Chapter #477

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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                    +
+                           +
+  Alindyar     17th level drow mage                            (N) +
+    Lyra       13th level female drow mage                     (N) +
+  Belphanior  (14th)^3 level elven fighter/wizard/thief       (CN) +
+    Otto        8th/9th level dwarven fighter/thief           (CN) +
+    the wispy thing                                                +
+  Ged          15th/14th level grey elven priest/mage         (NG) +
+    Arnold     13th level human barbarian warrior             (NG) +
+  Mongo        18th level dwarven fighter                     (CG) +
+    Gorin      10th level dwarven fighter                     (NG) +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human fighter/thief      (N) +
+    Bosco      11th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Rillen       17th level human monk                           (N) +
+    Songa      13th level human huntress                       (N) +
+  Date:        6/21/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        evening                                             +
+  Place:       Alindyar and Lyra's mansion, in Greyhawk            +
+  Climate:     temperate                                           +
+  "Most people can only handle so much truth."                     +
+  "How'd you get to be so smart?"                                  +
+          - Kalas & Duncan, from the Highlander episode _Finale_   +

                  CDLXXVII.  Details, Details

  At the request (command?) of Rary, representing the Circle of
Eight, the adventurers have regrouped.  Now, they mill about in
the den of the drows' mansion...

Ged:  Someone had better explain this to me, and soon.  I am _not_
  in the best of moods.
Alindyar:  Rary should have been here by now.
Mongo:  That old geezer?  He's really that powerful a player?
Ged:  He is...but still, my patience wears thin.
Rillen:  Believe me, my friend, you aren't the only one.
Peldor:  And to think, we were enjoying a nice quiet getaway in
Tanya:  It wasn't that quiet.
Peldor:  True, but it was pleasant.  And my scimitar-work was coming
  along rather well...
Tanya:  If you do say so yourself?
Peldor:  Err, right.
Bosco:  (having found a bottle of the drows' wine, he prances about,
  seeking a glass so as not to be rude)  Zeif?  What'd you go _there_
Tanya:  It's a long story.
Bosco:  Hmm, well, I'm all ears.  (he wiggles his ears)
Arnold:  (to Gorin)  Whad have you been up to?
Gorin:  (whirling his axe handily)  Training...been training for
  damn near a month.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Mongo:  Gorin's getting mighty handy with that axe!
Gorin:  "Getting"?!?  Hell, I've been good.
Mongo:  (claps his henchman on the back)  Ha ha, just kidding.
Gorin:  Heh.  (he twirls his axe)
Lyra:  (arrives, several food- and drink- bearing unseen servants in
  tow)  Refreshments while we wait?  (she spies Gorin)  I'll thank
  you not to swing that thing in my house.
Gorin:  Err, sorry.  (he puts the axe away)  Just playin' around.
Lyra:  Thanks.  (she motions the servants into the room, where their
  gifts are well-received)
Mongo:  (stuffing his face)  Mmrmph!  Haven't eaten in hours!
Belphanior:  Unseen servants?  (to Alindyar)  You should try real
  ones.  Victoria and I did, and we've never looked back.
Alindyar:  Hmm...I shall take that advice under consideration.
Otto:  (talking with Rillen)  -so then we started fireballing the
  damned thing, and that finally did it in.
Rillen:  Sounds like an unearthly terror.
Otto:  Really.  We still don't know what it was, exactly, or where
  it came from.
Songa:  But it's gone, and that's what really matters.
Otto: more dead miners.
Ged:  Where's that damned Circle of Eight?
Alindyar:  Shh-
Ged:  I will NOT be silenced!  (he calms slightly)  I don't mind
  undertaking some great quest - in fact, that's probably just what
  I need right now - but this waiting around for details is a waste
  of time!
Alindyar:  Finding out what you must know is never a waste of time.
Belphanior:  I'm sure Rary has his reasons.
Ged:  Bah.  (he pets Endymion)
Endymion:  (agitated by its master's mood, it nips at his finger)
Ged:  Ouch!
wispy thing:  (enters the room)  Spfff!
Alindyar:  (eyes the immaterial visitor)  I still find it hard to
  believe that that fellow returned...after all this time...
Belphanior:  Imagine what _I_ thought, then.
Lyra:  (joining Alindyar)  Where did it go?  What did it do?
Belphanior:  Only it knows.
wispy thing:  Frrrp.
Lyra:  Well, there you have it.
Mongo:  (talking with Gorin and Otto now)  Action, that's what I
  need.  This little jaunt will be a tune-up, and then...
Otto:  Then what?
Mongo:  Then...I may join someone's army.
Otto:  An army, eh?  Well, if you've got to do that, I'd recommend
  the army of-
Mongo:  No thanks, I've already got one in mind.
Otto:  Oh, okay.
Gorin:  It'd be an interesting life.
Mongo:  (nods)  But first things first...(he looks around)  Where IS
  that wizard?
Ged:  A good question.  (he finally takes a seat, after choosing one
  tome from the drows' shelves, and makes himself comfortable)  The
  Physics of Extradimensional Spaces...hmm...
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  He has finally settled down!
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Thank the gods...
Bosco:  (asleep in a chair, curled up like a cat)
Endymion:  (sniffing the halfling's feet)  Rrr...(it turns and dashes
  away suddenly)
wispy thing:  (chases the cat)  Spaaa!
Endymion:  Meow!  (it turns and jumps into the air, pawing at the
  immaterial irritant)
wispy thing:  (toys with the cat for a few seconds, then abruptly
  veers off and heads back to the group)
Endymion:  (growling to itself, it stalks into a dark corner)
wispy thing:  (orbiting Songa now)  Pffft?
Songa:  (to Rillen)  What is this apparition?
Rillen:  (sighs)  It's a long story...don't ask, and don't worry.
  It's quite harmless.
wispy thing:  (casts a brief, sidelong glance at Rillen)  Fssss.  (it
  flies away to investigate a magical light-torch that hangs in one
  wall sconce)

  Suddenly, without warning or announcement, plumes of smoke appeared
in the den's center, swirling and coalescing as they formed into a
solid shape...

Rary:  Good evening.
Ged:  So there you are.
Rary:  (nods, his white beard wagging slightly)  Yes indeed, here I
Alindyar:  The time has come, then?
Lyra:  (realizes that she's not prepared for a long journey)
Rary:  (shaking his head)  No, no.  Tomorrow will be fine - and you
  will need the rest, I assure you.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Hmm, maybe we should relocate this
  bunch to the Green Dragon Inn.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  No.  The last thing Peldor and Tanya
  need right now is to go back there.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Good point.
Ged:  How about telling everyone - now that we're all here - the
  details of this quest?
Rary:  Very well.
Mongo:  (to Gorin)  This ought to be good...

  The old, wizened archmage proceeded to do just that, recounting
to the assembled group the tale he had told Alindyar.  After the
summary was over, some people had questions...

Otto:  So this is an island...where?  Where is it?
Rary:  Far from here...very far.
Otto:  That doesn't answer my question.
Rary:  You'll see, when the time comes.
Otto:  (entirely unsatisfied, he lets it go...for now)
Belphanior:  And this's the legendary Wand of Orcus, you're
  sure of it?
Rary:  Absolutely.  The scryings and divinations of we Eight are never
Bosco:  But if you're so wise and all-knowing, then why don't you know
  what happened to the other people who've been to the island?
Rary:  What we know, we know absolutely.  What we don't know, we don't
Bosco:  (looks somewhat confused)
Belphanior:  I see.  (he smiles, thinking of the powers of that item,
  long purported in the myths and legends of the world, and what he
  could do if the wand were his)
Ged:  (he frowns, thinking about the same things, except that the
  wand needs to be destroyed)
Rillen:  So you want us to go there, get the thing, and bring it back
  to Greyhawk?
Rary:  (nodding)  Before the evil one's forces can do the same.
Songa:  (sensing that this quest isn't as cut-and-dried as it first
  seems)  Hmm.
Ged:  How are we to know the wand?
Belphanior:  Yeah, good question.
Rary:  (shrugs)  You'll know it when you see it...especially those of
  you who can sense darkest Evil.
Ged:  That would be me.
wispy thing:  (floating above Rary's head)  Sprrd.
Rary:  (ignores the thing)
Lyra:  So...once we get the wand, we can teleport back here with it,
  and that's that?
Rary:  Well...not exactly.
Ged:  Not exactly?  What does that mean?
Rary:  You...can't exactly teleport to and from the place.
Alindyar:  (frowns)  What manner of island is this?
Ged:  And how do we get there?
Rary:  Ah, now _that_ shall be an adventure unto itself...but thanks
  to the great Tenser, we have a way.
Belphanior:  Oh, this ought to be good.
Rary:  I told you that a band of mighty heroes endeavored to hide the
  wand there.  What I _didn't_ tell you was that they never came back.
Mongo:  What?!?
Rary:  They made it to the island, but were trapped there, along with
  the wand.
Ged:  Why?
Rary:  There is only one means of leaving the place, and that is a
  magical portal which you must find and activate.
Belphanior:  Can we find it?  Are you even sure it's there?
Rary:  (nods)  There is definitely a way off of the island...but the
  last party must have died before they could find it.
Bosco:  (suddenly wakes up)  That means their treasure's still all
Peldor:  Bosco brings up a good point:  is such loot ours to-
Rary:  (nods impatiently)  Yes, yes.  Anything you find is yours to
  keep.  All that truly matters is that wand.
Tanya:  (wondering if the potential gain is worth the risk)
Belphanior:  Who rules this island?
Rary:  No one rules it...the place is a barbaric jungle.
Songa:  (frowns)
Rary:  You may have heard of it:  the Isle of the Ape!

next:      final pre-launch check
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     I kid you not when I say that this will be the greatest
  and most dangerous adventure thus far.

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