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+ THE ADVENTURERS +
+ Epic III +
+ 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 +
+ email@example.com +
+ Peldor 20th level human thief (N) +
+ Tanya 5th/11th level female human fighter/thief (N) +
+ Date: 5/2/576 C.Y. (Common Year) +
+ Time: shortly before dusk +
+ Place: the Mighty Mistress tavern, in Hardby +
+ Climate: mild +
+ "We've got a certain way of doing things around here." +
+ "Right now, I'm not interested in your way of doing things." +
+ - Bud & Lt. Coffey, from _The Abyss_ +
CDXLI. Hard Times In Hardby
After an encounter with bandits and a fairly hefty lie, Peldor and
Tanya have come to the Free City of Hardby. Unfortunately, their
newfound companion, Reuben the bandit leader, is apparently a wanted
man in these parts...
guardswoman: (her eyes widen in recognition) It's Reuben the bandit!
Reuben: (looking around) Where?
guardswoman: (blowing a whistle to summon help, she levels her spear
at Reuben) Prepare to die, worm, for crimes against the people of
Reuben: Oh, how I really hate this city...(twirling his moustache, he
leaps to one side as the guardswoman stabs at him)
guardswoman: (curses as her spear-point nicks the man's shoulder)
Reuben: Yie! Too close for comfort. (he draws his sword and backs
away) There must be some misunderstanding-
guardswoman: I think not, dog! (she lunges again)
Reuben: (dodges the attack, grabs the spear, and wrestles his foe to
second guardswoman: (dashes out of the tavern and joins the fray,
attempting to overpower Reuben) Stand fast, sister!
first guardswoman: (still wrestling with Reuben)
Tanya: (standing to the side, she tries to decide what to do next)
Reuben: (takes a punch to the jaw) Ungh! (to Tanya) Don't just
stand there - help me!
Tanya: Give it a rest. I don't even like you.
Reuben: Damn. (he gets kicked in the gut) Whoulllf!
Meanwhile, inside the tavern...
Peldor: (watching as several guardswomen dash for the door) What
in the world's happening out there?
Moxley: (Reuben's second-in-command) No telling, but it can't be
good. You stay here. (he rushes toward the door)
Peldor: Screw that. (he follows the lieutenant)
guardswoman: (at the door, she turns) Hold, you men! It is against
the law to interfere in a fight of the Hardby guards-
Peldor: (TKs the woman back, away, and into two other guardswomen
who were heading for the door)
guardswomen: (all three go down in a heap)
Moxley: What the hell?
Peldor: Magic, my friend.
Moxley: Yeah, right. (he barrels out the door, followed by Peldor)
The two men stumbled into a miniature battle, as Reuben fought
valiantly against a pair of guardswomen. Given that the warrior-women
seemed bent on murder, it was a wonder that Reuben was still alive.
To one side stood Tanya, watching in amusement.
Moxley: Boss! (he dashes forward and pulls one of the guardswomen
off of Reuben)
Reuben: Thanks! (using his legs, he kicks the remaining foe up and
away, sending her sailing back through the air and gaining himself
a brief respite)
Peldor: What's going on around here?
Tanya: Apparently Reuben's a wanted man in these parts...
A shrill whistle-blowing had been steadily increasing in volume,
and now a dozen more guardswomen appeared from various quarters,
their weapons at the ready.
guardswoman captain: (sword in hand, she surveys the scene haughtily,
then barks an order) Arrest them all!
Peldor: Whoa, there, I'm just a bystander-
guardswoman captain: Silence, dog! You can plead your case later,
if you survive.
Peldor: Thanks, but I'd much rather survive anyway. (he unsheathes
his sword as a charging guardswoman closes in) Hey, watch it with
that - you could hurt someone. Maybe even me.
guardswoman#3: (ignores him) Submit, fool!
Peldor: Reuben, you're right. This city sucks.
Reuben: (busy fending off three guardswomen at once, he doesn't offer
a snappy reply) I'm busy...talk to you later, eh?
Tanya: (backs away as a poleaxe-wielding guardswoman menaces her)
I'm all for women's power, but this is ridiculous...
guardswoman#7: Surrender, then!
Tanya: Nope, can't do that. (with her magical boots, she easily
sidesteps the attack, and grabs the poleaxe, using its shaft to
knock the attacker away)
Peldor: Now we've done it. (he skillfully parries an arcing blow,
meeting his foe's sword with his own)
guardswoman#3: (her eyes widen in surprise as her blade snaps in two)
Peldor: Whoa! (a moment later, he kicks out, knocking the woman
Tanya: Lucky...(she bashes another guardswoman with the haft of the
guardswoman#8: Ungh! (dazed, her sword-slash misses by several feet)
Peldor: Enough of this foolishness, I say! (he TKs a nearby barrel
onto its side, then sends it rolling, right toward a mass of guards-
guardswomen: (bowled over like tenpins)
Peldor: (becomes invisible)
guardswoman#13: (slashing at empty air now) What?!?
Peldor: (makes a mighty, magical boot-enhanced leap, and lands right
behind the captain of the guardswomen)
guardswoman captain: (trained ears prickling, she whirls - only to
find Peldor's dagger at her throat) Uh...
Peldor: (becomes visible, as all present see that he has the woman in
a tight headlock, his dagger dangerously close to her bare throat)
Moxley: (having just tripped over a horse-trough and lost his balance,
he completes his fall to the ground) Unf.
Peldor: The fight ends now, or this lady gets it!
guardswomen: (grumbling, they slowly back away from Reuben, Moxley,
guardswoman captain: (to Peldor) Vile cur! You'll pay for this-
Peldor: Give it a rest, lady. It was _you_ who attacked _us_.
female voice: And that is the only reason you shall live to see the
guardswoman captain: (smiles)
Before anyone could react, the unknown speaker uttered a single
word of magical power, and Peldor was rendered immobile.
guardswoman captain: (sensing her captor's arm go rigid, she quickly
escapes his hold, and turns to regard him) Hah! Now you shall die-
female voice: Hold, I said!
The speaker had finally appeared, her invisibility negated by her
own spell: a human woman in crimson robes, hovering perhaps twenty
feet above the street. Obviously a wizardess, the woman was in her
middle forties, slim and not unattractive. Long auburn tresses
spilled over her robe's cowl, and bright, intelligent - if somewhat
cruel - eyes regarded the scene below.
Reuben: (mumbling to himself) Oh, shit.
Despotrix: Your Despotrix bids you, cease this conflict immediately!
guardswomen: (comply, though they slowly move to ring the four foes)
Despotrix: (hovers around Peldor, scrutinizing the motionless thief)
Tanya: (not particularly caring for the manner in which the wizardess
is looking Peldor over) Now just a damned m-
Despotrix: (turns to eye Tanya) Is there a problem?
Tanya: Damn right there is - we didn't start this fight, and we're not
affiliated with these bandits who you seem to want so bad.
Reuben: (smiles sadly to himself)
Despotrix: (to her captain of guards) Explain, Deborah.
Deborah, guardswoman captain: (indicates Reuben and Moxley with one
contemptuous jerk of her thumb) Milady, that one is Reuben, a sly,
notorious bandit and thief in these parts. The other must be his
assistant, Moxley - a smaller price is to be had, for his head.
Despotrix: And these others? What of the fair-haired fellow who's
held by my spell, and his fiery-haired companion?
Deborah: I've never heard of them, or seen them, Milady. (she pauses
for a moment, gathering her courage) But they stood and fought with
Despotrix: Thank you, Deborah.
Deborah: (bows her head) Yes, Milady.
Tanya: Would you mind releasing my man there?
Despotrix: Surrender your weapons and he shall be free.
Deborah: (already taking Peldor's sword from his stiff hand)
Peldor: (immobilized, his eyes dart this way and that, assessing the
Tanya: We have your word?
Despotrix: You are an insolent one.
Tanya: (raises her sword) I'd be stupid to surrender blindly.
Despotrix: You are correct. (waving her hands, she drops a sticky
web over Tanya)
Tanya: You bitch! (her reflexes and magical boots almost save her
from entrapment, but one leg still gets stuck) Shit! (she hacks
at the strands, uselessly)
Reuben: (he and Moxley suddenly find themselves the targets of half
a dozen crossbows)
Despotrix: And you?
Reuben: (unwilling to throw his life away for nothing) We surrender.
Tanya: You wimp! (she continues to slash at the webs pinning her leg)
Despotrix: What a strong will! (she frowns) I believe that you
would cut your way free, given the time. I truly do. (she produces
a slender wand) Of course, we can't have that. (aiming the wand at
Tanya, she zaps the webbed warrior-woman with a thin blue beam)
Tanya: Ungh. (she drops to the ground)
Peldor: (still held in place, he yet harnesses the power of his TK
ring, lifting a dagger from a guardswoman's belt)
Despotrix: (immediately turns on Peldor) Incredible! (she zaps him,
Peldor: (still standing there, he TKs the blade at the floating
Despotrix, but it deflects off an unseen shield harmlessly)
Despotrix: (frowns, and fires a second beam at Peldor)
Peldor: (falls, unconscious)
Despotrix: How odd. (she faces to her guard-captain) Deborah, get
these two to the castle...and quickly, before they wake up.
Deborah: With pleasure, Milady. (she turns to regard Reuben) And
these other two?
Despotrix: I have no need of them...do whatever you like with them.
If the law mandates punishment for their crimes, then so be it. I
trust that you'll do the right thing.
Deborah: (bows) It will be done, Milady.
Despotrix: Excellent. (she sails away, over the buildings and out
next: out of the frying pan and into the fire
ftp: ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
ftp.nol.net in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred)
notes: Heh. For a story that I had no prior planning of, and
ideas for, this one's turning out to be a lot of fun.
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