Chapter #588

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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) +
+                                                                   +
+  Nenya         9th/10th level female elven fighter/wizard    (NG) +
+     Deryck    11th level half-elven ranger                   (NG) +
+                                                                   +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+     Tanya      5th/11th level female human warrior/thief     (LN) +
+     Bosco     12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+                                                                   +
+  Peyote       12th/12th level half-elven warrior/druid        (N) +
+    Daffodil   11th level human female druidess                (N) +
+                                                                   +
+  Rob          16th level priest of Trithereon                (LG) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        7/11/577 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        afternoon                                           +
+  Place:       Alindyar and Lyra's mansion, in Greyhawk            +
+  Climate:     pleasant                                            +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "Madness has no purpose, or reason...but it may have a goal."    +
+           - Mr. Spock, from the episode "The Alternative Factor"  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                   DLXXXVIII.  A Changed Man





  After a group lunch that was both sociable and serious, the nine
adventurers have changed locales.  They are now in the drows' huge
mansion, where Alindyar hopes to shed some light on certain matters
of import.

Alindyar:  (peering into his crystal ball, as are most of the others)
  There is Rob.

  The priest was in some sort of stone structure, probably a temple
of Trithereon.  He was hard at work, helping other priests tend to
large numbers of wounded.

Peyote:  Dude...that's a lot of wounded folk.
Nenya:  Maybe the aftermath of a great battle, or some natural
  disaster.
Deryck:  He seems to be guiding the other priests...giving orders and
  direction.
Peldor:  (watches Rob bandage the injured people)  He's still good at
  what he does, I'll give him that.
Tanya:  I keep hearing that he can beat undead like no one else, but
  I don't yet believe it.
Peyote:  That's why you should come along, then - to help us whip some
  undead butt!
Tanya:  Peyote, I'm a few months away from having a baby.  Are you
  crazy?
Peyote:  Some people think so.  Me, I _know_ I'm nuts.
Peldor:  (nods)  I knew that from the day we all first met.
Peyote:  Man, it's been almost ten years...can you believe it?
Alindyar:  (looks up from his scrying)  It does seem amazing.
Lyra:  (wondering if Alindyar's going to want to go on this little
  jaunt, even though he said he didn't)
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Fear not.  I said no, and I mean no.

  Nearby...

Daffodil:  (scrutinizing the varied and expensive assortment of art
  that the drow have displayed on their walls)
Bosco:  (ambles over to the woman)  Heyyyy, baby.
Daffodil:  (turns, and looks down)
Bosco:  (coyly)  What's happening?
Daffodil:  (returns to her examination of the art)
Bosco:  (trying to peek up her short skirt)  Neat paintings, aren't
  they?
Daffodil:  What do you _want_?
Bosco:  Well, I was just thinking that a babe like you and a guy like
  me-
Daffodil:  Could go out?  Get together?  Hook up?
Bosco:  Yeahhhh...now you're talking.
Daffodil:  I guess I should be flattered, but I'm not.  (she looms
  over the halfling)  Let's get something straight, you cherubic imp.
  I'm taken.  (she points at Peyote)  By him.  That essentially means
  that we make frequent and wild love, in a variety of exotic places,
  at a variety of unusual times.  (she smirks)  There's nothing you
  can offer me that Peyote can't offer me more of...get it?
Bosco:  Brr, it just got cold in here.  (he wanders away, frowning,
  but thinking about what items he'll be stealing from this woman)

  At the crystal ball...

Alindyar:  Aie!
Peyote:  What's up?
Alindyar:  Look at yonder priest!

  The image within the ball clearly depicted Rob...looking "up" at
them!  The priest seemed more curious than alarmed, and he stopped
what he was doing and walked "toward" the watchers.

Lyra:  He knows he's being watched.
Alindyar:  Inconceivable!
Lyra:  Maybe, but he knows.
Peldor:  She's right.  Look at him.
Tanya:  What's he-

  The crystal ball glowed then, very brightly, and they had to avert
their gazes.  When they looked back, Rob was standing there in front
of them!

Rob:  Can I help you?
Peyote:  Err...
Alindyar:  Forgive us for scrying on you, my friend.  We were simply
  trying to determine where you were.
Rob:  I _was_ in Keoland, but now I'm here.  (he looks around)  Wow,
  the gang's almost all here.  Where's Mongo and Belphanior?  Do you
  need help finding them?
Peyote:  (takes charge)  No, thanks, dude.  Actually, we were seeking
  _your_ help.
Rob:  Oh?
Peyote:  Allow me to explain...

  For the second time that day, the half-elf told the story of Xusia:
the lich's past, his apparent demise ages ago, his recent return to
life (or unlife) and the raid on the tomb in the Vesve Forest.  When
his tale was over, Peyote leaned back, his thick arms crossed.

Rob:  And you want to find the lich, and put an end to him?
Peyote:  We have to!  There's no telling what that rotting sack of
  pus will do - every day he's probably gaining power!
Rob:  You don't have to convince me.  I accept your offer.
Peyote:  Huh?
Rob:  I said, I'll help you.
Tanya:  (whispers to Peldor)  Is it just me, or does he seem...more
  intelligent than before?
Peldor:  Uh-huh.
Rob:  My hearing is improved, as well.  (he smiles)  Intelligence
  isn't quite the right term, though - maybe "awareness"?
Alindyar:  I am afraid I do not understand.
Rob:  Several years ago, I chanced upon a great and powerful tree
  at the heart of the world-
Bosco:  Oh!  I heard this one!  And then the tree says, "I'll grant
  you three wishes if you don't chop me down."
Rob:  (stares at the halfling)
Bosco:  You're not kidding, are you?
Rob:  I don't make jokes.  I'm not good at it.  (to the others)
  This tree was a remnant of the days when gods walked the world...
  and on its branches were fruits of potent magical power.  I ate
  one, and since then I have been more aware of many things both
  large and small.
Peyote:  Wicked!
Rob:  Not how I would put it, but I understand your sentiment.
  Unfortunately I don't remember the location of that powerful
  grove.  Actually, I can't even recall how I returned home.  One
  of the stranger things that's happened to me.  At least when you
  guys weren't around.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  That explains a lot.  Not only is he
  acting different now, but he couldn't have assumed the duties of
  a high priest of a great deity like Trithereon with the lack of
  sense he's exhibited in the past.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Aye...an astounding change, this.
Rob:  So, that's that.  (he rubs his hands)  Where is the lich?
Peyote:  Uh...we're still working on that part.
Rob:  (nods)  I should have known.  Would you like me to find him
  for you?
Peyote:  Hmm...maybe you'd have more luck, seeing as how the lich
  isn't in a forest or anything...
Alindyar:  (nods)  That would be ideal.  While Rob strives to locate
  Xusia, I can find Belphanior and seek his aid, on your behalf.
Peyote:  Right-o.  (he yawns)  What do I do, in the meantime?
Rob:  Stay out of the way.  (he turns to Lyra)  From the decor, I
  assume this is your home.  I'll need a room to myself, plus the
  following items...

  Soon, the high priest was in a vacant room upstairs, working his
divinations.  At the same time, Alindyar was preparing to go after
Belphanior.

Lyra:  Why waste a teleport...two teleports?
Alindyar:  I do not want to rely on Belphanior to take me back with
  him...(he holds up a scroll)  Besides, I have kept busy making
  scrolls for purposes such as this.
Lyra:  No, I mean, why not communicate with him from here, by some
  other means?
Alindyar:  I prefer to do my talking face-to-face, and besides, we
  have some notes to compare.  I shall return in about an hour.
Peyote:  With Belphanior?
Alindyar:  (shrugs)  If he so chooses.  Be warned:  if he goes along
  on your quest, he will not come alone.
Peyote:  He won't?  Oh, you mean Otto.
Alindyar:  No, I mean Otto, plus five or six of his marshals.
Peyote:  Marshals?!?  What, does he live in a frontier mining town
  or something, now?
Alindyar:  As a matter of fact, yes.  Yes, he does.
Peyote:  Hey, I want to go with you, dude.
Alindyar:  (working his teleport spell)  Impossible.  He does not
  take well to intruders.
Peyote:  Intruder?  Me?
Alindyar:  (blinks away)
Lyra:  Don't worry, Peyote.  It's best this way.
Peyote:  Riiiight.

  The time had come to sit around and wait, and that's what they did.
Well, most of them...

Peldor:  (to Tanya)  Gotta run.
Tanya:  Oh?
Peldor:  With all the new arrivals, I'm going to have to clear out
   a whole wing at the Dragon.  And make dinner arrangements.  (he
   frowns)  Major dinner arrangements.
Tanya:  Right.
Peldor:  (to Peyote)  Farewell for now...good luck with your quest
  and everything.  (to Daffodil)  Nice to meet you.  Keep Peyote
  honest, now.
Daffodil:  (smiles)  He's honest...just crazy.
Peyote:  I keep telling you people, I'm not crazy...I'm nuts!





next:      Helgate.  New marshals.  Enough said.
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:     One of the aims of this episode and the last was to get
  the majority of the characters on the same page, err, date.  This
  storyline will take care of everyone except Mongo, Gorin, Arnold,
  and Halbarad.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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