Chapter #308

previous chapter (#307)                                                                  next chapter (#309)





                                  +
                                +   +
                              +       +
                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      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 1991-5 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 (or a portion of it):                                  +
+                                                                   +
+  Arnold       12th level human barbarian warrior            (NG)  +
+  Ged          14th/14th level grey elven priest/mage        (NG)  +
+     Nenya      8th/9th level female elven warrior/mage      (NG)  +
+  Mongo        17th level dwarven warrior                    (CG)  +
+     Gorin      8th level dwarven warrior                    (CG)  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        6/3/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        evening                                             +
+  Place:       Ged's castle, west of the City of Greyhawk          +
+  Climate:     mild                                                +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "The course of action I suggest is the one I can't suggest."     +
+                                - from _Clear and Present Danger_  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                 CCCVIII.  A Friendship Broken





  In the recesses of his castle, the elf Ged was busy studying an
ancient treatise on the wonders of interplanar teleportation...

Ged:  (thumbing through the crinkled brown pages)  Hmm...basic stuff
  indeed...

  Suddenly, his reading was rudely interrupted by some commotion in
the hall outside his study.  Sitting up straight, Ged heard shouting
and yelling, followed by the impact of stone on stone.  The elf had
had a very stressful day, and it irritated him to no end that he was
unable to get a moment's peace and quiet, even here in his own study
within his own castle.  He reacted accordingly, covering the distance
to the door in three strides, and pulled the doors open with both
hands.

Ged:  (shouting at the top of his lungs)  What in Boccob's name is
  going ON here?!?!?

  The elf was shocked to find himself facing Mongo!  The usually-
indominable dwarf looked exhausted, for he was covered in sweat,
blood, and scar tissue.  To be sure, it appeared that he had been
somewhere near the center of an explosion, perhaps a fireball.  His
beard was half-burned away, and he was breathing heavily, as if he
had just run a league.  Draped over one of the dwarf's shoulders
was a crumpled, melted mass of steel and flesh.  When Ged finally
managed to look beyond Mongo, who nearly filled the doorway despite
his short stature, he noticed a number of his guards sprawled out
in the hallway.  All were groaning in pain, or else unconscious.

Deryck:  (dashes forth, sword in hand, and addresses Ged)  Forgive
  me, milord.  We tried to stop him, but-
Ged:  (waves the half-elf off)  Don't worry, Deryck, it's okay.  (he
  looks Mongo over once more)  Mongo...what in the Hells happened to
  you?
Mongo:  Ambush...wizard...fireballs...ungh...(he collapses to the
  floor, with a loud ring of metal on stone)
Ged:  Oh, dear.
Deryck:  Figures.
Ged:  Eh?
Deryck:  From the scouts' reports, the dwarf ran right into these
  lands, from the east.  He's been jogging across the countryside
  for at least half an hour, probably a great deal longer.
Ged:  Yea, well, we've got to help him.  (he motions to several of
  the recovered guards who now stand nearby, wondering what's going
  on)  You, and you, and you!
guards:  Lord?
Ged:  Get this dwarf to a bed.  Now!  And be gentle.  Where's the
  page Calvin?
Calvin:  (somehow appears, nearby)  Yep?
Ged:  Go to my lab, and fetch the healing salves.
Calvin:  Right!  (he speeds off, then stops and turns around)  Err,
  which healing salves?
Ged:  All of them!

  Shortly, Ged was tending to his dwarven friend's wounds, as the
latter lay unconscious in a plush bed amidst Ged's guest-rooms.
Nenya had joined them, as had Arnold; both looked rather worried.

Ged:  Okay, the burns are cleansed.  (to Calvin)  Now the blue paste.
Calvin:  (hands the elf the specified tube)
Ged:  (rubs the salve into Mongo's more serious burns)
Nenya:  Will he live?
Ged:  Probably.  He's tough as they come, and besides, he's got some
  magical...protections.
Arnold:  Yah!
Nenya:  (looking over the comatose dwarf's burns)  These don't look
  so bad.
Ged:  (eyes the wounds himself)  That's because they're healing.
Nenya:  Pardon?
Ged:  (points at a particular burn)  When he arrived, this burn was
  deep, and full of pus and scar tissue.  Now, it's little more than
  a shallow burn-blister, covering newly-formed skin.
Arnold:  Regenderation!
Ged:  Exactly.  He'll be good as new, in no time.
Nenya:  (eyes the melted husk of steel, flesh, and bone, on an
  adjacent table)  What about that?
Arnold:  Who _is_ thadt?
Ged:  That, as far as I can tell, was Gorin.
Nenya:  Ghak!  (she nearly retches as she looks at the bloody, badly
  charred mass of ruined armor and flesh)
Arnold:  Was?
Ged:  That one is beyond help, now...far beyond help.

  Unknown to those who surrounded him, Mongo dreamed.  As the elf
worked to heal his body, he dreamed of terrible things, nightmares
that had hidden in the depths of his mind for a long time, perhaps
even years.  In one vision, he and Flint Firelips were fighting an
army of undead and sorcerors, foul necromantic creatures from far
beyond the grave.  As Mongo watched helplessly, held by a dozen vile
wretches, other undead abominations tore Flint limb from limb.  The
dwarf yelled, and the scene shifted eerily.  This time, a gigantic
red dragon held him firmly under one massive, clawed foot.  Mongo was
unable to escape, no matter how hard he tried.  The fire-lizard had
Flint clutched in one taloned hand, and as Mongo looked up from the
ground, the dragon impaled the other dwarf with one claw.  The body
writhed and screamed as the monster raised it, still living, to its
fanged mouth, eliciting another scream of rage and terror from Mongo.
The nightmare-scene dissolved, and was replaced with a fog-filled
battlefield.  As Mongo held a pack of slithering snake-men at bay,
Flint - joined now by Gorin - was captured in the coils of a huge
snake.  The fell serpent was hundreds of feet long, and as Mongo
watched, unable to reach his two friends in time, the titanic snake
proceeded to eat them.  The struggling, armored bodies vanished into
the dark maw, and Mongo screamed...

Mongo:  (screaming, he awakens, to find himself sitting, restrained
  by Arnold and Ged)  -AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Ged:  Calm down!  Mongo, calm down!
Mongo:  ...aaa...?
Arnold:  Id's okay.
Mongo:  Wha...
Nenya:  Shh, you must rest.
Mongo:  (looking around)  Where am I?
Ged:  You're in my castle.  You wandered here, across the country-
  side, for Boccob knows how long.
Mongo:  I did?
Ged:  It's a lucky thing you found us, given your state.  I'm rather
  surprised that you didn't collapse from exhaustion.
Nenya:  But you're safe now.
Mongo:  (rubbing his head)  I'm alive...
Ged:  Yea, and healing fast, I might add.  But-
Arnold:  What habbened?

  Quickly and efficiently, the dwarf relayed the tale of the recent
ambush, beginning with the emergence of the dozen warriors and ending
with the retreat of the mysterious wizard Potas Potay.

Mongo:  -which reminds me:  where's Gorin?
Ged:  Err...
Nenya:  (looks apprehensive)
Arnold:  Gorbin didn't...make it.
Mongo:  What?!?  Where?!?
Ged:  (gestures to the wrecked form on the nearby bed)
Mongo:  Ack!
Ged:  He was too far gone when you brought him here.  There's nothing
  I can do for him.
Mongo:  No...I mean, sure there is!  Sure there's _something_ you can
  do for him!  H- he's only dead, for crying out loud!
Ged:  Well, the-
Mongo:  You've done it!  You've done it before!  I've seen you!  You
  brought the dead back to life!  You did!
Ged:  Not quite...that was different, and they weren't totally dead
  besides...
Mongo:  Not quite?  Not totally?!?  What the hell does that mean?!?
Nenya:  The-
Mongo:  (pounds his bed with one fist, cracking the headboard)  Shut
  up!  I'm asking him, not you!
Nenya:  (immediately goes silent)
Ged:  (looking depressed)  I don't...have the power to arbitrarily
  restore life to people, unless they're faithful servants of the
  great Boccob...and even then, it's a challenge, for them and for
  me-
Mongo:  What?!?  What's the big deal?!?  You prepare the body, you
  cast a spell, and he comes back to life!  What could be simpler?!?
Ged:  (shakes his head sadly)  It's not that easy.  I'm sorry.
Mongo:  Come on!  This is _Gorin_ we're talking about, not some
  random peasant!
Ged:  All are equal in the eyes of Boccob, who empowers me to work
  magic.
Mongo:  (stands, thundering to the floor)  What the FUCK are you
  talking about?!?  (he straps on his girdle of giant strength, and
  opens his portable hole, tossing the pieces of his armor into it)
Arnold:  (looking extremely uncomfortable)
Ged:  It's possible that, given some time, and the assistance of
  others-
Mongo:  (punches the wall next to him, shattering one flagstone and
  spreading cracks through others)  Fuck assistance, and fuck others
  and fuck YOU!  (he grabs Gorin's carcass, tossing it into the
  portable hole before closing the magical space up)  If you can't
  help, fine!  I'll find someone else!  But don't ever- (he points
  at the elf, shaking in rage and nearly purple in the face) -don't
  you EVER talk to me again!
Ged:  Uh-
Mongo:  (storms out of the chamber without another word)

  The sound of breaking stone and shattered doors could be heard
from the hall outside; these sounds quickly grew more and more
distant.

Nenya:  (scowling at Ged)  Well, it sure didn't take him long to
  recover from his wounds...
Ged:  (hangs his head)
Deryck:  (bursts into the room)  Milord, he's destroying anything
  and everything in sight, on his way out!  And he's headed for the
  stables-
Ged:  Let him go.
Deryck:  Pardon?
Ged:  (looks up)  I said, let him go.  If he wants to smash up the
  castle a bit, and take a horse, that's fine.  It's the least I can
  do for him.
Arnold:  (sets his jaw)  It's cerdainly not the most.  (he turns and
  leaves the room)
Ged:  (looks mortally wounded)
Deryck:  (looks around, trying in vain to figure out what's going on)
Nenya:  (to Deryck)  I think we'd better give him some time alone.
Deryck:  But...
Nenya:  Out!  (forcibly pushes the ranger out of the study, follows
  him, and closes the doors as the lanterns in the chamber go out)
Ged:  (slumps into a chair as darkness falls)





next:   can it get any worse?
ftp:    ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
www:    http://www.gatech.edu/oit/staff/ns/thomas.miller/adv.html
notes:  It was bound to happen, sooner or later.  Nothing's sacred.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





previous chapter (#307)                                                                  next chapter (#309)