Chapter #352

previous chapter (#351)                                                                  next chapter (#353)




                                  +
                                +   +
                              +       +
                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      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:        1/15/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        late morning                                        +
+  Place:       the Green Dragon Inn, in Greyhawk                   +
+  Climate:     cold outside, warm inside                           +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "If my answers frighten you, Vincent, maybe you should cease     +
+   asking scary questions."                                        +
+                                     - Jules, from _Pulp Fiction_  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                CCCLII.  Breakfast of Champions





  As Belphanior descended the stairs, slowly and painfully, he
found most of his friends waiting for him in the inn's main room.

Bosco:  Hey, look, everybody!  It's aliiiive!
Belphanior:  (dressed in high boots, red breeches and a loose shirt
  of black silk, not to mention a tight black headband/eyepatch)
  Ha, ha.
Bosco:  You don't think I'm funny, do you?
Belphanior:  You're a riot, Bosco.  As you can see, I'm laughing my
  fucking ass off.
Bosco:  (looking for somewhere else to be)
Mongo:  How's it going?  Do your wounds still hurt?
Belphanior:  Which one?
Peldor:  (resting in a plush chair)  Good to see you again.
Belphanior:  Likewise...despite what my mood might indicate.  (he
  surveys the group)  Is everyone okay?
Otto:  (takes a swallow or three from a mug of ale)  Yup.  Even the
  golden-haired elf.
Ged:  I'll thank you not to call me that.
Otto:  You should thank me for a lot more.
Gorin:  I was laid up for awhile, like you - hell, a lot of us were.
Arnold:  (nods, flexing one huge bicep to show the fresh scar there)
  Even Ah-nold can be hurdt by the dembons.
Razor Charlie:  (twirling a knife between his fingers, he sneers)
Belphanior:  (walks to Otto and Razor Charlie's table and takes a seat)
  I'm hungry...(he eyes the assorted food, mostly breakfast fare, and
  begins shoveling it onto a plate)
Lyra:  I'd say we came out more than okay, given the force which was
  arrayed against us.
Mongo:  But which we beat handily.
Alindyar:  Aye.  (he makes arcane motions in the air with his fingers,
  causing a shimmering cloud to float about)  I have been...delving
  into the mysteries of the demonkind.
Belphanior:  Oh?  (he swallows his mouthful of food)  We should get
  together and talk sometime.
Alindyar:  (nodding)  I seek a way - as, I think, do you - to ensure
  that the fiends will stay out of our future affairs.
Peldor:  A welcome idea.  (he sips some cider)  Any luck?
Alindyar:  (frowning)  Not as yet.  I was hoping for some...insight
  into the matter.  (he stares at Belphanior expectantly)
Belphanior:  Okay, we'll get to it after I eat.
Alindyar:  (smiles)  Of course.
Tanya:  There _is_ another question...
Belphanior:  For me?  Okay, shoot.
Tanya:  That eye...is it gone?  I mean really gone?
Peldor:  (surprised that Tanya has taken this step to confront the
  temperamental elf)
Belphanior:  Yeah.  (he swallows another forkful of food)  When I
  hit it with Blackrazor, its very essence was consumed.
Bosco:  (listens with fascination)  Really?
Belphanior:  (eyes the halfling, with his one good eye anyway)  Trust
  me on this.  Blackrazor knows when it has devoured a soul.
Ged:  And what about Blackrazor?
Belphanior:  What about it?  (he pats his swordbelt, where the dark
  sword's handle protrudes from its sheath)
Ged:  You're still going to keep it?
Belphanior:  Of course.  (he takes another huge bite, chews, swallows,
  and finally talks again)  Why wouldn't I?
Ged:  Err...I guess I just assumed...
Belphanior:  (stabbing his fork in the air)  You know what they say
  about assuming.
Tanya:  (stands, furious)  Dammit!  What the hell's WRONG with you?!?
Peldor:  (moves to comfort his lover)
Tanya:  (ignores Peldor, moving angrily away from him, toward
  Belphanior)  We just spent the better part of a week recovering
  from a battle fought on YOUR behalf!  We risked death or worse and
  found you, and fought you, and then fought all those demons!  All
  because SOME of us thought you were a friend, someone worth the
  trouble!
Belphanior:  (frozen in mid-bite)
everyone else:  (all of them are pretty much stunned)
Tanya:  (shaking one fist in the elf's direction)  And after ALL that
  chaos and battle and danger, all you can do is sit here and insult
  us?!?  (she whirls and strikes out, smashing the plate on the table
  in front of her and shattering it)
Otto:  (does a double-take)
Tanya:  (shakes her fist again; this time it drips blood from several
  deep cuts)  I ask you again, Belphanior:  what the hell's wrong with
  you?!?
Peldor:  (arrives at Tanya's side, and this time, he is not ignored)
  C'mon, sit down.
Bosco:  (thinking quickly, he grabs a thick napkin and hands it to
  Peldor)
Peldor:  (takes the piece of cloth and puts Tanya's hand on it while
  he pulls out shards of glass)
Belphanior:  (still stunned by the outburst)
Alindyar:  Ahem.  (he stands up slowly, eyeing Belphanior carefully)
  The question still stands.
Belphanior:  (puts his fork down and sighs)  Look...a few weeks ago
  I'd have flown into a red rage at this, and slain everybody.
Mongo:  (frowns)
Belphanior:  But due to recent events, I've managed to...dull the
  edge of my temper.  Things have been rough, you know, and I've
  done some bad things.  Evil things, if you prefer.  But the eye
  was pulling me in a certain direction - has been for awhile now.
  I just hadn't seen it until recently.  And on top of all that,
  there have been times when random people have shown up to try and
  kill me.  Or all of us, if you remember the abductions.
Lyra:  (grimaces, seeing more in the elf's words than most of the
  others)
Belphanior:  ...and it's been a rough time.  For me, for my friends-
  (he casts a glance at Otto and Razor Charlie)  -and for all of you.
  I'm not ungrateful.  No...rest assured, if any of you needed my
  help, I'd be the first one at your side.  But right now, I've got
  a lot of thinking to do, and a lot of things to make amends for.
  I want nothing more than to return home and think things over...
  no enemies, no fights, just peace and quiet.
Ged:  (nodding)  You seem to have gained more from this experience
  than I'd have given you credit for.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Belphanior:  (unconsciously rubs his empty eye socket)  No one, and
  nothing, controls my fate but me.
Alindyar:  Then you should look to give up Blackrazor now.  It also
  possesses an intelligence which attempts to use you, does it not?
Belphanior:  (outraged)  What!?!  How dare...(he makes a visible
  effort to bring himself under control)  Sorry...I'm still feeling
  a lot of strain. I'll _think_ about Blackrazor, but it's better
  with me than with someone else.
Ged:  Hmm, I think Alindyar is right, though you have a point as
  well.  (he looks for a way to change the subject)  You know, it's
  possible that you could regrow that eye, with the proper magics
  and components...
Belphanior:  No, that's okay.  I...prefer it this way, for now at
  least.
Ged:  (shrugs, surprised but unwilling to push the matter)  Yea.
Belphanior:  (stands)  On second thought, I think I'd better leave
  now.
Arnold:  Naa, stay awhile.
Bosco:  Yeah!  We've got places to go...and gamble.
Mongo:  And carouse.
Belphanior:  (shaking his head)  No, no.  Like I said, I've got some
  business to take care of...elsewhere.
Otto:  (to Razor Charlie, in a low whisper)  I bet I know what her
  name is...
Razor Charlie:  Heh.
Belphanior:  I'll gather my things, and depart shortly.

  Except for Belphanior and his two companions, who would be of
course be accompanying him, everyone stood now, to bid farewell
to the elf.

Mongo:  (clasps hands with the elf)  Good speech...well-said.
Belphanior:  Thanks.  I meant it, too.
Gorin:  I hope things straighten out for you, man.
Belphanior:  Me, too.
Arnold:  The regaards of Ah-nold go with you.
Belphanior:  (returns the warrior's handshake)  Appreciate it.
Alindyar:  I suppose we shall conduct that research another time.
Belphanior:  Count on it.  When I get some ideas, you'll hear from
  me.
Lyra:  (surprises Alindyar by hugging Belphanior lightly)  Be good.
Belphanior:  Uhh...okay.
Ged:  (nods to Belphanior)  Good luck.
Belphanior:  Thanks.
Ged:  Remember to think about disposing of Blackrazor.
Belphanior:  I'll think about Blackrazor...but I make no promises.
Ged:  Better no one, than you.  But that can wait awhile.
Bosco:  (salutes Belphanior)  Bosco, freshly appointed as "Demon-
  Slayer", sends his regards with you.
Belphanior:  And we all thank him for it!
Peldor:  (clasps hands with the elf)  Take care of yourself, my
  friend.
Belphanior:  And you too.  Don't get married without inviting me...
Peldor:  (looks shocked)  How...?
Belphanior:  (winks at his fellow thief with his one eye)  Body
  language gives it all away.
Tanya:  (approaches)  Err...
Belphanior:  (grinning)  Don't worry.  I deserved it.
Tanya:  (smiles weakly)

  Belphanior headed upstairs; a short time later, he and his two
companions were gone, having teleported away.

Ged:  Wonder how he re-memorized that spell...
Lyra:  Or any others, for that matter.
Alindyar:  Perhaps the one known as Otto carried a spellbook or two
  in his pack.
Peldor:  (nods)  I bet that's it.
Gorin:  You think we'll see Belphanior again?
Arnold:  Yah, I do.
Bosco:  (nodding)  Agreed.
Tanya:  I just hope that next time, it's under better conditions...





next:      a real estate transaction
ftp:       ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
www:       http://www.access.digex.net/~dpm
           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:  Well, as I write this, St. Patrick's Day 1996 has come and
  gone.  I thought about this because I had lunch with Rick (aka
  Belphanior) this Saturday while my truck was getting its first
  scheduled maintenance.  Maybe I should have gone with them like
  in 1995, but then again, almost nothing could top that trip.
  It's funny - a year ago I was in recovery mode, and now I'd like
  nothing better than to go into the Navy and attempt SEAL training.
    How things change.

  More fanmail (I'm breaking it into smaller chunks these days) on
story343:





I'm looking forward to the rest of the Belphanior story.

  But.. gotta ask before I know the outcome..  Have you ever
considered actually killing off one of your main characters?  I
mean for real, dead, body and everything ?   I started thinking
about   this story line and where it was going and can't decide
if it makes   a better ending with Belphanior being killed by
his companions or   being redeemed......

---
Wayne

TM>  Oh, yeah, I've thought about it.  Nothing is sacred.





Yeah!

Belphanior has finally broken.  Though I understand that this was
inevitable, I'm also concerned about his fate.

I must say that Belph is hands down my favorite Adventurer, and
that I've really watching him bloom into a powerful and multi-
faceted character.  Overall, I think that he is your best-developed
character.

There is a tenuous balance between his love of power, and his
desire for personal freedom.  I think that the driving force in
Belphaniors existence is his desire to be free, and never to be
at the mercy of another.

I think that when he realizes where Blackrazor and The Eye of
Elik are taking him, and how he is not truly free when he uses
them - he will try to fight them.  And, if needs be, he will
tear the damned eye out.

Sure - with these items (and his other abilities and items) he is
approaching demi-god status, but I think that he would rather be
free of the influence that these things exert on him.

Hell, there's a great idea for a storyline.  Belphanior falls
under the power of the Eye and Blackrazor and proceeds to become
a serious threat to the welfare of Oerik (sp?).   Maybe he will
rally an army and begin killing everyone and everything that gets
in his way?  Anyway....he will attract the attention of powerful
forces of good, and they will come after him.  Some of the
Adventurers will come after him to stop him, whatever the cost
(Ged, et al?) .  Some of the Adventurers will come after him to
try and save him (imagine Peldor at the helm here)

Anyway, I see it as a battle for the soul of Belphanior.  If he
loses, then I see him dead.  If he wins, then I see the destruction
of the Eye and of Blackrazor.

Just my ideas - I'm worried about my old pal.

thanks,
-kal





Actually I thought Victoria would turn out to be Nerg! till she
started killing all the red armbands.

Victor





Good stuff. I think you can do great things with the "evil
Belphanior" line .. descent into darkness, a possible atonement/
comeback.

I would like to see Belphanior being taken over represented as
Belphanior's _own_ opinions changing, rather than some sort of
"I'm out of control" thing.

Adrian





> notes:  This begins the story you've all been asking for.

I think I shall at least register my claim to the negative. Though,
that  being said, if you can make a good story out of it more kudos
to you. :)

I've always felt that if some old fossil of a legend could control
an artifact, then the possibility exists that some hero can now.

There are always new legends being made.

(this rant is partly because my gaming circle had a rash of mind
control plots a while back, and it became so cliched that these
days I tend to avoid/ignore anyone who brings up the idea - unless
of course they do it "really well")

PS. If the Eye won't submit, I think Bel would power up the ol'
anti-magic sphere, cut out the eye and splat the malefic blob
while it's helpless.

Shane





Thanks! BTW - it's great to finally see the battle between
        Belphanior and the various artifacts of chaos and evil in
        his posession! I've been waiting on this one, and so far
        it looks great! Ok, so maybe Belphanior didn't have all
        that far to go to be turned to the dark side anyway, but
        if he succumbs there could be a major split in the party!
        Cool!

David
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





previous chapter (#351)                                                                  next chapter (#353)