Chapter #526

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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 1991-8 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   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human warrior/thief      (N) +
+    Bosco      12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        10/25/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                        +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     cool                                                +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "I keep my angst...I preserve it because I need it.  It keeps    +
+   me sharp, on the edge...where I gotta be.                       +
+                                        - Vincent Hanna, _Heat_    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                    DXXVI.  Reconstruction





  After a long and arduous trek of several weeks, Peldor and his
companions have returned to Greyhawk.  Despite his desire to get
started on the new Green Dragon Inn, however, Peldor has another
matter to attend to first...

Tanya:  Why are we staying back, outside the city?  Bosco waltzed
  right in!
Peldor:  I have a plan...and it involves Peldor not showing his
  face in Greyhawk.
Tanya:  A disguise?
Peldor:  (nods)  I'll keep in touch with you, but we need to enter
  the city seperately, and me in disguise too.
Tanya:  What's this all about?
Peldor:  Sharyn Messandier.
Tanya:  Oh, no.
Peldor:  Oh, yes.  She's out to get me, and if I start work on the
  inn, she'll find ways to make life hell.  I need to deal with her
  now...finally.  It's past time.
Tanya:  (sighs)  It won't be easy.
Peldor:  Nothing worthwhile is.  Now let's get going.  (he kisses
  her lightly)
Tanya:  (grabs him and kisses him, not lightly)
Peldor:  Whoa!
Tanya:  For luck.

  Peldor wasn't sure if Sharyn planned to assassinate him, or harass
him, or perhaps just keep tabs on him.  His greatest worry was that
she'd do something to sabotage the Green Dragon Inn, since he started
rebuilding it.  Whatever the case, he was taking no chances; a half
hour after Tanya headed for the city gates, he assumed a nondescript
disguise and followed her.  The plan was for her to tell anyone who
asked (and some who didn't) that Peldor had remained in Furyondy to
speculate on some land.  This way, anyone who was overly interested
in Peldor's wherabouts would have a realistic story that couldn't be
easily verified.
  Checking into a seedy inn in the Thieves' Quarter, he laid low for
a couple of days, mulling over ideas and schemes as he tried to figure
out the best way to proceed.  Of course, he needed certain information
before he could complete his plan, which is why he'd put his best
operative on the job...

Bosco:  (sits down at an apparently random table in a apparently
  random inn)
nondescript man with feather in cap:  (joins the halfling)  They may
  be watching me, but with my hat of disguise, they won't be watching
  me right now.
Bosco:  Who's "they"?
Peldor:  That bitch Sharyn Messandier, and her cohorts in the Guild.
  You did find out what I wanted to know, right?
Bosco:  Sure...though I don't understand why you didn't go there
  yourself.  It's not like you're a criminal, or wanted, or anything.
  Not in this city, anyway.
Peldor:  No, but the less they can keep tabs on me, the better.  And
  if they think I'm elsewhere, they can't keep tabs on me at all.
Bosco:  Right-o.
Peldor:  So...about the state of the Guild?
Bosco:  Well, as you know, they appointed Sharyn Messandier as the new
  guildmaster.
Peldor:  (muttering)  Manipulative bitch...
Bosco:  The first thing she did was to appoint some incompetent yes-
  man as the head of the River Quarter.
Peldor:  Figures.
Bosco:  A week later, he disappeared.
Peldor:  Foul play?
Bosco:  (shrugs)  Could be.  The question isn't _how_ he died, it's
  _who_ killed him.
Peldor:  Hmm.
Bosco:  Anyhow, she gave someone else the job after that...and he
  lasted two weeks.  This is why profits were way up - no one's
  paying the Thieves Guild its usual percentage, most of the time.
Peldor:  What?
Bosco:  Well, Sharyn's appointed flunkies never seem to last more
  than a week or two before they do something really stupid, and
  more often than not, really fatal.
Peldor:  I'm sure she hasn't run out of goons yet.
Bosco:  Probably not, but she's had a hard time finding anyone who's
  even barely qualified but also completely under her thumb.  She's
  also made a lot of enemies in this quarter, and some of them have
  opposed her violently...if not openly.  It seems that most of
  Sharyn's people are now afraid to even enter the River Quarter...
Peldor:  (snaps his fingers)  And she doesn't want to let on that
  things are out of control so she doesn't raise a fuss about the
  lost payments.
Bosco:  Bingo.
Peldor:  So she's losing money...that probably means her records are
  a mess.
Bosco:  Makes sense.
Peldor:  I'd have thought she'd cover her tracks better...at least
  _try_ to impress the city rulers.
Bosco:  From the gossip I've picked up around the guild, they've
  been pushing her pretty hard.  It's like they knew she wasn't the
  best choice, but they had to give her a chance.  And now all sides
  involved know _something's_ up.
Peldor:  I bet it was because I'm not a native Greyhawk citizen.
Bosco:  Huh?
Peldor:  The city rulers choosing her instead of me.
Bosco:  Oh.  Could be.  Anyway, the point is that things aren't
  well, and the entire guild is in complete disarray.  More or less.
Peldor:  (shakes his head)  It's even worse then I thought.
Bosco:  Well, that's what you get when you put thieves in charge of
  thieves.
Peldor:  Observation noted, Bosco.
Bosco:  The question is, what are you gonna do about all this?
Peldor:  I'm working on it...

  Further conversation helped Peldor form a plan.  Sharyn had strong
ties to the Thieves' Quarter, which made sense, since she used to run
it.  However, the heads of the other quarters (save the Foreign, which
was controlled by the halfling Simpkin Furzear, who was now an ally of
Sharyn's) had unofficially and unobtrusively banded together.  In this
way, they had kept their interests safe - at least for the time being.
Eventually, Sharyn would make a power play, and tip the scales in her
favor.
  Peldor felt that the River Quarter, though under Sharyn's current
flunkie's control, still contained a number of businesses and people
who preferred Peldor's leadership.  Anything he did would get its
first and strongest support from that area of the city, more likely
than not.

Peldor:  The River Quarter...hmm.
Bosco:  She's had to start from nothing in this quarter, and hasn't
  advanced her control much beyond that.
Peldor:  You know, Sharyn must be desperate for a good River Quarter
  replacement...(he smiles thinly)



  The master thief left the tavern soon afterward, and maintained
his disguise only long enough to duck into a deserted side alley.
There, he changed appearances again - now he was a stooped old man
with a cane.  In this guise he wandered about aimlessly for a while,
eventually making his way back to Alindyar and Lyra's house.  He
hid behind a bush and assumed another form, that of a city guard.
In this identity, he pretended to patrol the street for a bit,
then headed for the front door.

Peldor:  (raps the door's knocker)

  After a short time, the portal swung open...

Alindyar:  Eh?  (he regards the man before him)
disguised Peldor:  It's me...Peldor.
Alindyar:  I know.  Come in.

  After the "guard" was inside and the door was shut, Peldor resumed
his true form.

Alindyar:  More cloak-and-dagger games?
Peldor:  No games...not anymore.  It's time to get serious, and I'm
  going to need your help.
Alindyar:  (nods)  Anything, just name it.
Peldor:  I may need help with some illusions, later on.
Alindyar:  How much later?
Peldor:  Weeks, maybe...I'm not sure.
Alindyar:  What are you up to, anyway?  Incognito activities?
Peldor:  Yes, and not as Peldor.  As far as anyone's concerned, he's
  in Furyondy.
Alindyar:  I see.  So...what do you wish of me?
Peldor:  I may need illusions at some point in my plan...illusions
  of certain people, doing certain things.  (he looks the drow in the
  eye)  Can you do this?
Alindyar:  Of course, although I shall need to know specifics of
  what you wish others to see.  Perhaps you should concentrate on
  actually _causing_ other people to do these things, and supplement
  their actions with illusion as necessary.
Peldor:  You're saying it would be more realistic?
Alindyar:  Actually, you said it...but yes, that was my general idea.
Peldor:  And a good idea it is...why have total illusion when you
  can have mostly reality, with a bit of illusion woven in?
Alindyar:  Have you ever considered a career as a wizard?
Peldor:  Sure.  All the time.  Well, at least when I was younger...
Alindyar:  You have no need of illusion at this point in your plan.
Peldor:  (thinking)  True...okay, well, there's still one time I
  may need it, and I'll need you to be ready at a moment's notice
  for when that time comes.
Alindyar:  When, not if?
Peldor:  (nods)



  That night, Peldor found Tanya - an easy task, since she was
staying with Alindyar and Lyra.  He talked to her and explained
what he wanted to do.  She wasn't happy, but she understood; the
main problem was that she wanted to help, but Peldor's plan didn't
involve her.

Tanya:  Dammit, this isn't fair!
Peldor:  Nothing's fair, even in love and war...and this is most
  definitely war.
Tanya:  But it's dangerous-
Peldor:  (grins)  Danger's my middle name.
Tanya:  No it isn't.  You don't have a middle name.
Peldor:  Or a last name, for that matter.
Tanya:  (rather unamused)  You've got to let me help you somehow.
Peldor:  You will, by keeping a low profile and staying out of harm's
  way.
Tanya:  That's not what I mean and you know it!  (she smashes her fist
  into a table, angrily)
Peldor:  (takes her hand and begins massaging it)  This isn't going
  to turn into an argument, is it?
Tanya:  No...I'm just worried.
Peldor:  You've got to not worry...and you've got to trust me.  You
  _know_ I can do this.  (he locks gazes with her)  You do know that,
  right?
Tanya:  (nods)
Peldor:  Believe in me, then.  The gods only know, I need _someone_
  to believe in me right now.



  The next morning, a lean, mean rogue with numerous scars and a black
eyepatch over one eye applied for (and was granted) Guild membership.
The name he gave was Corvis, though it wasn't his real name.  His stated
land of origin - Zeif - was supported by the color of his skin and hair,
as well as his facial features.  Through casual and friendly conversation
among the guildhall members, Corvis made it known that he had crossed
half a continent to get away from certain troubles in his homeland.  He
also made it known that he'd been an assistant guildmaster in his
previous city, and was looking for similar work here.

random thief:  You?  In charge of something here?  Ha!
Corvis:  What's so funny?
random thief:  Nobody ever advances that fast in this guild.
Corvis:  That's not what I heard.  Hell, maybe I just have to prove
  myself...do a few robberies, kill a few people, whatever it takes.
random thief:  Yeah, sure, buddy.  (he wanders away)
other thief:  (having overheard this, he also wanders away)

  Corvis' place of residence (a room in a tavern) was more or less
public knowledge.  He'd signed in upon entering the city, and given
more information at the time of his Guild registration.  Therefore,
he was hardly surprised when a messenger came calling the following
day.

Corvis:  (answers his door, opening it only a crack, a blade held in
  his other hand)  What?
squirrely thief:  Whoa, relax, pal!
Corvis:  Fat chance.
squirrely thief:  Look, I come with a message from a very important
  person.
Corvis:  And who might that be?
squirrely thief:  Never mind that.  The Thieves' Guild wants to talk
  to you, and that means you'd better listen.
Corvis:  Me?  Why?
squirrely thief:  Can't say for sure, pal, but I think all that
  shooting off at the mouth you've been doing might have gotten
  someone's attention.  (he points at the wiry foreigner)  Go to the
  Guildhall.  Tonight.
Corvis:  And if I don't?
squirrely thief:  If you don't, I'd say your career in Greyhawk will
  be very short-lived indeed.
Corvis:  Oh, really?  (he smirks)  Well, then, I guess I'd better
  do as I'm told.
squirrely thief:  Now you're getting the idea.  (he turns to leave)
Corvis:  What's your name?
squirrely thief:  Varka.  Why?
Corvis:  (shrugs)  I'll need a name to give them, if they ask.
squirrely thief:  Ha.  (he scurries away)
Corvis:  (closes his door and sits down in a chair)  Hmph.  (he cracks
  his knuckles)  The fish took the bait...time to see what happens
  next...





next:      the deception kicks into high gear
ftp:       ftp.myths.com in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
           ftp.nol.net in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
           ftp.tas.gov.au/misc/stories
www:       http://www.myths.com/pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
           http://www.shobaki.org/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 storyline, I think, was long in coming.  I also
  hope to show a bit more of Peldor's sometimes necessary nasty
  side.
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