Chapter #469

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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   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Xandaria     grey elven female wizard                        (N) +
+  Gilanthar    grey elven female high priest                  (LN) +
+  Talisantia   grey elven warrior                             (CG) +
+  Brilthasan   grey elven warrior/mage                        (NG) +
+  Leila        grey elven female warrior/mage                 (LN) +
+  Aristobulus  grey elven warrior/mage/thief                  (CN) +
+  Ged          15th/14th level grey elven priest/mage         (NG) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        4/21/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        near dusk                                           +
+  Place:       Lo Finsara, within the northern Spindrift Isles     +
+  Climate:     chilly                                              +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "Where is he?  Around here?"                                     +
+  "He's dead."                                                     +
+  "Could be anywhere, then."                                       +
+                                       - from _The Dark Crystal_   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                  CDLXIX.  A Deathbed Dialogue





  The seven siblings entered the cavernous bedchamber.  Once, the
place had been ornately decorated, with trappings and furniture fit
for most kings.  Now, however, the room seemed empty.  Huge, but
empty, like an ancient tomb.
  The double door, fashioned of the finest wood framed with finely-
wrought metal, closed silently behind the last of the seven.  This
was not to be a public affair; only family members, related by blood
and sired by the dying elf-lord, were to see his last moments.  When
it was over, of course, he would be garbed in his most lavish robes
and jewelry and put aboard a small ship.  This vessel, lit by torch
and kept aflame by mystical fires, would then be sent a-sail to the
east, toward those unknown realms that were legend even among the
elves.
  But for now, at least, the withered figure on the canopy bed was
still alive.  Ged winced as he and his brothers and sisters approached
the huge bed; he hadn't suspected it would be this bad despite knowing
better.  The emaciated figure that lay between the sheets, once tall
and regal, couldn't have weighed more than a young female elf now.
The smell of death, overpowering and ever-present, pervaded the room
and sapped the strength of those within.

Talisantia:  (to the elven high priest, who is present here at all
  times, to attend to the elf-lord)  Leave us.
elven high priest:  But-
Xandaria:  (her eyes glowing)  Out.
elven high priest:  (nods, and meekly leaves the bedchamber)

  Suddenly, the figure in the bed spoke, in a weak but familiar voice.

dying elf-lord:  You...still have the fire, my daughter.
Xandaria:  Of course, Father.  Of course.  I got it from you...we all
  did.
dying elf-lord:  And I am glad.
Gilanthar:  What can we do for you, Father?
dying elf-lord:  Nothing, I'm afraid.  The reaper comes for us all...
  and my time has finally come.
Talisantia:  (saddened, in his warrior's heart, to see anybody come to
  this, least of all his father)
dying elf-lord:  Fear not, my son...my eldest son.  Beyond the horizon
  lies a new life, for me...
Brilthasan:  Th-  that doesn't mean we want to lose you!
dying elf-lord:  (smiles grimly)  Son, I have lived...for more than two
  millennia.  I have done things...things you can never imagine.
Aristobulus:  (wondering idly if his father kept any kind of diary)
dying elf-lord:  ...I have journeyed to other worlds...and the ends of
  this one...seen things that were old when the world was young...done
  things which the scrolls of history still haven't gotten right...(he
  laughs, then coughs spastically for long moments)  Ghak...
Leila:  Father, please try and rest-
dying elf-lord:  No.  No more rest.  I...weary of this.  Your mother
  is gone, but I must...go to join her.
Xandaria:  She will be waiting, and happily.
dying elf-lord:  Aye.  (he cranes his neck, looking over his children
  one-by-one)  A father could not be prouder...of you...all of you.
Aristobulus:  (expressionless)
dying elf-lord:  Take heed now, my sons and daughters...for my dying
  wishes must not go unheard...
Ged:  They will not, Father...they will not.
dying elf-lord:  Good...even the youngest among you understands.
Gilanthar:  Don't talk like that, Father.
dying elf-lord:  And why not?  (he coughs for a bit)  ...it is true.
  I am proud of you...all of you...as was your mother.  Some might
  say...we didn't have enough time together...but I think we all know
  that...wouldn't quite be true.
Leila:  (close to tears)  Oh, Father...
dying elf-lord:  Now, now...listen to me, all of you.  I only ask that
  you remember me...remember the principles by which I lived, and
  taught you to.
Talisantia:  (frowns)
dying elf-lord:  (his gaze passing to each of his children in turn)
  Xandaria, my oldest...what a fine wizard you have become...
Xandaria:  I had a good teacher...the best.
dying elf-lord:  Gilanthar...you have risen to power in the temple and
  the city...and given me my grandchildren...
Gilanthar:  (a tear rolls down her face)  Yes...
dying elf-lord:  Talisantia...warrior born and bred...the finest in
  the land...
Talisantia:  Rest now, Father.
dying elf-lord:  Brilthasan...you, too, have done well...the council
  speaks highly of you...
Brilthasan:  (shakes his head sadly, wiping his eyes)
dying elf-lord:  Leilandril...youngest daughter...you have made quite
  a name for yourself...word of your deeds reaches even here...
Leila:  (tears rolling down her cheeks)  Oh...
dying elf-lord:  Aristobulus...you have gone your own way, but still
  you have done well for yourself.
Aristobulus:  (winces)  Father...
dying elf-lord:  Ged, my youngest...you have come the longest way of
  all since your childhood...
Ged:  (at a loss for words)  I- I...
dying elf-lord:  (to the assembled group of seven)  All of you...must
  help one another now...work together...in times of need...let no one
  or nothing hinder this...
Xandaria:  We will not, Father.  Never again.
dying elf-lord:  I am proud...so proud...of all of you...(he sighs
  once, then lies still)
Leila:  Father?!?  (she sobs)
Gilanthar:  (bends over the elf-lord)  He is...gone.  (she closes his
  eyes, gently)
Xandaria:  And so it ends.
Ged:  (shakes his head sadly)  I should have stayed here...spent more
  time with him...
Aristobulus:  No.  Don't you see?  That's the whole point of what he
  was saying:  each of us chose our own destiny, followed our own
  course.  Though we can band together when necessary, we still have
  to do as our hearts tell us.  Whether that leads to a wizard's tower
  or a priest's temple or a warrior's battlefield...there is no looking
  back.
Ged:  Each of us is what we are...
Leila:  ...and he knew it, and he was proud.
Gilanthar:  And thus he went into the next world happy, knowing that
  _we_ knew that he knew.
Talisantia:  What more could one ask for, before embarking on such a
  journey?
Ged:  What, indeed?



  They left the bedchamber then, to inform the relatives and others in
attendance of the passing of their father.  The preparations for the
body and the funeral ship's sailing would take many hours; the vessel
would sail at dawn's first light.  Various elves moved about, somberly
but efficiently, just as their patron would have wanted it.  As for
Ged and his six siblings, they retired to their rooms to mourn and
wait for the dawn.

Xandaria:  (to Ged, as he prepares to close the door to his bedchamber)
  Ged?
Ged:  Yes?
Xandaria:  I know that I never talked to you much...especially in the
  last few years.  I want you to know that...that, well, I'm proud of
  you too.
Ged:  Me?
Xandaria:  You've learned a great deal about life...more than any of
  us, perhaps.  You've achieved more by going outside the isles.  I'm
  not saying I would, or could - but you did, and...I'm glad you're
  here.
Ged:  Uh...thanks.  (he embraces her)



  At dawn, as more than a hundred grey elves watched from the docks
of the elven city, the small ship, already aflame with eerie blue
light, sailed to the east.  Within that ship rested a mighty and much-
mourned elf, one who had lived for many centuries, seen countless and
wondrous sights, and sired seven of the finest children anyone could
ask for.





next:      something else
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 don't really know why the old elf had to die.  It was
  just another of those ideas that sprung into my mind.  I know
  that when _I_ die (hopefully later than sooner) I'll be happier
  if I've left behind a number of happy, successful offspring.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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