Chapter #518

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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:        9/21/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        morning                                             +
+  Place:       the remote mountain town of Helgate                 +
+  Climate:     chilly                                              +
+  "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's;         +
+   I will not reason and compare; my business is to create."       +
+                                                - William Blake    +

                  DXVIII.  Life Goes On

  After Belphanior, Otto, and their guests returned to Helgate, a
good night's rest, recreation, relaxation, and recuperation was had
by all.  Now it is morning, and these same guests must prepare to
leave - but not before enjoying a good breakfast.

Tanya:  Damn good breakfast.  (she finishes chewing her food)  Now
  what exactly do you two do here?
Belphanior:  Helgate is a nice...refuge from the idiots and evils
  of the outside world.
Otto:  Provided, of course, that everyone doesn't know we're here.
  (he glances at Peldor)
Peldor:  Hey, I won't tell anyone.
Bosco:  Me neither.  (he gazes wistfully at a tray heaped high
  with scrambled eggs)  Mmm...would you pass those down, please?
Felicia:  (hands him the tray)  Bosco, you've already eaten three
  platefuls!  Don't you ever get full?
Bosco:  (shoveling more eggs onto his plate)  Sometimes, but never
  this early.
Belphanior:  (still talking to Tanya)  -and this way, I can work
  on my research and experiments without being interrupted.
Tanya:  But what do you _do_?
Belphanior:  You could say I'm in charge, I suppose.
Otto:  (helpfully)  There are a lot of things to be coordinated
  here.  The mines still contain silver, and a number of people
  have migrated here in hopes of striking it rich.
Belphanior:  And that's why my quiet time has been lacking of late.
Tanya:  So you're the town mayor?
Belphanior:  Hmm, I never thought of it that way.
Otto:  At any rate, we've got marshals.
Peldor:  So we noticed.
Eduardo:  (wanders in, yawning)
Felicia:  (grins)  Eduardo!
Eduardo:  Morning.
Otto:  Where have you been?
Eduardo:  Here, there.  (he spies the food)  Mmm.  (seating himself
  at the table, he begins devouring food as if he'd not eaten in
Felicia:  Another Bosco...
Bosco:  Impossible!  There can be only one...Bosco.
Eduardo:  (doing his best to ignore the prattle which he hears
Belphanior:  I've had horses rested, fed, and saddled for you four.
Peldor:  Yeah...we hate to drop by and run, but we've got to get
  back to Greyhawk.
Otto:  (makes a face)  Greyhawk?  Why would you want to go back
  there, after what happened?
Peldor:  I' investments in Greyhawk.  My story there isn't
  quite over.
Belphanior:  I used to have investments there, until the idiots in
  charge took all that away.
Tanya:  Idiots are always in charge.
Belphanior:  (regards her)
Tanya:  Err, in big cities, I mean.
Peldor:  In any case, we're headed back.  I've decided that nobody
  is going to keep me away from somewhere I want to be.
Tanya:  Well-put.  If it's a fight those bastards want...
Otto:  But I thought your goal was to stay avoid
Peldor:  It was, as in past tense.  (he glances at Tanya)  It's
  time to clean up Greyhawk.
Bosco:  Yeah!
Belphanior:  But how?
Peldor:  Trust me, I've got a plan.
Belphanior:  Well, if you need any help, you know where I am...
Otto:  (smirks as he thinks of all the fools in Greyhawk who
  deserve to meet grim endings)
Bosco:  (has a sudden notion)  Hey, where's Victoria?  She's gotta
  eat breakfast too.
Belphanior:  Oh, she's still asleep.
Tanya:  Awful late sleeper, eh?
Belphanior:  Yup.
Peldor:  Well, tell her goodbye for us.  We've got to be on our
Felicia:  (looking rather wistful)
Bosco:  Awww...(he hugs her)

  Handshakes and hugs were exchanged by all (except for Otto, who
merely looked on wryly) and soon, the four were riding out of
Helgate.  Behind, their friends stood, watching with more than
a little remorse.

Belphanior:  It's not often we have company.
Otto:  Nature of the beast.
Eduardo:  Felicia was neat.  Why'd she have to leave?
Belphanior:  Hmm...(to Eduardo)  You and she didn't...
Eduardo:  Hmm?
Belphanior: know...
Eduardo:  (looking confused)  Huh?
Otto:  Guess not.
Belphanior:  Welllll...(he looks around)  You'll have to excuse me.
  I have some things to take care of.
Otto:  How's that?
Belphanior:  Aja wants to build a temple to Wee Jas
Otto:  What the hell's a "Wee Jas"?  Sounds like a weapon.
Belphanior:  It's a goddess...the goddess of death and magic.
Otto:  Oh.
Belphanior:  Anyway, I need to make sure she doesn't build it on top
  of an orphanage or something.
Eduardo:  There's no orphanage in Helgate.
Belphanior:  (ruffles the lad's hair)  Figure of speech, kid.  (to
  Otto)  This shouldn't take long, but one never knows.  If you
  get a chance, could you check the northern borders of the mines?
  Some miner reported some weird humanoid-type thing in that area,
  but I just heard about it last night and haven't had a chance to
Otto:  Consider it done.

  Belphanior prepared to venture down into the town proper, and a
short time later, was talking with his high priestess and marshal.

Aja:  Just a small building would be fine...preferably on the edge
  of town.
Belphanior:  It's not a problem, but I find myself wondering...are
  you hoping to gain some worshippers?
Aja:  It would be nice.
Belphanior:  But who in this place can understand the underlying
  concepts behind magic or death?
Aja:  Besides us?  There's always somebody.
Belphanior:  (his brow furrowed)  Well...
Aja:  (crossly)  You're not going to start a trend of religious
  persecution here, are you?
Belphanior:  (frowns)  Of course not!  We just have to think this
  thing through.


Vergis:  What's that?!?
Belphanior:  I said, the town wants to buy your shop.
Vergis:  Ack!

  The town's stonemason was obviously flustered, but he was just as
obviously trying to hide that fact.  It might have had something to
do with the nature of his visitors.

Vergis:  My wife - my kids!  We built this shop and the house atop
  it from nothing.  I can't just...
Belphanior:  (frowns)
Vergis:  (quivering in fright)  Well...err...I guess we could relocate
  to some other place in town...(a drop of sweat rolls down his cheek)
Aja:  (glancing around)  On second thought, this building isn't quite
  right for my purposes.
Vergis:  I- it isn't?
Belphanior:  (to Aja)  You're sure?
Aja:  (nods)  In fact, none of these buildings are.
Belphanior:  Should we build a new one?
Aja:  That would be...ideal.
Belphanior:  (turns on Vergis)  Vergis!  The town has a commission
  for you.
Vergis:  Wh- what?
Belphanior:  Somewhere on the far end of this street, you and your
  apprentices are going to build a temple.
Vergis:  We are?
Belphanior:  That's right.  (he sticks a thumb at Aja)  Aja here will
  give you all the details.  You're to follow her specifications to
  the letter.
Vergis:  Uh...okay.
Aja:  (smiles)
Belphanior:  I want a rough estimate of the job's cost by day's end,
Vergis:  Of...of course.
Belphanior:  That is all.  (he strolls away, mumbling to himself)
Vergis:  (watching the red-cloaked elf leave)  Ack.
Aja:  I trust you'll remember this favor, stonemason.
Vergis:  (his eyes dart to look at her again)

  Much later that day, after preliminary plans and directions had
been laid out, Aja took a walk.  The street she had been insistent
upon for her temple's location ended in a poorly-maintained, fenced-
in site atop a slight hill.  This was Helgate's cemetery, the final
resting place of both citizens and outsiders who had met their end
here.  Nobody laid claim to this land, and few ventured near it, for
nothing but brown, stunted weeds would grow here.  This had been the
case long before bodies had been buried on the site - one reason why
it was chosen.  In a run-down shack at the end of the street, just
before the cemetery's fence, there dwelled old Oswald, the caretaker
and custodian of the place.  It was he who chose the sites for new
graves to be dug; he kept no written records, only the memories in
his head - which were somehow enough.  Oswald dealt with the town's
carpenter, a dark-skinned little foreigner called Sankar, for the
coffins he needed.  Similarly, he supervised the volunteers and/or
draftees from the populace at large, when the time came to dig new
graves.  The town paid for all this - it was, after all, a public
service - but Oswald still liked to think of it all as his own little
  Business had been good of late.

Aja:  (stands before the cemetery, surveying the stone and wooden
  headstones and markers)  Ah.  (she smiles to herself)

next:      more Helgate fun
ftp: in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     I've said it before and I'll say it again:  Helgate and
  its inhabitants are the easiest and most fun to write.  It's like
  a spin-off from the main party, one that really took off.

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