Chapter #319

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                                +   +
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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 1991-6 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):                                  +
+                                                                   +
+  Bosco         10th level halfling thief                     (CN) +
+  Gorin          8th level dwarven warrior                    (CG) +
+  Nenya          8th/9th level elven warrior/mage             (NG) +
+  Tanya          5th/11th level human female warrior/thief     (N) +
+  Date:        6/9/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       the Green Dragon Inn, in the Free City of Greyhawk  +
+  Climate:     mild                                                +
+  "When life loses its value and is taken for naught, then         +
+   the pact avenge."                                       +
+                                             - from _Heavy Metal_  +

                     CCCXIX.  The Rescuers

  After the apparent abduction of most of the party, by forces
unknown, those who remain - the henchmen, students, proteges, and
what-have-you - struggle to figure out what's going on.

Bosco:  Heck, it's not _that_ hard.  Someone they pissed off has
  come to settle the score.
Nenya:  The question is, what are we going to do about it?
Gorin:  (holds up his axe)  I say we find 'em, and chop 'em into
  little pieces!
Tanya:  (rubs the healing gash on her forehead)  An admirable idea,
  to be sure, but we'll need more than brute force to defeat these
Bosco:  Agreed.  (frowns)  It never hurts to have some brute force
  around, though...
Nenya:  I'd suggest that we split up, each to check with his contacts
  and see what we can find out.  One of us, at the least, is bound to
  find some way to learn of their whereabouts.
Gorin:  Mongo...Ged...Belphanior...Peldor...
Bosco:  (scratches his chin)  That's a lot of whereabouts.
Tanya:  (looking worried)  We'd better hurry - anyone powerful enough
  to take all of them isn't going to keep them alive for long.
Bosco:  Nope.  (he hops down)  We'll meet here, then?  Dusk?
Gorin:  Right.  Dusk it is.

  Each of the four, then, left for his or her own tasks.  In Ged's
castle, which she teleported herself to in mere moments, Nenya had
gathered all those items - and funds - that she felt might be useful
in the upcoming quest.  That done, she discussed the situation with
Deryck, who was technically (and also functionally) the commander of
the castle and its garrison.

Deryck:  This sounds bad.  I think I should come along too-
Nenya:  (puts a finger to his lips)  No.  Someone has to stay here
  and run things, dear.  Besides, we need help of the magical sort,
  not those who can track and fight.
Deryck:  Still...the idea of you heading off into a den of evil does
  much to scare me.  If you were to be slain...(he lets the thought
  trail off)
Nenya:  (hugs the half-elf)  I won't be slain, don't worry.
Deryck:  You'd better not.  Not now.
Nenya:  (kisses the other on the lips)  Until next time, my dear
  Deryck...(she begins an incantation, and within moments, she is
  gone, teleported away to distant parts)

  Deryck strode through the stone halls of the castle, cursing to
himself.  Though scant moments had passed, he already regretted his
decision to heed Nenya's request and stay here.  Even though he and
the elven maid had only recently begun to really get to know one
another, this was still no way to begin a romance!  The half-elf
wondered what Ged would have to say about _that_ - and then found
himself hoping that they'd all have a chance to find out.

  Meanwhile, Nenya approached the great and mysterious halls of the
Greyhawk Wizard's Guild.  She was, of course, a member, and in good
standing.  Being a student of the great Ged had its advantages, and
on top of that, Nenya was no slouch herself.  She approached the
entrance to the structure, trying to decide who to talk with first.

  Elsewhere, Gorin and Bosco roamed the streets, trying to figure out
what they could do to aid the cause.

Bosco:  Besides coming along?
Gorin:  Yep.  I'm a pretty good warrior, and you're a pretty good
  thief, but-
Bosco:  I am an exceptional thief!
Gorin:  -but we ought to know _someone_ who'd be willing to come
Bosco:  Mercenaries?
Gorin:  (frowns)  I'd rather not trust Mongo and Peldor and the rest
  of their lives with mercenaries.  No, what we need is powerful
Bosco:  Wizards!  Priests!
Gorin:  Exactly.
Bosco:  But we don't know any.
Gorin:  That's the problem.
Bosco:  What about warriors, and thieves?
Gorin:  Hmm.  Maybe that guy they knew...what was his name?  That
Bosco:  Halbarad?
Gorin:  With the bow...yeah, Halbarad!  Maybe he could help?
Bosco:  They knew others...the weird druid, Peyote.  And that goofy
  priest, Rob.
Gorin:  But how can we track them all down, now?
Bosco:  Maybe Nenya will know how.
Gorin:  (shaking his head)  What we _really_ need is the power to
  stop whole regiments...some really powerful fighters.
Bosco:  (spreads his hands)  But Mongo's been kidnapped!
Gorin:  (muttering to himself)  Somebody like Yod Ironbeard.
Bosco:  (eyes wide)  Yod?!?  (he looks at Gorin)
Gorin:  (looks at Bosco)  Yod!
Bosco:  D'you think he'd help the likes of us?
Gorin:  Maybe.  Probably.  If not us, then surely Mongo.
Bosco:  Well, we do know where to find Yod.
Gorin:  (nods)  Thunderdelve Mountain, to the west.
Bosco:  We can mention this to the others.

  Meanwhile, Nenya had entered the Guild of Wizardry, and now faced
the most senior wizard in the building:  the Guildmaster himself,
Kieran Jalucian!  Nenya thought it fortunate indeed that this fellow
had happened to be in when she came knocking; her excitement, coupled
with her worries, caused her to talk much too fast.

Kieran:  Okay, okay, slow down.  What again is it, that has caused
  you to barge into my study, over the advice of the acolytes?
Nenya:  And they kidnapped magic!
Kieran:  Slower.  And take a seat, if it will help.
Nenya:  (sighs, and sits down in a plush leather chair)
Kieran:  Start from the beginning.

  Nenya did, and recounted everything that had transpired over the
last few fateful days.  Kieran rubbed his clean-shaven chin from time
to time, and alternately nodded and frowned as he listened to the
elf's story.  Finally, when all had been told, the tall Guildmaster
leaned back in his chair.

Kieran:  This makes more sense of the destruction of that inn...a
  truly terrorist act if there ever was one.
Nenya:  They must have wanted the drow pretty badly.
Kieran:  I suspect that we of the Guild could offer you some help
  on that basis alone, for the Oligarchs are none too happy about
  public acts of destruction.
Nenya:  As I said, the attackers must have been desperate.
Kieran:  Well, your story will hasten the Oligarch's investigation -
  and punishment - of those responsible.

  There was something about the way the usually-calm Guildmaster
said these words...something that made Nenya glance up, and then
shiver, involuntarily.  A moment later, the odd look in the wizard's
eyes had vanished, and he spoke on.

Kieran:  However, since the drow once helped save the city, not to
  mention all of the others, who were certainly involved themselves-
Nenya:  Yes, they were.
Kieran:  -it stands to reason that certain powers will stand ready
  to assist you.  Some within the Circle of Eight, even.
Nenya:  Such help would be welcome, indeed.
Kieran:  No doubt.  Now, I can't guarantee you companions for your
  journey itself, but I think your destination can be learned using
  magical means.
Nenya:  Hmm.  If finding the location of the evildoers is so readily
  possible, why haven't the city's rulers demanded it already?
Kieran:  (shrugs) in other parts of the world...
  the stars in the night sky...who can say?  Besides, now that we
  can also scry for your missing companions, the task will be an
  easier one.
Nenya:  Oh.
Kieran:  You have much to learn, yet, of the ways of magic.
Nenya:  So I've been told.
Kieran:  (stands, towering more than a foot over the short elven
  lass)  Well.  Tell me where you would like to be met, later, and
  someone shall come to discuss matters with you and the others.
Nenya:  The Green Dragon Inn.  Ask for Bosco.
Kieran:  Bosco...Bosco the halfling.
Nenya:  That very one.
Kieran:  Yes...he, too, is not unknown to us.
Nenya:  He's a character, all right.  (she turns to leave)  I need
  to look through a few tomes, while I'm here.
Kieran:  Help yourself.  Jawal, the librarian, will be happy to
  assist you.
Nenya:  My thanks, Guildmaster.

  With that, the young elf left, heading for the levitation-tube to
the Guildhall's lower levels.  Meanwhile, in another Guildhall within
the city, another adventurer spoke with another Guildmaster...

Tanya:  -and that's it, up to now.
Org Nenshen:  (steeples his fingers, and frowns)  Bad news, indeed.
  Not just for Org the Guildmaster, but also Org the friend.
Tanya:  Don't forget Tanya the lover.
Org:  No, I certainly haven't.  So...I can find someone to handle
  Peldor's day-to-day duties - no problem there.  I suspect that your
  companion among the wizards will have better luck charting a course
  to your missing friends.  My intelligence network is vast, but it
  spans local parts only.  My guess is that the kidnapped ones are a
  good distance from Greyhawk.
Tanya:  What can you do, then?
Org:  I can't say, yet.  I shall consult with the Oligarchs, where
  possible, and see what can be done.  (he unlocks and opens a desk
  drawer, retrieving something)
Tanya:  Eh?
Org:  (holds up a pendant, with an unusual crest engraved upon it)
  Take this.
Tanya:  (does so)  But what is it?
Org:  Any allies I send your way shall bear one of these seals...and
  that is how you shall know them.
Tanya:  Er...okay.  (she puts the small pendant over her head, such
  that its face is hidden from view beneath her shirt)
Org:  Please allow me to begin my work, now - I have much to do, and
  little time.
Tanya:  Sure...(she leaves)
Org:  (watches the woman go, hands crossed in front of his face)

  After Tanya had left, Org frowned, and then stood, rubbing his chin
thoughtfully; he was more than a little upset.  Even though the old
guildmaster had only known Peldor for a few years, he had come to
appreciate the thief, and to call him a good friend.  And now someone
had come along and kidnapped the fellow - in addition to performing
acts of violence within Greyhawk.  Org was sure of two things now:
first, whoever had taken Peldor and his companions had been quite
driven to succeed; and second, their actions would not go unpunished
by the Free City.  No, Org mused, they would definitely not go
unpunished.  He would see to that himself if necessary...

  Much later, after night had cloaked the city, the four adventurers
were gathered in the Green Dragon Inn.  They sat around a table,
picking at food and drink (except for Bosco, who ate enough for all
of them) as they bandied ideas and plans about.

Gorin:  It's all useless, until we know _where_ in the hell they are!
Bosco:  But once we do, we can concoct a plan.
Nenya:  Interesting choice of words.
Tanya:  (looking around anxiously)  Where are they?
Nenya:  (puts a comforting hand on the other woman's shoulder)  Fear
  not.  Kieran is a man of his word.  If he says he'll send someone
  to help us, then he will.
Bosco:  Sure.  (pops a nut into the air, opening his mouth)

  The tiny morsel never made it to Bosco's tiny gaping maw, but
rather remained in the air, suspended by some magical force.

Bosco:  (finally opens his eyes)  Huh?
man:  O ye of little faith...

  The fellow, a human of average height and weight, was garbed in
greenish-brown robes that seemed almost elven in origin.  He had
dark blond hair and intense blue eyes, and though he appeared to
be in his late twenties, one look into those eyes convinced the
adventurers that he was in fact much older, and much wiser.

Nenya:  (frowns)  Hmm.
Tanya:  How'd you get in here?  This is a private area of the inn.
man:  (shrugs)  I do what I must.
Gorin:  Who the heck are you, anyway?
man:  (ignores the dwarf)  Which among you is Bosco...ah.  (his
  gaze settles upon the halfling)
Bosco:  Eep.
man:  I've been advised that you folks might need some...assistance.
  This...that...a bit of teleportation, perhaps?
Bosco:  How is it you know so much?
man:  How is it you don't?  (he turns to face Nenya)  Kieran called
  in my particular talents, to help you and your missing friends.
  (he bows, ever so slightly)  I am Drawmij.

next:   the scrying; an unexpected ally
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