Chapter #51

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*****
*  The 8 player characters contained in these writings are copyright
*  1992 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to persons or characters
*  either real or fictional is purely coincidental.  Copying and/or
*  distribution of these stories is permissible only under the one
*  condition that no part of them will be used or sold for profit.
*  In that case, I hope you enjoy them.
*****

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE PARTY:

Alindyar, 9th level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 6th/6th/7th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 7th/7th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Halbarad, 8th level human ranger (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 8th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Peldor, 10th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 7th/8th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
Rillen, 8th level human fighter (N)
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Date:   12/02/570 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   afternoon
Place:  Loftwick, capital of the Yeomanry
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                       LI.  Midnight Madness



*FORWARD* :  This episode, due to the nature of the source
             material, has been written in "real" fiction
             format.  If you can't stand this writing style,
             skip the episode - nothing earth-shattering for
             the party as a whole happens in it.  Otherwise,
             read on and enjoy...



  Belphanior had his longsword halfway out of its sheath when he
heard the door open, but relaxed as he watched Peldor enter the
small room.  "Did you get the things we need?", asked the elf of
his fellow thief.  Peldor held up a fairly full sack in reply.
"Of course I did."  Belphanior nodded, pleased.  "Well, I'm about
ready to go here."  Peldor carefully opened the black cloth bag,
and several tools and other things emptied onto a dirty wooden
table.  "Good.  Let's get this stuff packed and get to where
we're going.  The night is getting older, and we don't have a
thing to show for it yet."
  The pair had been busy while their companions rested and took
care of business in the last few days.  They had decided to take
a look at some of the places in Loftwick - not the kind of look
that the average citizen approved of, granted, but a thief had
to earn his living nonetheless.  After several places had been
scouted and thoroughly cased out, the two had settled on an old
tower outside the city itself.  This building, known as the
Tower of the Lost Mage, was a forgotten structure, rumored to
have long ago been the home of a powerful mage.  Nothing had
been seen of heard from the tower in years, though, and the
locals were scared of the place, shunning it at every chance.
The tales of the Lost Mage repelled them quite effectively. it
seemed.
  Stupid, thought Belphanior as he made a last check of his
various tools and weapons.  A mage's lair could contain any
number of useful things.  Who knew what mighty magics and lost
treasures were gathering dust in the tower, just waiting to
be put to better use?  Peldor, being of like mind, was just as
ready to break into the building.  Belphanior was in a pleasant
mood, for a change.  The human thief and he had never worked
together before, but both were confident in themselves as well
as each other.  Truly something great was bound to happen this
night.
  As the moon Celene waxed high in the dark sky overhead, the
elf made a final equipment check.  Grappling hooks, thin cord,
lockpicks, soot, a bottle of grease, daggers, poison, glue -
everything seemed to be in place.  Peldor was similarly
engaged, though he apparently tended to carry fewer small
items than Belphanior.  Ah, well, thought Belphanior.  Each to
their own.
  Peldor spoke up.  "Let's do it."  They checked outside the
door to the small room, which they had rented in this shabby
inn at the edge of town.  No one was nearby, and the pair
strolled out into the street.  They wore normal-appearing
civilian garb, in order to pass as anything but what they
were; Peldor in addition was disguised, sporting pads and
high shoes, and appeared to be a tall, bloated noble of
some kind.  They left the city on horseback, bidding the
guards good night, and rode from Loftwick.  Since the place
was the capital of a predominantly lawful kingdom, brigands
were scarce, and few people ever encountered trouble near
the city after sunset (or before it, for that matter).
  Had they still been in the Wild Coast, Belphanior thought,
they no doubt would have been fighting off bandits by now.
He whispered in hushed tones to Peldor, and they looked back
to assure no pursuit before spurring their horses off the
path.  There was nothing back there to justify the elf's
paranoia, though, and he relaxed and looked to the northeast.
The pair of mounts carried their riders through short grass,
and after a few minutes, a tall, shadowed spire of stone
loomed before them - the Tower!
  They tied their horses several hundred feet from the place
and left a bit of food and drink, just in case.  The animals
seemed a bit jumpy tonight - Belphanior wondered aloud if it
was something about the tower that was spooking them.  "Who
knows?", whispered Peldor.  "Let's go clean that place out
and get back for some sleep."  Belphanior loosened his sword
in its sheath and doffed his civilian clothes, as did his
companion.  The garments were piled up and put in the mounts'
saddlebags, and the thieves' working clothes were exposed
now - flat black bodysuits, rough-soled boots, thin leather
gloves.  Not that it mattered right now, thought Belphanior
as he sipped the potion he had purchased at the alchemist's
shop across town a week past.  The elf faded from sight, as
invisible as the night air itself; Peldor, not one to be
outdone, sheathed his sword and also went invisible.  They
carefully walked toward the tower, wary of tricks or traps
set in the grass, but none presented themselves, and so
momentarily the pair stood at the base of the tower.  For
the first time, they were able to get a good look at it.
  The thing was about a hundred feet high, by both of their
estimations, and perhaps forty feet in diameter.  It was
constructed of reddish-brown bricks (almost the color of
blood, thought Belphanior) which were old, yet looked to
be sturdy.  There were but four windows, all at a height
of just more than halfway up, and spaced equidistantly
around the tower's circumference.  At the top was a five-
foot ledge, in an alternating square pattern (more learned
magi might have termed it a "square wave").  Even from the
ground, it was obvious that the windows were heavily barred
and not passable; the bars were set in a tight pattern, and
to cut through them would have made too much noise.
  Using a series of slight whispered words in a secret cant,
the thieves agreed to search the base of the tower.  They
both knew that louder noises could give them away, should
any men or creatures be nearby, for the night was very,
very quiet - maybe TOO quiet.  Either there were no insects
in this part of the land, or they were silenced this night,
perhaps watching and listening to things unknown.  Within
a minute, the two had met at the other side, both having
found the same thing - no doors or entrances of any kind at
the tower's base.  With this in mind, Belphanior found his
coiled rope, slung it around his neck and one shoulder, and
began to climb the face of the tower.  The large stones it
was made of provided adequate handholds, and shortly the
elf had reached one of the windows.  One look was enough to
confirm his suspicions - the windows were impassable.  The
roof seemed to be a better choice for now.  Peldor, unable
to see this result, decided that it was time for he, too,
to make the climb, and started doing so.
  Momentarily, Belphanior reached the roof of the place,
stepping onto it only after eyeing it and assuring himself
that no fell creatures lurked there.  He soon heard the
slight scraping of gloves on rock, and his hissed syllables
were answered by his companion.  Damn, thought the elf,
this invisibility is unpractical when two co-workers cannot
even see each other.  They hadn't considered this slight
problem, and he made a mental note to ponder it at a more
opportune time.
  Peldor had already figured this out, though, as he slipped
his shortsword from its sheath and became visible.  Using
hand signs, he conveyed his opinion that silence might be
more valuable at this point than invisibility.  Belphanior
slapped his friend on the shoulder lightly, negating the
magical effect of the sipped potion, and both thieves then
regarded the soot-smeared, shadowy forms of the other.  As
the tower was bound to be darkened inside, the invisibility
would not have made much difference anyway, and the ability
to use thieves' hand signals seemed more important right now.
They checked the floor of the roof area for hatches or other
means of entry; this process took many minutes, considering
the size of the rooftop and the presence of shadows.  It was
Peldor, though, who found the hatch, a small, two-foot stone
block separated from the roof around it by a hairline crack.
Belphanior helped his friend, wedging several thin but strong
metal slivers into the crack.  With a bit of levering and
pushing, the pair were able to push the thin hatch open just
an inch, and Peldor put a small crowbar in to hold it there.
The hatch seemed to be composed of a thin stone skin, laid
on top of a metal plate which was an inch thick.  While the
thing was somewhat heavy, both thieves were fairly strong,
and they were able to pry the hatch open and get a look down
below.
  Belphanior, with the benefit of his elvish infravision,
was able to make out an empty room under the roof.  Some
kind of shaft went downward, on the opposite side of the
chamber from them, but nothing that gave off heat was here.
First the elf dropped down, then Peldor followed.  Using
his ring, the latter thief slowly lowered the heavy hatch,
closing them into the room with a muffled thumping sound.
Peldor was irritated by the sound, which seemed to echo
loudly through the large chamber, but he knew that his
control with the magical ring was getting better all the
time.  Why, at first he had been unable to lift a dagger
from the ground!  It was only after weeks of constant
practice and trial-and-error that he had refined his shaky
aptitude with the thing into true skill and finesse.
  Peldor ceased his musings and lit a small hooded lantern.
With a dimming lens in place, and the hood, the item gave
off only a round cone of light in a single direction.
After all, he thought, not all of us have infravision, and
I sure don't want to rely on Belphanior's sight alone here
in this dark place.  Belphanior squinted as his eyes slowly
adjusted to the light, and then they turned to search this
circular room.  It was slightly smaller than the outside of
the tower, perhaps allowing for an outer wall at least two
feet in thickness.  There were two dusty skeletons in the
center of the chamber - unmoving, Belphanior saw as he
approached.  Still, one never knew...
  The corpses were riddled with darts, though, and seemed
truly dead.  Peldor pointed out a depressed flagstone in the
floor near one skeleton's feet - obviously a trap, triggered
some time ago by these unfortunates.  There was a thick dust
covering the bodies, and it was just now that both thieves
noticed a number of footprints around the room.  Two sets
belonged to the fellows lying dead before them, but there
were three more leading to the shaft nearby.  The thieves
glanced at each other - someone else had made it farther
than this.  Searching the bodies yielded the expected result,
a lack of anything useful, and the pair moved over to the
shaft.  It was on the western side of the tower, whereas the
hatch from the roof was on the extreme eastern side, and
they peered over the edge of the semicircular, five-foot
radius shaft.  It was plainly obvious that it went down...
and down...and down.  Farther than they could see, the tube
descended into the murky blackness.
  Belphanior noticed a steel spike driven into the floor
right next to the shaft, and tugged at it, finding it firmly
embedded in the stone.  A rotted rope fragment was tied into
the eyehole of the spike; they tore this out and secured
their own rope in it.  This item was knotted every five feet
of its length, in order to facilitate climbing efforts, and
could support both thieves' weight easily.  After shining the
lantern down and seeing nothing but a series of ledges, of
the floors below, they tossed the rope down to the next level
and descended.
  The level beneath was identical to the first, but for the
large chest in the center of the circular chamber.  Several
old footprints were visible in here, and vague scuffle marks
dotted the floor near the chest.  Belphanior thanked the
unknown gods for granting him the foresight to examine the
dusty floor beforehand, and signalled Peldor to check for
traps on the chest as he prepared a spell.  The human did so,
soon signing the lack of traps, and Belphanior activated the
spell he had cast, which would allow him to deliver a jolt of
electricity to the first living thing he touched.  Peldor,
sensing that the time was right, opened the chest and leaped
back.  Fortunately, his quick reflexes moved him back, for
immediately, a large, glistening mass of slime flowed out of
the chest onto the very spot where the thief had stood not
one second ago.  Peldor's shortsword whistled from its sheath
as he assumed a defensive posture.  The ooze flowed toward him
with frightening speed, and the thief backed up quickly.
  Belphanior's heart pumped, and the adrenaline flowed through
his system.  A blob!  Who knew what it was?  Who knew if it
could eat his weapons and armor?  Taking no chances with these
things, the elf instead took advantage of the thing's advance
towards Peldor to leap behind it and tap it lightly.  There
was a loud <ZAP> as the hefty shock was delivered, and the
jelly thrashed about, burned severely; the elf leaped several
feet back and drew his own weapon, grinning smugly.  So it
COULD be hurt!  Good.  That usually meant that it could be
killed, he thought.
  Spurred on by the knowledge that the creature could in fact
be harmed, Peldor took the offensive, dodging a pseudopod as
he slashed the oozing mass.  A deep cut opened in its opaque
skin, and a watery liquid flowed out freely.  The thing was
wild now, slapping at whichever thief was nearest to it, but
they dodged its attacks while slicing with their weapons, and
within a minute the jelly was still.  It's blood, or whatever
the clear liquid was, formed a puddle around the deflated
mass, and the pair deftly sidestepped this mess and checked
the chest from which it had flowed, finding it empty.  They
supposed that at least some of those who had come this way
previously had found the jelly and been eaten by it.  In any
case, the next level would hopefully show how many had survived
the blob's attack.  Peldor cleaned his sword on a rag, checking
to see if the magical weapon was dissolving or not.  He had
once lost another sword in this manner, but there seemed to be
no damage to the fine weapon, and the thief discarded the rag
and tossed the rope down to the next level.
  This time it was Peldor who went down first.  The third
floor of the tower was piled full of wooden crates.  The pair
of thieves noticed several footprints here, and some of the
boxes had been rummaged through - so someone HAD avoided the
monster above and made it down!  The crates contained nothing
of interest, mostly jugs of wine and rotten foodstuffs ridden
with worms.  Disgusted, Peldor signalled for a quick search of
the chamber before the next descent.  They found nothing else
here, and once again went down.
  Belphanior touched down on the cold stone floor, as Peldor
guarded above before lowering himself as well.  This level was
some kind of dining hall, with a large wooden table and four
chairs.  To the north was a massive oven, and a pile of coal
with a shovel rested next to it.  This was the location of the
four outside windows, with their thick, crisscrossed bars, and
Peldor extinguished the lantern.  It could always be re-lit,
and the moonlight in here was plenty enough to see by.  The
thieves searched the whole area thoroughly, but found nothing
of interest.  The oven, when opened on its creaky hinges, was
empty save for a few dead ants.  Belphanior checked under the
table and behind the oven, but turned up nothing.  Then Peldor
signalled his irritation, and they went down to the next level,
Belphanior going first and lighting the lantern when he got
down.  Peldor followed shortly.
  The fifth level down was as empty as most of the others.  A
large chest faced the pair from the opposite (eastern) wall,
and they carefully moved toward it, checking the floor for any
traps.  There were still footprints, and signs of combat - a
broken arrow, a smashed sword, and a few bones.  Belphanior
prepared another spell, as Peldor examined the chest.  Right
then, without warning, a cloud of vapor appeared in the center
of the room, behind Peldor and to the side of Belphanior.  The
greenish-hued gases quickly solidified into some reptilian
thing; over eight feet tall, it almost scraped the ceiling of
the chamber.  The monster was apparently unafraid of anything
else that might be nearby, as it shrieked a hideous cry of
anger and charged Belphanior, who had the misfortune of being
closer to it.  His exclaimed "Oh, shit!" was almost all he had
time to do - almost.
  The elf let his spell go as the thing bore down on him, and
a spray of bright colors lit up the dim room - until they hit
the beast, and dissolved.  Grinning, the humanoid lizard took
a swipe at the elf with its clawed paw, and he was hurled back
into a wall, three bloody gashes scoring his shirt.  As the big
monster turned to face Peldor, the thief was already in motion.
He buried his sword in its back, and the thing screamed in pain
(and anger, thought Belphanior as he shakily stood).  Whirling
about, it tore the sword from Peldor's hands, and then moved
in on him.
  "Uh-oh!", exclaimed the thief, as he leaped back a full ten
feet, courtesy of his wondrous magical boots.  "Belphanior!
Do something here, I'm down to a dagger here!"  As Peldor
faced off against the creature, dagger in hand, the thing
snatched him from the ground, attempting to bite with that
mouthful of razor-edged teeth...
  Peldor was yelling as he scraped the ceiling, held fast in
the thing's iron grip.  "Let go of me, you oversized lizard!",
he spat as he stabbed the thing's shoulder with his enchanted
knife.  Black ichor spurted out, rewarding the thief's efforts
somewhat, but not enough, as those huge jaws crunched down on
his armored chest!  Just then, Belphanior hacked the monster
right in its midsection, and from behind, taking full advantage
of its occupation with Peldor to select the best angle for his
blade.  The elf's attack was not in vain, for the thing was cut
to its very spine, and hurled Peldor to the floor, whirling
about.  It's rapid turning motion only aggravated the grievous
wound, ripping the skin and muscle further, and the elf stabbed
it in the neck as he saw an opening.
  The thing grunted several times, trying in vain to stop the
dark blood pouring from its throat, but after a few seconds of
this, it fell to the ground and was silent.  Belphanior moved
to the side of Peldor, who lay gasping on the dusty floor.
"Stay still.  Did it get you bad?"  Peldor seemed shaky as he
answered, mumbling.  "Not really.  It barely punched through
my armor, here.  I think your attack caught it just in time,
though; if it had had another second to chomp down hard, I'd
be cut in half.  I owe you one."  Belphanior found a potion in
his pouch, and proferred it to his companion.  "This is elixir
of healing, have some to help your wounds."  Peldor took the
metal bottle gratefully.  "Thanks."  He downed about half of
the bottle's contents, and returned it to the elf, who then
finished off the rest.  "Ahh!", said Belphanior, "Damned good
stuff!"  Peldor nodded in agreement, and they got to their
feet and cleaned up, feeling much better already.
  Peldor recovered his sword, and then Belphanior doused the
carcass with powerful acid, in the event that it might decide
to come back to life.  The chest was opened, and the pair at
last found something useful.  Inside the old wooden container
were several bags of gold, a pouch with ten small gems of good
quality, and three stoppered potion bottles as well.  All this
but the gold was put in Peldor's backpack; the coinage was too
heavy to lug around and could be recovered on the way out.  He
checked the chest for false bottoms, but it had none, so they
both prepared to go down to the next floor.
  It was immediately evident that there was something strange
about the sixth floor, for its dimensions inside were bigger
than the outside tower walls.  The vertical shaft opened onto
a semi-circular, empty room with a door, which was ajar and
led to a forty-by-thirty rectangular room - much to big to fit
into the tower dimensions.  "Boy, I'd like to have the spells
that set THIS floor up", mentioned Belphanior casually as the
two entered the area.  It was a bedroom, with a large bed, a
dresser, a small ceramic washbasin, and a larger ceramic tub.
The bed was covered with dust, and although it was made up
neatly, it was empty.  Peldor searched underneath, finding a
long, narrow wooden box, while the elf checked the dresser's
drawers, finding a pair of leather boots, a folded cloak, and
a small belt.  The tub and basin were empty and dry.  Peldor
recovered a few things from the box:  some strange papers,
assorted mothballs, and a gnarled wooden staff.  Belphanior
examined the papers, but they all crumbled in his hands at
his touch, leaving only brittle fragments.  "Fuck!", the elf
exclaimed.  "Damn things fell apart on me."  Peldor seemed
not to care, smiling as he loaded up the other things they
had found.  "I think we've got enough here, already."  The
angry elf glared at him, then relaxed.  "I guess so."
  Climbing down again, they came upon a circular library of
some sort.  At least this room fit within the space it should
have, thought Peldor as he examined the bookshelves.  Finding
a book, he reached to pull it out - and yanked his hand back,
as a mild shock hit him.  "So this place is trapped", said
Belphanior.  The elf also tried for a book, gingerly touching
some random title, and was also jolted, causing his hair to
stand on end.  "Well, someone doesn't want these books to go
anywhere.  Great."  He briefly considered blasting the whole
chamber with his lightning wand, but decided against it.  For
now.
  Peldor led the way down to the next level - and for the
first time, they were able to see the bottom of the shaft,
about twenty feet below.  There were two more floors left,
counting the one they were currently disembarking onto.  It
was a laboratory, with many features.  Clockwise from their
left were seven tubes mounted at a forty-five degree angle
from the floor (or wall), of different sizes; a workbench
covered with papers and strange devices; four large stone
vats; a nearly empty workbench with three potion bottles in
a green metal case.
  The angled tubes were checked first.  Three of them were
of appropriate size for a typical magical wand, and all were
empty.  Two more were rod-sized, also both empty.  The last
two were bigger, staff-sized, and one held a metallic staff.
On the table, Belphanior found two parchments that seemed to
be spell formulae, and took these carefully.  The rest of the
debris seemed to be junk, so they left it alone, except for
a small, twisted lump of unknown metal, which Belphanior put
in his pocket.  The first of the vats contained murky water;
the second was filled with yellow, acrid fluid; the third
had salty liquid (which Belphanior quickly recognized as
brine); the fourth was full of oil like that used in lanterns
and torches.  Peldor dipped a scrap of metal from the bench
into the yellow vat, and the item was quickly dissolved.  The
pair of thieves saw no use in examining the vats any further
and moved on to the second table.  The three potion bottles
were taken, and they left this room.  Belphanior grabbed the
metal staff as an afterthought, placing it near the edge so
they would remember it later.
  The next, and last, level had a stone wall which blocked
most of the area of the tower's circle; both thieves looked
for secret doors, and Peldor found a sliding stone slab to
the north.  This led into another long, narrow strip of a
room, and another such door.  This second door had a strip
of metal in the floor, which neither thief saw due to all
the dust; they were both shocked as they stepped on it, and
actually had to rest for many minutes to recover.  The elf
cursed the builder of this tower.  "That wasn't a very nice
thing to do..."  Peldor forged on, not overly bothered by
the trap.  Beyond the second door was a chest; when they
neared it, a disembodied voice proclaimed, "I CAN'T SAY I
BLAME YOU...".
  "Weird", offered Peldor as he examined the chest.  This
time, his efforts were not wasted, for he found not one,
but a pair of needle traps on the thing.  Inside the chest
were several interesting things:  a pouch of large diamonds,
a sack of platinum coins, a pouch of strange platinum orbs,
and a heavy, bound tome.  The pair collected these items,
and searched the walls and floor for more secret doors, with
no success.  They next climbed back to the roof, collecting
the coins and staff - Peldor rigged one sack so that it
could be attached to their rope and pulled up, laden with
coins.  His leatherworking skills no doubt proved useful in
this particular endeavor.  Within half an hour, the pair
were back on the roof, with all the things they wished to
take from the place.  The moon was still high in the night
sky, and several hours remained before the sun came up.
  The two thieves had detached their rope from the tower's
main shaft, and they now used it to lower several sackfuls
of loot down the tower face.  After Belphanior climbed down
using the rope, Peldor detached it and climbed down by hand.
Once everything was on the ground, the pair made their way
back to the horses (who had slept through all the excitement)
and loaded the sleepy mounts up.  They changed back into the
other clothes, and buried the bulky treasure (i.e. the coins)
about fifty feet off of the main path back into Loftwick, to
avoid attention at the gate.  Re-entering the city, the two
companions went to their cheap inn, had the horses stabled,
entered their room, locked the door, and slept a long and
fitful sleep.

  Late the next morning, they awoke, had baths, and went to
the inn's common room for breakfast.  The place was abuzz
with news, and everybody was excited, for it seemed that
the dreaded Tower of the Lost Mage had crumbled overnight.
With this ill omen gone, most of the superstitious townsfolk
felt much relieved.  The innkeeper commented to the pair,
"Wonder how in the hells THAT happened?"  Peldor cast him
a sidelong glance, and replied, "Ah, I bet someone just went
out there last night and pushed it down."  The barkeep burst
into hysterics.  "Yeah, right!  Hah hah!"  Belphanior gave
his friend an evil look, but couldn't resist cracking a
smile too...



THE LOOT:

4123 gp
10 garnets (100 gp)
potion of healing                 -  B
potion of extra-healing           -  P
potion of flying                  -  P
gnarled staff                     -  P
boots & cloak of elvenkind        -  B
belt of ? (Priests only)          -  P
metal staff (nonmagical)
twisted lump of metal (nonmagical)
scroll papers                     -  B
potion of super-heroism           -  B
potion ?                          -  P
potion ?                          -  B
667 pp
22 platinum orbs ( ~50 pp each)
tome                              -  B



  Most of the items were identified by a mage that the two
hired discreetly.  The staff could not be identified, nor
could two of the potions (they were classified as powerful
though).  The scroll papers contained three first-level mage
spells, and the tome contained sixteen more - a real prize
for Belphanior.  The tome's spells were linked by a single
common denominator - they were all spells of someone named
Otiluke...
  Peldor for some reason elected to drink his unknown potion
that day.  He observed no outward effects, but later, when
at the market selling off some of his loot, he noticed that
he was constantly able to get the best prices from those he
dealt with.  The only problem was, that damned ring of truth
on his finger prevented him from telling any lies...





next time:  the split

FTP SITE: tybalt.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
********************************************************************
NOTES:  Did any of you notice that Belphanior has been a "6rd"
level mage since episode 20?  I sure didn't...thanks to one of
my newer readers for pointing this out.
  The reason for the delay in part 51 has been the fact that I
left all the notes in another city and had to have one of my
brothers mail them to me.  Fortunately he's also an Adventurers
fan.  This episode is dedicated to Eric, my youngest brother,
for enabling it to be written this month instead of next month.
  This episode is noteworthy because it is the first time since
way back in part 11 that I have used, exclusively, the standard
fiction format.  It was just obvious that this adventure, that
of the two thieves, couldn't be done in my usual format.
  This episode is also significant in that it pushes the total
length of my work over the 1 Mb mark.  This is a milestone, as
I never thought I'd produce a million characters of text on ANY
subject.  Anyway, I'm sort of happy about the whole thing.
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