Chapter #816

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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!                                          +
+   Alindyar        18th level drow wizard                                +
+   Bosco           13th level halfling thief                             +
+   Lyra            14th level female drow wizard                         +
+   Mongo           18th level dwarven warrior                            +
+   Peldor          20th level human thief                                +
+   Tanya           5th/11th level female human fighter/thief             +
+   Date:           1/3/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:           late morning                                          +
+   Place:          the Free City of Greyhawk                             +
+   Climate:        cold                                                  +
+   "The thing you have to that the real bad things         +
+    in life make you stronger."                                          +
+                                                  - from _Eye See You_   +

                    DCCCXVI.  Mysterious Summons

  Mongo was in a pretty good mood.  After the ten-year party for him and
his former adventuring companions, he'd lingered in the Free City, quite
a bit longer than he'd ever planned to.  Unsure where he'd go next, the
dwarven warrior had instead taken it easy, one day leading to another,
until weeks and then months had passed.
  Now, though, he was ready to go.  His horse and supply mule were fully
packed, his weapons and armor were cleaned, and he was about as relaxed
and well-rested as ever.  Perhaps he'd venture to one of many mountain
ranges, where hostile giants were known to lurk, and embark upon another
righteous mission for the greater good.  Or, maybe he'd head to either
Greyspire or Thunderdelve, as both fortresses and their rulers could use
his fighting skill and power.  Alternately, maybe he'd track down the
mad elf Belphanior and see what he was up to; where that one went, much
fighting and adventuring always followed.
  Mongo had said his goodbyes to the many friends in Greyhawk...the drow
Alindyar and Lyra, the busiest people he knew who didn't seem to actually
be accomplishing anything...Deryck and Nenya, who were expecting their
child within a month or two...Peldor and Tanya, who had settled down to
a daily life of raising their daughter and running their inn...Bosco,
who had recently returned from the great dragon-deck tournament, griping
about cheaters and stupid rules.  Mongo had great affection for each of
these friends, but he'd been in the city long enough, and the wanderlust
(as well as the need to fight monsters and evil) was greater than ever.
  The dwarf had bidden farewell to his friends, riding out of Greyhawk
shortly after dawn that morning.  Therefore, Peldor was most surprised
to see his friend stagger through the doors of the Green Dragon Inn, not
an hour after he'd left the city.

Bosco:  (building a house of cards, he glances at the dwarf)  Hey!  You
  decided to take me up on my offer of free card-playing lessons?  (his
  house of cards suddenly falls apart)  Aw, nuts!
Mongo:  (lurches as he walks toward the bar)
Tanya:  Isn't it a little early to be drinking this much-
Mongo:  (collapses, smashing a table)  Alindyar...get Alindyar...
Peldor:  Uh...okay.

  By the time Alindyar arrived, with Lyra at his side, they'd propped
the dwarf up in a chair and doused his head with ice-cold water, which
seemed to help somewhat.

Mongo:  Pfffft!  (he coughs)
Tanya:  He came in here, wounds, nothing wrong with him, just
Bosco:  Dazed and confused.
Alindyar:  Aye.  I doubt that an attacking regiment could faze him, but
  he seems awry.  (he works a quick spell)  Hmm.
Lyra:  What?
Alindyar:  He suffers from no wounds, physical or mental.
Mongo:  (suddenly blinks, shaking his head) the hell did I
  get in here?  And who poured cold water all over me?!?
Bosco:  (holding an empty bucket, he looks around for the guilty party)
Peldor:  You came charging in here, completely out of your mind.
Tanya:  Don't you remember?
Mongo:  No...(he grabs his forehead)  Ow.
Alindyar:  There is a faint aura of evocation magic around you.  Were
  you approached by any wizards, or perhaps a-
Mongo:  (sits straight upright)  Holy shit!  I remember!
Lyra:  What?  What do you remember?
Bosco:  (listening eagerly)
Mongo:  I got a message...some kind of magic message.  Wizard message!
  It was burned right into my mind.  It hurt!
Alindyar:  Odd.  (to Lyra)  Some sort of sending, perhaps?
Lyra:  (shrugs)  Why would it be painful to him, though?
Alindyar:  If sent under duress, or somehow warped.
Mongo:  (stands)  It was a cry for help...they're in trouble!  (he grabs
  the back of a chair hard enough to crack it, and looks around, insane
  and wild-eyed)  They need help!  You've got to get me there, now!  We
  have to help them, before it's too late!
Peldor:  Who?  Who needs help?
Mongo:  Greyspire!  Something bad's happened there.  (he sits back, as
  if exhausted)  Greyspire...Lord Marcus...and Gorin.

  After Tanya gave the dwarf a few shots of strong whiskey to calm him
down, the companions discussed the situation.

Mongo:  -don't know _how_ this message was sent to me, but it was.  I
  heard it in my mind, clear as day and from the fortress' old wizard
Alindyar:  The one called Wu?
Mongo:  (nods)
Lyra:  Wasn't he comatose after that big battle at the Fortress of the
Alindyar:  He was, for a month or more, but supposedly he recovered and
  went back to Greyspire.
Lyra:  Troubling.
Alindyar:  Aye.  Wu is an archmage.  If he had to issue a magical call
  for help, something is terribly wrong.
Peldor:  Not to mention the question of all his allies in Greyspire...
  how many soldiers do they have there?
Mongo:  Almost five hundred, plus some wizards and priests, and a few
  monsters too.  (he shakes his head)  But why me?  They've got to have
  a bunch of people they could ask for help who can do more than I can.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  A good question indeed.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Whatever it is, he doesn't know the answer.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Why would an archmage in dire straits seek
  the help of a simple warrior?
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Quite a riddle.
Bosco:  Well, there's only one thing to do.
Tanya:  What's that?
Bosco:  We've got to go to Greyspire and find out what's going on!

  The normally-routine day had quickly changed into a frantic, but yet
careful, series of questions, conclusions, and then decisions.  Mongo
recovered his senses and quickly took charge.

Mongo:  We've got to get out soon as possible!  Alindyar, can
  you help us?
Alindyar:  Aye.  (he exchanges glances, and telepathic messages, with
  Lyra, then nods)  We shall depart this very day.
Lyra:  We'll need to gather some things first.  (she casts a quick spell
  and vanishes, teleporting away instantly)
Peldor:  (eyes the dark elf, incredulous)  You're just going to drop
  everything you're doing and go?
Alindyar:  (smiles thinly)  To tell the truth, Lyra and I aren't really
  doing anything at the moment.  (he pauses, as if to say more, then
  shakes his head)  We shall assist Mongo.
Tanya:  (to Peldor)  We can't go, you know.
Peldor:  I know.  (they both look at Bosco, who is fidgeting nearby)
Alindyar:  But we might need someone with skill at traps, and locks.
Mongo:  Bah.  Locks can be beaten by smashing the whole door down.
Alindyar:  (continues as if the dwarf hadn't said anything)  A scout...
  a master of stealth, an opener of locks, a disarmer of traps.
Peldor:  (points at the halfling)  How about Bosco?
Bosco:  (jumps up, excited)  Yeah!
Tanya:  Well, I guess we can get by without him for a while.
Peldor:  Just bring him back in one piece.
Alindyar:  (smirks)  That is likely up to him.
Bosco:  Yeah!  (he darts away to his quarters)
Alindyar:  Nice work, and my thanks.
Peldor:  No problem.  If I can't go, Bosco's the next best thief for the
Tanya:  (frowns)
Alindyar:  I am sure the small one will be most helpful.
Mongo:  How are we going to get there?  Teleport into the fortress?
Alindyar:  That is far from ideal here, since neither Lyra nor myself
  has ever been to Greyspire.  Also, from what I hear, its walls are
  somewhat resistant to magic.  Attempting to teleport in is a risk we
  cannot take.
Mongo:  But-
Alindyar:  (holds up a hand)  Have faith.  There is a way.
Bosco:  Way?  What way?

  The halfling had returned in record time, almost as if he'd already
had a pack prepared for a sudden departure.

Alindyar:  Lyra and I have long been formulating a way of magically
  transporting ourselves to places we have never seen, but others have.
  We eventually concluded that a minor delving into the mind of the
  actual witness to the desired destination was in order.
Mongo:  (looking confused)
Peldor:  Like a mix of a teleportation spell and an ESP spell?
Alindyar:  Excellent.  Aye, that very mixture.  We shall provide the
  transport, while Mongo provides the destination.
Mongo:  If you're using magic to get an idea of Greyspire out of my
  mind, you'd better hope the magic works.  We dwarves have hard heads
  and hardier toughness against magic.
Alindyar:  (frowns)  True.  At the very least, you shall need to remove
  your armor and helm and such protections.
Mongo:  As long as I have time to put them on before we head into the
Alindyar:  (nods)
Bosco:  I wonder if I need a helmet, myself?  Halfling heads aren't as
  thick as dwarven ones.
Tanya:  (rolls her eyes)

  Before midday they were ready to depart:  the two dark elven wizards,
the mighty dwarven warrior, and the nimble yet rambunctious halfling
thief.  They carried enough supplies for a week, plus anything else
thought necessary despite the short lead time for this trip.  Peldor's
wine cellar provided a room for them to teleport out of, and presently,
it was time.

Alindyar:  (working a spell)  Mongo, you must clear your head of all
  thoughts save one:  Greyspire.  Focus on where you want us to appear
Mongo:  I think you're right about not being able to teleport through
  its outer walls.  I'd say the main gatehouse would be best.
Alindyar:  Think of it, then...focus.

  The drow found it difficult to establish a connection with the dwarf's
chaotic mind, but after quite a bit of concentration, he was able to
glean the image he needed:  the massive fortress of Greyspire, looming
over the western end of the Riftcanyon.

Alindyar:  Prepare yourselves.
Peldor:  (holding hands with Tanya)  Gods be with you.
Bosco:  (opens his mouth to make some wisecrack, but then he and the
  other three vanish abruptly)
Tanya:  Well.  I wonder if they should have taken a healer of some kind.
  (she frowns)  I hope they're going to be okay.
Peldor:  Those are four of the very best at what they do.  They'll be

next:      Greyspire!
released:  4/16/04
notes:     Thanks to Glen Hickman for the basic idea of this story arc
  (mainly what is upcoming, not really this episode's mechanism used to
  get them to the fortress.)  It grew out of a conversation at lunch one
  day, a year or so ago, and it's stuck with me ever since...and now it's
  here for your reading pleasure.
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