Chapter #336

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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                    +
+                          +
+  THE PARTY:                                                       +
+                                                                   +
+  Alindyar     16th level dark elven mage                     (N)  +
+  Lyra         12th level female dark elven mage              (N)  +
+  Peldor       19th level human thief                         (N)  +
+    Bosco      11th level halfling thief                     (CN)  +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human fighter/thief     (N)  +
+  Date:        6/26/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        lunchtime                                           +
+  Place:       the Green Dragon Inn, in Greyhawk                   +
+  Climate:     warm                                                +
+  "Half of everything is luck."                                    +
+  "And the other half?"                                            +
+  "Fate."                                                          +
+                                              - from _Goldeneye_   +

                CCCXXXVI.  A Prestigous Offer

  After a hectic day or two, Peldor and Tanya have settled down
to enjoy a nice, quiet, peaceful lunch.

Tanya:  (eyes a ferret as it slinks along the floor to one side
  of the booth she and Peldor occupy)  So did you or didn't you?
Peldor:  I didn't!  There wasn't time.  First, Belphanior used
  his eye to skrag the bitch, and then she melted, and naturally
  she dropped the thing on the floor after that.
Tanya:  (incredulously)  You didn't pick it up?
Peldor:  The damn thing rolled away and fell into a crack in the
  floor.  I would've gone after it, but some zombies got on my
Tanya:  Oh.
Peldor:  Next time I thought about it, things had gotten more
  hectic.  Too much chaos.  Besides, I half-remember seeing one
  of those big elementals or golems or whatever fall over the
Tanya: talisman to control the iron dwarf.
Peldor:  Nope.  (he chows down on some bacon and toast, and then
  notices a ferret dangling from one edge of the table)  Hmm.
Tanya:  Eh?
Peldor:  Nothing.  Besides, who'd _want_ to control the iron
Tanya:  Just a constructive thought.
Peldor:  A destructive thought.  (he uses his ring's powers to
  lift the hanging ferret away from the table)
ferret:  (squealing as it clutches a scrap of bacon in its tiny
Tanya:  Which one is that?
Peldor:  Beats me.  (he looks around)  I don't see Bosco, either.
Tanya:  Fat chance of _that_.  The little ragamuffin's probably
  still in bed, and sent the ferrets out to find him breakfast.
Peldor:  (nodding)  He'd do that.
Bosco:  (struts into the room, followed by two ferrets)  Who'd
  do what?
Peldor:  Bosco!
Tanya:  Come join us.  We were just talking about your ferrets.
Bosco:  (notices the ferret floating in the air near Peldor)
  Hey!  What's Harpo doing up there?!?
Peldor:  Err...
Bosco:  (muttering to himself)  I didn't teach them to fly
Peldor:  (telekinetically puts the ferret down on the floor)
Bosco:  (grabs a plateful of eggs and toast)  Mmm!
Tanya:  Help yourself, Bosco.
Bosco:  (speaking through a mouthful of food)  Thranksh.
ferrets:  (climbing up Bosco's back, two of them eye the food
  on the table)
ferret on floor:  (eyeing the other ferrets, it then eyes the
  scrap of bacon in its claws, makes a decision, and begins
  nibbling on the bacon)
Peldor:  (to Tanya, in a low voice)  Don't look now, but we
  have company.
Tanya:  Wh-
Lyra:  (walking toward the table with Alindyar)  What kind of
  a world is it where a halfling and his ferrets can get their
  breakfast before decent people?
Bosco:  (mumbling as he chews his food)  A pretty good world, if
  you ask me...
Tanya:  (looks up)  Good morning!

  Both drow looked significantly happier this morning, as if they
had gotten more than enough rest and solved all of their problems
besides.  Even Bosco noticed the change, after a fashion.

Bosco:  (holds up a fork)  Hungry?
Alindyar:  Indeed.
Peldor:  Join us.  There's plenty of room.
Lyra:  There's always plenty of room, because we always sit at
  the same oversized table when we all eat like this.
Peldor:  (nods, and points a fork)  You have a point.
Alindyar:  (spotting the two ferrets perched atop Bosco's head,
  he looks under the table, noting a third animal which is busy
  finishing a piece of bacon at the moment)  Hmm.  Creatures of
  the wild...far from their native environment.
Bosco:  Hey, I'm simply redefining their natural environment.
Tanya:  To include purses, pouches, and vaults?
Bosco:  (shrugs)
Alindyar:  Incorrigible.
Peldor:  (leans back, taking in the rays of sunlight which
  shine through a nearby window)  Ahh.
Bosco:  Nice day outside.
Lyra:  Yes...and I feel a lot better.
Tanya:  You look a lot better, too.
Lyra:  We're dealing with things in a more...positive manner, now.
  Speaking of which, did Ged talk to you about his little idea?
Peldor:  The idea about all of us wearing rings or something,
  so that if one was in danger, all of us would know about it?
Lyra:  That would be the idea in question.
Bosco:  (quietly mutters something about "superfriends")
Alindyar:  'Tis an idea I do not care for.
Tanya:  I can see the merits, but...
Peldor:  ...too much invasion of privacy.
Lyra:  Besides, who'd go along with Belphanior being in on it,
Tanya:  Mmm, good point.
Alindyar:  In any case, an idea whose time has not yet arrived.
  At least not for me.
Lyra:  (squeezes his hand gently)  Or me.
Peldor:  Hey, me either.  I've got too much going on to have
  to worry about every fight that every one of our old group
  gets into.
Lyra:  We're all grown adults here...we lead our own lives
Bosco:  (pipes up between bites)  Soooo...was Ged mad that no one
  liked his idea?
Alindyar:  Oh, Bosco.  I'd forgotten you were there.
Bosco:  (wondering what neat items might be in the drow's
  pockets, he pets one of his ferrets)  Later, Groucho.  Later.
Tanya:  Ged wasn't too happy, but he took our reaction well.
Peldor:  I don't think he likes the idea of his idea being
Alindyar:  How unfortunate...for him.
Bosco:  The idea of an idea...what a novel concept!  (he dashes off
Lyra:  What's gotten into _him_?
Tanya:  No telling.
ferrets:  (chirping quietly as they slink after Bosco, all four now
  present and moving in a line)
Peldor:  Well.  Would you look at that?
Alindyar:  (cocking his head to watch the quartet of animals as they
  depart the vicinity)  How quaint.
Lyra:  No kidding.
Tanya:  Personally, I think they're sort of cute.
Alindyar:  Nonsense.

  Just then, a short, wizened old man came ambling toward the table.
Though he appeared quite befuddled, he also had an air of learned
experience about him.  Stopping just short of bumping into the edge
of the table, the old geezer stopped to regard the four friends.

Peldor:  (puts his napkin down)  Can I help you, old father?
old man:  Excuse me, but I'm lookin' for a wizard, calls 'imself
Alindyar:  'Tis I.
old man:  (shuffles in place, so that his gaze rests upon the drow)
  Eh?  (he leans in, squinting)
Alindyar:  What are you about, fellow?
old man:  Name's Merkle.  I'm an assistant tutor at the College of
  Magic.  I work for Tobin Potriades.
Lyra:  The College of Magic?  You mean that three-faced pyramid with
  no doors or windows?
Merkle:  That'd be the one, young lady.
Lyra:  Hrmph.
Alindyar:  So, Merkle, what can I do for you?  I am not one who needs
  instruction in the ways of magic...far from it.
Merkle:  Oh, no.  Tobin's sent me to make you an offer.
Alindyar:  Offer?
Merkle:  To teach!  At the a full-fledged professor, no
Alindyar:  What?
Merkle:  Teach, my boy!  Pass your knowledge on to younger generations
Alindyar:  'Twas an expression of surprise, good fellow.  I know what
  "teach" means.
Merkle:  Oh.  Of course you would.  (to Lyra)  Think he'll take the
Lyra:  Who knows?  (she looks back to Alindyar)
Alindyar:  Why me?
Merkle:  You have wandered many parts of the world, and gained much
  knowledge.  Plus, being a dark elf, you know things no one else can
Alindyar:  I do?
Peldor:  (to Lyra)  He does?
Merkle:  Trust me, my good fellow.  Your professional qualifications
Tanya:  Hmm.
Alindyar: did anyone know I was a drow?
Lyra:  Really.  (she eyes Merkle suspiciously)  We hide that little
  fact from casual observers.
Merkle:  Well, the Circle of Eight knew.  And that means others in
  power eventually found out.
Lyra:  (frowning)  Hmm.
Alindyar:  What benefits would I gain from this position?
Merkle:  (counting on his fingers)  Free membership in the Guild of
  Wizardry...access to the vast libraries of the College...use of the
  alchemy labs and their staff...a hefty stipend...the chance to see
  your work published in Greyhawk and abroad...
Peldor:  (to Tanya)  Sounds impressive.
Tanya:  It really does.
Merkle:  (rambling on)  -meetings and panels with mighty wizards both
  local and foreign...research monies, should you qualify...bestowal
  of a scholarship fund to-
Alindyar:  Enough.  I shall require time to ponder upon this matter.
Merkle:  Naturally.  Take all the time you need.
Alindyar:  And I shall need something in writing-
Merkle:  (hands the dark elf a scroll)
Alindyar:  And...err...very well.
Merkle:  Let us know, please.  (he turns and ambles away)
Peldor:  Whoa.  What a deal.  Do you think they extend such offers
  to many people?
Merkle:  (over his shoulder)  Nope.  (he leaves the inn)
Lyra:  What will you do?  The benefits sound excellent.
Alindyar:  Aye.  (he frowns)  I suppose I shall think about it for

next:   Ged...Arnold...Mongo...Gorin
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  I seem to have generated a lot of loose ends over the last
  two dozen episodes.  I'm trying to put out these fires faster
  than new ones appear.  Honest.

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