Chapter #355

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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:                                                       +
+                                                                   +
+  Peldor           19th level human thief                      (N) +
+    Bosco          11th level halfling thief                   (N) +
+    Tanya           5th/11th level female human fighter/thief  (N) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        1/19/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        late morning                                        +
+  Place:       the Green Dragon Inn, in Greyhawk                   +
+  Climate:     cold outside, warm inside                           +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "As you journey through life, take a minute every now and then   +
+   to give a thought to the other fellow...he could be plotting    +
+   something."                                                     +
+                    - from _Hagar the Horrible_, by Chris Browne   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                      CCCLV.  Apt Pupil





  Peldor walked into his inn, looking around before he took a seat
at the bar.  The crowd was light, as it always was before midday,
and only a few staff members were working at the moment.

Tanya:  (busy mixing a trio of drinks)
Peldor:  (uses his TK ring to slide a stirring straw down the laced
  back of her shirt)
Tanya:  Wha-  (she turns around)  Hey!
Peldor:  (looks around innocently)  It was probably Bosco...
Bosco:  (rounds a corner, surrounded by his quartet of scampering
  ferrets)  Fear not, damsel!  Bosco's ferrets shall save the day!
Tanya:  Oh, dear.
Groucho:  (leads the small animals as they converge on Tanya)
Tanya:  Uh...
Chico:  (leaping ahead of Groucho, he becomes the first ferret to
  climb up Tanya's leg)
Tanya:  Hey!
Groucho:  (races after his brother)
Zeppo:  (pushes Groucho aside as he scampers up Tanya's back)
Harpo:  (holds back, watching the others quietly)
Tanya:  Bosco!
Bosco:  (pretending not to hear her)
Tanya:  (to Peldor)  And you started it!
Peldor:  Who, me?  (he picks Zeppo up, eyeing the ferret)  How's
  it going?
Zeppo:  (paddles his little claws in the air, then sticks his
  tongue out)

  Just then, a teenaged girl entered the room, her long, dirty
blond hair falling down her back.  This was Felicia, the street
urchin whom Rillen and Bosco had rescued many months ago.  Since
that time, she had stayed in the Green Dragon, compliments of
Tanya.  Peldor smiled as he remembered a certain conversation
which preceded other events...

  Peldor:  Here?
  Tanya:  Yes, here.  Where else can she stay?
  Peldor:  Uh..beats me.  But we hardly know her.
  Tanya:  We know that she's got nowhere else.
  Peldor:  (frowning slightly)  Agreed.
  Tanya:  Someone's got to help her - it might as well be us.
    And she's got potential.
  Peldor:  (remembering Bosco's account of the waif's pickpocket-
    ing)  Hmm.
  Tanya:  And besides, I like her.  She's tough, and smart, and
    spunky.
  Peldor:  Next you'll probably say she reminds you of you.
  Tanya:  Heh.

  Tanya had convinced him to shelter, feed, and help train the
girl.  To be honest, Tanya had a way of convincing Peldor of all
sorts of things.  Anyway, Felicia had started off as hired help
at the inn - she swept and mopped the floors, cleaned windows,
and generally made herself useful; they paid her a small salary
in return.  After a few weeks of this kind of work, Tanya decided
that Felicia had learned enough about hard work, so she offered
the young girl a chance to learn something just as important:
responsibility.  Felicia was assigned to help Leonardo keep track
of stock in the kitchen and storeroom.  It was actually a good
job for her, for she displayed a keen intelligence and attention
to detail.  She was also good with numbers, and didn't lose track
of them like many people.
  As well, Felicia proved herself, convincing Peldor and Tanya
that she wasn't about to steal from them or just disappear.  The
young girl recognized the value of a steady job and a dry, warm
bed, and showed nothing but gratitude for the kindness of her
hosts.  Better yet, she had come to respect them like parents;
this was obvious by her words and mannerisms.  It seemed that,
for the first time in many long years, Felicia was happy.
  After another month, Tanya and Peldor decided that the time
had come for training of another sort.  Felicia's natural speed
and skill were good, but she lacked finesse and experience.
Since Peldor didn't want to expose her to the thieves' guild -
not yet, anyway - he arranged for less obvious training methods,
wherever and whenever possible.  He gave her a rubber ball to
toss against her bedroom wall, and then catch one-handed - a
reflex drill.  He showed her the basic concepts behind locks
and their picking, then gave her locks to master on her own,
one at a time.  He taught her a plethora of knots and rope tricks
that would come in handy.  Tanya took her to the hills south of
the city, to show her how to climb; it wouldn't do to practice
on the walls of the city.  Peldor even had Bosco teach the girl
how to juggle.
  Felicia was an apt pupil, and learned her lessons quickly and
well.  If she had a weakness, it was her age - at sixteen, she
didn't have the maturity and control to keep herself out of
trouble.  There was no way she'd be able to blend completely
into a crowd of, say, aristocrats.  Still, she had proven herself
diligent and trustworthy, and nobody regretted bringing her in
from the streets.

  Peldor's daydreaming was ended by a loud crash, as one of the
ferrets - was it Harpo? - knocked a mug off the bar.

Harpo:  (looks guiltily over the edge)
Zeppo:  (joins his brother, squeaking as if to admonish him)
Chico:  (leaps from Tanya's back to the bar, and collides with
  Harpo, almost knocking him off)
Harpo:  (scampers and squeals as he barely avoids the fall)
Groucho:  (returns to Bosco, climbing atop his head as he looks
  at his three brothers lined up on the bar)
Bosco:  (sighs)
Tanya:  Bad, Bosco.  Bad!
Bosco:  It's not me, honest!  They have minds of their own!
Peldor:  Is this a good thing?
Felicia:  (amused by the ferrets, she walks over to the bar
  and puts her arm out)
Bosco:  It's no use - they aren't friendly to strangers-
Chico:  (knocks Harpo out of the way as he walks onto Felicia's
  arm)
Harpo:  (pursues Chico)
Zeppo:  (looks around, then eats a crumb that he just found)
Bosco:  Hmm.
Tanya:  (to Felicia)  How are you doing?
Felicia:  (having taken a broom and pan, she is cleaning up the
  broken glass)  Pretty good.  Got any new locks for me?
Peldor:  (looks around, worried that someone might hear the girl)
  Err...not right now.
Tanya:  Don't worry, we'll find some.  Did you already finish
  the stock count for the week?
Felicia:  Yup.  And made sure that the wine cellar was fully-
  loaded for that big party we're hosting...and cleaned up the
  basement...and reorganized the spice rack.  (she frowns with
  amusement)  Don't think Leo will be too happy about that, but
  hey, it was a mess!
Peldor:  (impressed, he exchanges glances with Tanya)
Tanya:  Sounds good.
Bosco:  (produces several colored rubber balls and begins to
  juggle them)  Sounds good, good, good to me!
Peldor:  What's gotten into him?
Tanya:  Who knows?
Felicia:  (wanders over and plucks some of the bright spheres
  from the halfling's juggling pattern)
Bosco:  Hey!
Felicia:  (walking around juggling now)  Don't worry, Bosco.  I'll
  do you proud.

  The girl didn't see the ferrets who were now stalking her, until
Chico leapt from the bar and landed on her shoulder as she passed
by.  Apparently, the ferret had a vested interest in the red ball;
he swatted at it as it passed, and it fell, like all the others,
from Felicia's hands.

Felicia:  Ack!
Chico:  (hops onto a chair, then the floor, and chases after the
  ball as it rolls away)
Groucho:  (seemingly jealous, he chases Chico)
Zeppo:  (near Tanya, he ignores this latest mayhem as he tries to
  get his tongue inside an open wine bottle)
Tanya:  Whoa, there.  (she snatches the bottle away)  We've got
  to feed this to the customers, you know.
Zeppo:  (stands up on his hind legs and waves his paws at her)
Bosco:  Zeppo!
Zeppo:  (slinks away from Tanya)
Tanya:  Heh.
Bosco:  (wanders away, followed by all four ferrets, each of whom
  is busy attempting some new trick)  Come on, guys.  We'll go
  somewhere where things are a little more lively...
Peldor:  (sighs loudly)  Just another day in the Green Dragon Inn.
Tanya:  Never a dull moment, eh?  (she pours some brandy for the
  two of them)





next:      Mongo finds something to do
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:     At long last, I did a bit of research on the four Marx
  brothers who had ferrets named after them.  I hope the actions
  of each animal correspond well to the behavior of the appropriate
  brother.
    Fanmail from episode #345 or so:



Go Thomas Go !!!!  (chant the young nubile cheerleaders)

:)

Tab





Geez....

    You must really be a on a tear.  But... I won't complain.  Keep
'em coming.

    Love the bit about the Eye being from a Balor.   That was
unexpected, I figured it would be the sword that did Belphanior in.

---
Wayne





oh the plot she thickens!  What plans does Orcus have for Belphanior?
Hey could now be the chance to see Alindyar whup Orcus real good?
Not that I condone violence, but I think a battle between Alindyar
and Orcus  would be intense, like a clash of the titans so to speak :)

when Belph is rescued from the eye, I wonder if Ged'll regenerate his
eye... more likely than Ged doing it for Peldor at any rate ;)

Gabriel





Thomas,

Although I do not usually send you fan mail (I really appreciate your
stories however), I felt compelled to do so after reading the first
part of the latest Belphanior storyline (I have read up to story 345)

As a long time fan of Belphanior, I can honestly tell you that this is
the best step you could have taken to try and resolve the conflicting
personalities within his nature. I have wondered for a while when this
was  going to happen and it really came as a shock when it did. I do
remember that  picture in the DMG of "Emrikol the Chaotic" and the
reference to it was very apt :-). It was also nice to tie in Orcus
again with this thread as I know you want to try and tie up loose
ends :-).

When Otto was fighting Belphanior, I was reminded a bit of the scene
in "Return of the Jedi" when Luke and Darth go toe-to-toe with the
Emperor watching and providing running commentary. Although the Eye
hasn't quite got complete control of Belph, I'm sure it will if left
to it's own devices. It will be interesting to see whether Otto and
Charlie can stop it though, and even if they do, I think Belph
should still suffer some lasting effects from the Eye. Personally,
I wouldn't mind at all if Belphanior becomes a full-blown evil chap
after this latest series of events, but I would prefer him to be an
evil outcast rather than a slave of Orcus (you know how he *hates*
slavery). At least make him go a bit insane :-).

Oh well, I guess I'll have to wait and see, but congrats on an
excellent storyline so far!

Jeff





My first impressions of 342-344: holy shit, it finally happened! I
particularly like the way in which you've interwoven the recent
Orcus story-line into the resolution of an issue that readers have
had with Belphanior for quite sometime. Well done indeed.

Even after this gets resolved, there will still be _major_ issues
left to deal with (assuming Belphanior survives). Not the least of
these issues is will Belphanior be able to resume his position as
mayor of Hellgate?  Obviously he could maintain it by force alone,
but before he had the support of most of the citizens, which made
it somewhat easier and more pleasant. I suspect it will take a long
time for him to win back any sort of trust or respect from the
townspeople now.

If you're ever going to kill off a character, you realize that
now's the best chance you'll have until the Greyhawk wars in coming
years.  I personally don't want to lose Belphanior, but it wouldn't
surprise me if we did.

Here's an old Belphanior issue I've been wondering about. Where the
hell is the whispy thing? It vanished back when Belphanior entered
the anti-magic sphere... hey, wait a minute: the anti-magic device
is still lying about, buried somewhere outside of Greyhawk!  Perhaps
this can be used to break the eye's hold over Belphanior... he may
have confided in it's location to Peldor, or at least it's general
where abouts, and the drow could probably locate it if the put forth
the time and effort.  Anyway, is the whispy thing gone for good?

The Otto/Razor Charlie alliance seems strange, but somehow
appropriate.  Of course, Razor Charlie is probably just in it for
the money... or is he? Now that Belphanior has gone wacko and has
run off, what's to keep Charlie hanging around? Maybe he has a
morbid curiosity, or maybe he has some amount of ethics and is
working off his first month's pay.

Episode 346 was a nice introspective piece! In a way, all of the
main adventurer's except Mongo have settled down now. True, Arnold
and Gorrin haven't yet, but as Peldor points out, Arnold is
obviously comfortable where he is, and could easily start a family,
and as was hinted in the past, Gorrin would be content to settle
down in a quiet mountain village somewhere to rasie a family. But
what about Mongo? All of his old friends have settled down, but
he's _not_ ready! I suspect that just aimlessly wandering about
adventuring will no longer cut it for him either, not after seeing
Thunderdelve, and the way his friends have set up places for them-
selves in the world. It's got to be nearly time for Mongo to start
working on his own kingdom. Will he carve a new realm beneath some
relatively underpopulated mountain rage, or will he go out in search
of some long lost dwarven realm, much like Yod Ironbeard?





I really liked this episode.  The reflections from the Peldor point-
of-view are always interesting.  It seems like Peldor does more
reflective thinking than anybody.

Rance





As the Belph's search comes closer, how bout giving some extra notes
about the history of Eye of Elik. It could give valuable information
for the party...

BTW, Razor Charlie is quite funny...keep him around ;)

    - VP



  quite interesting storyline about belphanior. i'm waiting Orcus
ass get kicked soon, grin :) i think some major adventure with all
Adventurers will be real nice - life/love stories is good, but some-
time they get a little boring..
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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