Chapter #606

previous chapter (#605)                                                                  next chapter (#607)

                                   +   +
                                 +       +
                               +           +
                             +               +
                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                         +                       +
                           +      Epic IV      +
                             +               +
                               +           +
                                 +       +
                                   +   +

+     Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and other     +
+   terms used in these stories are the property of TSR, Inc.  However,   +
+   TSR has in no way endorsed or authorized their use, and any such      +
+   items contained within these stories are not representative of TSR    +
+   in any fashion.                                                       +
+     The player characters depicted in these stories are copyright       +
+   1991-2000 by Thomas A. Miller.  Any resemblance to any persons        +
+   or characters either real or fictional is utterly coincidental.       +
+   Copying and/or distribution of these stories is permissible under     +
+   the sole condition that no money is made in the process.  In that     +
+   case, I hope you enjoy them!                                          +
+                                                                         +
+                                                      Thomas A. Miller   +
+   Alindyar        17th level drow wizard                                +
+   Belphanior      14th/14th/14th level elven fighter/wizard/thief       +
+   Bosco           12th level halfling thief                             +
+   Lyra            14th level female drow wizard                         +
+   Mongo           18th level dwarven fighter                            +
+     Gorgo         dwarven berserker                                     +
+   Otto             8th/11th level dwarven fighter/thief                 +
+   Date:           1/6/579 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:           shortly before dusk                                   +
+   Place:          the Free City of Greyhawk                             +
+   Climate:        cold                                                  +
+   "You might know who we are, but we know who you are.  Understand."    +
+                                                    - from _Goodfellas_  +

                       DCVI.  Long Overdue Answers

  Three days ago, Belphanior and Mongo came to Greyhawk for different
reasons.  Belphanior sought insights into a number of varying topics,
while Mongo sought companions for perhaps the greatest quest ever under-
taken by mortals.  Now, Belphanior and Otto are meeting for a private
comparison of information...

Belphanior:  You sure picked a seedy place.
Otto:  (shrugs)  Less likely to be trouble.
Belphanior:  (eyeing the scumbags that fill this seedy tavern)
Otto:  I meant real trouble.

  They had an adventurers' favorite:  the shady corner table where nobody
could eavesdrop or approach without being spotted.

Belphanior:  I may just have consulted every sage and diviner in this city.
Otto:  So what's the deal?
Belphanior:  Where should I start?  (he produces a sheet of marked-up
  parchment)  Adamantine golem...we know where it is, and thus we can go
  get it at our leisure.
Otto:  Well, that's simplifying things a bit, but...
Belphanior:  Cynder is definitely _not_ on this plane of existence.  That
  means one of two things:  he's dead or he's stuck in the Abyss.
Otto:  What if he allied himself with our pal the demon lord?
Belphanior:  I'd count that as 'stuck in the Abyss' but good point.  Next,
  and this is maybe my favorite part:  we now know the location of a genuine
  temple of the big 'O'...
Otto: that's attack option #1.
Belphanior:  Baron Albert, in Blackmoor, is attack option #2.  I know just
  where he lives.
Otto:  Attack option #3, those who sent Omak?
Belphanior:  Nobb and Ranulf, slavers in Westkeep...we know where they are,
Otto:  Too bad for them.
Belphanior:  So, three possibilities.  (he frowns)  Of that vampire, Qurac,
  there was nothing to be found.  Nobody's even heard of him.  Maybe I'll
  ask Victoria when we get back to Helgate.
Otto:  Makes sense.
Belphanior:  If - when - we ever go after the vampires, we need to recruit
  Rob somehow.
Otto:  Agreed.  His kind are useful when it comes to such undead foes.
Belphanior:  I teleported down to see my friends, the deep gnomes...King
  Grimlok, and the tinkerer, Sludj.
Otto:  Anything interesting?
Belphanior:  Sort of.  They checked on my false eye, and seemed pleased
  with it somehow.  I gave them some of those weird items and devices we
  picked up on that other world.
Otto:  Let me guess:  all the useless stuff we couldn't figure out?
Belphanior:  Yep.  I think those gifts made Sludj's day; he was speechless.
Otto:  Well, that's good.
Belphanior:  More importantly, the svirfneblin have been keeping an extra
  eye out for any recurrence of the shapeshifters, but happily, they haven't
  seen any.
Otto:  I think those monsters really are all dead.
Belphanior:  Me too, but it's best to be cautious.
Otto:  Better safe than sorry...or dead.
Belphanior:  I also paid a call on the wizard Otiluke, but he wasn't home.
  His butler said something about Otiluke being away for a few weeks.  I
  guess I'll have to revisit that one.
Otto:  Hmm.
Belphanior:  The weird spells in Kronos' spellbook were a little tougher.
  In fact, a lot tougher.  The best I could get was the possibility that
  the tome's five unique spells had to do with either death or time - and
  I knew that much already.  It was suggested that I seek out an archmage,
  or if I couldn't find one, a lich.
Otto:  How about Alindyar?  Isn't he an archmage?
Belphanior:  Not technically, though I've no doubt that someday soon, he
  will be.  But it's a moot point - his specialty is illusion, and I doubt
  that he could make much of Kronos' formulas.
Otto:  Hey, I'd try it anyway.  With really sharp people, you never know...
Belphanior:  Good point.
Otto:  Well, it sounds like Kronos and his spells will have to wait for some
  other time.
Belphanior:  (nods)  As for a means of shielding myself from scrying, it
  seems that just such a spell might exist, somewhere.  Or perhaps some
  sort of amulet.  I've left a message with Tenser asking about this.
  Apparently he's out of town too...probably adventuring with Otiluke,
  for all we know.
Otto:  Sounds like a fairly productive day.
Belphanior:  It was.  And you?
Otto:  I looked into the work involved in finding, hiring, and maintaining
  a garrison for Helgate.  I don't think we should deal with this until we
  have the time and energy to give it a full effort.
Belphanior:  Ah.
Otto:  So...back to the main objective...we have three possible targets:  the
  evil temple, Baron Albert, and the slavers Nobb and Ranulf in Westkeep.
Belphanior:  Ah, choices, choices...
Otto:  (smiles thinly)  Why not just attack all three targets and make a day
  of it?
Belphanior:  Damn!  That's far and away the best idea I've heard all day.
  Let's drink to it.  (they raise their glasses)
Otto:  All this aside...have you thought about Mongo's little treasure hunt?
Belphanior:  Of course I have.  Who wouldn't?  It's only potentially the
  hoard to end all hoards.
Otto:  The fabled Lost Tomb of Panagaea...Emperor Hyperion...a map in the
  form of an ancient stone tablet...
Belphanior:  If he can just decipher those runes and learn the location of
  the place.
Otto:  If it isn't a hoax or a red herring.
Belphanior:  Lots of 'ifs'...
Otto:  Well, we'd best go meet at the drows' house as planned.

  The entire group - all those who knew of Mongo's quest - had agreed to
meet at the mansion at dusk each day, to compare notes.  Shortly...

Gorgo:  So you guys are going with us?
Belphanior:  Yep.  This quest - even the admittedly small chance of it
  actually yielding anything - is simply too epic to pass up.
Otto:  Plus we were getting bored in Helgate.
Mongo:  (examining the ancient tablet)
Lyra:  Any luck today?
Mongo:  Actually, yes.  Sort of.
Gorgo:  (in explaining mode)  We found this place for lunch that had all-
  you-could-eat meat-
Mongo:  She's talking about the stone map-tablet, Gorgo.
Gorgo:  Oh, yeah.  Right.
Mongo:  (proudly)  I now know who the world's leading expert in Panagaean
  lore is.
Alindyar:  Ah.
Otto:  So...who is it?
Mongo:  Well, it's the Oracle of Espyria, at the end of the known world.
  (he sees their worried looks)  Oh, don't worry.  I got a map.
Lyra:  What is this oracle?
Mongo:  Uh, that's a little hard to say.
Alindyar:  And why is that?
Mongo:  (shrugs)  Nobody knows.
Otto:  Maybe you should ask the Oracle.
Lyra:  Hmph.
Belphanior:  Oh, great.  (mockingly)  Maybe he can help me with Kronos'
  spellbook while we're at it.
Mongo:  (shrugs)  Sorry.  The world's leading expert is the world's
  leading expert.
Belphanior:  (sighs)  Okay, okay.  What of Peldor?  Is he coming along?
Mongo:  Nah.  We asked him, and I think he wanted to, but he's got that
Lyra:  Little girl, actually.
Otto:  Bah.
Bosco:  (appears)  But it's okay, because you've got me instead!  And I
  represent the glory of Peldor as well as myself-
Belphanior:  Enough, Bosco.
Bosco:  Erp.
Mongo:  So let's, Gorgo, Bosco, Belphanior, Otto...
Gorgo:  (trying to keep up, he fails)
Belphanior:  Plus some of our marshals.
Mongo:  ...okay, and then...(to the drow)  Well?  Joining us for this one?
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  What think you?
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  I think I agree with you.  Tell him.
Alindyar:  (to Mongo)  Nay, we cannot.
Mongo:  Awww!
Alindyar:  We have...commitments here in Greyhawk.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Not to mention that you want to find that
  Lord of Illusions...
Alindyar:  Aye.
Mongo:  Eh?
Alindyar:  Nothing.
Mongo:  Okay then, we're five, plus some marshals.
Gorgo:  How many is that?
Belphanior:  (sighs)
Bosco:  Hey, what about Gorin?
Mongo:  Gorin's busy, fighting the good fight, in Greyspire, as part of
  a small army.
Bosco:  Oh.
Mongo:  (his mind drifting, he ponders others who could be asked to come
  along - Rob, the priest Relmar, the paladin Drexel - and what it would
  take to convince each that they needed to help with these quests)  Um.
Bosco:  Huh?
Mongo:  Nothing...hmm, with this many people, we'd best agree on the
  treasure shares right now.
Belphanior:  You're absolutely right.  Half to you and Gorgo, half to me
  and Otto and whichever of my people I bring along.
Gorgo:  (incredulous)  You'd split your share with all of your henchmen?
Belphanior:  A fraction of infinity is still infinite.
Gorgo:  (frowns, obviously uncomprehending)
Belphanior:  Besides, my marshals are both brave and capable.  They
  deserve, and will get, nothing less than an equal share to my own.
Otto:  Damn right on that.
Bosco:  What about my share?
Mongo:  Hmm...we'll take your share out of me and Gorgo's half.
Bosco:  (pouting)  Why can't we just split it all up evenly?
Mongo:  Because I said so, that's why.
Belphanior:  (smirks)
Bosco:  But...
Mongo:  No buts.
Bosco:  (shrugs)  Whatever you say.
Mongo:  Well, it's settled then.  (to Belphanior and Otto)  When do we
  leave for the oracle who lives at the end of the known world?
Belphanior:  We'll need a week or so first.  We've got some business to
  attend to.
Mongo:  Oh, that's okay.  We'll come along.
Belphanior:  Err...well, you can't.
Mongo:  Why not?
Belphanior:  Uh, well, frankly, because we're going to destroy a vampire
  lord and his army, then demolish a temple of a demon lord, and finish
  up the day by assassinating two slave lords.
Gorgo:  Hey, sounds like fun!
Mongo:  (frowns)  Belphanior?
Belphanior:  Hmm?
Mongo:  I'm hurt.  (he waves his arms about)  How in the name of all the
  bloody burning hells could you plan all that mayhem and NOT INVITE ME?!?
Otto:  (smirks)
Belphanior:  Well, it just sort of slipped my mind...
Mongo:  Never mind.  All that matters now is that we have some enemies to
  go put a hurting on!

next:      Belphanior and Alindyar talk shop
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
released:  1/20/2000
notes:     Updated survey count:  413, up from 397 last time.

    Well, now Mongo's quest has been set up, so he joins the queue of
  those who have story arcs pending:

    Nenya/Deryck        Temple of Elemental Evil or Suel museum troubles
    Alindyar            seek out the mythical Lord of Illusions
    Belphanior et al    destroy three different old enemies    \
    Mongo               Lost Tomb of Panagaea                  /

  More to be added shortly...

previous chapter (#605)                                                                  next chapter (#607)