Chapter #310

previous chapter (#309)                                                                  next chapter (#311)

                                +   +
                              +       +
                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      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                    +
+                          +
+  THE PARTY (or a portion of it):                                  +
+                                                                   +
+  Mongo        17th level dwarven warrior                    (CG)  +
+     Gorin      8th level dwarven warrior                    (CG)  +
+  Peldor       19th level human thief                         (N)  +
+  Date:        6/5/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     mild                                                +
+  "In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate."     +
+                          - Isaac Asimov, from _Fantastic Voyage_  +

                    CCCX.  The Fate of Gorin

  After an ambush in the wilderness and a failed attempt to persuade
Ged to bring the slain Gorin back to life, Mongo has undertaken other

Mongo:  (frowning)  So I took him to Derider Fanshaen's temple, here
  in Greyhawk, and she said she'd do what she could.
Peldor:  (takes a sip of his hot chocolate)  Hmm.  Derider's a good
  girl - if anyone can help Gorin, she can.
Mongo:  I hope so.  Of course, a hefty donation was required...kinda
  makes a fella glad he works for a living, you know?
Peldor:  Yeah...Derider's a high priestess of Pelor, right?
Mongo:  She sure is.
Peldor:  Hmm.  For once, I'll refrain from making a snappy comment.
Mongo:  (sarcastically)  Gee, thanks.

  The two adventurers sat in a booth within the Green Dragon Inn,
discussing the recent events.  Mongo took a swallow from his own
drink, a mug of Velunan spiced cider, and rubbed his chin, where
his recently-trimmed beard was already beginning to grow back.

Peldor:  Does your ring of regeneration cause it to regrow that
Mongo:  Nah, my beard's always been a fast sprouter.  But hell, I
  had to trim away a big fuckin' chunk of it, after it got burned
  up in the attack.
Peldor:  (frowning)  About this'd never seen, met, or
  heard of this wizard, this...Potas Potay?
Mongo:  (throws his hands up in the air)  Never!  I don't know who
  the hell he was, or who put him on my case.  But for their sake -
  all of them, whoever they may be - they'd better hope I never find
Peldor:  I'd bet the call for help, from Silverbeard, was a fake.
Mongo:  Probably so.  I may go check it out anyway - but first I've
  got to take care of Gorin, one way or the other.
Peldor:  It sure sounds strange.  Maybe some enemy you've forgotten
Mongo:  (shrugs)  It's possible.  Anything's possible.  I've beaten
  so many bad guys, I couldn't keep track of 'em even if I wanted to.
Peldor:  (nods)  Yeah, that's always a problem - I have it too.  One
  advantage of Belphanior's methods...
Mongo:  I wonder how the old elf is, anyway?  I haven't seen him
  since...hmm, since Lyra's birthday party.
Peldor:  He's making a home for himself.
Mongo:  Really?  Where?
Peldor:  Some distant land, I'm sure.

  The thief decided not to tell his friend anything more about the
current activities of Belphanior, out of respect for the latter's
privacy.  A little information could go a long way, even in the hands
of a trusted friend with the best intentions.  Taking another sip of
his drink, Peldor decided to broach a touchy subject, but one that
would have to be discussed sooner or later.

Peldor:  So, have you talked with Ged lately?
Mongo:  (scowls)  Hell, no, and I won't be.
Peldor:  But-
Mongo:  No buts, no arguments.  He wasn't willing to help me when I
  really needed help.  And you and I both know that he's got all the
  power he needs to bring the dead back to life.  But...he wouldn't.
  (he sets his face in a grimace, as if he's made his point)
Peldor:  Does he have that power?  I'm not sure that we've ever seen
  him do it.  Others have, yeah, but that was long ago...the old days
  when Peyote and Rob and Belphanior died every other quest...
Mongo:  I don't care!  Ged _can_ raise the dead, but he won't.  What
  more needs to be argued?  If he won't do it for Gorin, he won't do
  it for any of us, either.  Think about that.
Peldor:  Perhaps the act of breathing life back into the dead isn't
  as easy as some people think.  Heck, I was talking to a high priest
  last week, and he said-
Mongo:  (leans in)  What if _Tanya_ had been killed, and _you_ had
  asked Ged for help, and he had told _you_ no?  Eh?  Put yourself
  in my position.
Peldor:  (silent)
Mongo:  See?
Peldor:  Okay, okay.  I agree:  you have a point.
Mongo:  So you see why I'm pissed.
Peldor:  (rubbing the back of his neck, in an effort to stem the
  headache that's developing)  Still, you've got to wonder...given
  Ged's recent falling-out with Boccob, would the god have granted
  him the power to resurrect a non-believer?
Mongo:  (shrugs)  A useless god, then.
Peldor:  As I used to say, back in my wilder days...
Mongo:  Nothing's changed.  Hell, look at us!  For all these years,
  _you_ made the jokes about Boccob, just to get Ged's goat.  Now,
  you don't care to taunt him, and _I'm_ the one condemning his god.
Peldor:  Time is catching up with us, my friend.
Mongo:  Well, all this nice little banter aside, I'm still really,
  really angry with Ged, and I'm not ready to talk to him, much less
  call him my friend.  Maybe never again!
Peldor:  You're dead-set on this, then?
Mongo:  Absolutely.  (he stands)  Well, it's been nice talking to
  you, but I've got to go check up on Gorin.  They told me to come
  back at midday today, and it's been pure hell sitting around town
  waiting, but not knowing...
Peldor:  I understand.  (he clasps hands with the dwarf)  Good luck,
  and my prayers are with you both.
Mongo:  (walks toward the exit, then turns back, looking confused)
  Since when are you religious?
Peldor:  (grins)  Since never.
Mongo:  Aha.  (he leaves, smiling despite himself)

  Peldor sat back down, frowning.  This latest development wasn't
good at all; life was seldom quiet for him, or any of the other
adventuring companions.  They didn't need this kind of strife, the
kind that might divide them if they ever needed each others' help.
Mongo did have one point, though:  whatever the reason for Ged's
inability to help Mongo, it was an issue with Ged, not the dwarf.
Frowning, Peldor stood again, and went away to search for Bosco.
Should the ministrations of Derider Fanshaen and her temple prove
insufficient to help Gorin, there was the chance that Bosco still
could.  Peldor and Tanya were the only others who were aware that
the tiny halfling still possessed the power of one wish...

  Meanwhile, Mongo entered Derider's temple, whose entrance was
topped with a gigantic stone sigil, the symbol of Pelor, god of
sun, strength, light, and healing.  The symbol in question was a
great sphere, from which radiated powerful beams of pure light.
Whoever had painted the massive carving had done an outstanding
job, for the thing seemed to exude power, in a way that Mongo was
unable to understand or describe.
  He walked through the hallowed halls of the temple; the priests
he passed merely nodded to him, for they had been told of his
coming.  The dwarf passed the temple's gigantic altar room, and
soon reached the private antechamber that belonged to Derider.
Knocking, respectfully, he was barely able to contain his urge to
charge into the room - but contain it he did.
  The knock was answered by a bedraggled-looking Derider.  Her
long, blond hair was unkempt, matted with sweat.  Dark circles
under her eyes evidenced her fatigue, and Mongo quickly became

Mongo:  (frowns)  Are you okay?
Derider:  Yes...I'm not as young as I used to be, though, and the
  calling of powerful magicks wears on me.
Mongo:  I'm almost afraid to ask...but did you have any luck?
Derider:  (opens the door)  Why don't you see for yourself?

  Resting on a bed was the prone form of Gorin.  His eyes drooped
with half-consciousness, and he looked weak - but he was most
definitely alive!

Mongo:  GORIN!
Gorin:  (turns his head, barely)  ...
Mongo:  (rushes over to his henchdwarf's side, excited)  You're
Gorin:  ...barely...
Mongo:  Yes!  Pelor be praised!  (he looks around sheepishly)
  Clangeddin too...
Derider:  (at Mongo's side now)  He's very tired, and weak.  You've
  got to let him rest.
Mongo:  In a minute.  (to Gorin)  I'm glad to have you back, my
Gorin:  Glad to be back.
Mongo:  (turns to Derider)  How can I ever thank you?
Derider:  Leave Gorin alone, so he can get some rest.
Mongo:  Err...right.  (he clasps Gorin's hand)  I'll be back, pal.
Gorin:  (grins)  Get out of here, and let me sleep!
Mongo:  You got it.  (he leaves, Derider following him)
Derider:  (closes the door to the room behind her)  He'll be fine.
  It was a...challenging process, given the degree of physical
  damage, but it worked, as you can see.  He should be ready to
  leave on the morrow.
Mongo:  I don't know what to say.  I'd almost given up hope.  I'm
  forever in your debt, and I want you to know that.
Derider:  Well, your donation was certainly a major offset to the
  time and effort involved...
Mongo:  Still...(he does a bit of digging in a pack, and produces
  a strange-looking rod)  I want you to have this.
Derider:  (takes the rod, examining it with interest)  I can sense
  the positive energy flowing through this...what is it?
Mongo:  It's a healing rod, and a damned powerful one at that.  I
  used to use it a lot, but I always kinda felt that it wasn't made
  for me, a warrior, to wield.
Derider:  Hmm.
Mongo:  I hope that makes sense.
Derider:  And this rod, with all its powers, couldn't help Gorin?
Mongo:  (shrugs)  Hey, believe me, that was the very first thing
  I tried.  The rod's worked like that before - on a goon named
Derider:  The spacey half-elf?  Yes, I met him at Lyra's party.  A
  well-meaning fellow, but he doesn't take life seriously at all.
Mongo:  Well, anyway, the rod doesn't seem to want to work for me
  anymore.  That's why I don't think I should keep it - whatever
  power it possesses, it's better used by a healer, not a fighter.
Derider:  I shall...strive to ensure that this gift isn't wasted.
  (she touches Mongo on the shoulder)  Pelor's blessings be with
  you, Mongo of the dwarves.
Mongo:  And thank you, milady.  (he bows, and leaves)

  The dwarf left the temple of Pelor, in considerably better spirits
that before he had come.  As far as he was concerned, Derider had
made a friend for life.  He grinned.  Yes, maybe it was time to go
back to the Green Dragon, and have a beer or twelve.  Peldor would
surely drink with him, and as long as he didn't try to change Mongo's
mind on the matter of Ged, things would be okay.  Muttering quietly
to himself, the dwarf walked along Greyhawk's streets at a casual
pace.  The day had turned out to be a good one, after all.

next:   the forces of evil strike again
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  Funny..._every_ time I meant to write "Pelor" I wrote
  "Peldor" instead, by accident.  That's why I went back and added
  Peldor's little joke about the names.  You know, if I compiled
  a complete list of all the in-jokes, and their explanations, I
  think you'd be impressed.
    Also, my spell-checker seems to have learned "Peldor" though
  it doesn't know any of the other adventurers' names...!
    Something else:  Mongo and Gorin both took, more or less, a
  direct hit from a powerful fireball.  Thus, I've adjusted their
  magic item inventories accordingly, as you'll see next time I
  post the party members' stats and lists.
    Not a bad week, all in all.  From last Sunday (when I got back
  into town) through tonight (a Thursday) I've written 307-310, or
  4 stories in 5 days, totalling 75K.
    It's been awhile since I made any recommendations; if you're
  not into movies, books, or comics, don't read any further.  I
  haven't seen a really good movie lately.  _Goldeneye_ was decent
  enough, but I was somehow expecting more, and maybe that biased
  my reaction.  I'm currently reading the 3-in-1 book from the
  early 80s, _The Lando Calrissian Adventures_, which is a Star
  Wars spinoff, much like the Han Solo trilogy.  It's pretty good,
  but the book I read about a month ago was even better.  This was
  _Rogue Warrior 2:  Red Cell_.  It's about the exploits (written
  as fiction, though the author hints that they really happened,
  with different specifics) of one Richard Marcinko, a former Navy
  SEAL and covert operative.  The man is a class-A badass, and all
  I can say is this:  if his stories are false (which I seriously
  doubt) he has a superior and entertaining imagination.  If you're
  into amazingly realistic military-type adventures with a lot of
  violence, check out his books (the first, _Rogue Warrior_, was
  his autobiography.)  As for comics, well, I've recently quit
  reading all X-Men titles.  This leaves me with only a few comics
  that I regularly get:  Hulk (written by Peter David, it gives us
  the chance to see what a thinking Hulk acts like); the new
  Battlestar Galactica limited series (if you liked the movie and
  TV show, and I don't mean that Galactica 1980 crap, you should
  check this one out); the new Punisher series (Marvel comics, in
  their infinite wisdom, cancelled the four old Punisher titles
  only to make one new one - now how in the _hell_ can they make
  more money like that?...I often wonder if they went to grade
  school with TSR, Inc.) which is pretty good, though not up to
  the level of Peter David or Chuck Dixon's writing; the new T2:
  Judgement Day limited series picks up right where the movie left
  off, and is a worthy continuation.  As far as TV series go, I've
  quit watching everything but _Highlander_ (time limitations)
  though I just recently began watching my copies of old _Stingray_
  episodes.  I happen to maintain the Stingray web page, which you
  can check out via a link from my main home page.  I'd like to
  think that fans of my stories would also be fans of other stuff
  I myself enjoy, but that's not realistic, so the best I can do
  is try and convert you.  On another, unrelated, note, if you ever
  get a chance to go to the big flea market by Jacksonville, Fla.
  check it out.  They had all kinds of neat stuff.  I bought a few
  nifty knives there, and also fifty sticks of incense; they're the
  long-burning kind, the kind that burn for almost half an hour...
  rare in the extreme.
    Enough non-story-related rambling.  I've recently been trying
  to inject the stories with some more lifelike characterizations,
  mainly the big split between Ged and Mongo.  Even the best of
  friends have such arguments (the players and I did, and do) and
  one in my stories was long overdue.  Ditto for the little heart-
  to-hearts that some of the adventurers have been having lately.
  Real friends do this, and it's about time that the stars of my
  stories did too.  I'm also working hard to keep a long-running
  villain(s?) around, which helps to explain the recent attack on
  Mongo.  More of this will be seen in the upcoming episodes.

previous chapter (#309)                                                                  next chapter (#311)