Lost Chapter #16

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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 1991-8 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.ns.gatech.edu   *
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*  Date:        sometime fairly recent                              *
*  Time:        dusk                                                *
*  Place:       the city of Badwall, in the Wild Coast              *
*  Climate:     chilly                                              *
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*  "Revenge is a dish best served cold."                            *
*                                         - variously attributed    *
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                        XVI.  Just Rewards





  The merchant walked through the double doors and into his shop.
From the outside, it looked for all intents and purposes like the
establishment of one who dealt in fine, rare spices.  Indeed, many
such wares could be purchased within its walls, and by anyone's
reckoning, these spices were among the finest in the city.
  However, the store's owner had another, less public occupation:
he was a thug.  Quite simply, he dealt in threats, extortion, and
blackmail.  He was a common man who, with a twist of fate and more
than a little luck, had risen to a position of some power, if not
overall importance in the world.
  His name was Belgar.

Belgar:  (waves to a gigantic man who watches the doors of the
  store)  Ho, Orzo.  What news?
Orzo:  (folds his massive arms and grins smugly)  I went and rounded
  up that sniveling little rat like you said, boss.
Belgar:  Ah!  (he rubs his ring-bedecked hands together)  And where
  is he...?
Orzo:  In the back, waiting for you.
Belgar:  Splendid.  Have Torgil mind the store for you, and come to
  the back in a moment or two.
Orzo:  Right, boss.

  The adventurer-turned-criminal-turned merchant walked down a long
hallway, passing his office en route to the back of his store.  Here,
behind several well-locked doors, lay the core of his operation:
crates of illegal spices, sacks of ill-gotten money, lists of those
who had paid him off...and those who hadn't.  Snervus, the oily little
man who was tied to a chair within this room, fell into the latter
category.

Snervus:  (raises his head as Belgar approaches)  Belgar!  I told
  them it was a mistake, but-
Belgar:  (takes a comfortable chair and sits, facing his prisoner)
  It _was_ a mistake, Snervus.  Crossing me always is.
Snervus:  But-
Belgar:  Smuggling, Snervus.  A capital crime, in these parts.  Do
  you have any idea what the punishment is for one caught smuggling
  illegal substances - say, spices - into the city?
Snervus:  Uh...no.
Belgar:  Now here I am, Snervus, trying to smuggle rare spices into
  the city using young, easily manipulated girls.  (he cracks his
  knuckles)  I call them spice girls, Snervus.
Snervus:  (nods hastily)  Of course, good-
Belgar:  Shut up, Snervus.
Snervus:  (falls silent)
Orzo:  (enters, closing the door behind him)
Belgar:  Ah.  Snervus, I believe you've already met Orzo.
Orzo:  (smirks)
Snervus:  (grimaces)
Belgar:  The point here, my unfortunate friend, is that you've been
  running your mouth when you shouldn't.
Snervus:  No!  I never-
Belgar:  I told you to shut up, Snervus.
Snervus:  (stops talking)
Belgar:  Normally I'd just have Orzo rip out your tongue...but in
  this case, I think a more permanent solution is called for.
Orzo:  Heh, heh, heh.
Snervus:  No!  Oh, no, I beg of you!  I'll never talk to anybody
  ever again!
Belgar:  You're right, Snervus.  (he gestures to Orzo, who bears
  down on the bound captive)
Orzo:  (picks Snervus up by the neck, chair and all, and throttles
  him)
Snervus:  Ghak!
Belgar:  Dump the body in the usual place, Orzo.
Orzo:  No problem, boss.

  Suddenly, the room's door exploded inward, this impact driven by
a heavy body that smashed through the wood...

Orzo:  (holding Snervus off the floor, he pauses in his throttling
  of the man)  Huh?
Belgar:  Torgil!  What's going on here?

  Just as they realized that Torgil was beaten to a bloody pulp and
probably wouldn't be providing any answers in the near future, a tall,
red-cloaked elf strode through the ruined door.  The newcomer held a
dark sword in one hand, and his eyes glowed with an evil light as he
swept the room with a baleful gaze.

Belphanior:  Well, well, well.  Long time, no see.
Belgar:  Who the hell are you?!?
Belphanior:  (muttering to himself)  How soon they forget.
Belgar:  Orzo!  Get him!
Orzo:  (drops the choking, gasping Snervus - and the chair he's tied
  to, which shatters - and lumbers toward the elf)  Right, boss.

  Belgar recoiled then as he watched a stocky dwarf stroll into the
room, raise a loaded crossbow, and calmly shoot Orzo through the knee.

Orzo:  Yee-ARGH!  (he falls to the floor)
Otto:  Biggest guy in the world...ruin his knee, and he goes down
  like a ton of bricks.
Orzo:  (crawling about in pain)  Grr...
Otto:  (sets his crossbow down and grabs a small barrel)  Hmm, no.
  (he grabs a larger barrel, hefts it over his head, turns to Orzo,
  and swings the barrel down on the man's head)
Orzo:  <clonk>
Otto:  The bigger they are...
Belphanior:  (points to Belgar, who is inching away, toward the back
  of the room)  Not so fast.
Belgar:  Erp.
Snervus:  (stands, shakily, gasping for breath)
Belphanior:  (glares at the wiry little man, then jerks a thumb at
  the door)  You - go.  This is your lucky day.
Snervus:  (doesn't waste a moment, fleeing through the open door)
Belgar:  Don't let him go!  He's a witness-
Belphanior:  Somehow, I doubt that.
Belgar:  But-
Belphanior:  SIT DOWN.
Belgar:  (obeys meekly)  So this is how it ends, eh?  Murdered in
  a two-bit city by some two-bit punks sent by some rival gang?
Belphanior:  No.  Oh, no.  You're way off the mark.
Belgar:  Well, who _are_ you?!?  I don't know you, and-
Belphanior:  Yes, you do.
Belgar:  (shrugs)  I don't believe it.
Belphanior:  (takes a seat and sits in it backwards, the back facing
  Belgar, his sword poking the floor between them)  Let me tell you
  a story.  Once upon a time, some adventurers banded together to
  seek loot and glory.  They found a guide to lead them into some old
  abandoned mines, but the guide got greedy.
Belgar:  (pales)
Belphanior:  As soon as he got a chance, the guide caused a cave-in
  and fled with a rather paltry sum of loot.
Belgar:  Aie!  It's _you_!
Belphanior:  It sure is.  Somehow - I can't explain how or why - we
  all forgot about you.  All about you.  So here it is, years later,
  and I'm passing through this city, walking through the marketplace
  and I see your face.  (he leans closer)  I never forget a face...
  especially if it's someone who needs to die.

  As the elf leaned forward on his weapon's pommel, Belgar noticed
that the black blade seemed to be pulsing.  A stray drop of blood
upon its surface quivered...and then vanished, _into_ the metal of
the sword!

Belgar:  (trembling)  B- but...it was an accident!  A mere misunder-
  standing!
Belphanior:  Forget it.  The others might have spared you, if we'd
  ever caught you.  However, they're not here right now, and I'm
  afraid that's pretty bad news for you.
Belgar:  (sweating profusely)
Orzo:  (groans, and gets to his feet)
Belgar:  Hah!  Orzo!  Get them!  Kill them!
Orzo:  D- uh, boss.
Otto:  (standing atop a crate, he pushes another crate down onto the
  thug's head)
Orzo:  (falls once more, as the crate shatters)
Belgar:  No...no!
Otto:  (shrugs)  If he gets up again, I'll just slit his throat.
Belphanior:  (produces some rope and a large canvas sack)  It's about
  that time, Belgar.
Belgar:  No!  You can't!
Belphanior:  I can, and I will.
Belgar:  (stands up and runs, making a break for it)
Belphanior:  (casually trips the fleeing man, sending him crashing
  into a stack of boxes)  You could have at least spent the last few
  years training, getting ready in case someone came to seek revenge.
  (he frowns)  Not that it would have helped...
Belgar:  (gets to his feet)
Belphanior:  (sheaths his sword and makes ready to tie Belgar up)
Belgar:  (a dagger flashes into his hand as he leaps)  No!
Belphanior:  (slashed shallowly across the chest, he ignores the pain
  and elbows Belgar in the face)
Belgar:  (drops, stunned and bleeding)
Belphanior:  Well, at least you can embark on your journey to Hell
  knowing that you tried.  What more can a man ask for?
Otto:  (shrugs)
Orzo:  (twitches slightly)
Otto:  (raises one eyebrow)
Orzo:  (doesn't move again)

  Shortly, the dazed Belgar was bound and tied in the thick sack,
and he passed out about the time he was hefted over his captor's
shoulder.



  When he regained consciousness, he realized that he was tied to a
small tree.  Belphanior was nowhere to be found, but the dwarf Otto
was sitting on a boulder across from him.

Otto:  (sharpening a knife)
Belgar:  (looks around desperately)  You!  Let me go!  I'll pay you!
Otto:  (looks up)
Belgar:  Whatever he's paying you, I'll double it!  Triple it!
Otto:  (shakes his head)  Nope.
Belgar:  But...but...
Otto:  There are some things you can't buy.
Belgar:  Aie!  (he struggles with his bonds, but in vain, for they
  are expertly tied)
Belphanior:  (walks out of a nearby thicket)  Ah, you're awake.
Belgar:  Yaa!
Belphanior:  What goes around comes around.  Ready to pay for your
  crimes?
Belgar:  No!  You mustn't be hasty!
Belphanior:  Hasty, like you were that day when you collapsed that
  cavern in on us?
Belgar:  Ulp.
Belphanior:  And you know what the most ironic part is?  You may
  have gotten away with a few gems, but if you'd stayed with us
  and stuck to the deal, you'd have gotten a hundred times as much
  as a share of the loot.
Belgar:  You must reconsider this!  Murder will solve nothing!
Belphanior:  It would make me a hell of a lot happier right now,
  that's for sure.
Belgar:  (shakes his head)  No-
Belphanior:  But you don't need to worry about it, since you're not
  going to be murdered.
Belgar:  I d-  I'm not?!?
Belphanior:  (walks around behind the captive, untying his bonds)
  Get up.
Belgar:  (stands)  Oh, thank you!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!
  I will pay you anything - everything!  I'll-
Belphanior:  Quiet.  There's something you must see.  (to Otto)
  Get the horses ready.
Otto:  Right.
Belphanior:  (still holding onto Belgar by means of the loose ropes,
  he pulls the man along behind him)  Come on.
Belgar:  (stumbles along)  Aaa!

  The elf led his prisoner a short distance, through the thicket and
some small boulders.  Shortly, they stopped in front of a fair-sized
cavern mouth.  It looked old, abandoned probably; a thick wooden beam
braced one side of the opening.

Belgar:  What's this?
Belphanior:  (shoves him toward the cavern)  Go and see.
Belgar:  (reluctantly walks toward the cave)  But what-
Belphanior:  (without warning, he plants a foot in Belgar's back and
  kicks outward, propelling him into the cavern)  Happy landings.
Belgar:  (loses his balance, falls into the cavern mouth...and falls)
  WHAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaa......
Belphanior:  (walks forward, grabbing the wooden beam and pulling it
  with all his might)

  The beam came loose, and instantly, a rumbling avalanche of falling
rock obscured the cavern's mouth.  When the dust and grit had cleared
a few moments later, the cave was completely sealed.

Belphanior:  (dusts his hands off)  That's from all of us, you son
  of a bitch.
Otto:  Err...aren't you worried that he's alive down there?
Belphanior:  Nope.  What he doesn't know just yet, but will learn
  soon, is that the cave is also the nest of a pack of carrion
  crawlers.
Otto:  Oh.
Belphanior:  Well, that's that.  Let's go.  (they turn and leave)





next:      Lyra, Zara, and the drow raiding party in Tragidore
ftp:       ftp.myths.com in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
           ftp.nol.net in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
           ftp.tas.gov.au/misc/stories
www:       http://www.myths.com/pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
           http://www.shobaki.org/adventurers
homepage:  http://www.gatech.edu/oit/oe/design/thomas/adv/adv.html
mail:      tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu       (preferred)
           thomas.miller@oit.gatech.edu         (emergency)
notes:     Thanks to Patrick Weeks, Ben Yee, and Karl Abel for
  suggesting (years ago, in some cases!) that the fans should
  finally get to see what happened to Belgar.
    Let me assure you that, in the spirit of the best spaghetti
  westerns, Belgar is finally and definitely dead.
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