Chapter #96

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                          +           +
                        +               +
                      +                   +
                    +                       +
                  +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                    +                       +
                      +                   +
                        +               +
                          +           +
                            +       +
                              +   +
                                +



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1993 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to any   +
+  persons or characters either real or fictional is utterly  +
+  coincidental.  Copying and/or distribution of these tales  +
+  is permissible only under the sole condition that no part  +
+  of them will be used or sold for profit.  In that case, I  +
+  hope you enjoy them...                                     +
+                                                             +
+                            Thomas Miller                    +
+                            tmiller@cimmeria.gatech.edu      +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      11th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra        7th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior     8th/8th/9th level high elf w/m/t    (CN)   +
+   Ged            9th/9th level grey elf priest/mage  (NG)   +
+      Arnold      7th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+   Mongo          9th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        12th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen         9th level human warrior              (N)   +
*   Flint Firelips (guest)   dwarven warrior                  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:    7/27/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    night                                            +
+   Place:   inside a fortress in a hostile land              +
+   Climate: cool and dank, pervaded by the stench of decay   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "Only the good die young                                  +
+    All the evil seem to live forever..."                    +
+                                          Iron Maiden        +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                      XCVI.  Prisoners





  Everyone but Ged, Peldor, and Lyra (who escaped capture)
has wound up in a dark, damp, prison-type place.


  A dim green patch of stone, no doubt the site of a
light spell, provided the only illumination.  The exact
size of the chamber was indeterminable, but Mongo, Arnold,
and Alindyar were chained to one wall, while Rillen, Flint
Firelips, and Belphanior were chained to a perpendicular
section of wall.  All six of the prisoners were silent and
unmoving.

Mongo:  Ugh.  (opens his eyes, only to find that he has
  been stripped down to a loincloth and is chained to a
  moldy stone wall)  What the hell's going on here?
Rillen:  (also chained nearby)  We have been taken in
  battle.  (he notices that everyone present has been
  chained and wears only a loincloth)
Mongo:  We're prisoners.  Fuck.
Belphanior:  (already awake, he is struggling against
  his chains)  They took my sword!  They took my picks!
  They took everything!
Rillen:  Whoever "they" are, they did not take our lives.
Belphanior:  Not yet, anyway.  Say, it _smells_ in here.
Arnold:  (stirs, and then stands up)  Whad are these
  chains on me for?  (begins trying to pull the chains
  out of the wall, to no avail)
Mongo:  Grr.  This really makes me mad...
Rillen:  (notices that everyone is chained apart from
  each other, so that no one can reach anyone else)
Flint Firelips:  (stands up shakily)  Urgh.
Mongo:  Hey, pal, you okay?
Flint Firelips:  Yeah.  Last thing I remember, I was
  about to get away, with Ged and the others.  Then...
  zombie city!  I wonder what happened.
Alindyar:  (standing groggily)  Ged and the other two
  escaped, that is what happened.  Hopefully they have
  arrived at some means of liberating us from this
  predicament.
Mongo:  With Peldor involved?  Don't count on it.
Rillen:  Hope springs eternal...
Mongo:  What the hell was that spell, the one that
  vampire-thing used on us?  I feel like I've been
  used as a punching bag for an ogre.
Belphanior:  Yeah, me too.  Some kind of black mists
  that surrounded us...I've got to have that spell.
Alindyar:  No doubt 'twas some manner of teleportation
  magick.  Perhaps with a predetermined destination
  for those ensnared by it.
Arnold:  And it also hurt!
Belphanior:  I've really got to have that spell.
vampire lord:  (strolls into the cell)  What, do you
  mean the Black Mists of Sarnath?  Nifty spell, that.
  I'm happy to say that I slew the inventor of that
  spell myself.  A sharp mage, he was, but too over-
  confident in the end.
Belphanior:  (notices the high quality of the fellow's
  clothes)  Boy, you're a well-dressed young vampire
  fop, aren't you?  You ought to be wearing rags, 'cause
  you sure do stink like a graveyard.
vampire:  What do you expect, after sleeping in earth
  all day?  You have a smart mouth, elf.
Belphanior:  Yup.  Go fuck yourself.
vampire:  (slaps Belphanior, cracking his jaw and
  draining two levels instantly)  Silence!
Belphanior:  (quiets down, and sags in his chains)
  Ughk.  (spits out blood and teeth, and stares at the
  vampire in hatred)
vampire lord:  (paying no further attention to the elf)
Mongo:  Who the hell are you, anyway?
vampire lord:  No one to be trifled with.
Rillen:  Why did you not just kill us outright?  Why
  are we here?  What do you want?
vampire lord:  Well, it's like this.  Powerful, mortal
  adventurers like yourselves make excellent vampiric
  servants.
Flint:  (sputtering)  Servants?!?
vampire lord:  Minions, assassins, lieutenants, what
  have you.
Flint:  Oh.
vampire lord:  So, truly skilled, experienced, powerful
  adventurers are rare in these parts.  Why, they're at
  a veritable premium!  (turns and stares right at Mongo)
  And I simply _love_ converting would-be, has-been do-
  gooders like you into my minions.
Mongo:  (struggling with his chains)  Take these damn
  things off and I'll break your fuckin' neck...
vampire lord:  Yes, I actually believe you would try.
  No matter.
Alindyar:  So you intend to transform us into undead
  like yourself.
vampire lord:  Basically, yes.  Hmm, a drow mage.  You
  for one should come in handy.
Alindyar:  I would not rely on that fact if I were you.
vampire lord:  Oh, come now.  You know better than that.
  My power level is such that anyone who I make into an
  undead, un-mortal being is bound to obey my commands.
Belphanior:  (stands up, his jaw sagging)  I gu-  OUCH!
  (talks a little bit more slowly)  I guarantee you that
  if I become one of your vampires, you will someday
  find my blade in your back.  Or your neck.  Or some
  strategic location like that.  You will never control
  me.  Never.
vampire lord:  Ah, the wills of you puny mortals often
  surprise even me.  Fortunately, I have accumulated a
  variety of interests over the centuries...among them
  a flair for the fine art of torture.
Belphanior:  Torture?
vampire lord:  Yes.  (looks around, at all of the six
  chained adventurers)  You will be much more obedient
  slaves after I have broken you.  (snaps his fingers,
  and a dozen ghouls slither into the cell)  None of
  you should be much trouble, with these lackeys here
  to cart you away.  Paralyzation touch, you know.
Mongo:  Grr...
Igor:  (lumbers into the cell)  Massster!
vampire lord:  (irritated)  What is it, Igor?
Igor:  I have newsss, massster!  Come, come.  (tries
  to get the lord to step aside and listen to him)
vampire lord:  Hold one moment, Igor.  (to ghouls)
  Take...the dwarf.  (points to Mongo)  Take him to
  the torture chamber first.
Mongo:  What's this one-at-a-time crap?!?  Where-
  (kicks at an approaching ghoul)
Belphanior:  Take me first!
vampire lord:  What's this?
Belphanior:  Come on, you stinking lord of corpses and
  rats!  Take me first!  You know that you can't break
  me!  I dare you to try!  You damned coward!
vampire lord:  Oh, very well.  (taps a ghoul on the
  shoulder and points to the elf)  Take the elf, not
  the dwarf.  It really won't matter anyway, when all
  is said and done.
ghouls:  (swarm over Belphanior)
Belphanior:  You guys smell awful.  Been eating the
  right kind of food lately?
ghoul:  (uses a key to unlock the padlock holding the
  elf's chains)  Sssss...
ghouls:  (they hold the elf tightly as he is slipped
  from his bonds)
Belphanior:  Aaaarrrrr!  (kicks one ghoul, punches a
  second, and makes a desperate lunge for the vampire
  despite the ghouls that still have a grip on him)
Igor:  (grabs the elf and twists his arm behind his
  back with incredible strength)  Hee, hee, hee.  You
  can't attack the masssster, fool!
ghouls:  (subdue Belphanior)
vampire lord:  I bet you're thinking, "Hey, he forgot
  that elves are immune to ghoul paralyzation!" or some
  such idea.  Hm?
Belphanior:  Well, actually, the thought did spring
  into my mind.
vampire lord:  You see, even if you broke free of all
  the ghouls, even if you bypassed Igor here-
Igor:  (grins dumbly)
vampire lord:  -you would still be powerless to harm
  me.  I am superior to you in strength, speed, and
  pure finesse.  (suddenly grabs Belphanior by the
  neck)
Belphanior:  Ack!  (begins choking as he loses two
  more levels)  Ack!
Igor:  (dancing merrily)  Get him, massster!  Show him
  why you're the massster!
vampire lord:  (lifts the elf several feet above the
  floor, with one arm)  Do you see?
Mongo:  Geez, he doesn't look that strong.
vampire lord:  DO YOU SEE?  (hurls the elf to the
  floor disdainfully)  Bah.
Belphanior:  (can't even stand up)
ghouls:  (take the elf and cart him away, as Igor and
  the vampire lord confer outside the cell's door)
Mongo:  When I get out of these chains, I'm gonna kick
  that guy's ass...
Flint:  Yeah, me too.
Rillen:  That "Igor" toad is making me mad.
Alindyar:  We are in dire need of a rescue.
vampire lord:  (struts back in, Igor prancing at his
  heels like a puppy)  Ah!  I have just received some
  most splendid news!
Mongo:  What's that, did one of your ghouls have a
  litter of rotten babies or something?
vampire lord:  Better!  My minions in the nearby town
  of Ren have reported that three adventurers have just
  arrived from the wilderness.  Now I wonder who in the
  world _they_ could be?
Rillen:  Keep on laughing, fang-face.  You will never
  capture them without much bloodshed.
vampire lord:  Blood...hmm, time for dinner.  (turns
  his attention back to the prisoners)  No, actually,
  I'm not going to have anyone attack them.  Not yet.
  I shall let them come to me, with the idea that you
  can be rescued.  And then...ah...another drow mage,
  and an elven priest of Boccob!  What prizes they
  shall be!
Mongo:  (looks at the vampire lord)  Is this all just
  a game to you, or what?
vampire lord:  (rubs his chin, and ponders)  Basically,
  yes.  A game!  Come, Igor!  (departs, his cloaks
  swirling about his frame)  I will see the rest of
  you shortly.  It's going to be a long night!
Igor:  (runs along behind his master, making faces
  at the chained adventurers)  Hee, hee.
Rillen:  If we get out of this, the one called Igor
  is mine.



  Belphanior was led through a dark passageway by the
ghouls.  His hands and feet were in manacles, and he
caused metallic jingling sounds with every step.  The
undead took him around a corner, and through a door
or two, then around another corner, finally entering
a large room with a high, vaulted ceiling.  The elf's
hands were chained to a larger link of thick chain
coming down from the darkened ceiling area, and thus
he was shackled, his feet barely touching the stones
of the floor.  The ghouls left abruptly.

Belphanior:  Ugh.  (looks up)  Where are you stinking
  bastards going?  Hey, come back here!
ghouls:  (gone)
Belphanior:  Shit.  (looks around, noting with some
  interest the variety of knives and tongs and such
  implements, laid out neatly on a series of shelves)
  I don't like the looks of this place.
vampire lord:  (appears from nowhere)  And well you
  shouldn't, my friend.
Belphanior:  I'm not your fucking friend.
vampire lord:  (picks up a long, toothpick-width
  metal spike)  Of course not.  Allow me to show you
  the reason why...(approaches the chained elf)
Belphanior:  (clenching his fists)  Keep away from
  me.
vampire lord:  In fact, you may come to regret the
  multitude of reasons that I can come up with...



meanwhile...

Mongo:  I wonder where they took Belphanior?
Alindyar:  'Tis foul work being done this night.
Rillen:  Where-

  There was a loud, piercing scream from somewhere
nearby.

Mongo:  Fuck.
Flint:  Sounds like Belphanior, all right.
Mongo:  Yeah.  In total agony.
Alindyar:  (shivers)  I wonder what is happening to
  him, to make him scream like that?
Arnold:  I am nod sure I want to find oud.
Rillen:  Someone will pay for this.

  Another scream split the night air, and then another.
They continued, in fact, for quite some time, while the
others could only fume in their chains.  Eventually,
there was a commotion in the hallway, and some ghouls
came in, dragging Belphanior's bloody form behind them.
The elf was re-chained in the cell, but just lay crumpled
on the cold stone floor, unconscious.  The ghouls began
unshackling Rillen, who of course resisted but was quickly
paralyzed.  The pack bore the large warrior's unmoving
form out of the cell, and shortly, all was silent once
again.

Arnold:  Belphandior.
Mongo:  Damn, if not for these chains, I could help him.
Alindyar:  What have they done to him?
Flint:  Those look like puncture holes, see?  There.
  And there.  And there...
Arnold:  Aie.
Mongo:  Geez, there must be dozens.

  Though quite some time passed, no screams were heard
from wherever the torture chamber was.

Belphanior:  (stirs)  Aargh.
Mongo:  Hey.  Hey!  Are you okay?
Belphanior:  (rolls over and regards the others)  Ugh...
  of course not.  (breathes, and blood bubbles from his
  mouth and nose)  Ow.
Arnold:  Whad did dhey do to you?
Belphanior:  Pain...the pain!  Argh.
Mongo:  Was it bad?
Belphanior:  No, I liked it.  (laughs painfully)  Agh.
Alindyar:  This is no time to make jokes.  (looks up)
  Alas, I fear that I may not survive such torture...
Belphanior:  agh...actually, I passed out...urgh.
Mongo:  I'm gonna break that fucker's neck when the
  ghouls open this chain...
Belphanior:  (slowly turns to face the dwarf)  No...
  agh...forget it.  No chance.  Ooogh.
Mongo:  Quit moving around.  Try to rest.
Belphanior:  (passes out again)

  About ten minutes later, Rillen was brought back.  He
seemed wide awake, though his wounds were at least as
grievous as Belphanior's.  The ghouls left without taking
anyone else with them.

Mongo:  Hey, maybe it's break time or something.
Alindyar:  Friend Rillen, how fare you?
Rillen:  (resting in his chains, leaning on the wall)
  I am not well.  The vampire tried to make me scream,
  but I refused.  (holds up both hands)  Even when he
  broke all of my fingers.
Flint:  Cripes.
Arnold:  Dhis is not good.
Rillen:  I think he was mad - he spoke of "going out for
  a bite" as I was being taken back here.
Mongo:  Hmph.
Alindyar:  With any luck, he has given up for the night.
roach:  (wandering around in one of the small pools of
  blood near Belphanior)
Belphanior:  (rolls over and smashes the thing with one
  fist)  Damned bugs...argh...(passes out again)
Mongo:  It's gonna be a long night.
Alindyar:  Or couple of nights.





next time :  the rescue begins!

ftp site  :  ccosun.caltech.edu, in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers

notes     :  Sorry if this is a bit graphic...I'm setting
           a mood of despair.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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