Chapter #473

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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   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Belphanior     (14th)^3 level elven fighter/wizard/thief    (CN) +
+    Otto           8th/9th level dwarven fighter/thief        (CN) +
+    Victoria      11th level female vampiric human fighter    (NE) +
+                                                                   +
+  Helgate's town guards:                                           +
+    Aja           10th level female human priestess of Wee Jas(LN) +
+    Jutokai        7th level human fighter/archer              (N) +
+    Kinichi        7th level human ranger                     (CG) +
+    Razor Charlie  8th level human fighter                    (CN) +
+    Skektek        8th level human wizard                     (CN) +
+    Ys            13th level reptilian fighter                 (N) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        5/6/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        just past midnight                                  +
+  Place:       deep within the mines of Helgate                    +
+  Climate:     cold and raining                                    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "Superior weaponry always triumphs over superior numbers."       +
+  "Don't underestimate superior numbers."                          +
+                                      - classic military debate    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





              CDLXXIII.  Battle With the Palefaces





  The adventurers have entered a gigantic underground cavern, only
to be attacked by a dozen short, wiry humanoid monsters.

Belphanior:  Stand fast, all of you!  They have souls, and therefore
  they can die!
Otto:  Good, because it's either them or us.  (he raises his loaded
  crossbow, and fires at a springing foe)
creature#1:  (hit in the forehead, it screams and reels, black stuff
  oozing from the hole in its shattered forehead)  Ghaaa!
Otto:  See, they _can_ die.
Kinichi:  It's not dead yet.
Jutokai:  (fires an arrow into the twitching thing's chest)  Not
  yet.
Belphanior:  That's the spirit!  (he steps forth, slashing another
  creature across the chest)  Die!
creature#2:  (falls, writhing)

  They moved out, forming a crude half-circle around the spellcasters
(Skektek and Aja) as a full melee ensued...

Otto:  (drops his crossbow - the weapon staying close at hand thanks
  to a recently-installed strap - and draws his sword, slashing in
  defense as a foe lunges)  Damn, they're fast-
creature#3:  (rakes the dwarf with its talons, merely scratching his
  chain mail)  Gaaaaa!
Otto:  (stabs the thing through the shoulder)
creature#3:  (bleeds, but continues to flail away wildly)  Ghaaaa!
Otto:  Shit!  (he whips out his barbed dagger and stabs the foe in
  the throat)
Jutokai:  (his shortbow knocked aside by a sweeping claw)  Damn!
  (he ducks another slashing blow, trying to get his shortsword out
  of its sheath)
creature#4:  (grabs the archer and sinks its deadly fangs into his
  shoulder)  Gyaaaa!
Jutokai:  Eyaaagh!
creature#5:  (groping for Kinichi)  Ghaaaaa-
Kinichi:  (swings his sword in a mighty overhead arc, splitting the
  thing's head, causing chips of bone and gushes of blood to leak
  out)
creature#5:  (thrashing about, spraying ichor everywhere)  GAAAAA!
Kinichi:  (propels the foe away with a powerful kick)
creature#6:  (utterly unintimidated, it launches itself at Ys)  Gha!
Ys:  I don't think so.  (he swats the thing with his sword, shearing
  it cleanly in half)
creature#6:  (its separated halves sail away)
Belphanior:  (watches the huge sword whiz less than a foot from his
  face)  Hey, careful!
Ys:  Sorry about that.  (he catches another foe on his backswing,
  lopping off its arm and shoulder)
creature#7:  (staggers back, screaming and spraying black slime
  everywhere)  Ghaaaaa!
Belphanior:  (keeping another foe at bay with deft swordplay, he
  suddenly lunges forth, stabbing it through one eye)
creature#8:  Ghak!  (it dies)

  Whatever the weird things were, they had life-force, for the elf
felt its power as he absorbed it through his sword.  There was
barely time to blink, though, as another of the monsters leapt to
the attack.

Belphanior:  (punches the foe in the neck)
creature#9:  (barely fazed, it rakes at the elf with its claws)
  Gaaaaa!
Belphanior:  (driven back slightly)  Argh!
Victoria:  (with blindingly fast slashes, she scores again and again
  on her attacker)
creature#10:  (cut in a dozen places already)  Ghaaa!  (it swipes
  and slashes at the woman, but somehow misses every time)
Victoria:  (laughing at the foe)
Razor Charlie:  (hurling knives left and right, he stays out of the
  melee, but slows several of the foes down significantly with knee
  or arm wounds)
creature#2:  (staggering to its feet, it takes a thrown knife in the
  neck, and gurgles as it falls again)  Gaagrglgl...

  The warrior-types were sorely pressed, but it paid off, for they
had successfully kept the foes from reaching the spellcasters; now
the latter made it count.

Skektek:  Jutokai, Otto - duck!  (he lets a lightning bolt rip, and
  it darts between and over the two warriors)
creature#11:  (blasted at nearly point-blank range by the sizzling
  arc of electricity, it is fried on the spot)
creature#12:  (becomes the next node in the conduit, burned to a
  crisp where it stands)
creature#13:  (tries to leap to one side, but is just plain unlucky
  as the airborne bolt jumps toward it)  Gaaaaa-  (it, too, drops
  to the ground, smoking and still)
Otto:  Yeah!  (he guts his foe with his knife, then yanks his sword
  out of its shoulder)  Gotcha...
Aja:  (reaches out with a floating force-hammer of mystical origin,
  smashing a random creature across the face, felling it with a
  crushed, bleeding cavity where its mouth and nose used to be)

  The things were tenacious, and strong, and fairly quick on their
clawed little feet.  However, they could and did die just like any
other humanoid foes.  Ys was a scaly grey whirlwind of destruction,
bodily tearing creatures away from his allies, sometimes flinging
them against the cavern wall with bonebreaking force.  A short time
after it had begun, the battle was over.  All of the strange pale
creatures were slain, black blood oozing forth from their corpses.
Jutokai had a fairly serious shoulder injury, and Otto and Kinichi
had minor wounds.  The others escaped with only scratches.

Aja:  (working healing magic on Jutokai's bloody shoulder)  Stop
  trying to bind the wound!  I can't heal you if you keep doing
  that.
Jutokai:  (somewhat embarrassed)  Sorry.
Victoria:  (eyeing the bloody wound, she licks her lips discreetly)
Otto:  (checking the things' bodies)  Holy smokes - they're melting!

  So they were - not quietly at all, either, but with loud hissing
and bubbling noises.  The goo formed by the rapidly-decaying bodies
was gray in color, perhaps because it mixed with the blood.  This
melting wasn't overly rapid, but it was constant, and after a short
time, all that remained of the foes were a number of shallow, smelly,
smoking pools of nasty slime.

Victoria:  How...interesting.
Belphanior:  (to her, in a low voice)  Were those things alive?  I
  mean, could you have...?
Victoria:  Drained them?  I'm not sure.  I used my sword, as you
  requested.  (she smiles)  Not that their blood was necessarily
  palatable...
Razor Charlie:  (grimaces as he watches the last of the corpses
  complete its bizarre self-destruction; he soon begins collecting
  his thrown knives)
Skektek:  What _were_ those things?
Aja:  Demonspawn, perhaps...I've read of fell things which lurk in
  the depths of the earth.
Belphanior:  Haven't we all?
Ys:  They certainly seemed capable of taking miners.
Otto:  Yeah...my guess is that they showed up, got hungry, and then
  found our mines, and started killing and eating anyone they found.
Kinichi:  But they were silent, and quick...that suggests that they
  didn't want to alert anyone.
Jutokai:  At least not right away.
Victoria:  (shaking her head)  But where did they come from...and
  why?
Belphanior:  Good question.  (he looks toward the far end of the
  cavern, pointing with his freshly-wiped sword)  I'd bet that the
  tunnel over there, across the way, will help us learn the answer
  to that question.





next:      more fearsome stuff
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:     The Braves won NLCS game 1, and I was there!  Of course,
  by the time you read this, things will have advanced.
    Thanks to Matt Hurd for the crossbow-strap idea.  Now Otto need
  not drop his crossbow every time he draws his sword.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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