Chapter #315

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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 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):                                  +
+                                                                   +
+  Alindyar      16th level drow mage                           (N) +
+  Lyra          12th level female drow mage                    (N) +
+                                                                   +
+  Arnold        12th level human barbarian warrior            (NG) +
+  Bosco         10th level halfling thief                     (CN) +
+  Mongo         16th level dwarven warrior                    (CG) +
+     Gorin       8th level dwarven warrior                    (CG) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        6/6/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        nighttime                                           +
+  Place:       the Hawk and Dove tavern, in Greyhawk               +
+  Climate:     mild                                                +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "Villains hide.  Heroes don't.                                   +
+   Villains scheme.  Heroes wait.                                  +
+   Villains 1.  Heroes 0."                                         +
+                - from _The Last Avengers Story_, by Peter David   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                  CCCXV.  Hijincks in the City





  As chaotic events befall some of their old adventuring companions,
Alindyar and Lyra remain blissfully unaware as they eat a late dinner
at one of Greyhawk's finer establishments.

Lyra:  That was some play!
Alindyar:  Indeed.  The actor who portrayed Ivid II was magnificent.
  (frowns)  Although certain of the other roles were a bit overdone.
Lyra:  What else can you expect in a re-enactment of the history of
  one of the greatest empires of all time?
Alindyar:  Truly.
Lyra:  And to top off the excellent play, we've had this equally
  excellent meal.
Alindyar:  Our spell research has borne fruit, and shall bear more
  ere much longer.
Lyra:  Everything's going well...hmm, some might say that we lead
  charmed lives.
Alindyar:  'Twasn't always the case.  Why, until-

  There was no warning, no hint, no chance to prepare as the titanic
ball of fire hurtled down from the sky and destroyed the Hawk and
Dove Tavern.  Later, bystanders would report that the huge fireball
seemed to come from some point above the establishment, though no
one actually witnessed a spellcaster.  No one, however, saw the
vaguely visible forms that sailed down amidst the smoke and fire,
searching the ruins for a particular quarry.  No one saw the two
blasted, burned bodies that were pulled from the blazing wreckage.
And no one saw the black sphere into which seekers and sought alike
vanished.
  News of the tavern's firebombing didn't take long to spread through
the city.  In the Green Dragon Inn, it was Bosco who first dashed out
into the streets, after the explosion that rocked the entire city.
Followed by friends and guests alike, the halfling watched from afar
as a cloud of fire and smoke boiled up into the night sky.

Bosco:  Holy cow!  (he peers at the distant destruction)  Hey, Arnold!
Arnold:  (standing next to the halfling, watching the fire and smoke
  through squinting eyes)  Yah?
Bosco:  We oughtta go and check that out!
Arnold:  Why?
Bosco:  Just because.  C'mon!  (he darts off into the night)
Arnold:  (still standing there)
Bosco:  (stops and turns around)  Are you coming or what?
Arnold:  Aaa.  (he trots after the halfling)

  Shortly, they had ventured to the flaming ruin that used to be the
Hawk and Dove Tavern.  A large crowd had gathered, and many of them
were helping city officials and workers take water-buckets to the edge
of the inferno.

Bosco:  (thinking about working the crowd for pocket change)  What
  do you think?
Arnold:  I think we shoulb help.  (he grabs two gigantic buckets of
  water, from two hardy fellows who are struggling to get them to
  the fire, and makes his way toward the fiery remains of the tavern)
Bosco:  Hmm.

  While Arnold helped, Bosco darted about, doing his best to find out
what happened.  He already knew that the burning building had been
the Hawk and Dove tavern, for he had eaten there on many an occasion.
Before too long, he knew everything there was to know about the ball
of flame, the explosion, and the lack of survivors from within the
ruined building.
  Perhaps an hour later, Bosco caught up with Arnold.  The gigantic
barbarian was covered from head to toe with soot and sweat.  His
help had been appreciated, surely, for the blaze had been contained,
and eventually put out.  The latter hadn't really been possible until
the city's wizards and priests had shown up, but not everyone knew
that, nor did they care.

Bosco:  Okay, here's the deal.  (he relates everything he's learned)
Arnold:  Yah, I heard modst of that while I was fidhting the fire.
Bosco:  Oh.
Arnold:  I wonder why someone would do this.
Bosco:  Maybe they were gunning for someone.  It seems to be the rage
  these days.
Arnold:  You don'd suppose...?
Bosco:  That Mongo, or Gorin, or the drow, or Rillen were the target
  of that explosion?  Hey, already today we've seen Ged kidnapped,
  as well as Tanya.  And that second event got Peldor out of the city
  with Belphanior.
Arnold:  And Mondo was attacked a few days ago.
Bosco:  All my gut instincts tell me that we're not gonna see one of
  our friends again.
Arnold:  Aaa.  We shoulbd go back to Mondo's inn.
Bosco:  Why?  He didn't have any interest in hanging around with us,
  even after we told him about Ged and Tanya.
Arnold:  We need to see if he's sdill in his room...if not, it might
  have been _him_ in there.  (points at the smoking ruin that used
  to be the Hawk and Dove)
Bosco:  Hmm, I guess you're right.  Though that doesn't - didn't -
  seem to be the sort of place Mongo'd eat.

  They headed away, making for the inn where they had located Mongo
and Gorin, barely two hours ago.  Bosco pranced up the stairs, while
Arnold simply took them three at a time.

Arnold:  (knocks on the door of Mongo's room)  Mondo!  Open up!
Bosco:  (knocks repeatedly on the door, several feet below Arnold's
  eye-level)  Hel-lo, guys!  Guys?
innkeeper:  (wanders by)  Looking for them two dwarves?
Arnold:  Yah.
innkeeper:  They checked out, about an hour ago.
Bosco:  Where'd they go?
innkeeper:  Huh?
Bosco:  (produces a golden coin, and flips it around with his fingers
  as he regards the man)  Where did they head off to?
innkeeper:  I'd love to take yer money, sonny, but I plain just don't
  know.
Bosco:  Right.  Arnold, let's go back to the Green Dragon.  Maybe
  Peldor and Belphanior came back by now...or the drow...or Rillen.
Arnold:  (looking grim)  I doubd it.

  They returned to the inn, and were somewhat surprised to find Mongo
and Gorin at a table, having a late meal and a half-keg of ale.

Bosco:  Mongo!
Mongo:  Eh?  Hi there, Bosco.  We-
Bosco:  Where've you been?  I thought you didn't want to hang around
  the rest of us.
Mongo:  As I was saying, I changed my mind.  If someone's trying to
  get us, we've got to stick together.  (he looks sheepishly at the
  floor)  I let my anger at Ged get in the way of my common sense.
Gorin:  (appears embarrassed)
Bosco:  Well, more's happened since we last talked to you.  A whole
  tavern blew up - fireballed!  We think whoever did it might have
  been after one of us.
Arnold:  Yah.
Mongo:  That would make sense...though destroying a whole _tavern_
  seems like overkill.
Gorin:  Not if Alindyar and Lyra were there.  I'd expect them to be
  the toughest to take down.
Bosco:  You're probably right.
Mongo:  Has anyone been able to find Rillen yet?
Bosco:  (slaps his forehead)  Heck, I forgot all about him!
Arnold:  Aaa.  I midht know where he is.  (he stands)
Gorin:  Where're you off to?
Arnold:  Ah-nold will find Rillen.
Mongo:  Uh...aren't you even a little worried that someone might go
  after you?
Arnold:  Not really.  It's a busy cidy, esbecially now, after the
  fireballing.
Bosco:  (matter-of-factly)  Excuse me, but it was a busy city when
  the fireballing _happened_, too.  Theoretically, you're not safe.
Arnold:  Neither is Rillen, and he doesn't even know aboud any of
  the things that habbened.
Mongo:  Good point.
Arnold:  I'll be back in a short while.  (he leaves)
Bosco:  We really ought to look for the drow, in other places in
  Greyhawk.
Gorin:  Okay, I'm game.  Where do they usually hang out?
Bosco:  (thinking hard)  Hmm.  Heck, Peldor would know - him and
  Tanya eat with Alindyar and Lyra all the time.
Mongo:  Well, Peldor's not here right now.
Bosco:  Yeah, yeah, I know.  Give me a moment, I'll come up with a
  few places to look.

  Shortly, the trio set out to try and find the drow.  Meanwhile,
Arnold was just leaving the warrior's guildhall, where he had been
unable to locate Rillen.  He strolled down the street, and from the
shadows nearby, a figure began to follow him.  Arnold headed down a
side street, then stopped, scratching his head.  He then turned on
one heel and headed into a dark alley.  The shadowy figure deftly
followed the big warrior into the alley, slinking through the dark-
ness without a sound.

Arnold:  (appears, grabbing the collar of the pursuer's shirt with
  one hand and lifting the body into the air)  Ahaaa!
figure:  (quickly brings a thin tube to its mouth, and blows a cloud
  of fine dust into Arnold's face)  Pfoo!
Arnold:  Aaa!  (he backs away, one hand rubbing his eyes, the other
  still hanging on to the bunched collar of the other)
figure:  (now holding a long, pointed needle, it pokes Arnold in the
  forearm, immediately causing him to lose his grip)
Arnold:  (staggers around)  Damn, I'm blind!
figure:  (stands back)
Arnold:  (feeling some sort of poison burning through his blood, he
  yet retains consciousness, and also whips his sword out)  Face me,
  you bastaaad!
figure:  (cursing in a low voice, as it sees that the warrior is
  somehow resistant to its poisons)  Damn...oh well, plan "B"...
  (it produces a small, banded metal sphere)
Arnold:  (hearing no sounds, he slashes wildly about him, missing
  by wide margins)  Aaa!  (he rubs his eyes, which are still seeing
  only blackness)  Fidht, damn you!
figure:  (mumbles a command word, hurling the iron sphere at the
  warrior)

  The thing shifted as it flew through the air, growing and uncoiling
in a manner that was too bizarre to describe.  Its component bands,
now a foot thick, whirled and contracted, surrounding Arnold.  Within
moments, the iron bands had tightened, pinning the warrior's hands,
and sword, to his side.  Covered from ankles to neck in the weird
iron strips, Arnold now looked like a shiny metal egg with a human
head and two booted feet.

Arnold:  Aaa!  (he struggles, to no avail, for he is held securely)
  Damn!
figure:  The hard way, then...(swinging a weighted leather sap, it
  conks the warrior on the back of his head, knocking him out)

  Wasting no time, the shadowy figure removed a tiny black marble
from its pockets.  This item, when hurled to the stone floor of the
alley, shattered, growing into a sphere of black light.  Without
further ado, the figure dragged Arnold into the sphere, and then
followed him.  Moments later, the alley was silent...and empty.





next:   a convergence of the remaining...
ftp:    ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
www:    http://www.gatech.edu/oit/staff/ns/thomas.miller/adv.html
notes:  Well, I did it.  Five stories in one weekend.  Just a hair
  over 71 Kb.  What an inhuman pace.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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