Chapter #460

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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                    +
+                                  tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        6/17/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        late night                                          +
+  Place:       the city of Zeif, capital of the Sultanate of Zeif  +
+  Climate:     pleasant                                            +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "Your crime wasn't that you got caught - it was the              +
+   crime _itself_."                                                +
+                                        - from _Bad Boys_ (1981)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





           CDLX.  A Little of This and a Little of That





  Peldor has snuck into the Sultan's palace and explored various
chambers and passages, and also evaded assorted guards and a deadly
trap.  Now, he continues on his mission to find the fabled treasure
vaults of Murad, the Sultan of Zeif.

Peldor:  (padding along a carpeted hallway, he approaches a large,
  ornate arched door)

  This hall, like all others in the palace, was lit by sporadically-
placed torches in wall sconces.  The manner in which these had to be
replaced and relit escaped Peldor; the task was surely a great and
never-ending one.  Shaking his head, the thief carefully checked the
door, finding it locked.

Peldor:  (reaches to pull a thin tool from his shirt pocket)

  Before he could think about picking the lock, the thief heard voices
coming from the room.  Kneeling down by the keyhole, he pressed his
ear to the door, listening.

voice#1:  -you sure no one will know of this?
voice#2:  I am sure, good Hakeem.  You worry too much.
Hakeem:  I am sorry, Vizier.  It is simply...dangerous work, and no
  one is ever safe.
Vizier:  Not to worry.  Ha!  Why, by the way you speak, one would
  think a spy lurked outside this very chamber!
Hakeem:  Ha, ha, very funny, Vizier.
Vizier:  Alright, back to business.  The Sultan always goes back to
  his chambers after dinner and a concubine or two.  It is then - when
  the fat bastard sleeps - that you will have your chance.
Hakeem:  And my money?
Vizier:  Fear not, you will get it when the deed is done.
Hakeem:  Have you the poison?
Vizier:  I do.  Here-  (he pauses)
Hakeem:  What?
Vizier:  I thought I heard something in the hall...
Hakeem:  (sounding worried)  What?!?
Vizier:  Jafu!  To the hall!

  Peldor stood and hastily fled, with enchanted speed and grace.
When he was about thirty feet away from the chamber and retreating
quickly, the door burst open, and a monstrous being stood in the
hall.  Fully twelve feet tall, broad and muscular, the frightful,
purple-skinned creature glared in Peldor's direction with burning
red eyes.  Fearsome horns decorated its brow, jutting forth from
among dark orange hair, and sharp fangs jutted forth from its awful,
grinning mouth.

Jafu:  You!  Stop!  (without waiting for an answer, it waves its
  hands, and a sheet of solid flame bursts forth, scorching the
  walls as it springs toward the invisible thief)
Peldor:  (leaps backward desperately)

  The entire passage was filled with the searing flames, and when
they receded, the walls were charred and smoking, and the carpet was
a melted, bubbling mess.  The torches and their wall-sconces were
obliterated.

Jafu:  (grinning, he blows a smoke-ring)
Vizier:  (a tall, thin older man with a long, narrow bard, he emerges
  from his chamber)  Jafu!
Jafu:  (still grinning)  Hmm?
Vizier:  What have you done?!?
Jafu:  There was someone in the hall, boss.
Vizier:  (shaking with rage)  And?!?
Jafu:  (spreads his large, clawed hands)  Like I said, there _was_
  someone in the hall.
Vizier:  (looking around)  How are we going to explain this to the
  Sultan?!?  You'll ruin all my carefully-laid plans!
Jafu:  (shrugs)  You wanted the intruder stopped...that's what I did.
Vizier:  (slaps his forehead)  Damn it!  (he looks around)  Okay, you
  get lost.  I'll deal with you later, but now I have to clean up this
  mess, and I can't have someone spotting you.
Jafu:  (bows in mock servitude, and vanishes in a puff of smoke)
Hakeem:  (a short, broadly-built swarthy fellow, he emerges into the
  hall)  O Vizier, I do not see why you put up with that moron.
Vizier:  Because, you fool, he's an efreet, and his talents come in
  handy at times.
Hakeem:  But if the Sultan ever found out-
Vizier:  He will not.  (he glares at Hakeem)  Now, get you gone, for
  the same reason Jafu had to go.  Suspicions must not be aroused
  tonight.
Hakeem:  (nods, and departs down a side corridor)
Vizier:  (sighs wearily, muttering something about a perpetually upset
  stomach)



  As the Vizier planned and plotted, Peldor was just landing from the
chute he'd slid down.  While fleeing the efreet's blast of fire, he
had inadvertently stumbled into the wall, somehow triggering a secret
door.  Though he didn't know it, the Sultan's palace was honeycombed
with such portals and passages, and not even Murad himself knew where
all of them were.
  After falling through the door, Peldor had begun feather-falling
down the polished chute beyond, even as the stone trapdoor had closed
behind him, an instant after it opened.  Given the glowing red outline
around the seams of the secret door, the thief had decided to chance
this new route.  Landing on the floor of a narrow, low-ceilinged stone
passage, he looked around.  There was only one way to go, and so he
began walking.  There was no doubt about it, now:  he was well below
ground level.  He was also well past the allotted time of his return,
but one could only deal with so many problems at once.
  There were no torches here, so the thief lit a small, specially-
designed lantern.  A red glass lens provided a small, concise beam of
light, while not interfering with its user's night vision.  Peldor
walked along the secret passage, and quickly passed a side alcove from
which steps wound upward.  He would have taken this route, since it
surely led to another secret door and back into the main palace, but
the narrow tunnel he was in was sloping downward.  The desire to find
those legendary treasure vaults overrode common sense, at least this
time, and Peldor continued on his way.
  After a gradual but definite descent and two more side stairways,
he reached a small, iron-bound wooden door.  The secret passage ended
here, and Peldor checked for traps on and around the door, suspicious
of such a portal.  It was a good thing, too, for he found several
traps here.  A poison needle on the doorknob, though rusty, promised
a painful death if its point bit into flesh; he blunted and removed
the thing.  A pressure plate in the floor triggered a descending iron
blade; by using his ring, he was able to trigger this from a safe
vantage point, thereby disarming it.  The third trap almost got him;
the latch of the door was tied into a vertical row of bolts which
fired from the very wall itself.  Their spread of shots would have
spelled doom for anyone who stood before the door, but Peldor avoided
the missiles, and finally, he opened the door, careful to watch for
any further traps.
  The sight that awaited him beyond the door swept those thoughts
away from him:  heaps upon heaps of gold, silver, and gems!  Random
items of jewelry and fine art protruded from the other treasure, and
the master thief spotted various weapons and protective armors too.

Peldor:  (nearly whistles to himself)

  He walked into the treasure chamber, noting that the door he'd come
through appeared as a normal section of stone wall from this side.
In keeping with the rationale behind the secret portal, there were
no traps around it, on this side.  Nevertheless, Peldor stepped slowly
and gingerly into the vaults, wary of any surprises that might await.
However, there were apparently none...simply treasures beyond even his
imagination.  The vault had a high, arched ceiling, supported by many
thick columns, carved to depict strange and mystical creatures and
beings.
  The sheer size of the hoard was enough to stagger the mind, but its
quality was astounding as well.  In fact, this all presented a rather
interesting problem:  it could take him an entire day to find the ruby
for the Despotrix.

Peldor:  (shakes his head, pondering his next move)

  Unfortunately, the thief wasn't the only one pondering his next
move...

booming voice:  DO NOT MOVE, INFIDEL!

  Peldor turned to face the speaker...a ten-foot tall man, bald and
quite broadly built.  A long, black, oiled goatee grew from his chin,
and he had large hoop earrings in both ears.  The fellow was grinning,
and though Peldor wasn't quite sure why, he could hazard a pretty good
guess.

Peldor:  Hi, there.
bald fellow:  (floating several feet above the tiled floor of the
  vault)  NO ONE, BUT NO ONE, LOOTS THE SULTAN'S TREASURE VAULTS AND
  LIVES TO SPEAK OF IT!





next:      the Sultan!
ftp:       ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
           ftp.nol.net in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
           ftp.tas.gov.au/misc/stories
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:     I've seen the season premiere of Highlander, and it
  kicked ass.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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