Chapter #680

previous chapter (#679)                                                                  next chapter (#681)

                                   +   +
                                 +       +
                               +           +
                             +               +
                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      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   +
+   Arnold          13th level human barbarian warrior                    +
+   Lorelei          7th level human priestess of Beory                   +
+   Rillen          18th level human warrior monk                         +
+   Songa           13th level human huntress                             +
+   Date:           2/7/579 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:           early evening                                         +
+   Place:          the city of Nevond Nevnend, in Tenh                   +
+   Climate:        temperate                                             +
+   "Time doesn't mean much when you don't have things to do and          +
+    places to be."                                                       +
+                                     - from _Deathlands:  Ground Zero_   +

                   DCLXXX.  Old Friends, New Climes

  After some harrowing underground adventures that were going nowhere -
literally - Rillen and Songa have made their escape and miraculously
found themselves transported more than a hundred leagues west of their
homeland.  They have also been reunited with their old friend Arnold.
However, much has changed in that warrior's life...

Rillen:  What has it been...two years?  Three?
Arnold:  Sounds about right.
Songa:  What happened to your accent?  It's barely noticeable.
Arnold:  (shrugs)  After I had been here for a while, I found myself
  talking more and more like these people.

  It was true; while Arnold still talked in deep syllables and in a
slow, stuttering way which used few big words, his actual speech had
grown much less distinctive.  It was really kind of weird, but then
again, so was this situation - a situation which Arnold had recapped
for them after hot baths and new clothes.

Lorelei:  It's fortunate that you're both about the same size as Arnold.
  My clothes would never come close to fitting either of you.

  The first introduction Arnold had made when they reached his house was
that of his wife Lorelei.  Lorelei was of Flan descent, with rich brown
skin that was natural rather than the result of many hours spent outdoors
(though she did that too.)  Her hair was of the same color and straight,
not to mention short:  it barely touched her shoulders.  Physically, she
wasn't imposing at all; at just over five feet in height and possessing a
slender build, she was a far cry from Arnold's size and bulk.  It quickly
became apparent, however, that the woman possessed an inner fire.  Smart
and witty, and somewhat of a bookworm, she also happened to be a skilled
priestess of Beory, the Oerth Mother and goddess of nature and rain.
  Lorelei was cute in a waifish sort of way, and she seemed to have near-
boundless energy - always moving, talking, or doing something.  She'd met
Arnold more than two years ago, when he was passing through Tenh after
the events in his village.  As it turned out, achieving peace hadn't
been a problem, and the big barbarian had felt the need to get away for
a while.  His wanderings soon brought him to Nevond Nevnend, here in
Tenh; Lorelei had kept him there.  They'd quickly found that they had a
lot in common, and that their other qualities complemented one another.
The days had turned into weeks, and then into months.  Marriage followed,
and then children - two of them, in fact.

Kira:  (runs across the room, charging right into Arnold's leg, which she
  grabs and pulls, trying to dislodge him from the chair)  Daddy!  Daddy!
Seth:  (crawling after his sister, unable to keep up but trying anyway)

  Kira was a year and a half old, while Seth had been around for about
six months.  Both were healthy, active children, and it was obvious that
Arnold was both proud and happy.

Arnold:  What about the others?  The drow...Mongo...Belphanior...Peldor.
  (he grins)  I used to call him "Peldork."
Rillen:  Well...we're probably not the best ones to ask, since we've
  been in the far north since we last met you.
Arnold:  I see.
Rillen:  I'm sure they're all doing just fine.
Arnold:  (to Lorelei)  Maybe someday our children can play with Peldor
  and Tanya's children.
Songa:  And ours.
Arnold:  (nods, smiling)
Lorelei:  From what I've heard of this Peldor, we'd better make sure his
  children aren't pickpockets.
Rillen:  Heh.

  Arnold had set up a good living for himself here.  Already possessing
money beyond any amount he'd ever need, he had taken a token job as a
city guardsman just to keep busy.  In two years, he'd ended up being
promoted to captain of the daytime guard shift, which wasn't surprising
given his years of experience in all sorts of battle.

Lorelei:  You should see the way the soldiers gather round to listen to
  his stories.
Arnold:  (shrugs)  It's not true.
Lorelei:  It is, and you know you like it.
Arnold:  Bah.

  Between that position and his wife's part-time duties at the city's
High Temple of Beory, they kept busy, made some money, and still had
plenty of time and energy left for their children.  As for their house,
well...that was the one thing that they hadn't skimped on, thanks to
the large sum of money with which Arnold had arrived.

Lorelei:  Not that I married him for his money.  (she smiles at Arnold)
Arnold:  I didn't tell her about the money until after she accepted my
Lorelei:  It was funny, really.  After I said "yes" and we started to
  plan living accommodations, he took me on a walk around the city and
  kept pointing out lots of houses and asking me which ones I liked.
  I didn't know what in the hell he was up to until he admitted that
  he had enough funds to buy or build anything we wanted.
Arnold:  (smirks)  Guilty as charged.
Rillen:  Well, at least all of that hard-earned money went to a good
Songa:  I'll say...

  Arnold and Lorelei's house was no mansion, but it was nice, spacious,
and new.  They'd had it built from the ground up, and then furnished
with tasteful, functional furniture and decorations.  The remainder of
Arnold's life savings had been invested in various ways - something
that Lorelei was skilled at.

Rillen:  You've really done well for yourself here, Arnold.
Arnold:  (grips Lorelei's hand)  Thanks!
Lorelei:  So what brings you two here?
Songa:  Well, we already told you about the genie...
Lorelei:  No, I mean before that - you said something about fleeing
  your home, but you never elaborated.
Rillen:  Oh...
Songa:  Well...
Arnold:  What is it?  (he grows concerned)  It can't be that bad.
Rillen:  We weren't sure if we should talk to you about this, but...
  (he exchanges glances with Songa)
Songa:  I'll make it brief:  we have reason to believe that humanoids
  from the mountains are massing, maybe to attack the kingdoms of the
  barbarians - our homeland.
Arnold:  (taken aback)  Aaa.
Rillen:  We didn't seek you out on purpose, but since we're here, you
  ought to know of these developments.
Arnold:  Yes...yes.
Lorelei:  What can be done?
Arnold:  Without an army...I don't know.  This is the sort of thing that
  the king should be handling.
Songa:  (frowns)  We tried that already.
Arnold:  (sighs)  Hard to say, then.  We may have to just wait and see
  what happens.
Rillen:  That may be the only real course of action - especially since
  we no longer live there, and we're so far away anyway.
Songa:  (not too happy with the idea that nothing is being done about
  this)  We'll have to figure it all out.
Arnold:  In due time...but first you must rest and recover!
Lorelei:  You're welcome to stay here, of course, for as long as you
  want.  We've got a guest bedroom upstairs, and all kinds of good,
  hearty food and drink.  (she regards them critically)  Which I think
  we'll need, if you two have appetites even vaguely resembling that of
  Arnold here.
Arnold:  (shrugs, grinning)  Not my fault that I'm bigger than everybody
Songa:  (shaking her head)  You've changed so much...
Arnold:  We all change.  Besides, I'm still me...just a more complete me.
Rillen:  (nods)  Ged would be proud.

next:      Halbarad!  Peyote!  And yes, even Rob!
released:  10/5/00
notes:     For the record, we hadn't seen Arnold since episode #516, dated
  8/22/576.  This is some decent stuff I'm making up...Lorelei's Flan in
  origin, as is her goddess.  We haven't heard of Beory yet in my stories,
  so it's at least mildly refreshing.  At last we have a female character
  who isn't a fighter but is still competent - and whose name doesn't end
  in "a."  And she's a priestess but not a high priestess, so every major
  character need not be name level.  I am pleased.

  Baseball playoffs:  my preferences are...

  Giants/Mets:    Giants
  Braves/Cardinals:  don't care
  Mariners/White Sox:  don't care
  Yankees/Athletics:  Athletics

  Yep, that's right:  I don't really care how the Braves do.  All I _do_
  care about is that the Yankees get eliminated as quickly as possible.

previous chapter (#679)                                                                  next chapter (#681)