Chapter #531

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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                    +
+                           +
+  Alindyar     17th level drow mage                            (N) +
+    Lyra       13th level female drow mage                     (N) +
+  Date:        12/19/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                        +
+  Time:        dusk                                                +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
+  "I say, let friendship thrive."                                  +
+                         - Methos, from the _Highlander_ series    +

                 DXXXI.  Business As Unusual

  More than four months have passed since Alindyar and Lyra's
interrogation by the Circle of Eight.  In that time, they have
assisted both Belphanior and Peldor with dire matters.  However,
they have also handled more personal affairs...

Alindyar:  (eyes the two identical spellbooks that rest upon a
  nearby table)  Whew.
Lyra:  All done...
Alindyar:  A most...daunting task.
Lyra:  But well worth the trouble.
Alindyar:  Aye.

  For years, the two drow had maintained separate spell lists in
their personal spellbooks.  Each preferred different spells for
battle and other situations; Alindyar almost exclusively used forms
of illusion, while Lyra tended toward a selection of more versatile
spells.  For this reason, and this reason alone, the drow had never
shared their spells with each other, save for those spells they had
developed together.
  Those days were over.  Now, each of the pair was capable of casting
almost any spell that the other could cast.  In a few cases, certain
mechanics and gestures still eluded one drow or the other.  This was
seen as a merely temporary setback, however; in any case, both sets
of spellbooks now contained the same incantations.  While Alindyar
would still prefer illusions (and be better at them than Lyra) and
Lyra would probably continue to tend toward the same spells she had
always cast, the two now had more in their arsenals.  Besides trading
formulae that one of them hadn't had, they had also done some cross-
training, each dabbling into the spells the other had given them.  In
many cases, Alindyar had used these as exercises and demonstrations
in his class at the Grey College.  Many a young wizard or sorcerer
had benefitted from his and Lyra's spell-trading.
  In addition, they had done some more private work, perfecting the
teleportation variants begun so many months ago.  One of these was
a mass teleport, capable of transporting many more people or cargo
items than the standard spell of this sort.  Another variation was
a secondhand teleport, in which the caster sent _another_ being
(plus a limited number of others, or a certain amount of cargo) to
a location known to _that_ being.  This spell worked via a limited,
rudimentary ESP link which enabled the caster to send the other to
his or her destination with no extra risk, beyond that normally
associated with teleportation.  With this spell, Alindyar or Lyra
could send some non-spellcasting friend they wanted to help (Mongo,
for example) to some faraway place, with minimal effort or risk.
A third variant involved using the scrying properties of a crystal
ball or magic mirror to choose a teleport destination.  Alindyar
had already completed this spell, having in fact used it to assist
Belphanior recently.
  Alindyar and Lyra had other ideas for spells, but these were the
only two they'd had the time to perfect.  Alindyar had been quick
to share the new spells with his friend Drawmij; that mage was one
who dabbled in teleportation magic.  Truly, the man had been rather
surprised to see working variants of the standard teleportation
spell.  He'd also been pleased to have such great works shown to
him; Alindyar asked Drawmij for opinions or suggestions on these
new spells.  Of course, Alindyar's motives weren't purely selfless;
he was always seeking ways to improve his spells and perhaps gain
new knowledge.  In this case, his actions served him well; Drawmij
expressed a desire to work together on some further research.

Drawmij:  Imagine the possibilities - spells that could move entire
  armies halfway around the world!
Alindyar:  Or gigantic creatures.
Drawmij:  Yes, I recall hearing about the tarrasque incident.  Wish
  I'd been there.
Alindyar:  Aye.

  It wasn't coincidental that Alindyar was thinking about the great
and terrible beast known to some as the tarrasque.  He'd recently
done some scrying on the drow city they'd sent the monster to, many
years back.  His surveillance had revealed a city in ruins.  Nothing
lived in the wrecked images his crystal ball had shown him - only
whatever unseen spirits still haunted the place.  This worried him
for two reasons.  First, there had to have been survivors of the
devastation, and being drow (and wizards, more likely than not) any
such survivors would probably be able to figure out where the source
of their city's destruction had come from.  Secondly, Alindyar had
to wonder what had become of the tarrasque itself.  Such a monster
couldn't be allowed to roam about freely; the fact that it was many
leagues under the world's surface didn't change the problem much.
  These were, however, problems for another time.  Alindyar and Lyra
were too busy getting on with life to worry about death.  Alindyar
had done some exceptional work at and for the Grey College, to the
extent that he had begun to attract the attention of the senior
members of the College.  Before long, he had also attracted the
attention of Kieren Jalucian, Guildmaster of Wizards in the city.
Kieren was impressed with the drow's feats and knowledge, and found
it hard to believe that such a wizard had been here, under his nose,
all this time.  They had eaten dinner at the Golden Phoenix, spending
many hours sharing stories and comparing ideas and theories.  After
this, the two had become fast friends, and made a point of meeting
for lunch or dinner at least once a week.
  From this relationship came another useful one.  As many of the
city's wizards knew, Kieran was fast friends with the youngest member
of the Circle of Eight, Jallarzi Sallavarian.  It wasn't long before
those two were making the social rounds with Alindyar and Lyra; for
her part, Lyra found Jallarzi to be excellent company, and vice versa.
There were very few female wizards in Greyhawk, for whatever reason;
these two were probably the most powerful.  They also became fast
friends, and shared both spells and stories on a regular basis.  The
drow began to wonder when (not if) they would be invited on some
adventure with Kieran and Jallarzi.
  By now, only two members of the Circle of Eight were personally
unknown to the drow:  the group's reclusive leader, Mordenkainen,
and the elusive Nystul.
  Alindyar also maintained his association with Jawal Severnain, head
librarian at the Guild of Wizardry.  Both were drow, and both were
intelligent and experienced wizards.  They'd already worked together
recently to help Belphanior with his research, and Alindyar found
the other dark elf to be invaluable when he needed help finding some
obscure tome or bit of knowledge.  Jawal didn't get out much, though,
so Alindyar had to build the friendship almost exclusively in the
confines of the library.  He found it to be an effort worth making.

  On the home front, the drow had added security measures on their
mansion.  To do this properly, they'd enlisted the help of the best
friendly thief available...

Bosco:  (wandering around the mansion, a goblet clutched in one tiny
  hand)  And here - here, you should have bars on the windows.
Lyra:  Why?
Bosco:  A good thief may or may not be able to bypass magical
  defenses, but a bad thief won't even know they're there.  Bars
  on your windows will save you a lot of trouble with amateurs.
Alindyar:  Oh.  Wasted time?
Bosco:  Exactly.  Plus, if someone comes along who can negate your
  magic, bars will help a lot.
Lyra:  What was that business about the walls?
Bosco:  Walls...don't think that putting magical wards on all your
  windows and doors is enough.  I once heard of a thief who waited
  until his victims were out of town, then spent two days pulling
  off roofing tiles.  He slipped down-  (he makes a motion with his
  hand)  -and into the attic - avoiding the dozens of magically-
  defended windows entirely!
Alindyar:  Aie.  I never thought of that.
Bosco:  That's why you're such easy prey - you think magic is all
  you need.  (he guzzles some wine from his goblet)
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  How much more of our wine is he going
  to drink?
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Not much more.  I hid the rest of the
  bottles in the cellar.
Bosco:  Do you have a cellar?  We'll need to check it for soft walls
  and other weak points.

  Bosco showed them that dependence on magic alone wasn't enough;
physical barriers and traps had to be in place as well.  If nothing
else, the magical wards needed to be oriented to the non-obvious as
well as the obvious.  Bosco gave them an inkling as to how thieves
planned and thought, and that in turn allowed them to fine-tune the
guards and wards they had in place.  Of course, the halfling consumed
many times his weight in food and drink, but at least he didn't ask
for payment.  Bosco was odd that way.

  The final undertaking that Alindyar had recently completed involved
an item that he'd had for years, but hadn't even remembered to deal
with:  Zara's spellbook.  After a lengthy examination, for traps of
any kind, the tome was opened.  Within were many spells, most of
which Alindyar and Lyra already had but a few of which were new and
potentially useful.  In addition, the book contained seven unique
incantations that neither of the drow had ever heard of before.  It
had taken many long days (and nights) but at long last, all of Zara's
spells that they didn't already have were copied over.

  All was going well, and for the first time in a while, they didn't
get the feeling that things were about to change.  Their spellbooks
were fully augmented; their mansion was thoroughly protected; their
professional and social lives were blossoming.  They hadn't had to fly
away on some wild adventure, or journey to some distant, dangerous
plane, or defend themselves against assassins.  No, they were finally
enjoying a healthy dose of long-deserved happiness and prosperity -
and most importantly of all, they were happy.
  In preparation for the upcoming New Year's celebration, after
Needfest was over, Alindyar was asked to supervise the pyrotechnics
provided by the Guild of Wizardry.  This was a high honor, one that
brought much accord and attention...and one that Alindyar (with some
help from Lyra, naturally) was glad to accept.

next:      Mongo!  Gorin!  Greyspire!
ftp: in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     This was, of course, a "loose ends" episode for the drow.

    I haven't written up full details of the two new spells yet, but
  we're basically looking at:

  * Mass Teleport (7th level) - sends triple the usual amount of
    people or cargo along with the caster
  * Secondary Teleport (7th level) - links the caster's mind with
    some other being's, then sends that other being to a place of
    its choosing; same chance of failure as normal teleportation,
    based on the subject's knowledge of the destination, not the

    Unique spells gained from Zara's spellbook (they also happen to
  be found in _Volo's Guide to All Things Magical_) are:

    Insatiable Thirst (2nd level)
    Lorloveim's Creeping Shadow (3rd)
    Watery Double (3rd)
    Von Gasik's Refusal (5th)
    Bloodstone's Spectral Steed (6th)
    Shadowcat (7th)
    Suffocate (7th)

  Thanks to the following readers for drow ideas they sent me; some
of these have been sitting in my idea pile for more than a year!

  * Aaron Ranta, Tom Vallow, John Fox, and others (revisiting the
    tarrasque issue)
  * Marc Midura (cultivating the inevitable friendship with some
    members of the Circle of Eight, and developing a friendship
    with Jawal Severnain)
  * Matt Hurd (using thieves to help thief-proof the mansion)


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