Chapter #635

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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   +
+   Alindyar        17th level drow wizard                                +
+   Lyra            14th level female drow wizard                         +
+   Date:           2/1/579 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:           late morning                                          +
+   Place:          the Free City of Greyhawk                             +
+   Climate:        cold                                                  +
+   "There are some secrets that should remain secrets."                  +
+                                                  - from _The X-Files_   +

                   DCXXXV.  Mixing Business and Pleasure

  Several days have passed since Alindyar's unsuccessful trip to the hills
of the Abbor-Alz, in search of the mythical Lord of Illusions.  However,
he has not let up at all, taking what little he learned and spending many
long hours in libraries and sages' chambers.  Now, armed with more options
and hints, he has distilled the possibilities and come up with the most
promising one.  Even now, he and Lyra are planning their next trip...

Alindyar:  The one we seek will lie in Rel Mord, capital of Nyrond.
Lyra:  That's just what the old bluehair said.  It may not be the case.
Alindyar:  True, but...we must try.
Lyra:  Have you considered that this illusion-master may not actually
Alindyar:  I have considered all possibilities.  Still, as I said...we must
Lyra:  So what exactly is the Nyrond connection?
Alindyar:  The court wizard there, Balveebes, is held to be the greatest
  weaver of illusions living today.  (he pauses)  Of course, the sage is
  not aware of _my_ powers, but nevertheless...
Lyra:  We can't really teleport - it's sort of an unfamiliar region.  So,
  horses again?
Alindyar:  Better:  the Phantom Steed.
Lyra:  A spell of transportation?
Alindyar:  Ay., and a good one at that.
Lyra:  Is it better than a conventional horse?
Alindyar:  Quite.  Aside from a lack of need for rest and sustenance, the
  phantom steed gallops at great speeds.  Also, it has little to no problem
  with rough terrain, and in fact can fly if need be.
Lyra:  (nods)
Alindyar:  Frankly, I am surprised that you know nothing of this spell.
Lyra:  It's not like you always did, either.
Alindyar:  True enough.  In any event, we can copy the formula to your
  spellbook at our leisure.
Lyra:  Excellent.
Alindyar:  I would like to leave soon...perhaps this afternoon.
Lyra:  If you give me the rest of the day, I can fine-tune a new spell
  I've been working on, one that could help us?
Alindyar:  Eh?  Is it the improved spell of blinking?
Lyra:  No, that one's already finished.  I'm talking about the Shade spell.
Alindyar:  Shade?  Why would I want to become a shade?
Lyra:  (elbows him in the ribs)  Don't be coy.  This is an enchantment that
  keeps the caster, and anything near her, from feeling the effects of the
Alindyar:  Ah.
Lyra:  A simple incantation, really.
Alindyar:  But what duration does it have?
Lyra:  The better part of a day.  Why else would I make such a spell?
  Anyhow, I need a day to get it transcribed correctly.
Alindyar:  Very well.  Tomorrow it is.

  The following day, they set out from Greyhawk, soon leaving the Free City
behind.  The weather was cold, especially given the spell of shade that Lyra
had worked on them.  However, they were dressed warmly, and the vistas as
they rode were pleasant and refreshing given all the time they'd spent in
the cramped city lately.
  The magical steeds, which had to be renewed with a new spellcasting every
day, had no need of rest or food.  Better yet, they moved at a tremendous
pace and were altogether unhindered by bad terrain and obstacles.  This cut
the travel time quite significantly, but the journey still took the better
part of two weeks.  Of course, there were the requisite scenic rest stops
along the way:  the vineyards of Leukish, capital of the Duchy of Urnst;
the water-parade along the Nesser River where it emerged from the Celadon
Forest; the artwork on display in Woodwych, in southern Nyrond.  These
distractions were almost enough to make Alindyar forget about his purpose.

  At long last, and after many days of travel, they arrived one morning in
Nyrond's capital:  majestic Rel Mord.  As the largest city in one of the
largest, most noble kingdoms in the world, the place was magnificent.  Huge
towers rose from the sprawling metropolis, whose streets were neat and
orderly, a telltale sign of a master architect's work.  Bright and cheerful
people and colors were everywhere.

Lyra:  Wow.
Alindyar:  'Tis nothing like Greyhawk.

  In their illusionary guise as well-to-do humans, it was not hard to learn
the location of the royal palace.

Alindyar:  That is where this Balveebes fellow will be.
Lyra:  Agreed.  Let's go see him and get that out of the way.  I wouldn't
  mind spending the rest of the day touring this fantastic city.

  At the royal palace, from which the kind and just King Archbold ruled
the land, the visitors quickly saw that they might have a problem.

guard #1:  Nobody sees the court wizard without an appointment.
Alindyar:  We have traveled long and far to speak with him.
guard #2:  Not without an appointment.
Lyra:  Well, then, we shall have to make an appointment.
Alindyar:  Yes, of course.

  Such things had to be hashed out, and shortly...

guard #2:  Come back tomorrow morning and the court wizard shall see you.
Alindyar:  Good enough.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  This way, we can take a rest from our journey
  and relax for a day...probably a good idea anyway.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Agreed.

  Arm-in-arm, they walked through the streets of Rel Mord for the better
part of the morning, taking in the sights and sounds.  Although the city
was the kingdom's capital, it just didn't seem as crowded, as hectic, as
Greyhawk.  They enjoyed a fine lunch, tasting breads, wines, and cheeses
that would never see their way to Greyhawk.  The high cost of the lunch
wasn't even a factor; although the drow seldom ate extravagantly, they
certainly could when they wished to.  After lunch, they spent some more
money shopping.  Lyra got some new clothes, while Alindyar focused on
books and spell components and such things.  That evening, they took a
spacious room in a nice inn, and made sure to get plenty of rest after
their long and arduous travels.

  It was with some regret that Lyra found herself back at the royal palace
the following morning, but Alindyar did have an appointment to keep.  The
court wizard turned out to be a nice enough fellow.  Balveebes was tall
and gangly, with reading-glasses perched on his beak of a nose.  His long
white hair spoke of at least fifty or sixty winters; the man didn't look
like he'd been out in the sun for years.  His chamber within the palace was
spacious, yet simply appointed; it gave the impression of an occupant who
had more than he needed in life.
  They sat in plush leather chairs, Balveebes regarding them with a curious

Balveebes:  Nice illusion.  The disguise bit, I mean.
Alindyar:  Ah.
Balveebes:  (spreads his hands)  A good little illusion, but I long ago
  became able to see through such things.
Alindyar:  The spell was necessary.
Balveebes:  Yes.  It wouldn't do to have dark elves openly roaming the
  streets, I suppose.
Lyra:  (shrugs)  Most people don't understand or accept, because they are
  stupid and ignorant.
Alindyar:  Though you, obviously, are neither.
Balveebes:  What can I say?
Lyra:  You didn't seem alarmed to see we really are, I mean.
Balveebes:  That's because I know you.
Alindyar:  (alarmed)  What?
Balveebes:  Calm down.  You may recall a time, many years ago, when you
  were journeying about the surface world with some adventurers, and you
  needed a bit of tutelage in the art of wizardry?
Alindyar:  That happened many times.  Not so often, anymore.
Balveebes:  One such time, you were a bit distressed about the humans'
  general intolerance of you, based on your race rather than your actions.
  The wizard who tutored you gave some helpful advice-
Alindyar:  That was you!
Balveebes:  Yes.  I've moved up in station, and power, since then.
Alindyar:  As have I.
Balveebes:  So there it is.  We are both masters of our art, I'd reckon.
Lyra:  Small world.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Balveebes:  So...why have you come here, and what can I do for you?
Alindyar:  Well...

  The drow explained his brief but determined search for the Lord of
Illusions, and his conviction that the master illusionist did exist.

Balveebes:  Oh, it does.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Excellent!
Balveebes:  I, of course, am not the one you seek.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  I had guessed that by now.
Lyra:  (to Balveebes)  It sounds like you know something of this Lord
  of Illusions.
Balveebes:  A bit.  I'll relate it to you.  But first...let there be
  wine.  (he snaps his fingers, and an unseen servant brings forth
  several bottles and three glasses)  White, pink, red, green...take
  your pick.  I'm quite a wine lover, you see.
Alindyar:  Aye.

  After the wine had been poured, Balveebes told them what he knew of
their quarry - which was precious little.

Balveebes:  Some say it's a human, while others maintain that it must
  be a deep gnome, and yet others insist that it is a demon or similar
  otherworldly being.  It has been purported to be a man...and a woman.
Alindyar:  Hopefully not both.
Lyra:  (snickers)
Balveebes:  I don't think it's sexless, just that it can appear as
  whichever it wishes.  As for its power level...well, I'm considered
  by many to be a master of my craft, as I'm sure both of you are.
  My teacher was the great illusionist Dionihu, Master of the Seven
Alindyar:  (nods)  I have heard the name.
Balveebes:  Sadly, he's no longer with us...killed by a demon lord who
  didn't see his illusions, twenty years back.  Anyway, he used to
  talk of the Lord of Illusions as older, wiser, and more powerful
  than himself, his teacher, and his teacher's teacher.
Lyra:  That's quite a lot.
Balveebes:  It is.  The most powerful illusions aren't even illusions,
  but the reshaping of reality.  Our friend the Lord of Illusions can
  likely mold people, places, and things as a sculptor molds clay.
Alindyar:  Why have you not sought this one out?
Balveebes:  I'm too old, and I'm content.  The chasing of legends is
  better left to the young and spry.  Do let me know if you find him,
Lyra:  Him, or her.
Balveebes:  (shrugs)
Alindyar:  But where shall I look next?
Balveebes: of my peers did some research on the Lord of
  Illusions once, before his attention span wavered and he went off
  to the Hellfurnaces to fight giants.  I might be able to dig up his
  notes, if you're going to be around for a day or two?
Alindyar:  Bet on it.

next:      the Three Musketeers:  Peyote, Halbarad, and Rob
released:  5/1/00
notes:     I have seen the newest X-Men movie trailer, and it is good.
  It is also up for your viewing/downloading pleasure at:

    Well...I'm done with the drow for a while.  Next time we see them,
  Alindyar will still be going about his quest for the Lord of Illusions.
    Thanks to Lance Dooly for the Controlled Blink spell and Matt Hurd for
  the idea of a Shade spell.  Following are the descriptions for both:


Shade (Alteration)
  Level:  1
  Range:  0
  Components:  V,S,M
  Duration:  1 hour/level
  Casting Time:  2
  Area of Effect:  5' radius from caster
  Saving Throw:  none

  This simple spell creates a small area through which the sun's rays have
very little penetration.  The shaded area is dim and cool, unless of course
one uses a spell or item to create light within it.  The shade is not dark
enough to shield, say, a vampire from the sun's rays; however, it works
very well for drow who must roam the surface world, which is why the wizard
Lyra invented it.


Controlled Blink (Alteration)
  Level:  5
  Range:  0
  Components:  V,S,M
  Duration:  1 round/level
  Casting Time:  3
  Area of Effect:  the caster
  Saving Throw:  none

  With this advanced version of the 3rd level spell Blink, the wizard is
able to move about with more precise control over distance and direction,
much like the elusive blink dog.
  Each round the spell is in effect, the wizard may choose whether or not
he wishes to blink.  It is a conscious decision; should the wizard fall
unconscious he will not continue to blink.  Effects which paralyze the
wizard but leave his mind free will still allow him to blink while the
Controlled Blink spell is in effect.
  The wizard rolls initiative normally each round.  Beginning with his
rolled initiative, he may blink at any time in the remainder of the round
(though only once per round).  For example, the wizard may choose to blink
immediately to position himself for an attack, or if he is already in
position, he may attack normally using the appropriate attack speeds then
blink away.  Blinking during spellcasting is possible, but will disrupt
the spell.
  The wizard can blink in any direction up to 30 feet.  If he tries to
blink in a direction that would place him in a solid object, the
teleportation simply fails.  The wizard arrives facing his target and 75%
of the time he will be positioned behind his target (on a 12-sided die:
1 = in front of opponent, 2 = left flank, 3 = right flank, 4-12 = behind.)
  During each round that he blinks, the spellcaster can be attacked only
by opponents whose initiative is prior to the wizard's blink or by those
who are able to strike both locations at once (for example, with a breath
weapon, fireball, or similar wide-area attack forms).
  The material component for this spell is an ounce of blink dog blood.



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