Chapter #297

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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  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Ged          14th/14th level grey elven priest/mage        (NG)  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        2/5/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        early afternoon                                     +
+  Place:       Havenhill, capital of the Principality of Ulek      +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
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+  "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.   +
+   Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."  +
+                                                    - Marie Curie  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





               CCXCVII.  The Search For Penance





  Havenhill's temple of Boccob was a grand place, for the patron
deity of magic had quite a following in these parts.  Demetrius,
a middle-aged cleric of that god, was going about his daily duties
when the elf arrived.  At first glance, he was just another elf,
clad in faded purple robes as he walked silently toward the great
altar of Boccob.  Then, Demetrius took in the simple morningstar
hanging from the elf's belt, the shining chain mail beneath his
robe, the shield strapped to his back, and most of all, he saw the
piercing green eyes behind the newcomer's hood.  He took note.

Demetrius:  Greetings, friend.  I am Demetrius, High Priest of this
  temple of our lord Boccob.  (he eyes the elf)  Are you a follower
  of the Lord of Magic?
Ged:  You could say that.  (he pulls down his robe's neck, slightly,
  revealing a medallion with Boccob's holy symbol, an all-seeing eye
  within a pentagram)  I am a fellow servant of the all-seeing lord
  Boccob.
Demetrius:  Ah.  (he realizes that, beneath the dust on the elf's
  robe, the garment is lined with gold trim - typical of priests of
  Boccob)  From where do you hail, my friend?
Ged:  Near Greyhawk.  (extends a hand)  I am called Ged.
Demetrius:  (his eyes widen)  Ged?  _The_ Ged?!?  (he bows)  Please
  excuse me, O great one!  I didn't know it was you.
Ged:  Don't worry yourself over it.
Demetrius:  Your name is spoken among the greatest circles of the
  Uncaring One's elder priests.
Ged:  Is it?
Demetrius:  It's just that...I just can't believe you're actually
  _here_, in my temple.
Ged:  Well, I am, and I have business here.
Demetrius:  Oh, I'm sure you'll find the temple to be in order.  All
  candles, books, and other regalia are exactly as they should be.
Ged:  Relax, Demetrius, I'm not here to inspect your church.   I may
  need your help, though.
Demetrius:  Oh.  What do you need?
Ged:  I've come to Havenhill to claim something that was given to
  me quite some time ago.  I must speak with the king himself.
Demetrius:  Olinstaad Corond?
Ged:  That's him...he's still the king, I assume?
Demetrius:  Yes.  His power waxes more than ever, in fact.
Ged:  Excellent.  What must I do to gain an audience with him?
Demetrius:  I shall arrange it, today if possible.  Until then, I
  hope you'll remain here, in the temple.  I've got spare rooms for
  visiting priests, and I think you'll find the facilities quite
  sufficient for prayer.
Ged:  Indeed, I think I'll meditate for a time.
Demetrius:  Very well.  I shall speak with the royal court.  (he
  bows again)  My thanks.
Ged:  No, my thanks to you, Demetrius, for your hospitality and help
  in these matters.  I've no doubt that Boccob thanks you as well.
Demetrius:  (smiling, he leaves for the royal palace)
Ged:  (walks to the front row of the temple, and kneels before the
  gigantic stone likeness of Boccob's symbol)

  The grey elf began his prayers and meditation, part of a daily
ritual he had undergone for many years, a ritual that had become
shorter over the years, pushed aside by necessity or desire, but
would now take Ged hours.  What Demetrius didn't, nay, couldn't,
know was that Ged had recently been visited in his dreams, by an
avatar of great Boccob himself.  This apparition had spoken to the
elf, telling him of pride grown too great, of responsibilities that
had been forgotten, and most especially of the need for penance.
Upon waking, covered in sweat and trembling, Ged had had no doubt
as to the sincerity of the dream, the messenger, or the message.
In fact, he found that his rapport with his patron deity had been
broken - as the apparition had foretold, the elf's holy power was
no longer evident.  He could no longer cast spells previously given
life by Boccob - from the simple Command up to the mighty Weather
Summoning, all were unusable!  As well, his once-great powers to
repel or destroy undead had fled him.
  A lesser priest might have turned to the sky, screaming "WHY?!?"
or perhaps even renouncing the deity.  Ged, however, was no minor
cleric; his faith was unshakable, and his sorcerous powers, such as
the magical missiles, the fireballs, the haste spells - these were
still his to command.  The avatar in his dream had spoken of making
a great journey, of spreading the message of Boccob without the use
of Boccob's given magic.  After all, such was the fate of all novice
priests, and this was the penance of Ged:  to walk the world, humble
in the eyes of Boccob and the other priests, until he had atoned for
his selfish ways.
  Ged departed Greyhawk that very day, taking only his more useful
possessions, as well as his familiar, the cat Endymion.  He had told
no one, not even Nenya or Arnold, of his quest or the reasons behind
it.  For a number of weeks, the elf had journeyed, aimlessly, in a
roughly eastward direction.  He stopped at every town, every city,
every group of mud huts that he came upon.  In each of these places,
Ged spent several days, discussing the philosophy of Boccob with the
locals, using his remaining magic to work wonders, assist the people,
and in a few cases, even to right wrongs.  He was humble and patient
with all he had spoken to, more humble and patient than he had been
for years, perhaps for his entire adult life.
  When he had crossed temples of Boccob, Ged had stopped at every
one, offering donations of time, money, and wisdom to the priests
there.  By helping those who helped the common people, he was doing
a doubly valuable service.  Still, for all of this, all the things
he had done and all the people he had helped, Boccob had not yet seen
fit to return his holy powers...and so, Ged's odyssey continued, and
his wanderings had taken him into the Principality of Ulek, and even-
tually to its capital, Havenhill.

  The grey elf quietly reflected upon all of these events as he knelt
and prayed, clearing his mind of all else.  Thus he remained for a
number of hours, until Demetrius returned, excited.

Demetrius:  Lord Ged!
Ged:  Eh?
Demetrius:  I have spoken with the king himself, and he remembers
  you!
Ged:  Hmm.  Fame was not my intention...
Demetrius:  However the case may be, he has agreed to see you, on
  the morrow, first thing in the day's business.
Ged:  Ah.  My thanks, good fellow.
Demetrius:  And now, I'm sure you'd like one of our rooms, to rest
  and ease your mind and body.
Ged:  Please, lead the way.
Demetrius:  (walking, Ged behind him)  I hope the rooms will be all
  right.  They're a bit...simple.
Ged:  That'll be fine, don't worry.

  Soon, the elf was resting in his quarters, on a simple mat, covered
with a woolen blanket.  He had doffed his armor and pack, setting
aside the morningstar and shield.  As Ged took a simple supper of
bread, sliced meat, and wine, he reflected on those items that had
been left behind.  Chief among these was the intelligent morningstar
Lightbringer; Ged had hated to leave the weapon behind, but it was
representative of the holy power that he was supposed to be getting
by without.  Besides, it would have been hard to concentrate, pray,
and meditate with the weapon talking constantly.  Similarly, Ged had
left his amulet of plane-traveling, his magical torus-talisman, and
his wondrous sky balloon in his castle, securely locked away.  These
items had possessed the potential to interfere with what was to be
his penance, and he had somehow known that leaving them behind would
please Boccob.  After all, restoring Boccob's confidence in Ged was
the purpose of the journey.  Without Boccob's confidence and approval,
Ged would be incomplete, and the work of Boccob unfulfillable.

  As the elf ate, his familiar slept peacefully on the mat.  The cat
had remained in Ged's pack for most of the day, though he had let the
animal out upon arriving at the temple.  Endymion preferred to roam
freely, and had a knack for finding his way back to Ged, as he had
done a mere half-hour ago.  It was probable that the mouse population
in the temple was slightly depleted now, compared to this morning.

  After his repast, Ged lit a candle and meditated for a time, then
blew out the candle and retired for the night.





next:   Ged speaks with the King
ftp:    ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
www:    http://www.gatech.edu/oit/staff/ns/thomas.miller/adv.html
notes:  You should probably know that this entire plotline was Ged's
  player's idea.  I implemented it back in episode 250-something,
  not knowing any exact details...until now, when it all just came
  pouring out of my brain.  Ashley used the words "pride", "ego",
  "humility", "displeased deity", and "atonement", among others,
  when conveying his ideas to me.  And now, I have conveyed them
  to you.
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