previous chapter (#65)
next chapter (#67)
* 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)
Lyra, 5th level female drow elf mage (LE/N) [pseudo-prisoner]
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: 12/20/570 C.Y. (Common Year)
Place: a circular building hidden within some forest
LXVI. The Ringleaders
The party is amidst great chaos - Peldor and Halbarad face an
angry, recently-awakened drow warrior, while Peyote stands at
the doorway to that chamber. Alindyar and Lyra are about to
cast spells at two more drow warriors down the hallway, who are
backing up quickly as Peyote's pair of summoned wild boars
charge at them full-tilt. All of this has happened within the
last ten seconds...
Peldor: Ho! Ha-ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin!
Ha! Thrust! (stabs the drow, wounding him)
drow warrior#0: Agh! (slashes at Peldor, but the nimble thief
ducks under his sword) Stop dancing about, fool!
Peldor: Never! (makes a face at the drow)
Halbarad: (moves to flank the drow) I do not suppose you
wish to surrender?
drow warrior#0: Go to hell! (swipes at the ranger)
boars: (charging the two drow in the hallway) Snort!
drow warrior#1: (running) Where in the Abyss did _they_
drow warrior#2: I have no idea. (they keep running)
Alindyar: (begins spellcasting)
Lyra: (has no useful spells to cast) Hmph! (reaches over
and fishes Alindyar's wand from his pack)
Peyote: (sort of caught in the middle, the doorway, looks
back and forth, sword drawn) Wow, dude.
drow warrior#1: (slows down to make a break for the door
he came out of) Whoa!
boars: (they trample the unfortunate dark elf underfoot)
drow warrior#2: Bad idea, friend. (gets to the end of the
hall, thanks to the boars being slowed down a bit at the
expense of his companion) Where is that trap? Ah!
boars: (headed for the drow at the end of the hall) Grr!
drow warrior#2: (covers his mouth with his cloak, opens
the chest at the end of the hall - a green gas billows
boars: (mindlessly charge into the gas)
drow warrior#2: (backs up, then runs and makes a flying
leap over the boars, and lands in the middle of the
hallway) You! (points at Lyra with his drawn sword)
Traitor! (charges Alindyar and Lyra)
Alindyar: I wonder what _he_ is so worked up about?
Lyra: They just want to kill me, since I ran away a while
boars: (breathing the gas, as might be expected, they drop)
Peyote: Dude! You slew my boars!
drow warrior: Actually, it is only sleep gas. But that
should not make any difference to them.
Alindyar: (casts Color Spray at the drow)
drow warrior: (looks at the kaleidoscope of colors around
him as they dissipate) Not good enough, mage. (resumes
his approach to Alindyar and Lyra)
Peyote: Gnarly color effects, though. (steps in front of
the two drow) Back, dude. And dudette. I shall defend
you. (charges the drow warrior)
Lyra: I can help, too. (fires three magic missiles from
Alindyar's wand, at the drow warrior)
drow warrior: (hit by the magical bolts, reels) Argh! You
shall surely die for that, bitch!
Peyote: Chill, dude. (slashes the drow, wounding him badly)
drow warrior: Yargh! Damn, that hurts. (stabs Peyote in
Peyote: Argh! (clutches his bleeding leg) Okay, dude. I'm
through toying with you. (they begin meleeing once more,
and the half-elf delivers a chopping blow to this opponent,
cleaving his head in two) Whoa, dude! Messy...what a way
in the other room...
Peldor: (distracting the drow with his prattle)
Halbarad: (dispatches their opponent with an axe blow) Yet
another one falls.
Peldor: Of course. I never thought he was a good warrior,
anyway. If he had been, then _I_ would have had to slay
him, rather than allowing _you_ to.
Halbarad: Oh. (wipes his axe on a rag) I am much more
confident now, knowing that you will handle the greater
Peldor: (shrugs) What can I say? I am Peldor.
Soon, they regrouped, and stacked the drow bodies in one of
the rooms. Then they searched both rooms, finding some gold
and silver coinage - and a potion.
Peyote: (gets his Rod and touches it to the cut on his leg,
causing the wound to close up) Ahh. The power is mine...
Halbarad: (wondering about the half-elf's sanity)
Peldor: Time to go down those stairs!
Lyra: (examining the potion bottle they found) Hmm.
Halbarad: (looking at the two sleeping boars)
Peyote: We'll just leave the boars here for now. It's not
like they can cause any more trouble than they already have.
Lyra: (to Alindyar, in drow) I would be much more effective
in a combat situation if you lent me this wand for a while.
Alindyar: (amused that she has the wand in her hand) You
are not a thief, are you?
Lyra: No. (smiles) Just a mage who hasn't been allowed to
study any offensive spells.
Alindyar: Very well, retain the wand for now. We shall see
about your spells later...
They made their way to the winding staircase downward, and
prepared to descend.
Peldor: (examining the first step for traps) Hmm. Something
is funny here.
Halbarad: What is that?
Peldor: This first stair looks unused - the carpet isn't even
worn. But the second step is well-worn. Then, the third step
is new, and so on...
Alindyar: No doubt a devious, if simplistic, trap.
Peldor: Yeah. I suggest that we use only the well-worn steps
and avoid stepping on the others.
Peyote: Makes sense to me, dude.
Halbarad: Aye. (he leads the party down the stairs)
At the bottom of the stairway was a supply room, containing a
lot of mining tools and implements. The room was shaped like
a quarter-circle, with a radius of perhaps sixty feet. A single
closed door to the southeast provided egress.
Alindyar: Methinks these items are used in the mines referenced
by that elf.
Halbarad: (poking around the chamber) There is nothing here.
Let us check out that door.
Peyote: Yeah, man. (sword drawn, he waits)
Peldor: (checks for traps on the door) No traps here, guys.
But it _is_ locked. Though not for long. (goes to work on
Lyra: (glancing around)
Peldor: (gets the door opened, revealing a square twenty-foot
room with a five-foot wide circular shaft in the floor) Hmm.
(enters the room and looks down) Can't see a damned thing in
Halbarad: Look there. Three other, similar doors lead out as
well, besides the one we used to enter.
Alindyar: Perhaps we should try those first. Yonder shaft may
cut more deeply into the earth than you are prepared for...
Peldor: (checks another door, then unlocks and opens it) Okay.
Another quarter-circular room was revealed; it appeared to be
some kind of library. Though sparsely decorated, it contained
two large bookshelves full of books as well as small baubles
and items. A circular table in the room's center had a crystal
ball resting atop it.
Alindyar: Touch nothing! (casts Detect Magic)
Peldor: Crystal ball...
Halbarad: Much evil knowledge is contained within those books
and tomes, no doubt.
Peyote: No doubt, man.
Alindyar: (scanning the chamber) Nothing. Nothing! None of
this is magical. Except that crystal ball there.
Peldor: I'll check it out. (touches the ball, and a loud POP
is heard, as he is thrown back against a wall, his hair on
Alindyar: I told you not to touch anything...
Peldor: Agh. Must have been some kind of electrical trap.
Fortunately, my mighty constitution proved enough to save
me from its perils.
Peyote: No way, dude. You just got lucky.
Alindyar: It is but a trap, not a scrying device, I suspect.
(examines the books on a shelf) Leave it be.
Lyra: (likewise examining the books) This is Zara's reading
material, I am certain of it!
Alindyar: 'Twould seem so, especially since most of the titles
are in drow script.
Lyra: Oh come now. With books such as "The Art of Torture"
and "Creative Sacrifices to Lolth", how can there be doubt?
Alindyar: Good point.
Peldor: (searching under the small table)
Halbarad: Wha-? Zounds! The door has shut itself! (grabs
the knob) It is held fast. Locked!
Peldor: (goes to check the door out) Hmm. Calm down.
Alindyar: There is nothing of use here. The witch must keep
her spellbooks elsewhere.
Lyra: Oh, well.
Peldor: (unlocks the door, and opens it) It was simply shut
and locked, that's all. No magic - just a clever spring
mechanism. We should wedge doors like this open, so we don't
get stuck in a jam with no time for me to unlock them.
Peldor: (gets an iron spike and jams the door open) There.
Peyote: Let's check out the other rooms here. I figure we're
halfway done, since we've covered two quarter-circular rooms
Alindyar: Brilliant observation.
They moved back into the central shaft room, and Peldor set
to work unlocking the next door. When he had accomplished this
feat, he opened the door, and Halbarad entered...
Peyote: (enters after the ranger) What? Oh. (assumes a
Peldor: (peeks around the corner into the room) Hey!
In this third quarter-circular chamber, a living quarters by
its appearance, were two angry-looking female drow, glaring at
the party with death in their eyes.
Lyra: (to one of the female drow) Zara!
Zara: There you are, you back-stabbing little traitorous
Lyra: You're one to talk.
Zara: (raises her hands to cast a spell) We are ready for
you. All of you. Telefe, attack, as planned!
Telefe: (the other evil drow) Ha ha ha! (she casts a spell
Peldor: Ulp. (he backs up quickly, as do the others)
They all dove back for cover, as the two drow females let
their magic loose. Zara caused a sphere of darkness to appear
right where the party was, while Telefe, the lieutenant, made
a zone of silence in their vicinity. Suddenly blind as well
as deaf and mute, the party understandably panicked...
Halbarad: (backs up, tripping with Peyote, and they both fall
to the floor cursing soundlessly)
Peyote: (really pissed now)
Peldor: (gets out of the darkness zone, unsheathes and sheaths
his sword, becoming invisible)
Alindyar: (he and Lyra appear in the lighted area, holding
hands as they retreat) I suppose we are out of the silenced
area as well. Where is Peldor?
Peldor: (invisible) Right here. What do we do _now_?
Alindyar: Spells are not the best option right at the moment.
Hurl some oil over our warriors' heads, if you can. (begins
Peldor: Good idea! (gets out some oil flasks) I can easily
aim over them. I hope. (grins) No, really. No problem
at all. (shreds a small cloth sack into strips with his
dagger, and quickly inserts them into flasks with Lyra's
help) Shit. Hurry, hurry!
Alindyar: I shall provide a distraction. (casts a Wall of
Fog beyond the darkness zone) That should keep them busy
for a few moments.
Peldor: Ready! (lights a flask, and hurls it high, into the
darkness) Fire in the hole!
Halbarad: (within the sphere of darkness, can't hear a thing)
Peldor: (handed another lit flask by Lyra, throws it right
after the first one)
There was a distant sound of shattering glass, followed by
a loud WHOOSH, and then another breaking glass flask with
its own WHOOSH. Someone screamed from beyond the darkness,
a female scream, and Halbarad was yelling. Lyra sent three
magical missiles in the direction of the screams, for good
measure. Peldor put his hand on his sheathed sword and
invisibly entered the darkness.
Peldor: I will check it out. (his voice fades away)
Alindyar: (yelling, a rarity) Halbarad! Peyote! Back away
toward us! NOW!
Halbarad: (though he couldn't hear the mage, he seems to have
figured it out, and crawls out of the darkness) Something
very hot is happening nearby.
Peyote: (leaps out as well) Strange things are afoot beyond
the darkness tonight, dude!
Alindyar: (pondering spellcasting)
Peldor: (emerges from the darkness as he is scalded by the
nearby heat, looks around)
The room was aflame, and all of its curtains and furniture
seemed ablaze by now. The two drow females were facing away
from him, hands held, and one of them was chanting. Peldor
had no idea what they were up to, but it looked dangerous, so
he approached the nearer one, the one called Telefe, invisibly.
Telefe: Is it time?
Zara: Yes! The spell takes effect even now...
Peldor: (leaps forth and quickly and efficiently unsheathes
his sword and backstabs Telefe, causing her to let go of the
other one, Zara)
Telefe: Aaaaaugh! (falls to the floor)
Zara: (glaring daggers at the now-visible thief for a split-
second, then vanishes) You shall die for thisssss......
Telefe: (turns to face Peldor) Not good enough, rogue! (she
Peldor: (tackles her, for distraction purposes) Cast nothing
at me, bitch!
Telefe: Agh! (her spell is ruined) Damn you!
Peldor: (raises his sword) I think not.
Telefe: (draws a dagger) Die!!! (slashes at the thief)
Alindyar: (about to cast Dispel Magic on the dark/silent zone,
but doesn't, as Peldor emerges from the darkness, dragging
one of the female drow's bodies with him) Eh?
Peldor: Whew! That place is _gone_. Up in flames. But I
did get this one's corpse.
Peyote: (approaches the body, his Rod of Life and Death at
Peldor: So that he could talk to her dead body and find out
where all the treasure is kept. Why else?
Lyra: What of Zara?
Peldor: She teleported away, I think. She looked pissed.
Lyra: (to Alindyar) He is smart.
Alindyar: Aha. (thinking about spellbooks)
Peyote: (touches the corpse) Speak to me.
Peyote: Where is Zara now?
Telefe-body: I do not know.
Peyote: Where is the treasure, then?
Telefe-body: Burned away, I suppose.
Peyote: What treasure do _you_ have?
Peyote: Are there more drow?
Telefe-body: Of course.
Alindyar: (to Peyote) Ask her about the spellbooks.
Peyote: Where are Zara's spellbooks?
Telefe-body: Upper left. Bookcase.
Peyote: Is the bookcase a trap?
Telefe: Maybe. (goes slack)
Peyote: Enough questions, I guess.
Peldor: (removes the woman's cloak) This may be magical,
according to her. I say we keep it.
Halbarad: Whatever. Let us search that other room now.
The fourth quarter-circular chamber contained many lavish
furnishings, a metal bathtub, a great bed, and some fine
clothing - but no magical items or treasure. They searched
for many minutes, but could find nothing. After that, they
went back to the study, and Alindyar pulled some books out
of the upper left of both bookcases until he found a secret
wall panel. Behind this plate were two heavy, bound tomes
of black leather. He took both and stored them in his bag
of holding for now, quite happy with himself.
The party then made their way back to the center room,
with the shaft going down.
Peldor: (examining the rim of the hole) Look, here is a
stanchion! Someone get a rope...
Halbarad: (hands the thief a 50' rope) Tie it on there.
We must descend and see what awaits below.
Peyote: Cool. I hope it's not one of those bogus dragons
Peldor: (fastens the rope, but Halbarad grabs it)
Halbarad: I shall lead. (climbs down, axe in hand)
Peldor: (goes second)
Peyote: Well. (goes third)
Alindyar: (he and Lyra go last) Hmm.
The shaft led into a small cavernous area, with a tunnel
leading away. They followed it, once all had come down;
it led into a much larger cavern. It looked heavily mined,
and some foodstuffs were stacked along the southern wall.
Two exit tunnels led away; both were in the eastern side
of this chamber. They took the northeastern one, and
moved quietly along the rocky tunnel.
Halbarad: (spots the back of a guard ahead, and bonks him
hard on the back of the head with the flat of his axe)
Peldor: (now invisible, scurries past the ranger into
the medium-sized cavern ahead)
This area contained five ragged-looking humans, quite
obviously slaves, who were mining away half-heartedly
while a pair of sleepy orcs guarded them. Just as one
of the orcs spotted the drow guard get knocked out by
Halbarad, Peldor's blade found his neck, and he fell to
the floor. Lyra used the wand to blast the other orc
with three magical missiles before it could shriek, and
it, too, fell. The party entered the cavern.
Halbarad: (to slaves) Quiet. How many more are there?
How many guards?
slave: (looks at the others) They're mindless, now.
Only I, from this group, was spared the goat-woman's
touches. I don't know why...there are at least five
more of the dark ones. Plus a dozen orcs, too. They
are down the other tunnel from the large chamber.
Peyote: Rude deal.
slave: These other nearby passages (indicates some) are
dead ends. Don't worry about them.
Peldor: (to Halbarad) He tells the truth.
slave: What should I do?
Halbarad: Gather these men, but stay put. We shall
deal with the orcs and drow.
slave: Okay. Good luck.
Peldor: Ah, Peldor needs no luck! Only his great skill.
(he is last in line to exit, and slashes the unconscious
drow's throat as he walks by) Can't have that guy up
and about while we're in a fight...
Halbarad: (at the front of the party, failed to notice
Peyote: (looking over an old scroll he has) Aha!
Alindyar: (prepares a spell) Hmm. How best to overcome
many opponents, but not injure slaves who might get in
Lyra: Quit talking to yourself.
They went back to the main chamber, avoiding the dead end
tunnels the slave had warned them about. The southeastern
passage led around, winding to the right for over a hundred
feet. At its end were a few short tunnels, and many voices
could be heard from one in particular.
Halbarad: (scouts quickly, then returns, whispering) Many
slaves, and orcs, and several drow, as well!
Alindyar: (whispering) I have a spell, let me by. (he
moves to the entrance into the large chamber, and looks
in) Hmm. (enters the room)
drow sergeant: (whirls to face the new arrival, speaks in
drow) Who are you?!?
Alindyar: I am the new mage, recently come up from below.
See? (holds up his hands, and launches a cone of Fear
into the room)
slaves: Aie! (they all cower at the edges of the room)
orcs: Aie! (they all cower with the slaves, dropping their
drow#1: What?!?! (draws his sword)
drow#2: Agh! (flees into a corner)
drow#3: Bah. (draws his sword)
drow#4: Hmph. (draws his sword)
drow#5: Prepare to die, fool. (draws his sword)
Peyote: Well, at least you dealt with the small fry. Now,
though, it's time for plan B.
Alindyar: Plan B?
Peyote: Yeah. Mud! (he steps forth and casts a spell from
a scroll, turning the rock under the drows' feet into mud)
drow: Uh-oh! (the four of them all sink into the mud)
Peldor: (invisible, sneaks around Alindyar and into the
Peyote: (strolls into the area) Okay, dude. Time for a
dispel magic spell! Make that mud back into rock!
Alindyar: Err...(casts Dispel Magic, successfully, and the
floor is rock once more)
Peyote: Way to go, dude.
Peldor: (backstabs the cowering drow) Yep. It's kill or
be killed later.
Halbarad: Ho there! (sees Peldor about to slay the orcs
as they cower in a corner, but then whirls around as one
drow male and two orcs come at the party from behind)
drow warrior: What is this?!? Where are the others?
Halbarad: (gets in front of Alindyar and Lyra to protect
them) They are...sunk.
drow warrior: (charges, as the orcs flank him) What in
the hells are you talking about?!? I will carve some
answers on your belly, human!
Lyra: (not wanting to risk wasting the wand on the drow,
she blasts the two orcs, killing both with the volley of
magical missiles) Back!
Halbarad: My thanks. (engages the drow in melee, and
quickly cuts him deeply) Away, foul one!
Peldor: (dispatching orcs in the prisoner area) Ho-hum.
Peyote: (freeing the workers, most of whom are listless
and dull-looking) Come on, dudes! This is your chance
Well, it was barely a minute before Halbarad slew the
last drow. Some of the slaves said that there were no
more, but the party searched the entire tunnel complex
thoroughly, just in case. Then, the total of forty men
was brought upstairs, with the other two.
Halbarad: Time to leave this place.
Peyote: What about the fire? Should we just leave it
burning in the midst of this woodland? I'm thinking
Halbarad: Do not worry. I shall meet you outside in
a short while. I will take care of it. Go!
Peyote: Okay. (whistling, he and the others leave the
complex) Come on, guys! Let's split!
mob of slaves: (all run out) Aaaaaa! Yeehah!
back on the main floor...
Halbarad: (to himself) Okay. Time to see if that sage
was correct. (gets out his old metal horn, found several
adventures back, and cleans the mouthpiece) Ugh. (takes
a deep breath and winds the horn)
There was an eerie noise, and then the stone and earth all
around started to shake and tremble. The ranger sprinted to
the structure's entrance, and dashed out into the night. In
his stead, the entire building collapsed to the ground,
utterly and completely destroyed.
Halbarad: (looking innocent) Ho-hum.
Alindyar: May I ask?
Halbarad: Just testing an item out, that's all.
Peldor: (slyly eyeing the ranger) Hmmmmmmm...
They made camp about a mile away, and took turns at the
watch, while the others got some much-needed rest. The
slaves were kept in the center of the encampment, for their
own protection. Nothing attacked the party, though, and
the night passed peacefully.
When morning came, they made their way through the woods
and back to Tragidore, where they were greeted with an over-
whelming reception. The women and children of the town were
in a frenzy as they got their menfolk back. Cheering and
festivities commenced immediately, and the adventurers were
congratulated profusely. No rest was possible, which was
okay, since it was only noon or so. Peldor tried to find
Marta, to pursue his imaginary romances, but learned that
one of the returned men was her husband...he thought about
going back to find those nymphs but was convinced to simply
remain in Tragidore for now and get drunk.
The town's temples could apparently restore the lost wits
(read : Wisdom) of the ex-slaves who had been drained by the
lamia. They also did Peldor a favor and restored his lost
wisdom with their magic. The party was not ready to train,
but they remained in Tragidore for three days, during which
time they engaged in various activities...
Alindyar (and Lyra) studied the spellbooks they had recovered
from the drow magi, finding that they had great magical
incantations (and traps, which were bypassed magically)
Halbarad basked in the glory of the party's achievement,
playing with children and generally being a good guy.
Peldor remained continually drunk throughout the whole affair.
Peyote had a good time, and also talked to many animals both
in the town and just outside it. He also found new mounts
for the party, from the town's stables.
Date: 12/25/570 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time: late morning
Place: the town of Tragidore, in Ulek
Halbarad: I suppose it is time to get back on the road again.
Peldor: Hic! It's been fun. (hefts a sack of reward money
given to the party by the town council)
Lyra: I'm glad to know that those drow are gone.
Alindyar: (in drow) Do not forget Zara's escape...
Peyote: (petting the two hawks that answered his recent magical
They left Tragidore amidst great cheering and whistling, and
set out on the open road once more.
next time: more wilderness challenges
FTP SITE: ccosun.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
NOTES: Peyote never intended to have the boars used as cannon
fodder - just as an "offensive distraction" if I quote him right.
A note: Peldor wasn't as zealous in backstabbing as Belphanior,
and certainly didn't have the same flair for it. He simply was
unwilling to leave evil enemies alive behind the party...
This is the promised "30K" episode, if you didn't know already.
As I write this, it is the early morning of the day after NLCS
game 7. It was 2-1 Pirates in the bottom of the 9th, 2 outs,
bases loaded. The Braves bench was getting slim - Frank Cabrera
gets called up to pinch-hit in the do-or-die situation. This guy
was awesome in AAA ball and had two pinch-hit home runs for the
Braves late this season. So...he strokes a single, man on 3rd
scores, then Sid "Laser" Bream from 2nd tears up the field as he
runs into home...SAFE! Braves win, 3-2!
The GT campus was in an uproar - a huge bonfire was started on
east campus, and for two hours, it was screaming mobs, loud music,
police, fire trucks, lots of water spraying, and the bonfire with
nine lives. I loved every minute of it...
So, until Halbarad does the Chop with his axe...GO BRAVES!!!
previous chapter (#65)
next chapter (#67)