Chapter #600

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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) +
+    Lyra          14th level female drow mage                  (N) +
+  Belphanior     (14th)^3 level elven fighter/wizard/thief    (CN) +
+    Eduardo        1st level human thief                       (N) +
+  Halbarad        15th level human ranger                     (NG) +
+  Mongo           18th level dwarven fighter                  (CG) +
+  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 fighter/thief   (N) +
+    Felicia        2nd level female human thief               (LN) +
+    Bosco         12th level halfling thief                   (CN) +
+  Peyote          12th/12th level half-elven fighter/druid     (N) +
+    Daffodil      11th level human female druidess             (N) +
+  Rillen          18th level human monk                        (N) +
+    Songa         13th level human huntress                    (N) +
+  Rob             16th level priest of Trithereon             (LG) +
+                                                                   +
+  Drawmij, archmage and member of the Circle of Eight              +
+  Derider Fanshaen, Constable of Greyhawk                          +
+  Nerof Gasgal, Lord Mayor of Greyhawk                             +
+  Rary, archmage and member of the Circle of Eight                 +
+  Ravel Disander, Patriarch of Boccob                              +
+                                                                   +
+                                                                   +
+                                                                   +
+  Otto             8th/10th level dwarven fighter/thief       (CN) +
+  Aja              9th level human priestess of Wee Jas        (N) +
+  Jutokai          7th level human archer                     (LN) +
+  Neko             7th level human female thief                (N) +
+  Razor Charlie    9th level human fighter                    (CN) +
+  Skektek         12th level human wizard                     (CN) +
+  the wispy thing                                                  +
+  Ys              13th level reptilian fighter                (LN) +
+  Zhao             8th level human swordsman                   (N) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        the fourth day of Needfest, 578 C.Y. (Common Year)  +
+  Time:        morning                                             +
+  Place:       the Green Dragon Inn, in Greyhawk                   +
+  Climate:     warm and cozy                                       +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "You don't finish growing up...you just get older."              +
+                                       - from _The Professional_   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                   DC.  All Good Things...





  On the ground floor of the Green Dragon Inn, business went on as
usual; meals were prepared, drinks were served, guests were greeted.
On the third floor, however, a select group was gathered for a very
special occasion.  They had traveled here from all about - in some
cases, from the ends of the Oerth itself.  In some cases, magic had
been necessary to locate and inform certain of those present of the
event for which they had ultimately come to Greyhawk.
  Tanya, wife of Peldor and friend to most of those present, was in
labor.  Attended by Derider Fanshaen (who was an accomplished high
priestess) and Peldor and several trusted servants, Tanya was busy
in an adjoining room.  That left the varied group of adventurers,
spouses, and friends to wait anxiously.  Of course, they weren't
content to wait silently, and had soon engaged in a half-dozen side
conversations, filling the large suite with chatter...

Rob:  How have you been?  Where have you been?
Halbarad:  Out and about...scouting and tracking on behalf of any
  who fight on the side of right.
Rob:  I understand.
Peyote:  Dude!
Halbarad:  Eh?
Peyote:  It's me!
Halbarad:  (looking at Daffodil)  I didn't recognize you, friend
  Peyote...I never expected you to have such lovely accompaniment.
Daffodil:  He can't be wild forever.
Bosco:  (peeks out from behind Peyote, weighing his chances of
  successfully picking the druidess' pocket)

  Nearby...

Alindyar:  (chatting with Rary and Drawmij)  -amazing.  She has come
  up with several useful spell variants, including one that would
  make Tenser envious.
Drawmij:  How goes the work on the electrical golem?
Alindyar:  I am nearly done.  The problem is not in creating the
  thing, but rather in containing it.  After all, where can one let
  a being of pure electricity run loose?
Drawmij:  You need a test chamber...or perhaps an island.
Alindyar:  No, thank you.  I have had enough islands for a while.
Rary:  Perhaps a sealed, insulated room...?
Alindyar:  Yes, we are looking into it.
Bosco:  (walks by, nodding to Alindyar)
Alindyar:  (raises an eyebrow)
Drawmij:  What about the "haunted house?"  Did you ever find out if
  there were really spooks about?
Alindyar:  (frowns)  No clear evidence has become apparent, but...
Rary:  (leans his white-haired head in closer)  Eh?
Alindyar:  Sometimes, we believe we can hear wailing and creaking.
Drawmij:  Maybe you'd better talk to Derider...or better yet, Ravel.
Alindyar:  We shall see.

  Meanwhile...

Mongo:  (talking with Rillen)  -and Gorin stayed there, to learn and
  grow even more.
Rillen:  Ah.  And you?
Mongo:  (shrugs)  I'm not sure yet.  I guess I'll just wander the
  world, having adventures.
Rillen:  Not a bad way to be.
Mongo:  Nope...but neither is your deal.  (he smashes his fist into
  his other palm)  You WON!  After all the bullshit and everything,
  now you're the champion!  That's got to feel great!
Rillen:  It does.
Mongo:  (settling down)  But anyway, I don't know where I'll go next.
  Hell, it's been decades since I last saw my distant relatives, the
  Knucklehead and Hammerhead clans.  Maybe I'll pay them a visit.
Rillen:  Sounds like a guaranteed ruckus-
Deryck:  (strolls over, punch-happy)  Ho, and well met!
Mongo:  Hey, how are you?
Deryck:  Well, thanks.  Have you heard about our recent escapade into
  the lair of the lich?
Rillen:  Not yet.
Mongo:  Lich?!?  You guys fought a lich and I wasn't invited?!?
Deryck:  Uh...err...
Mongo:  (claps the ranger on the back)  Just kidding!  Tell me all
  about it...
Bosco:  (strolls by, looking around aimlessly)

  Elsewhere...

Belphanior:  -get that spell of identification to work?
Nenya:  Oh, yes.  In fact, I've copied all of Ged's spells that I
  didn't have already.
Belphanior:  That must be a lot.
Nenya:  (nods)  If I can ever find all of his notes and formulae for
  new spells, I'll be busy for years!  (she frowns)  Then again, I've
  got centuries to research magic.
Belphanior:  We are more fortunate than humans...
Nenya:  (thinking of Deryck)  Don't remind me.
Belphanior:  (spots Bosco, sidling by behind Nenya)  Eh?
Bosco:  (winks at Belphanior as he trots away)

  To one side...

Nerof Gasgal:  This will surely be another great moment in Peldor's
  life.
Ravel Disander:  Blessed is he.
Nerof Gasgal:  If anyone deserves some peace and happiness, it's him
  and Tanya.  They've been through so much.
Ravel Disander:  (nods, smiling)
Nerof Gasgal:  (begins to wonder if the old priest of Boccob is going
  senile)

  Across the room...

Lyra:  -I'm sorry to hear that.  I truly am.
Songa:  We haven't told anyone else, and we probably won't, so I'd
  really appreciate your silence on this matter.
Lyra:  Don't worry, my lips are sealed.  (she frowns)  This must be
  really hard for you, coming here amidst all of this...
Songa:  We've put it behind us.  And we can always try again.  I
  only hope that Peldor and Tanya don't have to go through anything
  like that.
Lyra:  Good gods, no.
Bosco:  (strolls by, a serving tray in one hand, and offers drinks
  to the ladies)
Songa:  (shakes her head)
Lyra:  (takes a glass)  Why, thank you, Bosco!
Bosco:  (smiles, bowing)
Songa:  Do you think they'll let that one babysit their child?
Lyra:  (explodes in laughter, wine shooting forth to spray Bosco as
  he wanders on)
Bosco:  Hey!  I already had a shower today!
Songa:  (chuckles)

  A short distance away...

Felicia:  -must be awful boring up there in those mountains.
Eduardo:  Not really.  I always find things to do.  The town's a lot
  bigger than it looks.
Felicia:  Do they ever let you go along on the adventures?
Eduardo:  (smirks)  Nope.  But Otto is teaching me how to climb and
  set traps, and Charlie says I've got a natural talent for throwing
  knives, if I keep practicing at it.
Felicia:  He said all that?
Eduardo:  Well, not all at once.
Bosco:  (walks by, patting Felicia on the shoulder)
Felicia:  Hey, Bosco!  Have you met Eduardo?
Bosco:  Pleased to meetcha.
Eduardo:  Are you a real live thief?
Bosco:  Me?!?  Am _I_ a thief?  (he laughs)  Oh, my boy, have I got
  stories for you...





  As all of this revelry was going on, others were relaxing, halfway
across the continent where it was nighttime...

Neko:  (walks into the barracks' common room)  Where's Aja?
Skektek:  She's been weary lately...resting a lot, I believe.
Ys:  Hmm.
Neko:  She didn't look tired to me.
Skektek:  Cut her some slack.  Dealing with the dead is a grueling
  job.
Otto:  She'll cope.  She always has.
Razor Charlie:  (grunts)
wispy thing:  Nrp, nrp.
Razor Charlie:  (sneers at the wisp)
Neko:  (looking around)  Zhao's not here either?
Otto:  He never stays up this late.  Haven't you noticed?
Neko:  (shaking her head)  If I didn't know better, I'd say you
  people were a boring bunch.
Ys:  Hah.  That's a good one.
Otto:  (to Neko)  Stick around a while longer.

  Otto had worried that Neko and Zhao - the two newest marshals -
would be upset about not getting any treasure or magical items
from the recent adventure.  However, Neko just didn't seem to care,
which made Otto wonder what exactly was going on inside her head.
As for Zhao, he hardly ever talked about anything.  At least Neko
made an effort to socialize, as she was doing now.  Then again,
the marshals weren't being paid to make conversation - they were
being paid to fight.
  Speaking of which, Otto had finally gotten things stabilized
as far as Helgate's town guard.  There were now five guards on
duty in each of three eight-hour shifts.  These men were always
in the town, whether the marshals were there or not.  Otto had
had to take care of this because Belphanior was busy with other
things.  The elf had declared his next goal:  protecting them all
from magical detection and scrying.  He hadn't yet achieved this,
but he had put many hours into researching possible solutions.
  Belphanior had also spent a significant amount of his time
studying the severed hand he'd taken from Xusia.  He hoped that
it would offer some insight into the lich, perhaps even a way to
defeat the undead lord.  However, the hand had remained completely
inert thus far.  Finally, Belphanior had secured it in a locked
lead box which was then put inside a sealed glass sphere.  This
sphere had then been sunk within a small tank of acid.  After all,
there was no point in taking any chances, especially not when the
arch-lich was concerned.

Otto:  (smiles to himself)
Neko:  Did I miss something?
Otto:  Nope.
Neko:  (pours herself some more wine)  Maybe I'll go out into
  town and find some action.  There's got to be-

  She was interrupted by a sudden loud scream from one of the
quarters within the barracks building.

Razor Charlie:  (his eyes widen)  Huh?
Otto:  Holy hells!  That was Aja!
Skektek:  (gaping as a second loud scream drifts through the
  barracks)
Ys:  (stands, knocking the table over)
Neko:  (leaps back)  Whoa!
Ys:  Aja needs our help!  (he charges toward the back corridor,
  followed by the others)

  The big reptilian pushed the first door he encountered, but it
swung open, the room empty.  The second door he came to was also
open.  The third, however, was bolted fast from the inside, and as
Ys tugged on the handle, another scream came from the room within.

Ys:  Hold on!  We're coming!  (he tears the door clean off its hinges)
Jutokai:  (scrambling to cover himself and Aja with bedsheets)
Aja:  (breathing heavily)  Oh.  Did we disturb you?
Neko:  Now that's what I'm talking about!  Action!
Razor Charlie:  (grunts and walks away)
Ys:  So sorry.  I thought you might need some help.
Aja:  We were doing quite well, thank you.
Jutokai:  (his face bright red with embarrassment)  Uh...
Ys:  Yes.  Well, good evening.  (he props the door back up in its
  place)
Otto:  (chuckling to himself as they take their seats in the main
  room)
Skektek:  (aghast)  Whoa!
Neko:  I told you she didn't look tired.
Ys:  She certainly didn't look tired just then, at any rate.





  Yes, things were always interesting in Helgate.  However, there
were yet other things afoot in other areas of the world.

  In a land far from Greyhawk as well as his home, the barbarian
Arnold lived a new life, and for now at least he had put aside all
of his old friends and their adventuring ways.  He'd met a nice
city girl and settled down; he was more than content, he was happy.
It could well be many years before anyone encountered him again...
which was just fine by him.

  In the massive fortress of Greyspire, the dwarf Gorin relaxed
between campaigns.  He'd become well-known and well-liked - for
his experience in battle, for his skill at arms, for his knowledge
of woodworking, and for his seemingly natural ability to take the
younger dwarves under his wing and teach them.  He sometimes missed
the wandering adventures of old, but he was also happy with his
current situation.

  In Hardby, the warrior-woman Sarah clutched a small child to her
breast.  This girl, almost seven years old, had been the product of
a brief fling with a passing adventurer, a wild fellow without a
care in the world.  Sarah had finally decided to find the father...
find him and hold him accountable for his offspring.  It couldn't
be too difficult - after all, how many carefree adventurers bore
the unique name "Peyote?"

  In the heart of the wild Pomarj, a lone drow made his way from
the Underdark to the surface world.  It had taken him three long
years...but now, at long last, he had arrived.  Rasimov D'Arkayn -
sole survivor of the dark elf city of Erelhei-Cinlu - was ready to
seek out and destroy whoever was responsible for the destruction
of his city.

  On a deserted shore in a distant land, a compact, armored form
emerged from the sea, literally.  Seaweed clung to the spikes and
spurs of his hell-forged armor, and the water dripped from his
body as he trudged onto the beach, never pausing or slowing.  The
eyeslits of this being's helm glowed with an unquenchable crimson
fire - the same fire that had kept those short, stubby legs moving
tirelessly for the last two years, across the ocean floor, through
crushing depths and thick dark muck and countless perils.  No more,
though - for today, the iron dwarf was back!

  In a secret base, far from prying eyes, the lich Xusia planned
and plotted.  Some would have assumed him to be in a hurry to seek
revenge on Belphanior, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Xusia had, after all, lived for millennia.  He had all the time in
the world, and he would take as much as he needed to set his plans
in the perfect motion that they deserved.  Besides, he wasn't alone
in his efforts any longer; he was in the process of locating other
beings whose goals were similar to his own.  He planned to form a
most sinister alliance, and then pool its members' vast powers and
resources before moving against the world of the living.  Even now,
things had been set in motion.





  All of these events meant nothing to the adventurers in Greyhawk
right now, though.  They had gathered to mutually celebrate a great
occasion, and this was the time for making new friendships as well
as patching up old differences.

Mongo:  (approaches Belphanior)  Uh...
Belphanior:  What-  oh.  It's you.
Mongo:  Look, I'm not too good at this kind of thing, so I'll make
  it quick and simple.  Years ago, I chewed you out for letting Ged
  die.
Belphanior:  (stares at the dwarf)
Mongo:  Well, it was wrong.  It was wrong of me, or of anybody.  It
  isn't your fault that Ged chose to make that sacrifice.  Holding
  you responsible for his death was the easy way out...and I'm sorry.
Belphanior:  (still staring at the dwarf)
Mongo:  (extends his hand)  Peace?
Peyote:  (nearby)  Hey, that's my line.
Belphanior:  (disregards the half-elf, extending his own hand)  Done.

  This tender moment was broken up by the entrance of Derider.  The
constable burst into the room, a bright smile plastered across her
face.

Derider:  It's a girl!





next:      if you see episode 601, it won't be until the year 2000!!!
ftp:       ftp.myths.com in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
           ftp.intertex.net in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
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:     Needfest is the seven-day festival between month 12 and
  month 1 on the Oerth calendar.  The fourth day of Needfest is the
  exact middle of the winter, and the direct opposite of Midsummer.
    Thanks to Felix Koks and Jeffrey Smith for the rather unique
  idea that they both came up with simultaneously yet separately:
  Peyote having an illegitimate child out there somewhere.  There
  were about a dozen other readers' ideas incorporated into this
  episode in one way or another, but I haven't successfully tracked
  all the names...sorry about that.

    Damn, but 7+ years is a long time to write constantly...

    Well, this is it, for at least one year:  no new Adventurers.  I
  don't really have much to say; just realize that I try to keep my
  stories' characters moving along as they would in real life, and
  part of that is marriage, pregnancies, and children.  However, I
  have no desire to write about anyone raising children.  No desire
  at all.  Rather than worry over this dilemma, I am turning my full
  creative energies toward some new projects, which will materialize
  (finally!) in 1999.

    Whether you're on my mailing list or not, take note:  there will
  be an easy-to-spot link added to the Adventurers web page in 1999.
  This link will be labelled "1999 work" or something just as easily
  spotted - just keep an eye out for the string "1999."  Even if the
  mailing list were to short-circuit without warning, this future
  link on my page will still be up and running and contain the most
  current information available on my new work.

    I'm working on a sneak preview of the new stuff, and when it's
  presentable I'll put a link on the Adventurers page and also let
  those on the mailing list know.

    Happy holidays!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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