Chapter #61

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*  The 8 player characters contained in these writings are copyright
*  1992 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to persons or characters
*  either real or fictional is utterly coincidental.  Copying and/or
*  distribution of these stories is permissible only under the one
*  condition that no part of them will be used or sold for profit.
*  In that case, I hope you enjoy them.

THE PARTY (temporarily split up; this is the "land" group):

Alindyar, 9th level drow elf mage (N)
Halbarad, 8th level human ranger (NG)
Peldor, 10th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 7th/8th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
Date:   12/04/570 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   midmorning
Place:  Loftwick, capital of the Yeomanry

                         LXI.  A Mission

  The land party is ready to leave Loftwick; they have gathered
outside their inn...

Halbarad:  The time has come.  We must get on the road.
Peyote:  RIght on, dude.
Alindyar:  Perhaps we shall arrive in Greyhawk before the others.
  (wondering about the need for a disguise once the city is found)
Halbarad:  (regarding Peyote curiously)  Is it just me, or have
  you lost some weight, friend?
Peyote:  I think I have.  Must be my diet.  I'm not too hungry
  these days.  Say, where's Peldor?
Halbarad:  I seem to remember him last night talking of spending
  the night in yonder brothel.
Alindyar:  Methinks the lad was somewhat inebriated.
Peyote:  Cool.  I'll go get him, you guys get the horses ready.
Halbarad:  (goes to the stable)

soon, at the Daring Dancer establishment...

bouncer:  Hey, bud!  Whaddya want?!?
Peyote:  I am seeking a companion of mine, one obnoxious rogue,
  about this high (makes hand gesture), with brown hair and a
  goofy moustache.  Likes to dress in black.  He came here last
  night for some booty.
bouncer:  Ah, _him_!  Hold on a sec...(calls to some sub-bouncers)
  Hey!  Larry!  Curly!  Bring that drunken fool out here!
Peyote:  Eh?
sub-bouncers:  (drag the unconscious form of Peldor out)  Here he
  is, Moe.
Peyote:  (grabs Peldor before he can hit the ground)  Oof.
Moe:  He went through four of our girls last night before he
  passed out...
Peyote:  I see.
Moe:  Err...we aren't responsible for what is or isn't in his
  pockets anymore.  He seemed to have lost all his money.
Peyote:  That's okay.  He deserves whatever happened, I'm sure.
  (hoists Peldor up)  Let's go, buddy.  (cheerfully, to bouncers)
  Later, dudes!  (wanders off)
Moe:  Loony as a bird...


Peyote:  (dragging the thief along)  Even with my strength, this
  is quite a task...oh, hey, guys!
Alindyar:  It seems that he found Peldor.
Halbarad:  Hmmph.  Where did _he_ turn up?
Peyote:  Where do you think?  In the whorehouse.
Halbarad:  He reeks of beer.
Peyote:  (sniffing)  Yeah, I noticed.  Cheap beer, too.  (sets the
  thief down)  Get some water.
Alindyar:  (quickly finds a pail of ice-cold water, not a difficult
  task since it's almost freezing outside)  I have it.  (dumps the
  water over the thief's head)
Peldor:  (leaps up)  YAAAAAA!
Halbarad:  Wake up, you.  We must be on the road by noontime.
Peldor:  Water!  Icewater!  Geez!
Peyote:  Had a good time last night, did you?
Peldor:  I cannot tell a lie.  I did.  (runs inside the inn to dry
  off and retrieve his belongings from his room)
Alindyar:  (draws his robes tighter about him)  'Tis colder every
  day here...
Halbarad:  Ah!  How invigorating!

  Before too long, Peldor was ready to leave, though complaining
of a great headache.  The group set out, and traveled for many
days without incident.  For four days they moved through the
lands of the Yeomanry, followed by two days in the Little Hills.
Next they crossed the southern arm of the Javan River and entered
the Dreadwood Forest where it was somewhat hilly.  About two days
into the woods, they were accosted by troublemakers...

orc:  (appears from nowhere)  Hey!
Peyote:  Hey, dude.  What's up?
orc:  (taken aback)  You surrender now!  You're surrounded!
Halbarad:  (unslings his axe)  What is this?
Peldor:  (looks around)  Peldor is _never_ surrounded.  (uses his
  ring to slip the orc's helmet off of his head)
Alindyar:  Hmm.  (silently gestures and whispers)
orc:  Eh?  (makes a grab at his helmet)
Alindyar:  (glares at the humanoid)
orc:  (hit by a Spook spell)  Agh!  Aaaaaa!  (turns and bolts
  away)  AAAAAAAaaaaa!
other orcs:  (emerging, but confused)  What the hell...?
Peyote:  (twin ioun stones orbiting his head, brandishes his
  bastard sword)  Away, foul orclings!
orcs:  Attack!  (they run toward the party from all sides)

Peyote:  (goes invisible)
orc:  (his attack misses the half-elf by far)  Huh?!
Halbarad:  (meets an orc with his axe, cutting it in two)  Ha!
Alindyar:  (casts a Wall of Fog, shrouding everyone in mists;
  then speaks loudly)  The mists of DEATH are closing in!
orcs:  (shriek in confusion and terror)
Peyote:  (slices an orc while invisible, slaying it easily,
  and materializes)  Where did all these mists come from, man?
Peldor:  (dodges an orc attack, and returns with his own, which
  sends the smelly humanoid down with a cleft head)  No one gets
  in Peldor's way and lives to tell of it!
orcs:  (fail morale check)  Aaaaaa!  (scatter in all directions)
Alindyar:  (decides not to waste more spells on the fleeing ones)
Halbarad:  (brushes himself off)  That was our first battle in a
  while.  I am glad to see that we are still competent.
Peldor:  What, are you kidding?  Peldor is the very _epitome_ of
Peyote:  (drawn to a dead orc, pulls out his rod - the artifact,
  the Rod of Life and Death)  Dude.
orc:  (head cleft in two)  Uuuuuuuuuuuurrrr.
Alindyar:  Fascinating.
Peyote:  Speak to me.
orc:  Nooooooooo.
Peyote:  YES!  The rod compels me!  Speak!
orc:  Aaauuurrr.  Wh-wh-what do you want?
Peldor:  (whispering)  Look, his brains are oozing out!  Gross.
Alindyar:  Shhhh!
Peyote:  Tell me, are there any orc encampments nearby?
orc:  No.
Peyote:  Are there any dangers worse than orcs, then, that we
  need to watch out for?
orc:  Yesssss.
Peyote:  Don't get smart with me.  What are these dangers?
orc:  O-ogres.  Band of ogres.  To the north.
Peyote:  Is that all?
orc:  Yes.  (goes limp)
Peyote:  (rises)  Why are you all staring at me?
Halbarad:  Why must you speak with the dead?
Peyote:  The rod compels me.  (puts the item in his belt)  Let's
  be gone, in case the orcs regain their nerve.
Peldor:  Do we find the ogres, or veer away?
Halbarad:  I see no need to fight unnecessary battles.  I can
  navigate us away from these ogres to the north, I think.
Peyote:  I'm sick of walking into idiot's ambushes.  I shall
  prepare to summon an animal ere much longer.
Halbarad:  Let us move on, for now.  Summon as you see fit.  (he
  leads the group onward, to the west)

a bit later...

Peyote:  Let's stop and rest.  (begins scattering herbs about)
Peldor:  What's he doing?  Are we having a cookout?
Halbarad:  He prepares to summon animals to help our cause.
Alindyar:  Interesting.
Peyote:  (begins barking)
Peldor:  Bah.  (drinks some water)  Boy, I'm thirsty.
Alindyar:  Alcohol will do that for you...
Peldor:  Yep.  But boy, was it worth it!  (begins munching on
  a large roll)  Mmm.
Peyote:  (makes some gestures)  Ah.
Halbarad:  What news?
Peyote:  We wait.
Alindyar:  (sips some wine as a few minutes pass)
Peyote:  (looks into the woods)
dogs:  (appear)
Peldor:  Huh?  Wild dogs!
Halbarad:  Four of them.
Alindyar:  They seem fierce.
Peyote:  (casts a few more spells, allowing friendship and the
  ability for him to speak with the dogs in their barking form
  of language)  Woof.  Woof, woof!
dogs:  Woof.  Bow-wow.
Peyote:  Woof!  Woof, woof - woof bow woof wow.  Woof bow, wow.
dogs:  Woof!
Peyote:  (looks at the others)  These faithful servants of nature
  will accompany us and lead us around danger.
Peldor:  Well, that's good to know.
Halbarad:  (pats a dog on the head)
Peldor:  (looks down at his half-eaten roll)  Hey!  Get away from
dog:  (wanders away with the food)
Peldor:  Damn.
Peyote:  Let us be on.

  For the next two days, they continued through the forest,
steering clear of danger thanks to the wild dogs' keen noses
and familiarity with the area.  The woodlands soon ended, and
the party had made it through what was considered a dangerous
forest without a scratch.  Once out of the woods, they moved
through Keoland, encountering many guards and merchants but
nothing hostile.  Incidentally, no temples of Trithereon were
seen.  Four days after emerging from the Dreadwood, they rode
into Gradsul, a city located right where the combination of
three inland rivers emptied into the Azure Sea.
  They stayed in Gradsul that night, resting and replenishing
their spells and supplies.  The night in front of a blazing
fireplace was a great relief from the harsh, freezing outdoors.

innkeeper:  No dogs allowed.
Peyote:  But these are my _babies_!
innkeeper:  No dogs allowed.
Peyote:  They can't stay outside!  It's below freezing!
innkeeper:  What, are you deaf?  Read my lips, NO DOGS ALLOWED.
Peyote:  Now look here.  (pulls out a large garnet and presses
  it into the man's grimy hand)  _These_ dogs must remain with
innkeeper:  The dogs stay in your room.  No shit in the halls,
  though, understand?
Peyote:  Yes.  Obad-Hai be with you.  (goes to his room, dogs
  in tow)
Halbarad:  I am beginning to think that money can buy anything.

  The next day, they departed, with extra blankets for the dogs
(a need that could not have been forseen in Loftwick, of course).
The river next to Gradsul was crossed, and the party rode for four
days, traversing southern Ulek until the city of Gryrax was found.
Being the capital, it was a much larger place than Gradsul, and
thus it was hardly a surprise when an interesting offer popped up.

Peldor:  I'm bored.  Where is a challenge worthy of Peldor's skill?
Halbarad:  (spies a beautiful woman posting a sign on a fencepost
  in a plaza)  Yonder woman may have the answer.  (approaches the
  woman)  Excuse me?
woman:  (turns suddenly)  Yes?
Halbarad:  (reads her sign)  Perhaps we can help you.
woman:  There are only four of you...
Alindyar:  Plus four wild dogs...
Halbarad:  ...but we are great heroes.
Peldor:  (reads the sign aloud)  "Help Wanted - Desperately!  The
  towne of Tragidore is in need of a few brave souls to undertake
  a perilous mission.  The danger is great, but the reward for
  success is very generous.  Interested parties should travel to
  the Cawing Crow in Tragidore and ask for Marta."
Alindyar:  Marta?
Halbarad:  (to woman)  What is this all about?
woman:  I cannot tell.  You must speak to the elders in Tragidore.
Alindyar:  Where is this...Tragidore?
woman:  It is a small town about three leagues to the northwest.
  I must go.  (dashes away)
Peldor:  Hey!  (runs after her)  She's gone!  (looking around)
  No one, but _no one_, escapes Peldor's notice!
Peyote:  Well, someone just did, man.
Halbarad:  I say we travel to this town and see what is what.
Peyote:  (barking to the wild dogs)  Rowf Rowf.  Bow wow.  Bark?
dogs:  Yip!  Yip!
Peyote:  The dogs voice their approval.
Peldor:  How can he continually talk to them like that?
Alindyar:  Well, assuming that he actually _is_ talking to them,
  I would then assume that he casts the necessary spells anew each
Peldor:  Oh.
Halbarad:  Tragidore!
Alindyar:  Adventure.
Peldor:  Reward!
Peyote:  Dude!
dogs:  Bark!

  And so, they prepared to ride for Tragidore...

next time:  the town's problem

FTP SITE: (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
NOTES:  First, MARTA is Atlanta's public transportation system.
Whether this is relevant or not, we thought it a great joke at the
time.  Second (and most important), I have been slack lately due
to finals, my move off campus and into an apartment, and work.  On
a positive note, I made dean's list (higher than a 3.0) for summer,
for the first time since spring 1988...with 6 classes...and while
working 30 hours a week and taking frequent weekend trips and
writing these stories...needless to say, I feel the need to pat
myself on the back...
  Third, the "Terrible Trouble in Tragidore" module is the thin,
cheapie adventure that came with the 2nd edition DM's screen.  I
was low on material at the time, I guess.  Everything turned out
okay, though - this adventure caused a major change in one of the
character's lives, as will be seen.

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