Chapter #568

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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                    +
+                                  tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Alindyar     17th level drow mage                            (N) +
+  Bosco        12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        5/13/577 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        late afternoon                                      +
+  Place:       Lake Quag, in Perrenland                            +
+  Climate:     cool                                                +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "You shouldn't feel responsible."                                +
+  "I _am_ responsible!"                                            +
+                   - from an episode of the _Highlander_ series    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                 DLXVIII.  The Price of a Trick





  Things are not looking good for the adventurers and those with
them, for their barge has just been sucked into a freak whirlpool!

Alindyar:  (having just secured himself to his friends with a rope,
  he is thrown around like a rag doll)  Ungh!
Peldor:  (loses his footing and collides with a mast)  Argh!
Bosco:  (tied to Peldor and Alindyar, he is whipped this way and
  that)  Aaaah!

  Alindyar was unable to concentrate on his spell of flying, but
it didn't matter - they could no longer see the blue sky above!
The barge was underwater - yet a pocket of air still surrounded
it; its occupants were wet, but not drowning.  They were, however,
still sinking, with stomach-turning speed too.  Somehow, they
were able to see into the surrounding depths; fish of all types
and sizes orbited their little pocket of air.

Pompa-Peyvur:  If this is some sort of rescue attempt, be aware
  that-
Alindyar:  We know nothing of this, nor do we care for it any
  more than you.
Pompa-Peyvur:  Hmph!
Peldor:  (to Bosco)  I don't like this.
Bosco:  Me either.  It kinda reminds me...of...
Peldor:  Of us being screwed, that's what.  (he looks around,
  frowning as he eyes the dripping, invisible barrier that is
  the only thing keeping them from drowning)
Alindyar:  It could be worse, you know.
Peldor:  (points)  I think it's going to be...look there.

  Moving toward them with fearsome speed was a gigantic squid,
well over a hundred feet long.  Its tentacles, of which two
were wickedly-barbed, flailed all around their air-bubble,
almost caressing it.

Pompa-Peyvur:  Aie!
Peldor:  Oh, crap.
Alindyar:  'Tis...
Bosco:  Silthis!
Silthis:  AYE, IT IS I.  (he regards his prisoners)
Peldor:  Er-
Silthis:  SILENCE!  (his gigantic slitted eye blinks, slowly)
  FOR YEARS I HAVE WAITED FOR THIS MOMENT...I HAVE WATCHED THE
  OCEANS AND SEAS, THE RIVERS.  NOW, AT LAST, REVENGE SHALL BE
  MINE.
Pompa-Peyvur:  (to Alindyar)  What is it talking about?
Alindyar:  Revenge, for some past wrong.
Pompa-Peyvur:  I see.
Alindyar:  Not a pleasant feeling, is it?
Silthis:  METHINKS THAT THESE OTHERS WITH YOU SHALL SHARE YOUR
  FATE.
Peldor:  (spreads his hands, an absurd gesture considering that
  he's inside an air-bubble underwater, talking to a giant squid)
  Look, I know you're upset-
Silthis:  UPSET?  THAT WORD DOES NOT EVEN _BEGIN_ TO DESCRIBE MY
  FEELINGS AT THIS MOMENT!
Peldor:  I know it was an underhanded thing to do, but I just
  didn't have that much cash on me, and-
Silthis:  (to Bosco)  WE MEET AGAIN, SMALL ONE.
Bosco:  Oh, boy.
Silthis:  THIS TIME, YOU SHALL BE MINE, BODY _AND_ SOUL.
Pompa-Peyvur:  What does that mean?
Alindyar:  Remember how we told you that Bosco's soul was else-
  where during his spree of mayhem?
Pompa-Peyvur:  Yes...
Alindyar:  Well, this fellow we're talking to was the keeper of
  that soul - on the Elemental Plane of Water.
Pompa-Peyvur:  (eyes wide)  I thought that was just a story you
  made up...!
Alindyar:  I'm afraid not.
Peldor:  Silthis, Silthis, Silthis...surely we can talk this out
  like civilized men...err, squids.
Silthis:  I AM NO SQUID!  THE LARGEST, OLDEST KRAKEN IS BUT A
  CHILD TO ME!
Bosco:  (to Peldor)  Maybe you'd better let me do the talking.
Peldor:  No, I have to get us out of this.
Silthis:  I SUPPOSE I COULD ALLOW YOU TO RETURN HOME...FOR TEN
  TIMES THE PREVIOUS SUM!  (he makes a clicking sound)
Peldor:  I don't have that much with me, but if-
Silthis:  HOW UNFORTUNATE.
Pompa-Peyvur:  Can I just say something?
Silthis:  NO.
Alindyar:  (looking around)  We are no longer on the Prime Material
  Plane, are we?
Silthis:  NO.  MY COMMAND OF ALL THINGS WATERBORNE IS SUCH THAT
  I CAN OPEN PORTALS BETWEEN WORLDS...AND YOU ARE IN _MY_ WORLD
  NOW.
Peldor:  Well, if you take me, could you at least let Bosco and
  Alindyar go?
Silthis:  WHY SHOULD I?
Bosco:  I've got things to do - a trial to attend!
Silthis:  (laughs, a decidedly ugly sound)  NO TRIAL OF YOURS IS
  MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY REVENGE.
Peldor:  Revenge?  On Bosco and these others, for what _I_ did?
Silthis:  AN UNFORTUNATE CIRCUMSTANCE, FOR THEM.  THEY SHOULD
  HAVE CHOSEN THEIR COMPANY MORE CAREFULLY.
Pompa-Peyvur:  (to Alindyar, quietly)  I could try a spell of
  mass destruction...
Alindyar:  Highly inadvisable.

  Most of the others - the Tusmit soldiers, the barge's crewmen,
and the two merchants - had passed out from pure, raw fear.  The
few who remained conscious didn't dare do or say anything.

Bosco:  (to Silthis)  There's got to be something we can do to
  bargain our way out of this...what about if we agreed to
  undertake a quest for you?  Something you aren't able to do
  yourself, that powerful ones such as ourselves could perform
  for you?
Silthis:  HMMMM.
Peldor:  Plus, of course, some treasure to placate you.
Silthis:  MAGICAL TREASURE AS WELL AS MONETARY.
Peldor:  Uh...
Bosco:  Deal.
Peldor:  Deal?!?
Bosco:  (looks more serious than he ever has before)  We need to
  get out of this.
Peldor:  ...right.
Silthis:  LET US DISCUSS THE TERMS.

  Peldor and Bosco were whisked out of the air-bubble, and as
another one appeared around them, they were moved away so that
they might have a more private audience with Silthis.

Silthis:  THERE WILL BE NO FALSE GOLD THIS TIME.
Peldor:  Nope.  (he empties his bag of holding, putting all of
  his coinage and gems aside)  It's all real this time.
Bosco:  Is that enough?
Silthis:  FOR NOW.  YOUR QUEST SHALL BE NAMED LATER - I WILL
  REQUIRE TIME TO THINK OF A SUITABLE TASK.  (with that, he
  begins weaving back and forth, a truly odd motion for such
  a beast)
Peldor:  Er, what are you doing?
Silthis:  MAKING SURE THAT YOU DO NOT TRY TO BETRAY ME AGAIN.
Bosco:  Now why would we do that?
Silthis:  I DO NOT TRUST YOU.  I NEVER DID TRUST YOU.  FOR THAT
  MATTER, I NEVER _WILL_ TRUST YOU.
Bosco:  Well, at least you're in agreement with yourself.
Peldor:  (wondering what Silthis just did, to "make sure" that
  there would be no double-cross)
Silthis:  (glares at them)  OFFER UP YOUR MAGICAL ITEMS, NOW.
Peldor:  Well...
Silthis:  I DEMAND TEN MAGICAL ITEMS OF WORTH, NO LESS.

  In the end, Peldor and Silthis agreed on a total of ten
magical items as part of the deal.  Five were Peldor's:  his
eyes of the eagle, boots of levitation, spare longsword,
spare suit of enchanted chainmail, and helm of brilliance.
In addition, Bosco had to pay part of the tribute:  his ring
of water walking, his gem of seeing, the big two-handed luck
blade he had been saving for when he needed some wishes, an
enchanted battleaxe, and a suit of magic platemail that didn't
fit him anyway.

Silthis:  VERY WELL.
Peldor:  So you'll let us know when the rest of the debt's to
  be paid?
Silthis:  CORRECT.
Bosco:  Can I ask one small favor?
Silthis:  YOU MAY ASK.
Bosco:  Bearing in mind that you doing this will directly impact
  our ability to fulfill the remaining part of this deal...we
  kinda need you to get rid of those clowns on the barge.
Silthis:  (ponders this)  I...SEE.  YOU WISH THEM DROWNED?
Bosco:  Oh, no.  If you could just dump them out on top of the
  lake or something, and tell them they can't have me...that
  would be ideal.
Silthis:  HMMMM.

  Shortly...

Pompa-Peyvur:  (in the air-bubble)  Where _are_ they?!?  This is
  ridiculous!

  Suddenly, the titanic kraken was back, its slitted eye glaring
through the transparent wall of the bubble.

Silthis:  LISTEN CAREFULLY.  THE ONE CALLED BOSCO IS MINE NOW,
  IN PAYMENT FOR CRIMES OF HIS PAST.  I AM TAKING HIM AWAY, AND
  HE SHALL NOT BE RETURNING.  LET THE MATTER BE.
Pompa-Peyvur:  Ludicrous!  How do I know this isn't part of some
  elaborate plan to spirit him away to safety?!?
Silthis:  YOU TRY MY PATIENCE, MORTAL.  I AM SILTHIS, ELEMENTAL
  LORD OF THE DOMAIN OF WATER.
Pompa-Peyvur:  But...how can I know that you're serious?
Silthis:  EVERY TIME YOU CROSS AN OCEAN...A SEA...A LAKE...A
  RIVER, AND YOU SURVIVE THE EXPERIENCE, REMEMBER ME.

  The elemental lord was done talking; with a sudden jolt, the
bubble of air began rising.  All within were jarred and tossed
about, wildly; in a very short time, they surfaced near the
shores of Lake Quag, where fishermen pulled them to safety.

soldier-captain:  What do we do now?
Pompa-Peyvur:  We report to the Pasha.  He won't like the news,
  but what can we do?



  Elsewhere...

Peldor:  Well, if that's all, then we'll be leaving...
Bosco:  Of course, you'll have to send us back.
Peldor:  The Nyr Drv lake would be ideal, since it would save
  us weeks of travel time.
Alindyar:  (confused, as he wasn't privy to the negotiations)
Silthis:  I SHALL BE IN TOUCH, WHEN I HAVE NEED OF YOU.  DO NOT
  EVEN THINK ABOUT TRYING TO HIDE, OR RENEGING ON YOUR PART OF
  THIS COMPACT.  (he blinks)  SUCH FOOLISHNESS WOULD RESULT IN
  A TIDAL WAVE THE LIKES OF WHICH YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.
Peldor:  O- of course.
Bosco:  We'll be there for you.
Silthis:  YES, YOU WILL.

  In a flash, they were hurtling through empty blue space.
Droplets of water splashed them, though they were still able
to breathe.  They could see nothing of where they were passing
through or where they were headed.  Suddenly, their trip ended
with a splash, as they were deposited in a large body of cold
water.  Sputtering, they surfaced, and began looking around.

fisherman:  (pointing)  Ahoy there!  (he mumbles and begins
  searching for a spare rope)

  Shortly, the wet and bedraggled adventurers stood shivering
on the small boat's deck.  They could see blue water all around,
though far to the west was a vague shoreline.

fisherman:  You boys okay?
Peldor:  We'll live.
Bosco:  Thanks to the art of the quick deal.
Alindyar:  (somewhat irritated at his lack of involvement in the
  recent events)  I just hope that kraken does not hold _me_ to
  this pact as well.
Peldor:  I'm not sure if he can.
Bosco:  I wonder what he'll want, when we next see him?
fisherman:  What are you lads talking about?
Peldor:  Nothing, old one.  Can you take us home?
fisherman:  I reckon so...where do you want to go?
Peldor:  The shores near the Selintan would be good.
fisherman:  The Selintan?  Isn't that a river near that city they
  call Greyhawk?
Peldor:  (growing irritated)  Yes.  Could you just take us there?
  You'll be paid for your efforts.
fisherman:  Money's not the issue, son.  I can't take you halfway
  around the world.
Peldor:  What?!?
fisherman:  You're in the Aerdi Sea, off the coast of Dullstrand,
  in the County of Sunndi.
Bosco:  Ack.
Alindyar:  Aie.
Peldor:  That Silthis!
Bosco:  Guess he got the last laugh.
Alindyar:  (thinks about reminding them that he can teleport
  them home at any time, but decides to wait until they're off
  the water...just in case)





next:      the fate of Mongo
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www:       http://www.myths.com/pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
           http://www.shobaki.org/adventurers
homepage:  http://www.gatech.edu/oit/oe/design/thomas/adv/adv.html
email:     tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu       (preferred)
           thomas.miller@oit.gatech.edu         (emergency)
notes:     The day I wrote this, Sosa hit #61 and 62 to break the
  old record and move into a tie with McGwire.
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