Chapter #575

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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   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Belphanior     (14th)^3 level elven fighter/wizard/thief    (CN) +
+    Otto           8th/10th level dwarven fighter/thief       (CN) +
+    Aja            9th level human priestess of Wee Jas        (N) +
+    Jutokai        7th level human archer                     (LN) +
+    Razor Charlie  9th level human fighter                    (CN) +
+    Skektek       12th level human wizard                     (CN) +
+    Ys            13th level reptilian fighter                (LN) +
+                                                                   +
+  Captain Redjack, skipper of the sunken _Shark's Tooth_           +
+    Anak, a wizard                                                 +
+    Ernest, a crewman                                              +
+    Ferdis, a navigator                                            +
+    Jordy, a crewman                                               +
+    Norgerd, a cook                                                +
+    Plebius, a first mate                                          +
+    Yeeha, a harpooner                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:           2/3/577 C.Y. (Common Year)                       +
+  Time:           morning                                          +
+  Place:          somewhere in the Azure Sea                       +
+  Climate:        cold                                             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "The only way to make up for being lost is to make record        +
+   time while you are lost."                                       +
+                                        - the Rule of the Rally    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                    DLXXV.  Marooned!





  After a week of pursuit across the open seas, Belphanior and
company were on the verge of confronting Omak when a freak storm
tore their ship apart.  Now, along with a handful of survivors
from the ship's crew, they are afloat on the open sea.

Belphanior:  This simply will not do.  (he finds his folding
  boat)  Ahh.

  Shortly, the elf and his marshals stood on the deck of the
magical vessel, along with the survivors of the _Shark's Tooth_.

Captain Redjack:  (stomping about, furious)  Gods be damned!
Otto:  Hey, lighten up.  At least you're alive.
Captain Redjack:  Aye, but my ship and crew are gone!  (he glares
  at the adventurers)  And it's all your fault!
Razor Charlie:  (sneers at the man)
Skektek:  (yawns)
Belphanior:  (studying the horizon, he does his best to ignore
  the captain and concentrate on the problem at hand)
Captain Redjack:  Aaargh!  You'll pay for this!
Belphanior:  (turns, his eyes narrowed)  Enough!  You - be quiet.
  My priority right now - my ONLY priority - is to find land.  If
  you can't help, stay out of the way.  If you can't stay out of
  the way, you're going swimming.
Captain Redjack:  (unaccustomed to being threatened, he sputters
   and turns red in the face)  How dare you-
Belphanior:  I dare anything.  We are, after all, on _my_ boat now.
Anak:  (weighing the options at this point)
Otto:  (pats his crossbow)  Don't even think about it, wizard.

  They had no idea where they were, where Omak was, or how to get
from here to there.  Things were looking bleak until Jutokai, alert
as always, noticed birds in the sky.

Aja:  Birds?  So what?
Ferdis the navigator:  (somewhat excited)  Birds don't live on the
  water - they fly to their homes, on the land.
Captain Redjack:  Except for the albatross.
Otto:  The what?
Captain Redjack:  A solitary bird which flies incredible distances
  distances over the sea...
Ferdis:  But those aren't albatrosses.  All we have to do is follow
  them-
Jutokai:  And we'll find land.
Skektek:  It's got to be fairly close.  Maybe I should fly up and
  have a look.
Belphanior:  Don't waste your magic - we might need it later.  The
  boat will take us where we need to go.
Aja:  Aren't we forgetting something?
Otto:  (snaps his fingers)  Ys!
Belphanior:  If he's alive, he's not here; if he's underwater, he's
  probably dead.
Otto:  Unless he can breathe water.
Belphanior:  My thoughts exactly.
Razor Charlie:  (grunts)

  Without further ado, they studied the birds, then followed what
Ferdis thought to be the most likely course.  Sure enough, they soon
spotted land in the distance:  a small island, much of it covered by
trees.

Belphanior:  Land ho!
Captain Redjack:  That's my line.
Belphanior:  I always wanted to say it.
Captain Redjack:  Hmph.

  As they drew closer, they found it necessary to navigate a coral
reef; Ferdis had no trouble directing the others through this, and
soon, they were pulling the boat up onto the sprawling beach.

Belphanior:  No need for that.  (he speaks a command word, and the
  boat transforms into a small box, which the elf pockets)
Ferdis:  An interesting toy, that.
Anak:  And a valuable one.
Belphanior:  Don't get any ideas.

  They set out to explore the island, but they hadn't even gotten
off the beach when they were attacked.  Seemingly from nowhere, a
gigantic crab scuttled forth, its fearsome claws snapping wildly.
The thing's body was at least fifteen feet across, and its pincers
were easily capable of cutting a man in two, as one of Redjack's
sailors learned to his dismay.

Ernest:  (fleeing, he trips and falls, and is snapped up in one of
  the gigantic claws)  Aaa!  Help!
giant crab:  (slices the man in half)
Ernest:  (dies)
Captain Redjack:  Dammit!
Belphanior:  (draws Blackrazor)  Fear not.  We'll protect you.  (he
  charges, joining the attack that his people are already mounting)
Jutokai:  (draws his bow, but finds the string wet, useless)  Damn!
Aja:  (stays back, considering her possible choice of spells)
Otto:  (draws his sword, moving in as Belphanior does)
Belphanior:  Skektek!  Cover fire!
Skektek:  Right!  (using his magical ring, he launches a tremendous
  bolt of lightning, which blasts the huge crab squarely in its
  face)
giant crab:  (badly scorched, it twitches, losing control of its
  muscles)
Belphanior:  (hacks at one of the thing's claws, nearly severing it)
Otto:  (goes for the other claw, scoring a shallow cut as the thing's
  flailing limb causes the sword to glance off)
giant crab:  (regains its senses, swatting Belphanior aside)
Belphanior:  (lands in the sand)  Ungh!

  Just then, a huge form broke loose from the forest and came bounding
down the beach, sword held high.

Ys:  (lumbering along, a gray juggernaut headed straight for the crab)
  Here I come to save the day!
giant crab:  (turning)
Ys:  (ignoring the thing's thrashing claws, he brings his sword down
  in a stabbing motion, impaling the crab through its central body)
giant crab:  (begins flagellating madly)
Ys:  (twists his sword, tearing away bits of shell and muscle)
giant crab:  (dies, ceasing its motions)
Ys:  (grins, quite pleased with himself)  Welcome to the island.
Otto:  Thanks.  (eyes the reptilian)  What's your story?
Ys:  (shrugs his massive shoulders)  When the ship broke up, I simply
  bided my time and made my way to shore.
Belphanior:  You didn't drown, then?
Ys:  I'm here, aren't I?
Belphanior:  You _can_ breathe water.
Ys:  Of course.
Belphanior:  How come you never told us?
Ys:  You never asked.
Captain Redjack:  (stomping about again)  If you're done with your
  little reunion-
Belphanior:  I noticed that none of your people made a move to help.
Captain Redjack:  (shrugs)  It might be best if your group and mine
  went their separate ways.
Belphanior:  No, I don't think so.
Otto:  We can't have you finding Omak and warning him.
Captain Redjack:  (fingers his cutlass)  What are you going to do if
  we leave, shoot us?
Otto:  In the back.  Yes.
Belphanior:  Look, we're all in this together.  If you can keep from
  trying to pick a fight, we need to work together here.
Anak:  (to Redjack)  I believe the elf is right.
Captain Redjack:  (grumbling)  Very well...for now.  (he stalks away)
Razor Charlie:  (walks up to Belphanior)  Better watch him.  Won't be
  long before he turns on us.
Belphanior:  I know.  Keep your eyes open.
Jordy the crewman:  (scratching his head)  How'd that thing get so
  durned big?
Norgerd the cook:  (regarding the gigantic crab)  Beats the hell
  out of me...hey, I don't know if anyone else is hungry, but I
  could make one hell of a breakfast out of this guy.

  That was an idea everyone could agree with, and so it was that
within the hour, they had set up camp at the edge of the trees
and were enjoying crab meat.

Skektek:  I like crab, but...for _breakfast_?
Aja:  (makes a pouty face)  For once, I agree with you.
Razor Charlie:  (grabs a big chunk of crab meat)  Fuck it.  (he
  chows down)
Jutokai:  (returns from the woods, holding several large yellow
  globes)  These melons should be safe to eat.  Here, I'll cut one
  open for everybody.
Yeeha the harpooner:  (busy making himself a spear from a straight
  piece of wood he found)
Plebius the first mate:  (eating and chatting with Captain Redjack)
Norgerd the cook:  (delighted that his talents were of use here, he
  continues to work on the crab's remains)
Ferdis the navigator:  (a chunk of crab meat in one hand, he busies
  himself surveying the beach)
Jordy the crewman:  (helping Ferdis)
Anak:  (keeping his own counsel, he is silent)
Otto:  Well, look at the bright side:  we're having a new and novel
  adventure, rather than the same old shit.
Belphanior:  (nods)





next:      exploring the strange island
ftp:       ftp.myths.com in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
           ftp.intertex.net in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
           ftp.tas.gov.au/misc/stories
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
mail:      tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu       (preferred)
           thomas.miller@oit.gatech.edu         (emergency)
notes:     While writing this one, I made the sudden decision to NOT
  have it be a huge, story arc-ending episode.  Rather, this arc will
  play out over the next several episodes.  Don't ask me why...I just
  do what I do sometimes.
    The stories up to 600 won't be anything too serious or critical
  anyway - just catching up, revisiting old friends...funtime.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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