Chapter #86

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                                +
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                          +           +
                        +               +
                      +                   +
                    +                       +
                  +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                    +                       +
                      +                   +
                        +               +
                          +           +
                            +       +
                              +   +
                                +



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1993 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to any   +
+  persons or characters either real or fictional is utterly  +
+  coincidental.  Copying and/or distribution of these tales  +
+  is permissible only under the sole condition that no part  +
+  of them will be used or sold for profit.  In that case, I  +
+  hope you enjoy them...                                     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      11th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra        7th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior     8th/8th/9th level high elf w/m/t    (CN)   +
+   Ged            9th/9th level grey elf priest/mage  (NG)   +
+      Arnold      7th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+   Mongo          9th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        12th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen         9th level human warrior              (N)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:   7/17/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                       +
+   Time:   late morning                                      +
+   Place:  the Underdark                                     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                   LXXXVI.  Remnants





  The party has fled from an indestructible golem, and
now stands ready to continue along the main passage of
the cave/tunnel that they are in.

Mongo:  We'd better hope that big fucker doesn't find
  a way to get through the rubble...
Peldor:  Yeah.  Who knows if he's not digging away the
  boulders this very minute?
Rillen:  I neither know nor care, myself.
Ged:  (irritably)  Come on, let's get moving.

  They traveled for about a mile before anything was
found.  The adventurers came upon a number of corpses,
all long since rotted.  Their heads, or what was left
of them, looked like they had been torn open, and many
bloody stains decorated the floor.

Ged:  Boccob!
Peldor:  (points into the misty darkness ahead)  Look!
  Something's coming!

  Indeed, it was.  The monstrosity that ambled toward
them was eight feet in height.  It was humanoid, but
covered in scales that glistened with a sickly green
color.  The thing's head had two large, round, yellow
eyes - alien eyes - and a cluster of foot-long pink
tentacles instead of a mouth.  But for these features,
it might have been a large lizard man.

Alindyar:  'Tis a yig!  An illithid slave!
Lyra:  (shivers)
Mongo:  What the fuck does it do?
Alindyar:  It devours brains from living victims...
Ged:  Never!  (points his wand, which has had a lot
  of time to regenerate its arcane power, at the
  beast)  Axui!
yig:  (suddenly sheathed in flames, screams an
  unearthly scream as it writhes in agony)
Mongo:  Brainsucker!  Die!  (throws his hammer at
  the burning monster, felling it)
yig:  (its corpse continues to burn)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  What's an illithid,
  anyway?
Alindyar:  A mind flayer.  _They_ eat brains, as well.
  'Tis a good thing that you dispatched the yig from
  afar, priest.
Ged:  Why's that?
Alindyar:  Because at close ranges, it is capable of
  psionically holding victims still, as it devours
  their brains.
Ged:  Oh.  Well, I'm glad I roasted it, too.  (looks
  at his wand, which is sputtering again)  Boccob
  damn it!  The wand seems empty still.
Belphanior:  Maybe you need to let it recharge its
  power longer.  Like for a whole day...
Ged:  Perhaps that is it.  (puts the wand away)
  Boccob will help in the matter.
Mongo:  (he and Rillen lead the party forward)  I
  don't see any monsters ahead.
Belphanior:  (using his sword)  I detect souls,
  folks.  Five of them!
Ged:  Evil fiends, no doubt.

  Suddenly, the adventurers were blasted by waves
of intense mental energy from somewhere up ahead.
Lyra and Arnold succumbed to the attack, falling
to the floor, stunned, but the others were okay.
Five mind flayers were faintly visible ahead, their
tentacled mouths squirming in anticipation.  They
were standing spread out in a line, apparently to
be able to cover the entire party with their mind-
blasts.

Mongo:  Argh!  My head's _killing_ me!  (hurls his
  hammer at one of the illithids)
illithid#1:  (hit, reels)  Ssssss!  (a huge red
  bruise appears on its shoulder, which may be
  broken now)
Mongo:  Hah!  You fucker!  (catches his hammer)
Rillen:  (begins swinging his sling)
Ged:  (struck by a sudden idea, he digs in his
  pocket for his magical figurines)
Alindyar:  (begins spellcasting)  It matters not
  anyhow.  Illithids are all but _immune_ to all
  magic...
Belphanior:  (charges the flayers)
Peldor:  (invisible, moves toward the flayers)

Ged:  (speaks a command word, and two golden
  lions appear)  Kill those creatures!  (he
  points at the flayers)
lions: (charge)  Roar!
Belphanior:  (charging, watches the lions as
  they bound by him)  Huh?
Rillen:  (fires a magical sling stone at the
  illithids, and it explodes in a green blast
  of acid, spraying three of the creatures)
illithid#2:  (moderately wounded)  Sssssss!
illithid#3:  (critically wounded)  Ssssaaaaa!
illithid#4:  (seriously wounded)  Ssssssaaas!
Rillen:  (admiring the power of the sling
  stones that he has, though he only has a red
  one and a black one left)  Good stones.
lion#1:  (leaps onto illithid#5, mauling it)
  Rowwwr!
lion#2:  (skirts some acid and attacks the
  dazed illithid#4, tearing away huge chunks
  of its slimy flesh)  Roar!  Snarl!
illithid#4:  (perishes)
Alindyar:  (casts Domination, to no avail -
  the flayers ignore his spell)  Damn.  (gets
  his staff of striking ready and walks in
  the illithids' direction)
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer at illithid#1 again,
  wounding it badly)  Slimy scumbag!
illithid#1:  (hissing, and bleeding badly, it
  launches another blast of mental energy)
Rillen:  (stunned, drops his sling and falls)
lion#2:  (stunned, collapses)
illithid#2:  (fires its mental blast again,
  aiming at whatever adventurers happen to be
  within the arc in front of its face)  Ssss!
Ged:  (stunned, falls)
lion#1:  (stunned, topples onto its side)
Belphanior:  (wildly slashes illithid#3, and
  slays it)  Ahhhhh.  (sits still and absorbs
  the power of the evil creature's life force)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer, and throws it
  again)  Shit!  They're knocking everybody
  out!
illithid#1:  (perishes, smashed into pulp)
Peldor:  (tries to backstab illithid#5, but
  misses; perhaps it knew that he was there)

  Thus, Alindyar, Belphanior, Mongo, and the
now-visible Peldor faced two somewhat wounded
mind flayers.  The adventurers were spread out
widely, following Alindyar's advice, to avoid
having several of them get caught in the same
mental blast.

Mongo:  What if they knock all of us out?
Alindyar:  Then...our brains will become their
  dinner.
Belphanior:  Ugh.
Mongo:  Fuck _that_!
illithid#2:  Ssssss!  (fires a mental blast at
  some of the remaining adventurers)
Alindyar:  (saves, and advances, staff raised)
  You shall have to do better than that, foul
  fiend.
Belphanior:  (fails to save, stunned, falls)
illithid#5:  (fires another mental blast at
  the others)  Hssssssss!
Mongo:  (fails, stunned)  Damn it all!  (falls
  to the floor)
Peldor:  (saves easily, and goes invisible
  once more)
illithid#2:  (flagellates in worry)
Alindyar:  (closes with the monster, and takes
  a swing at it)
illithid#2:  (hit solidly)  SSSSS!
Rillen:  (watching while stunned on the floor,
  makes a mental note to teach the drow proper
  staff technique, if they get out of this
  alive)
illithid#5:  (looks around, trying to sense
  Peldor's location)  Sssss?
Peldor:  (telekineses the creature's hood up
  over its head, as he stalks it invisibly)
illithid#5:  (panics, but manages to get the
  hood off fairly quickly)  Ssss.
Peldor:  (makes his move, chopping the thing's
  head clean off, from behind)  Hah!  (turns
  visible)

illithid#2:  (determines Peldor to be the more
  serious threat, and turns to blast him next)
Peldor:  (fails his save, stunned, falls)
Alindyar:  (wallops the distracted illithid
  hard with the staff, expending three charges
  and braining it)  So!
illithid#2:  (dies, surprised)
Alindyar:  Arrogant fool.  (straightens his
  robes, and turns to regard the party, which
  is lying about, all stunned)  Hmm.

  Eventually, the illithids' mental blasts
wore off, and the adventurers were back on
their feet again.  There was a large, neatly
cut niche in the side of the main passage,
and it had five doors as well as two large
cells (these were secured by portculli).  The
main passage itself was blocked ahead by a
thick stone wall, into the middle of which
were set a series of two portculli.  These
blocked further movement down the passage.
  As Alindyar had mentioned days ago (could
it only have been days?), the illithids' lair
had walls and ceilings that were radically
different from the main passage.  The black
stonelike material was convoluted in twisting
and swirling patterns, which gave one a bad
headache just from looking at it for a while.
The chaotic construction of these walls quite
clearly bespoke insanity - or worse.
  The cells were checked first; one contained
dozens of weak-looking goblins, who looked at
the party with great hunger; the second cell
held a few dozen miserable-looking kobolds.
The five doors led to illithid quarters, and
the adventurers searched these with gusto,
all in all finding the following items (Ged's
spell of magic detection revealed the magical
ones, marked with a *) :

dresser of strange wood
six brains in brine
old spinal cord
potion *
book *
cowboy hat *   (the fact that cowboys were unknown
                   on Oerth is irrelevant)
grey robes
diamond pendant
jar of eyeballs
chime *
ring
green cloaks
emerald coin
small bowl *
strange tooth
blue hood
eight sapphires
ring
potion in diamond bottle *
half-eaten brain
red robe
trapped chest (Mongo, in his overeagerness, got
                  a bit of a shock from this)
five-inch wide ruby
burnt book
mummified elven hand
silver harmonica *
drow spellbook *
heavy crossbow *
battle axe *
dwarven chain mail *



  The adventurers barely had time to wonder how an
illithid could possibly have played a harmonica,
for the fifth illithid living area also had an
exit, which led to a room of smaller cells.
  The first of these held a pale, sick-looking
(relatively) illithid, who screamed at the party
in its strange language.  The second held a dead,
green, bloated, scaly, fishy-looking creature,
which Alindyar and Lyra were able to identify
as a kuo-toa, another of the native races of
the Underdark.  The third cell held a male
drow, who was very ragged-looking and bloody.
The fourth held a grumbling dwarf, who fumed
and made faces when he saw the party.

illithid:  Auuuuuur!
drow:  (in drow language)  Let me out of this
  place, my kin!  You must set me free!
dwarf:  Who the hell are YOU people?!?
Ged:  (casts Detect Lie and Know Alignment)
Alindyar:  (ignoring the drow)
illithid:  Wauuuuurrrr!
drow:  (in drow still)  I am Titus Noquar, of
  the Noquar family.  You simply _must_ let
  me out of here.
Lyra:  (in drow)  Calm down.
Ged:  (points to the drow in the cell)  He is
  not lying - but he IS evil.
Alindyar:  Oh.
illithid:  Uuuuuuuuuaaaaarrr.  (begins trying
  in vain to reach through the cell's bars and
  grab the dead kuo-toa's head with its facial
  tentacles)  Sssssluuuuurp!
Alindyar:  That one appears to be hungry.
Lyra:  Obviously, its mental powers are lost to
  it, else it would have used them on us by now.
Alindyar:  Agreed.
Belphanior:  Yeah!  Then we'd have to kill it.
  (wonders if eating an illithid brain would
  boost his intelligence)
Ged:  (addresses the dwarf in the cell)  Who
  might you be?
dwarf:  I?  I am Flint Firelips.  I was here
  to spy on some tribe of goblins, when they
  ganged up on me, and captured me.  But a
  day after that, _they_ got captured, by the
  flayers.  Damned flayers!  I'll kill them all
  when I get out of here!
Ged:  This one tells the truth.  And he is of
  Good alignment.
Mongo:  (smashes the lock to the dwarf's cell
  and yanks the door open)  You are free to
  go.
Flint Firelips:  Thanks!  (leaps out of the
  cell and dances about in joy)
illithid:  Braaauuuuuuuug!
Ged:  (regards the mind flayer)  That one is
  Evil for sure, but I can't tell if he is
  lying or not.  Mainly because I don't have
  the slightest idea what it is he's saying...
Alindyar:  He looks insane to me.
drow in cell:  Oh, come now!  You cannot just
  leave me here.  With _him_.  (points to the
  illithid, who is now licking the walls of
  its cell)  I would soon be as insane as he
  is!
illithid:  Druuuuuuuuuuaug.
Ged:  Hey, he's not lying!  The illithid _is_
  insane!
illithid:  Raaaauuuuuuuurgha!
drow in cell:  (covers his ears)  Argh!  I can
  take it no longer!  If you shall not free me
  then at least grant me a quick death!
Belphanior:  (moves to oblige)  Okay.
Ged:  (stops the elf)  We must discuss this.

  The party moved to another chamber and had a
debate.  After a bit, it was decided to first
gather all the treasure, and be ready to move
onward.  At that time, the drow would be freed,
as well as the illithid and the goblins and
kobolds.  All would be told to go the opposite
way than that of the party.  To make things
fair, the drow would be given a headstart, so
as not to be overtaken by the hordes of small
humanoids.  The illithid would be given less
of a headstart.  This seemed the best way to
free the various creatures, yet give each a
chance of survival; it took the adventurers a
full fifteen minutes to come up with the plan.
  The treasure was gathered, though Flint the
dwarf insisted that the chain mail, crossbow,
and battle axe were his (Ged's spell verified
this claim to be true).  These items were then
returned to the dwarf, who armored and armed
himself before asking if anyone would loan him
some food.  Mongo and Flint began talking while
they had a snack.  Eventually, Flint Firelips
asked for, and was granted, permission to come
with the party, for his own safety.
  Peldor decided to reorganize his pack, and
was astonished to find that several items from
the backpack were missing.  His magical pipes
and medallion were gone.  Belphanior claimed to
know nothing (which Ged drily verified as the
truth), and Peldor began to suspect the large
metallic egg, which he had earlier stashed in
his backpack.  He cursed the thing, to no avail,
for the egg didn't appear to be listening.
  When it was time to go, Peldor operated a
pair of levers on the wall near the double
portculli (those blocking further progress
in the main tunnel), and both gates opened.
Belphanior, being nimble as well as a warrior,
volunteered to run back and open the cells.
The party watched to ensure that the drow
would not attack (Alindyar had explained the
deal to him earlier).  Shortly, the drow ran
away, looking disdainfully back at the party,
and vanished down the tunnel in the direction
the adventurers had come.  Mere moments later,
the illithid stumbled out of its cell, ignoring
Belphanior as it lurched and swayed about,
moaning in its insanity.

Belphanior:  (near the goblin cells)  Hmmmm.
  Stand back, you vermin.  (begins picking
  the lock, and has it open in a second but
  doesn't tell them)  Okay, when I say it's
  okay, you may open your cell and flee.  If
  you try to attack me or my friends...well,
  we'll blast you into ashes.  Or feed you to
  _him_!  (points to the illithid, which is
  presently engaged in eating a rock)
illithid:  Graaaaaaaurg.
goblins:  (recoil, scared)
Belphanior:  (unlocks the kobolds' cell and
  gives them the same warning)

nearby...

Ged:  what in Boccob's name is taking him so
  long?!?

at the cells...

Belphanior:  (to both groups)  The cells are
  now open.  Flee, before I destroy you all!
  (his eyes glow bright red)  Ha ha ha!

  The others first saw Belphanior sprinting
toward them, though the drow and illithid had
only been freed a minute ago.  Then, all of
the goblins and kobolds ran after the drow,
sideskirting the confused illithid.

Belphanior:  Come on!  (he dashes through
  the gates)
Peldor:  (uses his ring to pull the lever and
  lower the portculli)  There.
Ged:  What happened to the delay on the mob
  of humanoids?
Belphanior:  I felt the need to promote chaos.
  What better way to do it?  Besides, that drow
  needed to be challenged!
Lyra:  Hmph.

  The party chose this time to split the magical
items that they had gained thus far.  This time,
Alindyar won first draw, while it was Mongo who
picked last.



THE MAGICAL ITEMS (in order of appearance) :

medallion               - Mongo
melon                   - Lyra
4 blue vials            - Ged, Arnold, Alindyar x2
tiny bell               - Peldor
tube of green paste     - Rillen
blanket                 - Lyra
dice                    - Belphanior
boots                   - Arnold
wand                    - Belphanior
potion from flayers     - Lyra
book                    - Ged
cowboy hat              - Peldor
chime                   - Belphanior
bowl                    - Mongo
potion in diamond vial  - Rillen
harmonica               - Ged
drow spellbook          - Alindyar



  The group walked through the tunnel and away
from the illithid lair.  After ten minutes,
everyone sensed that something bad was about
to happen, but the huge passage was empty for
as far as the eye could see.

Rillen:  Why is the ground shaking like that?
Mongo:  Earthquake?
Belphanior:  (stares at a sizzling drop of red
  fluid that just fell on his shoulder)  ....
  Everybody RUN!  Run like hell!

  Without warning, molten lava fell from the
ceiling in great globs, splattering all of the
adventurers and igniting some of them.  While
some of the falling matter was no more than
flaming liquid, other bits were heavy rocks.
The party ran forward as fast as they could,
some members helping others who had fallen or
were trapped.  They all made it through, but
there was a high pile of bubbling lava behind
them, effectively blocking any return in the
direction they came from.  Whether the lava
was a trap, a spell, or a coincidence was not
known - but the adventurers were in bad shape.
All were wounded, some badly, and each had
lost a few items (both normal as well as magical
items) to the boiling lava and heavy rocks.  In
fact, it was nothing short of miraculous that
they all survived the event...
  Extremely irritated, the group rested here
for two days.  Nothing came to bother them -
there were no strange sounds during the night,
or bad dreams.  After two mornings, they were
sufficiently rested and healed to travel onward.
However, they did not have far to go;  a mere
ten minutes' walk led them to a large metal door.
The huge main passage was blocked here, totally,
except for the (comparatively) small doorway.
Glistening black material, like that composing
the curving walls of the tunnel, rose vertically
around the door, neatly blocking off the tunnel.
The portal was fifteen feet high and eight feet
wide, and a strange rune was engraved on it.
Analysis of the black rune via magic revealed a
simple and direct meaning:  danger.





next time :  the ka-ka really hits the fan

ftp site  :  ccosun.caltech.edu, in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers

notes     :  ...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++






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