Chapter #699

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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        18th level drow wizard                                +
+   Daffodil        11th level human female druidess                      +
+   Deryck          11th level half-elven ranger                          +
+   Halbarad        15th level human ranger                               +
+      Zephyr          rather large tiger                                 +
+   Lyra            14th level female drow wizard                         +
+   Nenya            9th/10th level female elven fighter/wizard           +
+   Peyote          12th/12th level half-elven fighter/druid              +
+   Rob             16th level human priest                               +
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+   Date:           4/4/579 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:           morning                                               +
+   Place:          the Crypt of Kyuss, within the Riftcanyon             +
+   Climate:        cold                                                  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "It's not impossible.  Nothing's impossible."                         +
+                                               - from _The Godfather_    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                      DCXCIX.  The Depths of Kyuss





  The floor has just folded, splitting the party into two rooms below,
separated by a transparent panel.  However, new monsters have presented
themselves, delaying any thoughts of regrouping...

Halbarad:  (watches as the robed, ghostly figure floats toward them)
ghostly figure:  Ooooooooooo...

  The horrific keening sound sent shivers down the ranger's spine, but
he held his ground, as did two of the three women behind him.  Oddly
enough, it was Daffodil who broke ranks, fleeing in the opposite
direction, at least until she ran out of space.

Daffodil:  (curls into a ball, shivering)  Aaa...
Thornbolt:  (talks to her, trying to snap her out of it)  Get up and
  fight!  Come on!
Lyra:  (working a spell)
Nenya:  (likewise)

  This left Halbarad to meet the creature in melee.  Realizing what the
two magi behind him were up to, however, he went against his instincts
and turned, backing up before the approaching figure.

Lyra:  (tries a Hold Monster on the foe)
ghostly figure:  (defies this magic, never even hesitating)  Ooooo...
Nenya:  Allow me.  (she launches a barrage of small, flaming meteorites
  at the thing)
ghostly figure:  (recoils, its robe burned in several places)  Ooooooo-
Halbarad:  If it can be hurt, then we can kill it.  (he leaps forth, his
  battleaxe on course to cleave the foe in two)

  The attack worked - the attacker's robe was torn open, the translucent
body beneath cut and mangled - but a casual and perhaps instinctive brush
of the creature's hand touched Halbarad's arm.

Halbarad:  AAAARGH!  (he staggers back, then falls)





  Meanwhile, in the other hallway...

undead beholder:  (hovers, approaching very slowly)
Deryck:  Arrows!  (he readies his bow)
Zephyr:  (even without Halbarad there to tell him what to do, he holds
  back, familiar enough with wizards to know about not getting in the
  way of their spells)
Rob:  (brandishes his holy symbol)  Trithereon!
Peyote:  You sure that'll work on an undead beholder, dude?
Rob:  Maybe, and maybe not.  (shrugs)  I have to try.

  Since the rotting monster showed no signs of being repelled or even
upset by Rob's efforts, Alindyar cut loose.

Alindyar:  (stepping forward, he generates a multicolored spray of
  powerful magical rays)
undead beholder:  (simultaneously burned, shocked, and weakened)  Urrr.
Deryck:  Not bad.  (he lets his arrow fly, hitting the foe just to the
  side of its central eye)
Rob:  (working another spell)
undead beholder:  (brings some of its eyestalks to bear)
Deryck:  (hit by a grey beam, he becomes a statue)
Peyote:  Shit!
Rob:  (narrowly missed by another beam, a jet-black one, he turns to
  see the ray disintegrate a large section of the wall behind him)  Oh,
  my.
Peyote:  (hurls a javelin at the monster)
Alindyar:  What use will that be-

  The missile hit the thing right in its central eye, exploding in a
great blast of lightning.

Alindyar:  Ah.
Peyote:  (crosses his arms smugly, then remembers that the thing is
  still dangerous)

  Another beam lanced forth, hitting Peyote and causing him to adopt
a blank, glassy-eyed stare.

Peyote:  Uh...
Rob:  Enough.  (he calls down a flame strike, right on top of the beast
  ahead)
undead beholder:  (ignites, blazing away fiercely)  UuurrrrrrRRRRRRR!
Zephyr:  RRRAAAARGH!
Alindyar:  (for good measure, he sends a barrage of magic missiles
  into the fiery inferno)

  With the creature aflame and apparently out of commission, they were
able to turn their attention to the glassy wall and their comrades on
its other side.  Daffodil was out of commission, as was Halbarad.  The
ghostly foe was obviously injured, now moving with the floating
equivalent of a stagger, but on it came...toward Nenya and Lyra.

Lyra:  Any ideas?
Nenya:  Sure.  (she launches a huge web over the oncoming apparition)
ghostly figure:  (looks confused as the sticky strands entrap it...
  and then it begins to move _through_ them)
Lyra:  My turn.  (she places a wall of fire around the foe)
Nenya:  That should hold it for a while.
Lyra:  Look!  The others are trying to break through!

  And so they were...but the transparent barrier wasn't glass, for it
didn't break from their weapons' blows.

Nenya:  Perhaps a Passwall...(she works that spell)
Lyra:  (eyes the wall of fire nervously)

  Nenya's spell opened up a pathway between the two areas, allowing
the adventurers to reunite.  They weren't sure which path to take, as
both were blocked by fire, so Rob turned his attention to Daffodil.

Peyote:  (having recovered from his earlier state, he strides forth
  and grabs hold of his woman)  You okay?  Babe?
Daffodil:  (cowers)
Rob:  Fear...nothing more.  I can eliminate this.  (he begins casting
  a spell)
Peyote:  (quietly decides to conserve his special healing mushrooms
  for some other time)
Nenya:  (checking Halbarad)  Aie!

  The ranger had aged about twenty years!  His once-youthful face was
now lined with the creases of middle age, his muscles weak.  It wasn't
that he was a lot weaker - Halbarad at fifty-five would likely be much
stronger than most men at thirty-five - but the fact that the aging
happened all at once had left him drained.

Halbarad:  Ugh...
Lyra:  Magical aging.  (to Nenya)  Is there any way to reverse this?
Halbarad:  (weakly)  I hope so.
Nenya:  We'll have to look into it.
Lyra:  (nods)
ghostly figure:  (emerges from a low point in the wall of fire)  Ooo-
Rob:  (done curing Daffodil's fear, he stands, hand on his holy symbol)
  I'll handle this one.
ghostly figure:  (recoils as Rob approaches, his symbol shining with a
  bright light)
Rob:  Away...by the power of Trithereon...AWAY!
ghostly figure:  (turns, cowed and fleeing)
Rob:  Ah, that felt good.

  They allowed the flames in both areas to die out.  Of the undead
beholder, there was nothing left.  Both areas ended up arcing around
to the same place:  a fifteen-foot wide set of steps leading down into
darkness.

Halbarad:  At least we don't have to play the guessing game.

  There were a couple of problems, however, that had to be dealt with
before they could move on.  Deryck was still stoned, and Halbarad was
still aged.

Alindyar:  I am not entirely sure if any of us can reverse the flesh-
  to-stone from that monster.
Nenya:  We can't just leave Deryck here!
Daffodil:  (nods at Halbarad)  What about-
Halbarad:  For my part...I can go on.  My magical gauntlets will make
  up for most of what I've lost.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  That is one tough fellow.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Always has been.
Zephyr:  Rrrrrr!
Nenya:  (quickly approaching a state of despair)  How can we make
  Deryck right again?
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  I have an idea, but it might not be the
  best one.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Have at it.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  I still have a ring that can call forth
  a djinn...such a being could probably reverse these ill effects.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Fine by me.  'Tis your ring...

  Peyote interrupted this line of thought as he walked up to the
stony form of Deryck, touched it...and made the rock into flesh once
more!

Deryck:  (looking around weakly)  Uh...
Nenya:  (hugs him tightly)
Lyra:  What?!?
Peyote:  (holds up one hand, upon which is his ring attuned to the
  earth elemental plane)  No problem, man.
Lyra:  Oh.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  My dear, I believe you have been one-
  upped.
Lyra:  (smirks)

  There was nothing they could do for Halbarad right now, though.

Rob:  I can harness the magic needed, but not here and now.
Halbarad:  As I said, I'll be fine.
Peyote:  Plus you're older and wiser.
Nenya:  I bet I could lay my hands on a longevity potion, back at
  home...
Halbarad:  No worries.  Whenever.  I still feel fit as a fiddle,
  now that the initial shock is over with.
Deryck:  I wish I could say that.

  After allowing Deryck some time to rest and recover from his ordeal,
they descended the stairs and entered a large hall, perhaps forty feet
wide and a hundred feet long.  To both sides, spaced every ten feet
or so, were thick columns of stone.  After a quick visual inspection
showed the chamber to be free of foes, the party moved through it.
As they reached the midpoint of the hall, however, huge slabs of stone
slammed down from above, blocking the way in front and behind!

Halbarad:  Not good-

  The rows of stone columns began to creak and crack...and then they
started snapping, one after another, as the stone ceiling descended
at an alarming rate of speed!





next:      answers, if they survive
ftp:       ftp.peldor.com
www:       http://www.peldor.com/download.html
homepage:  http://www.peldor.com/
email:     tmiller@peldor.com
released:  12/11/00
notes:     Uh-oh!  Maybe they _won't_ live through this one after all!
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