Chapter #462

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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                    +
+                           +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+  Date:        6/17/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        the middle of the night                             +
+  Place:       the palace of the Sultan of Zeif                    +
+  Climate:     pleasant                                            +
+  "Snakes...why did it have to be snakes?"                         +
+                 - Indiana Jones, from _Raiders of the Lost Ark_   +

                CDLXII.  The Vizier Makes His Move

  Peldor has snuck into the royal palace...evaded various guards and
traps...found the fabled treasure vaults of the Sultan...survived a
battle with a huge genie...only to be caught and jailed!  Now, the
evil Vizier threatens the thief's life...

Vizier:  By the time the palace guards learn of the assassination, you
  will be dead - and the obvious culprit, slain by the loyal Vizier as
  you fled the scene of your vile deed!
Jafu:  (snorting smoke)  Hah, hah, hah.
Peldor:  Oh, I see how it is.
Vizier:  I'm glad.  Now prepare to die.  Jafu?
Jafu:  (faces Peldor)  This time you don't have anywhere to run...
Peldor:  Who said anything about running?  (he suddenly TKs the Vizier
  into the efreet, a fraction of a moment before the latter releases
  his flame-burst)
Vizier:  Whaa-  (he collides with Jafu, hard)  Ungh!
Jafu:  (curses as his flame-blast scorches the adjacent cell's walls
  and ceiling)
Vizier:  Watch where you're firing, you fool!
Jafu:  (glares at Peldor, then the Vizier, then Peldor again)  Grr...
Peldor:  And for my next trick... (he suddenly catches the Vizier's gaze,
  concentrating hard)  You will call off this attack.  We have urgent
  business to discuss.
Vizier:  (mesmerized)  Uh...yes, a good idea.  Jafu, cease and desist.
Jafu:  (looks puzzled)
Vizier:  (to Peldor)  We have urgent business to discuss.
Peldor:  You're right about that.
Jafu:  (snarls)  What the hell is going on here?!?  (he slaps the
  Vizier across the face)  Snap out of it!
Vizier:  (looks around)  Huh?
Jafu:  This fool was using sorcery on you.
Vizier:  Yes, now I remember!  (he looks at the empty cell)  Uh, what
Jafu:  (glares at the cell, which is now vacant)!?
Vizier:  Don't just stand there, you dolt - find him!

  Just then, the scene was disrupted as a group of people burst into
the dungeon block!  A huge man, both tall and fat, was carried on a
litter borne by four stocky servants.  To either side of this seat
marched an entourage of palace guards, a dozen in all.  Behind the
litter-borne man stood a huge, bald fellow, his oiled black goatee
sticking out from his chin.

Vizier:  Sultan!

  The Sultan, he in the litter-seat, was a bearded, swarthy man of
significant girth.  He would have stood well over six feet, had he
been standing, and he easily weighed four hundred pounds.  He gave
the impression of one who had once been an active, energetic warrior
but who had, over the years, slowly gotten soft and lazy.  Still, he
was an imposing figure, and his eyes shone with both intelligence
and cunning.

Sultan:  Vizier!  What foolishness are you up to-  By Tasha's pointy
  head, an efreet!
Jafu:  (looks around, unsure what the best reaction would be)
Vizier:  I can explain, O Great Magnificence-
Sultan:  (shaking his head)  No, I'm afraid you can't.  You see, your
  man Hakeem failed in his mission.
Vizier:  I- I don't know what you speak of!
Sultan:  (holds up a hand bedecked with rings)  You're lying.
Vizier:  Ah...
giant bald fellow:  Hakeem is no more - I rent him limb from limb -
  but he told us everything.
Sultan:  You see, Vizier, I have known of your plans for some time
  now.  You forgot that I was a warrior, with a warrior's instincts,
  long before I was Sultan.
Vizier:  No...
Sultan:  Kassim, get this fool for me, please.
giant bald fellow:  With pleasure.  (he sails toward the Vizier)
Vizier:  Jafu!  Stop that genie!
Jafu:  Heh.  (he moves to combat the approaching genie, glad to be
  part of any fighting going on)
Sultan:  And as for you, Vizier-
Vizier:  Aie.  (he abruptly flees through a secret door)
Sultan:  Gods, what a craven coward!

  Just then, the hinge of a certain cell door sprung loose, causing
the door to open.  An invisible figure snuck out, neither it nor the
now-ajar door noticed in the confusion.  As the djinn and the efreet
began their battle, and the palace guards moved to protect their
Sultan, the invisible thief went after the Vizier, chasing him into
the passage.
  Peldor darted down the dark tunnel, chasing the distant, fleeing
figure.  The Vizier had acquired a torch from somewhere, and its light
was a dead giveaway as to his location.  No thief or warrior, his wits
had apparently fled him even as he had fled the dungeon; he was easy
to chase.  Too easy, as it turned out; Peldor found himself running
over open air as the floor dropped out from under him.  However, his
running momentum combined with his feather-falling power to carry him
to the far edge of the pit, and he was able to grab the ledge and pull
himself over in one smooth and continuous motion.  Noting briefly that
the spider-climbing spell had finally ceased, Peldor dashed after the
Vizier, doing his best to stay wary of any traps that might lie ahead.
  The passage soon opened into a larger chamber, and at its far end,
the Vizier stood, tugging at a lever in the wall.

Peldor:  (still invisible, he stalks the man)

  Suddenly, a thick slab of wall vanished, sliding into some hidden
recess.  A dark, cavernous place was visible beyond, and the Vizier
darted into this area.  As Peldor hurried to follow, he heard a loud
hissing sound ahead, and wondered what manner of plan the Vizier was
hatching here.
  The answer became apparent moments later, when the thief nearly
bumped into the scaly green body of a tremendous snake!  Greater than
three feet wide, the thing's length was coiled about the cavern floor
like a discarded rope.  Even now, however, the massive body coiled and
slithered, sensing prey in its midst.  Peldor, sensing that he was the
prey in its midst, jumped aside, but still brushed against the scaly
creature's body.  Instantly, the snake began constricting its coils,
attempting to capture the intruder.  Before he could dodge aside, the
thief found himself trapped in the deadly coils, his sword wrenched
from his hand!

Peldor:  Shit!  (acting quickly, as there is no time to lose, he TKs
  the fallen sword up...and right into the giant snake's eye)
giant snake:  (goes crazy, writhing about in pain, its lashings
  shaking the very walls with their impact)

  Peldor found himself free, at least at this instant, and he jumped
away from the serpent, dashing out of harm's way...and into a dead-end
niche of the cavern!  Not only was he now visible, but he was cornered,
and the gigantic snake now faced him, slithering in his direction with
a slow but sure motion.  Reddish-white slime oozed from its ruptured
eyeball, but its remaining eye glared at the thief.
  It was now that Peldor noticed the Vizier, standing to one side, a
wooden flute clutched in one hand.  Recalling something about charming
snakes with flutes, and cornered with almost no place to go, the thief
made a bold move.  Getting a short running start (which caused the
snake to lunge) he used his enchanted boots to leap up and away.  The
serpent's fanged jaws snapped shut on the space Peldor had just vacated
a moment before.
  As for Peldor, he landed right next to the startled Vizier.

Vizier:  How?!?
Peldor:  Shaddup.  (he punches the man in the face with his sword-hand
  and grabs the flute)
Vizier:  No!  You can't-
Peldor:  I said, shaddup.  (with one booted foot, he kicks the man out
  toward the center of the cavernous chamber)

  As the thief suspected would happen, the giant snake now ignored him
entirely, its attention focused on the Vizier.  Maybe it smelled the
robed man and didn't like him, or maybe the flute offered some kind of
warding against serpents.  Whatever the case, the Vizier only had time
for a single terrified scream - and then he had vanished into the maw
of the snake!  Apparently sated, the serpent slithered away into the
dark recesses of the cave to digest its meal.

Peldor:  (still holding the flute, he retreats, heading back the way
  he came, muttering to himself)  Guess he disagreed with something
  that ate him...

next:      confronting the Sultan
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     Nah.

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