Chapter #345

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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 current splinter of it, anyway):                 +
+                                                                   +
+  Otto            7th/8th level dwarven fighter/thief         (CN) +
+  Razor Charlie   8th level human fighter                     (CN) +
+  Date:        12/28/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                        +
+  Time:        daytime                                             +
+  Place:       the kingdom of Veluna                               +
+  Climate:     very cold                                           +
+  "I'm a soldier, not a monster...though I've worked for           +
+   monsters before."                                               +
+                             - from _Die Hard:  With a Vengeance_  +

                 CCCXLV.  The Road to Greyhawk

  Belphanior, having fallen under the control of the cursed Eye of
Elik, has slain several of Helgate's townspeople.  Shortly thereafter,
Otto and others barely managed to fight him to a standstill; through
patience and a measure of luck, Otto was able to temporarily damage
the eye and break its control of Belphanior.  Unfortunately, the elf
has teleported away before anyone could stop him, leaving Otto and
the mercenary known as Razor Charlie to seek him out.

Razor Charlie:  You're sure about this?
Otto:  Absolutely.  We've got to try.  (he spurs his horse on)  Hiya!

  The pair rode eastward, having departed Helgate more than a week ago.
Rather than try and negotiate the jagged peaks of the Yatil Mountains,
they had taken the southbound mountain pass, stopped in Molvar, capital
of Ket, and then turned eastward.  Crossing grasslands for nearly four
days, the duo had then used a pass to cross the southern tip of the
Yatils as it curved south and west like a scimitar.  After that, they
had entered the kingdom through which they presently rode:  Veluna.

Otto:  (watching caravans, farmers, and other generally peaceful things
  as they ride)  Quiet place.
Razor Charlie:  (frowns with disapproval)
Otto:  (has a sudden thought)  You're not wanted in any of these lands,
  are you?
Razor Charlie:  Nope.
Otto:  Neither am I.  At least, I think not...

  After two days in Veluna, they passed through its capital, Mitrik,
and re-stocked their supplies.  Otto was a cautious sort, and would
rather have excess food and drink than run out amidst some wilderness.
Besides, they only dallied for scant moments in the cities, such was
Otto's eagerness to get to Greyhawk.  The dwarf's horse had been shod
with magical horseshoes already, and since Belphanior hadn't bothered
to take a horse when he left, it was a simple matter for Jamaine the
cobbler to remove Belphanior's horse's magical horseshoes and install
them on another horse, that Razor Charlie might enjoy their benefits.
While the shoes didn't enable the mounts to gallop any faster (indeed,
their primary power was to enable the steeds to run without touching
the terrain below) they did bestow a measure of additional stamina.
Thus, the animals were able to go on for several more hours each day
than otherwise possible.
  More than four days after leaving Mitrik, they reached the mighty
Velverdyva River, in eastern Veluna.  The barge-drivers who usually
ferried traffic across the wide river could only gape in surprise as
the two warriors spurred their horses onto - over - the river's
churning waters.  Otto grinned and snapped a mock salute as he and
Razor Charlie passed.
  After two more days of grasslands, they reached the Att River, a
smaller but still formidable channel.  Again, crossing was no problem
for their horses, and they entered the great kingdom of Furyondy.

Otto:  ...the center of the civilized world, some say...
Razor Charlie:  And Greyhawk?
Otto:  Hmm, good point.  Opinions do vary.  Whatever the case, one
  thing's for sure:  Furyondy's got a bigger and better army.
Razor Charlie:  True.
Otto:  Then again, it also has Iuz to worry about.
Razor Charlie:  Also true.
Otto:  (regards the other as they ride)  Even among friends and
  allies, you don't talk much, do you?
Razor Charlie:  (grimaces)  Nope.
Otto:  Hmm.

  Onward they went, making their way through Furyondy.  It was an
unusual change of scenery (and action) for both travelers, for the
great kingdom was a lawful and peaceful one.  The sort of things
that usually tended to happen to people like Otto and Razor Charlie
(and Belphanior) simply didn't occur in places such as Furyondy.

Otto:  Hmm...Belphanior.
Razor Charlie:  Wonder where he went?  (he envisions the carnage that
  the elf will probably cause, wherever he goes, and smiles a crooked
Otto:  Like he said, probably either the Sea Princes or Greyhawk.
Razor Charlie:  What if he just stayed in the castle?
Otto:  Don't worry, that was the first place I looked.  No dice.
Razor Charlie:  Greyhawk...never been there.
Otto:  Greyhawk...hmm...(he has a sudden idea)  Hey-

  Just then, they were hailed by a group of passing guardsmen, a dozen
in number.

captain of guardsmen:  Halt!  You, there!  Halt!  (he rides forth, his
  men behind him)
Razor Charlie:  (sneers with contempt)
Otto:  (to the captain)  Pardon?
captain:  I do say, you fellows look suspicious.  Who are you, and
  what is your business in Furyondy?
Otto:  We're headed to Greyhawk - got old friends there.
captain:  You didn't answer my first question.
Razor Charlie:  (to Otto)  Heh.
Otto:  (to the captain)  You're right, we didn't.
captain:  Now what's the-
Otto:  (explodes into anger)  Listen up, pal!  We've got pressing -
  no, _dire_ business in Greyhawk.  Life-and-death kind of business.
  Every moment we waste here with you and your questions is another
  moment we're not in Greyhawk.
captain:  (taken aback)
Otto:  If you want to arrest us for something, do it.  But I guarantee
  you that after my people in Greyhawk talk to your people here, your
  career will be over.  You'll be patrolling the northern border and
  watching out for Iuz' slime-drooling demons.  Am I making myself
captain:  (ponders this)'re still suspicious...
Otto:  Of course I am, it comes with my job.  But I haven't done any-
  thing, so I'm also not at fault for anything.  Now what's it gonna
  be?  Time's a-wasting.
captain:  (exasperated, yet intimidated by the dwarf's fierce resolve)
  Okay, okay.  You're free to go.  But don't cause any trouble.
Otto:  (riding away, muttering)  If I wanted to cause trouble, asshole,
  you wouldn't be able to stop me...

  Shortly, the guards were behind them, and they continued eastward.

Razor Charlie:  Good show back there.  Who d'you know in Greyhawk?
Otto:  No one, not real well anyway.
Razor Charlie:  You were bluffing.
Otto:  Naturally.  Half the time, it's what people _think_, not what
  they _know_, that gives you a hold on them.
Razor Charlie:  (nods and frowns simultaneously, an odd gesture)
Otto:  (musing aloud)  Though I'd venture to guess that some of the
  gang in Greyhawk could get that guard-captain in deep shit if they
Razor Charlie:  Gang?
Otto:  Well, so to speak.
Razor Charlie:  (looking back to see if the guards are trailing them)
  All clear to the west.
Otto:  I guess we're not immune to trouble _anywhere_.  In the "evil"
  lands, evil people start shit.  In the "good" lands, good people
  start shit.
Razor Charlie:  What's your point?
Otto:  (frowning now)  ...there's not really much difference between
  so-called "good" and "evil"...
Razor Charlie:  Oh.

  After six days in Furyondy, they crossed the channel by which the
great Nyr Dyv lake met the Att River, and reached Dyvers that evening.
Resting and re-stocking again, they finally decided to stay overnight
in warm beds.  The winter weather made nights in the wilderness cold
indeed, and even the toughest warriors grew tired of it after a week
or so.  The next morning, they arose at dawn and departed, riding to
the east and Greyhawk.  Two days later, the Free City's loomed on the
horizon, perched atop a massive hill.  It was surrounded by a high,
thick wall, which was in turn surrounded by houses, huts, smaller
walls, and all those things which made up the suburbs of Greyhawk.

Otto:  (points)  That's the Marsh Gate, which opens into the River
  Quarter.  We'll enter there.

  They spurred their horses on, riding across the gentle prairie that
surrounded Greyhawk.

next:   the rest of the party is finally made current, to the time
        and date that Belphanior and Otto are at, as the dwarf
        arrives in Greyhawk to enlist their help
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
mail:  (preferred)    (emergency)
notes:  A word about rates and pacing:  it took me 4 years to write
  300 episodes, an average of 75/year over 4 years.  Finishing 400
  in 5 years won't be a problem - I'd have to maintain a pace of
  25 stories per 3 months, i.e. publish episode 350 by May 4, 1996
  (the six-month mark, since episode 300 came out on November 4,
    Looks like I'm ahead of schedule - episode 350 will easily be
  out by April 1996.  What I've begun wondering now is this:  can
  I finish _500_ by November 4, 1996?  Having written 50 episodes
  in 5 months, can I write 150 more in 7 months?  I'd have to do
  one per day, almost, though I could break on weekends (5/7 * 210
  days = 150 episodes)
    Tough goal, yet food for thought...

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