragon Inn.  The better part of a week has passed, and
things have returned to normal...except, of course, when business

Vinnie:  (knocks on Peldor's bedroom door)  Boss!  Wake up!
Peldor:  (opens the door, clearly groggy)  Huh?
Vinnie:  Sorry to wake you up before noon, but there's some guy from
  Dyvers downstairs.  Said you made him an offer to cook here?
Peldor:  Oh, him.  Okay.  Err...tell him I'll be down in a moment.
  (he closes the door)
Vinnie:  (goes back downstairs)

  Shortly, Peldor entered the spacious kitchen of his inn, and was
a little surprised to find the fellow from Dyvers wandering through
the room, examining various aspects of the kitchen.  The man was
about six feet tall, a little stockier than Peldor; he appeared to
be in his mid-thirties.  He had short brown hair, thinning at the
top, with a short beard.

man:  (looks up)
Peldor:  Err...
man:  Ho there, good Peldor!  You probably remember me.
Peldor:  (thinking)  Hmm.
man:  I'm Leonardo.  (bows)  At your service.
Peldor:  Ah, yes - one of the cooks from Dyvers.
Leonardo:  One?
Peldor:  Nevermind.  So you're here for the job?
Leonardo:  Yes, I am.  Head cook, was it?
Peldor:  Err...tell you what.  Let's see what you can do.
Leonardo:  (claps his hands together)  Give me two hours, and I'll
  have a splendid midafternoon lunch ready.
Peldor:  Done.  (he goes into the kitchen, to inform the few cooks
  there now of what's going on)

  After Peldor briefed his people, Leonardo headed for the kitchen,
while Peldor left the inn, both to stay out of the cook's way and
to have his daily talk with Org Nenshen, Guildmaster of thieves.
The latter business took place in Org's darkened office, across
the city from the Green Dragon.

Org:  Business is good, especially from your Quarter.  I can't say
  it enough...the man you left in charge did a good job of being
  quietly efficient.
Peldor:  Glad to hear it.  What of international news?
Org:  Well, rumor has it that things are astir in Iuz.
Peldor:  Things?  What kinds of things?
Org:  Bad things.  Orcish legions...evil wizards...
Peldor:  Ah, the very bread and butter of civilization.
Org:  Tell me about it.  I think things may reach a head, and soon.
  Within the next few years, even.
Peldor:  (having a hard time thinking beyond the next few months)

  A while later, close to midday, Peldor returned to his inn, where
a fine meal was being laid out.  Tanya, Vinnie, and several others,
including the other cooks from the inn, were seated at Peldor's
private dining table.

Peldor:  (eyes the food)  Wow.
Leonardo:  (appears, bearing a tray)  Ah, there you are.  Allow me
  to detail the lunch you see before you.

  The meal was varied, with many wonderful parts.  There was a fine
salad, of various lettuces, mustard greens, and dandelions, served
with a creamy horseradish dressing.  The soup was carrot-ginger,
served with various chives and homemade sourdough bread.  The entree
consisted of a pepper-seared venison steak with a sour-cherry and
red-wine sauce (the sauce was made from the pan drippings from the
steaks, with shallots, parsley, sun-dried sour cherries, a fruity
red wine, and some diluted chicken stock)  The steak was covered with
baked potato slivers basted with clarified butter and sandwiching
sprigs of fresh tarragon and marjoram, and a miniature butternut
squash souffle.

Peldor:  I say again:  Wow.
Vinnie:  I say let's eat.

  They did, and found the meal as exquisite (or moreso) as many of
those Peldor and Tanya had eaten in Dyvers.  It took awhile, but
eventually all present were stuffed.

Leonardo:  Oh, you have to save room for dessert.
Tanya:  (eyes go wide)

  Dessert in this case was a tarragon chocolate mousse, served hot,
like a fallen souffle on a plate decorated with swizzled chocolate
sauce, and decorated with paper thin, curved, chocolate sugar cookies,
creme de vanilla, and a sprig of mint, all dusted with cocoa powder.

Peldor:  Urp.
Tanya:  (disgusted)  You're no Bosco.
Peldor:  A good thing.  (to Leonardo)  You're hired.
Leonardo:  Excellent.  I'll need to inspect your larders and stocks more
Peldor:  (shrugs)  Feel free.  (to Tanya)  A walk.  We should go for a
Tanya:  Good idea.  (they leave, hand in hand)
Vinnie:  (to Leonardo)  Got any more of that cake?
Leonardo:  It's not a cake, my good fellow.
Vinnie:  Whatever.  I'm still hungry.
Leonardo:  I suppose I could find some...

  Peldor and Tanya walked through the River Quarter and into the
Foreign Quarter, hand-in-hand, talking about various things.  More
than an hour later, they returned, and Peldor entered the extensive
kitchen of the Green Dragon Inn, looking for his new chef.  Copper
and cast-iron cookware hung above polished granite countertops, and
large wooden cabinets above and below the counters stored even more
cooking utensils, as well as herbs, wines, and other ingredients.
At the near end of the room, a sink was carved into the counter; a
huge grill occupied the middle of another counter.  Taking up the
entire far wall was a large wood-fired oven, looming up from the
floor like a massive beehive.  A younger cook, one whom Peldor had
hired awhile back, was at the grill, while a young boy chopped
vegetables on the counter near the sink.

Peldor:  Where's the new chef?
boy:  He's down in the larder with Tris, checking on supplies.
Peldor:  Tris?
boy:  You'll just have to see for yourself, sir.

  Peldor headed down to the cellar, where he found the larder door
open, a light shining out.  Within the larder Peldor found his new
chef Leonardo, scroll and pen in hand, browsing through the stocks
of dry goods.  Suddenly, between the chef's legs appeared a small
brown weasel-like animal, with a white face and a raccoon like mask.
The creature peered out at Peldor, and then scratched at the chef's
pant leg.  Leonardo turned around and grimaced at Peldor.

Leonardo:  We'll need to replace most of it.  Maybe all of it.
Peldor:  (still eyeing the weaselly animal)  Huh?
Leonardo:  A lot of these stores are damaged.  Here look, mice!
  (he holds up a handful of flour, demonstrating that the white
  powder is speckled with black mouse droppings)
Peldor:  What?!?  That's not possible!  This door is solid oak, and
  was designed to fit without any gaps.  And the walls are built
  with three-inch thick oaken planks, and not a crack larger than a
  mouse's whisker between them.
Leonardo:  Oh, the mice didn't get in here on their own.  They simply
  followed the rats, which chewed a hole through the oak.  The rats
  have been fattening up on the legumes and dried fruits, while the
  mice have been feasting on your grains.  Most of the bags near the
  door haven't been touched, which is why it wasn't noticed before.
Peldor:  (groans)  Great, maybe I should just line the room with
Leonardo:  Even that wouldn't keep them out for very long, you know.
  Rats have been known to chew through all but the hardest of stone.
Peldor:  You seem to know a lot about pests.  (he grins, wondering
  what the other will think of Bosco)
Leonardo:  It's part of the job, really, making sure the foodstuffs
  are in the best of condition.
Peldor:  What can we do, then?
Leonardo:  It's already being done.  Tris here has started her first
  watch.  (he indicates the animal at his feet, which Peldor had
  temporarily forgotten as it sat, concealed, behind Leonardo's leg)
Peldor:  (looks skeptical)  Does it catch mice better than a cat?
  It's actually smaller than some of the rats I've seen.  Maybe it
  _is_ a rat?
Leonardo:  I'm not sure if my ferrets actually catch them, but the
  ferrets' scent keeps away rats and mice better than the best mouser.
Peldor:  And will it...
Leonardo:  She.
Peldor:  Will she damage any of the dry goods?
Leonardo:  Oh no, she's a carnivore, and I've got her trained to only
  eat a special diet, so she won't bother the meats in the cold room
  either.  My other two, Kiva and Bongo, are just as good.
Peldor:  These things didn't cause any trouble at your previous tavern,
  did they?
Leonardo:  Oh, no, they were as good as, well, other than
  stealing small odds and ends people left laying about.  They always
  stashed them in the same place, so when things turned up missing,
  we'd just look there first.  Not much trouble at all.
Peldor:  (looks at the ferret with renewed interest)  Hmm.
Leonardo:  You were looking for me?
Peldor:  Yes, I wanted you to handle the new deliveries I ordered from
Leonardo:  Ah, yes.  I'll see to them at once.  I'm the sort of cook
  who prefers to do the bulk of the shopping himself, allowing what's
  fresh and available to determine the menu for that day.
Peldor:  Excellent.  Hey, have you found a place to live yet?
Leonardo:  We're working on it - but it may take a while.
Peldor:  We?
Leonardo:  My wife and I.  And the ferrets.
Peldor:  Oh.  Hmm, let me know if there's anything I can do to help.
Leonardo:  You might need to verify my employment with the Greyhawk
  land bureau, before they allow me to put a down payment on a small
Peldor:  I could hold a mortgage for you - I've got the cash.
Leonardo:  (nodding)
Peldor:  I'll take care of it before the day is done.  (he begins to
  wonder if he should get into the land investment business as well)
Leonardo:  Many thanks.
Peldor:  Err...
Leonardo:  (raises his eyebrows)
Peldor:  I might be interested in getting one of those ferrets, or
  their babies, if the time comes.
Leonardo:  An animal lover, eh?
Peldor:  No.  Well, yes.  Yes and no.
Leonardo:  By all means, please explain.
Peldor:  I could use the animals'...talents, from time to time.
Leonardo:  Well, I'll see what we can do.  Or should I say, what the
  ferrets can do.  (shrugs)
Peldor:  Okay.  We can discuss your hours, and those of the other
  cooks, later.  You'll have full run of the kitchen, though I'd
  suggest not being pushy.  The other cooks will appreciate it more
  if you're casual.
Leonardo:  Oh, they're already asking me for tips on their usual
  recipes.  I don't give orders, just comments.
Peldor:  Excellent.  And also, your dominion includes the kitchen,
  but not the bars.  In other words, Tanya's in charge of all that.
Leonardo:  Understood.
Peldor:  Thanks, and I'll see you later then.  (he walks upstairs,
  wondering how he can maintain his lean figure eating such elaborate

next:   a visitor comes to Helgate
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  You'll notice that I'm trying - in everyone's stories - to
  create interesting, fleshed-out NPCs with personalities, people
  who the readers will actually empathize with, and care about.

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