Chapter #934

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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!                                          +
+   Belphanior     15th/15th/15th level elven fighter/wizard/thief        +
+   Drak           14th level human barbarian warrior                     +
+   Neera          11th level human female sage/astrologer                +
+   Parekh         18th level human female wizard                         +
+   Date:          9/25/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:          afternoon                                              +
+   Place:         Parekh's home (exact location unknown)                 +
+   Climate:       cool                                                   +
+   "It is not our abilities that show us what we truly are.  It is       +
+    our choices."                                                        +
+                      - from _Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets_   +

                   CMXXXIV.  Reclamation

  After enlisting Alindyar and Lyra's help to identify some magic items
and study some spellbooks, Belphanior has returned to the home of Parekh
with a proposition.

Belphanior:  -and so I think it's long past time for you to leave this...
  (he looks around at the serene garden in which they stand)
Neera:  And accompany you on your adventures?
Belphanior:  Well, that will have to be worked out, since some of the
  missions we go on are exceedingly dangerous, but yes, that's the idea.
  You'll stay with me, not Parekh, and you can apply your skills to our
Neera:  (smirks)  Surely you don't want me for just my sagely wisdom?
Belphanior:  (smirks in return)  Surely not.

  As he'd decided previously, there was no reason for the two of them to
remain apart.  Neera was a bit naive, in the way that many intellectuals
tended to be, but there was an indubitable mutual attraction.  For his
part, Belphanior had always been attracted to intelligent women; there
just hadn't been that many to choose from, at least not ones who would
understand and tolerate his temper and habits.  Oddly enough, Neera was
fascinated by the elf's inner drive, his motivations and the methods he
used to achieve his goals.  Perhaps she had led a sheltered life, or
maybe opposites attracted.  Whatever the case, she had long ago prepared
herself for the possibility of an offer like the one she'd just gotten,
and she'd known the answer before Belphanior had even finished asking the

Neera:  Count me in.  (she frowns)  Because, you know, all this research
  and reading has just been so borrrrrring...I need to get out and _do_
Belphanior:  That's the spirit.
Neera:  Life won't be so quiet anymore, not with you in it.
Belphanior:  (shrugs, smiling)  Some people are born into a position,
  become content with it, and accept it until their dying day.  Others
  of us are always on the move, always seeking to better our lot.  It's
  who I am.
Neera:  No worries - I saw that from the day we met, and to be honest,
  it's kind of exciting.
Belphanior:  (grins)  Good.
Neera:  Anyway, I'll need to pack some things.
Belphanior:  Not a problem - I have a portable hole.
Neera:  I don't have _that_ many possessions.
Belphanior:  Hmm, shouldn't you go tell Parekh?
Neera:  No need.  We've already discussed this general idea, so I just
  need to let her know it's time.  It's not like she's a...
Belphanior:  Mother figure?
Neera:  I was actually going to say "older sister".  Or maybe "mentor".
  I've learned a lot from her - not just hard knowledge like spellcraft
  and lore, but also some slightly more efficient, practical ways of
  thinking.  She's a genius, you know.
Belphanior:  Technically, we're all geniuses.
Neera:  Good point.

  Parekh didn't seem at all surprised by the news; on the contrary, she
was quite happy for Neera...

Parekh:  (beaming)  You must be excited...
Neera:  Yes, but it's not like I'm escaping some terrible place here.  I
  just think it's time for me to see more of the world.
Parekh:  (glances at Belphanior, who's discussing the art of war with
  Drak on the other side of the room)  I know this is what you've wanted
  for a long time now.
Neera:  (nods)  It is.
Parekh:  Just remember all the things you've learned...the ways of seeing
  things, of looking at problems.  Think outside the box, so to speak...
  seek out the hidden meanings and reasons and motives of things and of
Neera:  (smiles)  Don't worry!
Parekh:  And above all, be careful.  (she snaps her fingers, and a silver
  ring appears in her hand)  I was thinking about this long before today,
  knowing that this day would come.  I talked with Belphanior, who has
  made his own efforts to secure protections for you, but this ring will
Neera:  (takes the ring and tries it on, finding that it fits perfectly)
  Thanks.  What does it do?
Parekh:  (chuckles)  Not that you couldn't scry for the answer yourself,
  but that ring turns back spells cast directly at you.  It's one of the
  more powerful such items, too.
Belphanior:  (done talking business with Drak, he walks over)  Sounds like
  a useful thing to have.
Parekh:  It is, so just remember to take it off if - gods forbid - Neera
  ever has need of a healing spell or something like that.
Belphanior:  Let's hope not.
Neera:  I have to go get a few more things - I'll be right back.  (she
  darts out a door and down a hall)
Parekh:  So.
Belphanior:  So...well, I hope this doesn't impact your ability to do
  whatever it is you do here when you're not out in the world.
Parekh:  Nonsense.  I'll miss her wit and her sagely talents, but she
  needs you right now, more than she needs me.
Belphanior:  I almost feel bad, depriving you of such a good resource.
Parekh:  She's not a resource, she's a person.
Belphanior:  True...sorry, I didn't mean that like it sounded.
Parekh:  Just take care of her, would you?  I think the worst of your
  adventures are behind you, but I have a feeling that true peace and
  quiet will evade you.
Belphanior:  We'll see.  I still have some dangerous things that need
  doing, and somehow I doubt that she'll be willing to stay behind every
  single time.
Parekh:  Mm, true.  Bear in mind, though, that she's now got several
  strong magical items oriented toward her own protection, plus some
  good attack and defense spells.  For example, she's worked hard to
  perfect her casting of magic missiles - she's faster than most wizards
  I've seen.  And she knows how to use that dagger, too.
Belphanior:  (nods)  I believe it.  Still, I'll have to be careful.  (he
  frowns suddenly)  It's...unfortunate that we live in a world where one
  can't ever feel too safe, especially when it comes to protecting one's
  loved ones, possessions, and so on.  I keep thinking that there's got
  to be a better way...a better world.
Parekh:  You're not the only one.

next:       we finally return to the lost continent and its exploration
released:   8/25/06
notes:      Finally, I had a chance to build upon what was said and done
  in episode #900.  Yes, Belphanior has a new woman, and you can now find
  Neera's character sheet in the "Characters" section of the website:

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