Chapter #567

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                                +   +
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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                    +
+                           +
+  Bosco        12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+  Tanya        5th/11th level female human warrior/thief      (LN) +
+  Date:        4/16/577 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     unpleasant                                          +
+  "I have had more trouble with myself than with any other         +
+   man I have ever met."                                           +
+                                                    - D.L. Moody   +

                     DLXVII.  Extradition

  In a very short time, Bosco's fortunes have changed drastically.
After winning Lord Kilroy's card tournament and coming home with
the prize money, the halfling now finds himself under political

Bosco:  What?!?
Pompa-Peyvur:  For crimes against our beloved Tusmit, the Pasha
  himself has declared that you be apprehended and taken back
  with us.
Peldor:  (to Sir Anton)  And Greyhawk is playing along with this
Sir Anton:  We are co-operating, as kingdoms tend to do when such
  delicate matters as this are involved.
Pompa-Peyvur:  (wide-eyed)  Farce?  FARCE?!?  Are you not aware
  that this..this...(he points at Bosco)  He killed dozens and
  laid waste to two towns!  He is as guilty as can be!
Peldor:  Bullshit!  He was possessed when he did those things!
  It's not his fault!
Pompa-Peyvur:  Possessed?!?
Peldor:  By a demon!  His soul was gone at the time, and a demon
  found his body and possessed it.  It wasn't Bosco who did those
Sir Anton:  (snorts)  Ridiculous!  I've never heard such a stupid
  story in my life.
Peldor:  That's because you're a pompous idiot.
Sir Anton:  (draws his sword)  You'll eat those words!
Peldor:  (eyes the Guildmaster of Lawyers and Scribes)  You have
  _got_ to be kidding.
Vinnie:  (grabs Sir Anton's wrist and disarms him)  No weapons in
  the Inn.
Sir Anton:  Unhand me!  You'll pay for that-
Bosco:  STOP!

  Everyone - adventurers, guardsmen, foreigners - froze in their
tracks.  The halfling's voice was unusually loud, and he stood atop
a table, his chin held high.

Bosco:  No more argument, and no more talking about me as if I'm
  not here, while I'm standing right here.
Peldor:  Bosco-
Bosco:  No.  If these people have a problem with me, then I will
  deal with it.  If the law says that they get to take me away,
  then I'll go.  It's obvious that we're not going to settle
  anything here.  (he holds up his hands)  Take me away before
  I run away.
Tanya:  Bosco!
Bosco:  (extends his hands to Pompa-Peyvur)  Take me away.  I've
  been wanting to get out of this city and visit faraway lands
Pompa-Peyvur:  (disbelieving)  Y- you're turning yourself in?!?
Bosco:  I am.  Let's go.
Pompa-Peyvur:  Very well, then.  (he shakes his head)  Perhaps if
  you cooperate fully, you can be granted a quick death.  But I
  make no promises!
Bosco:  Sure thing, pal.
Sir Anton:  (looking for a fight from Peldor, he is still in shock)
  Yes...take him away.
Pompa-Peyvur:  With pleasure.  (his guards surround the halfling,
  and the retinue leaves the inn)
Peldor:  Um...when are you leaving?
Pompa-Peyvur:  Tonight.  After all, we have a long journey ahead
  of us.
Peldor:  Well, you'd better plan on having another along for the
  trip.  There's no way you're taking Bosco to trial without me
Bosco:  Aww...
Pompa-Peyvur:  You wish to represent the halfling at his trial?
Peldor:  If it comes to that.  But I'll be there every step of the
  way, that's for damn sure.
Pompa-Peyvur:  If you so may come along.
Tanya:  I'm coming too.
Peldor:  Let's talk about this privately.  (to Pompa-Peyvur)
  Where are you staying?
Pompa-Peyvur:  The Golden Phoenix Inn.
Peldor:  I know where it is, and I'll be there shortly.  I have a
  few things to take care of first.
Pompa-Peyvur:  Very well.
Sir Anton:  No!  You can't-
Pompa-Peyvur:  We have our prisoner.  Your participation in this
  matter is over.  (to his guards)  Let us retire to our lodgings.

  The foreigners departed with Bosco, leaving Sir Anton and the four
city guards standing in the entryway.

Sir Anton:  You can accompany Bosco anywhere you want, but it won't
  change the fact that he's going to hang.
Peldor:  Get out of my inn.
Sir Anton:  (gloating)

  Outside, a group of nobles who were ascending the inn's front
steps recoiled as the Oligarch flew through one of the building's
front windows in an explosion of glass.  The city guardsmen ran
out, helping him to his feet, but Anton had had enough; he left
in a hurry, followed by the guards.

Tanya:  Now we're out a window.
Peldor:  Have it replaced.  (he walks upstairs, briskly)  I'm
  going to Tusmit.
Tanya:  (follows him upstairs, and eventually into their rooms)
  I'm going with you.  You need me.
Peldor:  No.  The inn needs you, especially with both me and Bosco
Tanya:  Dammit...
Peldor:  You know I'm right.  Besides, you weren't there when
  Bosco did those things, so you're no good as a witness.
Tanya:  You're right.  You need some other help instead.  (she
  leaves suddenly)

  Peldor took only the essentials:  a few days' worth of clothes,
a substantial sum of gold and gemstones, and every weapon and
magic item he owned.

Peldor:  (muttering to himself)  That's my prepared.

  The master thief tossed everything into his bag of holding, then
left the inn.  He stopped by the Mayor's office, found that Nerof
Gasgal wasn't there, and went to his house instead.  After some
urgent words, the Mayor was summoned and came out to talk to him.

Nerof:  Now, I understand that you're not happy-
Peldor:  You have no idea.  I'm here to tell you that I'm going
  along for the ride, and to make sure Bosco gets a fair trial.
  (he frowns)  You know, if I didn't know better, I'd suspect a
  plot among certain Oligarchs to make all of this happen.
Nerof:  There was no plot to make it happen - Bosco did that, all
  those years ago.
Peldor:  Well, some of the other Oligarchs seem to have done more
  than their share to expedite Bosco's extradition.
Nerof:  That may be, and I assure you that any such inappropriate
  activities will be dealt with-
Peldor:  Indeed they will, after I get back.  And let me assure
  you that if Bosco is executed as a result of all this, the death
  will not end in Tusmit.  (he turns and leaves)
Nerof:  (sighs)  Damn that troublemaker Anton...

  Within the hour, Peldor was sitting in one of Pompa-Peyvur's
rooms in the Golden Phoenix Inn, chatting with Bosco.

Peldor:  You seem remarkably calm, considering the circumstances.
Bosco:  And you sound like Alindyar.
Peldor:  This is no time for levity, Bosco.
Bosco:  What can I do?  I don't want to help start a war between
  Greyhawk and Tusmit, nor do I want to cause you any problems
  with Sir Anton and the Guild.
Peldor:  Forget him.  There are already problems between him and
  me, anyway.
Bosco:  It's best, and easiest, for everybody if I just go along.
Peldor:  Bosco, they're planning to execute you.
Bosco:  (shrugs)  If that's the way it's gonna be, then fine.
  We'll see what happens.
Peldor:  I can't believe you're not worried about this.
Bosco:  Put yourself in my shoes.  Think.  If I was going to do
  something, would this be the place and time to do it?
Peldor:  Hmm, good point.
Bosco:  So, then.  We have a journey ahead of us, one that will
  take weeks.  I'll be using that time to think.
Peldor:  Glad to hear it.

  There was a sudden commotion outside, and Peldor stood, heading
for the door to see what was going on.  He spotted several of the
Tusmit soldiers, complaining as they were pushed aside.

Alindyar:  (enters the room)  Ah, there you are.
Peldor:  Alindyar!  What brings you here?
Alindyar:  Tanya, through Lyra.  You are not venturing to Tusmit
Bosco:  Aw, you didn't have to-
Alindyar:  Of course I did.
Peldor:  Well...I'll certainly feel better having you along.
Alindyar:  (eyes the guards he pushed aside as he entered)  Magic,
  gentlemen.  Get used to it.

  Well before dusk, they set out:  one noble, twelve elite guards,
a prisoner, and two adventurers.  It was obvious that Pompa-Peyvur
wasn't thrilled with the idea of Bosco's friends coming along, but
he also had no real right to object, either.  If the halfling was
bound to undergo a trial for his actions of years past, then it was
only right that he be allowed witnesses in his defense.
  Of course, Peldor and Alindyar spent much of their time planning
possible ways out of this predicament...

Peldor:  We could just overpower them.  It wouldn't be that hard,
  I don't think.
Alindyar:  Perhaps, but then they would just come back to Greyhawk,
  and in greater numbers.  For that same reason, we cannot simply
  teleport away with the halfling.
Peldor:  Hmm.  Assuming that we go ahead with the trial idea, the
  goal would then become...proving Bosco's innocence.
Alindyar:  A daunting task, that.
Peldor:  (sighs)  Yes...

  For two days, they rode westward, leaving Greyhawk and then
Dyvers behind.  Things were quiet...probably too quiet...

Peldor:  (watching Bosco, who is watching the landscape as they
  ride, smiling wistfully)  Damn, but he's acting strange.
Alindyar:  Especially for one who has been condemned.
Peldor:  Maybe he's got a plan.
Alindyar:  For his sake, I hope he does.
Peldor:  Well, we've already concluded that fleeing or fighting
  won't solve the long-term problem here.
Alindyar:  Aye.  These people would merely return to Greyhawk,
  and in much larger numbers.
Peldor:  And they'd be mad.
Alindyar:  Bosco could always parts unknown...rather
  than return to Greyhawk.
Peldor:  (shaking his head)  No...I think he likes Greyhawk, and
  he's not the sort to live on the run.  Now Belphanior, maybe...
Alindyar:  Perhaps we can prove Bosco's relative innocence in the
Peldor:  That'll be tough.  After all, what hard evidence was
  there that the little guy was possessed when he went on that
  rampage?  And it's not like we ever bothered to go back to
  those two towns and explain what happened.
Alindyar:  What of those nuns, in that convent we left Bosco's
  soulless body in?
Peldor:  All they can prove is that he was harmless _after_ his
  jaunt through Lud and Targ.  We need proof of what happened
  _before_ that.
Alindyar:  (sighs)
Pompa-Peyvur:  (rides up alongside the two adventurers)  Planning
  ways to prove the halfling's innocence?
Peldor:  Trying...say, I don't suppose that explaining the whole
  demon-possession thing again would make any difference to you?
Pompa-Peyvur:  (shakes his head)  I am sorry, but we are dealing
  with a mass murderer here.  He simply must return to Tusmit and
  stand trial.
Peldor:  Hmm.
Pompa-Peyvur:  If you have any evidence that you think would help
  his case, I suggest that you procure it now.
Peldor:  Gee, thanks.
Pompa-Peyvur:  (shrugs, and moves his horse further up so that he
  can talk to the captain of the guards)

  Bosco wasn't kept under strict watch, perhaps because he'd been
as timid as a mouse ever since turning himself in peacefully.  He
was ringed at all times by four of the soldiers, but his hands and
feet were free, and they did feed him three times a day.

Alindyar:  It could be worse.
Peldor:  Yeah.  I still think he's got something up his sleeve.
Alindyar:  This will prove to be an interesting journey.  (he
  produces a worn map)  Here is our approximate route, as best as
  I can figure it.

  They were currently passing through southern Furyondy, on a north-
west bearing that would take them to the southern fringes of the
great Vesve Forest.  This was somewhat confusing, as they would
have expected the Tusmit force to head due west, passing through
Veluna and Ket.  Alindyar reasoned that, since Tusmit and Ket were
constantly in a state of hostility these days, Pompa-Peyvur wanted
to avoid that latter kingdom.  Rather than say anything that would
give away their interest in the route, the adventurers simply kept
their mouths shut and their ears open.
  The long journey was uneventful at first.  The party crossed the
Att and then the Velverdyva rivers, skirting northern Veluna and
stopping at the city of Highfolk, two weeks after departing from
Greyhawk.  It seemed that Alindyar's suspicions had been correct:
they were making as if to follow the Velverdyva River northward,
between the Vesve Forest to the east and the Clatspur Mountains
to the west.  This course would eventually put them in Perrenland,
from which they could reach Tusmit via any of several mountain

Peldor:  A roundabout way to get there...
Alindyar:  But the safest way, for our companions here.  Also
  realize that they are probably in no hurry at all - they have
  been seeking Bosco for five years, you know.
Peldor:  Hmph.
Alindyar:  Hopefully we will be able to free way or
Peldor:  I know what Belphanior would do.
Alindyar:  You already mentioned that.  Are you wishing he were
  here, that this was his problem?
Peldor:  Not that - I just envy his situation.
Alindyar:  What situation is that?
Peldor:  The situation of being able to do whatever he wants, to
  deal with idiots directly and without fear of laws or rules.
Alindyar:  You claim that he is more effective because he lives
  by no rules?
Peldor:  I'm saying that he's more effective because he makes his
  _own_ rules.  He's not bound by the same things you and I are.
Alindyar:  Hmm.
Peldor:  But it's a moot point, because _we_ have to play the
  game by other rules.
Alindyar:  (glances around)  I grow weary of this city already.
Peldor:  Highfolk's a big place.  Let's go grab some supper.

  The party stayed over in Highfolk that evening and the next
day, re-stocking supplies and giving their weary horses some
much-needed rest.  When they finally left the large city, Pompa-
Peyvur did what they'd predicted, turning the party northward.

Pompa-Peyvur:  We cannot take the Velverdyva River into Perrenland
  due to its direction, but we will march along it to Lake Quag.
Peldor:  Lake Quag?  I've heard that name somewhere before...
Pompa-Peyvur:  It is the third-largest freshwater body on this
  continent.  We shall skirt its southern tip and venture through
  Perrenland.  I predict that we'll see the mountain-towns by
  month's end.
Peldor:  Whoopee.

  It wasn't until two days later, as they followed the river's
winding course through the Clatspur Mountains, that Peldor and
Alindyar learned the reason why Pompa-Peyvur and his soldiers
were as confident and seemingly carefree as they were.
  A force of giants sprung an ambush, hurling boulders from
perches high above.  The huge rocks splintered all around the
party, who quickly sought and found cover beneath a natural lip
of stone.  Both of the adventurers, as well as Bosco, noted how
quickly and calmly the forces from Tusmit acted during the
attack; they got both themselves and the horses to cover, and
nobody lost their head.

Pompa-Peyvur:  An attack...(he begins spellcasting, and quickly
  becomes invisible)
Bosco:  Hey, I can do that!
soldier:  Stay here.  The Pompa will deal with this.
Peldor:  How?  I'm not one to leave my life in the hands of
soldiers' captain:  Fear not.

  Pompa-Peyvur, shielded by magic and wielding a magical staff,
floated out of the cave and up into the sky.  When he saw the
various ledges that the giants were clustered on, he analyzed
the ledges, their horizontal and vertical proximities to each
other...and then began casting another spell.
  The giants were quite surprised when the fireball exploded
in their midst.  Three were burned badly, while others below
were singed by falling flames.  Following that, they were
bombarded by tumbling rock, several of their number knocked
down from their high ledges.  Several giants were dead, but two
had survived the fall and lay wounded.
  The Tusmit soldiers wasted no time, dashing out and teaming
up to slay the injured foes.  The giants never knew what hit
them, for the soldiers were well-armed and well-trained.  As
other giants looked on from above, unbelieving, the now-visible
Pompa-Peyvur conjured up a mighty wind, blowing and battering
the giants and knocking another down to its death.  That was
enough for the survivors, and they fled, vanishing into the
high, convoluted crags of the mountains.
  It wasn't enough for Pompa-Peyvur, who sailed after them.
The crack of lightning and the crunching of exploding stone
could be heard from high above, evidence that the wizard wasn't
letting the giants escape without more casualties.  When he
finally returned, Pompa-Peyvur seemed pleased.

random soldier:  Did you get them?
Pompa-Peyvur:  I slew all whom I could find.  They shall not be
  bothering us again.  (he floats away to talk with the captain
  of the soldiers)
Alindyar:  (to Peldor)  A fairly powerful wizard, this one.
Peldor:  (nods)  No wonder he wasn't that worried about us
  springing Bosco, or Bosco escaping.
Alindyar:  I was prepared to intercede in the battle, if the
  need had arisen...but Pompa there had things well in hand.
Peldor:  He sure did.

  The giants' corpses were piled up and left as a warning, while
the group moved on.  Word must have gotten around, for there were
no further attacks.  For more than a week, the group rode along,
using the river as their natural guide.  When the mountains gave
way on either side, and the party entered a wide grassland, they
knew they'd reached Perrenland.

Pompa-Peyvur:  Within a day, we shall cross the southern tip of
  Lake Quag, and officially enter Perrenland.  There we shall
  rest for a day or two, before setting out on the final leg of
  our journey.  (he glances at Bosco)
Bosco:  Isn't two legs enough?

  Perhaps the halfling had finally realized what was going to
happen; perhaps he had resigned himself to his apparent fate.
Peldor and Alindyar were still working on a good, achievable,
long-term solution to Bosco's problem.  They had decided that,
if nothing else, they would make a surprise attack on the Tusmit
force before they reached that land, and spirit Bosco away to
safety.  They didn't tell Bosco, naturally; they didn't want him
to know anything, and the halfling was kept under close watch
most of the time anyway.
  Rather than ford the river right where Lake Quag emptied into
it, they ventured a league or so along the lake's shores, then
booked passage on a barge to ferry them across.  In addition to
the party of thirteen Tusmits and three adventurers, several
merchants and a half-dozen barge-crewmembers were on the raft.
As they set out, in the late afternoon, the climate was fairly
pleasant, if cool; after all, they were in the northern mountains
of the world.
  Things changed in a hurry.  The water around the barge began to
ripple, then churn; perhaps a sea-monster was about to strike.
The barge's crew grabbed weapons, though they were in a state of
near-panic; apparently this didn't happen often, in these shallow

Peldor:  What the hell?
Alindyar:  (casting a spell of flying upon himself)  Whatever is
  to happen, I prefer to be airborne.
Bosco:  (watching the churning water)  Wow.

  The barge was shaking so roughly that they had trouble keeping
their footing - yet there was still no evidence of a monster or
other attacker.  Then they realized what was happening; this was
no sea-monster.  It was a whirlpool, of tremendous size!  The
huge disc of water had seized the barge and was pulling it in,
and there was nothing they could do about it!

Peldor:  (grabbing a section of rope, he ties himself to Bosco)
  Alindyar!  Tie on, then we can all fly out of here!

  As the drow tied the rope, however, the whirlpool took final
hold of its prey; in one sudden, gut-churning motion, the barge
and everyone on it were sucked under the water!

next:      unexpected problems
ftp: in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
email:       (preferred)
notes:     This one was written Labor Day, 9/7/98 while I watched
  the Cardinals and McGwire go against the Cubs and Sosa.

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