Chapter #657

previous chapter (#656)                                                                  next chapter (#658)

                                   +   +
                                 +       +
                               +           +
                             +               +
                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      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   +
+   Belphanior      14th/14th/14th level elven fighter/wizard/thief       +
+     Aja            9th level human priestess of Wee Jas                 +
+     Neko           7th level human female thief                         +
+     Skektek       12th level human wizard                               +
+     Zhao           8th level human swordsman                            +
+   Bosco           12th level halfling thief                             +
+   Mongo           18th level dwarven fighter                            +
+     Gorgo          9th level dwarven berserker                          +
+   Date:           2/18/579 C.Y. (Common Year)                           +
+   Time:           evening                                               +
+   Place:          some small town in southwestern Bissel                +
+   Climate:        cold                                                  +
+   "I don't need a bad luck piece."                                      +
+                                                           - unknown     +

              DCLVII.  Relaxation - One Way or Another

  While trying to rest and enjoy some supper in a tavern, the party has
been accosted by an overzealous thug and his companions...

Big Mac:  (standing there with seven friends, now, thick arms folded
  across his chest)  I changed my mind.
Gorgo:  (stands)  Good.
Belphanior:  (also stands, eyeing the big man with a dangerous gaze)
Big Mac:  (recoils, despite himself)
Belphanior:  I know you probably won't listen, but I'll say this anyway,
  just once:  if you start this fight, you're going to regret it.
Big Mac:  (unwilling to be intimidated in front of his friends, he
  clenches his fists and bellows)  Elf, I'm gonna pound you into a pile
  of raw meat.
Belphanior:  I seriously doubt that.
Big Mac:  Boys...get 'em!

  Just like that, the brawl commenced, as the tavern's other patrons
quickly scrambled out of the way...

thug #1:  (charges, swinging at Gorgo)
Gorgo:  (casually smacks the man with the turkey leg he was munching on)
thug #1:  <thwack>  (he goes down, dazed)
Gorgo:  (eyeing the turkey leg critically)  Dammit...waste of a good
thug #2:  Arrrr!  (he tackles the dwarf)
thug #3:  (advancing on Aja, he finds Mongo in his way)  Hey!
Mongo:  (cracks his knuckles, yawning)
thug #3:  (punches the dwarf, as hard as he can, in the jaw)  Ow!  (he
  grabs his hand, wincing in pain)
Mongo:  We've got hard heads, you know.  (he rubs his jaw)  Is that the
  best you've got?
thug #3:  (becoming enraged)
Mongo:  (leaps forward, grabbing at the man's shirt)
thug #4:  (grabs at Zhao)  C'mere, little man!
Zhao:  (faster than the eye can see, he sidesteps the attack, his arms
  moving in a flash)
thug #4:  (finds himself flat on his back)  Huh?
Zhao:  (smiles thinly)
thug #5:  (reaches the table, intending to move it aside and get Neko)
Neko:  (jumps up onto the table)
thug #5:  Huh?
Neko:  (leaps up, grabbing a chandelier and swinging)
thug #5:  (kicked in the face, he falls back)  Aaagh!
thug #6:  (takes a swing at Belphanior)
Belphanior:  (ducks, then slams a fist into the man's stomach with the
  full force of his ogrish-strength belt, which he seldom takes off
  except while in Helgate)
thug #6:  WHOULLLF!  (he crumples)
thug #7:  (with Big Mac, he approaches the table)
Aja:  (to Skektek)  You're not going to cast a spell?
Skektek:  (sheepishly)  The weakest spell I could cast would still level
  this building...
Aja:  I see.  (she begins working a quick spell)
thug #3:  (hurled through the air by Mongo, he sails past Big Mac and
  thug #7, smashes into a wall, and goes down in a heap)
thug #7:  Whoa!
Mongo:  (grabs the fellow by the feet, pulling him facefirst into the
  hard wooden floor)
thug #7:  Ungh!
Mongo:  (hefting the foe over his head, he sends the man in the same
  general direction as the last one)


Bosco:  (collecting coins left and right)  Stop, stop, stop!  No more
  betting!  The fight's already started!  Hold all wagers!


Gorgo:  (enraged, he smashes thug #2's head into a tabletop, over and
  over again)  RAAARRR!
thug #1:  (attacking from behind, he puts the dwarf in a headlock)
Gorgo:  (still retaining his hold on thug #2, he ducks and turns, flipping
  thug #1 over his shoulder and onto the floor)
thug #1:  Unf!
Gorgo:  Grrrr...(he grabs the two foes by the hair and knocks their heads
  together, causing both to lapse into senselessness)
thug #4:  (trying to punch Zhao)
Zhao:  (dodges the clumsy, swinging blows with ease, never actually
  counterattacking)  Good practice.
thug #4:  Dammit, hold still-
Zhao:  (trips the fellow with a casual swipe of his foot)
thug #4:  (falls)  Unf!
thug #5:  (trying to get his hands on Neko and pull her down from the
  swinging chandelier)  I'll get you!
Neko:  Not a chance.  (she swings and lets go, tumbling in midair)
Big Mac:  (finds himself facing Belphanior)  Now we'll-
Neko:  (hits the big man feetfirst, from behind)  Gangway!
Big Mac:  Ung.  (he collapses as if poleaxed)
Belphanior:  (regards her oddly)  I could have taken care of him.
Neko:  (shrugs)  He was really my problem in the first place...or should
  I say, _I_ was _his_ problem.

  The fight was, for all intents and purposes, over.  Those thugs who
were still conscious either fled or were beaten into oblivion like their
fellows.  As for the one who started all the trouble...

Belphanior:  (grabs Big Mac by the collar and belt, hefting him like a
  sack of wheat as he stalks toward the bar)
Big Mac:  (still dazed)  Huh...?
Belphanior:  I told you you'd regret it if you started a fight with us.

  With a heave, the elf put the man atop the bar, which was covered with
glasses, spilled booze, and grime.

Belphanior:  I've been looking forward to a chance to do this again...
Big Mac:  No...
Belphanior:  Next time someone warns you not to fuck with them, maybe
  you'll remember this and take heed.  (with a powerful shove, he
  slides the other along the bar, smashing or knocking off everything
  atop the bar)
Big Mac:  Aaaaaaaaaaa...!

  When the big man reached the end of the bartop, Belphanior's strength
propelled him right over the edge and into a wall.  He fell and didn't
get back up.

Belphanior:  (nodding to himself)  That was even more fun than last time.
older man:  (walks over)
Belphanior:  Something I can do for you?
older man:  Relax, I don't want any trouble-
Belphanior:  Well, that's good.
older man:  -but I'm the owner and proprietor of this tavern, and that
  fight just did enough damage to cost me a week's earnings.
Belphanior:  (thinking about the need to avoid attracting any major
  attention as they pass through this region)  Hmm...
Aja:  (watches Bosco saunter up, his pockets full)  A little late for
  the brawl, aren't you?
Bosco:  I was busy.  Besides, it wasn't like it was a real fight, and
  you obviously didn't need my help.  I may be a lot of things, but I'm
  no brawler.
Neko:  But if it had been a fight to the death...?
Bosco:  Then I would have backstabbed every one of the bastards within
Skektek:  Hmph.
Bosco:  But hey, I made enough money betting on that fight to-
Belphanior:  -to pay this fine fellow for the damages incurred during
  that fight.
Bosco:  What?!?
Belphanior:  We're good folks, even though we didn't start the fight.  If
  we shell out a little bit of money, then nobody has to deal with the
  authorities and nobody has to go to jail.  (he eyes the unconscious
  form of Big Mac, shaking his head)
Bosco:  But...but...
Belphanior:  Hand it over, Bosco.

  As it turned out, Bosco's winnings were just about enough to satisfy
the old tavern-owner, so all was well.

Bosco:  (thinking about how he'll make up for this loss when they find
  the big treasure hoard)  Ahh...
Skektek:  Well, at least we can get a good night's sleep.
Belphanior:  Afraid not.
Skektek:  What?
Belphanior:  This little town's too hot for us right now.  Let's move
  out, tonight.  (he hears various grumbles and groans)
Mongo:  Can't we handle any trouble that comes our way...handle it one
  way or another?
Belphanior:  Sure we could, but then we'd have extra eyes watching us
  all the way to the Oracle...and maybe farther, you know?
Mongo:  Hmm, damn good point.

  So it was that they rode out of the small town, well-fed but lacking
the rest they'd planned on having.  Such was the life of an adventurer,
though in the end, the rewards would surely be worth the trials and

next:      trouble back in Helgate
released:  7/17/00
notes:     Well, I guess the next step is to see just how much trouble
  Otto, Ys, Jutokai, Razor Charlie, Eduardo, and Victoria can get into
  when left behind in Helgate.
    My "X-Men" review:

previous chapter (#656)                                                                  next chapter (#658)