Chapter #75

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                                +
                              +   +
                            +       +
                          +           +
                        +               +
                      +                   +
                    +                       +
                  +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                    +                       +
                      +                   +
                        +               +
                          +           +
                            +       +
                              +   +
                                +



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1992 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to any   +
+  persons or characters either real or fictional is utterly  +
+  coincidental.  Copying and/or distribution of these tales  +
+  is permissible only under the sole condition that no part  +
+  of them will be used or sold for profit.  In that case, I  +
+  hope you enjoy them...                                     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      10th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+     Lyra         6th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior     7th/8th/8th level high elf w/m/t    (CN)   +
+   Ged            9th/8th level grey elf priest/mage  (NG)   +
+     Arnold       6th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+   Mongo          8th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        11th level human thief                (N)   +
+     Bosco        6th level soulless halfling thief   (CN)   +
+   Rillen         8th level human warrior              (N)   +
+   Rob            9th level human priest              (LG)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:   6/8/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                        +
+   Time:   afternoon                                         +
+   Place:  a fortress high within the Yatil Mountains        +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                      LXXV.  Hadeus





  The party was circumventing a vast underground lake when
a number of tentacles rose from the dark waters and attacked
them.  The slimy appendages were over two feet thick, even
at the point where they emerged from the water, and were
each covered on one side with large suckers.

Mongo:  HOLY FUCKIN' SHIT!
Alindyar:  (back far enough to avoid being grabbed)  Gods!
Lyra:  (likewise)  Aie!
Belphanior:  (dodges the tentacle groping for him)  Whoa.
  I don't think my stoneskin's going to stop that thing...
Ged:  (out of the reach of any tentacles)  Boccob!  What in
  the Nine Hells _is_ this beast?
Mongo:  (snatched by a tentacle)  Agh!  It's got me!
Peldor:  (snatched by a tentacle)  What?!?  Who dares to
  lay a finger, umm, tentacle on the great Peldor?
Bosco:  (an easy target, in his state; fortunately, he is
  far from the water's edge, and unwittingly avoids being
  groped by any tentacles)
Rillen:  (slips free of a tentacle that looked like it had
  him for sure)  I have never seen so many suckers.
Rob:  (snatched by a tentacle)  Yie!

  The massive tentacles immediately began to pull their
victims toward the black waters...

Peldor:  (hacking at his tentacle)  Shit!  They're pulling
  us in.  They're pulling us in!  Helllllp!
Rillen:  (uses his staff's bladed end to slash and stab
  the tentacle holding the thief)  Let him go!
Rob:  Yagh!  (being crushed and pulled into the water, is
  now in up to his knees)
Ged:  I must use the wand!  I'll try a new command word,
  and Boccob grant me power!  (points his wand at Rob's
  antagonist and chants, as the runes upon it glow red)
  Fbizi!
Rob:  (watches in amazement as the tentacle bubbles and
  boils)  Wha-?  Where's the fire?  There's no fire!  But
  it's _melting_!
Ged:  (looks at the wand gratefully, as Rob's tentacle
  melts away at its end, freeing the priest)  Wow.
Alindyar:  Fascinating.
Mongo:  (wrestling with the tentacle holding him, has
  avoided being pulled more than a few feet)  I'll beat
  you, you big fucking tentacle!  (uses his belt of the
  giant's strength to fight the thing's constriction,
  and begins pulling its suckers off of him)  Ow!  Ow!
  Shit, that hurts!
Belphanior:  (chops the tentacle holding Peldor, drawing
  dark ichor)  We've got to get the fuck out of here!
Ged:  What?!?!  You never run from a good fight!
Mongo:  _Good_ fight?!?  This is a _bad_ fight!
Belphanior:  Yeah, and this thing might pull someone in
  and then flee!  We can't afford to keep fighting it!
  (his sword detects a very powerful soul, somewhere in
  the lake)  Who knows how big it may be, anyway?

  As if to punctuate the elf's statement, four more of the
huge tentacles appeared from the water and began groping
for adventurers.

Alindyar:  By the gods...(casts Magic Missile, bombarding
  Mongo's tentacle with the magical bolts)  Most of my
  spells are of an illusionary nature - and are of no use
  against this monster.
Lyra:  (casts a Lightning Bolt out into the lake, taking a
  guess as to the common source of the tentacles)  Maybe
  this will help...

  There was a tremendous CRACK as the bolt hit the water
a hundred feet out, and ozone filled the air.  The tentacles
writhed wildly, and the water farther out churned madly.

Mongo:  (zapped slightly by the current as it reaches his
  tentacle)  Ow!
Ged:  Now you've done it, woman!
Lyra:  What?
Mongo:  You've _really_ pissed it off now!
Lyra:  Well, excuse me!  (fumes)
Alindyar:  (grabs her)  Come along.
Rob:  (dodges the attack of another tentacle)
Arnold:  Oh shiiiit!  (hacks Peldor's tentacle, severing it
  and freeing the thief)  Dehr you go.
Peldor:  Thanks!  (grabs Bosco over his shoulder and begins
  running for the tunnel ahead, about a hundred feet away)
Belphanior:  Hey!  Where are you going?!?  (also runs that
  way)  Come on, people!  Let's split!  We can't fight this
  thing!
Ged:  Yea!  Move!  Move!
Alindyar:  (he and Lyra begin running after Belphanior)
Arnold:  (hacks a large chunk out of another tentacle and
  then runs after the two drow)  Aaaaaaaaaa...heah we go!
Rillen:  (uses his staff to help Mongo pry his tentacle
  loose)  Come, it is time to go!  (sprints for the tunnel,
  quickly passing Peldor and Belphanior due to his boots)
Mongo:  Okay, okay!  (runs after Rillen, but much more
  slowly)
Belphanior:  Hey!  (stops and begins spellcasting)
Peldor:  What in the hell are you doing?
Belphanior:  Mongo's too slow, he needs cover!  I'm going
  to give it to him!
Ged:  (stops next to the elf)  I'll help you out.  (he
  raises his wand and ushers the others past the two of
  them)
Alindyar:  (hand clasped with Lyra's, they pass the two
  elves)  Huff, puff...
Rob:  (barrels after the drow, his gut bouncing)  Wheeze,
  wheeze!
Mongo:  Hey, wait for me!  (still hasn't reached Ged and
  Belphanior yet)
Belphanior:  (sees numerous tentacles menacing Mongo, and
  casts his Melf's Minute Meteors, hitting six of the eight
  tentacles he was aiming at and burning small chunks out
  of each of them)  Yea!
Ged:  Bah.  (points his wand in the general direction of
  the tentacles)  Axui!  (one of the tentacles ignites
  in a burst of flame)  Hah!
Belphanior:  I need a wand like that...(they back up a
  bit, now only fifty feet or so from the tunnel where
  the others have fled to)
Mongo:  Gangway!  (charges past the two elves, running
  as fast as his stubby legs will carry him)
Ged:  Look!  (points to the water, where the mass of
  tentacles is coming toward them, following the line
  of the shore)  It's chasing us!
Belphanior:  Shit!  (they both take off after Mongo)
Rillen:  (in the safety of the tunnel)  Come on, run!
  It is safe here - the tunnel leads away!  (fires a
  couple of arrows at random tentacles, hitting them
  but doing little relative damage)
Belphanior:  What do you think we're doing?!?  (he
  and Ged and Mongo barrel into the tunnel, and they
  all back up about twenty feet or so from its entry
  point, as several tentacles blindly grope for them)
Rob:  They can't reach us in here...
Mongo:  Grr...(hurls his hammer at one tentacle,
  smashing it with a "squish" sound)  I'll kill that
  damn thing!
Alindyar:  (peers into the tunnel ahead)  I wonder
  where that leads...?
Ged:  We're going to have to find out, I'm afraid...
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)
Peldor:  (looks around)  Let's hope that we don't
  have to come back by here to get out.
Rillen:  Hmm.  That would be...bad.
Arnold:  Baaaaad.  Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!

  About twenty feet further, down the passage, the
group found a stone stairway, spiralling downward,
and took it.

Belphanior:  (goes first)  I'll check for traps.
Mongo:  I'll go next.  To check for monsters...
  (pats his hammer)  Someone's gonna pay for putting
  that tentacle-thing there!
Rob:  What do you think it was, some kind of gigantic
  octopus?  Or squid?
Belphanior:  Hey, I've never eaten squid before...(he
  looks back the way they came)
Alindyar:  I suppose the thing was an evil variant.
  Some legends speak of such monsters, which lurk in
  the seas and oceans and are capable of bringing down
  a large ship.
Ged:  I, too, have heard of such things, though I never
  saw one, until just now...(it occurs to him that the
  forced of Good who sacked this place years ago may
  well have not made it past the creature in the lake)





Interlude

  The six evil priests watched the image in the air
above them.  Their leader spoke then.  "Hmm.  They
have survived the kraken."  Another of the robed ones
piped up.  "Yes.  They are powerful as well as lucky.
We should prepare for them, should they make their
way here."  The leader, Delgath, looked around, and
smiled.  "So be it.  If we must engage these fools
in order to escape, then they shall fall."  He pointed
at one of the lesser priests.  "Prepare the ritual!"
The sub-priest bowed in fear, babbling.  "Oh, yes,
master!  It shall be done!"  Delgath spoke again, to
another of his servant priests.  "Find Dakar and Brom,
and tell them to go to the guardroom and prepare to
repel or delay the invaders while we make ready here!"
The priest obeyed, dashing away to find the named ones
and tell them where to go.  Delgath turned his eyes
back to the image in the air.  "They must yet face
Beezel.  I see that he is wasting no time in bringing
the battle to them.  Excellent."  He turned and strode
to the exit.  "Time is short.  I shall gather what is
needed, and then return.  Prepare yourselves for the
battle!"

(end of interlude)





  The party emerged from the stairway, into a complex
maze of carven stone walls - an insidious maze!

Belphanior:  I'm lost.  (leads the party through the
  maze passages)
Ged:  That's obvious.
Rob:  Just follow the right wall, or the left.  We'll
  get out eventually.
Mongo:  (thinking about busting heads)  Grmph.
Belphanior:  (his sword warns him of a soul nearby)
  Hey, someone or something is near us...

  Suddenly, there was a blast of frigid cold, as the
party watched an icy cone head right for them!

Belphanior:  Holy shit!  (ducks, and avoids serious
  damage)
Mongo:  (his armor and luck shield him from the brunt
  of the blast)  Fuck.  Fuck!  Someone's shooting at
  us!  It's a friggin' ambush!
Rillen:  (knocked down by the force of the attack)
  Argh.
Ged:  (covered with frost, but most of the brunt of
  the attack was absorbed by Rillen)  Brr.  (shakily
  points his wand ahead)
Arnold:  (in his near-naked state of dress, he gets
  very cold very fast, and falls, shivering)  Aaa.
Rob:  (somehow dodges to one side, avoiding the worst
  of the blast)  Hey, who did that?
Alindyar:  (he and Lyra duck, and are covered with
  a layer of snow)  Who or what attacks us now?
Peldor:  (manages to avoid the main blast of wind and
  ice)  I can't see a thing back here!  Fight back!
  Ah, Peldor should be in the front, with the warriors,
  to guide them and lead them and-
Ged:  Shut up.
Bosco:  (unwittingly avoids the cone of cold's tail
  end as his eyes focus on nothing in particular)
tall, gaunt being:  (appears around a corner ahead)
Belphanior:  Hey, look!  (points at the thing)
Mongo:  Fuck!  (hurls his hammer, knocking out a big
  chunk of wall next to the thing's head, as it runs
  down a nearby passage)
Belphanior:  Hold!  (uses his sword)  The soul, err,
  monster, is this way!  (runs after it)
Ged:  (runs after Belphanior)  Wait for me!
Mongo:  Hey, I'm not missing any of this action!
  (charges after Ged)

nearby...

Beezel (the attacker):  (shakes his devilish head in some
  amazement)  Damn!  I have fled into a dead end!  How in
  all nine of the Hells could I have done THAT?!?  Now I
  must face these idiots directly...
Belphanior:  (runs around the corner)  Aha!  I heard that!
  (charges, leaping, sword raised)  Die!
Beezel:  Bah.  (waves his hand, telekinesing the elf into
  the ceiling, hard)
Belphanior:  (stuck to the ceiling fifteen feet above)
  Argh.  Hey!  Let me down, or I'll kill you!  On second
  thought, I'll kill you anyway!  Save yourself some time
  and let me down!
Beezel:  (propels the elf into Mongo, knocking both down)
  As you wish, fool.
Mongo:  Umph.  (surprised, falls)
Ged:  (having ducked aside as Belphanior flew by)  Whoa!
  (sees the tall devil)  You!
Beezel:  Me?
Ged:  You!  (points his wand at the thing)  Roast, unholy
  one!  Cspan!
Beezel:  (watches as an arc of flame sails toward him)
  Ha ha!  My resistance will stop this puny spell!  Eh..?
  (feels some heat)  What?  What?!?  (hit by the flames)
  No!  AAAARRRGH!  (his torso is now engulfed by the arc
  of fire)  AAARRRGHH!
Ged:  Hah!  My magic proves mightier!
Mongo:  (back on his feet)  Hey, don't forget me!  (hurls
  his hammer, beaning the blazing devil in the head)  Oh
  yeah!  Direct hit!
Belphanior:  I shall finish him.  (charges, and slashes
  the devil with his sword)  Die!  Your soul is mine!
Beezel:  AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!  (parts of him are melting now,
  as he _is_ a cold-using ice devil variant)  AAAARGH!
Ged:  Soul?
Mongo:  Hey, Bosco needs a soul.  (catches his hammer)
Rillen:  (dashes around the corner, and to the attack,
  pounding the flaming, badly wounded devil with his
  staff)  Hah.  I will help you put this fire out!
Belphanior:  Noooooooooo!  (stabs the devil again, and
  slays it)  Yesssssssss!  (raises his sword in the air
  in exultation)  Aaaaaaaaah.
Rillen:  What in the world are you doing?
Belphanior:  Recharging...

  The others arrived shortly, and the party continued
to search the maze, after Ged healed Arnold and Rillen
of their icy wounds.  In one area they found a ten-foot
wide pool of black water.

Ged:  (casts Detect Evil)  Aaa!  The pool is tinged
  with evil!
Belphanior:  Really?  I detect no...souls in it.
Mongo:  (looks into the pool)  What?!?!?  (sees his
  reflection, but with horns and a forked tail, and
  fangs)  Yaaa!  (backs up and grabs his face)
Rillen:  What?
Mongo:  Huh?  (feels no horns or fangs)  Whew!  That
  was strange!
Alindyar:  (peers into the pool, and sees reflected
  a dark elf archmage of great power, with long, white
  hair and a cruel face)  Hmm.  Is this what _could_
  be, or what _will_ be?
Belphanior:  (looks into the pool, also, and sees a
  face not much different from his own)  Hmmmmmmmmm.
Rob:  Let's get out of here.  That pool makes me feel
  sick.
Ged:  Ditto that.  (they all leave)

  Within ten minutes, they had found an exit from the
maze, and it led shortly to a door of steel.

Belphanior:  (listening)  I hear nothing.  But...there
  are two sou-  uh, people behind this door.
Ged:  No doubt another ambush.
Mongo:  (draws back his hammer arm)  I'm ready.  Just
  open the door and I'll let 'em have it!
Belphanior:  Not so fast.  We should do something...
  explosive.  You know, blow down the door, kill or
  wound whoever's behind it, then run in and attack.
  Something like that.
Ged:  Sounds good to me.  Let's back up a bit, and
  I'll try my mighty wand again.
Mongo:  Okay.  (they all back up quite a bit)
Belphanior:  (casts another Stoneskin on himself)
Ged:  (points his wand at the door)  What rune shall
  I try this time?  Ah, how about...Knec!

  A small drop of white flame zipped from the wand's
tip, and sailed toward the door, growing in size.  As
it reached the door, it exploded...

Ged:  Holy Boccob's shit!  Fireball!
Rillen:  Fire in the hole!  (leaps back as part of the
  explosion rebounds at the party)
Mongo:  (drops to the ground and covers his head)
Ged:  (darts back around a corner, where most of the
  others already were)  Yipes!  Sorry about that, guys.

  The flames roared past the party, but they were
relatively unharmed, just a bit singed - and very hot.
Mongo's ring and magical armor had protected him as
he lay on the floor...

Mongo:  (cursing)  Damn it!  Fuck!  (feels his beard)
  My beard is singed!
Ged:  Sorry.  I've got to test the wand out sometime.
Mongo:  Well, how about somewhere else.  Somewhere with
  a lot of room and open space.  Maybe an orc colony or
  something.  Just watch it with that thing, okay?
Ged:  Okay.  (making mental notes in his head)  Let's
  see..."knec" means "fireball"...that's four I've
  tried now...still five more to go...
Peldor:  Oh, great.  You're worse than Peyote and his
  damned wand of wonder.
Alindyar:  (points to the end of the passage)  Have a
  look at yonder door, though...

  The door was gone, and much of the doorway as well.
Black, melted stone now made up the end of the passage
where the doorway had been.  A smoking room could be
seen beyond.  The party cautiously advanced down the
corridor and into the room.  Two piles of bubbling
metal and blackened bone were here, as well as two
steaming metal doors.  These were half-melted and
looked about ready to be kicked in, so Mongo chose
one and did so.  Beyond was a cave-in of melted rock
and fallen beams - an obvious result of the fireball.

Mongo:  Well, folks, we're not going to get through
  _here_ anytime soon.  Not without that shovel I
  gave to the giant...
Belphanior:  (turns to the other door)
Ged:  Cave-in, eh?
Rob:  Looks more like a "melt-in" to me.  Ha ha.
Alindyar:  (to Ged)  Bah.  'Tis just a wand.
Ged:  _Just_ a _wand_?!?!  It's a great artifact,
  that should be obvious even to _you_ by now.
Lyra:  (to Alindyar)  He is right, you know.
Alindyar:  Bah.  I still have more spells.
Ged:  I bet you don't, I bet you don't!
Peldor:  I bet he does!  I bet he does!  Nyah, nyah!
Ged:  Why, you...I ought to blast you...
Mongo:  (grabs Ged by the collar)  Quit goofing off.
  We have another door to check!
Belphanior:  (listening at the door)  There are...
  six behind this portal.  Six powerful ones.
Ged:  Well, then, I'll just use the wand again!
Mongo:  Do you really think that's a good idea?
Ged:  Why not?

  The party backed up again, farther this time, and
the grey elf prepared to use his wand.  However, when
he pointed it and said, "Knec", nothing happened!

Ged:  What?!?!  (looks at the wand)
Peldor:  Hah!  So ends the puny power of Boccob's
  minion.
Ged:  (shaking the wand, which merely sputters out
  a tiny glob of flame)  I don't understand it!
  What could be wrong?
Alindyar:  Perhaps the item is drained.  Or, it may
  require time to recharge.
Ged:  Damn.
Belphanior:  (listening at the door)  Hey!  Someone's
  chanting...

  Without further warning, the party was blown backwards
as the already half-melted door ahead blew outward in a
blast of fire and heat.  A huge, blazing form strode
through the doorway and toward the party - an elemental
of fire!

Ged:  Holy Boccob!  (backs up as his wand begins pulsing)
  What's this?  (looks at his wand)  Hey, that rune is
  glowing...
Belphanior:  (covers his eyes from the heat)  Wow.  An
  elemental.
Rillen:  Who is this hothead?
Mongo:  Bah!  My ring will protect me as I pound this damn
  thing into a puddle!  (being close to the summoned fire
  elemental, he charges it, and strikes its blazing body
  with his hammer, dealing it a mighty blow)
Alindyar:  Beware whatever lies beyond that door!  (begins
  spellcasting)  I shall try to dispel it from here.
Ged:  (strides forth and points his wand at the elemental)
  Boccob, I hope this works...Psaft!
fire elemental:  (shrivels and vanishes, as the wand glows
  very brightly now)
Belphanior:  Damn!
Mongo:  Neat trick.  Where'd he go?
Ged:  Who knows?
Lyra:  It appeared as if the elemental's flame was drained
  right out of its body...
Belphanior:  (turns to the door)  Charge!  (runs through
  the doorway)
Arnold:  (mimicking the elf)  Chaaaage!  (follows Belphanior)
Ged:  No!  No!  Don't follow that fool!  Ah, it's too late.
Rillen:  (dashes through the door and into the room)
Mongo:  (goes through the doorway too)  Hey, don't leave me
  back here with the mages!

  The large chamber beyond the doorway was about a hundred
feet long, and sixty wide, with a very high ceiling.  Many
columns of stone supported its ceiling.  In the center of
the room was a wide, round raised dais, atop which rested
a statue about as tall as the giant had been (twenty-five
feet!).  It depicted a powerfully muscled, fur-covered
being, with a forked tail, taloned hands, and wicked horns.
Its slavering mouth was filled with sharp teeth.  The big
statue was in a pose facing slightly upward, arms extended
to either side, as if to welcome visitors.
  Six black-robed priest-types were ringed around the
statue, chanting and posturing as they cast spells.



TACTICAL MAP:


                  ____________
                 |            |     KEY
               __|            |__     M = Mongo
              |                  |    B = Belphanior
              |       1  6       |    R = Rillen
              |     2  S   5     |    A = Arnold
              |       3  4       |    * = rest of party
              |                  |    # = evil priests
              |__   A   B      __|    S = statue
                 |        M   |
                 |_____R _____|
                       *




priest#6:  (casts Blade Barrier upon Rillen, with intent
  to slice him to ribbons and then block the doorway)
Rillen:  (watches in alarm as a million small whirling
  blades appear all around him)  Sharp.  (musters all
  of his skill to quickly leap out of the area of the
  spell's effect, and is successful, in the process
  managing to catch a few of the blades with his
  magical gloves)  Bah.  (tosses the razors aside and
  begins twirling his staff)
priest#1:  Impossible!  (by the way, he is Delgath,
  the leader of these evil priests)
priest#2:  (casts a Flame Strike on Mongo)  Burn, you
  fool!  (a pillar of flame descends upon the dwarf)
Mongo:  (fortunately, his ring helps him avoid the
  worst of the conflagration as he rolls out of it)
  Argh!  You'll pay for that, shithead!
priest#3:  (casts Poison and moves forth to touch
  Arnold)  Come, my son.
Arnold:  Whad are you taaalking about?  (lops the
  evil priest's arm off with a single blow)  Gedd
  away from me, liddle man!
priest#3:  Aaaaargh!  (in desperation, swipes at
  Arnold, and touches him, poisoning him)  Hah.
Arnold:  (fails to save)  Aaaaaaaa.  (hacks at the
  priest again, wounding him further, then falls)
priest#3:  Ha ha!  You shall be dead in minutes,
  warrior!  (collapses from loss of blood)  Agh.
priest#4:  (casts Sticks to Snakes on a bunch of
  wooden sticks between him and Belphanior, and
  ten small snakes appear and slither toward the
  elf)
Belphanior:  Ah, I see that you brought your whole
  family along!  (dodges some snakes)
priest#5:  (casts Curse on the party, reducing their
  chances to hit)  Hah!
priest#6:  (runs over to try and help priest#3)
Belphanior:  (realizes that he has Stoneskins left)

meanwhile, outside...

Ged:  A Blade Barrier!
Alindyar:  We must dispel it!  (casts the spell,
  which he had ready anyway, and luckily succeeds,
  cancelling the blade barrier)  Yes!
Rob:  Neat.  (watches as a few of the razor blades
  land nearby)
Lyra:  To the others!  (she, Alindyar, Ged, Rob,
  and Peldor move into the room carefully but yet
  quickly)
Bosco:  (remains behind, and walks into a wall)

  As the second half of the group entered the big
room, they beheld several amazing sights.  Mongo
was standing near a huge column of flame, cursing
at a ring of four priests.  Belphanior was dancing
through a mass of snakes, trying to reach the four
opponents.  Rillen was trying to cut around to the
rear of the four.  Arnold was lying on the floor,
writhing, next to a one-armed priest, who was also
writhing.  A sixth priest was headed for the one-
armed priest.


Ged:  Looks like we got here just in time.
Peldor:  Yep.  (goes invisible and scurries away)
Rob:  What happened to Arnold?
Rillen:  (yells)  He is poisoned!
Ged:  Quick, Rob, go help him, while I distract the
  priests!  (moves to his left)
Rob:  ...Okay!  (runs toward Arnold)
priest#6:  (running toward his companion, but forgot
  about Rillen nearby)  What-?
Rillen:  (bashes him across the face with his staff)
  Not so fast.
priest#6:  (falls, screaming, his nose shattered)
  Aaaaugh!
Rillen:  And stay down.
Mongo:  (throws his hammer at priest#5, since there
  is no one in the way of that one)  Hah!
priest#5:  (hit in the chest by the hammer)  Argh!
Belphanior:  (wades through the snakes, taking three
  bites, and slashes priest#4)  Die, you!  (his
  Stoneskin spell repels the snake bites)
priest#4:  Agh!  (backs up)  You shall die for that!
  (his spell is interrupted, so he hefts a mace)
Belphanior:  We'll see about that.
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)
Rob:  (having reached Arnold, he is casting a spell
  to neutralize poison)  Hang on there, friend.
Arnold:  Aaaaaa.
priest#2:  (notices them near him as he is about to
  cast a spell)
Alindyar:  (casts a Hold Person at priest#2)
priest#2:  (saves, easily)  Hah!  (casts a wall of
  fire around Lyra and Alindyar)  Fools!
Ged:  (now facing priest#2)  So you want to play
  with fire, eh?  (uses his wand)  Inzus!

  This proved to be a useless, even potentially
bad, move - for the pillar of fire near Mongo was
suddenly amplified, growing twofold and reaching
the ceiling.  The wall of fire around the two
drow grew as well, rebounding off of the ceiling
and raining fire throughout the chamber.

Ged:  Ooooops.
priest#2:  HAH HAH HAH!
Rillen:  (hits priest#6 again with his staff, and
  snaps his neck)  I told you not to get up.
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer at priest#5 again, but
  misses)  Damn!
priest#5:  Ha ha!  (casts Hold Person on Mongo)
Mongo:  Bah.  (saves and ignores the spell)
priest#4:  (clumsily swings his mace at Belphanior,
  but misses)
Belphanior:  Never come to a swordfight armed with
  a mace.  (stabs the priest, wounding him badly)
Peldor:  (backstabs priest#2)  Hah!  Only Peldor
  the great could strike thus!
priest#2:  (wounded badly)  Argh!  You'll not have
  another chance to attack me, thief!
Peldor:  Oh, that's good to know.
priest#3:  (writhes in agony on the floor, bleeding
  profusely)

inside the wall of flame...

Alindyar:  Argh.  This is quite hot.
Lyra:  (sweating profusely - in fact, they are
  both already suffering from minor burns)  If
  we don't get out of this right now, we will
  fry!  (begins spellcasting)
Alindyar:  Yes...
Lyra:  (gets as lucky as Alindyar was with the
  blade barrier, and dispels the wall)  Yes!
  (as the fiery wall vanishes, she collapses
  from wounds and exhaustion)
Alindyar:  No!  (pulls her back, out of the way
  of battle)
priest#1/Delgath:  Ah, the fools.  (casts his
  spell, summoning an earth elemental forth to
  do battle)  Kill.
earth elemental:  (plods for the nearest of the
  adventurers, Rillen and Rob)


Belphanior:  (slashes priest#4 again, and slays
  him)  Ahhhhhhh!
earth elemental:  (charging Rillen)
Rillen:  Uh-oh.  That is one big fellow, there.
Rob:  Delay it!  I shall cast a spell!  (begins
  doing so)
Rillen:  Uh...okay.  (bashes the thing a few
  times, with little effect)
Arnold:  (stirs on the floor, recovering)
Peldor:  (watching priest#2 begin spellcasting)
  Not so fast, you.  (uses his ring to lift the
  man and send him flying across the room - and
  right into the blazing column of fire left from
  the earlier Flame Strike)
priest#2:  (ignites and vanishes into the fire)
  Aaaaaaaagh!
Rob:  (casts Dispel Evil, and runs up to the huge
  elemental)  Hey.  Hey, you!
earth elemental:  (turns to face the priest, its
  large fists raised)
Rob:  (taps the creature)  Begone!  I command it
  in the name of Trithereon!
earth elemental:  (frowns, and is dispelled back
  to the Elemental Plane of Earth)
Rillen:  All right!  You got rid of him!
Rob:  Yes.  Fortunately, I predicted that we'd be
  battling Evil here today, and was forearmed.
Rillen:  (steps on the badly wounded priest#3's
  neck, snapping it)  That is a step in the right
  direction.
priest#1/Delgath:  (to priest#5, the only one left
  besides himself)  Shu-lir-than!  Doop theis chau
  prok n'gai!
priest#5:  Swurg-as!  (begins spellcasting)
Mongo:  What the hell kind of language is that?!?
  (hurls his hammer at priest#5 again, and misses
  again)  Argh!  Damn!
priest#5:  (completes his spell, and casts it upon
  priest#1, apparently, sheathing him in darkness)
priest#1:  (cloaked by the spell, he begins casting
  his most powerful spell)  Hadeus...
priest#5:  (his purpose served, dies as Belphanior
  backstabs him)  Urgh.
Belphanior:  AAAAAAH!  I am vastly more powerful,
  now!  (he has slain a number of souls today...)
  Truly mighty...Hmm.  (looks around, and begins
  chopping up the snakes)
Ged:  (heals Lyra, at Alindyar's behest)

  The party paused, as they realized that only the
high priest remained, sheathed in darkness in the
room's center.

Ged:  Okay, everyone back up.  I'm going to blast
  that evil one, hard!  (they heed his warning, as
  loud chanting is heard from the darkness)
Belphanior:  What is he up to, I wonder?
Alindyar:  Who knows?
Ged:  (points his wand at the darkness, and speaks)
  Fbizi!

  The priest within the darkness ignited, and then
started screaming as he ran out toward the party,
melting.

Delgath:  AAArrrrgh!  Fools!  (his lips bubble and
  fall off)  Ith ish tooo blate!  Tooooo blaaa...
  (he becomes a puddle)
Ged:  Hah!  That got him!
Alindyar:  Look at the darkness.  (points)
Belphanior:  Ulp.

  The darkness zone was dissolving, and the stone
statue within moved.  Except, it was no longer made
of stone.  Fleshy arms and legs flexed, and the maw
full of teeth grinned at the adventurers.

thing:  AH!  YOU HAVE SLAIN ALL OF MY PRIESTS!  NO
  WONDER THEY SAW FIT TO SUMMON ME...
Mongo:  Who the hell are _you_?!?!?
thing:  HELL IS EXACTLY RIGHT.  CALL ME HADEUS, FOR
  THAT IS BUT ONE OF MY MANY NAMES.  I AM DIABOLISM
  INCARNATE, A DUKE OF THE HELLS.  I SHALL LEAVE
  THIS PLANE SHORTLY - BUT NOT UNTIL I FEAST ON YOUR
  BODIES AND SOULS!
Alindyar:  By the gods!  He has possessed the stone
  statue and come to life on our plane!
Ged:  Boccob!
Hadeus:  YOUR PUNY GODS CANNOT HELP YOU NOW, WORMS!
  (strides toward the party, shaking the ground as
  his 25' form moves)  HA HA HA HA HA!
Rillen:  This is not a very nice guy...

Ged:  (uses his wand again)  Axui!
Hadeus:  (laughs as the flames cover him)  FOOLS!
  I AM _IMMUNE_ TO FIRE!  HA HA HA HA!
Ged:  Argh!  (slaps his own head)  Damn!
Peldor:  (becomes invisible)
Alindyar:  (casting a spell)
Lyra:  (unrolls her scroll of protection from devils
  and begins to read it aloud)
Ged:  Yea!  Good thinking!
Alindyar:  (casts Feeblemind upon the devil lord)
Hadeus:  BAH.  (shrugs away the spell)
Alindyar:  His - its - form on this plane is very
  powerful indeed.
Belphanior:  (uses his sword to Haste himself, and
  stalks the creature)
Hadeus:  (stares at the elf, locking gazes with him)
Belphanior:  Yie!  (instantly goes insane)
Rob:  What did he do to Belphanior?
Ged:  Who knows?  Hey, Arnold!  Don't look at it!
Arnold:  (shielding his eyes, approaches the devil)
  How am I sudposed to fidht it if I cand look ad it?
Rillen:  (likewise)  Improvise.  Adapt.  Overcome.
Bosco:  (in the other room, wanders away mindlessly)
Belphanior:  (looks around, then casts Ventriloquism
  upon Rob's helm)  Cackle, cackle...
Arnold:  (slashes mightily at the devil, but his
  weapon has no effect)  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Hadeus:  HA HA!  PUNY MORTAL!  (swats Arnold twice,
  knocking him out)
Ged:  Holy shit!  He floored Arnold!
Rillen:  (bashes at the devil, but misses)  How?
Mongo:  (raises his hammer)  I will not waver from
  this challenge!  Do you hear me, devil?!?
Hadeus:  BAH.
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer as hard as he can, at the
  thing)  Fall!
Hadeus:  (hit by the weapon)  ARGH!  HOW DARE YOU
  STRIKE ME?!?
Mongo:  I dare anything, shithead!
Ged:  First blood to Mongo!  Yea!
Rob's helm:  Hey, Rob!
Rob:  What?!?!?
Rob's helm:  (begins singing pirate drinking songs
  loudly)
Rob:  Agh!  (can't concentrate, walks around in a
  circle)
Rillen:  (strikes the devil, inflicting minor damage)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer, throws it again, but
  misses the huge monster)
Hadeus:  HA!
Peldor:  (invisible somewhere)
Rob:  (hurls his helm away angrily)  Shut up!
Rob's helm:  Aw, Rob, you can't get rid of me that
  easily!  (begins singing again, more loudly than
  before)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  Someone smash that
  fucking helmet!
Lyra:  (finishes her incantation)  It is done!  I
  am protected!
Alindyar:  (moves closer to her so that he, too,
  can share in the protection)  And I as well.

Belphanior:  (in his insanity, casts Taunt upon
  Hadeus)  Nyah, nyah!  your mother was a demon!
  your father was an angel!  you mate with pixies!
Hadeus:  (ignores the spell)  BAH.
Rillen:  (smashes the devil in the knee with his
  staff)
Hadeus:  ARGH!
Mongo:  Now, Ged!  Blast the fucker!
Ged:  Yea!  (casts a Lightning Bolt at the devil)
  Yes!  A direct hit!  Eat that, cur of the hells!
Hadeus:  WHAT?!?  (knocked to his knees as his
  magic resistance fails to protect him)  AAARGH!
Ged:  Ha!  Boccob is with us this day!
Rillen:  Yes!  (hits the staggered creature again)
Hadeus:  ARGH!  (stands up)  ENOUGH!  (pummels the
  nearby Rillen with both of his massive fists)
Rillen:  (knocked out, goes comatose)
Mongo:  Hey!  He decked Rillen!  (hurls his hammer
  at the devil)
Hadeus:  BAH!  (uses his innate Telekinesis power
  to stop the hammer in midair)
Mongo:  HEY!!!  You can't _do_ that!!
Hadeus:  WHY NOT?  HA HA HA!
Alindyar:  (casts Confusion upon the monster)  Perhaps
  this will work.
Hadeus:  (doesn't even notice the spell)
Rob:  (grasps one of his prayer beads)  Karma!  (casts
  Pyrotechnics over the devil's head)
Hadeus:  EH?  (watches the spell dissolve)  HAH!  IS
  THAT THE EXTENT OF YOUR PUNY POWER, PRIEST?
Rob:  Damn.  I hope not...
Mongo:  (unsheathes his magical longsword)  Won't give
  me back my hammer, eh?  (charges the devil)  Then
  taste longsword, bastard!
Hadeus:  (uses the telekinesis to lift the dwarf into
  the air)  I THINK NOT.
Mongo:  Argh!  Damn it!  Let me down from here!  (his
  hammer floats nearby, just out of reach)  Gaaaaah!
  (grabs for the hammer, barely missing)  Come back
  here!
Lyra:  (casts a Ray of Enfeeblement at Hadeus)
Hadeus:  EYAGH!  (he watches as his right arm begins
  to shrivel and wither)  BAH!  (the arm is then whole
  again)  PUNY DROW!  YOUR SPELLS ARE USELESS!
Lyra:  (as she had hoped, this distraction was enough
  to let Mongo grab his hammer)
Mongo:  (quietly grabs his hammer)
Peldor:  (also makes use of the distraction, and
  backstabs the devil, badly mangling its right knee)
  Ha!  Peldor strikes!
Hadeus:  AAARGH!
Peldor:  Tell them of Peldor when you return to hell,
  fiend!
Hadeus:  (clutches his wounded knee)  ARGH!
Belphanior:  (insane, prepares his next spell)

Mongo:  (in the air, tries to throw his hammer but
  can't, since both he and it are held by the devil)
  Damn it!
Hadeus:  I AM THROUGH TOYING WITH YOU FOOLS!  (lets
  the TK go, dropping Mongo onto the floor)  NOW DIE!
  DIE!  (breathes fire upon Mongo)  BLEAAARGH!
Mongo:  (even with his ring and armor, he is wounded)
  Aaaarrrgh!  (rolls around in agony)  Argh!
Hadeus:  HA HA HA!  (turns toward the spell casters)
Ged:  (casts Slow upon the monster)
Hadeus:  BAH.  (shrugs off the spell)
Belphanior:  (casts Grease on himself and begins to
  slide around the floor, screaming)  Aaaaaaaaaaa!!!
Ged:  What in the hell's gotten into _him_?!?
Alindyar:  He is useless to us now, insane.  (casts
  Blindness on Hadeus)  Lights out.
Hadeus:  NO.  (nothing happens, and he breathes fire
  again, this time at Alindyar and Lyra)  BLEAAARGH!
Alindyar:  (since he and Lyra are inside the effect
  of Lyra's scroll, the flames roll off of an invisible
  hemisphere which surrounds them)  Whew.  Close call.
Lyra:  (casts Magic Missiles at Hadeus)  Yes...
Hadeus:  ARGH!  (his resistance fails to keep the bolts
  away, and he is wounded slightly)  AGH!  ARR!  A ZONE
  OF PROTECTION, EH, DROW?  HEH HEH.
Rob:  (drags Rillen and Arnold back a bit and hastily
  binds their wounds and casts healing magic)
Peldor:  (slashes at Hadeus from the side, but misses)
  Damn!  How could Peldor miss?
Mongo:  (stands up, steaming, both literally and
  figuratively)  FUCK!  (hurls his hammer at the
  devil as hard as he can, striking a mighty blow)
Hadeus:  AARGH!  (reels)  SINCE WHEN DO MORTALS HAVE
  THE STRENGTH OF GIANTS?
Mongo:  Since Mongo, shithead!  You're going down!
  (catches his hammer)
Belphanior:  (slides into a wall, tries to stand up,
  and slips, falling on his head)  Ow, ow, ow.

Hadeus:  (grabs Peldor, crushing him somewhat, and
  tosses his bruised body aside)  ARGH!
Ged:  (casts a Web upon the devil, successfully)  Ha!
Hadeus:  BAH.  (only slightly hindered by the thing,
  due to his size, points at Alindyar and Lyra)  I
  MAY BE UNABLE TO HARM YOU DIRECTLY, BUT...
Alindyar:  (the ground under them, outside their
  protective 10' sphere, turns into mud, and they
  sink)  What?!?
Lyra:  Oops.  He found a way to get us...(they sink
  into the mud)
Rob:  (casts a Bless spell)  Oh, bless us, great
  Trithereon.  We need it.  (moves to try and help
  the two sinking drow)
Belphanior:  (whizzes by the devil, and slashes at
  it, scoring a wound)  Wheeeee....!  (careens into
  the prone forms of Arnold and Rillen, and sails
  off into a wall again)  Oof!
Mongo:  (throws his hammer, but misses the devil)
Peldor:  (somewhere to one side, gets up painfully)
  Arg.

Rob:  (casts a Dispel Magic on the mud pit, causing
  Alindyar and Lyra to be encased up to their necks
  in solid rock)  Oops.
Alindyar:  Worry not, priest.  'Tis better than the
  alternative would have been...
Lyra:  (to Alindyar)  Look on the bright side.  We
  may be trapped here, unable to move, but at least
  the sphere of protection against the devil is
  still intact...
Alindyar:  This is true.
Hadeus:  (grabs Mongo and pummels him severely, then
  tosses the body aside)  SO MUCH FOR THE DWARF.
Mongo:  (unconscious, hits the floor)
Belphanior:  (menaces Ged, babbling insanely)  Time
  to make a necklace of ears.  Starting with yours!
Ged:  Stay back!  (prepares a spell hastily)  Back!
Peldor:  (invisible, stalks Hadeus slowly)
Hadeus:  (looking at Rob)  YOU!  PRIEST!
Rob:  Huh?
Hadeus:  (gestures at Rob, and he is paralyzed)  HA!
  FOOLS!  YOU WERE ALL FOOLS TO ATTACK ME!
Rob:  (falls to the ground, unable to move)  ...
Peldor:  (slashes Hadeus from behind)  Fall, foul
  fiend!
Hadeus:  ALLITERATION WILL GET YOU NOWHERE, ROGUE.
  (turns to face Peldor)
Peldor:  (looks around at the carnage)  No one but
  Peldor is left to face the challenge.  So be it!
  The legends will speak of Peldor's bravery and his
  great deeds.  The latest of which will be - slaying
  the devil, Hadeus!

nearby...

Ged:  (casts a priestly Dispel Magic upon Belphanior)
  It's times like this that I'm glad I'm multi-classed.
Belphanior:  (no longer insane)  What's going on?
Ged:  That thing is killing us all!
Belphanior:  Oh, really?  (casts Invisibility on
  himself)  Prepare to cover me.  I'm going in.
Ged:  Check.


Peldor:  (facing Hadeus, slashes at him, scoring a
  minor wound)  Aha!  Peldor strikes!
Hadeus:  PELDOR, PELDOR, PELDOR!  I TIRE OF HEARING
  THAT NAME.  (grabs Peldor with both hands)
Peldor:  Aaaaaaaargh!!
Hadeus:  AH!  (forcefully rips the thief in half,
  disdainfully throwing the two pieces to either
  side)  SO MUCH FOR...PELDOR.
Peldor:  (his two halves sail in opposite directions
  before landing with squishing sounds, entrails
  dragging behind them messily)
Ged:  Holy Boccob's eyes!  He eviscerated Peldor!
  (casts Evard's Black Tentacles upon Hadeus, and
  a number of the ebon tendrils wrap themselves
  around the devil)
Hadeus:  ARGH!  (begins smashing the tentacles on
  him)  YOU ARE NEXT, PRIEST OF BOCCOB!
Belphanior:  (backstabs Hadeus with a mighty and
  well-placed slash)  DIE!!!!!!!!!
Hadeus:  (his back is split open)  AAAARGH!  (he
  reels, and stomps around, as vapor spews from
  his wound, his mouth, and his ears)  AAARGGHH!
Belphanior:  Holy shit!  He's deflating!  (backs
  up a bit, fascinated)
Ged:  Get the hell away from there!
Belphanior:  (his sword is pulling him to the
  dying devil lord)  No.  No!  NO!  (screams)
  Aaaaaa!
Hadeus:  (screams the same scream, but louder)
  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!
  (melts into bubbling green and black slop, and
  then even this evaporates quickly)
Ged:  So that's how a duke of hell dies...
Belphanior:  (grasping his sword numbly, trembling
  and sweating, every vein on his body standing
  out)  Aaaaaahhhh...
Alindyar:  (buried to his neck in the ground, of
  course)  That was fascinating, but...would you
  mind getting us out of here?
Ged:  Oh.  Oh, yea.
Belphanior:  (stumbles around, quivering)  Blblbl.

  Yes, things were a mess.  Peldor was clearly dead,
his two halves leaking blood in large puddles around
them.  Arnold and Rillen were out, but would live
thanks to Rob's earlier attentions.  Mongo was also
on the floor, unconscious, but his ring was helping
him recover.  Rob, Alindyar, and Lyra were basically
immobilized for now.  Only Ged and Belphanior were
in decent shape, and Belphanior was stumbling around
babbling.
  Meanwhile, the forgotten Bosco had wandered back
into the last room.  Guided by a force that his
soulless body could not possibly comprehend, he
had opened a secret, undetected hatchway and moved
through a long, eerily glowing tunnel.  Since he
had no concept of pain anymore, his body had ignored
the various harmful effects of the tunnel as he had
moved through it.  The electrical shock, the foul
weakness, the blast of heat, the nausea, even the
burst of icy cold - none of these had deterred the
soullessly intrepid halfling.  The section of the
tunnel without oxygen had not slowed his shell in
the least.  The poison gas had not stopped him
either, and the loss of a life energy level never
fazed him.  All of these traps, which would likely
have kept a conscious, thinking party away, didn't
stop Bosco, though his body suffered greatly from
the traps.  He had walked through the illusionary
wall (which he couldn't see as an illusion), and
had entered the greenish-tinted chamber.  There it
had rested, atop a pedestal - the malevolent force
which had tugged at his mindless body.  A bright
green sphere, it had beckoned his shell, and thus
he had grasped the thing with both hands.  The
room had glowed brightly...
  Back in the shrine room, Ged and Belphanior were
doing what they could to help stabilize things.
Peldor's pieces (the two large halves as well as
the numerous smaller bits) were collected, and
Ged tried to fuse them together with healing
spells - but clearly, a greater spell was needed
here, a spell that would have to be prayed for
overnight.  Thus, the party rested, locking
themselves in the chamber.
  The next morning, Rob cast the spell to raise
the dead, while Ged stood by with other spells
ready.  Peldor was fused back together; as the
others watched in a kind of sick fascination,
his various and sundry pieces knit themselves
into a cohesive whole.  The terrible wound in
the thief's lower torso glowed, and then......
Peldor began snoring.

Mongo:  Yeah!
Rob:  Of course, I couldn't do a perfect job.
Ged:  Yea, that's one hell of a scar...
Belphanior:  I don't think he'll mind though.
Arnold:  Don'd tink he'll mind ad all.

  Belphanior located a secret treasure room, and
disarmed the traps on two chests.  Much monetary
treasure was taken and put in Mongo's portable
hole, including a number of large gemstones.  As
for the magic...well, the evil priests had hidden
quite a stash here, over the years...



THE MAGIC ITEMS:

  horn                          -  Alindyar
  human-sized plate mail        -  Ged (Arnold)
  pipes                         -  Peldor
  goofy rod with snakes         -  Mongo
  pearl                         -  Ged
  rod in metal case             -  Belphanior
  ring                          -  Rillen
  periapt                       -  Belphanior
  medallion                     -  Peldor
  phylactery                    -  Rob
  engraved metal cube           -  Mongo
  potion of feather falling     -  Peldor
  potion of poly. self (bat)    -  Rob
  potion of stone giant str.    -  Rillen
  potion of water breathing     -  Ged (Arnold)
  potion of plant control       -  Ged
  potion of skeleton control    -  Belphanior
  potion of healing             -  Alindyar (Lyra)
  scroll (Mage   6/3/2/1/1)     -  Ged
  scroll (Mage   3/2/1)         -  Alindyar (Lyra)
  scroll (Mage   2/2/1/1)       -  Alindyar
  scroll (Priest 4/3/2/1)       -  Rob



  It took an entire day to collect all of the loot,
and the wounded ones rested.  It was decided that
the group would leave on the morrow.  Bosco seemed
to have wandered away, but was quickly found in the
next room.  No one noticed the slight greenish hue
that his eyes now had...and of course they couldn't
have known that his various wounds were now healed.
  The party decided that it would not be in their
best interests to go back by the thing on the lake.
However, no other exits from the fortress presented
themselves - the creature had to be passed.  They
came up with a plan - they would all sprint around
the lake, using the path, and Ged and Alindyar's
magic would be used as cover.  Mongo was to go
first, since he was the slowest.  The plan worked,
though - Ged only had to use his wand once, when
the monster under the lake appeared right as the
party was almost across.  Alindyar provided his
own distraction, a fireball, and the creature was
quickly aflame.  It submerged, but when it rose
again, the adventurers were gone - escaped!

  It was with no small relief that they emerged into
the middle of a sunny day.  They met their friend
the giant, and told him tales as they collected their
horses.  He pointed them in the direction of a mountain
fort, some two days' journey away.  They bade him fond
farewells, and were soon on their way.
  After two days, they found the fort.  It was actually
a small town, complete with everything the party could
have needed to train - including a small mages' guild
and a wizened sage (who, like so many other sages before
him, grew extremely rich from the party's coming).  The
group trained and rested for one month, and everyone was
in a pleasant mood during this time.



Alindyar studied hard, copying his scroll spells into
  his spellbook.  He grew more powerful in the arts of
  magic; significant new spells included the magic jar
  spell, to take over someone else's body.  The sage
  told him that his horn could produce prodigious
  amounts of fog, but the drow had already suspected
  as much.  Lyra also studied hard, with Alindyar's
  help, and learned the wall of ice spell, among
  others.

Belphanior trained hard in both the arts of combat
  and those of thiefdom.  It took him a while for
  the effect of his sword stealing Hadeus' soul to
  wear off, though - he had to run around and burn
  up all that energy.  A few nights spent in the
  whorehouse helped immensely...later, the sage
  told him that his magical rod was an item that
  could nullify another magical item!  Also, his
  periapt would guard him against poisoning - a
  useful item indeed, for one such as he.

Ged pored over his libram, gained previously, and
  grew in magical power.  Like Alindyar and Lyra,
  he incorporated his scroll into his spellbook.
  His more significant new spells were the wizard
  eye, the teleportation spell, and the dimensional
  doorway.  As for his items, the plate mail for
  Arnold was highly magical - but no one else could
  wear it (or wanted to, anyway - it was heavy
  metal).  The pearl would allow the priest to
  recall a spell already cast, once per day - a
  great boon indeed!

Mongo finally was able to advance in his warrior
  profession, and had a ball sparring with the
  experienced warriors in the fort.  There was
  only one problem - the sage could identify
  neither of the dwarf's items.  He only said
  that one was good, and the other evil - and
  both of them were very, very powerful.  Oh,
  that was the rod that was Good, and the cube
  that was Evil...

Peldor at first refused to believe that he had
  been torn in two.  Even the monstrous scar which
  now completely circled his stomach refused to
  convince him.  He decided that the others were
  playing an elaborate joke on him because they
  were jealous of him.  The thief did train a lot,
  though.  His green torch, found before the last
  rooms of the fortress, refused to go out, but it
  also made light without giving off heat or flame.
  His pipes would play a haunting melody, except
  that he didn't know how to play pipes.  His
  medallion was powerful, though - it would allow
  him to read the thoughts of others!  Peldor
  resolved to try and figure out what the others
  were up to.  He also blamed Bosco's greenish
  eyes on them.

Rillen sparred extensively, perfecting what he called
  his "technique".  The sage told him that his ring
  would protect him from falling, making him float
  downward like a feather.  Rillen was confused, and
  immediately tested the ring by leaping from a rooftop
  to the ground - but it did work.

Rob gained much priestly power, and learned that his
  potion would allow him to transform his body into that
  of a bat.  His phylactery was an item which would help
  him maintain his total faithfulness to Trithereon.



  And so, it was a more powerful party who stood ready
to depart the mountain town/fort over four weeks after
they arrived.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      11th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra        7th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior     8th/8th/9th level high elf w/m/t    (CN)   +
+   Ged            9th/9th level grey elf priest/mage  (NG)   +
+      Arnold      7th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+   Mongo          9th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        12th level human thief                (N)   +
+      Bosco       6th level soulless(?) halfling thief(CN)   +
+   Rillen         9th level human warrior              (N)   +
+   Rob           10th level human priest              (LG)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:   7/13/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                       +
+   Time:   morning                                           +
+   Place:  the fort-town of Lud, high in the Yatil Mountains +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





next time :  surprise...

ftp site  :  ccosun.caltech.edu, in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers

notes     :  Here's part of a conversation from that last
             big battle:

  "I take HOW much damage?!?!?!"
  "Well, Marc, I'll put it this way.  Remember the scene in
      _Aliens_, when the android gets ripped in half by the
      alien queen?"
  "What scene?  What queen?  I don't know what you're talking
      about!  Aaaaaargh!"


  Welcome to the jumbo 75th episode.  I worked hard to make
this one action-packed.  It should be posted before the
upcoming Thanksgiving holidays.  You won't hear from me
again until afterwards.
  You should have seen Marc (Peldor) last night.  In a room
filled with dozens of people, he managed to be the one who
won the pie-eating contest and got the stripper's attention
(he beat out a variety of others for this dubious honor).
It helped him immensely that he was drunk as a skunk at the
time.  The whole crowd, all fifty-plus, males and females,
were chanting:  "PELDOR!  PELDOR!  PELDOR!"  Such is his
fame as an undergraduate...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++






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