Chapter #508

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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                    +
+                                  tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  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:        8/12/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        nighttime                                           +
+  Place:       the Fox & Hound tavern, Innspa, Prelacy of Almor    +
+  Climate:     mild                                                +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "I don't make things complicated.  That's just the way           +
+   things get, all by themselves."                                 +
+                           - Martin Riggs, from _Lethal Weapon_    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





           DVIII.  Any Night's a Good Night for Fighting...





  While the others were in the bathroom, Belphanior took a cheap shot
from a big, aggressive, drunken fellow who was hitting on Tanya...

Tanya:  (peering at the edge of the table)  Oh, now you've gone and
  done it.
brute:  (grinning stupidly)  Let's party, baby...
Belphanior:  (stands up suddenly, brushing himself off)  Usually, my
  large and ugly friend, I kill people for even thinking about doing
  what you just did.
brute:  (turns to the elf)  Huh?
Tanya:  (holds her head in her hands, muttering)  Just one nice, quiet
  night...is that too much to ask...?
Belphanior:  But this time - just this once - I'm going to let you
  live.  (he nods to Tanya)  For my friend's sake, you see.
brute:  Well, gee.  Thas' sure nice of ya...(he lumbers toward the elf)
Belphanior:  Of course, that's not to say I won't fuck you up pretty
  bad.

  Nearby, Peldor and Otto made their way from the chamberpot area back
to the table...

Otto:  -so then I said to her, I said "Next time, aim for the nuts."
Peldor:  Oh, man.  You got away easy.
Otto:  Not really.  She picked up a table leg and proceeded to-
  WHOA?!  (he recoils, pulling Peldor back with him, as a large body
  slides along the greasy floor)
Peldor:  (watches the dazed form crash into a stack of unused tables
  and chairs, bringing the whole pile down with a tremendous crash
  and a great deal of splintering)  Uh...(he turns to Otto)  You don't
  suppose...?
Otto:  C'mon, let's get back to our table.

  As they approached the table, their fears were realized:  a trio
of cursing, angry brutes moved in on Belphanior, fists clenched.
Tanya was sitting in her chair, looking far from amused.  Belphanior,
on the other hand, looked extremely amused.

Belphanior:  (grinning)  Looks like it's drunken asshole night at this
  place...
goon#1:  You sure knocked Milo for a loop, pal.  Dunno how, but you're
  gonna pay.
goon#2:  In spades.
Belphanior:  (cracks his knuckles)  Somehow, I doubt that.
wench:  (cowering against the bar)
barkeep:  (clears his throat)  Uh, guys?
Belphanior:  (glares at the man)
goons:  (also glare at the man)
barkeep:  I do say, I don't want any trouble...
Belphanior:  Who the hell are you?
barkeep:  I'm Martin, old chap.  Owner and proprietor of this place.
Belphanior:  Then you'd better convince these clowns to back off, or
  else they'll be wearing their assholes as hats, get my drift?
Martin:  Well, now.  _You_ obviously have no idea how we run things
  around here.  Let me tell you, there's no-
Belphanior:  Quiet, you.  I'm trying to get into a fight here.
goon#3:  (seeing Belphanior distracted, he moves around the table to
  approach the elf from the other side)
Tanya:  (while sipping her beer, she nonchalantly sticks a foot out,
  tripping the fellow)
goon#3:  (sprawls across the floor)  D'oh!
Belphanior:  (empties the remainder of his mug on the man's head)  This
  crap didn't taste that good anyway.
Martin:  That's our finest ale!  Brewed fresh by my long-lost brother
  Maxwell, it was.  I daresay-
Peldor:  (weaving drunkenly)  Urp!

  Suddenly, the uneasy detente was shattered, as a bellowing form came
crashing toward the standoff...

Milo:  (bellowing like an ox)  Bust me across the floor...yer gonna pay
  for that, elf!  (he swats the unprepared Peldor out of his way and
  leaps at Belphanior)

  With a single fluid motion, Belphanior stepped aside, grabbing the
bulky fellow by his belt and using his own momentum against him.

Milo:  Huh?!?
Belphanior:  (tosses Milo onto the bar as if he were a sack of potatoes)
Milo:  Ungh!
Belphanior:  Get ready to take a ride...(he slides the unfortunate Milo
  down the bar, shattering glasses and pitchers alike)
Milo:  Aaaaaaa!
Belphanior:  (finally releases the big lout)  There you go.
Milo:  (collides with the keg-taps at the end of the bar, causing gouts
  of foaming beer and ale to cascade down upon his head)  Glugh...
goon#3:  (stands up)  That does it-
Peldor:  (also stands, angrily)  You've got that right.
Tanya:  Now, Peldor-
Peldor:  Fuck it.  (he kicks the man in the stomach, using his TK ring
  to further propel him back into a table, which shatters)
Otto:  Nice kick.  Rillen could have done better, though.
Peldor:  Heh.  I'll just bet.
goon#1:  Yaaaa!  (he leaps and tackles Belphanior from behind)
goon#2:  (charges Peldor)  You're going down!

  More combatants were poised to enter the fray; one table of dining
warrior-types had been upset by the goon Peldor kicked, and numerous
patrons at the bar now cursed angrily.

skinny goon:  (approaching Tanya)  Nobody messes with Milo and his
  boys, wench.
Tanya:  Watch who you're calling a wench, if you want to father
  children someday...
skinny goon:  Ha ha, very funny-
Bosco:  (trips the man, causing him to fall short of Tanya)
Tanya:  (steps on the man's hand, crushing it against the floor)
  Thanks, Bosco.
Bosco:  Nothin'-  whoa!  (he finds himself grabbed)
big fat goon:  (hefts the halfling)  You're goin' flying, shrimp!
Bosco:  Wha-  noooo!
big fat goon:  (hurls Bosco through the air)
Bosco:  (somehow catches onto a hanging chandelier)  Hah!  (he swings
  back and forth merrily)
short squat goon:  (takes a swing at Peldor)
Peldor:  (deftly ducks the attack, TKing the man into one of his
  companions)
other goon:  (crashes to the floor, the mug in his hand whizzing
  through the air)
Bosco:  (leans down from his perch and snags the mug with one hand)
  Aha!  (he guzzles the beer)
Belphanior:  (with goon#1 on top of him, he uses his legs to propel
  the man up and away)
goon#1:  Whoaaaaa-
Otto:  (barely dodges the man as he sails by)  Hey!
Belphanior:  Sorry about that.  (he catches a leaping attacker and
  hurls him onto another table, smashing it)
Otto:  (picks up a table leg)  This is getting out of control.
Tanya:  Getting?!?  (she finds herself face-to-face with a smirking
  lout)
smirking lout:  Don't think I won't hit a lady, just 'cause she's a
  lady.  I'll do whatever I have to do.  I'll bust you up-
Tanya:  (decks the man with a swinging fist)
Peldor:  Nice right hook, hon.
Tanya:  Thanks.  You're not doing too bad yourself.
Peldor:  (stands there grinning)  Really?
other goon:  (bashes the thief with a table leg)
Peldor:  Whoa...(he falls to his knees)
Otto:  (breaks a chair over the man's back)
other goon:  (goes down)
Peldor:  Thankshhh...
Otto:  Don't mention it.  (he helps the thief to his feet)

  The barfight was in full swing now; it no longer mattered who had
hit who first, or whose beer had been spilled and why.  Fists and
table legs alike flew fast and furiously, and it was every man (or
demihuman) for him- or her-self.  Meanwhile, on the wildly-swinging
chandelier...

Bosco:  (finishes his beer)  Aah, that really hit the spot!
Martin:  I'm going to hit _your_ spot, mate!  (standing below the
  swinging halfling, he swipes at him with a broom)  Get down from
  there!
Bosco:  You can't just sweep this under the rug, Martin old boy!
  (he casually tosses his mug at the man)
Martin:  (narrowly avoids the glass)  Yie!  I do say, now!
Bosco:  (deftly leaps to the next chandelier, perhaps aided by his
  winged boots)  Bosco, chandelier-jumper!
Martin:  Aaaaa!  Get back here, you mischievous mite!
Bosco:  Sorry, no can do.  (he yells to Otto below him)  Hey, Otto!
Otto:  (darts beneath a table to avoid an attacker armed with a
  chair leg)  Huh?  (he looks up)  What the hell are you doing up
  there?!?
Bosco:  Never mind that - get me another beer, wouldja?
Otto:  (regards the halfling as if he were insane)  For crying out-
  (he snatches up someone's mug of brown grog)  Think fast!
Bosco:  (barely catches the hurled glass, still spilling beer all
  over an angry-looking, stocky, black-bearded fellow below)  Oops?
bearded fellow:  That was uncalled for!  (he takes a swing at Otto)
Otto:  Hey, it's not my fault if he can't catch-  (he catches the
  fist on his chin, and goes reeling onto some dwarves' table)
dwarf:  Hey!  (he points at the bearded fellow)  That guy just hit
  one of our own!
other dwarf:  Let's get 'im!
bearded fellow:  No!  Aie!  (he finds himself tackled by several
  angry dwarves)
Otto:  (sits up, rubbing his jaw)  Thanks.  I owe you one.
dwarf:  No problem - we've gotta stick together, don't we?
Otto:  We sure do.

  Nearby...

Peldor:  (hefts a round tabletop on his back)  Ungh!
Tanya:  What in the world are you doing?!?
Peldor:  Wa-hah!  (he swings, intercepting two charging attackers)
goon#11:  (smashes facefirst into the wooden disc)  Ung!
goon#16:  (actually bounces off)  Oof!
Peldor:  See, the tables are turned.
Tanya:  Ohhh...
skinny goon:  (tries to push Belphanior out of the way, and fails)
  Do you mind?
Belphanior:  Not at all.  (he grabs the guy and hurls him away)  Otto!
  Incoming!
Otto:  (jumps back as the skinny goon slams into the floor)  Thanks!
Bosco:  Look out below!  (he leaps from his lofty perch, landing in the
  center of a table)
woman#1:  Aie!
woman#2:  Who-
Bosco:  Bosco's the name, ladies!  (he grabs the only pitcher that
  wasn't knocked down by his arrival)  Mayhem's the game!  (he guzzles
  beer)
man:  Hey, that's _our_ beer!
Bosco:  Urp!  Not any more.  (he hands the man the empty pitcher)
  Thanks for the refill, my good fellow.
man:  Wha-  you just can't-
Martin:  (charges, swinging his broom)  Out!  Out!  Out!
Bosco:  Oops, gotta run.  (he takes cover under the table as the red-
  faced barkeep swats at him, and catches a peek up one of the womens'
  skirts)  Oh, yeah...
Martin:  (stabbing and sweeping with his broom)  You can't hide under
  there forever, you little rat!
Bosco:  Maybe I won't have to...(he pulls a small green marble from a
  pouch, and hurls it at the floor)  We're going for all the marbles
  now!

  In a flash, there were dozens - no, hundreds of marbles rolling
about everywhere.  People slipped, stumbled, and fell; there was much
cursing and yelling.  Meanwhile, Bosco took to the air, his winged
boots carrying him over to the others.

Bosco:  This is kinda fun, but we've gotta go, before the local law
  shows up!
Belphanior:  Agreed.

  Just then, the front doors of the tavern flew open, admitting a dozen
shield-carrying men armed with heavy clubs.

Martin:  Oh, thank the gods!  The city guards are here!
Otto:  Whoopee.
head guard:  (to his men)  Stop them!  Stop them at all costs!
Belphanior:  Oh, I just love that kind of talk.
goons:  (circling the adventurers menacingly)
head guard:  That's enough of this nonsense!  Everyone stop!
everyone:  (stopped)
Peldor:  (doesn't make any obvious moves, but TKs a goon along the
  marble-ridden floor)
goon:  Yaaaaa-
head guard:  No- wait-
goon:  -aaaa!  (he crashes into the guards)

  The guardsmen went down like tenpins, and tavern patrons scrambled
about.  Some only had violence on their minds; others just wanted to
get out of the Fox & Hound without being arrested; yet others aimed
to escape without paying for their food and drink.  And then there
were the adventurers, who wanted to do all three of those things at
once.

Otto:  We've got to get away from this damned place.
Peldor:  Yeah, but how?
Belphanior:  I'll handle that part.
Tanya:  Ah, exactly my plan all along...
Bosco:  (a pitcher in each hand, he stands there as if daring the
  world to take him on)  Heh.
goon:  (charges at the halfling)  Hold still, you-
Bosco:  (doesn't even move, drinking his beer as the man slips on a
  marble or three)  <glug glug>
goon:  Whoaaaaaaa-  (he falls on his butt, dazed)  Ow...
Bosco:  (tosses an empty pitcher aside)  Uuuurp!
Peldor:  Now _that's_ entertainment.
Belphanior:  (spellcasting)
head guard:  (finally regains his footing, after several false starts)
  Where the hell did all these marbles come from?  (he spies Peldor
  and the others)  you there!  Halt!
wispy thing:  (spurts up from the floorboards, rising right up to the
  man's face)  Brfff!
head guard:  AIE!  (he staggers back, slipping on the marbles and taking
  several others down in the process)  Dammit!
Belphanior:  (waves his hands at the nearest guards and goons, and six
  of them drop, snoring)  Excellent.
Bosco:  Too much excitement for them, I guess.
Peldor:  Uh-oh.  (he points to other guards who approach)
Tanya:  (steps forth, a ring on her hand glowing)  That's enough, boys.
guards:  (taken aback, they look at one another)
Tanya:  There's no need to arrest us.  Your time would be better spent
  rounding up these troublemakers.  (she gestures at various goons and
  drunkards)
guards:  (muttering to themselves)
guard:  Yeah...she's right.
other guard:  Those guys were the ones causing all the trouble.
third guard:  We should arrest them.  (they all shuffle to do so)
Belphanior:  (glances at Tanya)
Peldor:  You go, girl.
Otto:  (to Bosco)  How'd she _do_ that?!?
Bosco:  (shrugs)  Beats me.
wispy thing:  (flies into a wine-jug)  Pffft!
Peldor:  Hey, I was gonna drink that!  (he grabs the wine-jug and surveys
  the ruined mess that the tavern has become)

  The various distractions gave Belphanior time to cast another spell,
and a sphere of darkness dropped across the tavern's front door and
main area, blocking all vision and entry.

Belphanior:  Come on - we'd better head out a side window.
Otto:  We'll have to break it first-
Milo:  (battered and bruised, he steps into Belphanior's path)  Me and
  you got business to settle...
Belphanior:  (smirks at Otto)

  Momentarily, Milo went crashing through the side window, clearing
the way for the companions.

Bosco:  Whoa!
Belphanior:  I always wanted to throw someone through a big window like
  that.
Tanya:  Well, now you've gotten your chance.  Not that he didn't have
  it coming...

  They stepped out into a side alley...

Otto:  All clear here.
Bosco:  We need our horses from the stables across the street.
Peldor:  Leave that to me.  (he goes invisible and pads silently away)
Tanya:  There sure are a lot of guards and other riffraff outside the
  front of the place.
Belphanior:  Yeah...we might need a little distraction...

  For years to come, witnesses would swear that the giant hogs sprouted
from the very dirt of the road itself.  Whatever their origin, the half-
dozen sizable sows charged directly at the gathered throng of guards and
town residents, inciting a mass panic.  Men, women, and children alike
fled lest they be trampled beneath the hooves of the hefty hogs.  Mean-
while, a small group of people snuck away in a different direction.  At
the city gate they rode through soon thereafter, they passed without
incident; indeed, neither of the guards on duty would later remember
the departure of the strange foreigners.
  Martin the tavern-owner would eventually rebuild his shattered place
and re-open for business.  He never forgot the night the strangers came
through, though.
  Maxwell, brother of Martin and ale-brewer supreme, soon marketed his
newest flavor:  Mayhem Stout, named for the wild night in the Fox &
Hound tavern.  It was a runaway hit, as ale-drinkers throughout Innspa
relived the legendary barfight through tall tales and taller mugs.

  Outside the city, though, on the very night of the barroom brawl, five
friends and their wispy thing made haste for the north...

Belphanior:  Whew...what a night.
wispy thing:  Yrrrp!
Peldor:  (wiping his brow)  Helluva barfight...lots of beer, food, and
  destruction.
Otto:  And we didn't even have to kill anybody.
Belphanior:  Slow day for us.
Bosco:  Darn it...I had been hoping to sleep in a nice, soft bed tonight.
Tanya:  (looks back on the lights of Innspa, then glances at Peldor)  At
  least we got a good bath out of the deal.





next:      the quest continues
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:     New beers (to me anyway) recommended:  Sierra Nevada Pale
  Ale, Anchor Steam, Pete's Wicked Mardi Gras Ale.  A number of these
  were enjoyed during the writing of this story...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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