Chapter #367

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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 (or a fraction of it, anyway):                         +
+                                                                   +
+  Arnold         12th level human barbarian                   (NG) +
+  Ged            14th/14th level grey elven priest/wizard     (NG) +
+  Mongo          17th level dwarven fighter                   (CG) +
+    Gorin         9th level dwarven fighter                   (NG) +
+                                                                   +
+                                                                   +
+  SPECIAL GUEST STARS:                                             +
+                                                                   +
+  Drexel         human paladin                                (LG) +
+  Eyer           wood elven fighter/acrobat                   (NG) +
+    Baltek       high elven archer                            (NG) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        2/2/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        late afternoon                                      +
+  Place:       the dungeons beneath Maure Castle                   +
+  Climate:     dry and musty                                       +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the      +
+   strong, but that's the way to bet."                             +
+                                                  - Damon Runyon   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                       CCCLXVII.  Pests





  After entering a circular chamber, the party has managed to cause
a fresco to come to life...

Eyer:  Well, I'll be damned...
Mongo:  The fucking painting came to life!
Drexel:  (reeling from the attack)  Argh!
fresco-fighter:  (attacking wildly and with great fury)
Arnold:  I'll sdop him!  (being nearest to the paladin and his foe,
  he strikes, bashing the fighter across his armored back)
fighter:  (staggers, wordlessly)
Gorin:  Let's get him!
Drexel:  But the foe is outnumbered-
Gorin:  (parries a sword-blow from the fighter, then takes a hit on
  his shoulder-armor)  Ungh!
Mongo:  Fuck it!  (hurling his hammer, he knocks the man into a wall)

  Fanned by the fighter whizzing by overhead, a second candle went
out - and a second fighter sprung from a second door-fresco!

Eyer:  Whoa.  (he moves to engage the foe)
Baltek:  (having already hit the first fighter with two arrows, he
  spins about, burying a third shaft in the second foe)  Got him!
Eyer:  (parries an attack, then strikes)
fighter#2:  (deflects the blow with his shield)
Arnold:  (moving in from the side, he assists the elf, swinging his
  gigantic sword in a deadly arc)
fighter#2:  (hit in the stomach, his midsection is crushed like
  driftwood)
Ged:  (in the right place at the right time, he moves the remaining
  two lit candles out of the way of the battle)

  Despite Drexel's protests about honor and a fair fight, the two
foes were quickly slain.  Down to their last blows, they had never
ceased to fight.

Eyer:  Killing machines.
Drexel:  (obviously disturbed)  Or unwitting pawns.
Ged:  This room's vacant.  We should move on before these other two
  candles go out, and we have to kill more "pawns"...
Mongo:  (cleaning his hammer)  Yeah.
Baltek:  Don't forget to close the doors behind us, when we leave
  here.

  The southern door led to a short, winding passage, then to a room.
Both were utterly devoid of anything notable, and the group checked
the eastern exit from the fresco room.  This door led to the larger
chamber already discovered, opening up a plethora of new places to
search...


            out
            | |     __._____._____._____._____._____.__
            | |    |                                   |
     / \    | |    |                                   |
     \./    | |    |                                   |____________
     | |    | |    |                                                |
     | |    | |    |                                                |
     / /    | |    |               _____                            |
   / /      | |    |             /       \                          |
 / /        | |    |           /    / \    \                        |
| |         | |    |           \    \ /    /                        |
| |_________| |____|             \ _____ /                          |
|  ____                                                             |
| |____|____   __________                                           |
|____  |    | |          |                                          |
|    { |    |.|          |                                          |
|____| |__ /   \ ________|                                          |
     |____{     {_______._____._____..__   __._____._____.__        |
      _    \_._/                        | |                 |       |
   __|.|____| |            N              |                         |
  |___________|          W + E
                           S
                                     ...   double entry doors
                                     . }   doors
                                      ..   double doors


  The wide-open area was huge, stretching hundreds of feet beyond
the adventurers' current position.  Numerous doors fringed its vast
expanse, and a yellowish pool could be seen at its center.  Within
the pool was a smaller, raised dais, several feet above the level of
the floor and pool.  Atop this cylinder rested a glowing silver cup.

Ged:  Boccob!
Eyer:  I've got to have a closer look at that chalice.  (he walks
  toward the pool)
Ged:  (follows closely)  Yea.
Mongo:  (to Gorin)  This guy's a regular Peldor.
Gorin:  Yeah...
Drexel:  Is anyone ever going to tell me what a "Peldor" is?!?

  The adventurers spread out as they crossed the wide area of this
room.  Reaching the pool, they saw that it was murky, and its waters
slightly astir.

Ged:  (flatly)  The pool isn't magical.
Eyer:  Yes...which means that _something's_ swimming around in it.
Drexel:  Forget that nonsense - look at that grail, err, I mean
  chalice.
Arnold:  It glows...green...
Gorin:  Huh?  It's clearly blue.
Mongo:  What the hell are you two talking about?!?  The thing's red,
  or I'm a halfling's uncle!
Baltek:  It's silver to me...
Ged:  (eyeing the pool, he turns to Mongo)  I reiterate:  it's a good
  thing Rob's not here.
Mongo:  Yeah.  He'd go swimming right about now.
Baltek:  So...the question is, how do we get that chalice?
Drexel:  I could wade through the pool...but even I think that a poor
  idea.
Eyer:  I could toss a hook, maybe, and climb up there.  (to Ged)  But
  I'm sure your magic offers a better way.
Ged:  I'm sure you're right.  (grasping Lightbringer, he speaks)  Let
  us fly, Lightbringer!
Lightbringer:  Off we go...(the morningstar calls upon its powers to
  lift Ged through the air, toward the sparkling chalice)
Arnold:  (to Gorin)  Aaa.
Gorin:  What?
Arnold:  I had boots of water walking.
Gorin:  Hmm.
Ged:  (having reached the prize)  Uh...Eyer?
Eyer:  Yes?
Ged:  There aren't any traps here, right?
Eyer:  Nope.
Ged:  Good.  (carefully, he grasps the silver cup, then flies back
  to the others)  Got it.
Drexel:  A prize fit for a king!  (he caresses the chalice)  This
  item shall end up in my castle.
Mongo:  Don't be so sure, pal.
Drexel:  (looks confused, as if the chalice should be his)
Baltek:  (still wondering what's beneath the amber waters of the
  pool)
Gorin:  Hey, no need to mess with that.
Baltek:  Oh, I know.  But I can't help but be curious...

  The chalice was (after some protest from Drexel) stashed within
Mongo's portable hole.  Surveying the many doors and passages around
the perimeter of the large chamber, they finally made for the ones
at the northern end of the room.  They moved from northwest to north-
east, checking each room.  All were square chambers, thirty feet on
a side.  The first was empty, while the second was empty but had some
frescoes on its walls.  No magical auras (or secret doors) were here,
though; the paintings depicted women lying on furs near a fountain,
and a flaming hand within the fountain.
  The third and fourth rooms were empty.  The fifth held four bronze
statues, each aiming a spear toward the center of the room.  At the
center, where all four spear-points aimed, was an old, dried blood
mark on the floor.  Despite Eyer's assurance that the statues weren't
some clever (or not-so-clever) trap, Mongo and Gorin weren't convinced,
and they moved the statues so that their spears weren't aiming at the
mark.
  After that, the thing was examined, but held no clues or tangible
properties.  The statues were single-piece affairs, their armor and
weapons unremovable.

Mongo:  Who'd want a stupid bronze spear anyway?
Gorin:  Are you asking me or the statues?
Drexel:  (kneeling, he examines the faded stain on the floor)  I
  wonder what this bloodspot could signify?
Ged:  Maybe someone died here...or it could be cursed.
Drexel:  Nonsense.  I would have known if the latter case was true.
Baltek:  (to Arnold)  Who cares?
Arnold:  Really.

  The sixth room along the northern row was empty, but Eyer found
a hidden hatch built into the floor.  This thing led down to a buried
passage, which ended in a ceiling trapdoor, which in turn led up to
a seventh thirty-foot square room.  A door at its far end beckoned,
but the clever elf stopped the party before they could crowd into
the room.

Eyer:  (pointing to some barely-visible slots in the western wall)
  Look there...might be arrows, or darts.
Mongo:  Good eye...

  Carefully, the elf led the way into the chamber.  The slots were
set into the wall in such a way that whatever they might disgorge
would hit anyone standing before the door.

                      ______
     entry hatch --> |o   | |
                     |    |.| <-- door
           slots --> |______|

  There seemed to be no way to block the slots, or wedge them closed.
Mongo solved the problem with his hammer, smashing the six slots, one
by one, until they were permanently broken.  Deftly, Eyer checked and
opened the door, without incident - Mongo's vandalism had worked!

Mongo:  Belphanior would be _so_ proud of me.
Drexel:  (looks puzzled)  Belphanior?  Now where have I heard that
  name before?
Eyer:  (points ahead, one finger over his mouth, and slowly opens the
  door)

  A flight of carven stone steps led downward, into the darkness.

Eyer:  (quietly closes the door, and motions the others back into the
  square room)
Ged:  What?
Eyer:  We could go down...but I think there might be other things to
  explore, on this level.
Drexel:  Speed, or thoroughness - that is the question.
Mongo:  Either's fine with me.
Gorin:  Agreed.
Arnold:  Yah.
Ged:  Both choices have their advantages...and disadvantages.  If we
  dally around up here, we might well weaken our strength and lose
  precious time.
Drexel:  On the other hand, if we miss some crucial clue, or fail to
  find something or someone we may need later...
Eyer:  I think we ought to at least have a look around the southern
  end of the gigantic open room...on the other side of the fountain.
Ged:  Let's do that, then.
Drexel:  (nods)  Better to be overly thorough.

  With that, they returned to the huge fountain room, and headed for
the row of doors to the south.





next:      a mighty foe indeed
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:     There I was, all ready to watch the second half of
  "Beast"...and the #&@%$*! cable went out!  Four hours of heavy
  rain with no problem, and the rain slackens, my show starts, and
  I lose cable!  What am I paying a monthly cable bill for, anyway?
  When I called to report the outage, I asked why the same thing
  happens every time it rains.  Of course, they didn't know why,
  though I do:  a shitty, out-dated, and insufficiently sheathed
  cable plant.  And it's not even like a prorated refund on my bill
  will matter - 1/30 of $28 equals peanuts!
    Grr.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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