Chapter #97

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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:    7/28/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   Blackmoor, outside of the town of Ren            +
+   Climate: cool and sunny                                   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   "There is always a way, if the desire be coupled with     +
+    courage."                                                +
+                                           Conan             +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                  XCVII.  The Castle of Despair





  As most of the party lies imprisoned within a vampire
lord's castle, it has fallen to Ged, Peldor, and Lyra to
hatch a rescue plan.  They have just departed the dubiously
neutral town of Ren, and are riding northward.

Ged:  Hopefully we'll find some clues to lead us to the
  castle that the barkeep spoke of.
Peldor:  Maybe so.
Lyra:  What is that?  (points to something on the ground
  nearby)

  The trio approached, and found a pile of mangled flesh
and entrails.  A few bones protruded from the stinking
mass, and numerous flies and insects were attacking it
with gusto.

Ged:  What indeed?
Lyra:  I have never seen so many flies.
Peldor:  (approaches)  Hmm.  (the flies and other bugs
  scatter, due to his ring's effects)  Who or what could
  this have been?
Ged:  Looks like a giant, actually.
Lyra:  (notices that a trail of blood stains and guts
  leads away, to the north)  Hmm.  Look at this.
Peldor:  A trail of violence, no doubt.
Ged:  Those hungry undead...
horses:  (sniff the remnants in disdain)  Neigh!
Lyra:  I guess we should follow this vile trail and see
  whither it may lead.
Ged:  It must be Boccob's will.  (they begin following
  the trail)
Lightbringer:  (pipes up)  It is my will too, that we
  send this foul vampire back to the hells!  Follow the
  gore!

  And follow it they did, for hours on end.  Strangely,
no creatures, living or otherwise, were encountered in
the course of the journey.  A short break was taken at
midday, for lunch and rest.  As Peldor fed the horses,
Ged and Lyra tried to use magic to divine the location
of their companions...without success.  Travel resumed
shortly, and it seemed that they rode forever.  Then,
without warning, a dark shape appeared on the horizon.

Peldor:  (squinting)  Looks like a castle to me.
Ged:  No doubt the evil lair of the evil vampire.
Lyra:  What shall we do with the mounts?
Peldor:  Hmm, that grove of high bushes looks like an
  ideal place to store them.
Ged:  Don't tie them to anything.  That way, if any
  undead show up, the horses will have a chance to
  run away.
Lyra:  Good idea.
Peldor:  Then, we can cover the remaining mile or so
  on foot.  I'll scout it out, you get the horses
  taken care of.  (concentrates, and uses his magical
  feathers to become invisible)  Bye now!  (wanders
  in the direction of the fortress)
Lyra:  Tread with caution.
Ged:  Him?  Not a chance.

  Ged and Lyra rested while securing the mounts, and
after half an hour or so, the thief returned.

Peldor:  (suddenly appears)  Boo!
Ged:  What is it?
Peldor:  The castle is formidable.  Set on high ground,
  with only a single large gate for entrance and exit.
  Fortunately, I have a plan.
Lyra:  You?  A plan?
Ged:  What is it?
Peldor:  If you two can become invisible, by spells...
Lyra:  Of course.  Go on.
Peldor:  ...then I, too, can become invisible.  Then I
  shall climb the stone wall at the rear of the castle
  and lower my rope of climbing for you.  Then we will
  be inside!
Ged:  What about guards?  Are there no guards on the
  walls, to repel intruders such as we will be?
Peldor:  Nope.  There are big spikes, but you could
  avoid those by being careful.  The only guards I saw
  were on the front wall, near the gate.  I think they
  were ghouls.
Lightbringer:  Death to all undead!
Ged:  Shh.  You will have to be quiet while we sneak
  into the castle.  Understand?
Lightbringer:  Of course I understand.
Lyra:  Let us go, then.

  The two magi cast spells of invisibility upon their
persons, and Peldor used his feathers again.  The three
invisible adventurers then headed for the castle.  Soon
they were at the base of its rear wall...

Peldor:  (begins climbing invisibly)
Ged:  (looks around for guards)
Lyra:  (fidgets)

...

Peldor:  (reaches the top, and confirms that there are
  no guards up here)  So.  (gets his rope of climbing
  out and commands it to knot itself every five feet,
  then lowers it down for the others)  Go.
Lyra:  (begins climbing)
Ged:  (watches for guards)

  Soon, all three were atop the parapet.  Peldor pulled
his rope up, and coiled it once more within his pack.
Then, all seemed lost, as a ghoul wandered out of the
door of an adjoining tower, and headed towards the trio
of invisible intruders, sniffing the air suspiciously.

Ged:  (senses his morningstar about to say something
  loud, and taps it with his fist)
Lightbringer:  (quieted for the moment)
Peldor:  (stalks the ghoul, invisibly and silently)
ghoul:  (sniffs the air)
Peldor:  (attacks the ghoul from behind, severing its
  head with a mighty blow)
ghoul:  (falls, trying but failing to shriek)
Peldor:  (becomes visible, and drags the undead's body
  into a darkened crevice)  Ugh.  (kicks its head into
  the air, and catches it)
Ged:  (he and Lyra join Peldor, whispering)  Good move,
  there.  Let's get into that tower.
Peldor:  (examines the ghoul's head, then uses his hat
  of disguise to alter his complexion, hair, eyes, and
  teeth)  Grr.
Lyra:  Aie.  You make a decent ghoul, thief.
Ged:  Yea.
Peldor:  Anyone got a mirror?  (kicks the ghoul head
  into the niche where its body now lies)

  They entered the guard tower, of which this was the
highest level, and descended slowly and quietly.  As
they assumed that their companions were being held in
a dungeon of some sort, their idea was to go as far
down as possible, and then begin searching.  After a
descent of three floors, they bottomed out, and then
cautiously entered a pitch-black corridor.

Lyra:  Seeing as how this castle is probably populated
  exclusively by undead, there really wouldn't be any
  need for light.
Ged:  Fortunately, you and I have infravision.  But,
  what of Peldor?
Peldor:  Worry not.  I have it covered.
Lyra:  How is that?
Peldor:  I can see fine.  Let's go.
Ged:  (wondering how Peldor can see in the dark)  All
  right.  (they move down the corridor)  How...?  Bah.

  Turning left, they saw that the passage ended in a
door, and was guarded by a zombie.  Peldor, still in
disguise as a ghoul, strolled up to the zombie.

zombie:  Dhuuur?  (glances at Peldor)
Peldor:  Oooga nooga glub.  (points to the ceiling)
zombie:  (looks at the ceiling)
Peldor:  (backstabs the zombie, slaying it)  Idiot.
  (goes to work on the door's lock, and soon has it
  picked)

  Behind the door was a set of stone steps, leading
downward into the darkness.  They descended slowly, and
emerged into a larger, rectangular chamber - one manned
(?) by four ghouls, who immediately smelled the three
intruders.

Peldor:  (uses his feathers to haste himself)
ghouls:  Hssss!  (begin loping in the direction of the
  trio)
Peldor:  (immediately brandishes his glowing green torch
  to the undead, lighting the room with a dramatic green
  hue; the thief becomes visible)
Ged:  (reacts quickly, and casts Silence, 15' Radius on
  one of the ghouls; the elf becomes visible)
ghouls:  (make faces as they hiss silently)
Lyra:  (still invisible, casts Shocking Grasp and moves
  toward one of the ghouls)
Peldor:  (draws his sword)
Lyra:  (taps a ghoul, sizzling it heavily; she then becomes
  visible)
ghoul:  (cringes in pain)
Peldor:  Phew!  What a stench!  (slashes a ghoul, wounding
  it)
ghoul:  (gropes at Lyra, but misses)
ghoul:  (gropes at Peldor, but misses)
ghoul:  (gropes at Ged, hits, but scores only minor cuts)
Ged:  Argh.  (reaches for his weapon)
ghoul:  (misses Ged)
Peldor:  (slashes the same ghoul he hit already, wounding
  it further)

Ged:  (brandishes Lightbringer)  Back, foul ones!  (enters
  the zone of silence, and is silenced)
Lightbringer:  (also silenced)
Ged:  (bashes a ghoul with the holy morningstar, dissolving
  it with a flash of light)
Lyra:  (casts Magic Missile, blasting the ghoul she had
  earlier shocked)
ghoul:  (falls, dead)
Peldor:  (slashes the ghoul he already hit twice, slaying
  it)
last ghoul:  (looks around and grimaces)
Peldor: (stalks the last ghoul)
Ged:  (stalks the last ghoul too)

  The final ghoul was quickly slain, and the trio rested.
Ged cleaned and bandaged his wounds while Peldor looked
for doors.  There was indeed an exit, which had a locked
door; it occupied the thief for a brief time before he
had it opened.  A corridor led away to another large room
some fifty feet distant.  Shortly, everyone was ready to
move.
  After a short march, the three adventurers were inside
the next chamber.  This place was cylindrical, being some
fifty feet in diameter and at least that much in height.
There was one exit, a passage on the end opposite to the
trio's current location.  The door into this passage stood
ajar.

Ged:  A strange shape for a room.
Lyra:  Yes.
Peldor:  What's that?  (points to a shadowy figure who
  just appeared in the far tunnel)
Igor:  Hee, hee, hee.  The massster has spoken!  Death
  for you!  (pulls a lever on the wall, and a clear dome
  of plastic-like material drops over this room, sealing
  the three from both entrance and exit passages)
Ged:  (bashes the dome with Lightbringer, but nothing
  happens)  What the hell?
Lyra:  (examines the barrier)  Glasteel!  I am sure of it!
Igor:  (watching ghouls gather around him)  Now where did
  the massster put that lever for the gasss?  (looks on the
  wall)  Could that be it?  (begins scampering)
Peldor:  Shit.





next time :  the rescue continues!

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

notes     :  Baseball season gets going soon...yet another
           thing to put this author in a good mood...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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