Chapter #858

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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       +
+   1991-2005 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 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                 +
+   Thorlok         11th level human war-mage                             +
+   Validor         11th level human wizard (sage/astrologer)             +
+   Date:           6/15/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                           +
+   Time:           late afternoon                                        +
+   Place:          the ship _Odyssey_, amidst the Solnor Ocean           +
+   Climate:        warm and rainy                                        +
+   "I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals.  I'm a vegetarian       +
+    because I hate plants."                                              +
+                                                    - A. Whitney Brown   +

                    DCCCLVIII.  A Rude Welcome

  After three months at sea, the _Odyssey_ has finally come upon land!

Leila:  (somewhat disappointed)  It's still only an island.
Validor:  And not a big one, at that.  (he peers down over the flying
  carpet's edge)

  They were doing some aerial scouting, as they'd done several times
previously on this voyage, when new and strange things had been found.
The island was less than five hundred feet wide and roughly circular.
It also appeared to be covered in wet vegetation, as they reported upon
landing on the ship's deck.

Eyer:  The island's trees are _wet_?
Validor:  The trees, bushes, even the sand.  (drily)  Which isn't
  surprising when you consider that it's been raining all day.
Halbarad:  We've readied the boat, while you were away.
Peyote:  Right on - let's go!
Kiel:  (nods)  We're wasting time, and daylight.  (he points to the
  island)  Let the second scouting begin.

  Shortly, the longboat had been launched, and its occupants rowed it
toward the island.

Peyote:  I'm surprised that Kiel didn't want to come along for this...
 seeing as how the dude's always keen to check out new places.
Leila:  Don't be absurd.
Halbarad:  It's not his fault - he can't help it.
Peyote:  (smirks)
Leila:  Anyhow, this isn't some grand expedition, where all of the ship's
  ranking officers risk their lives personally to explore unknown and
  potentially dangerous places.  Kiel and Og are too valuable to the
  overall mission.  That's why it's just us.

  That grouping included Leila and Validor, as well as the voyage's "true
adventurers" (Eyer and Relmar, as well as Halbarad, Peyote, Daffodil,
Rillen, and Songa.)  The nine companions neared the island, which was
fairly easy thanks to gentle currents and a nice, wide expanse of sandy
beach.  It wasn't long before the boat was pulled up past the tide point
and the adventurers were eyeing the foliage.

Halbarad:  This is strange.
Validor:  (nods)  These trees are...puny.  Stunted, unhealthy-looking.
  They almost look rotten.
Halbarad:  Actually, I meant that it was strange because there are no
  animals, no bugs...nothing's making any noise.
Peyote:  (looking around)  I don't think there's anything here to _make_
Halbarad:  Exactly.
Leila:  Well, a lack of life on this island just makes it easier to
Eyer:  Stop playing the fool.  (he looks around warily)  A lack of life
  on this island should make us ask _why_.
Leila:  Point taken, but-
Halbarad:  (silences everyone with a hand motion, pointing to the nearby
  tree line)

  The ranger's keen eyes had spotted something moving through the wet
foliage...something moving slowly and deliberately...something that
blended in perfectly with the plant life around it.

Rillen:  What?
Halbarad:  Look - there.
Eyer:  I see it too!
Peyote:  Whoa!  It's a...a plant-guy!
Validor:  Looks more like seaweed to me.
Relmar:  (eyeing the creature, a sagely look on his lean face)  It's not
  undead, that I can tell you.

  Even as they spoke, the group had spread out and readied weapons, for
they had no idea what they now faced.  It looked like an amorphous, five-
foot-tall mass of animated plants - or perhaps seaweed as Validor had
suggested - except that it walked.  With every move that it made, the
hundreds of long, narrow green ribbons that made up its body glistened

thing:  (slowly shuffling toward them)  ruuuurk.
Peyote:  Hey, this thing reminds me of the fungus that walked like a man.
Rillen:  You weren't even there for that!
Peyote:  (shrugs)  That doesn't mean I don't know a fungus that walks like
  a man when I see a fungus that walks like a man.
Eyer:  It's going to die like one, if it comes much closer.
Validor:  It's clearly plant life, but-  eh?
Peyote:  (takes a step toward the thing, smiling and holding his arms out
  wide)  Greetings, green brother!
thing:  (changes direction slightly, heading toward the half-elf)  rrrk.
Peyote:  (stands there)
Halbarad:  I wouldn't do that.
Daffodil:  (to Peyote)  Uhh...honey, I'm not sure that's the best-
thing:  ruuuurk.  (it raises its "arms")

  Suddenly, the thing was a blur of motion, as strands of its greenish-
brown, fibrous limbs shot outward and wrapped themselves around Peyote's
neck, waist, and arms!

Peyote:  Hey!

  In the blink of an eye, the plant-thing had transferred itself (for
lack of a better word) onto the half-elf, covering his body with long,
clinging strands of vegetation.

Peyote:  (lets out a vague, muffled yelling as he struggles)

  Whatever the thing was made out of, it was strong - the half-elf was
unable to break free, or even bring his sword-arm to bear.

Eyer:  That's what he gets for being so naive.
Daffodil:  We've got to help him, before he suffocates, or worse!  (she
  darts in her husband's direction, staff in hand)
Halbarad:  Everyone - beware!

  While the party had been preoccupied with the thing, others of its
kind had begun moving into a flanking position; seven others now formed
a half-circle around the explorers.  Given a few more moments, they would
have surrounded the group completely.  As it was, things could have been one of the party made it so.

Relmar:  (waves his hands, and a blinding light issues forth in an arc,
  catching about half of the foes in the intense light)
plant-things:  (those in the path of the attack stop advancing, their
  "limbs" quivering wildly)
Relmar:  By Pelor's grace.  (he nods)  I've never known a plant that
  didn't react to light.
Eyer:  I've never known a plant, period.
Relmar:  (scowls at the elf)
Rillen:  (wiping his eyes, quite annoyed)  Next time you're going to do
  that, please warn us first.
Relmar:  My apologies.  (he lashes out with his mace, which is glowing,
  and hits one of the things in the face, igniting its head)  My apologies.
Rillen:  (grumbling, he readies his staff as the spots clear from his
  vision)  No apologies needed - let's just take these things out.
Halbarad:  Damn right.  (he raises his axe and eyes the nearest of the

next:      the secret of the plant-things
released:  2/4/05
notes:     This was one of those episodes that wrote itself.  Better yet
  (in my opinion) I didn't consult any damned character sheets, rules,
  stats, etc.  I tried to show a little humor as well as action and
    Next episode, we'll finish up at the island and they'll be off and
  sailing which point I'll put them on hold for a while and
  turn my attention to Mongo, Alindyar, and the gruesome goings-on at

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