Chapter #404

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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   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        the night of the big awards ceremony                +
+  Time:        showtime!                                           +
+  Place:       The Grand Theater, in Greyhawk's High Quarter       +
+  Climate:     exciting                                            +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Bones:  "I suppose you think that's funny."                      +
+  Kirk:   "I don't know.  I'll have to consult our humor           +
+           officer...Mr. Spock, was that funny?"                   +
+  Spock:  "I shall have to analyze it, sir.  It may take time."    +
+                                                - from _Star Trek_ +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





            CDIV.  Night of a Thousand Stars (part II)





  Ten awards into the ceremony, the second commercial break is
currently underway...

  The crystal ball filled with an image:  a dark, misty town, more
than a little sinister-looking.

voice:  Has this past year bummed you out?  Tired of the hustle and
  bustle of normal, everyday life in the big city?  Ready for a
  vacation that promises not to be boring?  Well, friends, come to
  Helgate!  That's right, Helgate!  Nestled amidst remote, rugged
  mountains, where the sun seldom shines...Helgate!  Hidden from the
  well-traveled paths of the outside world...Helgate!  Stopping point
  for a motley collection of bandits, adventurers, and scum...Helgate!
  Stay for a week at the grand old Raven's Nest.  Enjoy dinner at the
  Sword and Cup Tavern, where there's never a dull moment.  Visit the
  Witches' Tit for a night of unsavory, sleazy fun!  Helgate:  where
  the gravediggers are always busy.
    (Group discounts available.)

  Again, the spotlight returned to Bosco, who held the microphone as
he watched the images of Helgate's action fade, within the giant
crystal ball.

Bosco:  Now _that_ looks like a place for an intrepid fellow like me.
  (to the audience)  Think they'll give me a kickback for shameless
  plugs?
audience:  (debating this among itself)
Bosco:  Okay, now on to the next group of awards.  Let's start with
  the Most Surprising Plot Twist, shall we?  Here to present it is
  someone who always seems to pop up at the wrong time...due to space
  constrictions, we've asked him to polymorph himself into human form
  tonight.  Let's hear a big round of applause for Cynder, dragon-at-
  large!
audience:  (claps nervously)
tall bearded fellow in a red suit:  (walks across the stage, smiling
  at the audience)
Bosco:  (shakes the man's hand, which is hot to the touch)  Nice to
  have you here.
Cynder:  NICE TO BE HERE.
Bosco:  Yeow.
Cynder:  (lowers his voice to a more human timbre)  Now did I hear
  your introduction correctly?  Bosco the Dragon-Slayer?
Bosco:  (rubbing his hands nervously)  Er...no.  No.  Bosco, Dragon
  _Saver_.  That's it.
audience:  (chuckling and whispering among themselves)
Cynder:  Of course.  Sorry.  Okay, the nominees for Most Surprising
  Plot Twist are...
Bosco:  (trying to peek over the man's shoulder)
Cynder:  Belphanior actually destroying the evil eye!
crystal ball:  (shows Belphanior, ragged and bloody, cleaving the
  floating eye in half)
Belphanior:  (to Victoria)  That's what I look like when I'm _really_
  pissed.
Victoria:  You look sexy when you're angry.
Belphanior:  Oh.
Cynder:  Ged refusing to raise Gorin...
crystal ball:  (shows part of the argument between Mongo and Ged)
Ged:  (looking embarrassed)
Derider:  What was that all about?
Ged:  Long story.
Cynder:  (frowns)  Lyra being raped...
Bosco:  (winces)
Lyra:  (to Alindyar, via ESP)  If I actually win, I hope they don't
  expect me to accept this award.
Alindyar:  (ESP-ing back to Lyra)  Perhaps I should fireball the
  entire EGG committee?
Lyra:  (ESP-ing back to Alindyar)  No, that's okay.
Cynder:  Rillen leaving the party to settle down...
crystal ball:  (shows Rillen's lone pilgrimage northward)
Rillen:  (smiles to Songa)
Cynder:  Nenya becoming engaged to Deryck.
crystal ball:  (shows the wedding ceremony)
Nenya:  (next to Deryck, she exchanges happy glances with him)
Cynder:  (coughs, generating a puff of smoke)
Bosco:  (worried)  Pepto-Bismol?
Cynder:  No thanks, I'm okay.  And the winner is...Ged refusing to
  raise Gorin!
audience:  (applauds, though they don't know why)
Ged:  (he and Gorin take the stage)
Cynder:  (shaking hands with the pair, he hands them the award)  A
  trying time, no?
Gorin:  It was strange, but we're over it now.
Ged:  Thank Boccob.
Bosco:  What's the future hold for you performing resurrections?
Ged:  Uh...er...(he turns and leaves the stage)
Gorin:  (follows)
Cynder:  (follows)
Bosco:  Enigmatic as always...elves!  Oh well.  Our next award is
  for the category of Best Mass Battle Scene.  To announce the
  nominees and awards, please welcome a man who's seen his share of
  them...Marcus, Lord of Greyspire!
Marcus:  (an imposing figure, at 6'4" and broad, he strides regally
  onto the stage, his shoulder-length black hair framing a rugged,
  handsome face; he has the appearance of someone who takes no shit
  from anybody)
Bosco:  How are things in the Riftcanyon?
Marcus:  (grimly)  Not good.  Those damn orcs are at it again...and
  this time they're riding giant bats.
Bosco:  I...didn't know that.
Marcus:  Not to worry.  Barbed arrows seem to work pretty well.  (he
  opens his scroll)  The nominees for Best Mass Battle Scene are...
Bosco:  (waiting eagerly)
Marcus:  The final battle with the Slavers...
crystal ball:  (depicts the wonderfully chaotic image of fighting
  in Suderham, as the volcano erupts)
Marcus:  Hmm.
Mongo:  (to Gorin)  That was a good fight.  Good adventure, too.
Marcus:  The battle with the giants, right after Rillen joined the
  party...
crystal ball:  (shows a scene of adventurers, surrounded by various
  giants)
Marcus:  (muttering something about needing to enlist some giants
  into his army)  The next nominee is the first battle with the
  juggernaut...
crystal ball:  (shows Mongo getting steamrolled by the gigantic war
  engine)
Marcus:  (wincing at the sight)  That _had_ to hurt.
Mongo:  (to Gorin)  That was no fair - the thing cheated!
Marcus:  The final battle with the vampire lord and friends...
crystal ball:  (shows Rillen and Igor locked in combat, as others
  fight behind and around them)
Rillen:  (to Songa)  I had never seen so many undead.
Marcus:  The battle with Zara and the bounty hunters...
crystal ball:  (shows that great fight, on a plain somewhere)
Lyra:  What a bitch.  I'm glad she's gone.
Alindyar:  Aye.  You should have been nominated for your little
  catfight with her.
Marcus:  The final battle on Oerth-2...
crystal ball:  (shows Mongo and Mongo-2 going head-to-head in the
  great fortress of Ged-2)
Mongo:  (to Gorin)  That's where I got Stormcrest, you know.  (sadly)
  Rest in peace, Flint.
Marcus:  The battle in the drow city...
crystal ball:  (shows an imprisoned Alindyar, as the others fight to
  free him)
Belphanior:  (to Victoria)  Now that was another good battle...
Victoria:  It looks that way.  Let's go back there someday.
Belphanior:  Err...no.
Marcus:  The battle against the tarrasque...
crystal ball:  (shows an image of the huge beast clambering toward
  Greyhawk, as various people try and stop it)
audience:  (gasps in wonder and fear)
Bosco:  Ahh, he was a wimp!
Marcus:  The battle in Thunderdelve's Tenth Deep...
crystal ball:  (shows a mass underground war, dwarves against orcs)
Yod:  (smiling to himself)  Yeah...
Marcus:  (nodding in appreciation of the image)  And the tenth and
  final nominee is...The final battle with Necros and friends!
crystal ball:  (shows an image of this conflict, within a dark
  dungeon)
Bosco:  Good adventure, that.
Marcus:  I'll bet.
Bosco:  Eh?
Marcus:  And the Best Mass Battle Scene is...the final battle with
  Necros and friends!
Bosco:  (looking around)  Err...this award would go to so many people,
  they'd never all fit up here on stage.  I'll just hold onto it for
  now, and we can put it up in some public place, maybe the Green
  Dragon Inn...?
Marcus:  Your call, small one.  You _are_ the host.
Bosco:  Right.  Okay, that's what we'll do.
Marcus:  Very well.  (he strides off the stage)
Bosco:  A man of few words, that one.  Okay, next up is the award for
  Most Promising Young Child.  This year, we've got a crop of young
  talent, all of whom will grow up to be fine adventurers, I'm sure.
  Here to tell you who they are...Tanya, a motherly figure if I ever
  saw one!
Tanya:  (walks across the stage, drawing the same sort of gasps from
  the males in the audience as Lord Marcus did from the females)
Bosco:  Well, hi there!
Tanya:  (takes the microphone)  Motherly?
Bosco:  Well...err...I meant that in the best possible way.
Tanya:  I'm not pregnant, Bosco.  Not yet.
Bosco:  Of course, of course.
Tanya:  (unrolling her scroll)  And the nominees are...Calvin, page
  of Ged...
crystal ball:  (shows the lad fetching a horse)
Calvin:  (in the audience, he is busy playing footsie with some girl)
Hobbes:  (sitting next to Calvin, he wonders which of them has a higher
  allowance)
Tanya:  Eduardo, of Helgate...
crystal ball:  (shows the small, dark-skinned boy running messages
  to Otto and Belphanior)
Eduardo:  (in the audience, between Otto and Victoria, he grins)
Tanya:  Felicia, ward of Peldor...
crystal ball:  (shows the urchin roaming the streets)
Felicia:  (sitting next to Peldor)  Hey, that's a bad likeness!
Tanya:  Foldor, who tried to join the party before they found Rillen...
crystal ball:  (shows the dopey-looking kid)
Songa:  What competition you had.
Rillen:  (stifles a laugh)
Tanya:  Timmy, the lycanthropic farmboy...
crystal ball:  (shows the half-wolf, tow-headed child being restrained
  by Arnold and some soldiers)
Timmy:  (sitting in the audience next to his parents)  Awoooo...
Timmy's mother:  (nearly has a heart attack)
Timmy:  Hah, just kidding, mom!
Timmy's father:  Careful, son.  You know what they say about crying
  wolf.
Tanya:  And the award goes to Eduardo!
audience:  (applauds as the skinny kid heads onto the stage)
Bosco:  Without a doubt, our youngest winner ever...
Tanya:  (congratulates Eduardo as she hands him the trophy)
Eduardo:  What am I going to do with this?  It's worth more than I'll
  make in ten years!
Bosco:  Not if you're good, kid.
Eduardo:  Hmm, this is true.  (he walks away, inspired)
Tanya:  Good job, Bosco.  Now he'll get arrested before he hits ten.
Bosco:  (shrugs)  Stuff happens.
Tanya:  (exits stage left)
Bosco:  Next up, the first of the major awards:  Best Supporting
  Villain.  To announce the nominees, we've got the first-ever bad
  guy the party knew...let's give it up for that rat among scum,
  Belgar!
audience:  (booing and hissing)
Belgar:  (shuffles across the stage, looking the part of the rodent)
  Bah.  Crowds never know what they want.  Fickle, fickle, fickle.
Bosco:  Yeah, right.  Have you still got the award or did you steal
  it?
Belgar:  (holds the jeweled cup high)  Don't worry.  This is the EGG
  Awards - who'd be dumb enough to steal a trophy before it even got
  presented?
Bosco:  (looks squarely at Belgar)
Belgar:  Err...the nominees are...Elik, the balor and servant of
  Orcus!
crystal ball:  (shows a scene of the demon hovering above a lava-pit)
Belphanior:  (to Victoria)  That's where I got my evil eye...
Belgar:  Igor...
crystal ball:  (shows Igor taunting the imprisoned party, in the
  vampire lord's dungeons)
Belgar:  The iron dwarf!
crystal ball:  (shows various scenes showcasing the iron dwarf's
  indestructibility)
audience:  (cheers loudly)
Bosco:  Is he in the audience tonight?  Uh-oh.
Belgar:  Necros...
crystal ball:  (shows an image of the evil undead high priest)
Ged:  (to Derider)  Now that was one _bad_ fellow.
Derider:  Hey, I believe it.
Belgar:  Potas Potay.
crystal ball:  (shows a scene of this wizard, amidst the great battle)
Bosco:  Where do they get these names, that's what I wanna know.
Belgar:  And the winner is...the iron dwarf!
audience:  (applauding with great enthusiasm)
iron dwarf:  (thunders onto the stage)  RRAAAARGH!
Bosco:  Ulp.
Belgar:  Ulp.
Bosco:  Well, don't just stand there - hand him his award!
Belgar:  (gingerly holds the trophy out)
iron dwarf:  RRR?  (he grabs the thing, sniffing at it)
Belgar:  Seeya, Bosco - I'm outta here.  (he makes a quick exit)
Bosco:  (to the iron dwarf)  Anything you want to say to the audience?
iron dwarf:  GRRRRRR...!  (clutching the award to his armored chest,
  he turns and lumbers away heavily)
Bosco:  And there you have it, folks, right from the horse's mouth!
  (he watches to make sure the dwarf is gone, then continues)  Here
  to present the award for Best Supporting Adventurer, we have a host
  of senior adventurers!

  Mongo, Ged, Alindyar, Peldor, and Belphanior took the stage then,
much to the delight of the audience.  They didn't quiet down for a
full two minutes, as the five companions stood next to Bosco, basking
in the attention.

Bosco:  Okay, which one of you's gonna read the nominations?
Alindyar:  (opens the scroll)  The first nominee for Best Supporting
  Adventurer is...Arnold.
crystal ball:  (shows Arnold giving Ged shit after he refused to raise
  Gorin)
Ged:  Where do they get these pictures?  (he takes the scroll)  The
  next nominee is Bosco.  (he frowns, wondering how he got tricked
  into being the one to announce the halfling)
crystal ball:  (shows images of Bosco, up to his usual mischief in
  the Green Dragon and other places)
Bosco:  (nods)
Peldor:  (takes the scroll)  The third nominee is Gorin.
crystal ball:  (shows a scene of Gorin, faithfully backing up Mongo
  in some mass battle)
Mongo:  (handed the scroll by Peldor)  The next nominee is Otto...
crystal ball:  (shows a scene in which Otto covers Belphanior's back
  with support fire from his crossbow)
Otto:  (not much one for awards and accolades, he frowns)
Belphanior:  (takes the scroll)  And the final nominee...Tanya!
crystal ball:  (shows a scene of Peldor and Tanya in bed, their
  private parts covered by sheets...and then Peldor pulls a cord,
  dropping a curtain over the image)
Peldor:  The name is...Peldor.
Alindyar:  And the winner is...Otto!
audience:  (applauds loudly)
Otto:  (steps up on stage, though he isn't smiling)
Bosco:  (shakes the dwarf's hand)  Congratulations!  I figured I was
  a lock for this category, but maybe not.
Peldor:  Well, look at the bright side - you already won Most Improved
  Adventurer.
Otto:  (takes the award, mentally calculating its worth on the black
  market)
Bosco:  That's all for now, folks - time for another commercial break!
  But hang in there...'cause when we come back, it's time for all the
  biggies!

  The crystal ball filled with a new image then:  a line of armed,
armored dwarves, grim looks on their faces.

gruff voice:  Ever thought about fighting the good fight, year after
  year after year?  If so, you should know that there's a place where,
  every day, combat happens.  A place where an elite regiment of the
  world's toughest soldiers fights to make the world a better place
  for all of us.  Here in Thunderdelve Mountain, new recruits are
  given the best in training and equipment...drilled for months on
  end, until they can fight orcs and giants with the best of them.
  We've got openings for everyone, from cook to commander.  A good
  salary and excellent benefits also await those who survive.  Join
  us today...the few, the proud...the dwarves of Thunderdelve.
    Remember, Uncle Yod wants you!

Spikey:  (in the audience, sitting on one side of Yod)  Wow, boss.
Sparkey:  Good ad.
Yod:  You should have seen what I had to pay to get that aired!
Bosco:  Okay, we're back.  (he decides it's time for a joke, and
  faces the audience)  Anyone ever hear the one about the iron dwarf
  and the juggernaut?
audience:  (murmuring, as they haven't)
Bosco:  Well, anyway...time for more awards, wouldn't you say?
audience:  (applauds in approval)
Bosco:  But first it's time for the presentation of this year's EGG
  lifetime achievement award.  As you may or may not know, this is
  the award given for recognition of outstanding accomplishment in
  one's lifetime.  This year, it's my distinct honor and pleasure to
  give this award to...Fusoya!
Fusoya:  (floats across the stage, sitting in a meditative stance,
  knees folded)
Bosco:  That's right, Fusoya!  In his lifetime, he's transcended time
  and space...journeyed all the way to the moon...achieved higher
  planes of consciousness...
Fusoya:  (accepts the award)  Thank you, small mortal.
Bosco:  I'm no mere mort-
Fusoya:  Of course you are.  (he addresses the audience, without the
  need for the microphone, and rattles off a short speech in an alien
  language that nobody understands)
Bosco:  (nods in agreement, though he has no idea what the strange
  wizard is saying)
Fusoya:  And now I must depart.  My work here is done.
Bosco:  Huh?  You didn't do anything!
Fusoya:  That's what you think...(he blinks out of existence)
Bosco:  (looks up)  Why me?
Alindyar:  (in the audience, he ESPs to Lyra)  I wonder what that old
  fellow said...
Bosco:  Alrighty then!  It's time for the EGG award for Best Guest
  Star...meaning a non-adventurer, of course.  We've got none other
  than the Lord Mayor of Greyhawk himself, Nerof Gasgal, to present
  the nominees!
audience:  (applauding vigorously)
Nerof:  (takes the stage)  Thanks, Bosco.
Bosco:  No problem.
Nerof:  By the way, your tie is crooked.
Bosco:  Huh?
Nerof:  And the nominees are:  Drawmij...
crystal ball:  (shows that archmage busy at work during the Necros
  battle)
Drawmij:  (in the audience, he smiles thinly)
Nerof:  Whisper...
crystal ball:  (shows the assassin stalking some victim)
Whisper:  (sitting in the audience, in disguise, he barely reacts)
Nerof:  Victoria...
crystal ball:  (shows the black-tressed warrior-woman doing what she
  does best)
Victoria:  (to Belphanior)  Actually, battle isn't what I do _best_.
Belphanior:  Oh?
Nerof:  The wispy thing!
crystal ball:  (shows the wispy thing, doing its usual antics)
Bosco:  Wow.
Nerof:  And Yod Ironbeard.
crystal ball:  (shows the dwarven king leading his subjects into battle)
Bosco:  An impressive array of guest-stars, eh, Nerof?
Nerof:  Indeed they are, Bosco.  Any one of them could take the award.
  (he unrolls the scroll further)  And the award for Best Guest Star
  goes to...Yod Ironbeard!
audience:  (applauds, especially the large contingent of dwarves in
  the right wing, who slam their weapon-hafts to the floor, creating
  a rollicking rhythm)
Yod Ironbeard:  (crosses the stage)
Nerof:  Congratulations, my good dwarf.
Bosco:  I knew you could do it!
Yod:  (takes the award, then the microphone)  Ahem.  Is this thing
  working?  Uh...what can I say?  When I started out, decades ago,
  as a wandering adventurer, I never dreamed I'd come as far as I
  have today.  I guess I'd like to thank all of my old friends, and
  new.  A person can't get anywhere in life without good friends,
  and I'm happy to have some of the best!  (he holds the award high)
audience:  (applauding again)
Yod:  (leaves the stage, as does Nerof)
Bosco:  An uplifting speech, to be sure.  Next up we've got the
  category of Best Villain, and to present the nominees, we've got
  Hadeus, devil extraordinaire!

  The stage rocked as the twenty-five-foot-tall duke of Hell strode
forth.  Looking around evilly, he then fumbled with the puny scroll
as the crystal ball replayed scenes from his battle with the party,
years ago.

Peldor:  (winces slightly)
Hadeus:  THE NOMINEES ARE...CYNDER...
crystal ball:  (shows an image of the fire-breathing dragon in all
  its glory)
Bosco:  Sheez!
Hadeus:  ORCUS...
crystal ball:  (shows the grossly fat demon lord eating some poor
  minion)
Victoria:  Very instructive.
Otto:  (from the audience)  Urp!
Victoria:  (giggles)
Hadeus:  TORIN...
crystal ball:  (shows the would-be hero leading his forces through
  Helgate)
Belphanior:  (smirks)
Hadeus:  THE VAMPIRE LORD...
crystal ball:  (shows that undead lord, directing his undead troops
  into battle)
Hadeus:  ZARA...
crystal ball:  (shows the cunning, evil drow sorceress plotting and
  scheming)
Hadeus:  AND THE WINNER IS...ORCUS!
audience:  (falls into a hush)

  With a small explosion of fire and brimstone, a gigantic figure,
fully as tall as Hadeus, appeared onstage, his rams-head horns curled
upward on his pointy crimson head.

Orcus:  I'LL TAKE THAT AWARD NOW.
Hadeus:  ARE YOU CHALLENGING MY POWER, FIEND?
Orcus:  YOU'RE THE FIEND.  I'M A DEMON.  NOW GIVE ME THAT TROPHY.
Hadeus:  SAY PLEASE.
Bosco:  Gentlemen!

  Both of the huge, otherworldly titans looked down at the three-foot
tall munchkin at their feet.

Bosco:  We've got a show to do here.  No time for petty bickering
  and power squabbles.  If you must fight, please take it outside
  this plane of existence!
Hadeus:  (looks abashed, and hands Orcus the award)
Orcus:  (also looks ashamed, and follows Hadeus off the stage)
Lightbringer:  (at Ged's side, it hisses as Orcus leaves the stage)
Bosco:  (to the audience)  In case you ever think my job is easy...
  think again.
audience:  (applauds loudly)
Bosco:  And now for the next-to-last award:  Best Overall Plotline.
  It'll be presented by Pluffet Smedger, the Elder.  This is the
  man who wrote that great work, "A Guide to the Flanaess."  Let's
  give it up for Smedger!
audience:  (applauds as an elderly sage takes the stage)
Bosco:  Hmm...sage on stage...
Smedger:  Greetings, O small and obnoxious one.
Bosco:  What's up, gramps?  Hey, do you think there's any place in
  your next book for the exploits of Bosco the Mighty?
smedger:  Doubtful, but we'll see.
Bosco:  Just checking.
Smedger:  (opens the scroll)  The nominees for Best Overall Plotline
  are:  the journey through the Underdark...
crystal ball:  (shows that dark, alien landscape beneath the world)
Lyra:  Ugh.
Smedger:  Finding and exploring the lost Suel City, amidst the Sea
  of Dust...
crystal ball:  (shows some ruins among a barren wasteland)
Kiel Morgan:  (in the audience, he smiles to his date, a young, cute
  brunette)  I helped them find that city.
brunette:  Ooh.
Smedger:  The adventures on Oerth-2...
crystal ball:  (shows that alternate, green-skied world)
Ged:  I wonder if we'll ever go back there?
Derider:  Only time will tell...time, and the need for good to combat
  evil.
Smedger:  Belphanior rising to power in Helgate...
crystal ball:  (shows scenes from that long, violent event)
Belphanior:  (beams proudly)
Smedger:  The kidnappings by Necros, and subsequent rescue.
crystal ball:  (shows that final, climactic battle)
Smedger:  And the winner is...(he fumbles with the scroll)  The
  kidnappings!
audience:  (applauds)
Bosco:  (still looking for that "applause" sign)
Smedger:  As Necros isn't alive to accept this award, we'll have it
  shipped to his superior, the demon lord Orcus.  Tally-ho.  (he
  exits the stage)
Bosco:  (looks around, smiling)  And now...the moment you've all been
  waiting for...the last and most prestigious award:  Best Adventurer!
audience:  (applauds loudly)
Bosco:  Here to present it is a last-minute guest announcer - someone
  we didn't even know really existed until tonight.  Let's have a big
  round of applause for Boccob, the Uncaring!
audience:  (takes the hint)
Bosco:  (wondering if maybe _he_ is the cause of the applause)
Boccob:  (a tall, unearthly figure in purple robes, he traverses the
  stage without moving his legs or feet)
Bosco:  Uh...you want the microphone?
Boccob:  Sure.  (he takes the thing)  This year's nominees for Best
  Adventurer are...(pause for dramatic effect)  Alindyar.
crystal ball:  (shows images of that drow's many feats)
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Do you suppose that is really...
Boccob:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Yes.
Alindyar:  Aie.
Boccob:  (speaking to the audience)  Belphanior.
crystal ball:  (shows scenes of the elf's many trials and tribulations)
Victoria:  (gives Belphanior's arm a playful pinch)
Belphanior:  Ow...!
Boccob:  Mongo.
crystal ball:  (shows Mongo, after the battle of Thunderdelve)
Mongo:  Huh.
Boccob:  Peldor.
crystal ball:  (shows images of Peldor at work and play)
Peldor:  Heh.
Boccob:  Rillen.
crystal ball:  (shows images spanning Rillen's various deeds)
Songa:  You did all that?
Rillen:  (nods)
Bosco:  (waiting for Boccob to continue)
Peldor:  (leans over his seat, in the audience, talking to Ged)  Hey,
  he really _does_ exist!
Ged:  I told you so.
Peldor:  Wonder why he didn't pick you?
Ged:  Shut up, Peldor.
Boccob:  (pauses for dramatic effect)
drumroll:  (begins from nowhere)
Boccob:  And the winner of the Best Adventurer Award is...Belphanior!
audience:  (goes mad with applause)
inspiring music:  (begins from nowhere, replacing the drumroll)
Belphanior:  (takes the stage, smiling broadly)
Boccob:  (shakes hands with the elf after handing him the award)
  Congratulations.
Belphanior:  Thanks.  And I mean that.
Bosco:  (to Belphanior)  You're taking home the big one...the whole
  enchilada, so to speak.  Any comments?  Did you think you could
  beat Peldor?
Belphanior:  Hey, to be honest, this award should be split equally
  among the whole party.
Bosco:  Oh?
Belphanior:  (shrugs)  I must've just gotten more exposure...more
  good press.
Bosco:  (turns to the audience)  So humble, he is.  Well, that wraps
  it up!  Live from the Grand Theater, this is Bosco, accumulator of
  titles, saying good night!





                             CREDITS

Written by.............................................Thomas Miller
Directed by..............................................Lance Dooly
Produced by............................................Patrick Weeks
Screenplay by......................................Leonard Bottleman
Edited by.................................................Rob Lester
Executive Producer.........................................Eric Boyd
Associate Producers.......................................Vince Gray
                                                       Marcus Hodges
                                                      Richard Mosher
Production Designer.......................................Tom Vallow
Executive Research Supervisor..............................Matt Hurd

Alindyar...............................................Marc Lindsell
Belphanior............................................Rick Glotzbach
Ged......................................................Ashley Bone
Mongo......................................................Jim Morse
Peldor...................................................Marc Robert

Halbarad..............................................Andrew Hackett
Peyote..................................................Ken Lightner
Rob.....................................................Rob Lefevbre
Krug.....................................................Kurt Miller
Rillen...................................................Mark Rillen

Lyra...................................................Susanna Hoffs
Bosco........................................................himself
Arnold.........................................Arnold Schwarzenegger
Flint Firelips, RIP....................................Steve Buscemi
Tanya..................................................Tanya Roberts
Gorin.......................................................Tim Roth
Songa...................................................Cory Everson
Nenya....................................................Uma Thurman
Otto................................................William Forsythe
Victoria..............................................Tracy Scoggins
Razor Charlie............................................Danny Trejo

Derider Fanshaen.........................................Renee Russo
Org Nenshen, RIP...........................................Ed Harris
Nerof Gasgal..............................................James Caan
Sental Nurev............................................Alan Rickman
Ravel Dasinder......................................Patrick McGoohan
Whisper/Wendell.......................................George Clooney
Kiel Morgan.............................................Tom Berenger
Yod Ironbeard..........................................Robert DeNiro
Marcus of Greyspire.......................................Mel Gibson
Kup Swiftfoot................................................himself
Eyer......................................................Val Kilmer
Baltek..................................................Dennis Quaid
woodsman of the Burneal..............................Charles Bronson
Drexel the paladin.........................................Lex Luger
Fusoya.................................................Leonard Nimoy
Lotus (of Fax)...........................................Kevin Lehde

Mordenkainen............................................Sean Connery
Tenser................................................Michael Keaton
Bigby.....................................................Val Kilmer
Otto...................................................Wallace Shawn
Drawmij................................................Jeff Goldblum
Nystul.....................................................Tom Hanks
Rary........................................................Rip Torn
Otiluke..................................................Bill Paxton
Jallarzi Sallavarian...............................Michelle Pfeiffer

best boy.....................................................Eduardo
best girl....................................................Felicia



          (and because I know you really want to know...)

Alindyar...........................................Samuel L. Jackson
Belphanior...............................................Marc Singer
Ged...................................................Michael J. Fox
Mongo..................................................Brian Blessed
Peldor.................................................Harrison Ford
Halbarad................................................Rutger Hauer
Peyote..................................................Keanu Reeves
Rob......................................................Randy Quaid
Krug, RIP...............................................Clancy Brown
Rillen....................................................Will Smith





next:      back to the real world
ftp:       ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
           ftp.nol.net in /pub/users/zac/rpg/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:     This is fun.

    The happy tone of these episodes belies my true mood.  Earlier
  tonight, for the first time since April 1992, I got a traffic
  ticket...69 in a 55, on I-85 here in Atlanta.  It's okay, though,
  because when I noticed her behind me, I was doing more like 88.
  And she knew it.  And I knew she knew it.  And she was also cute.
  And she knew it.  And I knew it.  And she knew I knew it.  First
  she said "75 in a 55's the best I can do for you" but when the
  ticket came to me for my signature she said "I made it out for
  69 in a 55, that way you won't get any points, and you can just
  pay the fine and get your license back."  Bosco's spirit was with
  me, I guess.  Now if it had been Peldor's spirit, I'd have gotten
  off without a ticket, and with a phone number.

    By the time you read this, I'll be on my way to my vacation:  a
  week in Hilton Head, SC.  I won't be back until July 22.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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