Chapter #489

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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:        6/23/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        morning                                             +
+  Place:       the Isle of the Ape, within some demi-plane         +
+  Climate:     hot and humid                                       +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "We can't lose - we've got a winning team!"                      +
+                                - Sauron, from _Myth Adventures_   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                 CDLXXXIX.  Bungle in the Jungle





  After a late-night battle with a tyrannosaurus, the party must
now chase after Mongo, who was swallowed whole by the beast.

Songa:  (leading the march through the jungle, along the swath of
  destruction made by the dinosaur)  Do you know what I'd have said
  if someone told me three days ago that I'd be romping through the
  jungle, chasing a blinded runaway...monster that ate one of our
  companions?  (she turns to Bosco, who for some reason has decided
  to lead the party with her)  Do you know?
Bosco:  You probably would have told them they were a few cards
  short of a whole dragon-deck...a few cups short of a keg...a
  couple of whores short of a brothel-
Lyra:  I think it was a rhetorical question, Bosco.
Songa:  I'd have told them they were damned crazy, that's what!
Ged:  If anyone could have lived through being eaten, it's Mongo.
Arnold:  Yah.
Alindyar:  Surely we at least owe him the chance.
Gorin:  Damn right we do.
Belphanior:  Yup.  (he decapitates a hanging snake as he marches by
  it)
wispy thing:  (flies around the writhing body, then descends to
  examine the severed head)  Brfff?
Otto:  That was one big fucking monster...not that I don't want to
  find Mongo, I'm just saying that was a big behemoth.  Maybe as
  big as that thing we fought near Greyhawk that time.
Songa:  Whatever.  (she gazes at splintered trees and crushed
  bushes)  It was also a messy one.
Rillen:  It had to be, given the light Ged stuck on its face.
Ged:  (grins)  I'm rather proud of that, you know.  A simple spell
  as a weapon...most excellent.
Alindyar:  Aye, that it was.
Tanya:  (to Ged)  And you say that spell will last forever?
Ged:  Indeed.  Nothing will remove it, not water or nighttime or
  time.
Alindyar:  Time...the enchantment might fade after a millennium or
  so, perhaps...
Bosco:  (imagines the tyrannosaur's huge skull, its flesh long
  since rotted away, but the light-spell intact)  Yowzer.
Ged:  (to Alindyar)  Yea, good point.  But no time soon.  (he
  frowns)  The beast could claw at its face, maybe even rip it
  off...now _that_ might work.
Lyra:  Ick.
Alindyar:  (quietly)  A simple dispel would suffice.
Bosco:  (takes to the air)  I don't see anything.
Peldor:  We can only hope that the thing'll get tired and have to
  rest, eventually.

  In actuality, the adventurers had to rest - several times - and
still they found themselves apparently no closer to the rogue
dinosaur.

Gorin:  (to Belphanior)  Too bad you had no luck last night.
Belphanior:  (shrugs)  I flew, and flew, but I couldn't make out
  the terrain well enough to get far...and then the flying ones
  came.

  The others recalled well the elf's return from his scouting, his
body slashed in a dozen places.  The fact that he had made it back
at all was amazing, but apparently he'd been unable to drive away
all of the attacking dinosaurs.

Peldor:  Eight of them?
Belphanior:  Look, I blasted three with a fireball...but the things
  hunt in packs, and the others kept at me.  Forgetting about them
  in the heat of the chase was a serious mistake.
Tanya:  Just be glad you lived through it.
Belphanior:  It wasn't easy.  I had to drop altitude, crash into
  the jungle, and continue on foot.  When I couldn't see or hear
  them circling overhead, I flew again, but at treetop level.  They
  don't seem to care much for low altitudes.
Peldor:  Whoever heard of birds that hunt at night?  That's just not
  natural.
Alindyar:  What about owls?
Peldor:  Besides owls.
Ged:  They're not birds, they're dinosaurs.
Songa:  What does this word...'dinosaur'...mean anyway?
Alindyar:  Dinosaurs are legendary monsters...lizards of tremendous
  size.
Otto:  I think it's safe to say they're not legendary.
Alindyar:  They _are_ quite legendary.  'Tis our misfortune that
  they are not also fictional.
Songa:  Hmm.
Belphanior:  I don't think invisibility will help an airborne scout.
  I figure the things use smell and other senses to find prey.
Lyra:  Some kind of portable force-wall would be handy.  (ESPing to
  Alindyar)  We should invent one, when all of this is over.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  An excellent idea.
Bosco:  (hovers about twenty feet up)  Hey, I don't see anything in
  the air!  We could fly now...
Belphanior:  You don't see them now, but you will, when they come
  after you.
Rillen:  What can we do, then?
Ged:  If we had some way to _all_ be airborne...then we could have
  several lines of defense all at once.
Alindyar:  Verily, we would need a sky chariot, or some kindred
  device.
Belphanior:  Or a balloon...?!  (he turns to Ged, a gleam in his
  eye)  Don't you still have that sky balloon thing?
wispy thing:  (hovering over the elf's head, it makes a face)  Aaarp?
Ged:  No, I don't.  I lost it during that Necros debacle.
Tanya:  That's too bad.
Songa:  (to Rillen)  What in the world is a 'sky balloon'?
Rillen:  (using his hands to enunciate his description)  It's like a
  large sack, endowed with properties similar to a soap bubble, which
  allow it to float through the air, much as a boat on a river...or
  perhaps sail, as smoke rises from a fire.
Songa:  Soap?
Ged:  (happily)  A material used in civilized lands to aid in cleansing.
Songa:  (replies with a hard look)  Oh.
Ged:  (taken aback)  Huh?
Rillen:  Your 'civilized' lands, Ged, are not always as such.
Alindyar:  Aye.  In fact, at times, it may be hard to discern what is
  'barbarian' and what is not.
Ged:  Oh.
Alindyar:  Though, to be sure, the sky balloon is held aloft by the
  properties of magical gases within.
Ged:  Was held aloft.
Lyra:  Damn that Necros.  If not for him, we could be flying over all
  of this savagery, instead of walking through it.
Belphanior:  If not for Necros, a lot of things would be different.
Otto:  And not just Necros...
Belphanior:  (nods)  The other one...his master.  Someday there will
  be a reckoning.
Rillen:  What are you talking ab-
Bosco:  Whoa...(he crash-lands on the jungle floor)  Ow.
Gorin:  Something wrong?
Bosco:  Actually, there is...(he plops down, generally unnoticed as
  the party has stopped its march anyway)  I'm not...feeling well.
Gorin:  Uh...what do you mean?
Bosco:  My stomach hurts.
Tanya:  It should, given all those bananas you've been eating since
  we got here.
Otto:  Hell, that's probably it.  The fruit on this island made him
  sick.
Bosco:  Urg...(he leans back against a tree)

  By now, they had been tracking the huge dinosaur for hours, and
it was time to stop, for both rest and lunch.

Tanya:  (opens up a wrapped bit of meat)  What the hell?
Peldor:  What's wrong?
Tanya:  It's molded...(she holds up the greenish piece of meat for
  all to see)
Lyra:  Ugh.
wispy thing:  (frowns)  Sprrd...
Alindyar:  (looks around)  'Tis only natural, to be sure...given the
  environment here, the humidity.
Otto:  (on a hunch, he checks his sword's edge carefully)  At least
  the weapons aren't rusting.
Belphanior:  Not yet, but it could happen.
Gorin:  (suddenly finds that his wineskin has a dull reddish fungus
  on its mouth)  Dammit.
Arnold:  (eyes a chunk of bread, trying to decide if it's moldy or
  if it's just a trick of the light)  Aaa.  (he finally frowns, and
  eats the thing)
Songa:  (checking her equipment)  I think all of our things will
  rot away, given time, on this island.
Alindyar:  Agreed.  The deterioration is likely a factor of each
  item's construction.
Songa:  Whatever.  (she points at Bosco)  I can't help but wonder...
  is the little one sick because he ate fruit from this place?
Tanya:  Hmm, it does make sense.
Bosco:  (turns and vomits into the bushes)
Songa:  (frowns)  That's going to leave a scent for anything that
  might follow us.
Bosco:  G- gak...sorry, but I couldn't help it.  (he belches)  I do
  feel a little better now, though.
Gorin:  Mongo's got that cornucopia thing - it makes food magically.
Ged:  I can do _that_.
Gorin:  Maybe, but Mongo can make it faster - and better, too - with
  the food-horn he has.
Otto:  Yet another reason to find him, and quickly.
Songa:  Then let's hurry, and be on our way.

  Quickly and carefully, they ate their lunch, using unopened rations
and skins whenever possible.  Some of them washed their food, using
Ged's magical decanter.  Others were just extra-picky about what they
put in their mouths.  A few, such as Otto, dealt with the problem by
simply eating little or nothing.

Bosco:  (still looking a little green)  Won't you starve?
Otto:  The body can go without food for a week, or more.  It's all a
  matter of discipline.
Peldor:  If you say so.
Songa:  I don't like this island.  Usually, in the wild, one can use
  the native food and water without having to fear sickness.  But
  here...(she shakes her head, and turns her attention to the tracks
  as the party resumes its travels)  Hmm.
Lyra:  What is it?
Songa:  These tracks are getting fresh...no more than an hour old.
  (she looks around, eventually finding some large drops of blood on
  leaves and bushes)
Belphanior:  It's wounded...
Songa:  That it is...must be slowing it down, too.  (she looks to the
  trail ahead)  If we hurry...
Gorin:  Say no more!  (he stomps away, following the wrecked swath of
  jungle)  Mongo, we're on the way!
Songa:  (exchanges glances with Rillen)  Determined dwarf, isn't he?
Rillen:  (nods)  I can't say I blame him.  (they, along with the
  others, follow Gorin)
Belphanior:  (to Otto)  When we find that dinosaur, I'm gonna kill it.
Otto:  Naturally.
Belphanior:  No, I mean to put it out of its misery.
Otto:  Ah.
Ged:  Why bother?
Belphanior:  With the light-spell you imbedded between its eyes, it'll
  never be able to see normally again...and then it won't be able to
  hunt.  The damn thing will just starve to death.
Ged:  So?  As long as it doesn't eat us-
Belphanior:  No creature deserves to die like that.
Ged:  Mercy...a new emotion for you?
Belphanior:  Not a new one.  Just a necessary one, sometimes.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Look at the leaves with the blood-stains.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Insects have arrived already, to feast
  upon the blood.  Truly this place is a hellhole.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Let's just make sure it's not _our_ blood
  they eat next.

  They marched for several more hours before another clue was found...

Songa:  (examining a huge footprint)  Quickly!  This way!  (she dashes
  down the trail)
wispy thing:  (zips after her)  Spaaa!

  Moments later, the dozen adventurers were circled around a gigantic
reptilian corpse.

Belphanior:  Well, looks like we've found the dinosaur.
Tanya:  Are you sure?
Ged:  Yea...(he points to the glowing spot on the thing's forehead)
  This is the one, all right.
Gorin:  (uses his axe to poke at a huge, torn section of the beast's
  belly)  I...I think that's his stomach...
Bosco:  (catches a whiff of the ruptured stomach)  Ugh...(he runs to
  the nearby underbrush and vomits again)
Tanya:  Poor guy...
Peldor:  (joins Gorin)  Y'know, if I didn't know better, I'd say that
  Mongo tore his way out of the monster's belly, and wandered away
  somewhere.
Alindyar:  (frowns, eyeing the horrific wound in the corpse)  A likely
  possibility...
Ged:  Yea, I agree.
Arnold:  (looking at one flank)  Aaa!  They are eading it.
Peldor:  He's right.  Looks like someone has taken a huge hunk of meat
  off this thing.
Gorin:  (hefting his axe)  Natives.
Otto:  And there I thought it was just part of the wound...well, hell.
Songa:  (checking the underbrush)  Over here.
Rillen:  What have you found?
Songa:  Tracks...human ones.  Dozens of them, all barefoot - plus one
  set of heavy, booted tracks.
Gorin:  The kind Mongo would make...
Arnold:  Aaa.
Songa:  They're recent, too - less than an hour.  (she waves the others
  over)  All made at the same time...they went this way.
Belphanior:  And so shall we.

  They set out, now in pursuit of a different, but possibly equally
dangerous, sort of island denizen.





next:      what happened to Mongo?
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:     This module has a lot of ways for the adventurers to
  go...including a few I thought of on my own.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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