Chapter #321

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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                    +
+                                  tmiller@cimmeria.oit.gatech.edu  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  THE PARTY (those who haven't been kidnapped, anyhow):            +
+                                                                   +
+  Bosco         10th level halfling thief                     (CN) +
+  Gorin          8th level dwarven fighter                    (CG) +
+  Nenya          8th/9th level elven fighter/mage             (NG) +
+  Otto           6th/8th level dwarven fighter/thief          (CN) +
+  Tanya          5th/11th level human female fighter/thief     (N) +
+                                                                   +
+  SPECIAL GUEST STARS:                                             +
+                                                                   +
+  Drawmij       16th level human mage                          (N) +
+  Halbarad      13th level human ranger                       (NG) +
+  Peyote        11th/12th level half-elven fighter/druid       (N) +
+  Rob           15th level human priest                       (LG) +
+  Wendell            Drawmij's porter                              +
+  Yod Ironbeard 19th level dwarven fighter and king           (CG) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        6/9/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        late at night                                       +
+  Place:       the fortress of Drawmij, beneath the Azure Sea      +
+  Climate:     none                                                +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "Imagination is more important than knowledge."                  +
+                                               - Albert Einstein   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                 CCCXXI.  The Undersea Castle





  After more than doubling the size of the party, through the
gradual arrival of allies both invited and uninvited, the younger
generation of adventurers has begun their quest to free their
mentors from a still unknown foe.  Drawmij's magic has just
whisked them from Greyhawk to an arrival point in a large, blue-
domed chamber.

Bosco:  (looking around)  Gee, where are we?
Tanya:  Someone's castle, I'd suspect.  (she nods at Drawmij
  questioningly)
Drawmij:  Indeed.  (he spreads his hands)  Welcome to my humble
  abode.
Peyote:  Whoa.

  The "humble abode" turned out to be far from humble; the domed
room was but one in a series of such rooms.  Some were living
quarters, others were dining halls, and still others were storage
rooms...laboratories...it was much like any great castle, except
that every room was a hemispherical dome.  The various chambers
were connected by round passageways, also of a blue hue (though
lighter in color than most of the domes.)  These passages had
flat floors, actually, making them resemble half-cylinders more
than strictly round tubes.  All in all, the place was strange
enough that even the hard-bitten visitors took notice.

Otto:  (looking around, he gazes at the ceiling of a study that
  the mage has led the group to)  This is...odd.  Something's not
  right.
Nenya:  How so?
Otto:  Dunno.  It feels like...(he frowns)...well, like we're in
  a deep cavern, within the earth.  But there's something else...
Bosco:  My ears hurt.
Gorin:  Better them than your mouth, right?
Bosco:  I guess so.
Tanya:  Drawmij?  (she looks around)  Where'd he go?
Halbarad:  Who can say?  He shall no doubt return soon, for time
  is of the essence here.
Peyote:  Right on, man.  If we're to spring the other dudes, we
  need to get a move on.
Yod Ironbeard:  (to Otto)  I agree with you - something's weird
  here.  I get that same sense of being deep under the surface...
  but I don't think we're under rock.
Otto:  (shakes hands with the other dwarf)  Who are you, anyway?

  Yod began explaining the adventure he had shared with Mongo and
the others; Otto listened intently, especially during the part
about Bosco and the treasure vault.  Meanwhile, Tanya had turned
to the porter Wendell, in hopes of finding out where Drawmij had
gotten away to.

Wendell:  (shrugs)  I can't say, ma'am.
Tanya:  Why not?  What's the big secret?
Wendell:  No, ma'am.  I didn't mean that I _am forbidden to_ tell
  you, but rather that I don't know.
Tanya:  Hmph.
Nenya:  (to Tanya)  At least he's well-mannered.  Not like-
Bosco:  Hey, what's _that_?!?

  The halfling had wandered over to one edge of the domed chamber,
and was quizically regarding the curving wall before him.  Some of
the others joined him at the wall, to see what he was carrying on
about.

Rob:  (touches the wall)  Amazing!
Gorin:  What?  What's amazing?
Nenya:  It's glasteel, or some variant anyway.  This part of the
  wall is _transparent_.
Yod:  So what?
Otto:  So...look there.

  Through the wall - which seemed to be growing more transparent
as they watched - they could see a shape, moving on the other side
of the wall, as if in slow motion.  The thing, whatever it was,
was huge.

Peyote:  Gnarly!
Nenya:  Look, it's coming this way...
Wendell:  (looks over the heads of the shorter demi-humans, and
  frowns worriedly)
Rob:  Eep.

  Suddenly, they were all faced with...a huge face!  A mouth, to
be precise, and one filled with sharp teeth.  The creature was
heading right for the transparent wall, but veered sharply away
at the last possible moment.  Nevertheless, most of those present
recoiled, due to reflex if not fear.

Otto:  (standing before the wall)  I hate to break this to all
  of you, but that was a shark.
Rob:  And a large one, at that.
Yod:  A shark...I'd heard of 'em, but I thought they were just
  myths.
Halbarad:  Interesting outlook.
Yod:  Thanks.
Peyote:  Shark?  (he squints as he looks through the transparent
  wall)  Damn, you're right.
Nenya:  What is a "shark"?
Tanya:  Remember that stupid fish-head thing Peldor mounted on
  one wall of the Green Dragon?
Nenya:  That ugly thing?!?
Tanya:  Yep...that's a shark.  A tiny one, not, I might add, like
  the one we just saw.
Halbarad:  'Twas a man-eater, that one.  Its maw could swallow a
  warrior whole.
Gorin:  But what is it doing _here_?
Nenya:  (frowns)  I think I see...
Yod:  Aye.  (to Otto)  This explains the uneasy feeling you and I
  had.
Otto:  (nods)
Bosco:  Explains?  Someone explain it to _me_!
Nenya:  We're not in a castle...not a conventional one, anyway.
Yod:  Rather, one that lies within the depths of the ocean!
Peyote:  Yeah...it all makes sense now.
Wendell:  (unnoticed, he wipes a bead of sweat from his brow)
Halbarad:  Impressive.  (he looks out of the wall-window again)
  There are other fish, in this ocean...
Drawmij:  (enters the study)  It's a sea, actually.
Bosco:  Eh?
Drawmij:  Not an ocean...a sea.  The Azure Sea, to be exact.  We
  are currently many fathoms beneath its surface.
Bosco:  Wellllll...that'll do it.
Drawmij:  That's right.
Nenya:  You mean to say that you...teleported all of us from the
  city of Greyhawk...to this place, far below the surface of the
  Azure Sea?
Drawmij:  (smugly)  That's right.
Nenya:  Inconceivable!  The spell that could do that hasn't been
  invented yet!
Drawmij:  That's just what they want you to think.
Nenya:  They?
Drawmij:  Nevermind.  (he begins walking around his study, making
  sweeping gestures with his hands)  This is my domain...far from
  the trials of the world above...far from the wars and invasions
  and prying eyes that are so common on Oerth.
Otto:  (to Bosco)  He's got a point.
Bosco:  So you're hiding down here to keep your treasures from
  getting stolen?
Drawmij:  That might be one way to phrase a minor part of my view,
  yes.
Bosco:  Oh.
Halbarad:  And the sea creatures that surround this place?
Drawmij:  Them?  Some are friendly...some are not.  In any case,
  none can penetrate this castle's defenses, if _that's_ what you
  mean?
Tanya:  (still thinking of the giant shark)  That's good to know.
Peyote:  So you live down here, dude?
Drawmij:  (scowls at the half-elf's peculiar dialect)  Yes...I live
  down here.  It's actually quite peaceful...and I have many friends
  among the marine populace.
Otto:  (wondering what he would do if he had a giant shark in a giant
  tank)  Hmm.
Yod:  (wondering how the millions of gallons of water overhead are
  being kept at bay, he paces uneasily)  Hrmph.
Rob:  (snaps his fingers suddenly)  So _that's_ why you were chosen
  to help us on this quest!  Being a resident of these parts, you
  are most suited to help us sneak up on the evil ones' lair!
Drawmij:  Very clever, priest.  Not much gets past you, does it?
Rob:  Uh...
Drawmij:  Actually, there is another reason for my...participation
  in this affair.  The evildoers on that island - the same ones who
  have taken your friends prisoner - have been disrupting the natural
  state of the surrounding area.
Peyote:  You mean the sea creatures?
Drawmij:  Exactly.  The powers which those villains wield and gather
  are not...how shall we say, operate in harmony with the existing
  sea dwellers.  For a long while, I have been observing the island
  and those on it, in an attempt to evaluate the problem prior to
  dealing with it.
Tanya:  And now _we_ come along, and two birds can be killed with one
  sling stone.
Drawmij:  (nods)  Indeed.
Yod:  (grumbling about something)
Gorin:  Agreed.  The quicker we're back on dry land, the better.
Otto:  (though he isn't as uneasy as the other two, he still paces
  about the chamber)  We do need to get going...
Halbarad:  Friend Drawmij...this island that our foes inhabit...is
  it far from here?
Drawmij:  Far enough.
Nenya:  I don't think that's what he meant.
Drawmij:  Hmm.  It's not a trivial voyage, if that's what you mean.
  (he snaps his fingers, and a nearby table is suddenly covered with
  maps)  Now look here.

  The mage proceeded to show the adventurers (or at least those who
knew the particular lore of large-scale maps) where they were now,
and where they had to go.

Halbarad:  (his eyes widen)  But...that is a good week's voyage!
Otto:  (shaking his head)
Peyote:  So much for a quick rescue.
Drawmij:  Ah, how soon they forget.
Otto:  You have some faster way to get there, don't you?
Drawmij:  Of course.  But...it is late, and you all need to get some
  rest.
Tanya:  No-
Drawmij:  Dear girl, I know people on the verge of exhaustion when
  I see them.
Gorin:  He's right, you know.
Yod:  You expect me to _sleep_ here?!?
Drawmij:  Trust me, you'll have no problems.  Come.  (he leads the
  ten people down a corridor)

  The mage took them to a long hall, with many doors; each such
portal opened (at some unseen command) into a modestly appointed
bedroom.  Though all of these rooms were smaller versions of the
previous domed chambers, their beds appeared comfortable, and
everyone soon realized that he or she was quite tired.

Yod:  (yawns)  Well, maybe just a short nap...
Bosco:  What about dinner?
Tanya:  Bosco!  You just ate, hours ago!
Bosco:  (shrugs)
Drawmij:  Worry not, noble adventurers.  A night's sleep in one of
  these beds will dispel all of your exhaustion...your hunger...it
  may even heal wounds, should you have any.
Nenya:  Remarkable.
Gorin:  You sound like Alindyar.
Nenya:  Verily?
Gorin:  Sigh.
Drawmij:  (walking down the hall, randomly assigning guests to rooms
  and talking all the while)  -and the washbasins will produce water
  upon command.  The goblets are always full of clear, fresh drinking
  water.  The blankets on the beds will stay as warm or as cool as
  you like.

  And so it went.  Soon, all ten guests (it seemed that Wendell the
porter didn't normally reside in the fortress) were safely stowed
away, and Drawmij returned to his study.  Reaching into a hidden
alcove which opened magically at his bidding, the mage removed one
of several flasks.

Drawmij:  (opens the potion)  No time for me to sleep...for I must
  prepare the boat.  (he guzzles the potion, in its entirety)  Mmm.





next:   Drawmij's motivations revealed; the ship that sails beneath
  the waves
ftp:    ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
www:    http://www.gatech.edu/oit/oe/design/thomas/adv.html
notes:  Well, it finally happened:  the closest thing Atlanta will
  ever see (this winter anyway) to a blizzard.  The city was pretty
  much shut down Sunday (that was 1/7/96) due to ice and snow.  I
  thought it was neat, though I'd do well to realize that my car
  isn't a 4WD all-terrain vehicle.  I didn't get nearly as much
  written as I could have, since I slept for most of the day.

    More fan mail; this dose covers episodes 296-299 inclusive.



>>  Oh my, the interactions between Bosco and Tanya are priceless!
>>  And look here...
>>
>> >Bosco:  (drops a dagger next to Lyra, then bends down to
>> >retrieve it)  Hmm.  (he tries to look up her skirt)
>>
>>  I remember not too long ago when this would have been (and was)
>>  Peldor!  I guess the torch has been passed on to little Bosco.
>>  Of course, now that Peldor has Tanya...
>>
>>  Leonard



>>  And onto Ged's story (297): okay, you've really surprised me
>>  twice now in four episodes. I wasn't expecting to find Ged
>>  without many of his powers or possessions, wandering about
>>  like a simple cleric. I was expecting some sort of grand quest,
>>  but this is much better.
>>
>>  Leonard



>>  Ged is I think my second favourite (after Mongo) ... it's good
>>  to find out what has happened to him.
>>
>>  Vince



>>  Perfect...just perfect...
>>
>>  Patrick



>>   More! More! I want more, dammit! Hurry up.
>>
>>  RWL



>>  This is an interesting plotline, but I must ask, what definition
>>  of Boccob are you using?  As you stated, he is the "Uncaring
>>  One."  That's why he's always been my favorite, because he'll
>>  stay out of my life instead of ordering me on quests all the
>>  time  8-)
>>
>>         Rob

  A good point, this - though Boccob has always been the Uncaring
One, we (Ged's player, me, and a few other locals) thought it was
best to have a humbling for Ged.



>>  In light of the recent series of episodes, it ought to be really
>>  interesting to see what happens when someone tries to take on
>>  the whole party again.  Ged, humble?  Hmmmm, but how long will
>>  this last?  History has shown that he has a tendancy to be the
>>  party's resident arrogant arse.  Then again, he never had his
>>  powers taken away from him before either.
>>
>>   Looking forward to seeing the party reunited in one cause again.
>>  The induvidual/team episodes have been great, but what made the
>>  series click in the beginning was the teamwork they displayed
>>  when push came to shove.  Yeah, they bickered and bantered
>>  amoungst themselves, but when it was really on the line, even
>>  Rob came through once in awhile....
>>
>>  Somebody trying to take out the party ala Zara was a plotline
>>  you suggested might creep into being around 300...should be real
>>  interesting....
>>
>>  Nice job.
>>
>>  Tom



>>  The Ged Story!  Three stories in one morning, an exam at noon.
>>  The ultimate in mixed emotions :)?  Well, I was anxiously
>>  awaiting the return of Ged for some time now, but I didn't have
>>  a clue what they would be about.
>>
>>  It's nice to see Ged get a bit of humility.  The symbol of
>>  Boccob surrounded by the pages of his spellbook were a great
>>  touch.
>>
>>  Next point, 300's coming up: any clues?  How long must I wait?
>>  (Of course, work must come first, so I won't audibly complain
>>  if  it's delayed til the weekend :)
>>
>>  'Til next time ...
>>
>>  Michael



>>  Thanks for the Dragon Deck rules.  I was planning on writing
>>  and asking about them but you beat me to it.  Now I just
>>  need to find someone to design a deck for me...  :-)
>>
>>  I do have a comment about Torin and company.  Although they
>>  did put up quite a fight, I thought it would have been much
>>  more difficult for Belph and Otto to defeat them.  Not alot
>>  of magic was being used.  I was expecting the mage Sarquay
>>  to use some devastating magic items but he only managed to
>>  cast a few spells.  Was Torin the type who didn't rely too
>>  heavily on magic?  Personally, I think a few nifty items
>>  would have turned the tide considerably...
>>
>>  Other than that, an excellent bunch of stories lately,
>>  especially Peldor...
>>
>>  A story idea that has just come to mind about Ged's recent
>>  adventures....  What about a meeting with The Mad Archmage
>>  himself, Zagyg?  Both being 'servants' of The Purple One and
>>  all...
>>       Lance



>>  Oh - hi there and other preliminary stuff, like congrats regarding
>>  the World Series!  Your writing output, if I'm not mistaken, has
>>  increased dramatically.  Chapters are appearing faster than I
>>  could read them, much less analyze.  Nevertheless I keep saving
>>  them for someday.
>>
>>  S.



>>  You're WAY overdue for making books 13, 14 and maybe 15.
>>
>>  Now would be a good time to take a break and put these together.
>>
>>  Rance



  And now off to a side topic...

>>  Thomas,
>>
>>  Well, hope you've recovered from your (undoubtedly) drunken
>>  revelry.  I know I partied hard when the Jays won in '92 & '93.
>>  Congratulations.  It's been a long time coming.
>>
>>  Cheers, (and keep the stories coming!)
>>
>>  David



>>  HI,
>>
>>  So are you nursing a hangover today?  I think some of my inlaws
>>  neighbors probably think we're a little crazy after the Series
>>  win Saturday.  I've already added a new t-shirt to my christmas
>>  list for this year.
>>
>>  So any surprises lined up for the big # 300 story?
>>
>>  Karl

  Nothing you all haven't seen by now...Now what's this?  Me, a
drinker?!?  Whatever gave you people that idea?   :)



>>  Go Braves :-)
>>
>>       --Casper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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