Chapter #322

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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 (more accurately, those who haven't been kidnapped):   +
+                                                                   +
+  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:        6/10/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        morning                                             +
+  Place:       the fortress of Drawmij, beneath the Azure Sea      +
+  Climate:     comfortable                                         +
+  "The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go    +
+   beyond them into the impossible."                               +
+                                          - Clarke's Second Law    +

               CCCXXII.  Voyage Beneath the Waves

  After spending the night in Drawmij's guest rooms, everyone has
woken to find himself or herself completely refreshed, devoid of
hunger, and clean, as if they had been bathed while sleeping.

Tanya:  I'm not sure I like that idea.
Nenya:  Me either.  I prefer to bathe myself.
Bosco:  Hey, look, if you ask nicely, I'd be happy to help-
Nenya:  (giggles)  Or forget to lock the door, and cover the keyhole,
  and carry your sword into the bath
Bosco:  But-
Tanya:  Not now, Bosco.

  They were gathered around a large table, at the head of which sat
Drawmij himself.  Here and there moved strange, scaly humanoids - the
first beings, other than each other and Drawmij - that they had seen
since arriving at the undersea castle.  Peyote had tried conversing
with one of the creatures, but if he had been successful, he wasn't
telling.  Drawmij, for his part, merely chuckled, and spoke to the
fish-men from time to time, using an odd, gurgling language that none
of the adventurers was familiar with.
  Of course, at the moment, the castle's master had other things to
deal with...

Tanya:  What about it, wizard?  What's the story behind this bathing
Drawmij:  (shrugs)  One of the simple properties of the magical beds
  in my guest rooms.
Nenya:  Simple?
Yod:  (slams a fist down onto the table, jarring the heavy wood)
  I'm another that doesn't like that idea!  The king of Thunderdelve
  only bathes when he _wants_ to!  (muttering to himself)  And that's
  not often...
Rob:  I, for one, didn't mind the night's sleep.
Peyote:  Me either, man.  It was quite restful.
Halbarad:  Considering that it occurred countless leagues beneath
  the sea...
Otto:  Look, who _cares_ about minor details like this?
Drawmij:  Indeed.  (he yawns)  You should all be happy that you got
  some sleep.
Gorin:  And what've _you_ been doing all night, planning our trip to
  the island?!?
Drawmij:  (stands)  That's _precisely_ what I've been doing.
Gorin:  Oh.
Bosco:  (making faces at Gorin from across the table)
Tanya:  We're not ungrateful, great wizard - we're just anxious to
  meet the villains face-to-face.
Drawmij:  You may not be, when that time comes.
Yod:  Hey, speaking of which...what kind of enemies are we talking
  about here?  Warriors?  Wizards?  Demons?
Bosco:'d help if we knew that sort of thing.
Tanya:  You want the truth?
Bosco:  We can handle it.
Nenya:  We don't know.
Bosco:  (frowns)
Drawmij:  Actually...we do know a few things.  We'll be facing a
  mixed group...fighters, magic-users, perhaps even an assassin or
  two.  And I'm certain that an evil high priest lurks on the island
  as well - the undead I've detected there would seem to attest to
Rob:  Undead?  Evil high priest?  Trithereon's power will counter
  those threats.
Halbarad:  Let us hope so.
Tanya:  And the iron dwarf.  Let's make sure we don't forget him.
Yod:  Yeah, Mongo mentioned that guy once.  (he pats his axe)  I'm
  ready for him.
Gorin:  (looks somewhat doubtful)
Drawmij:  More may become apparent as we near the island.
Peyote:  Speaking of which, when are we going to-
Wendell:  (yawns, as he enters the room)  Morning, everyone.
Drawmij:  Oh, there you are, Wendell.  I had all but forgotten about
Wendell:  I'm still here.
Otto:  (eyes the porter suspiciously)  How come we all mysteriously
  woke up at the exact same time, but you didn't?
Wendell:  Search me.  Maybe I'm a deeper sleeper than you.
Otto:  The deepest sleep is that of the dead, you know.
Wendell:  (frowns)
Halbarad:  (to Drawmij)  So, how are we to rescue the others?
Drawmij:  A voyage of sorts is in order, first.
Rob:  Voyage?
Bosco:  What kind of voyage?
Peyote:  Really.  Where can you voyage from here, anyway?
Drawmij:  Observe.  (a shimmering globe comes into being, in the air
  above the table)
Gorin:  What's that?
Drawmij:  This globe, my friend, represents the world.  (he points
  at a bright white speck on the globe)  That is us.  (he indicates
  another speck, a bright red one)  And that is your destination,
  the island.
Halbarad:  Hmm.
Yod:  Round?  What goblin crap is this?  Everyone knows the world
  is _flat_!
Rob:  Now wait just one-
Gorin:  Flat!
Nenya:  Err...
Bosco:  World?
Otto:  Hey, who cares what shape-
Tanya:  Could we just-
Peyote:  -the opposing theories of-
Halbarad:  Every cartographer knows that-
Drawmij:  SILENCE!

  Everyone ceased their conversations then, and the tall wizard
promptly resumed his explanation.

Drawmij:  (to the dwarves)  Just think of this as a _part_ of the
  world, put into the form of a crystal ball.
Yod:  Oh.

  This explanation seemed to mollify Yod and Gorin; Otto hadn't
really paid much attention to the argument to begin with.

Drawmij:  If we were on the sea's surface, we would have to sail
  from here.
Otto:  But we're not on the surface.
Drawmij:  Correct.  So we must instead sail from..._here_ to here.
Yod:  And how in the hells are we going to do that?!?  Magic?
Nenya:  Probably.
Drawmij:  Exactly.  Magic...
Halbarad:  Sea travel...under the sea.
Peyote:  This I gotta see, man.
Otto:  It promises to be interesting.  No doubt about that.
Drawmij:  Are all of you ready to get underway?

  There were nods from all quarters; it seemed that everyone had
woken up ready for action, and fully dressed and equipped themselves
before coming to the planning session.

Drawmij:  Come, follow me.  (he heads off down a new corridor, one
  that nobody could remember being there before)
Wendell:  (to Drawmij)  I must cart the baggage from my quarters to
  wherever we're going, sir.
Drawmij:  Very well.  (he snaps his fingers)  That opaque disk will
  follow you, and assist you in your travails.  Now be off.
Wendell:  (makes himself scarce)

  The group walked along the passageway, its members talking amongst
themselves as they went.

Tanya:  (to Drawmij)  Wendell's not really very clear-minded, is he?
Drawmij:  Not particularly.  Sometimes I wonder what his true merit
Nenya:  Well, he won't be with us much longer, at least not once we
  get onto that island.
Drawmij:  True...
Bosco:  Moving _through_ the water?  This I gotta see.
Peyote:  It's possible, little dude.  We druids can do that sort of
  thing too, from time to time.  Though such power is only really
  commanded by the oldest and wisest within our circles...
Halbarad:  Yet the wizard spoke of a _ship_.
Rob:  Any ship that can do such a thing must be a great marvel of
Yod:  I guess if the dwarves can have their wondrous underground
  machines and stone-works, others can fashion their own mighty
Gorin:  Yeah...though what could possibly compare to the things we
  found in the depths of Thunderdelve?
Drawmij:  You're about to see, dwarf.

  The corridor opened into a large domed chamber, larger by far
than any other they had yet seen here.  The center of the room was
actually a pool, its waters dark and opaque, at least from this
angle.  Some kind of metallic tube rose from the water, touching
the edge of the pool at the same level as the water.

Halbarad:  Water?  Here?!?
Yod:  (looks distinctly uncomfortable)
Peyote:  Err...Drawmij, dude, how come the water isn't spurting up
  into this room and drowning us?
Gorin:  Aie...
Peyote:  I'm not helping, am I?
Bosco:  (to Drawmij)  Yeah, how come?
Drawmij:  Magic, and pressure.
Rob:  (ponders this, his mind seeking an explanation)  Of course!
  The water outside can't rise beyond whatever pre-determined depth
  is set...or reinforced by magical means...perhaps a field or wall
  or force...or a valved wall, driven by pulleys or perhaps winches
  hidden from view...
Tanya:  Huh?
Drawmij:  (to the priest)  You have a talent for these things, then?
Rob:  Huh?  Oh, err, I've been known to dabble in engineering.
Otto:  (examining a huge statue that stands between the group and the
  pool)  Hmm...rock?  Gemstones?  What _is_ this thing made of?
statue:  (moves, interposing itself between the dwarf and the pool)
Otto:  Yikes!  (he leaps back, a dagger in his hand)
Drawmij:  Relax, dwarf.  (he addresses the statue, speaking a word
  of command)
statue:  (moves aside silently)
Otto:  Huh.
Drawmij:  That, my friends, is a coral golem.  My own creation, I'm
  proud to say.
Nenya:  Coral?
Peyote:  When on the ocean bottom, a guy's gotta use the raw material
  at hand...
Drawmij:  (nods)  Exactly.
Otto:  Coral?  Who'd have thought it?
Rob:  Like a stone golem?
Drawmij:  Indeed...well, perhaps a bit more powerful.  I have several
  more of them, positioned strategically.  (he eyes Bosco)  Just in
  case some rascal was to enter my castle and wander about aimlessly.
Bosco:  Good thing no rascals are about, isn't it?  I mean, I'd hate
  to see such a rascal get flattened by one of your golem-things.
Drawmij:  No doubt.  (he points at the strange tube that juts from
  the water in the pool)  Come.

  The mage led them to the metallic tube, and they realized that it
contained steps, ones that spiralled downward, into darkness.

Halbarad:  Not unlike a dungeon...
Drawmij:  Not like one, either.  (he enters the tube, descending the
Otto:  Intriguing...(he makes sure that he is the first to follow the
  wizard down the unusual stairway)
Halbarad:  Come, we must pursue this, whatever it may be.
Peyote:  Right on.
Rob:  (looking around, fascinated)
Tanya:  (to Nenya, as they follow the others)  I've been in a lot of
  strange places, but this just about takes the cake.
Nenya:  (nodding)  No doubt about that.
Gorin:  (to Yod)  This isn't natural...first an underwater castle,
  then an open pathway to the water itself, and now this.
Yod:  Too confined.  If it wasn't Mongo we were trying to rescue...
Bosco:  (to Wendell)  Well, _I_ for one think this is really neat!
Wendell:  (nods, muttering something as he maneuvers his packs and
  sacks into the tube with him)

  The tube-sheathed stairway wound downward for perhaps twenty feet,
where one side of the cylinder contained a doorway, which opened into
a metal room.  Roughly twenty feet wide and thirty feet long, this
chamber was somewhat semi-cylindrical in shape; its front end tapered
slightly.  The stair-tube was at its rearward end, at the center of
that wall.

     SIDE VIEW                                         FRONTAL VIEW
         __________________________           ___________________
        /                      :   :         /       :   :       \
      /                        :   : <-.    |        :   :        |
     |_________________________:___:   |    |________:___:________|
                                       |              /
                                       |            /
         __________________________     \         /
       /                      |    |      \     /
      /       ]   ]   ]       <    |        \ /
     |    ]   ]   ]   ]       |_.--|         |
     |  * ]   ]   ]   ]        :   :  <--stair-tube
     |    ]   ]   ]   ]         ---|
      \       ]   ]   ]         ## |


  Within the chamber, there were arrayed a series of plush chairs,
all of which faced the tapered end of the room.  Each such seat was
three feet wide, and fashioned of some sort of soft yet sturdy cloth.
There were eighteen chairs in all, lined in three rows of five each
plus a front row of three.  Before the center of the front seat was
a large, blue sphere of crystal, mounted in a pedestal which in turn
was bolted to the floor.  To the rear of the metal room (or, if one
preferred, toward the end containing the stairs) were two things of
interest.  To one side of the stair-tube was a small closet, sealed
on all but one side with steel plating.  Amidst this one wall was a
section of transparent material, perhaps glasteel.  To the other
side of the stair-tube was a chest, perhaps 4' by 3', mounted into
the floor.
  As the adventurers entered this cramped chamber, they eyed the
various furnishings (such as they were) with apprehension.

Otto:  (looking around)  Hmm.
Yod:  What kind of place is this?
Gorin:  Really...and why are we in here?
Rob:  (to Halbarad)  I think it's a vessel of some kind.
Halbarad:  Oh?
Rob:  Yes.  (he points at the seats)  That would seem to be the
  frontal direction; maybe the ship is a short cylinder, from the
  outside perspective.  Or a half-cylinder.
Drawmij:  Very astute, priest.
Peyote:  He has his moments.  So, mage, this is indeed a ship?
Drawmij:  Indeed it of my own design.
Peyote:  Gnarly.
Nenya:  Steel keep the water out.
Tanya:  But how does it move?
Bosco:  (using his x-ray vision to examine the strange closet-room
  to the north)  Magic!
Drawmij:  Exactly:  magic!
Bosco:  Huh?
Drawmij:  (gestures at the blue sphere)  With that enchanted ball
  of crystal, I can guide this ship.
Nenya:  Amazing...Ged would like this.
Tanya:  Let's hope he's around to see it, then.
Yod:  So how do you see where you're going?
Drawmij:  Like this...(having walked over to the blue sphere, he
  touches it, speaking some command words)

  Without warning, a large section of the narrowed western wall
shifted color, changing from dull grey to light grey...and then to
clear glass!  The deep blue outside could only be one thing, and
several of those in the ship recoiled in shock.

Yod:  Yie!  (he grips his axe)
Drawmij:  (spreads his hands)  The ability to shift that piece of
  glasteel from opaque to transparent often comes in handy.
Gorin:  (muttering)  Sure, to scare visitors.
Nenya:  The sea outside...we're in some sort of dock, then?
Drawmij:  Not for much longer.  Everyone, please take your seats.
  We must get underway.
Otto:  (grabs a chair in the front row, next to the wizard)  How
  did you build this vessel?  And can anyone control it, or just
Drawmij:  You'll have all your answers shortly...for now, please
  remain still.  (he looks back, to make sure everyone's sitting
  down)  All right...(he mumbles something to the crystal ball,
  and the room trembles)

  The stair-tube clicked and whirred, as if it was retracting into
the ship itself.  Moments later, the entire ship lurched, bringing
a feeling that all present knew well:  the roll and pitch of a sea-
borne vessel.  They gripped the arms of their chairs, to keep from
sliding around, though there was no need, for the seats magically
held them in place anyway.  Those who figured this out first were
also the first to fully appreciate the sights before the now-moving

Wendell:  (looking through the "window" at the front of the ship)

  Indeed, after the bubbles and foam caused by the ship's submersion
had cleared away, the window offered a spectacular view of the sea's
bottom.  They were able to make out coral, rocks, and shells on the
sandy surface below the ship.  Here and there, various marine life
darted about; these ranged from common fish to strange eels to large
rays and sharks.

Yod:  (curious despite himself)  Are they ignoring us?
Drawmij:  Not really...but this vessel is surrounded by a magical
  field, a customized wall of force that keeps everything at bay.
Rob:  How exactly is this ship propelled?
Nenya:  I was wondering that as well.
Drawmij:  It's rather difficult to explain.
Rob:  Try me - I'm really quite fascinated.
Drawmij:  Patterns of force, tailored along the lines of the ship
  and given the blessing of the oceanic powers-
Rob:  (frowning)
Gorin:  Huh?
Drawmij:  I told you.
Halbarad:  Why the short cylindrical shape?
Rob:  Half-cylindrical.
Drawmij:  You were expecting something else?  A fully-rounded, much
  longer cylinder, perhaps?
Halbarad:  (shrugs)
Drawmij:  This shape, streamlined as it is, is the best I've seen so
  far for moving through water.
Nenya:  So far?
Drawmij:  I'm always working on new designs.  Sometime, if my efforts
  bear real fruit, I shall be able to fashion a ship that can hold
  others...and horses...perhaps livestock.
Peyote:  Hmm.  A portable city?
Drawmij:  Well, _that's_ a little more than I can envision.
Otto:  What about that little room back there...the one with the
  glasteel panel or door or whatever?
Drawmij:  That?  A sample case.
Wendell:  Samples?
Drawmij:  If I find something beneath the waves, something that I
  might want to take back for further study, I can use a spell to
  transport it into this vessel.
Bosco:  Into that little room!
Otto:  The room's armored like that in case you find something
Drawmij:  Precisely.
Wendell:  (frowns)
Drawmij:  Despite my power, and my allies in this realm, the deeps
  of the seas and oceans are dangerous places.

  As he talked, the mighty wizard guided the ship through the depths,
so skillfully that they hardly noticed it.

Bosco:  (eyes the front window, wondering how fast they're actually
Nenya:  -use a _spell_ to bring things from outside into here?
Nenya:  Another variant of the teleportation spell...
Drawmij:  (shrugs)  We each have our special talents.
Yod:  What's that chest for, treasures you find?
Drawmij:  Oh, no.  It merely contains, drink, rope,
  sacks, and the like.  Emergency supplies, since one never knows
  where the vessel may have cause to land.  Why, once, we came up
  under a glacier, into an ice cavern.  Of course, we didn't know
  it at the time, but it was the lair of-

  The wizard kept them busy for hours with his explanations and
tales of the ship and its adventures.  They had no way of knowing
it (though Rob suspected, and the thought crossed Wendell's mind)
but the undersea ship _was_ in fact steering itself through the
depths.  Powerful enchantments kept it clear of undersea reefs and
monsters' lairs, and kept it on its intended course.  Another such
enchantment, Drawmij explained, permitted those within the vessel
to see the outside waters, and their contents, as if they were
bathed in sunlight.  To an outside observer, however, all was still
dark, for the vessel gave off no actual light.
  At one point, Drawmij showed his guests the ruins of a sunken
city that lay in the path of their journey.  Huge columns, tiers,
and buildings, many crumbling or in broken fragments, lay there
silently, encrusted with marine fungi or the silt of centuries.  As
they moved over the ruined city, they could make out other things
that had once thrived in the place:  chariots, great arches and
stairways, canals, chunks of street.  In some places, these were
perfectly intact, while in others, they were strewn about as if an
earthquake had come calling.

Drawmij:  I haven't yet figured out _which_ city it was, but one
  thing's for sure:  it predates the Suel marches, millennia ago.
  The architecture of the place verifies that.
Bosco:  (half-asleep in his chair)  Too bad we've got more pressing
  business, or we could get out and explore.

  The halfling's comment served to jar everyone's thoughts away from
the wonders of the undersea world, and back to the mission at hand.
Soon, the dead city was behind them, and conversation all but ceased.
They all knew, even the usually-jubilant Bosco, that they were now
heading straight for a dire challenge, one that might leave some of
them dead, or praying for death.  Every person present dealt with
this in his or her own manner...

Bosco:  (fast asleep)  zzz.
Drawmij:  (piloting the ship, he silently ponders spells and their
Gorin:  (compares battle tactics with Yod)
Tanya:  (checks and double-checks her inventory of weapons and
  magical items)
Nenya:  (studies her spellbooks)
Otto:  (sharpens his sword, then his knives, then his sword again)
Rob:  (prays to Trithereon for guidance)
Halbarad:  (meticulously checks his quiver's arrows, to ensure that
  each is straight, in one piece, and ready to sail into the heart
  of a foe)
Peyote:  (chewing on some kind of mushrooms, he grins foolishly to
Wendell:  (dozes quietly, arms crossed on his chest)

  Hours (or perhaps minutes, for time seemed to pass in a truly
bizarre fashion) later, Drawmij brought the vessel to a gentle stop.

Bosco:  (wakes up, leaping to his feet atop his chair)  What?!?
  What's going on?!?
Drawmij:  We now lie in the waters around the island we sought...
  safe from detection by those on it, I might add.
Nenya:  But for how long?
Drawmij:  Long enough.
Halbarad:  The window shows bright water...are we at the surface,
Drawmij:  We're in a cove, on the opposite end of the island from
  the lair of the evildoers.  My sources have informed me that they
  don't guard this edge of the island, at least not with magical
Peyote:  What, then?
Drawmij:  Oh, only more conventional guards...(he walks over to the
  chest at the rear of the vessel, and opens it)
Bosco:  Hey!  Try as I might, I couldn't-
Gorin:  (claps a hand over his companion's mouth)
Drawmij:  (holds up a jug of violet fluid)  Behold...Vish'na'rri
Yod:  Who?
Drawmij:  (in a slightly scolding voice)  This is sap from that
  unique tree which grows at the junction of the Ethereal Plane
  and the Negative Material Plane...
Peyote:  Tree?  There?
Drawmij:  Trust me.  (he holds up the jug)  A sip of this arcane
  stuff will shield you from any and all magical detection.
Nenya:  Anything?
Drawmij:  And everything.  None of the evil ones' divinations or
  detection spells will locate you.
Otto:  Impressive sap you've got there.
Halbarad:  How long does the stuff last?
Drawmij:  A few we must hurry.  (he passes the bottle to
  Bosco, who stands nearest)  Take a sip and pass it, small one.
Bosco:  (closes one eye, using the other to peer into the mouth of
  the jug)
Drawmij:  Quickly!
Bosco:  Ah.  (he takes a sip from the jug) tastes...
Wendell:  (takes the jug from the halfling and has a sip)
Nenya:  What are _you_ drinking for, porter?
Wendell: they can't see me while I'm in the ship?
Drawmij:  If we fail to return, it won't matter.
Wendell:  Oh.
Tanya:  (to Drawmij)  Maybe you have some magical wand you could give
  Wendell, so that he might come with us, while standing some chance
  of surviving?
Drawmij:  Unfortunately, no.
Wendell:  (begins handing out provisions, such as rope, extra daggers,
  oil, and lanterns)  Here you go, ma'am.
Tanya:  (looks slightly flustered)
Yod:  Bottoms up...(he takes his sip from the jug, and passes it on)

  Shortly, they were prepared, and Drawmij uttered a few command
words to the blue crystal ball.

Drawmij:  Contingency everyone ready?
everyone:  Yes!
Drawmij:  Very well, then.  (to Wendell)  Stay know what
  to do.

  With that, the wizard made a hand motion, and the stair-tube made
the same grinding noise as before.  Moments later, it opened at the
top end, and they ascended the winding steps to find themselves in
a shallow cove.  The place was totally surrounded by rocky reefs,
at the waterline, as if the only way to sail or swim into it was via
underwater travel.  The companions understood then the value of
Drawmij's scouting and spying; he had found perhaps the only place
where they could have approached without being seen.  The jagged
rock of the reef extended upward, a natural ceiling that covered the
cove in all but a few places.  In these, sunlight streamed through
openings, affording a view of the sunny sky outside.
  A sandbar within the reef wound around and up, eventually joining
a natural tunnel in the rock; the light visible within suggested
that the passage led through the reef and onto the island itself.

Yod:  (leaps onto the sandbar)  It's good to be on solid ground
Gorin:  Yeah.
Peyote:  You guys aren't seasick, are you?
Drawmij:  Impossible - my vessel is enchanted to prevent that.
Rob:  Oh?
Drawmij:  (smiles)  I had to do that after we learned that Bigby was
  prone to seasickness.
Nenya:  Oh.

  Soon, the ten adventurers had disembarked and crossed the sandbar,
emerging onto the beach of a tropical island.  The sandy beach rose
from the water, and became a thick forest soon afterward.  In the
distance, they could see a mountain, jutting up from the surrounding

Drawmij:  (points at the peak)  That is our destination.
Otto:  This is a small island - we ought to reach the mountain
  before dark.
Halbarad:  Aye.
Bosco:  (slowly scanning the entire scene)  Awfully sunny place,
  considering who lives here...

next:   one final peek at the prisoners themselves
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  ASCII maps still suck.

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