Chapter #859

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

+     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        +
+   Relmar          18th level human high priest of Pelor                 +
+   Validor         11th level human wizard (sage/astrologer)             +
+   Date:           6/15/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                           +
+   Time:           late afternoon                                        +
+   Place:          a small isle amidst the Solnor Ocean                  +
+   Climate:        warm and rainy                                        +
+   "We all agree that your theory is crazy, but is it crazy enough?"     +
+                                                          - Niels Bohr   +

                    DCCCLIX.  An Island Like No Other

  The exploratory shore party has come under attack by some sort of weird

Halbarad:  (hacks at one of the four foes blinded by Relmar's light-ray
  spell)  Die,

  The ranger's axe had passed clean through the thing's leafy body,
causing it to nearly fold over for a moment, before the fibrous leaves
knitted themselves together and the thing stood up again.  Halbarad,
meanwhile, was off-balance and nearly fell over due to the force of his

Halbarad:  What?!?  (he backs away from a second creature)
Daffodil:  Allow me.  (she chants something in the druidic language, and
  points at the things)

  The plant-creatures paused in their advance, all of them turning to
face the druidess - or the best equivalent, since they didn't really have
faces.  The effect of her spell didn't last, though; a moment later, they
were resuming their attacks.

Rillen:  (finds that his staff has no effect on the plant-things' bodies)
  Dammit!  (to Songa)  I think that the best I can do is block their
plant-thing #6:  (wraps several long leaves around the warrior's staff,
  and tries to wrest it from his grasp)
Rillen:  (pulling back)  These things are _strong_.
Songa:  (swipes with her bladed spear, slashing through the fronds that
  grip her husband's weapon)
Rillen:  (watches the severed leaves float to the ground, apparently
  inanimate)  Thanks...(he backs up as the foe moves toward him)

  Daffodil, meanwhile, had reached Peyote, who was entrapped by the
first plant-thing they'd encountered.  The half-elf was standing up,
but wobbling, as his arms and head were mostly covered by the long
leaves of the attacking foe.

plant-thing #1:  (having drawn close to its victim, it seems to be trying
  to become one with him, like a wrapper covering something within)
Peyote:  Grmph!
Daffodil:  (raises her staff)  You'll thank me for this later.  (she
  whacks him with all her might, while speaking a word of power)

  Aside from being sentient, the druidess' staff possessed a number of
powers - some of them involving lightning, one of the primal forces
that the druids had some control over.  As the weapon struck Peyote and
his leafy attacker, it unleashed a tremendous burst of lightning, which
was accompanied by a bright flash and a loud thunderclap.

Rillen:  (busy swatting at another foe with his staff, he nearly falls
  over from the concussion)  Damn, woman!
Daffodil:  (darts into the smoking blast area)  Peyote?
Peyote:  (sitting on the ground, dazed)  Whoa!

  Daffodil had been counting on the fact that most druids (especially
higher-ranked ones) had a strong resistance to certain elements, among
them lightning and fire.  The half-elf was stunned, and his hair was
singed, but he was alive.  The same couldn't be said for the creature
that had been attacking him...

plant-thing #1:  (lying around the half-elf, in charred, curled strips)
Daffodil:  (yells out to the others)  Lightning hurts them - that probably
  means fire will work, too!
Songa:  (stabbing at a foe, rather ineffectually)  Well, that's good news
  for those of us who fight with weapons.
Leila:  No, it's good news for people like me.  (she launches a sheet of
  flame, taking out three of the creatures, all of which burst into flame,
  their wet, leafy bodies producing thick green smoke)
Songa:  Hm.

  Meanwhile, Eyer was dodging the thrashing "limbs" of another attacker...

Eyer:  (slashes at a mass of long, thin leaves that gropes at him)  Ha!
plant-thing #6:  (backs up for a moment, as the severed bits of leaf fall
  to the ground...and then moves again toward the elf, its body flowing
  and re-forming)
Eyer:  Damn.  (he charges toward the thing, then deftly leaps _over_ it,
  spinning in the air even as he lands)  Hi-ya!  (he plants a perfect
  backstabbing strike right where the thing's head would be if it was a
  real person)
plant-thing #6:  (turns, unimpeded, and advances on the elf again)
Eyer:  (leaps back, wondering if he has time to get his bow out and use
  flaming arrows)
Relmar:  (steps in, smashing the creature with his mace and igniting its
  body)  Never fear, old friend.  The power of Pelor is its own flame.
Eyer:  Thanks for the save.  (he points at another of the things)  Watch
  your flank, there.

  With the secret to the plant-things' defeat now revealed, it wasn't
long before all of them were burning.  The thick, greenish-brown smoke
had an oily appearance and an odd smell.

Peyote:  (sucks in a breath, preparing to inhale deeply)
Daffodil:  (pulls him back, away from the burning plant-things)
Peyote:  What?  I didn't inhale...
Validor:  Just as well - who knows what harm those things can cause, even
  in death.
Halbarad:  Can something be dead, if it was never really alive?
Eyer:  Who cares?
Relmar:  They were not evil, that much is for sure.  Perhaps they were
Validor:  Intelligent plant life, out in the middle of the ocean.  Most
  fascinating.  Fortunately, they were not difficult to defeat.
Songa:  That's easy for you to say - you didn't actually do anything
  during the fight.
Validor:  I was studying them, searching for a weakness.
Daffodil:  (smirks)

  Just then, the banter was suddenly cut short as the ground started

Peyote:  What?!?
Eyer:  (nimbly maintaining his balance as the tremors get worse)  Feels
  like the whole island's shaking.
Halbarad:  (eyeing the _Odyssey_, in the distance)  Maybe we should get

  The tremors didn't stop, or slowly grow weaker, as tremors often do.
Rather, they got stronger; it was becoming a serious challenge to stay
standing, even for the more dextrous among the party.

Leila:  Back to the boat, now!  We're leaving!
Validor:  (trying to unfurl his flying carpet, he instead falls to the
Rillen:  (scoops the old man up and tosses him over his shoulder)
Songa:  (grabs the carpet)  Ungh.  This damn thing probably weighs more
  than he does.

  After several stumbles and falls, everyone made it to the boat, and
they cast off, rowing hard.  Getting away seemed more difficult than it
should have been, almost as if the current was fighting their attempt to escape.

Halbarad:  This is the strongest tide I've ever seen...or an undercurrent.
Rillen:  Keep rowing!  We don't know what's happening on that island.
Peyote:  Maybe it's a volcano, whose time has come to erupt.
Validor:  (completes a quick, simple spell, and the boat begins moving
  a bit faster through the water)
Songa:  What was that?
Validor:  Just a little something to ease the boat's path.
Halbarad:  It's working - good job.

  As they drew away from the island, and moved toward the _Odyssey_, the
entire island shook, churning the water around it.

Eyer:  Something's not right there.
Peyote:  Is it just me, or is the whole island...moving?
Rillen:  Much as I'd like to say it's just you, you're right.
Halbarad:  It's moving away...what the hell...?!?
Daffodil:  Uh, is that a _foot_?
Peyote:  Only if that's a head on the other side...
Validor:  (nodding)  Ahhh.  It all makes sense now.

  As the "island" moved away, it had become apparent that it wasn't an
island at all - but rather a gigantic turtle!  Hundreds of feet across,
its shell had accumulated plant growth to the point where it didn't
resemble a shell at all.  Floating there in the ocean, with its huge legs
and head tucked in, the titanic creature had appeared to be a small mass
of land.

Daffodil:  That explains why all of the vegetation was soaking wet.
Rillen:  It had been raining all day - we had no way to know.
Validor:  And those creatures must be some sort of sentient underwater
  seaweed.  I'll bet they inhabit the area atop the shell - plenty of
  food would come there, above water or below.
Halbarad:  (watching the thing recede into the horizon)  Hmm.

  Aboard the _Odyssey_, others were watching as well...

Kiel:  (lowers a spyglass, somewhat impressed)  Well, you don't see that
  every day.

next:      Greyspire
released:  2/11/05
notes:     It's been nine episodes of this, so I'm going to move on to
  Greyspire.  I think the bulk of the big ocean voyage is over - I've
  done most of the things I wanted to do with it, before they find the
  real land (the new continent, new world, whatever.)
    To prepare yourself for the return to the Greyspire arc, re-read
  episode 843, which is the last time we saw Mongo, Alindyar, et al.

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