Chapter #506

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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 1991-7 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                    +
+                           +
+  Belphanior  (14th)^3 level elven warrior/wizard/thief       (CN) +
+    Otto        8th/10th level dwarven warrior/thief          (CN) +
+    the wispy thing                                                +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human warrior/thief      (N) +
+    Bosco      12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Date:        7/9/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       many leagues east of Greyhawk                       +
+  Climate:     hot                                                 +
+  "The love of money is the root of all evil.  And man needs       +
+   roots.                                                          +
+                                                       - unknown   +

                     DVI.  Unlikely Companions

  While one portion of the party has ventured to the far north, and
another remains in Greyhawk, the third - comprised of Peldor, Tanya,
Bosco, Belphanior, Otto, and the ever-present wispy thing - journeys
to the northeast...

Bosco:  -and that's when it hit me:  Cynder's gone, but somewhere out
  there, he had a lair...a lair piled to the brim, no doubt, with all
  the loot we could possibly imagine!  (he holds his hands up in glee)
  Maybe more!
Peldor:  (rolling his eyes)  Is there such a treasure, Bosco?  More
  than you can imagine?
Otto:  (to Belphanior)  You've gotta give him credit - he thinks of
  shit no one else would think of.
Tanya:  That's his stock in trade.
Bosco:  (completely oblivious, he speculates aloud to Peldor about
  the vast hoard that lies "out there" somewhere)
wispy thing:  (hovering several feet above the halfling's head, it
  amuses itself by playing with a dragonfly)  Spfff!
Belphanior:  (frowns)
Otto:  (to Belphanior)  Did you ever get that business taken care of,
  in Greyhawk?
Belphanior:  Sure did.  (turns to display what used to be an empty
  eye-socket...but is now filled with an orb of smooth, clear crystal)
Tanya:  Aie!
Belphanior:  Sorry, didn't mean to startle you.
Tanya:  No-  I mean, it's okay.  Uh...what _is_ that?!?
Belphanior:  It's an enchanted eye of rare gemstone.
Peldor:  How'd you come across something like that?
Belphanior:  Awhile back, I helped some gnomes with a fishy problem
  they were having...well, it turns out that their king was rather
  grateful.  He had his best tinkerers and wizards fashion this eye
  for me.  I got a...message to this effect right before we left for
  the Isle, but there was no time to go get the eye then.  (he smiles
  thinly)  Right before we left Greyhawk, though, I made the time.
Bosco:  Whoa!  (he wonders to himself how much the eye is worth on
  the black market)
Tanya:  That's great!  So you can see again?
Belphanior:  Oh, yeah.
Peldor:  Also covers up that gaping scarred socket rather nicely...
Otto:  I knew you were up to something.  I knew it.
Belphanior:  I would've taken you with me...down there...but they
  told me to come, alone.
Otto:  No big deal.
Peldor:  Why didn't you just have some priest regenerate your eye?
Belphanior:  Tougher than it sounds.  They tend to shy away from
  me for some reason...except the priests of darker gods, and that
  bears its own risks.  Besides, only one priest in a handful has
  that kind of power.
Tanya:  Hmm.
wispy thing:  (grins as it succeeds in driving the dragonfly away)
dragonfly:  Zzzz!
Peldor:  (gazes at the strange and beautiful clouds that drift along
  in the sky above)  The open road...this is nice.  Just like the
  good old days...
Tanya:  (to Peldor, in a lowered voice)  Maybe we shouldn't go back
  to Greyhawk.
Peldor:  Maybe not.  Especially after what happened.
Tanya:  You mean Ged?
Peldor:  Yep.
Tanya:  You're still upset about that?
Peldor:  And you're not?
Tanya:  Well, it's not that...just...
Peldor:  I'm still upset.  Looking for some kind of retribution,
  even.  Maybe.
Tanya:  But how do you strike back at a demon-lord who lives on
  another world entirely...and is all-powerful there?
Peldor:  That's the problem exactly.  You don't.
Tanya:  Well, don't let it get you down.  (she nods her head at the
  nearby Belphanior and Otto)  Without your company, I don't know if
  I can put up with them.
Peldor:  Good point.  Let's talk about the Green Dragon Inn.
Tanya:  How can we?  It's gone.
Peldor:  No, I mean let's talk about what to do when it comes back.
Tanya:  Oh?
Peldor:  I'm thinking brick would be nice...

  A short distance back, on their own horses...

Belphanior:  (to Otto)  We've been on the road for a long while.
Otto:  You think everything's okay back in Helgate?  I mean, we've
  been gone for a long time, and there're only the small group of
  guards to keep order.
Belphanior:  They'll be able to handle anything that comes up.
  That's what I hired them for.
Otto:  Hopefully...but still, I find myself wondering...
Belphanior:  Maybe I'll get a crystal ball like the one Alindyar
  has.  Then I can check in on such things.
Otto:  Hmm, a good idea.  Why not steal his?
Belphanior:  No...he's a friend and companion.  There are some lines
  even I won't cross.
Otto:  Hey, I was just joking.
Belphanior:  (grins)  We'll head to Helgate after we find the lair
  of Cynder.
Tanya:  (reins her mount back to where they are)  Helgate...what is
  this "Helgate" place you keep talking about?
Otto:  (gazes at the clouds thoughtfully, unsure whether Belphanior
  wants to tell her or not)
Belphanior:  Helgate...a wretched hive of scum and villainy.  (he
  carefully searches her face for reactions)
Tanya:  (an experienced card-player, she keeps a stoic expression)
  Oh, really?  That's interesting.
Belphanior:  Actually, it's this little mining town that we sort
  of took over.
Peldor:  Sort of?
Belphanior:  (grins crookedly)  Well, okay, we completely took it
Otto:  (nods innocently)
Tanya:  Took it over?  Completely?  Why?
Otto:  Because it was there.
Belphanior:  Also because it's remote...nobody comes looking for us
  there.  (he frowns)  Well, almost nobody.
wispy thing:  (purses its immaterial lips)  Vroot.
Peldor:  Where is this place?
Otto:  To the west.
Belphanior:  The far west.
wispy thing:  (turns to the west)  Yrrrp.
Tanya:  Sounds like the kind of place a lot of bandits and other
  creeps would flock to.
Belphanior:  Oh, it is.
Tanya:  You were right...a hive of scum and villainy.
Bosco:  (helpfully)  A wretched hive.
Peldor:  (suddenly realizes that Bosco's been talking with him while
  simultaneously listening to the others' conversation)  Huh.
Belphanior:  (to Tanya)  Don't worry, though - your young ward is
  perfectly safe there.
Tanya:  _That's_ where we left Felicia?!?
Belphanior:  What, did you think I'd taken over a convent of nuns?
Tanya:  (shaking her head, she eyes Peldor)
Peldor:  (shrugs)
Bosco:  What's this now?
Peldor:  (sighs)  Just before we went on that island fiasco, we had
  to stash Felicia somewhere.  Somewhere safe.
Tanya:  We didn't want to just leave her at the inn - Alindyar said
  something to us about no place familiar being safe, and then there
  was all the trouble we've been having with the Thieves' Guild of
  Greyhawk - so we looked for an out-of-the-way place to put Felicia
  while we were gone.
Belphanior:  Helgate is out of the way.
Tanya:  Peldor said he'd hidden her, with "a little help from a good
  friend"...little did I know.
Peldor:  Relax.  She'll be fine.  (to Tanya)  Remember, I care about
  her too.
Tanya:  I know, but...(she shakes her head)  If I hadn't been so busy
  packing weapons and supplies, I'd have handled it myself.
wispy thing:  (floats down, level with Tanya's face)  Vroot...
Tanya:  (waves at the thing in irritation)
Bosco:  So lemme get this right:  Felicia's hanging out in this town,
  this Helgate, with that creepy ugly knife-throwing guy?
Belphanior:  That's one way of looking at it.
Otto:  For what it's worth, Razor Charlie isn't the only deputy in
  town.  We've got a lot of them - tough and responsible people, all.
  The girl's safer there than anywhere else.
wispy thing:  (spinning along in the air, it grins at a butterfly)
butterfly:  (alarmed, it flits away)
Bosco:  (chuckles)
Belphanior:  (to Tanya)  Remember my lady-friend, Victoria?
Tanya:  From the night before our wedding...yeah.  She was with all
  of us ladies on our carousing.  Why?
Belphanior:  She's in Helgate too.  She'll watch over Felicia like
  a mother, think about it.
Tanya:  Hmm.  I guess that's true.
Peldor:  (to Tanya)  Don't worry.  As soon as this Cynder-lair deal
  is over, we'll go to Helgate and pick Felicia up.  (frowning, he
  turns to Belphanior)  You've got this journey mapped out, right?
  You know where we need to go?
Belphanior:  I figured you'd remember.  The Griff was
  almost three years past.
Peldor:  Yeah...the dragon sicced his army of little coneheaded guys
  on us.
Belphanior:  Jermaline.  Even smaller than Bosco there.
wispy thing:  (regards Bosco, then Belphanior)  Aaarp?
Bosco:  Hey, I resemble that remark!
Tanya:  Just be glad you don't resemble a jermaline.
Peldor:  (grinning)  Their heads are pointed...that would explain a
Belphanior:  Anyway, I figure we can retrace our steps from last time
  until we find the jermaline.  The locals might be able to offer some
  clues as well.  Then, we find the hoard, kill anyone stupid enough
  to be guarding it, and split.
Tanya:  Just like that?
Belphanior:  (snaps his fingers)  Just like that.
Peldor:  Good plan.
Bosco:  Good?  It's a _great_ plan!
Otto:  Which is why it's probably going to be fraught with unexpected
  mishaps and dangers.
Peldor:  Bah.  That's what we Peldors live for.
Bosco:  And we Boscos.
Peldor:  Relax, Bosco.  There's only one of you.
Bosco:  But...(confused, he bites his tongue)

  Onward the five rode (while the sixth flew) - north they went, and
sometimes east as well.  Through lands old and new they traveled.  In
the trio of Ulek states they sampled the finest wares of gnomes and
half-elves.  In the great and peaceful kingdom of Nyrond they had
their weapons oiled and re-sharpened and purchased fine new clothes,
boots, and such.  Skirting the wild, hostile lands of the bandits,
they took the road through Almor to get to the Griff Mountains.  By
now, things had settled down, and tensions had played themselves out.
So it was that as dusk fell one evening, more than a month after they
had left Greyhawk, the weary and dust-cloaked companions found them-
selves in the Almorean city of Innspa.

next:      trouble comes a-calling
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     Credit to Vince Gray for this quest-idea.  I'm so busy
  thinking up the ideas you see that sometimes I forget about the
  ones you don't see.

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