Chapter #609

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                                   +   +
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                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      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   +
+   Daffodil        11th level human female druidess                      +
+   Peyote          12th/12th level half-elven fighter/druid              +
+   Date:           1/9/579 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:           late morning                                          +
+   Place:          the Vesve Forest                                      +
+   Climate:        surprisingly warm                                     +
+   "Why didn't you tell anyone?"                                         +
+   "Well, no one ever asked."                                            +
+                                                - from _The Avengers_    +

                      DCIX.  Unexpected Dividends

  In preparation for the upcoming challenge to his Druidic rank, Peyote
has been training and praying for two days.  Even now, in a clearing near
his hut, he practices his swordplay...

Peyote:  (swinging his bastard sword about in great arcs, he steps to the
  side, then back, the blade slicing the air in wide circles)
Daffodil:  Do you think you can beat Tolvek?
Peyote:  Of course.
Daffodil:  (looks somewhat relieved)
Peyote:  Anybody can beat anybody, under the right circumstances.  (he
  frowns)  But it won't be easy at all.
Daffodil:  Perhaps Obad-Hai will be with you.
Peyote:  You'd think he would, since our viewpoint - that of those in
  power - is a better one that that of the upstarts.
Daffodil:  Perhaps he simply doesn't care, as long as he has worshippers
  on Oerth.
Peyote:  No, that's Boccob.
Daffodil:  Shouldn't you be practicing with the quarterstaff rather than
  the sword?
Peyote:  Probably, but I like the sword.  It calms me.
Daffodil:  Hmph.
Peyote:  Actually, I can choose any weapon I want.  It's the privilege of
  the higher-ranking.
Daffodil:  Hmm.  My father once told me that in the old days, they used to
  carry out these challenges with real blades, to the death.
Peyote:  Rude deal.
Daffodil:  Then again, if you make it a swordfight, you two would have to
  wrap your swords or something.
Peyote:  We'll stick with staves.  It's no difference to me.

  Just then, there was a nervous coughing sound from nearby...

Peyote:  (puts his sword down, turning around)  Buster?  What's up?

  The young initiate looked embarrassed, and he seemed to be trying to
talk to Peyote in private.

Peyote:  Ah.  (to Daffodil)  Be right back.

  Just outside the clearing...

Buster:  Err...I'm not sure how to put this...
Peyote:  Out with it, dude.
Buster:  You have a...visitor.  Well, two, actually.
Peyote:  Who are they?  And how'd they get here, to our base in the deeps
  of the forest?
Buster:  They were escorted.  The woman has a wild story.
Peyote:  (growing irritated)  Explain.
Buster:  Um, maybe it's better if you just go see for yourself.

  Shortly, the acolyte had taken Peyote around to the huts reserved for
those rare guests to the henge.  Buster gestured to one of the huts, and
Peyote strode to the structure, entering.  What he saw inside stopped him
dead in his tracks.

Sarah:  Peyote.  Remember me?
Peyote:  Uh...
Sarah:  No point in making this any more dramatic than it needs to be.
  (she looks down at the young blond girl whose shoulders she is holding)
  This is Caitlin.  Do you recognize her?
Peyote:  Not really.
Sarah:  Not surprising since you've never met her, but I thought you
  might recognize our child.
Peyote:  Our...?
Sarah:  (nods)  She's your daughter.
Peyote:  Aie.  (he smacks his own forehead)
Daffodil:  (having just entered the hut looking for Peyote)  Daughter?
Caitlin:  Hi!

  A short time later, Peyote, Sarah, and Daffodil were in Peyote's own
hut.  The young Caitlin had been escorted away on a tour of the area,
thanks to a quick order from Peyote to Buster.

Peyote:  How old is the little waif?
Sarah:  (smiles, for the first time)  She's almost eight.
Daffodil:  (dryly)  Well, at least it was a long time ago.
Peyote:  Hey, now, it was a fling.  I knew it.  (he points to Sarah)
  You knew it.  Neither of us was looking for anything lasting.
Sarah:  Oh, I know that well enough.  Fact is, though, we got something
  lasting out of it.
Peyote:  As long as you didn't come here to make me feel guilty.  That
  would be too much.
Sarah:  Hell, it took me a year to find you, and that was after I found
  out what forest you were in.  If not for little Caitlin, I wouldn't
  have gotten this far.
Daffodil:  That's for sure.
Peyote:  So, what do you want?
Sarah:  (explodes into anger)  Don't you take that tone with me!  I've
  spent the last eight years caring for our daughter, while you've been
  off doing who knows what, with...(she glances at Daffodil and thinks
  better of what she was about to say)
Peyote:  Chill out, girl.  I thought we'd already established that what
  we did - err, had - didn't have any attachments.
Sarah:  I bore Caitlin, I birthed her, I nursed her, and I raised her.
  I think I'm due at least some credit.
Peyote:  (spreads his hands)  Absolutely.  I never denied that.
Sarah:  (fuming)
Peyote:  So, I ask you again:  what do you want from me?
Sarah:  (still fuming)
Daffodil:  Here, maybe I can make this a bit simpler.  (to Sarah)  While
  I understand your anger, the facts remain.  One:  neither of you knew
  this would happen, and thus, Peyote didn't run out on you.  Two:  Peyote
  didn't know of Caitlin's existence, and thus, he can't be blamed for not
  helping you with Caitlin.  Three:  there seems to be little hope of the
  two of you reconciling, much less fooling yourselves into thinking that
  you'd have a nice, happy, ideal life with each other and Caitlin.
Sarah:  (looks like someone just slapped her in the face)
Peyote:  Err, yeah.  What she said.
Daffodil:  Quiet.  (to Sarah)  So, the question now becomes this:  what
  can Peyote - what can we - do to make you the happiest?
Sarah:  (nodding)  What you say makes sense.  Honestly, I didn't think
  about what I wanted when I came here.  I just needed to come here and
  let Peyote know.  And let Caitlin see her father.
Peyote:  (not liking being talked about in the third person, he decides
  to regain control of the conversation)  Okay, listen up.  Sarah, I may
  not love you, but I sure don't hate you.  And that little one out there
  is part of me, as well, and that matters to me.  We've got a couple of
  courses of action here.
Sarah:  And those are...?
Peyote:  Well, you and Caitlin can come and live here.  It may not be easy
  or ideal for you, since this is no city, but you'd always be safe and
  cared for, and I'd be close at hand.
Sarah:  I'm not sure if we can do that.  Hardby is our home, and moving
  here might upset Caitlin.
Peyote:  Okay...another option would be for you to go back to Hardby.  I
  don't adventure anymore, but I have quite a bit of money, which means
  that you and Caitlin would never lack anything.  And I can come visit
  at whatever interval is okay with you.
Sarah:  Maybe that's a better idea.  A city soldier's pay isn't exactly a
Peyote:  Why not stay the night here and think it over?  (he shakes his
  head)  That's the best I can do.
Sarah:  (realizing that Daffodil was right about the futility of even
  thinking that Peyote can come with her and be a happy full-time father)
  We'll do that.
Peyote:  And if you don't mind...
Sarah:  Eh?
Peyote:  I'd like a few hours tonight with my daughter.
Sarah:  My thoughts exactly.

  Thus it was that an awkward situation was handled to everyone's mutual
satisfaction.  Sarah, muchly relieved, ate dinner and then went right to
sleep.  Daffodil busied herself learning all she could about Tolvek, who
Peyote was to fight in five days' time.  As for Peyote, he spent the
evening with Caitlin.  It wasn't easy; he hardly knew the girl, and she
hardly knew him.  Still, they talked, and he answered questions about
himself, and even told her a few stories.  He saw a lot of himself in the
girl:  she had his eyes, for one thing, but was also a curious, energetic
  It was a changed, almost humbled Peyote who retired to his hut late that

Peyote:  (sees Daffodil, obviously still awake, and joins her in the piled
  blankets)  You didn't have to wait up.
Daffodil:  Of course I did.  How'd it go?
Peyote:  It was...weird.  But great, at the same time.  I mean, I almost
  want to go with them - I'm assuming they're going to go back to Hardby -
  go with them and spend more time with my daughter.  (he sighs)  But I
  know as well as she does that it wouldn't work out.  One-night stands
  don't tend to contain the stuff of happy relationships.  Hell, if you
  must know, I was almost blind drunk at the time.
Daffodil:  (shrugs)
Peyote:  Anyway, I'm just confused right now.
Daffodil:  That's the last thing you need, with Tolvek waiting to fight
Peyote:  Yeah.  Hey, listen, thanks for being so cool with this.  I'd have
  figured you'd be really mad.
Daffodil:  Why should I?  It wasn't like you could have known, and besides,
  do you think you're the only one who has one-night romances?
Peyote:  Err...uh...
Daffodil:  Well, anyway, all of this has got me thinking, too.  Maybe _we_
  should have children.
Peyote:  Ack!

next:      Peyote vs Tolvek
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
released:  1/31/2000
notes:     I guess I've inadvertantly tackled the deadbeat dad issue here.
  I didn't set out to do it, and it sure isn't the most entertaining
  plotline, but oh well.
    Unlike the other plotlines/story arcs I've set up, this one will be
  finished in consecutive episodes.  I like Peyote and the other largely-
  unseen characters, but they're simply not the focus of the stories in
  the way that, say, Belphanior is.  They don't get as much airtime, but
  they do get some.

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