Chapter #815

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                                   +   +
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                             +               +
                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                         +                       +
                           +       Epic V      +
                             +               +
                               +           +
                                 +       +
                                   +   +

+     Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and other     +
+   terms used in these stories are the property of Wizards of the Coast  +
+   which has in no way endorsed or authorized their use.  Any such       +
+   property contained within these stories are not representative of     +
+   Wizards of the Coast in any fashion.                                  +
+     The player characters depicted in these stories are copyright       +
+   1991-2004 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!                                          +
+   Daffodil        11th level human female druidess of Obad-Hai          +
+   Halbarad        15th level human ranger of Ehlonna                    +
+   Peyote          12th/12th level half-elven fighter/druid of Obad-Hai  +
+   Rillen          18th level human warrior monk                         +
+   Songa           13th level human huntress                             +
+                                                                         +
+   Eyer            13th/16th level wood elven fighter/acrobat            +
+   Leila           12th/12th level female grey elven warrior/mage        +
+   Kiel Morgan     14th level human warrior                              +
+   Og              16th level dwarven warrior                            +
+   Relmar          18th level human high priest of Pelor                 +
+   Validor         11th level human wizard (sage/astrologer)             +
+   Date:           4/14/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                           +
+   Time:           midday                                                +
+   Place:          the midst of the Oljatt Sea                           +
+   Climate:        warm and clear                                        +
+   "The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the      +
+    illusion of knowledge."                                              +
+                                                  - Daniel J. Boorstin   +

                    DCCCXV.  Here There Be Monsters

  As those aboard the _Odyssey_ watch in amazement and horror, a gigantic
fin cuts through the sea, heading right for the ship!

Eyer:  (scanning the water with his sharp eyes)  My mistake.  That fin's
  closer to thirty feet high.
Kiel:  That would make the shark...well over a hundred feet long.
Peyote:  This ship's a lot bigger than that.  Maybe it can take the hit.
Og:  Maybe, but let's not find out.  (he signals to the ballista crews,
  who are busy readying their weapons)  Steady, on my mark...

  A half-dozen huge, barbed missiles - not unlike supersized arrows -
sprung from the ballistae and hurtled through the air and across the
water.  All but one of them hit their target (which wasn't exactly hard
to miss) but they didn't slow it down much.  Two of the ship's wizards
had made it on deck by this time; one of them launched a blazing volley
of fiery bolts, which did little or no harm to the gigantic shark.  The
other mage was Leila, and she hit the behemoth with a blast of immense,
concentrated frost and ice.

Og:  Hah...that gave it pause.
Kiel:  (watches as the fin glides beneath the waves, vanishing from
  sight)  Uh-oh.

  Before anyone could take action (or even figure out how to best take
action in this situation) the entire ship shook as it was hit, hard,
by the underwater creature.  The sheer mass of the _Odyssey_ kept it
from rolling much, but the impact shook the entire ship, the mighty
reverberations strong enough to knock some people from their feet.

Rillen:  Is it _ramming_ us?
Validor:  Doubtful.  If it's a "normal" shark - which is no sure thing -
  its snout will be sensitive to impacts.  It may be hitting us with its
  body...or trying to get its jaws around the ship.
Songa:  Jaws.
Eyer:  (deftly keeps his balance as the ship rocks)  We need a way to go
  underwater to get this thing.
Leila:  Even if I could transform into a sea-monster myself, I wouldn't
  be big enough to take that thing on.  (she glances at the war-mage
  Thorlok, who has just made his way abovedecks)  Hmm.  (to Og)  Point
  me to your best shooter.

  Shortly, Thorlok was enchanting a ballista missile, as the weapon was
manned by the crew Og placed the most confidence in.  Others watched the
water, firing their weapons if they saw the huge shark.  It was keeping
mostly underwater now, probably more from habit than any conscious desire
to make itself less of a target.  Despite its size, it was moving fast
enough to be a difficult target - and besides, the ballista bolts were
too small to cause it serious harm.  Greater measures were called for..

Thorlok:  (steps back)  There.  As you requested, this missile is now
  enchanted, its impact power ten times stronger than normal.  If this
  doesn't faze that thing...(he shrugs)
Leila:  ...then we'll hit it with a fireball, despite the risk to the
  ship.  But hopefully that won't be necessary.

  Just then, the vessel shook with another impact.  Yells could be heard
as crew raced beneath-decks to assess and control any damage caused by
the attacks.

Kiel:  Damn!
Og:  (to the gunners manning the ballista with the enchanted bolt)  Eyes
  open, men.  When you see your best shot, take it!

  As the huge shark moved around and beneath the _Odyssey_ again, the
ballista crew tracked it with their weapon.  For a moment, Rillen was
afraid they wouldn't take the shot, but then they did, the gigantic
bolt hurtling down toward the water, ahead of the racing shark...and
then, the missile hit the monster with a loud CRACK despite the thing
being several feet underwater.

Og:  (shakes his gauntleted fist in the air)  Well done!

  Below, a crimson spray clouded the water, as the shark bled from a
great wound in its thick hide.  The bolt had taken out a chunk the size
of a large shield, thanks to Thorlok's magic, and the shark now swam
erratically, shakily...and away from the ship!  Cheers erupted from the
crew, even as damage-control efforts continued...

third mate:  (rushes up to Kiel)
Kiel:  What news?
third mate:  There's a small crack in the hull of deck two, but we've
  got it patched, and the water's being bailed out.  I couldn't tell you
  more about that damage without swimming down there to check it out in
Kiel:  We'll do that when we're in safer waters.  What else?
third mate:  Fourteen wounded, but none dead.  Everything from scrapes
  to a broken arm.  The priests are busy with that now.
Kiel:  (nods, turning toward Rillen, Peyote, and the other adventurers)
  The architects and shipwrights were correct.  This vessel is sturdy
  enough to defy even the greatest sea-beasts.
Songa:  That may be, but you should be glad there wasn't a pack of them,
  instead of just one.
Kiel:  (nods slightly)  A good point.

  They continued on course while the repairs were made, as best as they
could be, at any rate.  There was no further sign of the giant shark, or
any other giant, hostile sea life for that matter.  Other denizens of the
sea did make themselves known...a pod of great whales, a dozen dolphins,
a strange fleet of flying fish that seemed to bounce over the water, even
a trio of odd, bobbing creatures with coiled tails, hovering just below
the ocean's surface.

Validor:  Giant seahorses.
Peyote:  Dude!  You know of such things?
Validor:  Son, I'm somewhat of an authority on sea life, both natural
  and otherwise.
Peyote:  Whoa.
Kiel:  (chuckling)  Yet another reason why Validor here was chosen for
  this voyage.
Validor:  Chosen, bah!  I volunteered and all of you know it.  (he sets
  his bearded jaw, as if defying anyone to challenge his assertion)
Kiel:  All so true, old-timer.

  They continued on for another eleven days, emerging from the deepest
reaches of the Oljatt Sea and sailing northward, toward Lo Reltarma,
the capital of the Spindrift Isles.

Halbarad:  I thought you said they were called the Lendore Isles?
Kiel:  Some call them that too.  Technically, they're the Spindrifts.
  The area is divided into two parts:  three northern islands, ruled
  by reclusive elves, and the larger southern island, Lendore Isle,
  where we'll be stopping for supplies and probably a bit of repair
Peyote:  Why not the northern isles?
Kiel:  Because the elves there like their privacy, and have no qualms
  about guarding it with force.  None who venture there ever return.
Peyote:  Well, that'll do it!
Rillen:  And after Lendore Isle...?
Kiel:  After Lendore Isle, we begin the true odyssey...sailing due east
  to the ends of the map...and then beyond!

next:      we shift to a different story arc:  Greyspire
released:  4/9/04
notes:     As I progress in this story arc, I not only find it difficult
  to write, but I find myself yearning to get back into the previous arc
  with Belphanior and the Xusia gateways.  Accordingly, I've decided to
  pause this arc right here, as they leave charted waters and head into
  the unknown.  I'll pick it back up when I have more personal free time
  to do it justice.

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