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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! +
+ 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 +
+ Date: 9/14/580 C.Y. (Common Year) +
+ Time: late morning +
+ Place: a strange series of chambers, on the moon Luna +
+ Climate: moderate and dry +
+ "The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been +
+ successful and then only for a short while." +
+ - Albert Einstein +
CMXXVIII. Walking a Thin Line
The adventurers have just awakened a strange, powerful winged being
from its forced slumber...
winged being: FREE, AT LAST. (he looks around, only seeming to notice
the adventurers after a few moments)
Belphanior: We just freed you from your imprisonment.
winged being: (regards the elf, his eyes glowing with a golden light)
YOUR WORDS RING TRUE, ELF...YET YOU ARE NO AGENT OF GOOD. (he turns
his gaze to all of them, in turn) NONE OF YOU ARE, FOR THAT MATTER.
Belphanior: I'm no agent at all. I - we - are just explorers.
winged being: THAT MAY BE, BUT YOU ARE ALSO READY TO ATTACK ME IF YOU
DEEM IT NECESSARY. (he regards Belphanior sternly) THAT WOULD BE
Belphanior: (shrugs) We had no idea what would be within the bubble
of force. You could have been a demon or something - some trick by
Xusia. We're just playing it safe.
winged being: THERE WOULD BE NO SAFETY FOR YOU, WERE I TO ATTACK.
NEITHER YOUR WEAPONS NOR YOUR DEFENSES WOULD BE EFFECTIVE.
winged being: (looks at him) NO, NOT EVEN THAT WOULD HELP YOU, MORTAL.
(looks at Jenna) ESCAPE WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE AS WELL.
Skektek: Shit, he's reading our minds.
wispy thing: (eyes the winged being, but keeps its distance) pfsss?
winged being: (regards the wisp) HOW ODD.
wispy thing: (makes an angry face) eeeep.
Belphanior: (holds both hands up, palms out) We mean no offense - we
just had to be cautious. We freed you because it was the right thing
to do. Any enemy of Xusia's is a friend of ours-
winged being: NOT NECESSARILY. I SENSE A GREAT CHAOS ABOUT YOU, ELF...
(he considers Blackrazor) AND THE POTENTIAL FOR GREAT MISDEEDS.
Belphanior: And I sense a distinct lack of gratitude.
winged being: I THANK YOU FOR FREEING ME, BUT I CANNOT HELP YOU WITH
ANY OF YOUR PLANS AND SCHEMES. IT IS BENEATH MY STATION - LITERALLY.
Belphanior: Well, perhaps you can tell us more about this place we now
stand in...who built it, why Xusia was interested in it, what's behind
that big thick door in the other room, and so on...?
winged being: THIS IS THE MOON YOU MORTALS CALL LUNA, THOUGH YOU KNOW
THIS ALREADY. UNLIKE CELENE, THIS MOON IS DEAD; I WOULD NOT SUGGEST
OPENING THAT PORTAL, AS IT MERELY LEADS OUTSIDE INTO A COLD, AIRLESS
PLACE WHERE YOU WOULD NOT SURVIVE.
Belphanior: Oh. (to Skektek) Good thing we didn't open it, eh?
Skektek: (frowns angrily)
winged being: AS FOR THE ARCH-LICH, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HIS PLANS WERE
OR WHY HE WAS HERE. AS YOU HAVE SEEN, I WAS A PRISONER. (his gaze
turns upward, as if he was suddenly thinking about something entirely
Belphanior: How did Xusia manage to trap you?
winged being: BASE TREACHERY. (he stares at the elf, and Belphanior
backs down first, somehow finding himself unable to meet that gaze)
NO MORE QUESTIONS. AGAIN, YOU HAVE MY THANKS FOR FREEING ME FROM MY
FORCED SLUMBER...BUT WE SHALL NOT MEET AGAIN.
winged being: (vanishes)
Otto: Could he still be around, invisible or something?
Belphanior: (scanning the room with his crystal eye) No, he's gone.
Jenna: (nods) Agreed.
Otto: No big loss there. Do you know how hard it is to try and not
think about anything at all, when you're in the presence of someone
who can read minds?
Skektek: (nods) I hear you.
Belphanior: Don't worry - I'm a little upset too. You'd think that
being freed from imprisonment would instill some gratitude, rather
Jenna: I get the impression that he's...above the sorts of things that
we care about.
Ys: Indeed, who can know the ways of angels?
Razor Charlie: Was he an angel?
Belphanior: (shrugs) I'm not very familiar with that end of the
"powerful creatures" spectrum. Jenna, any idea?
Jenna: Well, "angel" is a loose term that could describe any of those
powerful beings of Good...avatars, planetars, solars, and probably
other sorts we don't even know about. But, given his power level, I'd
say he was probably a genuine divine being.
Belphanior: Well, at least we didn't piss him off. (He remembers a
certain attack on a certain cloud giant, more than ten years ago)
Skektek: So do we believe him about the door, or do we try it ourselves?
Belphanior: I think we should believe him. Jenna, didn't you get a
strong sense of danger from that door, the last time we were here?
Jenna: (nods) If there's no air on the other side, that would explain
Skektek: I once read somewhere that the spaces outside our world, and
between it and the moons, contains nothing but forces that can ravage
bodies of flesh and blood, as if they were thin paper.
Razor Charlie: Good reason to keep the door closed.
Belphanior: Agreed. We've seen, from the windows above, that there's
nothing out there. We can come back and try to go outside if we ever
figure out a way to protect ourselves. I'll put this on my list of
things to research.
Elgon: So what now? We've already explored this entire place, and we
took the magic items in the other chamber.
Belphanior: Let's double-check the complex - every room, every nook
and cranny. There's a chance we missed something, so before we leave
this time, let's make sure we found everything there is to find.
In the past, there had been several times like this, where they did a
thorough search of one of these gateways but found nothing. This time,
however, they were in luck. Elgon found a metal scroll tube tucked away
in the upper chamber (the one with the windows.) It contained a leather
parchment which held a wealth of information about Luna - some of which
made no sense to anyone present.
Skektek: We'll have to study it further...or we could turn it over to
Parekh and Pallin.
Belphanior: (gets a strange look on his face) No...let's see what we
can get out of it.
Jenna: But isn't Pallin an expert on stars and such? His knowledge
would be valuable for this-
Belphanior: No. (he shakes his head) We don't need to go running to
them every time we need their help.
Otto: We always have in the past.
Belphanior: It...just doesn't seem right, somehow. We need to do our
own research, our own work. (he looks around) Okay, let's finish up
here and get back home. (to Elgon) Good work.
Otto: Good thing Bosco wasn't here. He would have demanded three wishes
from the thing for releasing it.
Belphanior: (chuckles) Okay, you made me laugh.
As the others went about their tasks and prepared to depart, the elf
studied the leather scroll more carefully. He wasn't sure about all of
the notes we was reading, but the document seemed to be a partial survey
of Luna. It also contained some other measurements and calculations
involving the moon's distance to Oerth and other places...and this was
most intriguing. Belphanior found himself wondering what plans Xusia
had held for this complex, for Luna, and for other such places. This
seemed a mystery worth solving, to be sure.
next: some downtime
notes: I've been putting it off, but sooner or later, I need to get
back to the lost continent and make some progress on that plot line.
It's not that I don't want to, it's that I have so much more fun with
Belphanior and his group and his loose ends. Judging from the fan mail
I get and the postings on the forums, about 75% of you agree.
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