Chapter #709

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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       +
+   1991-2001 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       +
+     Jutokai        8th level human archer                               +
+     Otto           8th/11th level dwarven fighter/thief                 +
+     Razor Charlie  9th level human fighter                              +
+     Skektek       12th level human wizard                               +
+     Ys            13th level reptilian fighter                          +
+     Zhao           8th level human swordsman                            +
+   Bosco           12th level halfling thief                             +
+   Mongo           18th level dwarven fighter                            +
+     Gorgo          9th level dwarven berserker                          +
+                                                                         +
+   Boltar          high priest of Pholtus                                +
+   Drak            barbarian warrior                                     +
+   Parekh          dark-skinned female wizard                            +
+                                                                         +
+   Neera           female human sage/astrologer                          +
+   Date:           3/28/579 C.Y. (Common Year)                           +
+   Time:           afternoon                                             +
+   Place:          the sky above the Solnor Ocean                        +
+   Climate:        cold                                                  +
+   "I wonder what this place looks like in the daytime?"                 +
+   "Hey, this _is_ the daytime."                                         +
+                      - Starbuck & Boomer, from _Battlestar Galactica_   +

                       DCCIX.  Landfall

  After being rammed in midair by a gigantic bird, the skyship - and the
adventurers inside - plummet toward the ocean far below...

Belphanior:  (his knuckles white on the steerwheel)  Dammit!

  The elf already knew that the magical vessel was in trouble - its new
sluggishness to respond, and the strange creaks coming from its frame,
told him that.  The real problem right now, though, was slowing the
descent and keeping the ship from smashing to flinders on the ocean's
surface.  First, however, it would be necessary to get the vessel's
prow pointed in some other direction than straight down.
  Pulling the large lever that controlled altitude, he then tugged on
the smaller one that set the direction of the ship's nose.  A quick
spin of the wheel, worked!  The ship levelled off, upright once
more.  The only problem was, it was still sinking, if much more slowly.
By keeping the bigger lever pulled all the way back, he seemed to be
slowing the rate of drop...but there was no doubt about it:  the skyship
was going into the ocean.

Otto:  (gets to his feet, bleeding from a huge gash in his forehead)
  What...the fuck?
Belphanior:  We're going to crash.
Otto:  Right.  What can I do to help out?
Belphanior:  Grab this lever and keep it pulled all the way back like I
  have it now.
Otto:  Gotcha.  (he does this)
Belphanior:  (more free to steer now, he tries a few things)

  The best that the elf could manage was to get the ship spiraling in
its descent, while still keeping it level.

Otto:  (wipes blood out of his eyes)  Shouldn't we try to hit the land?
Belphanior:  I don't know if I could, even if I wanted to.

  There was a loud POP, and the smaller lever, which Belphanior had
been moving in an attempt to gain more control, slid all the way

Belphanior:  Shit!

  The skyship began slowly spinning in place as it dropped, and there
was no controlling it at all now - just an attempt to keep it level
for the impact.  They hit at a slight angle, and with some degree of
forward motion, but it was still a bone-jarring crash which threw
people and objects all about.

  Below decks...

Ys:  (slammed against a bulkhead, he then gets buffeted by a large
  crate that slides into him)  Ungh!
Zhao:  (lands on top of Drak)  Oof!
Drak:  Get the hell off of me.
Boltar:  (smashes into the floor)  Argh!
Gorgo:  (slides into a post, bouncing off)  Unf!
Bosco:  (darting about, he gets hit in the head by a rolling cask)
  <bonk>  Whoa...
Razor Charlie:  (holding onto a support strut)  We've stopped.
Mongo:  We landed...
Boltar:  No, we're floating.
Gorgo:  (rises from beneath a heap of small boxes)  Ow...
Neera:  (realizes that she's sitting in water)  We're leaking!
Jutokai:  (stands, painfully)  Time to get out of here.  (he walks
  up the short steps that lead to the bulkhead, and pushes on the
  sturdy wooden doors)  Unf!  Won't...budge!
Ys:  The landing must have bent something.  Allow me.
Drak:  No, allow me.  (growing in stature, he simply pushes the thick
  doors outward and upward, forcing them open)
Zhao:  (shading his eyes from the sudden light)  Ah.

  Otto and a dazed Belphanior had just been emerging from the steering
cabin, one side of which was cracked.  That was relatively minor damage
compared to the rest of the ship:  both masts were broken, and sections
of the deck were splintered and ruined.  The main hold doors were off-
center, though Drak had pretty much taken care of that.

Otto:  (wiping more blood from his brow, he stands on the deck, looking
  around)  Fairly close to shore.  Not bad.
Belphanior:  Hah, hah.
Razor Charlie:  Ship's sinking.
Jutokai:  (eyes the shore)  It's not far...we could swim for it.
Belphanior:  We won't have to.  (he produces a small box from one pouch)
  Everyone, hurry and get as many of the supplies as you can.
Drak:  What are you planning to do?
Belphanior:  Launch a lifeboat.

  It didn't take the elf long to transform the magical box into its
full incarnation:  a folding boat.  While smaller than the ship itself,
this vessel could ferry all of the people and supplies to shore in two
or possibly three trips.

Bosco:  Better hurry - the ship's sinking.
Belphanior:  I know that, Bosco.
Otto:  It's not sinking that fast.  We'll be fine.
Belphanior:  Bosco, get in the boat there and start taking the things
  we load to you.  Ys, you're pretty strong - help him out.  Let's form
  a chain.

  While this was going on, Boltar was looking around, scanning the skies

Boltar:  Where are Parekh and Skektek?
Belphanior:  Hell, I forgot all about them.  They must have fallen when
  we got hit.
Drak:  Parekh can fly at will - she didn't fall.  It's just a question
  of where they are.
Bosco:  There!  (he points to two specks above)  They're on the way.
Belphanior:  Good.  (to the others)  Let's get everything offloaded.

  They all worked hard and fast, making good time.  By the time that all
the supplies were out of the hold and onto the deck, the small boat was
on its way to shore with the first load, as well as some passengers.

Bosco:  (standing at the boat's bow, he eyes the beach ahead as they get
  closer)  I'll be the first...the first to conquer a new land...(he
  finds himself wishing he'd brought a flag, then realizes that he has
  no personal insignia to put on such a flag)  Hmm, I'll have to work on
Belphanior:  No foes to greet us?
Otto:  You sound almost disappointed.  Though I would've expected to see
  something...maybe some giant crabs.
Mongo:  That'd make for good dinner...
Gorgo:  Mmm...dinner...

  Shortly, they beached the boat and unloaded all of the supplies, as
well as four of the five passengers.

Belphanior:  You guys stay here.  I'll take the boat back and get the
  rest.  We've got most of the stuff here, so it's just a matter of
  moving people, now.
Otto:  (nods)
Belphanior:  (regards the stretch of beach that connects the water to
  the dense jungle leading into the island itself)  Hmm.  (he eyes the
  wrecked ship a few hundred yards out)  This isn't exactly the way I'd
  anticipated arriving here...

next:      orientation
released:  1/29/01
notes:     Nah.

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