Chapter #334

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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 1995 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:                                                       +
+                                                                   +
+  Alindyar     16th level dark elven mage                     (N)  +
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+  Date:        6/25/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        afternoon                                           +
+  Place:       somewhere over the western Pomarj                   +
+  Climate:     somewhat chilly                                     +
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+  "Within each of us, ofttimes, there dwells a mighty and          +
+   raging fury."                                                   +
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                 CCCXXXIV.  Targets of Opportunity





  After learning, pondering, and eventually arguing about some very
disturbing news, Alindyar has teleported himself away.  Even now, he
sails over the humanoid kingdoms of the Pomarj, invisible, enraged,
and armed to the teeth with spells and magic items.

Alindyar:  (flies rapidly and silently, not one to talk to himself)

  The drow wizard was in a foul mood, one that demanded someone or
something to take his anger out on.  After an indeterminate period
of time, he spotted a plume of smoke on the horizon.  Alindyar flew
towards the rising smoke, his interest piqued; whatever it might
turn out to be, it demanded an investigation.  Before too long, he
discovered what had happened, and the news was not good.  A large
village had been attacked, looted, and burned by a small army of
orcs.  In fact, the carnage was still in progress; the orcs milled
about the huts and roads of the village, slaying helpless humans at
every turn.
  On one hand, an orc hurled a pitch-soaked torch into a hut,
causing the thatched building to smoke menacingly, small fingers of
flame licking at the walls. Nearby, a second orc chased and cut
down a fleeing child, a skinny boy of no more than five years. The
rapine of the village fully occupied the attention of the orcs, and
the drow grimly smiled to himself.  He couldn't have asked for a
better reason to vent his wrath: the orcs had unknowingly sown the
seeds of their own doom.
  Below, a smelly orc threw a young girl to the ground, standing
over her.  With a swift motion, he ripped her tunic from her body
and tossed it away.

orc:  Heh heh...
girl:  (looking up)  Aie!
Alindyar:  (in orcish)  Time to die.
orc:  (looks up and around)  Huh?

  The first glowing bolt tore into the orc's crotch, reducing both
loincloth and genitals to ashes.  As the orc screamed and danced
in utter agony, the remainder of the magical volley struck the orc
in its head and back, tearing holes in its body and propelling it
over the terrified girl.  The smelly humanoid's body landed on the
ground, unmoving, and the girl saw a man appear in the air above
her...a man whose skin was blacker than the darkest night.

Alindyar:  Take cover, child.  This battle is only beginning.
girl:  (flees)

  The floating wizard turned to face a dozen orcs, all with longbows
aimed at him.

orc captain:  Fire!
Alindyar:  (spreads his hands and smiles)

  The orcs let him have it, launching a volley of deadly arrows in
his direction.  However, each and every one of the missiles bounced
away before hitting the drow, as if some invisible barrier kept him
safe from harm.

Alindyar:  (in orcish)  Prepare to die, scum.  (waving his hands, he
  chants)

  The orcs broke formation, some running while others fumbled with
their bows, hoping that a second shot might fare better.  Moments
later, Alindyar covered the bulk of the orcish archers with a dark,
sticky web that pinned them in place.  Scant moments later, a huge
hand of shimmering force appeared, grabbed a giant handful of
burning wood from a nearby hut, and dumped it onto the webbed orcs.
As the trapped orcs screamed and died, Alindyar flew elsewhere,
quickly finding another large band of humanoids.  Due to the chaos
and noise, these orcs weren't aware of what had happened to their
fellows.  About the time they noticed his airborne form, the drow
greeted them with an explosive volley of acid which drenched more
than a dozen orcs with glowing green liquid.  Many of those not
covered in the caustic gunk were still splashed, and dropped their
weapons as they tried to wipe the deadly stuff from their bodies
and clothes.
  Moments later, elsewhere in the carnage, Alindyar stopped another
dozen orcs by magically suggesting that they refresh themselves by
walking into a nearby "pool" - actually a burning hut.  By the time
the humanoids were getting singed and beginning to resist the spell,
Alindyar's force-hand had pushed the lot into the fiery wreckage.
Another volley of arrows - and a few spears this time, as well -
flew toward the drow, but were deflected as before.  Turning, the
wizard began spellcasting once more.  Within moments, more than a
dozen gigantic spiders had appeared amidst the group of orcs, and
total pandemonium ensued.  Nearby, three orcs menaced a young child
and his weeping mother; before the humanoids could do any harm to
the villagers, the gigantic force-hand grabbed them, hurling their
bodies high into the air.  Whenever and wherever they came down, it
was with great and final force.
  Out of the corner of his eye, the drow noticed an orc engaged in
what appeared to be spellcasting.  A shaman, then - these orcs were
well-prepared!  It would do them no good, thought Alindyar to himself
as he used his force-hand to casually sweep the shaman into a half-
dozen orcish warriors.  The whole group went down, and by the time
they stood and prepared to fight again, a summoned swarm of flying,
chirping, buzzing insects had covered the humanoids.  The effect was
terrifying, for the orcs were rapidly eaten alive.  Alindyar smiled
grimly to himself, and flew elsewhere as the mother and her child
watched in confusion.
  Moments later, he found the bulk of the orcish contingent, a mass
of perhaps two hundred of the humanoids, armed and armored.  This
group had assembled at the edge of the village, and a commander of
some sort was frantically trying to restore order.  Alindyar's way
was more efficient and more permanent:  he sent a blazing ball of
all-consuming fire into the force, roasting them to death instantly.
By now, the surviving orcs had a vague idea of what was happening,
and their morale snapped like a rotten twig.  They fled in every
direction, for all the good it would do them.  Alindyar used spells
to pick the larger groups off from the air; a lightning bolt took
out two dozen of the foul humanoids, and moments later, a prismatic
spray mowed down another score, most of whom died from poisoning,
petrification, or sheer force.  A few went insane, and began doing
whatever it was that insane orcs did.
  Elsewhere, Alindyar had a chance to use his magical glass globes
by hurling them down upon foes.  His aim wasn't perfect, but it
didn't need to be, for he had all the time in the world to target
the earthbound foes.  One globe burst open to unleash a noxious
green gas; this foul stuff poisoned all orcs in the vicinity.  A
second globe put a dozen orcs to sleep, a powerful enchantment that
wouldn't wear off for many hours.
  One orcish captain stood his ground, trying in vain to get his
orcs rallied.  As Alindyar approached, the vile humanoid slashed a
nearby villager to death, as if to defy the drow.  For this foe,
Alindyar used a phantasmal killer, conjuring up a terrifying image
that only the victim could see, hear, feel - and fear.  The orc
snapped and fled, pursued by the apparition; moments later, he died
of fright, his face frozen in a horrible scream.
  Those few orcs that remained became victims of the drow's force-
hand, which had the power to crush them to death with ease.  No
matter which way an orc fled, Alindyar was upon it, the magical hand
plucking it from the ground and reducing it to a pulp in midair, as
other orcs watched.  It was a grisly sight, to be sure, but Alindyar
was oblivious to the looks of shock and fear on the faces of the
surviving villagers.
  And then, just like that, it was over.  There were no more orcs to
kill, just a burning, bloody scene of carnage.  Alindyar surveyed
the destruction smugly, and flew higher into the air.  As the blood-
lust and euphoria wore off, he began wondering if this battle had
really done anything to ease the pain that Lyra was going through.
The answer, of course, was no.  As Alindyar realized this, he looked
into the sky above and wondered at the tricks and trials that the
gods dealt out to mortals.  Then, he thought about Lyra, and about
how she was still Lyra, his Lyra, no matter what had happened.  The
bonds that united them should be much stronger than any cruel trick
that fate might deal out.

Alindyar:  (frowns)  Lyra...

  Realizing that his mate needed him more than anyone else - needed
him more than he needed revenge on anyone - needed his love and care
rather than his anger - Alindyar began another spell, one that would
return him to Greyhawk.



  Hours later, a military force from Ulek arrived at the ruined
village and found the surviving villagers.  Some told stories of a
mysterious savior, a flying warlock whose skin was as dark as the
blackest night, a hero who came from the sky and slew or stopped
every orc in the attacking band.  The commander of the Ulek force
could only wonder what had really happened here.  However, when he
counted the dozens of men, women, and children who yet lived, and
would never know the horrors of orcish slavery, the seasoned veteran
whispered a silent thanks to whoever had come along and saved these
people.





next:   reunited
ftp:    ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
www:    http://www.gatech.edu/oit/staff/ns/thomas.miller/adv.html
notes:  I guess I'm delving into what you might call "mature themes"
  here.
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