Chapter #746

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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   +
+   Rillen          18th level human warrior monk                         +
+   Songa           13th level human huntress                             +
+                                                                         +
+   Peldor          20th level human thief                                +
+   Tanya            5th/11th level female human fighter/thief            +
+     Felicia        3rd level female human thief                         +
+     Vinnie         8th level human warrior                              +
+   Date:           3/18/579 C.Y. (Common Year)                           +
+   Time:           midday                                                +
+   Place:          the wilderness just north of the County of Urnst      +
+   Climate:        cold                                                  +
+   "Old legends never die.  They just lose weight."                      +
+                                        - from _Smokey and the Bandit_   +

                   DCCXLVI.  Roaming Far and Wide

  After defeating a band of slavers - with a little help from an angry
landshark - Rillen and Songa have journeyed southward with about a dozen
newly-freed slaves.

Rillen:  I still can't believe that we escorted these people this far.
Songa:  Sure you can.  They're weak, we're strong, and we were headed
  in that direction anyway.
Rillen:  Maybe we're just too nice.

    They'd salvaged two wagons and recovered four horses, in addition
to the two they'd had originally.  A fair amount of food and drink had
somehow survived the landshark's rampage as well, so provisions hadn't
been a problem.  The motley crew had moved south for the better part
of a week, and they were finally nearing safer lands...

Songa:  Urnst.
Rillen:  They'll be safe here.
Songa:  What of us?  Are we still bound for Greyhawk?
Rillen:  (nods)  We can cross the Nyr Dyv, or else go around it, though
  that would take longer.
Songa:  I don't recall us having anywhere we need to be.
Rillen:  Right.

  Later that very day, they came upon a large town, taking advantage
of this place to drop off the grateful people they'd freed from the

ex-slave leader:  (the older fellow)  You have our deepest thanks...we
  will never forget you.
Rillen:  No problem.  (he watches the man join the others, as they head
  deeper into the town)
Songa:  You don't like having people depend on you, do you?
Rillen:  Not a lot of people, and not weak ones like those.  (he shakes
  his head, as if to clear it)  Maybe I'm too used to keeping company
  with wizards, warriors, and the like.
Songa:  It's been a while, though.

  While they were here, they took the opportunity to restock their
provisions and take a look at some maps.

Songa:  Ah, but I love a good map.  (she surveys the sheet of parchment
  spread out before her, on the table in the tavern where they're having
Rillen:  Let's go this way.  (he traces on the map with one finger)  We
  can book passage on some ship, cruise along the lake's shore, and see
  the sights.
Songa:  Are they worth seeing?
Rillen:  I'm not sure, but we won't know until we try it.

  The next morning, they rode on, southeast, toward the Nyr Dyv.  Within
the week, they had found its shores and booked passage on a trading ship
whose route took it around the big lake's shallows.  Over the next week
and a half, they saw all sorts of things:  lakeside cities and towns,
merchant ships great and small, floating barges of the riverfolk known
as Rhennee, even some flying fish one evening just before dusk.  For the
most part, they just relaxed and let someone else worry about the details
of the traveling.
  Eventually, they came around to Greyhawk, and it was time to disembark
and find old friends.  Of course, that wasn't difficult...

Vinnie:  Well, I'll be damned.
Rillen:  Well's been a while.
Vinnie:  It sure has.  Been out in the bush?
Songa:  So to speak.
Rillen:  How are things?
Vinnie:  Not bad.  You'll have to come in and see for yourself.
Songa:  (follows Rillen into the inn)
Vinnie:  (stops a man with really muddy shoes who tries to walk in after
  the other two)  Whoa, there, pal.  Can't have you tracking that inside.

  Within the Green Dragon...

big burly man at bar:  Gimme another...c'mon?
Tanya:  Not a chance, Lester.  You've had fourteen already, and your wife
  is almost certainly waiting up for you.  Plus you have to work tomorrow.
Lester:  Damn.
Tanya:  (spots Rillen and Songa making their way to the bar)  Well, well,
Rillen:  Ho, there.
Songa:  Do you serve beer here?
Tanya:  I think that can be arranged.
Songa:  Good, because that ship we sailed in on didn't bother to stock up
  on a decent beer.  (she pulls up a stool next to the drunken Lester)
Lester:  (somewhat startled by the sight of a woman taller than he is, he
  decides to call it quits for the night)  Ok, I'm outta here.  G'night.
Tanya:  Later, Lester.
Rillen:  Is that rascal Peldor around anywhere?
Tanya:  He had some late business today, but I'm sure he'll be in any
  time now.
Songa:  How's the baby?
Tanya:  Hardly a baby any more - more than a year now. She walks and
  talks too...or at least tries to talk, though it won't be long before
  she's making complete sentences.
Songa:  Eh?
Tanya:  So far she's just saying single know, like 'mama'
  and 'papa' and so on.  In fact, I could swear that she said 'gold'
  the other day.  Anyway, she's learning fast.
Songa:  (gets a sad, faraway look in her eyes)
Tanya:  Ah, don't worry - your time will come.
Songa:  Mm.

  Tanya could have told the two visitors about a number of recent events,
including the dead body found in the drows' mansion, Belphanior and Mongo's
quest for Panagaea, or Nenya and Deryck's crusade against evil.  However,
she didn't talk about personal business at the bar.  Besides, Peldor could
always fill them in later...

Peldor:  (strolls into the tavern, looking dapper and smug)
Tanya:  Here comes trouble...
Rillen:  (turns around)
Peldor:  Rillen!  Songa!

  The usual greetings were made, with Peldor insisting on providing dinner
in his private dining room.

Peldor:  It'll be the best meal you've had all month, I promise.
Rillen:  You really need not-
Peldor:  Fresh juicy steaks...tender lamb...
Songa:  My stomach grumbles like never before.  We'll dine with you.
Peldor:  (to Rillen)  I had a feeling you'd be staying for dinner.
Felicia:  (appears from the kitchen, carrying several bottles of wine)
Songa:  Hello.
Peldor:  (to Tanya)  Will you be joining us?
Tanya:  (glances at Felicia)  No, that's ok.  I need to get some things
  done here...inventory, mostly, and some cleaning.
Felicia:  Go ahead and eat with them, I can do that stuff-
Tanya:  I don't want you running the bar by yourself, not at night.  You
  can help me, but you're not ready to run the bar yet.  (she turns to
  Rillen and Songa, winking)  The men who drink here would never survive.
Felicia:  (grumbling to herself)

  Thus it was that a short time later, over a very fine meal, Peldor
brought Rillen and Songa up to date on recent happenings...

Rillen:  Belphanior and Mongo, questing for the greatest treasure the
  world has ever known.
Songa:  If it exists.
Peldor:  If it exists, they'll find it...if they haven't by now, that is.
Rillen:  And Deryck, Nenya, Halbarad, Peyote, and so forth are searching
  for some evildoers.
Peldor:  Yeah, they were headed to a tomb or something, last I heard.
Songa:  I don't really see the drow as part of
Peldor:  They're not, I think they're just helping for now.  Alindyar's
  had a lot of stress and needed to get away.
Songa:  Framed for murder...
Peldor:  Framed, for sure.  You and I both know that, even if proving it
  to others in this city was a chore.  The real question is, who did it,
  and why?
Rillen:  A troubling question, that.
Peldor:  You're telling me.  Between that and the normal city and Guild
  business, I've got too much on my mind.
Songa:  It's not easy, being the head of a city-wide organization of
  people that nobody really wants to admit exists and functions within
  the walls?
Peldor:  Hah.
Rillen:  Government...organization...delay.  Who needs it?
Peldor:  Sometimes I wonder.
Songa:  I noticed Tanya working at the who cares for the baby?
Peldor:  Felicia helps Tanya sometimes, but we also hired a nanny, an old
  woman who we've known from long before we ever had the baby.  She lives
  and works in here, taking care of our daughter during the day.  Then we
  spend time with her at night.
Rillen:  Hmm.
Peldor:  I know it may sound strange, but it's a simple arrangement that
  lets us do what we need to, yet have plenty of time with our daughter.
Songa:  Can we see little Ariel?
Peldor:  Of course.

  After dinner, Peldor took the pair to his chambers to show off his
daughter.  Locks of light brown hair framed an angelic little face, but
the baby girl was sleepy and didn't seem too feisty right now.

Peldor:  Must be the late hour.  Maybe tomorrow.  (he hands the girl to
  Tanya, who accompanied them upstairs, her bar chores done)
Tanya:  I'll get her to bed.  (she heads off into another room)
Peldor:  (leading Rillen and Songa to a suite)  You'll stay here tonight
  at least.
Songa:  You don't have to-
Rillen:  My back aches like never before.  We'll sleep in your inn.
Songa:  (smirks)
Peldor:  Very well.  How long are you in town?
Rillen:  We're not sure will depend on what's going on and what
  we want to do next.
Songa:  To be decided in the very near future.
Peldor:  (opens a door, affording entry into a spacious room with a fire
  roaring in its brick fireplace)  Here you go.
Rillen:  Thanks.
Peldor:  Get some sleep.  We can talk tomorrow, or the next day, or
Songa:  Count on it.  (she yawns)
Peldor:  Goodbye for now...and goodnight.

next:      the granola gang plans its next move
released:  6/7/01
notes:     Remember, I'm syncing different groups' deeds here - as far as
  anyone in Greyhawk knows, Belphanior and Mongo have found Panagaea by
  now.  Meanwhile, Deryck and Nenya just died a few days ago and are in
  Keoland, though Tanya and Peldor wouldn't know that yet.  It's tough to
  get all of these things re-aligned when people meet back up.
    I have a fair deal of trepidation when writing scenes with mothers
  and babies.  Kinda too late at this point to think about that, though.

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