Chapter #351

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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.ns.gatech.edu   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  THE PARTY:                                                       +
+                                                                   +
+  Alindyar         16th level dark elven wizard                (N) +
+  Belphanior      (14th)^3 level elven fighter/wizard/thief   (CN) +
+    Otto            7th/8th level dwarven fighter/thief       (CN) +
+    Razor Charlie   8th level human fighter                   (CN) +
+  Arnold           12th level human barbarian                 (NG) +
+  Ged              14th/14th level grey elven priest/wizard   (NG) +
+  Lyra             13th level female dark elven wizard         (N) +
+  Mongo            17th level dwarven fighter                 (CG) +
+    Gorin           9th level dwarven fighter                 (NG) +
+  Peldor           19th level human thief                      (N) +
+    Bosco          11th level halfling thief                   (N) +
+    Tanya           5th/11th level female human fighter/thief  (N) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        1/14/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        lunchtime                                           +
+  Place:       the Green Dragon Inn, in Greyhawk                   +
+  Climate:     cold outside, warm inside                           +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "The future isn't what it used to be."                           +
+                              - Louis Cypher, from _Angel Heart_   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                 CCCLI.  A Return To Normalcy





  After finding Belphanior, defeating him, defeating a horde of
demons, and dealing with the evil eye of Elik once and for all,
the adventurers have finally returned to Greyhawk.  For days,
most of them have been resting and recuperating.

Bosco:  (trots down the stairs, yawning)
Tanya:  Well, good morning, Bosco!
Bosco:  You wouldn't _believe_ the dream I had...
Lyra:  (already seated at a table)  Actually, we might.  I'm at
  work on a spell that recalls the entirety of one's dreams...
Bosco:  You mean you could know what other people had dreamt?
Lyra:  Exactly.  Novel idea, wouldn't you say?
Bosco:  (slaps his forehead)  Eyah.

  Arnold, Gorin, Peldor, Belphanior, and Razor Charlie were in
beds elsewhere in the inn, still recovering from their wounds.
Mongo had already healed his cuts and scrapes, thanks to his
magical ring.  Otto must have had a similar item at his disposal,
for despite suffering horrible wounds in the battle, the dwarf
was up and about, and had been for days.  Ged had required more
drastic intervention to recover his mind, and was currently
resting in the temple of Boccob, where high priests tended to
him.
  This left Tanya, Lyra, Bosco, and sometimes Mongo and Otto to
reconstruct the battle, and its possible repercussions.  From
time to time, Alindyar appeared, though he was still weakened
from his own spellcasting efforts.  The topic of conversation
was, as usual these past few days, Belphanior.

Bosco:  What about him?
Tanya:  He still scares me.
Lyra:  Justifiably so.
Bosco:  Huh?  Why?  That eye-thing's gone now...
Tanya:  The _eye_ is gone, but he's still the same way he used
  to be.  I've seen that glint in his eye - his remaining eye -
  and I know what it means.  Once a killer, always a killer.
Otto:  (strolls in)  Aren't we all killers, when it comes down
  to it?
Tanya:  That's not what I meant.
Otto:  But it's what _I_ meant.  (he takes a seat at the table
  and pours himself a glass of ale)  You know damn well that if
  it came down to it, you'd kill too.  (smiling)  I'll bet you
  already have, sometime in your life...
Tanya:  It's not the same thing, and you know it!
Otto:  Why not?
Lyra:  (interrupts the flustered Tanya)  How's Belphanior?
Otto:  Doing well.  The blood loss stopped the minute he cut
  down the eye, and with some cleaning, the wound didn't even
  look that messy.
Tanya:  (flashes a grateful look to Lyra)
Bosco:  All Belphanior needs now is an eyepatch.
Otto:  Yep.  (he holds up a black piece of cloth)  I was finally
  able to find him one.
Lyra:  Hmm.
Mongo:  (walks into the inn)  Hi, Vinnie.
Vinnie:  How's it goin'?
Mongo:  Not bad.  (he spots the other adventurers and heads in
  their direction)
Bosco:  Mongo incoming.
Otto:  (nods toward the other dwarf)
Mongo:  Morning!  How's Belphanior?
Bosco:  (snatches the eyepatch from Otto's hand and holds it up)
  See, he's got an eyepatch now!
Otto:  (stares at his hand, then at Bosco, then at his hand)  Huh.
  (muttering to himself)  Didn't know the shrimp was that fast...
Mongo:  That's a real nice eyepatch, Bosco.  You could even use it
  as a loincloth if you had to.
Lyra:  (holds back a giggle)
Otto:  Give me that.  (he reclaims the eyepatch from the halfling)
Mongo:  (to Lyra)  How's Alindyar?
Lyra:  Doing well...he's seemed obsessed since the fight with the
  demons, though.  I think he's afraid we haven't heard the last
  of Or-
Tanya:  (claps a hand over the other woman's mouth)  Shh, don't say
  that name!
Bosco:  Why not?  What's wrong with saying "Or-
Otto:  (claps a hand over the halfling's mouth)  Stop.
Mongo:  Hmm.
Tanya:  (removes her hand from Lyra's mouth)
Lyra:  Sorry.  I'm not used to fearing beings merely because
  uttering their name can attract their attention.  Anyhow, it's
  a safe bet that Alindyar is checking to see what, if any,
  danger there may still be from you-know-who.
Otto:  Heck, if I was him, I'd be pissed.  He lost the eye, plus
  a host of forces.
Bosco:  (free once more, he leaps atop a table)  Yeah!  Bosco and
  the Bosconians conquered all the fiends thrown their way!  (he
  raises his glass in triumph)
Tanya:  Bosconian?
Bosco:  Uh, never mind.
Otto:  Hey, demons are a dime a dozen in the Abyss.  All the ones
  we slew?  Nothing, to a demon lord.  There're thousands more back
  where those came from.  Millions.
Lyra:  Truly.  They are born and fight and die, in cycles, a part
  of some great war.
Otto:  (nodding)
Mongo:  You two sure seem to know a lot about demons.
Lyra:  (shrugs)  Doesn't everybody?
Otto:  Doubtful.  (he pockets Belphanior's eyepatch)  It pays to
  keep informed.
Bosco:  Informed?  Informed about what?  Why wasn't _I_ informed?
Mongo:  (to Tanya)  How's Peldor recovering?
Tanya:  He's doing well...sore as hell, but he's recovering from
  the battle.
Mongo:  (remembering some of the wounds the thief suffered, in
  previous days)  ...glad to hear it.
Tanya:  We may even see him today.
Bosco:  Good.  I need my month's pay.
Mongo:  You do?  What's the matter, did you lose the rest at the
  gambling tables?
Bosco:  Err, not exactly.  (he quickly changes the subject)  Hey,
  where's Gorin?
Mongo:  Resting...just like everyone else.
Otto:  If you think about it, we're damn lucky nobody died.
Tanya:  For once, I agree completely with you.  In a battle like
  that, it's a wonder someone wasn't killed.
Bosco:  (shrugs)  The answer's simple:  we're all immortal!  (he
  hops down from his table/perch)
Lyra:  Don't talk like that, Bosco.  It's bad luck...
Bosco:  No such thing.
Tanya:  (somewhat upset)  Now we have to look over our shoulders
  for revenge-driven fiends from the Abyss...great.  Just great.
Lyra:  (frowning)
Mongo:  (taps the handle of his hammer)  Face it, guys and girls.
  We haven't seen the last of the demons.
Otto:  You're right.
Bosco:  (changing the subject again)  Hey, I was just thinking:
  can't Ged use his magic to grow Belphanior's eye back?
Tanya:  The EVIL eye?!?
Bosco:  No, no, no.  The normal nice eye.
Otto:  Oh, you mean the one he gouged out, many years ago.
Bosco:  Ulp...I guess so.
Lyra:  The question still stands, though.  Can Ged do it?
Mongo:  And if so, would he?  (he remembers the Gorin dilemma)
Tanya:  Only time will tell...





next:      Belphanior speaks with his friends
ftp:       ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
www:       http://www3.hmc.edu/~kshobaki/adventurers
homepage:  http://www.gatech.edu/oit/oe/design/thomas/adv.html
mail:      tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu   (preferred)
           thomas.miller@oit.gatech.edu     (emergency)
notes:  Recently, someone pointed out to me that several characters'
  alignments have shifted (in some cases, back and forth) over the
  years and episodes.  You should know by now that I hate the whole
  concept of alignment.  Nevertheless, the alignments listed at the
  top of this episode are "correct" for this point in time, and can
  be taken as canon.

    A brief snippet of fan mail (I lost a chunk of it, mostly stuff
  about episodes 341 and 342) regarding episode 342:



You da man! Keep writing up a storm, its great to read these every
day! :-)

-Josh



I wondered how long it would be before Otto would pull in someone
that Belphanior did not really approve of.  The one drawback,
naturally, to mercenaries, is that you never know where their true
loyalties lie.

I thought the dynamics with Herbert were interesting as well.
Here's a guy who has been (as far as we have seen), capable, loyal,
and thourough in his work for Belphanior and Otto, who, in turn,
pull in two uglies to bolster the town's forces.  Yeah, I can
imagine there would be a few hurt fellings, not to mention the fact
that Herbert now has to deal with two more wild-cards when keeping
order in Helgate.

One final thought on 342:  Belphanior seems pretty 'smitten' with
Victoria.  Looks like he is gonna catch hell in a baaad way here
pretty quick....  :)

Tom



pretty cool introduction of new characters, Razor Charlie and
Kyros.  they're totally in it for the money, which means their
trustworthiness is questionable.  Razor Charlie for instance ran
out on the battle with Bel.  Part of the reason why he's alive
might be that he runs so often :)  probably not but it IS possible..
Kyros is a colorful character..  as a tattoo afficianado I wanted
to hear more about what kind of tattoos Razor Charlie had, to find
out a little more about him, (i.e. japanese sleeves suggest he has
some contact with east asianish culture) but it's probably just me
:)  Victoria seems very mysterious, I wonder where Otto knows her
from..

About the red armbanded bandits.. for a group of such size (30+
total) they weren't very smart.. coming in straightforward groups
in bitable chunks.  after losing half of his men, would the bandit
leader have made such an attack on Belph?  maybe the bandit "king"
isn't dead after all...

Gabriel

TM>  The red-armband guys were intended to be dumb goons...cannon
TM>  fodder.  They were more of a joke/tribute to "Tombstone"
TM>  than anything else.  In any case, they're dead, and so is
TM>  their leader, who was so minor that he remained faceless...



  While I'm on the concept of bandits/goons, here's some mail
that I couldn't resist printing.  It's regarding Rillen's fight
with bandits in episode 338:



Sigh. Yet ANOTHER encounter with a bunch of mindless bandits
with no more tactics than animated skeletons or zombies:

Bandits: Oh dear, it seems our opponent has just creamed half our
best fighters without getting a scratch or even breaking
into a sweat. What is our best tactic for facing these
overwhelming odds?

Bandits: CHARGE!

Bandits: (get splattered to a pulp)



> notes: Somehow I get the idea that I'm beginning to deal with
> more mature, adult, challenging concepts in these stories.

Hmmm... I think not!

       Martin.



One:   Bandits are stupid people.  Often cowardly, yes, but at
       heart, most of them are far less intelligent than you
       or I.
Two:   Rillen had a longbow.  Who's to say that even if they
       ran, he wouldn't kill them as they fled?
Three: Rillen didn't get away without a scratch, he just didn't
       get killed.  His robe not only protected him from the
       weapon-blows, it also concealed his true nature from his
       attackers, until it was too late.  They thought they had
       come upon a lone, defenseless traveler.
Four:  Mature, adult, challenging concepts can often be found
       in places other than battlefields.
Five:  Your point is a good one, and I know that many readers
       groan at the stupid bandit cliche.  Regardless, as long
       as there are stupid bandits in the world, they'll
       continue to be cut down by competent adventurers.  I'll
       make an effort to avoid showing as much of this, though.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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