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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! +
+ Belphanior 15th/15th/15th level elven fighter/wizard/thief +
+ Elgon 8th/9th/11th level deep gnome priest/illusionist/thief +
+ Jenna 9th level human female priestess of Istus +
+ Otto 10th/13th level dwarven fighter/thief +
+ Razor Charlie 11th level human fighter +
+ Skektek 13th level human wizard +
+ wispy thing strange, intangible sentient being +
+ Ys 14th level reptilian fighter +
+ Drak 14th level human barbarian warrior +
+ Neera 11th level human female sage/astrologer +
+ Parekh 18th level human female wizard +
+ Date: 7/6/580 C.Y. (Common Year) +
+ Time: late afternoon +
+ Place: Parekh's home (exact location unknown) +
+ Climate: cool and pleasant +
+ "Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be +
+ strong to live as well as think." +
+ - Ralph Waldo Emerson +
DCCCXC. Grim Prognosis
After finding the reptilian warrior Ys comatose, thanks to a weird
magical helmet, Belphanior and the others are now waiting outside the
laboratory where Parekh and Jenna are trying to revive their friend...
Belphanior: Dammit. I can't believe that something like this even
happened. I mean, we weren't even in a dungeon!
Drak: It's funny how things work out sometimes...but I'm sure he'll
Razor Charlie: (grimacing at no one in particular)
Otto: On the good side, at least this isn't an actual wound, like if
he got bitten or gutted or clawed.
Skektek: At least we'd know how to deal with that.
Belphanior: On the bad side, whatever's happened to him isn't anything
tangible, or known to us.
Elgon: Let's just hope that Jenna and Parekh know what they're doing.
Belphanior: Both are experienced in their professions. Ys couldn't
be in better hands.
wispy thing: (looking rather sad) sprrd.
Eventually, after what seemed like hours, Parekh and Jenna emerged
from the laboratory.
Jenna: There's good news and bad news.
Belphanior: Let's hear it.
Parekh: The good news is that his consciousness is intact - in fact,
we know exactly where it went: it's inside the helmet.
Otto: Crap. What's the bad news?
Jenna: We don't know how to get it transferred back.
Belphanior: So this...helmet is some kind of cursed soul-stealing
Parekh: Best guess...yes.
Otto: We'd better find Neera - she took the helm.
Skektek: Hopefully it won't get her too.
Jenna: That's not funny.
Skektek: I'm serious. Consider: what if you don't have to put the
thing on in order for it to steal your soul? What if it can just do
that on its own?
Belphanior: Shit. (he runs in the direction Neera went)
Fortunately, all was well; Neera had put the helm on a table and was
busy with some books at another table. The helm was immediately moved
into the laboratory where Ys lay, comatose.
Otto: (eyeing the floating sphere which now holds the helm) What use
is entrapping the helm in a bubble?
Parekh: That's for our own protection. I doubt that the helm, even if
it's sentient, can affect or break the bubble. If it can, at least
we'll have some warning.
Belphanior: So, what now?
Parekh: Now, we devote ourselves full-time to figuring out a way to
bring Ys' consciousness - err, soul - out of the helm and back into
Belphanior: How long do you think it will take?
Parekh: (sternly) You know enough about magic and curses to realize
that I can't give a definite answer to that question. It could be a
day, or it could be a week. (she frowns) Given what we've seen so
far, I don't expect to learn anything before at _least_ a week.
Neera: It will definitely take longer if we have people standing around
asking questions and otherwise getting in the way.
Belphanior: Whoa, whoa...no harm intended!
Parekh: (smiles calmly) We'll handle it, and we'll do our very best.
In the meantime, you should find something else to occupy yourself.
Neera: (nods) Can't you just go explore some more of those gateways
Belphanior: But- (he pauses) Hmm.
Shortly, Belphanior had gathered the others in another room.
Jenna: Back into the gateways? But what about Ys?
Belphanior: You heard Parekh and Neera: there's nothing we can do to
help. They need us to stay out of their way...and we might as well
accomplish something useful in the process.
Otto: He's got a point.
Razor Charlie: (busy checking the edge on one of his knives, he simply
Skektek: Hey, I'm all for it.
Elgon: I don't object either, but...well, forgive me if this is a stupid
question, but without Ys, aren't we a little short in the brute-force
Belphanior: We sure are, but I have an idea about how to solve that
Otto: Does your solution happen to wield a very powerful hammer?
Belphanior: (grins) Yes, he does.
After informing Drak of their intentions - Belphanior didn't want to
disturb Parekh right now - the adventurers gathered outside.
Otto: You can teleport us to Greyhawk, right?
Belphanior: (frowns) I should damn well hope so.
Otto: (shrugs apologetically) It's just been so long since we used our
own magic to go anywhere...between the gateways and Parekh's help.
Belphanior: We'll be fine. (he surveys the group, which now consists
of himself, Otto, Skektek, Razor Charlie, Elgon, and Jenna, and the
wispy thing) Jenna, I think you might be better off staying here...
in case they need your particular magic.
Jenna: That's fine. I've never seen Greyhawk, but there will be other
times. Besides, this isn't a sightseeing trip, I'd wager.
Belphanior: You'd wager correctly.
Jenna: Well...good luck. We'll be here waiting, hopefully with good
Belphanior: I don't expect to be gone more than a day, though the Free
City would be a good place to stock up on supplies, do some trading
of magic items, and so on.
Jenna: In that case, I'm tempted to give you my mace, so you can see
what sort of useful item could be had in a barter...but no. I need
to deal with that myself, and with Istus' guidance and blessing.
Belphanior: Suit yourself. We'll be back either tonight or tomorrow.
Belphanior began casting a spell of teleportation, and a very short
time later, the six arrived on a plain outside Greyhawk. From the low
hillock on which they now stood, they could see the Free City's many
towers and walls, as well as the bustle of activity at the multiple
gates that led into the place.
Elgon: Why not just arrive inside? It would save us a bit of walking.
Belphanior: There are too many magi in this city, and they frown upon
people teleporting in and out. (he smirks) Not that I care, really,
but we're here for a quick mission and I don't want complications.
Otto: Yeah, better safe than sorry.
Belphanior: (recalling certain escapades from the past) Complications
in Greyhawk can be...bad.
Skektek: So can getting in our way.
Razor Charlie: (twirls a knife in one hand, grimacing all the while as
he glares at the great city ahead)
Belphanior: (looks at Razor Charlie, then back at the city) Yes. My
thoughts exactly, Charlie. My thoughts exactly.
next: lots of guest-stars
notes: It's official: I'm sticking with Belphanior and his people
through episode 900. This arc, as you should know by now, is the one
I favor, just as Belphanior is the protagonist I favor. There may be
one exception: episode 896's release date will fall on Friday 28
October, which means it may be a horror-themed Halloween story. I'm
not making any guarantees, but the notion of such a story is definitely
stuck in my head, so the odds are good.
previous chapter (#889)
next chapter (#891)