Chapter #685

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                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                         +                       +
                           +      Epic IV      +
                             +               +
                               +           +
                                 +       +
                                   +   +
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+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+     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   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Deryck          11th level half-elven ranger                          +
+   Nenya            9th/10th level female elven fighter/wizard           +
+                                                                         +
+   Peldor          20th level human thief                                +
+   Tanya            5th/11th level female human fighter/thief            +
+     Felicia        3rd level female human thief                         +
+     Vinnie         8th level human warrior                              +
+                                                                         +
+   Daffodil        11th level human female druidess                      +
+   Halbarad        15th level human ranger                               +
+      Zephyr          rather large tiger                                 +
+   Peyote          12th/12th level half-elven fighter/druid              +
+   Rob             16th level human priest                               +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:           2/17/579 C.Y. (Common Year)                           +
+   Time:           morning                                               +
+   Place:          the Green Dragon Inn, in Greyhawk                     +
+   Climate:        cold                                                  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "You know, if I hadn't been very rich, I might have been a really     +
+    great man."                                                          +
+                                                  - from _Citizen Kane_  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                   DCLXXXV.  The Best and Brightest





  The breakfast crowd at the Green Dragon Inn was about normal for this
time of day:  a mix of inn guests, early River Quarter risers, and out-
of-town visitors to Greyhawk who'd heard of the excellent food at the
place.  However, in the owner's private booth, far from prying eyes and
sharp ears, others were gathered over breakfast...

Peldor:  I wish I could help you, but I'm no wizard.  Or priest, for
  that matter.
Tanya:  I tell you, you'd make some priest.
Peldor:  I somehow doubt it.
Deryck:  It's too bad that Alindyar and Lyra aren't here.
Peldor:  Yeah, they've been gone for quite some time.  Odd, even for
  them.  I'm sure there's a good reason.
Nenya:  Who else can we turn to for help?
Felicia:  I don't get it...if the thing is gone, destroyed, then what
  do you need help with?
Nenya:  We have to know where it came from...why it attacked.
Felicia:  Oh.
Tanya:  Maybe it isn't connected to anything else.  Not every foe and
  event has any greater meaning.
Nenya:  Something about the way it spoke and acted...(she shakes her
  head)  I just can't explain it.  Just a hunch.
Peldor::  It sounds like one of their Suel artifacts contained an evil
  and powerful spirit, which accidentally got released and then tried
  to defeat you.
Deryck:  (smiling proudly)  She put up a hell of a fight, though.
Nenya:  We both did.  (she sighs)  I think it's safe to say that we're
  dealing with a major demon or devil at the very least.
Peldor:  Or something else...no telling what the hell was buried for
  all those years.
Felicia:  Maybe some things are just better left alone.
Nenya:  I'll grant you that.
Peldor:  We'd help, if we could, but our skills lie in other areas.

  Just then, Vinnie - always working, even before he was supposed to
start - came lumbering toward their table.

Vinnie:  Sorry to bother you, Boss...
Peldor:  No problem.  What's up?
Vinnie:  Some of your "special friends" are here.
Peldor:  (looks at Tanya)  Really?
Vinnie:  That mushroom-eating half-elf, the priest who's not as clumsy
  as he used to be, and two others.  Plus a really big tiger.
Peldor:  How strange.  Show them back, please.  Err, except the tiger.
  It can stay out back.  No need in scaring off the customers.

  Shortly...

Peyote:  Peldor!  Tanya!
Peldor:  Peyote.
Rob:  We're glad you're here.
Peldor:  Why's that?
Halbarad:  We're looking for Nenya, but she wasn't at her castle...so
  here we are.
Tanya:  How fortuitous.
Daffodil:  (looking around)  This place is just as nice as I recall.
Tanya:  Well, thanks.
Nenya:  (to the new arrivals in general)  What do you need me for?
Halbarad:  We just had some...problems-
Peyote:  That's putting it mildly, dude.
Halbarad:  -and Rob's divinations led us to believe that ancient Suel
  magic was behind these problems.
Rob:  And everyone knows who the top authority in that field is.
Nenya:  Funny you should say all this, because I've had some similar
  problems lately.

  For the second time that morning, Nenya related her tale, omitting
nothing and answering questions as necessary.  When she was done,
Peyote took his turn, telling the story of Tolvek and the battle in
the Vesve.  After both groups' accounts were given, one thing was
clear:  nobody was pleased about any of these recent happenings.

Halbarad:  Events most foul.
Peyote:  Foul, hell - they're downright putrid!
Daffodil:  What he said.  (to Peldor)  Just not how he said it.
Peldor:  Uh...huh.
Rob:  It can't be a coincidence, these things all happening at once.
  Perhaps we can all help each other.
Peldor:  I'm sure Nenya would appreciate any help she could get.
Nenya:  Of course.  (she looks around)  With all of the magical
  prowess gathered in this room, we can surely figure out what's
  going on.
Peyote:  Or at least the first bread crumb in the trail.
Tanya:  (to Felicia)  With all the magical prowess gathered in this
  room, they could probably level the city.
Peldor:  (overhearing)  Well, you'd really need Belphanior for that.
  (to the others)  On that note...since you people obviously have a
  lot of work to do, and since I have an appointment, I'll have to
  take my leave now.
Peyote:  Too bad, man.  You're gonna miss all the fun stuff.
Peldor:  These things happen.  Feel free to stay here and do what you
  need to do.
Tanya:  (nods)  Absolutely.
Peyote:  (feels his stomach grumble)  I'm still hungry...anybody for
  seconds?
Felicia:  Reminds me of Bosco.

  Peldor caught that last sentence on his way out, and it made him
wonder just how the halfling was doing and where he was.  Bosco's
strong sense of wanderlust had taken him away with Belphanior's group
to find the Lost Tomb of Panagaea, but that had been some time ago.
Well, he thought to himself, if he's with Belphanior, he's as safe
as anyone can be.
  The thief was headed to an appointment he'd had to make a week in
advance - and had been meaning to make for much, much longer than
that.  The sage he was about to visit came highly recommended by all
of Peldor's contacts in the profession of wizardry, which was ideal
for the need at hand.

Peldor:  (enters the sage's shop, a small and cluttered place with
  many shelves, all full of books and assorted doodads)
Barkushdenai:  Ah, there you are!

  The old sage was an expert in antique, magical, and unique weapons.
Peldor suspected that he possessed such a weapon, but he'd just been
too damn busy to look into the matter...until today.

Barkushdenai:  The Guildmaster of Thieves, coming to me...hah hah!
  (he begins cackling to himself)
Peldor:  (frowns)
Barkushdenai:  The fee?
Peldor:  (hands over a hefty pouch of coins, muttering)
Barkushdenai:  I'm sure you can live without this money, given your
  profession and position.
Peldor:  Yeah, yeah.
Barkushdenai:  I understand that you have a blade that needs looking at.
Peldor:  Yep.  (he unsheathes his sword, lying it carefully on the
  table)
Barkushdenai:  (squints, then fumbles with some eyeglasses that look to
  be at least as old as he is)  Ah, much better...oh.  Oh, my!
Peldor:  What?
Barkushdenai:  No, no...I have to be sure first!  (he stands, running
  over to one of the large bookshelves, then another)  Where is that
  tome...?

  Peldor watched the old man search for what seemed like forever, and
was actually wondering if he should just give up, when the sage took
a thick red tome down, cackling in glee.

Barkushdenai:  Hah!  Knew I had it around here somewhere!  (he begins
  flipping through the worn pages)  Now where...?
Peldor:  What's this all about?
Barkushdenai:  Quiet!  I'm trying to think here!
Peldor:  Oh, sorry.
Barkushdenai:  I told you to hush!  (he begins turning pages more slowly,
  then stops)  Ah!  (he slides the book over next to the sword's hilt)

  The blade was actually quite plain, neither dazzling nor dirty, just
an average-looking sword.  Its hilt was a simple affair, though there
was a rune engraved into one side.  The grip was well-worn but always
comfortable; the pommel was slightly larger, and spherical, containing
a diamond of medium size.  This alone made the sword worthy of further
investigation, but Peldor also knew that the weapon bore some sort of
enchantment.  Of course, there was also the fact that it had broken
Nightfang, his old sword, during a battle with the doppleganger chief
many years ago.

Barkushdenai:  Bladebreaker!
Peldor:  Is that a name?
Barkushdenai:  Oh, yes!  This is one of the thirteen Swords of Myth!  (he
  points to the rune)  See there, that's this one's unique sigil...
Peldor:  Swords of Myth?
Barkushdenai:  (frowns)  You've not heard- never mind, why would you have?
  I'm the sage around here.
Peldor:  How powerful are these thirteen swords?
Barkushdenai:  Very powerful...legendary.  Bloodspiller...Peacemaker...
  Luckbringer...Dreamcatcher...Doomseer...Shadowspinner...Soulkiller...
  hell, that's all the ones I can remember off the top of my head.
Peldor:  (points to the tome)  Aren't you looking at a book about them?
Barkushdenai:  Oh, no!  This volume simply has a bit about Bladebreaker...
  each of the thirteen blades has its own unique and colorful history.
Peldor:  What's the story, exactly, behind these swords?
Barkushdenai:  They were forged by thirteen deities in ages past, and are
  more or less identical, save that each bears its own unique rune.  And,
  of course, its own unique purpose and powers.  In the case of this one-
Peldor:  It can break other swords?
Barkushdenai:  Can and will - that's its purpose!  Even magical blades can
  fall victim to this weapon.
Peldor:  Yeah, I know.
Barkushdenai:  Surely you've noticed that this sword is always sharp, and
  never gets dented or notched?
Peldor:  Actually, I hadn't...I don't fight a lot anymore, don't have
  much use for weapons usually.
Barkushdenai:  Sell it to me?
Peldor:  Not a chance.
Barkushdenai:  (wagging a finger at the master thief)  I've heard about
  you...
Peldor:  (hands over another pouch of coins)  Then you'll understand when
  I say that this sword's presence must remain our little secret.
Barkushdenai:  (takes the additional money)  What sword?
Peldor:  Exactly.  And I thank you.
Barkushdenai:  No, I thank you!  'Twas a rare opportunity for me to
  actually touch one of the Swords of Myth.
Peldor:  Then we both gained something today.  Farewell.  (he turns and
  leaves)
Barkushdenai:  (still cackling to himself)

  Peldor already knew that he couldn't accompany the inevitable group
expedition that was being formed back at the Green Dragon Inn, but at
least he had solved one of his longer-standing mysteries today.  With a
satisfied smirk, he headed back to the River Quarter to check up on the
others.





next:      what Nenya and the gang learned
ftp:       ftp.peldor.com
www:       http://www.peldor.com/download.html
homepage:  http://www.peldor.com/
email:     tmiller@peldor.com
released:  10/23/00
notes:     Did I make these swords up myself?  No and yes.  I've been
  aware of Fred Saberhagen's "Swords" series for more than a decade now.
  I've never read it, but the names and ideas behind some of his swords
  seem to pop into my writing mind now and again.  Well, I'm putting my
  own spin on the concept.  A couple of the 13 blades named above have
  strong resemblances to the ones Saberhagen invented, but as much as I
  can, I'm going to try to make up some unique and different stuff as
  well.  For now, just know that Peldor is one of 13 individuals on Oerth
  who possesses a Sword of Myth.
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