Lost Chapter #5
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* THE ADVENTURERS *
* Lost Tales... *
* Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and *
* other terms used in these stories are the property of TSR, Inc. *
* However, this does not mean that TSR in any way endorses or *
* authorizes their use, and any such items contained within these *
* stories should not be considered representative of TSR in any *
* way, shape, or form. *
* The player characters contained in these writings are copy- *
* right 1991-7 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 *
* firstname.lastname@example.org *
* Gorin 7th level dwarven warrior (CG) *
* Halbarad 13th level human ranger (NG) *
* Zephyr large wild tiger (NG) *
* Peyote 11th/12th level half-elf warrior/druid (N) *
* Blok earth elemental (N) *
* Date: 1/18/574 C.Y. (Common Year) *
* Time: early evening *
* Place: the City of the Gods, within the Land of Black Ice *
* Climate: sub-freezing *
* "Thou strange piece of wild nature!" *
* _The Lady's Last Stake_ by Colley Cibber *
V. Ruins of the Runes
Once, there was a great quest afoot - the seven Runes of Power,
mighty relics of long-lost gods, were sought by forces good and evil
alike. In a heated confrontation within the depths of a hidden and
ancient city, one of these Runes collided with a bizarre field of
extradimensional force. With a flash of light and energy, the
majority of the combatants were transported to another world, there
to play no further part in the fight for the Runes.
This is the story of those who remained behind.
Peyote: (sits up groggily) Whoa, man...what a rush!
Halbarad: (pulls a chunk of stony shrapnel from his arm) What in
the world happened? Where is everyone?
Zephyr: (pads about the room, growling)
Peyote: Looks like they bolted, dude.
Halbarad: Nonsense. They were transported away, somehow...perhaps
by the collision of the Star Rune and that mystical energy-field.
Peyote: As if. They could have been vaporized.
Halbarad: Good point...but apparently, only those closest to the
Rune were affected. And I see no blast-marks or small piles of
powder where our companions once stood.
Peyote: The Star Rune's power is supposed to span worlds and cross
planes. I guess they could have been sent somewhere else.
Halbarad: But where?
Gorin: Unh...(he stands shakily, leaning against a wall)
Halbarad: (quickly moves to help the dwarf) Rest easy, friend
Peyote: (touching the air where the energy-bubble was, mere moments
Gorin: (looking around, he grabs his axe) What happened?!? Where's
Mongo and the others?!?
Halbarad: We are...not sure.
Peyote: We think they're chilling out in some other plane, though.
Gorin: (looking rather upset) Huh? Is that true?
Halbarad: (shrugs) Possibly. Who can say?
Gorin: But what about the Runes and that little demon-thing and...
(he looks around) Dammit.
Peyote: That little red demon-dude's wasted.
Halbarad: Rillen's golden arrow saw to that.
Gorin: But...but...what now?
Peyote: (shivers) It's getting kinda cold in here, guys. Maybe a
fire is in order. I've got these weeds-
Halbarad: Agreed, we need a fire - but not too close to this chamber.
Let us retreat to some nearby area and make camp. But none of your
weed tonight, Peyote; we all need to be alert!
Peyote: Hey, I have weeds for that too...
Gorin: Camp? We're gonna stay here and wait?
Halbarad: What else can we do?
Peyote: The other dudes might come back at any moment.
Halbarad: We should wait for a few days, at least.
Peyote: It's not like we'd be bored - we can explore this city while
Gorin: Exploring the city won't bring them back! Can't you guys talk
to your gods or something...find out what happened, at least?
Halbarad: Not I.
Peyote: It doesn't work that way, little dude. My god controls only
the forests and such places.
They moved into a nearby antechamber which was suitable for making
camp. Then they made camp. The cylindrical room's single door was
easily fortified, though based on the day's explorations they weren't
too worried about being attacked. Still, it never hurt to be safe,
especially in the City of the Gods.
However, Zephyr's sharp eyes and keen nose didn't find any attackers
coming in the night, and the companions were awakened the next day by
the light of the rising sun, shining over the outer wall of the weird
city. The reflections alone were enough to drive one insane, if one
dwelt on them for too long.
Peyote: (squinting at the bright sky) Winter wonderland, dude.
Gorin: (grumbling as he stands and stretches) What the hell are
you talking about?
Peyote: Just that the weather's nice, considering the time of year
Halbarad: (returns from somewhere) We have a problem.
Gorin: No shit.
Peyote: (to Halbarad) Where've you been lurking, dude?
Halbarad: I was atop the wall, where Peldor and the others tied
the rope yesterday. Riders approach from the south.
Peyote: No way. (he eyes the ranger) You're serious.
Halbarad: I'm always serious. There are a half-dozen of them, and
they look like they mean business.
Gorin: So do we. I wonder if they're after the Runes?
Peyote: Better to assume they are...
Halbarad: I shall take a lookout position near the wall. Perhaps
that way I can get a closer look at them, and even learn what
their intentions are.
Gorin: What about the rope we climbed up with?
Halbarad: I already tucked it away, out of sight.
Peyote: Should we prepare an ambush?
Halbarad: (frowns) I hate to start a fight, but...yes, I think
that would be prudent. Have your earth elemental search for a
stone or rock formation to sink into and hide within. Zephyr
shall take cover within a nearby building.
Gorin: You're assuming they'll head for the main building in the
Halbarad: Of course. We did that exact thing, and they probably
will too, eventually.
Peyote: Right on. (he turns and says something unintelligible to
Blok: (shuffles away, sinking into the ground as he does so)
Gorin: (staring, wide-eyed) Damn, but that's weird.
Peyote: (claps the dwarf on the shoulder) Things are gonna get a
lot weirder, little dude.
Halbarad: I'm headed back to keep track of the visitors. Be ready.
(he dashes away from the city's central tower)
Mumbling to himself, Peyote produced some holly berries and began
rolling them in his hand.
Gorin: You're not going to _eat_ those, are you?
Peyote: (grinning) Oh, I think not.
At the wall, Halbarad hid behind a thick metal parapet, only
occasionally risking a peek over the barrier. The ranger was
nothing if not patient, and thus he was able to discern the other
group's plan without being seen. Whereas his own band had climbed
over with the help of a rope, these people were obviously preparing
to fly over. Halbarad scrambled down from the wall, sprinting back
to his companions.
Peyote: (hiding in the shadows, he starts) Whoa! How'd you spot
Halbarad: Never mind that now. The intruders are even now flying
over the wall, and will soon be here.
Peyote: If here is where they're headed...
Halbarad: Aye. (he looks around) What of Gorin?
Peyote: He's about somewhere. He took this ambush thing pretty
Halbarad: Good. There is hope for him yet.
Peyote: So...uh...are you just planning on laying out a welcome mat
for these people, and then attacking? Or...?
Halbarad: Leave that to me. Did you plant the fire seeds as we
Peyote: Aye aye.
Halbarad: Stay hidden, and be ready. (dashing over to a nearby
column, he stashes his longbow and quiver in the shadows there,
then moves to a position behind another column thirty feet away)
Sufficiently concealed and prepared, they watched and waited.
They did not have long to wait.
minotaur: (lands on huge, hooved feet, swiping at the air with a
gigantic pole-axe) Hnrr.
halfling atop floating carpet: (lowers himself to a position only
a few feet off of the ground) Settle down. No sense in getting
riled up for no reason.
minotaur: (grunts) I smell humans.
tall, bony wizard in black robes: (floats to the ground) Then
there must be some here, Tarus.
small purple demonoid: (perched atop the wizard's shoulder, it
gnashes its teeth) Grrrrrr.
tall, bony wizard: Easy, Gulah.
half-orc: (settles to the ground, his bastard sword already out
and poised for action) Good thing your spell of flying worked,
Malachai: (the tall, bony wizard) My spells always work, Rocco.
Rocco: That may be, but flying over a weird-ass city at breakneck
speed isn't all it's cut out to be.
halfling: That's why you should get one of these flying carpet
jobs, like me.
Rocco: (sneering) Enough out of you, Oobie. Hopefully you'll
contribute something if we get into a fight.
Oobie: (smirks) Surely you jest...or have you so soon forgotten
the raid on the elven nations?
black-garbed figure: (materializes, for an instant, then vanishes
from sight again)
Gulah: (the small purple demonoid) Ssssss.
Halbarad didn't want to confront these people, as they were quite
obviously agents of some evil power. Still, it was necessary, and
there was always the chance that needless battle could be avoided
entirely. The choice was taken out of his hands, though, as the
minotaur Tarus suddenly turned and pointed its gigantic axe at the
ranger's hidden position.
Tarus: (booms loudly enough to be heard several streets away)
Oobie: Oh, boy! Someone's hiding here!
Malachai: I'd suggest you come out, whoever you are, else I'll
have to unleash my forces on you.
Halbarad: (strides out, his arms folded before him) I have not come
here to fight.
Rocco: Then why're you here at all?!? (to Malachai) I say we kill
him now and-
Malachai: (his eyes blaze with eldritch power) Silence.
Rocco: (clams up)
Halbarad: What are you doing here, in this forsaken city?
Malachai: You're in no position to be asking the questions, fellow,
but I suspect that you already know the answer.
Tarus: (grips his pole-axe, growling) Enough games. Time to cut
Oobie: Cut and tear, skin and pare!
Halbarad: You're certainly no agents of the Scarlet Brotherhood...
the Horned Society, perhaps?
Malachai: Iuz, if it's all the same to you.
Halbarad: It is.
Malachai: Then you know what we're here for: hand over the Rune.
Halbarad: Not possible...the thing is gone.
Gulah: (its green eyes dart to and fro cunningly) Aaaaaaar.
Oobie: That can't be - then we'd have come all the way out here for
Halbarad: (shrugs) Such as the case may be, the Rune is still gone.
Malachai: I...sense that you tell the truth. Of course, you'll also
need to tell us where it went, and how.
Halbarad: I'm afraid I can't do that.
Rocco: And why not?
Halbarad: (drops his hands, a pre-arranged signal)
Suddenly, searing flames leapt up from several spots on the ground!
Rocco was singed even as he leapt aside, and Oobie levitated his rug
just in time to avoid it catching fire. However, the purpose of the
fire seed attack was not to incapacitate the foes, but to disorient
Zephyr: GRAAAAAR! (hurtles from the shadows, slamming into Tarus
in a whirlwind of slashing claws and tearing fangs)
Halbarad: (runs toward the place where his longbow and arrows are
Rocco: (dashes after the ranger, sword held high) Get back here,
Malachai: (ignores the flames near him, which are fizzling out, as
he weaves a spell)
Gulah: (takes to the air, tiny wings on its back beating furiously)
Oobie: (floating above all on his carpet, the halfling begins digging
in a pouch) Hee hee...
Battle erupted in the ruins of the City of the Gods, as the various
combatants moved about...
Tarus: Argh! (trying to bring his pole-axe to bear against Zephyr,
he has no luck, such is the clumsiness of the weapon in such close
Zephyr: RAARGH! (it rips furrows in the minotaur's shoulder)
Tarus: (keeps the haft of his weapon between himself and the tiger's
Malachai: Fear not, good Tarus...I shall rid you of the beast. (he
sends a blazing gout of energy at Zephyr)
Zephyr: (suddenly leaps back, avoiding the fiery spell by mere inches)
Oobie: (hurls a tiny globe down at the running Halbarad) You can run,
but you can't hide!
Halbarad: (hurled aside as a mighty blast scorches the ground next to
Oobie: Bombs away, bombs away...(he tosses another of his spheres,
this one growing into a large boulder as it drops)
Halbarad: (leaps away as the big rock shatters against the ground, but
is still hit by a couple of stone slivers) Ungh! Argh! (rolling
into the shadows near a pillar, the ranger takes up his bow and fits
an arrow to it)
Oobie: Come out, come out, wherever you are! (he scans the pillars
with squinted, beady little eyes and holds another tiny globe ready)
Halbarad: (lets his arrow fly)
Oobie: Where're you hid- urk. (he finds his neck transfixed by a
Halbarad: (draws another arrow)
Oobie: Aghk! (he drops the missile he was holding, and it falls to
the earth below, erupting into a puddle of searing flames) Ugk!
(clutching at his spurting neck, he scrabbles about weakly) Ergk!
Halbarad: (watches as the halfling's carpet slowly spirals downward,
into the flames) A fitting end.
Rocco: (rounds a nearby pillar, causing Halbarad to glance in that
direction) Time to die, you! (he charges at the ranger, his sword
Peyote: (drops a wall of thorns around Malachai and the airborne Gulah,
who isn't high enough to avoid it) Excellent!
Gulah: (flies out of the center of the thorns) Egop! (he heads right
for the half-elf, moving rapidly through the air)
Peyote: Ack! Bogitude! (he draws his sword)
As well, there was another stalking the half-elf...one who wasn't even
visible to the naked eye. The black-garbed figure, who had been hunting
for a target since the battle began, prepared to deliver a lethal strike
to the unsuspecting Peyote...
invisible black-clad one: (edges closer to his victim)
small bulge of stone: (moves across the ground, directly toward the
invisible black-clad one: (turns around, sensing something)
small bulge of stone: (the mere tip of something much larger, it
explodes from the ground as it reaches its quarry)
invisible black-clad one: (finds a gigantic earth elemental towering
Blok: (brings both immense fists smashing down)
invisible one: (pulverized instantly)
Tarus: (finds his normally-superior strength to be of little advantage
in this contest) Argh! Off!
Zephyr: (snaps the minotaur's pole-axe in two with his powerful jaws,
and then strikes, clamping down on the foe's head)
Tarus: AARGH! (discovers first-hand what the bite of a gigantic tiger
feels like, as his skull is punctured by the cat's vicious canines)
Peyote: Awesome! Totally awes-
Gulah: (hurtles at the half-elf, a purple whirlwind of slashing claws
and snapping fangs) Greeeel!
Peyote: Whoa! (he barely brings his sword to bear in time, batting
at the small flying foe) You're ill, dudeling!
Gulah: Eeeker! (it continues to assail the foe)
Peyote: (while trying to slash, he slaps the demonoid with the flat
of his blade, batting it aside)
Gulah: (crashes into the side of a building) Vooook! (it quickly
rights itself and sails forth once more) Feck!
Peyote: (trying a different tactic, he readies his magical net)
Gulah: (bolts straight for the half-elf) Meeeeek!
Peyote: (hurls his net)
Gulah: (snared perfectly by the tough cords, it falls to the ground,
struggling in vain) Glek! Peen!
Peyote: Good hurlage, man. (he stabs the trapped demonoid, slicing
its tiny head nearly in two)
Gulah: Spek! (it grunts, shudders, and stops moving)
Peyote: (stabs it again for good measure)
Malachai: (steps through the wall of thorns, his hands ablaze with
mystical flames) Gulah!
Peyote: Huh? (he turns around)
Malachai: You've slain Gulah! You'll burn for centuries in the pits
of Hell for that, half-elf!
Peyote: (frowns) No one's ever burned their way through the wall of
Malachai: (his face a contorted mask of rage and power, he works some
Halbarad: (slices open Rocco's arm with his dagger)
Rocco: (recoils, barely parrying a sweeping axe-blow from the ranger)
Argh! You bastard!
Halbarad: You're the only bastard around here, half-orc. (with an
upward slash of his dagger, he opens the foe up from crotch to navel)
Rocco: AAARGH! (he stares down at his entrails)
Halbarad: Fear not. A wretch you may be, but I won't leave you to die
like this. (he chops sideways with his axe)
There was a terrible roaring then, a sound born of no worldly beast.
Halbarad turned from his bloody, vanquished opponent to behold a most
terrible sight. Near Malachai, a shimmering black portal to some
faraway netherworld had opened. Through this gap in space and sanity
strode a huge and terrible foe. Its body was that of a gigantic dog,
ten feet high at the shoulder. Claws the size of shortswords clacked
on the ground as the thing surveyed the situation with its three
heads. The toothy maws drooled as the heads glanced back and forth,
their red eyes narrowed in anticipation.
Malachai: Ah! The demon-dog of the Hells!
Peyote: (stares at the monstrosity, gaping)
Malachai: (points at Peyote) Kill! Kill him, and his companions!
Kill them now!
gigantic demon-dog: GRRRRRR. (it pads toward Peyote, the ground
trembling beneath its footfalls) RRRRRRRR...
Peyote: Aie! (he takes a step back) Down, Rex!
Halbarad and Zephyr moved to help, but there was no way either
could reach Peyote in time. Zephyr was the closest, and his great
strides propelled him toward the fight - until a spectral fist
appeared from nowhere, punching the tiger and knocking him into a
Zephyr: Rrrrrgh! (he staggers to his feet)
Just then, things went from complicated to completely chaotic.
A shimmering in the air at the base of another tower momentarily
yielded several dozen crimson-robed monk-types, all armed with
long staves of metal.
gigantic demon-dog: (turns to regard these new arrivals) RRRRG?
Malachai: Aie! The agents of the Scarlet Brotherhood!
Peyote: Thanks, dude...now at least I know they're bad guys.
red-robed monk: (steps forth) Halt!
Malachai: (throws back his head and laughs) Fools! You'll have
no rune this day, either!
red-robed monk: Eh? No rune?
Malachai: The thing is gone - my spells have proven this beyond
red-robed monk: Regardless, perhaps eliminating-
Peyote: (muttering to himself, he lunges, slashing at the huge
demonic hound before him) Covert strike!
gigantic demon-dog: (sliced across one of its heads, it roars
in fury) RRRAAAAARGH! (with a swipe of one enormous paw, it
knocks the sword from Peyote's hand)
Malachai: (manipulates his hand of force, causing it to grab
Zephyr and crush him)
Zephyr: GRAAR! (he tears at the translucent yet all-too-real
hand, but seemingly without effect)
Halbarad: (wasting no time, he shoots an arrow into Malachai's
arm) Release him!
Malachai: Aie! (he holds his arm up before his face, arrow and
all) Argh...an enchanted missile!
Halbarad: Have another. (he nocks, draws, and fires again)
Malachai: (hit in the eye) AARGH! (he dances the dance of pain)
assorted monks: (stand by, watching in amusement)
gigantic demon-dog: RRRRR...(it leaps for Peyote)
However, the half-elf wasn't there anymore - in his place stood
a huge, hairy bear!
Peyote-bear: GRAAARGH! (it shuffles forth, catching the huge
hound in mid-leap and bearing it to the ground) GRAAR!
Halbarad: (running at full tilt, he catches Malachai before the
wizard has had a chance to do anything) Die, foul one! (with
a single chop, he cleaves the man from neck to belly)
Halbarad: (hacks again, cutting the man in half)
The gigantic demon-dog obviously knew its summoner was slain -
it began bellowing - but it had no time to worry for the welfare
of anyone but itself.
Peyote-bear: RAAARGH! (it mauls the demon-dog) RRRGH!
As if things weren't crazy enough, there was a crack of thunder
as yet another group appeared on the scene. A hulking barbarian,
well over seven feet tall, quickly surveyed the situation before
charging the crimson-robed monks all by himself.
barbarian: Prepare to meet your dark gods, scum! (he swings a
gigantic two-handed sword in great arcs)
monk leader: Take him, brothers! (he punctuates his statement
with a gout of flame from his hands)
barbarian: (charges through the flames, which dissipate into
embers before hitting him) Spell-Breaker says nay! (with a
mighty swing, he shears the shoulder and arm from the monks'
monks: (quickly surround the huge man, who doesn't even seem to
barbarian: (grins maniacally, his sword dripping with the blood
of his foes) Come on, then...who dies first?
However, the barbarian's companions weren't sitting idly by...
iron-bearded dwarf: Oh, no you don't, Tarl! You're not hogging
all the fun again! (he hurls a strange bladed hammer-axe at a
mass of the monks)
monks: (a half-dozen of them are smashed and broken)
dwarf: Yeah! (he catches the weapon as it returns to his hand)
dwarf: Let's get 'em, boys. (they all charge the monks)
Gorin: (joins Halbarad, blood dripping from his axe) I'd say
the cavalry's here.
Halbarad: Eh? Where have you been?
Gorin: (hefts his gory axe) The first batch of goons had a rear
force, a handful of orcs, approaching from the other flank. I
took care of 'em, though.
Halbarad: Good. (he suddenly spots Zephyr, lying crushed and
bloody off to one side) Zephyr! (he dashes in that direction)
There wasn't much more battle to be had, really. With their
spell-casting leader slain, the monks had no means of escape, and
fought to the bitter end. The demon-dog, perhaps sensing that it
had no mission here, vanished during a brief respite from its duel
with Peyote-bear. Another group, representing some faraway power
of evil, never even entered the fray, instead returning to whence
they came with great haste.
Accompanying Tarl and Yod Ironbeard were several wizards and
warriors: Lord Robilar, agent of Rary and the Circle of Eight;
the archmage Tenser and his bodyguards; the white-bearded, aged
wizard called Dexitheseus; the high priest Riggby, from Nyrond.
After all foes were slain or driven away, Tenser explained the
situation to Halbarad and Peyote: all of these parties, and more,
had sought the Star Rune. Those who had actually made it this far
were the most powerful of the agents of Evil. However, since the
Rune was gone (and not even on this world, according to Riggby)
there was no point in staying. The smarter or more fortunate of
the evil ones had realized this, and acted accordingly.
Peyote was seriously wounded, but the priests aided him and
mended his gashes and broken bones. Gorin had proven himself in
battle, even if no one had seen him; he only had minor scratches.
Zephyr, however, was in bad shape; the magical hand summoned by
Malachai had done its work too well. The great tiger was no more
for this world.
Halbarad: (sinks to his knees) Noooo...
Tenser: (lays a hand on the ranger's shoulder) A noble animal...
and one not deserving of such a death. (he turns to Riggby)
Do you remember what we pulled off with Melf's cat that time?
Riggby: (eyes the corpse of Zephyr) Surely, but this animal's
Tenser: It's still worth a try - what do we have to lose?
Thus it was that Halbarad, Peyote, and Gorin - inexplicably left
behind while the other adventurers were transported to a faraway
world - participated in a great battle within the City of the Gods.
Though no one knew yet, it would be five months before the others
returned to Oerth. Indeed, only Gorin would be waiting for them
in Greyhawk. Peyote returned to his native forests, and went on
to become a high-ranking Druid in the Vesve. Halbarad soon departed
for the far northwest; in his belt-pouch was a newly-created magical
figurine...a platinum likeness of a fierce tiger.
next: Mongo between the Necros adventure and episode #400
ftp: ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
ftp.nol.net in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail: email@example.com (preferred)
notes: This tale takes place directly after episode #199. It's
a shining example of why I decided to write these "lost tales"
from time to time: a tale needs telling, nevermind the length and
the particulars involved. I just sat down and wrote this and had
fun doing it. For instance, the bit with Zephyr explains his
eventual transformation into a figurine (it happened between 199
and 325, somewhere...now we know where, and why.) This story was
a good chance for me to fill in some gaps that needed filling.
Thanks to Tom Vallow for the original idea for this one.
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next Lost chapter (#6)