Chapter #402

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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                    +
+                           +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+    Tanya      5th/11th level female human fighter/thief       (N) +
+  Date:        4/8/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        late morning                                        +
+  Place:       the Lords' Tomb, in Greyhawk's High Quarter         +
+  Climate:     cold and misty, with a light rain falling           +
+  "We all end up dead; it's just a question of when, and why."     +
+                                   - William Wallace, _Braveheart_ +

                  CDII.  Funeral For a Friend

  The scene within the great mausoleum known as the Lords' Tomb
was somber.  Gathered here were a small group of people, for the
deceased hadn't had many close friends.  Although he had been a
widely known and respected figure, few were those who had made
the trip here on this cold, wet day.  Besides Nerof Gasgal and
most of the other ruling Oligarchs, the various Quarters' Master
Thieves were in attendance, as well as a few random others from
the Free City.
  Peldor, dressed in a fine black suit, watched the proceedings
sadly.  At his side was Tanya, wearing an outfit that matched
her fiancee's in color and tone.

Peldor:  (disheartened)  This...
Tanya:  (squeezes her lover's arm)

  Although Tanya had been on good terms with Org, even considering
him a friend, she knew that Peldor's loss was much greater.  It had
been Org who'd taken Peldor under his wing, eventually helping him
achieve the position of River Quarter Guildmaster, and at such a
young age.  They had been good friends besides, and now, the man was
gone - dead, completely and irrevocably.

  The ceremony was presided over by Derider Fanshaen, High Priestess
of Pelor and Constable of Greyhawk.  The reasons for this were two-
fold:  security issues, and the fact that Org hadn't worshipped or
paid homage to any particular deity while alive.  A funeral service
by a cleric of one god was as good as any other, and since Derider
had at least known him and worked with him, she had volunteered.

Derider:  ...ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  (she looks up, sadly)
Nerof Gasgal:  (griefstricken)  Then that's it.
Turin Deathstalker:  (puts a hand on his friend's shoulder)  Death
  comes to all of us, Gasgal.  It's just a matter of when.  Org led
  a good life, full of adventure and fun.
Nerof:  I know...we were childhood friends.  Rose up through the
  ranks of the Guild together, even.  Hell, I can't believe he's

  Org Nenshen hadn't been married, and thus he had no family here
to mourn him, other than that provided by his friends and co-workers.

Glodreddi Bakkanian:  (genuinely sad)  'Tis a grim day for all of us.

  The Inspector of Taxes, so harsh and obnoxious at the previous day's
hearing, was unusually quiet this day.  The dwarf, too, had been close
friends with Nenshen; there were some things that were more important
than gold and wealth.
  Carmen Halmaster and Dernen Nathane, both Oligarchs and both from
the Merchants' and Traders' Union, were also in attendance.  Unknown
to most, they were part of an informal "inner circle" within the
Oligarchy.  This small group, which also included Nerof Gasgal, Turin
Deathstalker, and Glodreddi, had secretly lobbied to have its concerns
addressed and its initiatives carried out.  Org, too, had been a member
of this cabal.  But no more.

Carmen:  (shaking his head sadly)  A shame.
Dernen:  (nods)  He was a good man.  We can only hope that he's gone
  to a better place.
Derider:  Indeed.
Nerof:  I empty coffin!  We didn't even have a body to
Turin:  We all know that these shapeshifters' victims rot away after
Nerof:  I know!
Turin:  (frowns)
Nerof:  I am sorry, my friend.  I just...
Turin:  It's okay.

  Nearby, Peldor brooded, Tanya close at his side.  Certain of the
Oligarchs, as well as other thieves, still frowned upon him because
of his involvement in the shapeshifter affair.  The facts were known,
now - Org had been slain by a doppleganger of some kind - but still,
irrational as it was, some people still associated Peldor with the
entire business.

Nerof:  (walks over to Peldor)  How are you doing?
Peldor:  Fine...given the circumstances.
Nerof:  (looks the master thief in the eye)  I know that...things
  have been hard.  Especially with the auditing of your records and
  such.  But you need to know that I trust you - I'm aware that you
  were as much a victim in this thing as any of us.
Peldor:  Except Org...
Nerof:  Yes...well, I've put the word out.  The right people will know
  the truth about what happened.  But still, I fear that there are
  those who still blame you, for some reason.
Peldor:  (nods grimly)
Tanya:  (frowns, for she didn't know this)
Nerof:  Just watch your back, that's all I'm saying.
Peldor:  Standard operating procedure.

  The other Quarters' Master Thieves were in attendance, as well:
Pavel Alektrion, from the Garden Quarter; Sharyn Messandier, from
the Thieves' Quarter; Repnel Porton, from the Artisans' Quarter;
Simpkin Furzear, from the Foreign Quarter; Larrat Helfdene, from
the Slum Quarter.  Of these, Peldor was on good terms with Pavel;
that young, dashing nobleman was a thief out of love, rather than
need, and he and Peldor often saw things eye-to-eye.
  Sharyn Messandier, a thief and priestess of Kurell (god of thieves)
was, in Peldor's opinion, a scheming witch who was only interested in
furthering her own ends.  Org, who had known more of these things
than Peldor, had occasionally dropped hints in private conversations,
hints that seemed to confirm Peldor's gut instincts about the woman.
  Repnel Porton, a shaggy-haired, bearded thief who used his street-
cleaning operation as a front for other activities, was a simple
fellow, easy to predict.  He only cared for getting his work done,
and Peldor had never gotten the impression that the man had higher
  Simpkin Furzear, also known as "The Weasel" in some circles, was an
aged halfling, a skilled gambler, and a thoroughly nasty individual.
A plotter, a bully, and an all-around unpleasant person, the short
but dangerous halfling wasn't well-liked by anyone, not even those
who worked in the Foreign Quarter.
  Larrat Helfdene, a middle-aged human and a nice guy, controlled
the Guild's activities in a Quarter where they had much competition
and little profit.  The Slum Quarter was ruled by the Beggars' Union,
which Larrat was a member of; he often manipulated the beggars into
unwittingly furthering the Thieves' Guild's plans.  Larrat had long
ago lost one hand while on a mission, but he and Org had been close
companions, and the Guildmaster had found his friend a good job at
a time when others had written him off as useless.

  Yes, Peldor mused to himself, the Guild was in turmoil, and any of
these people might make the leap to power - or fail in the attempt.
He, himself, was also a contender for Org's position, although until
this moment, he hadn't seriously thought about it.  Indeed, it would
look bad to a lot of people if he climbed the ladder of power, so
soon after the recent upheaval.  Peldor wondered what the other
Quartermasters thought of _him_; which trusted him, and which were
perhaps plotting his downfall?
  How sad it was that, before Org's funeral ceremony was an hour old,
such issues had to be pondered.  Shaking his head, and eliciting yet
another worried look from Tanya, Peldor turned and left the Tomb of

next:      Bosco takes over
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     Finally, closure to the shapeshifter storyline.  Just as
  #401 was the aftermath to #400, this is the aftermath to #401.

  I'll say it one more time:  this was one of the best all-around
storylines for me to write.  Throughout the story-arc, I never lost
my train of thought or inspiration.  This is rare, since a lot of
times I may take days at a time off between consecutive, related
episodes.  Anyway, I hope I can do more storylines that achieve the
level of greatness that you, the readers, have claimed #381-400 to

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