Chapter #541

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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                    +
+                           +
+  Belphanior      (14th)^3 level elven fighter/wizard/thief   (CN) +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human warrior/thief      (N) +
+    Bosco      12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Date:        1/2/577 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        late morning                                        +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
+  "Everyone gets what he wants.  I wanted a mission, and for       +
+   my sins, they gave me one."                                     +
+                        - Captain Willard, from _Apocalypse Now_   +

                    DXLI.  Assembling a Band

  A couple of days have passed since the grand new year's celebration
in Greyhawk.  Peldor and company have their hands full...

Peldor:  (holds up a fragment of a shattered goblet)  This one was
  under a booth.
Bosco:  (shrugs)  _I_ didn't put it there.
Tanya:  (sighs)  You sort of have to expect a little damage during a
  big party.
Peldor:  Yeah.  (he looks around, surveying the various cleaning
  staff hard at work)  Sometimes, it seems like more trouble than
  it's worth.
Bosco:  We raked in a lot of dough that night, though.
Tanya:  He's right.  Why, just the booze-

  The conversation was interrupted by a flash and a puff of smoke,
which were immediately followed by the appearance of Belphanior in
the center of the tavern's great room!

Belphanior:  Greetings.
Bosco:  Whoa!  Belphanior!
Peldor:  (frowns)  Teleportation?
Belphanior:  An art I am working on perfecting...well, one such art.
  (he bows slightly to Tanya)  Tanya.
Tanya:  Belphanior.
Bosco:  Should I go fetch a keg of-
Belphanior:  I'm afraid not, Bosco.  I'm here on business.
Tanya:  (muttering to herself)  So are we.
Peldor:  (motions the elf over to a booth in the corner)  What can I
  do for you?

  Belphanior spent the next few minutes explaining his latest quest
to the master thief, his wife, and the jubilant Bosco.

Belphanior:  -and there you have it.  We're going back to the City
  of the Gods, to find treasures yet undreamt of.  (his eyes almost
  glaze over)
Bosco:  (eyes already glazed over)  Mmm...treasure.
Tanya:  You call _this_ a new year's resolution?
Belphanior:  Like I said, most people make one or two stupid
  resolutions for the new year, and then never keep them.  I'm
  simply making one that I'll not only keep, but that will net me
  massive riches and power.
Peldor:  (nods)  Makes sense.
Belphanior:  Then you're in?
Peldor:  Didn't say that.  (he gestures around)  Not only do I have
  this place to run, but I'm Guildmaster now.
Belphanior:  (truly surprised)  Guildmaster?  Really?
Peldor:  (nods)  They finally realized what was best.
Belphanior:  That's good news.  (he clasps his friend's shoulder)
  Good news indeed.  My congratulations.
Peldor:  Thanks.  The thing is, though, I can't jaunt across the
  world on a whim.
Belphanior:  Sure you can - you just need the right spell.
Peldor:  I wasn't being literal.  I have weekly - mostly daily -
  duties and responsibilities here.  Much as I'd like to see the
  hidden splendors of that city again, I'm afraid I'll have to say
Belphanior:  Oh.  (he eyes Tanya)  I guess that rules you out too.
Tanya:  Yep.
Belphanior:  (looks across to Bosco)
Bosco:  Huh?
Peldor:  Bosco runs the casino now.
Belphanior:  Hmm, kind of like an "if you can't beat 'em, hire 'em"
Peldor:  Something like that.
Bosco:  (suddenly realizes what they're talking about)  Wait!  It's
  the _City of the Gods_!  I _have_ to go!
Tanya:  But the casino...
Peldor:  (to Tanya, gently)  ...will run just fine with Bosco away.
  That's why we have several assistant dealers there.
Tanya:  (takes the hint)  I see.  (to Belphanior)  Could the small
  but great Bosco perhaps represent us in your quest?
Belphanior:  (smiles)  We'd be honored to have him.
Bosco:  (jumps for joy)  YES!

  A while later, in Alindyar and Lyra's mansion...

Lyra:  (alerted by a spell of warning)  Someone knocks.
Alindyar:  Aye, I know.  (he waves his hand over a small crsytal
  ball, revealing an image of a red-cloaked elf standing on their
  doorstep)  Aie.
Lyra:  It's _him_.
Alindyar:  (snaps his fingers, triggering an enchantment that causes
  the door below to swing open)


Lyra:  Sounds like a mighty quest indeed.
Alindyar:  Aye...a most rewarding endeavor, potentially.
Belphanior:  I hope so.  Well, now you know the, are you
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Your classes don't start for another
  week and a half...
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  True...and we can always teleport back
  here if necessary.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Or when necessary.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Aye.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  He's got plenty of support, what with
  that group of marshals coming along too.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  We would be able to fully utilize our
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  We should go.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Agreed.  (he turns to Belphanior and
  speaks)  We shall accompany you.
Belphanior:  Excellent!  Uh, when can you leave?
Lyra:  Why?
Belphanior:  Well, it's just that...back in my town, the others are
  readying themselves for departure.  Today, if we can.
Alindyar:  We shall be ready within the hour.  Stay here whilst we
  prepare, and we shall journey back to your town with you.
Belphanior:  Okay.

  The elf was a little uneasy about the drow visiting Helgate, but
he decided that since they were trusted friends, it wouldn't be a
problem.  He waited in the study, reading an ancient tome about
demonology, until Alindyar and Lyra were packed and ready.

Alindyar:  'Tis time.
Belphanior:  Yeah...quick question?
Lyra:  What's that?
Belphanior:  What about the others - might some of them want to go
Lyra:  You've talked to Peldor and Tanya already, so they're out.
Alindyar:  Though Bosco is in.
Lyra:  (looking around suspiciously)  Where _is_ Bosco?
Belphanior:  I left him outside on the doorstep.  He seemed happy.
  He was saying something about "checking up on his own work."
Alindyar:  Aie...
Lyra:  Anyway...Mongo and Gorin are far away, in some place called
Belphanior:  A mercenary army?  Mongo?  (he whistles)  What about
Alindyar:  (shrugs)  We have heard nothing.
Belphanior:  Oh.
Lyra:  As for Rillen and Songa, they have journeyed to the far north
  and east...the barbarian wastelands.  I believe they intend to
  totally separate themselves from civilization.
Belphanior:  I understand.  Believe me, I understand.
Alindyar:  Enough talk.  Let us fetch the small one and begone.

  They did both of those things, and by midday the four were in
Belphanior's castle, hobnobbing with Belphanior's marshals.

Bosco:  (looks up at Ys)  What _are_ you?
Ys:  I am Ys.  What are _you_?
Jutokai:  (counting arrows)
Lyra:  Are you a crack shot with that bow?
Jutokai:  Yep.
Lyra:  (nods, pleased at the variety of this group's skills)
Kinichi:  (checking the straps on his chain mail)
Lyra:  Where's Victoria?  Isn't she going with us?
Razor Charlie:  Past her bedtime.
Lyra:  Eh?
Alindyar:  (discussing spells with Belphanior)
Aja:  (watching the dark elf intently)
Skektek:  I don't understand what you see in that one.
Aja:  You wouldn't.  I don't think so, anyway.
wispy thing:  (hovering over Bosco's head)  Brfff!
Bosco:  Whatever you say, little guy.
Otto:  (checks the stopper on a vial of violet fluid)

  The dwarf had been cleaning his chambers earlier that day when he
unearthed the quantity of rare Vish'na'rri sap.  Several years ago,
he'd taken a bit of the stuff from the magical boat of an archmage
named Drawmij.  Its special properties - shielding people and items
from magical detection and scrying - might not come in handy on this
adventure, but Otto decided to bring it anyway.  After all, you just
never knew.

  Belphanior's people had been readying themselves all day, though
not all of them were going on the trip.  Belphanior had assigned a
couple of the marshals - those with redundant or unnecessary skills -
to remain in Helgate.  Skektek and Razor Charlie weren't too happy
about this, but Belphanior was the boss, and stay they would.  The
elf needed Jutokai's bow and Kinichi's tracking skill, else those
two would have also remained behind.
  It wasn't long before those who were going were ready to leave.

Belphanior:  (to Daphne)  Remember, if anything happens, Victoria
  will help you.
Daphne:  (nods)
Bosco:  (looks around, scratching his head)  Big group we've got
Lyra:  We may need it.  The City of the Gods is a dangerous place.
Bosco:  Yeah, I remember.  Say, d'you think that little red guy's
  still there?
Lyra:  Nobody knows for sure, Bosco.
Alindyar:  (to Belphanior)  Is all in readiness?
Belphanior:  (spellcasting)  It sure is...

  With a flash of mystical energy, they were gone from Helgate,
transported across leagues of space to the frozen, barren region
known as the Land of Black Ice...

+  Alindyar     17th level drow mage                            (N) +
+    Lyra       13th level female drow mage                     (N) +
+  Belphanior      (14th)^3 level elven fighter/wizard/thief   (CN) +
+    Otto            8th/10th level dwarven fighter/thief      (CN) +
+    the wispy thing                                            (N) +
+    Aja             9th level human priestess of Wee Jas       (N) +
+    Jutokai         7th level human archer                    (LN) +
+    Kinichi         7th level human tracker                    (N) +
+    Ys             13th level reptilian fighter               (LN) +
+  Bosco        12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +

wispy thing:  (flies about)  Pffft?
Bosco:  Hey, it's cold!
Ys:  It is, at that.
Aja:  Rather foreboding.
Lyra:  And dangerous.
Alindyar:  (draws his cloak more tightly about himself)
Kinichi:  (already using the sun's position in the sky to figure
  out which way is north)
Jutokai:  (crosses his arms)
Otto:  Never been here before.
Belphanior:  (looks around, surveying the discolored snow and ice
  that surround them)  This is it, people:  welcome to the Land of
  Black Ice.

next:      denizens of the area try to make lunch of our heroes
ftp: in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     Thanks to Matt Hurd for reminding me about the sap Otto
  stole from Drawmij's boat, way back in #322.
    I've been wanting to return to the City of the Gods for awhile.
  This promises to be fun.

    You should go to the Adventurers home page (listed right there,
  above) and check out the updates and announcements.

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