Chapter #587

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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) +
+     Lyra      14th level female drow mage                     (N) +
+                                                                   +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+     Tanya      5th/11th level female human warrior/thief     (LN) +
+     Bosco     12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+                                                                   +
+  Nenya         9th/10th level female elven fighter/wizard    (NG) +
+     Deryck    11th level half-elven ranger                   (NG) +
+                                                                   +
+  Peyote       12th/12th level half-elven warrior/druid        (N) +
+    Daffodil   11th level human female druidess                (N) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        7/11/577 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        late morning                                        +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     pleasant                                            +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "I get by with a little help from my friends..."                 +
+                                                  - the Beatles    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





               DLXXXVII.  Conjunction of Friends





  The half-elf looked around the city, amazed by the sheer size and
layout of the place.

Peyote:  (wide-eyed)  Awesome...totally awesome!
Daffodil:  What, haven't you ever been here before?
Peyote:  (stops gawking, and regards her as if this question were a
  foolish one)  Of course I've been to Greyhawk!  Who hasn't?
Daffodil:  Well, I haven't.  Once I thought I was going to go, but
  my father changed his mind about our trip at the last minute...
  something about dealing with a band of woodcutting orcs instead.
Peyote:  Ah.  No big deal - I've been here before.  It's just been
  a while...
Daffodil:  Well, stop looking like a foreigner.  We've got to blend
  in.
Peyote:  Hey, I'm the master when it comes to looking cool.
Daffodil:  (folds her arms, laughing mischievously)
Peyote:  Just leave it to me, babe.

  They weren't here by chance, of course.  Peyote wanted to recruit
people to go track down the lich Xusia; he'd decided that Belphanior
was the one for the job, but he didn't know where the elf was.  For
that matter, he didn't really know where anyone was these days, but
Greyhawk was always a good place to look.  Thanks to the proximity
of woodlands, he and Daffodil had been able to journey here in a much
shorter time than normal land travel.
  Greyhawk - like any city, much less a large, sprawling one - was
strange to them after so much time spent in the outdoors, the open,
the wild.  Still, Peyote had been in many cities and towns during
his extensive travels, which made it doubly humorous for Daffodil to
make fun of him.  As the daughter of a high-ranking druid, she had
hardly ever been outside the confines of one forest or another, much
less in a major center of civilization such as the Free City.
  Peyote didn't remember much about the layout of the metropolis
they were now in, but he did know where the Green Dragon Inn was,
and the couple headed that way.

beggar:  (accosts the pair)  Can y'spare a copper, sir?
Daffodil:  (crinkles her nose)  Ugh.
Peyote:  Sorry, dude, I'm all out.  (he flips the old man a silver
  piece)
beggar:  M- many thanks, kind sir!  (he scrambles away)
Daffodil:  Is this common in cities?
Peyote:  Afraid so.  The worst part is, you have to wonder if they're
  really gonna use the money for anything constructive, as opposed to
  another bottle of cheap wine.
Daffodil:  (watching the beggar's ragged cloak flap as he retreats)
  A bath would be a good start.
Peyote:  (sighs)  The cities have their advantages, but they also have
  their low points.  Every woodsman and druid knows this, which is why
  we don't live in cities.  You wouldn't see this in a forest.
Daffodil:  True.

  In short order, they found the Green Dragon Inn, though it didn't
look at all like Peyote remembered.

Peyote:  (sniffing the air)  That wood's fairly new...as are all the
  shrubs around the place.  If I didn't know better, I'd say the old
  building got wiped out and replaced.  Totally.
Daffodil:  Maybe it did.  (she eyes the huge building)  Your friends
  work in this place?
Peyote:  They _own_ this place.  C'mon, let's drop in.  (he leads her
  up the front stairway)

  As they entered, they were greeted by a hulking doorman, whose face
broke out in a grin as he recognized the half-elf.

Vinnie:  Peyote!  Welcome back to the Green Dragon!
Peyote:  Thanks, man.  What happened here?  Did Peldor finally decide
  to plow the place down and start over?
Vinnie:  (shakes his head)  Fire.  We survived and rebuilt, though,
  obviously.
Peyote:  Glad to hear you got over it.  Vinnie, this is my...friend,
  Daffodil.
Vinnie:  (bows slightly)  Nice to meet you, fair lady.
Daffodil:  (smiles)  Likewise.  You used to adventure with Peyote,
  then?
Vinnie:  (laughs)  No, no!  I just work for someone who did.  (he
  motions to their weapons)  I'm afraid we'll have to collect those
  at the door, though.  Rules and all.
Peyote:  (unbuckles his bastard sword)  Keep it safe, now.
Daffodil:  (hands over her staff)
Vinnie:  Thanks.  Peldor's at the bar, helping Tanya take stock of
  the booze.  Want me to get someone to show you the way?
Peyote:  Nah, I think we'll be able to plot our own course.  Later,
  dude.  (they wander into the inn)
Vinnie:  (putting the weapons in a special locker, he is startled by
  a disembodied female voice)
staff:  Careful, there, friend.  Wouldn't want you to scratch me,
  now would I?
Vinnie:  Aie!
Daffodil:  (walking away, she smiles to herself)

  They worked their way through the tavern section, noting the simple
but efficient layout and construction of the tables.  It didn't take
Peyote long to spot his old adventuring companion; Peldor was crouched
behind a bar, a bottle held in each hand.

Peyote:  (loudly)  Some things never change.
Peldor:  Peyote!  (he rises and walks over)
Peyote:  In the flesh.

  They clasped hands, sizing each other up.  Peldor had no trouble
noticing the change in the half-elf; Peyote was a little older and
a lot wiser, and Peldor figured he was now in charge of something,
someone, or both.  For Peyote's part, he couldn't see any signs of
the passed years in the thief's face or demeanor.  It was as if
Peldor hadn't aged at all.  These humans were a funny lot, Peyote
thought, each as different and wildly unpredictable as the rest.

Peldor:  It's been a while...years.
Peyote:  (shrugs)  I'm a busy dude.
Peldor:  Where do you live these days...what are you up to?
Peyote:  Daffodil and I live-  oh, hell, I did it again.  (he turns
  to Daffodil)  Daffodil, this is Peldor, an old friend and former
  adventuring companion.
Daffodil:  (smiles warmly)  Any friend of Peyote's is a friend of
  mine.
Peldor:  (nods)  Works both ways.  We'll treat you like a queen...
  wine you, dine you, s-
Peyote:  No fair, that's my pie.
Peldor:  Tanya!
Tanya:  (emerges from a storeroom, several bottles stacked in her
  arms)  What-  Hey, is that Peyote?
Peyote:  It's me, sister.
Tanya:  Welcome!  (to Peldor)  Mind getting some of these for me?
Peldor:  Sure.  (using his TK ring, he lifts a bottle from her stack
  and moves it over onto the bartop)
Daffodil:  (sharp-eyed, she doesn't miss this, and turns to Peyote
  with a question in her eyes)
Peyote:  Magic.  (he notices Tanya's stomach)  Whoa!  Bun in the
  oven!
Tanya:  What?  Oh.  Yes, we've got a little one on the way.
Peldor:  (beams)  Hard to believe, isn't it?
Peyote:  Not really...it's bound to happen to all of us, some day.
Daffodil:  (smirks)  Don't you wish.
Peyote:  (shrugs)  I'm working on her, but it's tough going.  She's
  stubborn, some would say mule-headed-
Daffodil:  (swats at him playfully)  Don't make me thrash you, in
  front of all these people.
Peldor:  (smiles, spreading his hands)  Well, I can see that we're
  all going to get along fine.  What do you say to some lunch,
  compliments of the house?
Peyote:  (thinks for a fleeting moment)  I say yes!
Peldor:  Excellent, then!  I'll have two more places set.  Alindyar
  and Lyra are coming over anyway - I'm sure they'll be glad to see
  you.
Tanya:  Don't forget Nenya and Deryck.
Peldor:  Oh, and Nenya and Deryck.
Peyote:  Nenya?  Ged's Nenya?
Tanya:  The same.
Peyote:  Who's Deryck?
Peldor:  Nenya's husband...the ranger?
Peyote:  Oh, yeah.  Okay.
Alindyar:  (quietly strides into the common room)  Could that be
  Peyote?
Peyote:  It's me, dude.  How's it hanging?
Alindyar:  Pardon?
Peyote:  Never mind.  (he grins and nods his head to Lyra, who follows
  Alindyar into the room)  Hey, baby.
Lyra:  (chuckles)  Haven't changed a bit, have you?
Peyote:  Don't bet on it.

  Soon, Nenya and Deryck had arrived, and the requisite introductions
were made as the four couples made their way to Peldor's private
dining room.  They took their seats at a large, circular table, but
one chair was still empty.

Peyote:  Whoa...I still feel like someone's missing...
Bosco:  (prances into the room)  Sorry I'm late!  Oh wait, I'm not
  late!  Hey!  Peyote!

  A short time later, they were all enjoying a festive, filling meal
together as they all caught up...

Peyote:  -Guildmaster, eh?  Wow.  You're the head honcho now...the
  top dog...the big cheese.
Peldor:  Yep.  I run the show, more or less.
Tanya:  It's more like a freakshow at times.
Daffodil:  Well, it _is_ a guild of thieves.
Bosco:  Nothing wrong with that.  The world needs us, whether they
  realize it or not.
Daffodil:  Whatever you say, Bosco.
Nenya:  (to Deryck)  She caught on pretty quickly.
Deryck:  Mmm-hm.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Where did Peyote find this woman?
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  No telling...why do you ask?
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  She's radiant.  Look at her.  She all
  but glows with energy and power.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Druids.  What more can I say?
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  It's remarkable.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  You are jealous.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  No, 'jealous' isn't the right word...
  it's just interesting to me.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  You are far more attractive than she.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Thanks...that may be, but I wish I had
  that general kind of cheer and attitude that she seems to possess.
Peyote:  Alindyar?
Alindyar:  (snaps out of the other conversation and into this one)
  Eh?
Peyote:  I said, how's the gig at the College of Magic?
Alindyar:  Not unpleasant.  I teach small classes...the world's
  aspiring magi.
Nenya:  (chuckles)
Alindyar:  And I conduct research as well, mostly in the field of
  illusions.  I think they think I am the foremost expert in the
  College.
Lyra:  They're wrong - you're the foremost expert in the whole city.
Alindyar:  Flattery will get you nowhere.
Lyra:  (ESPs a particularly lurid notion to him)
Alindyar:  Aie.
Peyote:  Huh?
Alindyar:  Aye, I am quite the expert where illusions are concerned.
  Teaching, research, the house...to be sure, there is hardly time
  for adventuring anymore.
Peyote:  House?
Peldor:  Mansion, is more like it.
Alindyar:  Nonsense.  'Tis no larger than any number of houses in
  Greyhawk.
Peldor:  'Tis no smaller, either.
Bosco:  Plus it's haunted!
Daffodil:  Haunted!  Really?
Bosco:  (proudly)  Yep!  Ghosts roam its halls, in search of living
  souls to feast on...
Lyra:  Really, Bosco.  Where do you get these tall tales?
Bosco:  (shrugs)  That's the word on the street, about your house.
  Why do you think nobody's tried to rob it yet?
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Because of all the magical guards and
  wards in place, not to mention guardians?
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  It's better to just let Bosco prattle on
  until he runs out of steam.
Bosco:  -I'd have robbed it myself by now, of course, except that the
  owners are close personal friends of mine.
Alindyar:  Of course.
Bosco:  And naturally, they fall under my protection...
Peldor:  Bosco.
Bosco:  ...err, the protection of the Guild.
Lyra:  It's always good to have such protection.
Peyote:  (to Nenya)  So what have you been up to, since putting that
  museum deal together?
Nenya:  Oh, the usual...co-ordinating the efforts, needs, and problems
  of a large ever-growing farming community.
Deryck:  It's even more work than it sounds like.
Nenya:  But we're still expanding, and fast.  I just had to purchase
  more land from Greyhawk.
Daffodil:  They actually sell the land around their city?
Nenya:  Well, they'll still levy taxes on it, but I made them a rather
  generous offer, and I had allies in the city government.
Peldor:  (smiles smugly)
Deryck:  To be fair, you also had the support of some members of
  the Guild of Wizardry.
Nenya:  (nods)  Being Ged's student and successor does seem to carry
  a good bit of prestige.
Peyote:  Man, I miss Ged.  He was pretty cool, even if he was high-
  strung.
Nenya:  We're doing the best we can for his memory:  making his
  dream come true, carrying on, and all that.
Bosco:  I propose a toast:  to Ged!
all:  (raising their cups)  To Ged!

  After the sentimental moment had passed, Peyote finally got down
to business.

Peyote:  So anyway, I guess I should tell you all why I'm here in
  Greyhawk.
Bosco:  You mean you didn't come just to visit?
Peyote:  Afraid not, little dude.  I've got dire straits to report.
Nenya:  How dire?
Tanya:  (gives Peldor a "you'd better not even think about it" look)
Peldor:  (gives Tanya a "what, are you crazy?" look)

  Peyote proceeded to explain the Xusia situation to everyone
present, omitting no details or background.  When he was done,
the mood at the table had darkened considerably.

Bosco:  _We_ freed him!  I can't believe it!
Peyote:  Believe it, little trooper.  The lich is loose, and he's
  sure to be up to no good.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  As we ascertained, before, when I
  assisted Belphanior.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  I wonder if they'll drag him into
  this.
Peldor:  Well, I'd love to help, but I can't really take off on
  these little jaunts anymore.  Especially not with a baby on the
  way.
Nenya:  It's tempting...and it's sort of my problem, as well.  But
  I don't think it's feasible for me or Deryck, either.
Deryck:  We need to find out what this Xusia is up to...what are
  its plans, its goals?  Where is it and what is it doing?
Peyote:  Agreed.  We need some more info here.  I'm working on
  getting it.
Alindyar:  (shaking his head)  I simply cannot afford to look into
  this.  Neither of us can.
Lyra:  Sounds like you need Mongo...or even Rob.
Peldor:  Rob!  Now _he_ could kick some undead ass.
Bosco:  Rob...I wonder where he is?
Peyote:  I'll probably have to find out.  I know who'd probably
  jump at this opportunity, though.
Lyra:  (nodding)  Belphanior.
Peyote:  Hey, how'd you know?
Lyra:  Simply a logical conclusion.  (she smiles)
Daffodil:  We were hoping that you could help us find this elf,
  this Belphanior.
Tanya:  Doesn't sound like you've met him.
Daffodil:  I haven't, though I've heard much about him.
Tanya:  Any of it good?
Daffodil:  Some...the parts having to do with competence and
  reliability in battle.
Tanya:  (nods)
Peyote:  So, I ask the question:  can any of you dudes or dudettes
  lead me to Belphanior?
Alindyar:  (stands)  I can, and will.  Additionally, I can perhaps
  assist you in locating the priest Rob.
Peyote:  (grins)  You're on!





next:      the return of...Rob!
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
email:     tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu       (preferred)
           thomas.miller@oit.gatech.edu         (emergency)
notes:     This episode was so easy to write, it practically wrote
  itself!  What _is_ it with Peyote stories?!?  I don't even like
  the character that much!
    Trivia:  Tanya announced her pregnancy on 3/27/577, which puts
  her due date at approximately the turn of the new year.  Hmm, a
  New Year's baby?  Stranger things have happened.  I myself was
  born on December 24.
    This is shaping up to be quite a little quest.  It seems that
  I can't stay away from Belphanior for long.  I guess that, as a
  natural extension of my own personality, he's the most fun as
  well as the easiest to write.  One thing I can promise you for
  the next time we see Belphanior and Helgate:  new marshals!
    I suspect that Rob will be along on this venture as well.  It
  promises to be interesting...

    Okay.  On a more serious note, two things that I need to
  make clear:

    1)  ever since I've started the "1-a-day" a lot of you have
        been emailing me saying that you somehow got removed
        from the mailing list.  This doesn't just happen all by
        itself, folks.  If you get removed, it's because your
        address has bounced back to the listprocessor three
        times.  Since the list is 500 people strong, I don't
        have the time or energy to remove bouncing addresses
        manually, so I (long ago) set the listprocessor up to
        remove them automatically.  I hope this clears things
        up.

    2)  The Aliens story will not be finished until after
        episode 600 is released, and probably not until 1999.

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