Chapter #901

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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       +
+   1991-2006 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!                                          +
+   Alindyar       18th level drow wizard                                 +
+   Bosco          13th level halfling thief                              +
+   Eduardo         4th level human thief                                 +
+   Felicia         4th level female human thief                          +
+   Lyra           14th level female drow wizard                          +
+   Peldor         20th level human thief                                 +
+   Tanya           5th/11th level female human fighter/thief             +
+   Vinnie          8th level human warrior                               +
+                                                                         +
+   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              +
+   Neera          11th level human female sage/astrologer                +
+   Otto           10th/13th level dwarven fighter/thief                  +
+   Razor Charlie  11th level human fighter                               +
+   Skektek        13th level human wizard                                +
+   wispy thing    strange, intangible sentient being                     +
+                                                                         +
+   Mongo          19th level dwarven warrior                             +
+   Date:          8/1/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                             +
+   Time:          early evening                                          +
+   Place:         the Green Dragon Inn, in the Free City of Greyhawk     +
+   Climate:       warm and pleasant                                      +
+   "Many people lose their tempers merely from seeing you keep yours."   +
+                                                    - Frank Moore Colby  +

                   CMI.  A Bit of a Temper

  The travelers, weary from their long trip, strolled into the familiar
inn/tavern, looking forward to some hot food, cold drink, and soft beds.

Vinnie:  (clasps Mongo's hand, then Belphanior's)  Welcome back!
Mongo:  Thanks.  (as he smells the food within the tavern's great room,
  his stomach rumbles with hunger)
Belphanior:  It's good to be back.  Is Peldor around?
Vinnie:  Not right now, but he should be back shortly.
Mongo:  Well, let's go ahead and start eating without him-
Vinnie:  Whoa, there.  You know the rules.
Mongo:  Rules?
Vinnie:  (points to the dwarf's hammer)  No weapons in the building.
  You can check them at the front door as usual.
Belphanior:  I don't think Peldor would mind-
Vinnie:  Maybe not, but rules are rules, until I hear otherwise from
  the boss himself.
Mongo:  To hell with that.  Anybody could come and take the weapons from
  your coat-room, or weapons-room, or whatever.
Vinnie:  It's quite safe and well-guarded, I assure you.
Mongo:  The safest place for my stuff is with me.  I'm not giving up my
Vinnie:  (shrugs)  Then you can't come in.
Mongo:  (looks up at the bouncer, his face set in a mask of defiance)
  Oh, really?
Vinnie:  (looks down at the dwarf, who he dwarfs)  Really.
Belphanior:  Uh...guys...
Neera:  (to Skektek)  Does this always happen?
Otto:  (to Mongo, quietly)  I'll stay with the weapons.
Mongo:  (still mouthing off to Vinnie)  -and I say that-  Huh?
Otto:  I said, I'll stay with the weapons.  I'm not hungry right now
  anyway, and this way, you - and all of us, in fact - will know that
  someone we trust is with our stuff.
Bosco:  (scampers over to the inn's front steps, excited)  Not hungry?
  How can you not be hungry?
Otto:  I had some bad trail mix or something the other stomach
  has been in knots.  (to Vinnie)  I'll stay with the weapons, and so
  everyone wins.  Is this an acceptable solution?
Vinnie:  Well-
Bosco:  Solution?  What's the problem?
Mongo:  This big ox wants me to leave my warhammer at the front door.
  Do you know how many people would just pounce on a chance to get hold
  of that weapon?
Vinnie:  Well, they wouldn't know it was there except that you're
  shouting that fact out to everyone in earshot-
Mongo:  Don't taunt me.  I smash down walls when I get mad-
Bosco:  Guys, guys, guys!  Sheez!  Everyone take a deep breath here...
  Vinnie, use the other room, the one next to the regular weapons room.
  Otto, we'll get you a chair and something to drink - or a bed, if you
  want - and you can stay with the whole group's weapons.  (he turns to
  Belphanior)  Does this work for you?
Belphanior:  It's fine for me and my group, but I can't speak for Mongo.
Otto:  (to Mongo, quietly)  And remember, you don't have to give up your
  belt, armor, or anything else - just the hammer.
Mongo:  (hands Stormcrest to Otto, grumbling under his breath)
Bosco:  Whew.
Belphanior:  (nods to Bosco, marveling at the halfling's diplomatic
Mongo:  Can we eat now?
Bosco:  Surely.  (he looks around, counting heads and stopping at
  Jenna)  Whoa!  Who are _you_?
Jenna:  I am Jenna, a high priestess of Istus.  (she regards the small
  demi-human oddly)
Bosco:  (breaks his gaze and beckons to Belphanior)  Table for many,
  coming right up, just follow me.  (he mutters to Mongo, quietly)  Hey,
  she likes what she sees, huh?
Mongo:  She's a weird one, Bosco.  Don't get your hopes up.  (he walks
  into the main room with the others, casting an angry look back at
Bosco:  (to Mongo)  Don't hold it against Vinnie.  He's just doing his
  job.  If he didn't, we could have all sorts of trouble around here.
Mongo:  If anything happens to my hammer, you _will_ have all sorts of
  trouble around here.

  The group, who numbered seven counting Bosco but not counting the
wispy thing, were soon seated at a large corner table.

Bosco:  You probably recognize this table - it's the owner's table, for
  only the finest guests!
Razor Charlie:  (grimaces)  I feel so special.
Skektek:  I'd feel more special if we had some food to eat.
Bosco:  Never fear, it's coming right up!
Belphanior:  (voicing a sudden suspicion)  Say, Bosco?
Bosco:  Eh?
Belphanior:  You haven't by any chance taken over the Green Dragon Inn,
  have you?
Bosco:  (his face brightens)  Hey!  How'd you know?
Belphanior:  Oh, just a hunch.
Mongo:  Taken over?  You?!?  (he roars with laughter)  When did this
  happen?  _How_ did this happen?
Bosco:  (puffs out his small chest proudly)  Peldor's too busy with
  his...other duties to do day-to-day stuff around here, so he enlisted
  me to help out.
Belphanior:  Weren't you already in charge of the casino?
Bosco:  Yeah, but this is something more...and different.  I guess you
  could say that Peldor's the owner, and I'm the manager.
Mongo:  Manager-in-training, sounds like.
Bosco:  Hey, everyone in charge of something has to start out somewhere.
  Speaking of which, I need to get some food to you people...

  The halfling made good on his promise; before they knew it, the table
was piled high with food and drink.  Though the fare was nothing fancy
(for roasting a duck took some time) the various breads, cheeses, and
such were a great feast for the adventurers, who had spent more than a
week on the road.

Belphanior:  That's one thing I really like about this place:  the food
  is always good.  Always.  Spring or autumn, day or night, slow week or
  hectic can still count on the food being good.
Bosco:  I'll tell the chef.  Leonardo loves to hear the praise.
Mongo:  You do that, Bosco.
Elgon:  (tearing into some cheese)  We don't have food like this where
  I come from.
Bosco:  Where do you come from?  You look a little odd for a gnome.  (he
  scratches his head)
Elgon:  (waggles a couple of fingers, and a small glowing butterfly
  appears and begins flitting around Bosco's head)
Bosco:  Hey!
wispy thing:  pffft!  (it begins chasing the butterfly)  spaaa!
Elgon:  (smirks)
wispy thing:  (suddenly stops chasing the illusion, and turns to regard
  the deep gnome)  eeeep.
Bosco:  (already chatting with Jenna again)  So, what are you doing

  Nearby, Belphanior had wandered over to the bar to talk with Tanya,
who was currently alone behind the bar and thus couldn't come over to
the table.

Belphanior:  -and so that's that.  We explored all of them and made it
  out alive and well...or reasonably so.  There is the matter of Ys.
Tanya:  I hope he's okay.  He always seemed nice.
Belphanior:  Unusually so, for an eight-foot-tall humanoid reptile.
Tanya:  You people are covered with road dust.  I didn't think you did
  much riding anymore...not with all the magic at your disposal?
Belphanior:  We chose to ride.  I don't like to teleport into Greyhawk,
  and we had some...errands to run first.  Nenya and Deryck send their
  greetings, by the way.
Tanya:  Did you see the baby?
Belphanior:  Of course.  It's a nice-looking kid, even at several months
  of age.  (frowns)  Hmm, I guess you'd call it a quarter-elf.  Or more
  accurately, a three-quarter-elf.
Tanya:  It's not an "it", but a "him"...and his ears aren't even pointed.
Belphanior:  Not yet, anyway.  Yeah, I was looking for some researching
  help from Nenya; I figured she might be able to help us figure out
  exactly what Ys' horned helmet is, which then might allow us to cure
  his condition.  I left it with her, but I'm guessing it could be a
  few weeks.
Tanya:  And you're staying in Greyhawk during that time?
Belphanior:  In, or around...I haven't decided.  (he eyes Neera, who's
  now making small talk at the table with the ever-persistent Bosco)

  The elf and Neera had decided to keep each other's company, at least
for now when there were no dangerous adventures going on.  They surely
must have seemed an odd couple - a ruthless adventurer and a genius
sage - but there was some attraction, its roots perhaps known only to
the two of them.  Otto, of course, had been silently concerned about this
union, as he thought it could only weaken Belphanior's effectiveness as
leader of the team.  For the time being, the dwarf had kept his concerns
to himself.

Tanya:  Well, I hope there won't be any trouble for you in Greyhawk.
Belphanior:  (not bothering to ask if she means between him and the
  city rulers, or between his group and the local law enforcement, he
  quickly changes the subject)  So...Bosco in charge, eh?
Tanya:  (sighs)  These things happen.  It was really the-
Peldor:  (strides into the room, accompanied by two dark elves and
  two teenagers)  Aha!  Now it's time to get this party started!
Mongo:  Alindyar!
Alindyar:  Aye.
Lyra:  (greeting those of the group who she's met previously)
Elgon:  (frowns as he sees dark elves, but stays his tongue, as it's
  obvious that these are friends who mean well)
Razor Charlie:  (shakes Eduardo's hand)  You got tall.
Eduardo:  (shrugs)  There's plenty to keep me busy here in Greyhawk.
Skektek:  You mean thieving work, eh?
Eduardo:  (smirks)  Could be.
Felicia:  Let's just say that there's plenty to do around here.
Lyra:  (to Skektek)  Where is Ys?  I can't help but notice his absence.
Skektek:  He's...well...he sort of fell victim to a cursed horned helm
  that he foolishly tried on.  He's in a coma, being looked after by
Lyra:  Oh.
Elgon:  (to Alindyar)  Well, this is certainly odd...a deep gnome and a
  dark elf, sitting at the same table among a circle of friends.
Alindyar:  'Tis only odd if common prejudices and attitudes are taken
  into consideration.
Elgon:  So true.  (he extends a hand)  I am Elgon.
Alindyar:  Ah, a fellow user of illusion.
Elgon:  (startled)  How did you know that?
Alindyar:  (smiles thinly)
Belphanior:  (to Tanya)  Forgive me, but I should go greet your husband.
Tanya:  Enjoy.  (she begins thinking about getting another bartender to
  relieve her, so she can join the group at the big table)


Peldor:  (looking around the table)  Wow.  The circle of friends grows
  every time we meet.
Mongo:  And we're still missing so many...Halbarad, Peyote, Rillen, Rob,
  Arnold...hey, where are all those guys, anyway?
Alindyar:  Many of them - Halbarad, Peyote, and Rillen, to be precise -
  have undertaken a great voyage to the eastern reaches of the world...
  I believe they departed months ago.  Rob is presumably still occupied
  with his religious duties.  Arnold is, of course, raising a family.
Bosco:  Of course.
Mongo:  Great voyage?  That sounds like a long, tough adventure.
Peldor:  And we haven't heard a single word from that group.  Hmm.
Tanya:  You're not thinking of going after them?
Belphanior:  I, for one, am too busy.
Peldor:  Me too.
Mongo:  They're big boys.  They can take care of themselves.  (he frowns)
  Unless we learn that they can' which case we'd have to go help

  Just then, there was a disturbance in the center of the great room,
at a table occupied by several hulking warrior-types who appeared to be
from some distant, wild land.

big bruiser:  (stands up, holding the broken remnants of a chair in one
  gigantic hand as he towers over one of his dazed companions)   Anyone
  else wanna mess with me?  (he shakes the shattered chair above his
  head)  Damn right!  No one wants to mess with Brutus!  I'll clobber
  whoever I want...I'll drink as much as I want...hah!  (he looks around
  the room)  'Cause Brutus does whatever he wants!
Peldor:  (gazing around his own table at his fellow adventurers, he can't
  help but break out into a deep laugh)

  The laugh was infectious, and within moments, everyone at the table
was laughing, some of them so hard that their faces were turning red.

Brutus:  Huh?  (he shakes the smashed chair)  What's so funny?

next:       some more catching up
released:   1/6/06
notes:      The guy who played Peldor was like this in real life - he'd
  go out of his way to invite as many people as possible to every event
  we did, whether it was a party or just going out to eat somewhere.  At
  times, he definitely didn't think about which people he was getting
  together, as if social events should forgive all disputes and just be
  a time/place for all to be happy and pleasant.

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