Chapter #848

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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!                                          +
+   Belphanior     15th/15th/15th level elven fighter/wizard/thief        +
+   Date:          6/20/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:          sometime around midnight                               +
+   Place:         Monmurg, capital of the Hold of the Sea Princes        +
+   Climate:       cool                                                   +
+   "It's not a question of whether or not to use violence.  There        +
+    simply is no other way."                                             +
+                                                 - from _Magnum Force_   +

                  DCCCXLVIII.  Tyros the Red

  After some breaking and entering, Belphanior now stands in the third-
floor study of the slaver/wizard Tyros.

Belphanior:  (smiling thinly)  Ah.

  A large table in the center of the room contained a number of familiar
items:  various swords, several enchanted gemstones, a pair of rings, an
ornate amulet, and much, much more.  As for the rest of the study, it was
spacious and lavishly-appointed.  The table upon which the elf's items
rested was fashioned of a single slab of wood, presumably from the base
of some long-dead tree; the table was supported by four thick, sturdy
wooden legs.  Several chairs of worked silver, inlaid with well-padded,
lavish cushions, ringed the table.  The walls were lined with bookcases,
which contained thousands of tomes, undoubtedly rare and valuable.  A
huge desk rested close to the center of one wall, complete with a plush
leather chair.  Behind the chair's back was a gigantic portrait mounted
on the wall; it depicted some ancient emperor lording it over masses of
people, many of whom were clearly slaves.
  The office had no windows, and apparently just the single entrance
through which Belphanior had come.  His magical eye detected no traps
on or around the table (or the items on it) and this was such a golden
opportunity that he could hardly believe it.

Belphanior:  Hm.  (wasting no time, he strides over to the table and
  immediately begins grabbing items, pocketing several of the smaller

  In an ideal world, there would have been time to pick and choose the
most powerful (or at least useful) items from the mess on the table.  In
this case, however, the randomness of the assortment made that difficult.
Before the elf could claim more of his possessions, he felt a familiar
tingle from Blackrazor - a soul had just appeared in his vicinity!  He
turned, drawing the black blade, but not in time to avoid a volley of
blazing crimson bolts.

Belphanior:  Urgh!  Argh!  Ungh!  (he is knocked away from the table,
  the wand in his hand flying off to one side, end-over-end)
red-cloaked wizard:  (holding a smoking wand made of gnarled reddish
  wood or bone, he sits in the leather chair behind the desk, a chair
  which was vacant a moment ago)  Fool!  Nobody enters these chambers
  without my notice - my magic has seen to that.  (he sneers)  Those
  things are mine!  Stay away from them...I, Tyros the Red, command it!
Belphanior:  (standing, he uses his sword to quietly haste himself)  No,
  they were stolen from me...they're _mine_.  (he points his sword at the
  slaver/wizard)  Unless you'd care to return them peacefully?
Tyros:  (shakes his head)  Never.  Some of those items are among the most
  powerful I've ever laid eyes on.  With them, when I unlock all their
  secrets, I shall be-
Belphanior:  Dead.  (he points his left hand - which now bears his ring
  of spell storing - at the foe, speaking a command word)

  Nothing happened.

Tyros:  (laughs)  I'm afraid I drained that ring of its spells...and
  forgot to recharge it!  (he points a wand at the elf)
Belphanior:  Crap.

  Another volley of magic missiles struck Belphanior, blasting him back
into a chair, which shattered as the elf crashed to the floor.  As he
struggled to stand, pain coursing through his body from the blast marks
on his chest and arms, the red wizard stood up behind his desk, cackling

Tyros:  I should have known that the owner of my new toys would come
  looking for them.  (he frowns)  I'm confused, though.  I was told that
  said owner had been captured and was headed to the slave block?
Belphanior:  (eyeing the other, calculating his chances and several
  tactical options)  That was someone's plan, but I took exception.
Tyros:  So Turkus is dead?
Belphanior:  And his entire crew, plus your lackey Elkazaar...not to
  mention several dozen innocent slaves and more than a few werewolves.
  (he glares at the slaver/wizard)  You have a lot of blood to answer
Tyros:  Bah.  I have nothing to answer for.  In this kingdom, we take
  what we want, and I-

  Belphanior had slowly been making a move toward the table, planning on
grabbing another of his stolen wands to employ against the attacking
wizard.  However, the other had eyes like a hawk, and the elf was still
a good ten feet from the table when a third grouping of magic missiles
pelted his body, knocking him into a bookshelf and causing dozens of
ancient tomes to fall all around him.

Belphanior:  Urgh.  (he struggles to his feet, smoke rising from his
Tyros:  The end draws near for you, fool-

  Just then, a trio of armed guards burst into the room.  They must have
known about the traps and the means to bypass them, since they were here
and unscathed, but Belphanior didn't waste time pondering such questions.

Belphanior:  (lashes out with lightning speed, decapitating the nearest
  guard with a swift stroke of his sword)
guard #2:  (eyes wide)  Holy shit!
guard #3:  Aie.
Tyros:  Don't just stand there, fools!  Get him!

  The slain guard had been a big, powerful fellow, and his life force was
strong.  Belphanior's various wounds healed and he was revitalized, as he
demonstrated by parrying a sword-strike from the second guard and pushing
the man toward Tyros with a sudden kick.

guard #2:  Whoa-
Tyros:  (unable to aim his wand properly as the guard almost crashes into
  him)  Damn you!
guard #3:  (slashes at Belphanior, missing by inches as the elf dodges
  the blow)
Belphanior:  (trips the guard, sending him smashing down into a small
  table and knocking it over)
guard #3:  (leaps to his feet, catlike)  Hah-
Belphanior:  (stabs the other through the heart, not even waiting for
  him to fall before grabbing the dagger on his belt, turning deftly,
  and throwing it at Tyros)

  As far as thrown blades went, the elf was no Razor Charlie, but he was
no slouch either.  The dagger sailed straight and true, and would have
taken the wizard's eye out...except for an invisible barrier around the
foe, from which the hurtled dagger bounced, landing on the floor nearby.

Tyros:  Moronic.  (he points his wand at the elf again)  I'll get you
  yet, you maniac.
Belphanior:  (steps to one side, so that the one surviving guard is
  between himself and that wand)
guard #2:  (waving his sword, he carefully moves toward the elf)

  Tyros, impatient and heedless of good strategy (specifically the idea
of keeping the odds in his favor) grew impatient, especially with his
missile-wand in hand and the elf close by.  He launched a series of
magic missiles that took out the second guard, who fell and died with a
shocked expression of surprise etched on his face.

Belphanior:  Now _that_ was the work of a maniac.
Tyros:  Bah.  (he steps forward, aiming the wand again)

  Belphanior was ready, however, having positioned himself next to the
overturned table.  Now, he dove to the floor, taking cover behind the
furniture as magical bolts tore into the wood, making charred pits with
each impact.

Tyros:  Hold still, damn you!

  Belphanior had noticed by now that every time the wizard used his wand
to launch a volley of magic missiles, there was a five-count or so before
he used the wand again.  This was part of the elf's strategy now, as he
quickly sheathed his sword and grabbed the table by two of its legs, then
hefted it off the floor, charging the wizard.

Tyros:  What?!?  (he fires yet another cluster of magical bolts at the
  attacker, only to have them hit the table the elf is using as a shield)
Belphanior:  (having noted the direction and distance to the wizard even
  before he picked up the table, he heads right for the man)
Tyros:  Aaa!  (he scurries around his desk, getting out of the way just
  a moment before Belphanior smashes the table into the spot where Tyros
  just stood)
Belphanior:  (stands, a nail-filled table leg clutched in his right hand,
  whose arm is drawn back)
Tyros:  (waving his wand again)
Belphanior:  (lets the makeshift club fly, right toward the face of the

  Belphanior had picked up on the fact that Tyros, for all his power and
pomp, obviously hadn't been involved in a whole lot of close, personal
combat.  Even though he had his magical barrier which had deflected the
thrown dagger a bit earlier, Tyros still flinched as the wicked-looking,
nail-filled table leg whizzed toward him.  His aim was thrown off, and
a large chunk of ceiling plaster was demolished by the volley of magic
missiles he had launched.  The hurtled wooden club rebounded from the
protective barrier, and Tyros quickly regained his composure...only to
find Belphanior standing near the table of magic items, a wand in his

Belphanior:  Die.  (he points the wand at the red-cloaked foe)

  A great gout of white foam gushed from the wand's tip, completely
covering the side of the room where Tyros stood.

Belphanior:  (stares at the wand, frowning, as he realizes that in the
  dimly-lit room, he couldn't distinguish the painted tips of his wands)
  I thought that was my wand of acidic spheres.  Oh well.  (he begins
  fiddling with other items on the table)

  Meanwhile, Tyros was covered in the normally-useless foam from that
wand.  His anti-missile barrier had stopped the dagger and table leg,
and his ring of magic resistance would prevent any spells the elf was
able to cast.  Of course, since all the books taken from Belphanior
were in one drawer of the desk, the elf wouldn't find any way to cast
spells here, today.  No, the greater problem was Belphanior's sword;
Tyros knew that the elf could defeat his stoneskin in a relatively
short time, given the chance...and if that happened, then he, Tyros,
would surely suffer the wrath of the vengeful elf.
  Until now, Tyros had simply used his wand of missiles to launch
quick, effective attacks and keep Belphanior at bay.  It was time,
however, to call upon greater power.

Tyros:  (wiping foam from his eyes, he turns to face the elf, a ring
  on his hand glowing with power)
Belphanior:  (holding up a small sand-filled hourglass)  Not this time.

  The elf's smug confidence quickly turned to shock, however; for the
second time today, he invoked the power of one of his items but nothing

Belphanior:  What the hell...?
Tyros:  Indeed.  (his glowing ring conjures a gigantic translucent hand
  which sweeps toward Belphanior)

  The elf leaped aside, narrowly missing the hand's grabbing attack.
He noticed that Tyros was standing still, concentrating fully as he
moved his own arm and hand around, apparently guiding the gigantic
magical hand's movements.

Belphanior:  (darts behind a small round table, then jumps backward as
  the force-hand brushes the table aside)  Shit!  (he backs away, some
  part of his mind realizing that he's gradually being pushed into a

  Belphanior would have given anything for a single spell or scroll of
dispelling magic, but his spellbooks (along with, he had noted, all of
his other books and tomes) weren't on the table with the other items.
Given that, and the way the huge magical hand was closing in on him, the
only way to stop it was to take Tyros out...and he couldn't see a way to
do that.

Belphanior:  (has a sudden idea)  Hmm.

  The elf suddenly darted to the left, running as fast as he could.
Instantly, the force-hand shifted its movements to follow him, swooping
down and in from the right.  This set up Belphanior's next move, which
was a daring all-or-none gambit:  his mad dash ended as he jumped up
onto a table, then planted his feet and suddenly leaped to the right,
vaulting OVER the gigantic hand.  It was an unexpected move, and one
that Tyros (not having the battle-honed reflexes of a warrior) couldn't
match with his guided magical hand.  Even so, he tried, the hand making
a desperate grab and missing the leaping Belphanior by inches.

Belphanior:  (lands on the other side of the shimmering hand...the side
  closer to Tyros himself)  Hah!  (he sprints toward the wizard)
Tyros:  Aie!  (caught off-guard by this tactic, he tries to bring his
  force-hand toward himself, and catch Belphanior before the elf reaches

  Belphanior figured that one of two things would happen:  either he'd
reach Tyros and gut him, or he'd reach Tyros and the huge magical hand
would crush them both, before Tyros figured out what was happening and
called the thing off.  It was close, but the elf triumphed, and a slash
of his sword seemed sure to sever the foe's hand...until it hit the
stoneskin, rebounding with a jarring vibration.

Belphanior:  Argh!
Tyros:  (feels the strength of the blow, even with his protective
  enchantment)  Ouch.  (he tries to bring the force-hand to bear)

  Unfortunately for Tyros, he found his hand held firm, in an abnormally
strong grip.  Stoneskin spells were good against actual blows, but not
grappling or other physical contests of strength.  Belphanior held the
wizard's one hand in that iron grip while he hacked away at the foe with
his other arm, which of course held Blackrazor.  Tyros actually looked
terrified now; he was moments from being slain, and his force-hand was
inert, unable to be controlled while he was being attacked like this.
  However, Tyros hadn't gotten where he was without some measure of
power and backup plans.  Even as his stoneskin weakened, his other hand
reached around and grabbed Belphanior's shoulder...and delivered a jolt
of electricity so powerful that the elf was thrown back, smashing into
a bookcase and shattering several shelves.

Belphanior:  (dazed, he regains his footing, his hair standing straight
  up)  Urg...
Tyros:  How dare you manhandle me like some DARE you?!?!?
  (he raises his hand again, then sweeps it across in a violent motion)

  The gigantic force-hand came into play again, balled into a fist and
guided with all the anger Tyros could muster.  Still stunned from the
electrical attack, Belphanior made an effort to get out of the way, but
was still clipped by the smashing fist...which punched a hole _through_
the study's wall, opening a gaping hope from the interior of the mansion
to the outside!  Belphanior tumbled out of this new opening, vanishing
from the sight of Tyros.

Tyros:  Damn it all!  (he works a quick spell, and takes to the air,
  flying across the room toward the third-floor hole in his mansion)

  Thirty feet below, Belphanior had fallen through the branches of a
large old tree, landing hard in the small courtyard between Tyros'
home and a major street.  Fairly close by, a building burned - more
of the elf's handiwork, though nobody knew it.  The flames and smoke
poured into the night sky, and the blaze still wasn't under control.
Dozens of people rushed to and fro along the street, including the
group of city guardsmen who had stopped and surrounded Belphanior...
who couldn't possibly be more conspicuous and out-of-place.

guardsman #1:  Get him!
Belphanior:  (staggers to his feet)  Urk.

  The elf presented a terrifying sight:  his clothing was shredded and
his body battered, with blast marks and wounds in abundance.  He was
bleeding from his nose and both ears as well.  The strange black blade
in his right hand almost glowed with strange energy, even if the wielder
looked ragged and half-dead.  The guards didn't quite understand who or
what they were dealing with here, as they learned to their misfortune...

guardsman #13:  (walks over, his sword pointed at the elf)  Drop your
  weapon and-
Belphanior:  (still lightning-fast despite his apparent condition, he
  suddenly stabs the man through the throat)
guardsman #13:  <glurk>
Belphanior:  Ahhhh...(he turns as three others charge)

  The odds favored the city guardsmen, but yet the elf tore through them
like a whirlwind.  One went down with a cleft skull, then another with a
severed arm, then a third with a slashed stomach.  The elf was death in
motion, brutal and savage, his blows coming strong and fast, every one
delivered with the intent to kill.  After four of their number had been
slain, and three more lay dying or maimed, the surviving guardsmen took
a step back, hesitant to confront this apparent demon and lose their own
lives as well.
  For his part, Belphanior was feeling stronger than ever, his power
boosted by the life-force of those he'd just slain.  The only problem
was the wizard Tyros, who even now floated out of the gaping hole in the
third floor of the mansion that overlooked the courtyard.  The elf knew
that he had to do something about the wizard, and quickly - with any
luck, once Tyros was eliminated, Belphanior could get back up to the
study, gather his magical belongings, and use one of them to get the hell
out of this kingdom.
  Tyros, however, had other plans.

Tyros:  (fires a lightning bolt at the elf, despite the numerous people
  who are within the blast radius)

  Unfortunately for the red-garbed wizard, Belphanior was standing right
in front of Tyros' when he leaped aside, the lightning bolt
hit the mansion, tearing another gaping hole in its outer wall.  Stone,
glass, and wood flew out over the courtyard, raining bits of destruction
all over the place.  Better yet, the lightning-powered blast must have
significantly weakened the very structure of the building - for now, the
entire side of the mansion collapsed, Tyros' third-floor study collapsing
down into the floor below.

Tyros:  Aargh!  Nooooo...!

  This development also threw a wrench into one of Belphanior's traps,
one he'd left behind in the study while Tyros had been covered in foam.
His iron flask - which had held the feebleminded vampiress Drusilla in
helpless stasis - had been opened, ever so slightly, and left that way
on a bookshelf.  Despite being deprived of her consciousness, she was
still a vampire, and still needed the blood of the living.  Eventually
she would escape and wreak havoc in the home of Tyros, if not elsewhere.
Belphanior's thinking had been that if things went right, he'd get back
to the iron flask before the vampiress got out.  If things didn't go
right, then he really didn't care what happened once Drusilla escaped.
  Belphanior couldn't worry about his little surprise - or any of his
other items - now, though, since he had to focus on staying alive.

Belphanior:  (strikes while the surviving guardsmen are gawking at the
  explosion from within the mansion)
guardsman #11:  (falls, his throat slit)
guardsman #8:  (turns, parrying, but not in time, as he goes down with
  Belphanior's sword in his heart)
Belphanior:  Aaaaaaah.  (he turns, hearing shouts of anger from nearby)

  An entire company of city guardsmen, numbering at least forty, was
charging toward him, moving out to flank him and prevent escape.  The
elf couldn't allow himself to be outnumbered or outflanked - not in a
hostile city with potentially thousands of foes, and not with Tyros
floating around up there - so he played his last trump card.

Belphanior:  (produces the figurine he got from Panagaea, the miniature
  carving of the three-headed dog)  Sorry about this, guys.  (he tosses
  the statuette onto the ground, speaking a command word that he long
  ago memorized, especially after he saw what it could lead to)
large three-headed dog:  (appears, then looks around, snarling and
  drooling with unbridled ferocity)  GRR...

  The thing was enormous, five feet high at the shoulder and several
hundred pounds of solid muscle and fury.  It locked its eyes on those
closest to it:  the company of city guardsmen.

large three-headed dog:  GRRRRRR...
guardsman #39:  What the hell is that?

  The gigantic, otherworldly canine wasted no more time pondering its
next course of action.  Without any heeding, it bounded toward the
guardsmen, who didn't seem to know what to think.  The next moment,
blood and gore splattered everywhere as the monster tore into the mass
of potential prey.  Belphanior wasted no more time worrying about that
flank of the battle; he knew from prior experience that the three-headed
dog was not only exceptionally bloodthirsty, but also highly resistant
to damage as well.  Quite honestly, he felt sorry for the company of
city guardsmen.
  All of these thoughts had taken place in a few scant moments, and the
elf turned his attention to Tyros, who was hovering above, grimacing in
rage and working a spell.  Since Belphanior couldn't fly right now, he
decided to take cover, darting through an arch into a nearby building -
and just in time, as the red-cloaked wizard let loose with a rain of
long, sharp icicles.  The frozen missiles zipped through the air toward
the place Belphanior had just been standing, shattering apart as they
hit the stonework with enough force to impale a person.

Belphanior:  Damn, he's pretty mad.

  The elf realized that he was actually in a bit of a bind here.  Most
of the battle had been fought - and well-fought, at that - at a frantic
pace, on the spur of the moment, using quick reactions, good instincts,
and battle-hardened experience to stay alive.  Now, though, he was out
in the open (more of less) and facing a spellcasting foe he couldn't
reach, in a hostile city.  It occurred to Belphanior that he probably
should have made a beeline for Tyros earlier, while the wizard had been
covered in foam, unable to see or cast spells.
  It was too late for that, however, and this point was driven home as
the building he was in shuddered with some huge impact.  The elf broke
a window apart with his sword, leaping through as the room behind him
began to collapse.  Indeed, the entire _building_ was coming down, and
a moment later, Belphanior knew why.

Tyros:  (flying over the rubble, he spots the elf, and works a quick
  spell, unleashing a barrage of miniature fireballs)
Belphanior:  Shit!  (he leaps and dodges, avoiding several of the small
  but dangerous fire-bombs as they explode on the street all around him)

  It had taken every bit of speed and luck the elf possessed to avoid
fiery doom, and even then, his body was singed in several places.  The
wizard above gave him little time to recover, working another spell that
made the street beneath Belphanior's feet ripple and shift.

Belphanior:  Whoa!  (he leaps to one side just as a large section of
  the street changes into thick mud)  Dammit.

  The elf had almost cleared the mud, but his right leg was buried in
it up to the knee.  He grabbed the metal base of a nearby street-sign
to pull himself out, but no sooner had he reached solid ground than he
found himself suddenly exhausted, as if his legs were leaden bricks...
but he resisted this spell, charging into another nearby building, this
one a run-down, abandoned structure several stories in height.

Tyros:  (watches the elf disappear from view)  No!  Damn him, he won't
  escape...(he begins working yet another spell)

  By this time, dozens of city guardsmen (though probably not those who
had been attacked by the three-headed dog) were scurrying about.  Tyros
spotted a sergeant and floated down to street level, immediately barking

Tyros:  He's in that building - go after him!
sergeant:  But why?  He's too dangerous.  Besides we have the building
  surrounded, and we can wait here until reinforcements arrive-
Tyros:  (his hand glowing with bright red flame)  Go
  and get that elf, or you'll have even more to worry about.
sergeant:  (unnerved)  Y- yes, right away.  (he begins shouting orders
  to various members of his group)

  In short order, a squad of armed guardsmen ringed the building, and
a dozen went in through the door that the elf had used.  Tyros would
have preferred to use magic to destroy the building, brick by brick if
necessary, but he realized that this way was better.  The guardsmen
would move up through the building, and the elf would inevitably be
flushed out.  It was only a matter of time.  Smiling, Tyros readied
his next spell and hovered in place, awaiting the re-appearance of his
  A very short time later, there was a loud but brief crashing sound
from somewhere within the building, and then a scream - which lasted
only a moment, as if it was abruptly silenced.  Following this, there
was more sound.  After a short while, the suspense became
nagging, almost tangible as those outside had no idea what was going
on inside...and still, the elf had not appeared.
  For Tyros, this was intolerable.

Tyros:  Absolutely intolerable.  (his hands glowing with pale flames,
  he glares at the building)  We mustn't wait any longer.
guard captain:  What are you talking about?
Tyros:  I'm going to have to destroy that building.  (he floats up,
  off the ground)
guard captain:  What?!?  My men are still in there-
Tyros:  (rising into the air, his hands seemingly aflame)  Your men
  are probably dead, and even if not, I can't take the risk.
guard captain:  (yelling something that Tyros doesn't hear)

  The red-cloaked wizard drew even with one of the upper floors, and
glared at the building as the nimbus of fire grew around him.  However,
someone else had other plans that hinged on this exact moment...

Belphanior:  (having waited, concealed, on the rooftop, he makes a
  running leap, launching himself from the rooftop's edge and into the
  empty space between the building and Tyros)

  It was an incredibly daring move, not to mention a mighty feat of
athleticism.  Belphanior didn't quite achieve his goal - colliding with
Tyros in midair and taking him hostage - but as he fell short, he shot
an arm upward, grabbing the wizard's ankle.

Tyros:  (his spell ruined, he launches bits of fire in every direction)
Belphanior:  (uses his left arm to reach up and grab the wizard by the
  belt, then uses his right arm to grab his sword)

  The elf was down to the last cards of his high-stakes hand, and he
wasted no time.  Before Tyros knew what was happening, his determined
foe was hacking away with that accursed black blade, and the protection
of the stoneskin was almost gone.  The wizard groped for a wand at his
belt, but it was batted away by one of Belphanior's sword attacks.

Tyros:  (grabs Belphanior's left hand with his shocking-grasp ring)
  Unhand me!  (he activates the ring as the air crackles and pops)
Belphanior:  (takes an incredible jolt of electricity, but hangs on,
  his face grim)  That...won't...stop me!  Nothing will stop me!
Tyros:  (screams like a baby as Blackrazor slices open a gash on his
  shoulder)  AAAAAAA!  (he fumbles desperately for another wand, and
  gets a firm grip on it, pointing it right at Belphanior's head)  Die!

  Despite being energized by several recently-slain souls, Belphanior
couldn't withstand a cone of cold at point-blank range.  He was blown
back, covered in ice and frost, and fell like a rock to the street far
below, landing with a tremendous smashing impact that sent chunks of
ice whizzing off in all directions.

Tyros:  (floating in the air above, bleeding and shaken, he lets his
  rage get the better of him, summoning another huge hand of shimmering
  force)  Must...kill...him...!

  The translucent hand closed into a powerful fist, and came smashing
down on the icy mass that contained Belphanior, the finality of the
death-blow shaking the streets throughout the city.

next:      use your imagination
released:  11/26/04
notes:     I won't mention it explicitly in any story, but the reason for
  the Kronos-hourglass not working was simple:  its time-stopping power
  can be used once a month, and has last been used just under a month ago.
  As for anyone who wonders how Tyros' wand's missiles sometimes missed
  their target...remember that (1) I'm not playing by AD&D rules anymore,
  and (2) I never said it was a "magic missile" wand anyway.
    As for this episode, which was significantly longer than most I've
  put out recently, I'll just say that my goal here was showing how
  clever and dangerous Belphanior can be, even when badly outnumbered
  and outgunned.

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