Chapter #481

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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   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  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:        6/22/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        late morning                                        +
+  Place:       the Isle of the Ape, within some demi-plane         +
+  Climate:     hot and humid                                       +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "Flying is hours and hours of boredom, broken by a few           +
+   seconds of sheer terror."                                       +
+                                 - Gregory Boyd, WWII flying ace   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                    CDLXXXI.  Aerial Antics





  Following a strange but brief voyage, the adventurers have crashed
onto the mysterious Isle of the Ape.

Otto:  (hacks a vine aside)  Wonderful place...

  After a march of nearly a half-hour, they were just now achieving
the top of the slope that led up from the beach.  With a few final
huffs and puffs, the leaders of the pack crested the high hill.  They
were rewarded by an amazing view...

Belphanior:  Whoa...

  From here, the beach looked distant and small, despite its width
and the fact that it was only fifty feet below them, vertically.  To
either side, as previously noted, sheer cliffs rose straight up from
the sea-beaten rocks.  The island basically appeared to be a series
of jagged mountains, interspersed with smoking volcanoes.  A layer of
thick fog (or perhaps smoke?) hung at a certain altitude, obscuring
any view of the lower regions of the jungle that stretched before
them, as far as the eye could see.

Mongo:  (peering through cupped hands)  It sure would be nice if we
  could see more of the island...
Ged:  You're right, by Boccob.  Enough of this foolishness.  (he
  begins spellcasting)
Belphanior:  What are you up to?
Ged:  I'm going to fly up there and have a look.
wispy thing:  Pfsss.  (it rises up into the air, quickly vanishing
  from sight)
Belphanior:  Damn, I hate it when he does that.
Bosco:  Whee!  (he flies upward, his boots' little wings flapping
  like mad)
Lyra:  Hmm, I can do that too.  (her own boots of flying quickly
  catch her up to the halfling)
Ged:  (gets an irritated look on his face, as he completes his spell
  and sails upward with the others)

  The airborne adventurers could actually see very little; after they
rose through the thick cloud cover, they gazed upon an infinite sea
of fluffy white clouds.

Bosco:  I can't see anything!
Ged:  Knowing Zagyg, that was the point.  (sighing, he descends)

  Shortly, the land-borne adventurers spotted their allies dropping
slowly from the clouds.  Unfortunately, something else had spotted
them as well, as heralded by a shriek and a gusty flap of giant
green wings...

Gorin:  (ducks reflexively as a huge form sails by, directly over the
  party's heads)  Whoa!
Otto:  Where'd that come from?!?  I didn't hear a thing...

  More of the creatures followed the first; they looked like long,
skinny reptiles with wings.  They were huge, however, their wingspans
greater than thirty feet.  Hooked talons tipped their thin legs, and
toothless beaks clicked as the things flew.  Five in all, the weird
bird-lizards ascended with a new gust of wind, swooping toward Ged,
Lyra, and Bosco.

Bosco:  Jeepers, look!  (he points frantically)
Ged:  Boccob!  (he begins spellcasting)
Lyra:  Not quite...(she opts for flight, dropping like a stone as the
  attackers zoom toward her)
bird-lizard #1:  (screeches, a terrifying, high-pitched sound)  Scraar!
Alindyar:  (rather worried)  Lyra!
Mongo:  Don't worry, I'll save the day.  (he hurls Stormcrest)

  Immediately, the dwarf noticed that something was wrong.  The hammer
soared into the air, propelled by the dwarf's prodigious strength, but
it quickly lost momentum, dropping from the sky rather that sailing
toward its target.

Mongo:  (watches the hammer drop to the ground about fifty feet away,
  in stunned silence)
Gorin:  What the hell?!?
Rillen:  (already drawing his bow back, he fires an arrow, and his
  missile flies true, splitting into two shafts which bury themselves
  in one foe's head)
bird-lizard#5:  Scraaaa-  (it plummets from the sky, its huge wings
  beating weakly)
Songa:  (runs forth and casts a long, thin spear)  Hiyaaaaa!
bird-lizard#4:  (pierced through its midsection, it veers and dips
  crazily)  Squarrrr!
Rillen:  Nice throw, dear.
Songa:  Heh.  (she takes her second spear and prepares it)

  Meanwhile, in the sky...

Ged:  (rammed by one of the creatures before he can complete his
  spell)  Argh!  (his armor saves him from serious damage, and he
  realizes that the thing tried to _spear_ him with its long beak)
  Urgh...(he floats in the air, stunned, as the foe circles around
  for another pass)
bird-lizard#1:  (its beak cracked and aching like hell from the hit
  on Ged's elven chain mail, it suddenly decides to seek softer food,
  and flies away shakily)  Scraaa!
Ged:  Ungh.  (he concentrates on landing softly, a trying task due to
  the pain in his side)
bird-lizard#2:  (intent on eating Bosco, it soars toward the hovering
  halfling)
wispy thing:  (flies alongside the creature's head, attempting to
  distract it)  Sssss!
bird-lizard#2:  (snaps briefly at the irritant with its beak, then eyes
  Bosco once more)  Scraaa!
Bosco:  Bosco is no snake-bird's lunch!  (he pulls a small glass globe
  from one pocket, and boldly hurls it into the creature's face as the
  thing attacks)
bird-lizard#2:  (catching the full blast of the missile, it breathes
  potent deep-gnome sleeping gas)  Scrrrrff?!?  (it begins wobbling,
  and flies away, coughing raspily)
wispy thing:  (chases the fleeing foe, grinning toothily)  Spaaa!
Bosco:  Hah!
Lyra:  (falls away from another of the creatures)
bird-lizard#3:  (pursues the drow as she drops from the sky)
Lyra:  (suddenly reverses her direction, climbing again)
bird-lizard#3:  Scraaa!  (thrown off, it misses her by a good ten feet,
  razing the ground and almost crash-landing)
Otto:  (fires a crossbow bolt at the thing as it passes over him)
bird-lizard#3:  (hit in the neck, it flies away - then suddenly begins
  twitching and spasming)  Scraaar!  (it falls, twisting and gyrating
  toward the jungle below)
Arnold:  (sword out, but unable to do much here, he turns to Otto)
  What habbened?
Otto:  (grinning)  Poisoned bolts...gotta love 'em...
Alindyar:  Lyra!
Lyra:  (lands gracefully)  No problem.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Then why are you shaking?
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Okay, so maybe I was scared.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  You had me fooled.  The way you evaded
  that creature...amazing!
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  It was a logical idea...and it worked.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  And I am glad.
Bosco:  (also lands)  No sweat.  Call me...Bosco, bird sharpshooter!
Belphanior:  (holding one of his wands, he finds himself without any
  targets)  Hmm.  (frowning, he finally puts the wand away)
Otto:  Hate to break it to you, Bosco old boy, but those weren't birds.
Songa:  (retrieves her spear from her first victim, which crashed only
  a hundred feet away)
bird-lizard#4:  (still twitching on the ground)
Songa:  (fearless, she steps on its neck, pulls her spear out of its
  belly, and finishes it with a blow to the head)  Mercy killing.
Rillen:  (scanning the horizon for more foes, he sees none)
Tanya:  (to Peldor)  Well, that certainly was an easy fight...
Peldor:  Not for all of us...
Mongo:  (having retrieved his hammer, he rejoins his companions)  I
  don't get it...what went wrong?
Belphanior:  Maybe the hammer doesn't work here, for some reason.
Ged:  I think that's obvious.  (he begins spellcasting)
Alindyar:  Mongo, is that hammer not powered by the forces of earth?
Mongo:  Land...rock...yeah.
Alindyar:  Perhaps the fact that we are no longer on Oerth has caused
  this...problem.
Mongo:  Maybe...hell, I don't know.  When I threw it, it flew okay,
  for a normal hammer.  It's like the special flying powers of the
  thing didn't work.
Gorin:  And no thunderbolt.
Mongo:  (sadly)  No...(hoping that the hammer will regain its power,
  he hurls it at a nearby rock - but only chips away a small bit of
  stone, much like a normal warhammer would)  Hell.
Tanya:  (feeling badly for the dwarf, who looks quite dejected)
Peldor:  (to Mongo)  Do you have another weapon?
Mongo:  Sure...somewhere...(he begins looking for his portable hole,
  in order to look for another weapon)
Ged:  (casts a minor spell of healing upon himself)  Ahh...
Arnold:  Are you okay?
Ged:  Yea...but we'd better be more careful about flying around...
wispy thing:  (returning from a futile chase with one of the fled foes)
  Yrrrp!

  As they rested and got their bearings, they realized that a course
of travel had to be chosen.  Fortunately, a well-worn path led away,
into and through a vast expanse of high, broken hills.

Otto:  (gazing at the sun, he gauges its position in the sky)  The
  trail goes northeast...
Belphanior:  Shall we?





next:      the natives show themselves
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:     ...
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