Chapter #539

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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) +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human warrior/thief      (N) +
+    Bosco      12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Date:        the 7th day of Needfest, 576 C.Y. (Common Year)     +
+  Time:        late afternoon                                      +
+  Place:       the Green Dragon Inn, in the Free City of Greyhawk  +
+  Climate:     cold outside, cozy inside                           +
+  "No one regards what is before his feet; we all gaze at          +
+   the stars."                                                     +
+                                                       - unknown   +

            DXXXIX.  Out With the Old, In With the New

  During a time of happy celebration at the Green Dragon Inn, one
drunken customer has gotten a little out of hand.  Fortunately,
the tavern's head bouncer has things well in hand...

Vinnie:  (towering a full head over the other man, he crosses his
  arms)  I'm afraid I'm gonna have to ask you to leave.
man:  (steps back a bit)  Whoa...
Vinnie:  Now.
man:  (grumbling to himself)
Vinnie:  (turns and points to the door)
man:  (still grumbling, he heads that way - and then whirls, fists
  flying)  -kick _me_ out of the place-

  Vinnie was a big guy, but he was also fairly quick.  He dodged the
attack, sidestepping as the assailant charged by.  Unfortunately,
the man crashed headlong into a crowded table, sending a number of
hard-bitten mercenary-types falling in all directions.

mercenary:  (grabs the drunken troublemaker, picks him up over his
  head, and hurls him away...right into another table)
big man at other table:  Hey!

  Within moments, everyone was punching and kicking at each other
in wild rage.

Vinnie:  (towering above everyone around him, he looks around,

  From their private booth, Peldor and friends watched all of this
unfold, a mix of surprise and worry on their faces...

Peldor:  (stands)  It's getting out of control.
Lyra:  They're sure to tear the place apart!
Bosco:  (cheerfully)  This is why we make them check their weapons
  at the door.
Tanya:  They'll just use the broken table and chair pieces as
Alindyar:  (sighs)  You would think that people could simply rejoice
  in the coming of the new year, rather than resort to base fisticuffs
  and brawling.

  Vinnie was doing his best, but it was tough for him to control
the brawl without making it worse or breaking anything.  Peldor and
Tanya were on the way to help, as were several members of Vinnie's
staff - when suddenly, everyone at the center of the brawl keeled
over, asleep!

Vinnie:  (staggering about, his eyelids heavy)  Uhh...
Peldor:  (stops in his tracks)  Huh?
Vinnie:  (leans against a wall, shaking his head)
Tanya:  (looks at the fallen combatants, then turns and looks at
Lyra:  (turns and looks at Alindyar)
Alindyar:  (shrugs)  'Twas nothing, really.
Bosco:  (looking around, confused)  Heyyyyy...
wrinkled old farmer:  (cackling to himself)  Damn good fight!

  Shortly, the inn's staff cleaned up the mess.  The sleeping brawlers
were taken outside and lined up against the wall.  The broken tables
and chairs were moved into a back room.

Lyra:  (to Tanya)  I could use a spell to fix that for you, you know.
Tanya:  Maybe, it's not a big deal.  We have extra furniture on hand
  for times like this.
Bosco:  (thinking about how a sleep spell could come in handy)  Hmm.
Peldor:  (to Alindyar)  Thanks.  That was a better solution than
  anything I could have come up with.
Alindyar:  (shrugs)  What are friends for?  It was nothing, really.
Peldor:  Well, thanks anyway.
Alindyar:  We really must be going - there is much to do, to make
  ready for the pyrotechnics display later tonight.
Peldor:  Cool.  Well, take care, and we'll be outside watching when
  the midnight hour rolls around.
Lyra:  (hugging Tanya, and vice versa)
Bosco:  (trying to solicit hugs, he gives up and gets himself another

  The night moved fairly quickly after that.  Derider Fanshaen, now
a pretty good friend of Peldor and Tanya, showed up with some city
guards and collected the snoozing troublemakers.

Derider:  I guess I'll charge them with drunk and disorderly-
Peldor:  No need for charges, I'm not interested in pressing any.
  I'd say just let 'em sleep it off in a cell until morning.
Derider:  Are you sure?
Peldor:  Sure I'm sure.  No one should have to be in trouble on
  the eve of the new year.
Derider:  Very well.  (to Tanya)  Where are you folks planning to
  watch the midnight magicks from?
Tanya:  Right here, though we'll all be outside, I'm sure.
Peldor:  This hill that the inn sits on is a pretty good vantage
Bosco:  With wizards like the drow, though, you can see the show
  from anywhere!  (he sips some ale)  Someday, _I'll_ be the one
  in charge of that, you know.
Derider:  The city can hardly wait, Bosco.  (to Peldor and Tanya)
  I'll stop by just before midnight.
Peldor:  Hope to see you then!

  Business picked up a bit in the hour before the festivities, and
the inn's staff was constantly busy.  Still, this didn't prevent
anyone - owners, staff, or guests - from heading outside to the
inn's spacious front lawn a short time before midnight.

Peldor:  They're doing all this magic from the Guild of Wizardry,
Tanya:  I think that's what I heard.  (she hefts a bottle of fine
  champagne and grins)  Did we bring glasses, or are we just going
  to drink out of the bottle?
Peldor:  I'd say just drink out of the bottle!  (he grabs her, and
  they look up at the skies)
Tanya:  Both moons are out and's pretty.
Peldor:  Definitely a special time.
Bosco:  (chimes in)  A time of great magic, and great portent...
Tanya:  (eyes the halfling)  Where _did_ you come from?
Bosco:  Over yonder.  (he gazes at the sky)  So where's the show?

  Just then, as if Bosco had made it happen (and he undoubtedly
thought he had) the sky lit up.  Several dozen glowing golden
spheres sailed up from a nearby part of the city, flying high
into the air before they exploded.  The resulting shower of
sparks lit up even the darkest corners of Greyhawk, as well as
the countryside for miles around.
  But that was only the beginning.  Other colored spheres came
after the first - reds, greens, blues, violets, and more - and
each series went higher before exploding.  The oohs and aahs of
the city's people echoed through the nighttime air; the display
was wondrous to behold.
  Other, more detailed pyrotechnics followed:  birds of flame,
pinwheels of coruscating energy, dragons of glowing mist, and
so on.  Each major wizard of Greyhawk (and there were a lot) had
his or her turn to put on a show for the city.  A gigantic green
pair of clapping hands - each impact generating an enormous peal
of rolling thunder and a flash of multicolored lightning - was
undeniably Bigby's work.  A glowing, winged sea serpent of blue
flame signaled Tenser's involvement.  Alindyar, as well, created
an effect for the show:  a huge, illusory wyrm of shadows and
night, limned in shining silver with glowing golden eyes bright
as the sun, it swooped down over the crowds before fading from
view.  All in all, the show of magic and pyrotechnics lasted for
almost half an hour, and it impressed the hell out of everyone
who witnessed it.

  At the Guild of Wizardry, the magi presented themselves to the
cheering, exultant crowd, waving and bowing, as the final few
spells were being cast.

Alindyar:  (directing the last few magi as they get in line and
  prepare their contributions)  Whew.
Bigby:  A good job, lad.  Well-organized and well-executed.
Alindyar:  My thanks for the compliment.
Drawmij:  What was with that shadow-dragon, though?  I think I
  heard children scream...
Alindyar:  Magic should be feared, as well as respected and
Tenser:  Hmm.  Interesting attitude.
Otiluke:  (notices that the crowd's cheering and clapping has died
  down)  What's going on?  (he realizes that the crowd is still
  looking up at the sky, and turns his head upward)
Jallarzi:  (points to the sky)  Look!

  Even the exalted magi present stared in awe; in the sky far above,
even as the sparks from the last pyrotechnic faded, a bright and
slightly-bluish spark _grew_ in intensity.  It didn't take long for
the collected wizards to realize that whatever this speck was, it
was far away - much farther than the effects they'd been sending
up into the sky for the last half hour.

Alindyar:  Aie...
Tenser:  That's definitely not one of us...(he looks around)  Is
Bigby:  (shakes his head)
Drawmij:  (concerned)  It's a portent!
Jallarzi:  How can you-
Mordenkainen:  (steps forth)  An omen, it is.  I am sure of it.
Alindyar:  You may recall that the last time we had an omen during
  Needfest, it turned out to be that gigantic monster in its egg...
Tenser:  True...but this one isn't falling.  It's simply there.
Otiluke:  Yet by the same token, it _is_ there, which is distinctly
  different from it _not_ being there.
Otto:  (shakes his large head, worried)  A new star in the sky...
  what can this mean?
Mordenkainen:  (frowns)  Nothing good, I'd wager.  Nothing good.

next:      the same Helgate
ftp: in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
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