Chapter #926

previous chapter (#925)                                                                  next chapter (#927)

                                   +   +
                                 +       +
                               +           +
                             +               +
                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      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!                                          +
+   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                           +
+                                                                         +
+   Mongo          19th level dwarven warrior                             +
+   Date:          9/13/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:          late morning                                           +
+   Place:         a fort in the Amedio Jungle                            +
+   Climate:       hot and humid                                          +
+   "Some people would call that an extreme position."                    +
+                                               - from _Death Wish 3_     +

                   CMXXVI.  Mission of Destruction

  The fort stood on the coast of the Amedio Jungle, a glaring bastion of
civilization in the midst of the savage wilderness.  The fort was sturdy
and well-designed; its walls were thirty feet high, fashioned of thick
logs planted deep in the ground.  A flat, wide road had been built from
the fortress' main gate; it extended several hundred feet down to the
shore, where a large series of docks had been constructed.  These docks
were capable of berthing several large cargo ships at once, and along
with the road, they facilitated the loading of cargo from the fort onto
the ships.  Within the fort, platforms ringed the interior of the wall,
allowing defenders to fire arrows, bolts, or other missiles down upon any
attackers with ease.  The place housed several hundred well-armed, well-
trained troops who were able to defend against vastly superior numbers
if necessary.

Belphanior:  (watching from above, where he hovers thanks to a spell of
  flying)  An easy target.
Otto:  (nods)  And one without any hostages or other things we need
Skektek:  That does make things easier, especially for me.

  It had been one week since the rescue of Sarek from the city of Stoink,
within the Bandit Kingdoms.  After a brief stop in Greyhawk, Belphanior
and his companions had returned to their temporary base in the Pelisso
Swamp.  There, they had planned and prepared for this next mission...and
now, here they were.

Otto:  We're going to try it, right?  You promised we were going to try
Belphanior:  (smiles thinly)  Yes, we're going to try it.

  Otto had spent several days coming up with a sort of bomb...a large
barrel filled with oil and iron spikes.  His intention was to ignite it
and then drop it onto a target, and the skyship's position relative to
the fort below made this an idea opportunity to test the invention.

Elgon:  Is it supposed to explode?
Otto:  Not in and of itself, but when it hits the ground from a height
  like this, it _will_ shatter, and spray the area with burning oil and
  sharp iron spikes.
Skektek:  Interesting.  What if it isn't burning when it hits...if the
  flame dies out during the fall?
Otto:  Then we still win, because the target will be covered with oil,
  ready to ignite when we get down there.  It's a win-win situation for
  us, whether the bomb stays lit or not.
Mongo:  (sitting to one side, quite ill)  Can we just hurry up and launch
  the damned thing?  I need to get my feet on solid ground, and soon.
Belphanior:  Fear not, my friend - it's almost time.
Mongo:  Good.
Razor Charlie:  I'd hate to be someone in that place below.
Belphanior:  I wouldn't.  It's been more than three weeks since we
  attacked Monmurg.  The message should have been clear...and yet this
  place is still operational.  Hell, we watched them load up another
  outbound ship with slaves, just yesterday.
Ys:  (nods)  They don't seem to have listened.
Belphanior:  I figured they wouldn't take me seriously, despite Monmurg,
  so the time's come to show them how things are going to be...that not
  just their capital cities are at risk, but also all parts of their
  slaving operations.  It's not enough to take out those who make the
  decisions - we also have to prove our point to those who _implement_
  the decisions.
Jenna:  (peers down at the fort below)  I suspect they'll get the point.
Belphanior:  I hope so, because I can't spend the rest of my life doing
  this.  (he nods to Otto)

  The dwarf produced flint and steel, and quickly lit his firing
mechanism - a small vial of special oil, the kind that could burn
without air.  This vial was dropped into a hold in the large barrel,
which was then put overboard...

Ys:  (hefts the barrel and tosses it over the edge of the ship's rail)
  Bombs away.
Otto:  (leans over, watching with anticipation)
Skektek:  Did you figure in the wind and the vertical distance?
Otto:  To some extent, but there's no way to fine-tune the process
  besides actual testing.

  They all watched the fort below, as the barrel faded from view, fast
becoming a small speck.  Just as some of them began to wonder if the
thing would detonate, there was a loud, fiery blast from below, followed
by great clouds of smoke.

Otto:  (pumps his fist in the air, pleased)
Belphanior:  Let's go.

  There would be no spell of transportation this time, for the elf had
found a better, simpler way.  Taking one of the teleportation cords
provided weeks ago by Parekh and Pallin, he'd ventured down to the jungle
floor yesterday and set the device up in a well-concealed location.  The
other, matching end was on the skyship; this meant that the group could
walk into it up here...and then appear instantly, down there!  This not
only eliminated the need for a spell, but provided a measure of security
for the others, in that they could use the portals even if something
happened to Belphanior.  The elf's ultimate goal was to duplicate the
teleportation mechanism, so that he had his "own" magical device, and
didn't have to rely on something provided by Parekh and Pallin.  This
would require some reverse-engineering and much research, though, and
lately he hadn't had the time.

Belphanior:  (steps through the oval opening made by the cord, fastened
  to a wall of the skyship's main cabin...and vanishes)

  The elf and his companions had used this mystical technology before,
in the Monmurg attack, so they knew how it worked and what to expect.
Led by Belphanior, they stepped out of a tangle of brush on the jungle
floor below.

Otto:  Everyone get a good look at where we just arrived, in case you
  need to find it in a pinch.
Razor Charlie:  (nods)
Belphanior:  The fort's over this way...come on.  (he strides away, his
  dark sword in one hand, his red cloak swirling about his tall frame)

  After a short walk through the jungle, they emerged from its edge into
the cleared area around the fort.  Otto's oil-bomb had performed well,
for half of the wooden fort was ablaze, and people were running around
inside the walls, trying to put out the fire.  It was hopeless, for the
oil had covered much of the wood, and there just wasn't enough water or
sand close at hand.  Half of the fort was an inferno, and the other half
would soon be ablaze.

Skektek:  Well, it worked.
Otto:  Yeah, though my aim was a little off.
wispy thing:  (hovers near Belphanior's head, watching the burning fort)
Belphanior:  (also watching the destruction)  Good job.
Otto:  Thanks.  I'd kind of been working on that idea for a long while,
  here and there when I had spare time.
Elgon:  Definitely an innovative - and highly effective - weapon.
Mongo:  We need to put out these flames - we can't run around in there
  and fight with fire and smoke all around.  (he pauses)  Well, I can,
  but the rest of you can't.
Belphanior:  We're not putting out any flames.  Let it burn.  (he turns
  to Skektek)  In fact, why don't you hit the other side of the fort with
  a fireball, just for good measure...and then we'll go down and demolish
  the docks.
Skektek:  No problem.
Belphanior:  And be ready with a cone of cold, in case this fire spreads
  to the jungle.  (he frowns, remembering something that happened years
  ago)  The natives here didn't do anything wrong, and they don't deserve
  to have their home burn down.
Razor Charlie:  (grimaces, eyeing the blazing fort, knives held ready in
  both hands)
Mongo:  What?  No fighting?
Belphanior:  Not unless we have to.  My goal here is simply to destroy
  this place...raze it to the ground.  I want some official back in the
  Hold of the Sea Princes to someday gaze upon this place and understand
  that when I tell them to stop enslaving people, I damn well mean it.

next:       another new mission
released:   6/30/06
notes:      The teleportation devices referenced here were presented in
  the Monmurg attack arc.  It only makes sense to me that Belphanior
  would want to figure out how they work and make his own.
    You didn't miss anything with Sarek (who was rescued in 925) -
  he will be dealt with shortly.
    Just in case anyone's wondering about Belphanior's altered memories
  of Monmurg and Prince Creon...I haven't come out and said it yet in
  the text of the stories, but that tampering didn't diminish his drive
  to overthrow the Sea Princes - it just ensured that he'd stay out of
  Monmurg and not try to deal with the false Creon.

previous chapter (#925)                                                                  next chapter (#927)