Lost Chapter #15

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                                *   *
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                      *    THE ADVENTURERS    *
                    *                           *
                      *     Lost Tales...     *
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*    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   *
*  Calvin       a young lad                                    (LN) *
*  Date:        12/24/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                        *
*  Time:        morning                                             *
*  Place:       Nenya and Deryck's castle, west of Greyhawk         *
*  Climate:     cold outside, cozy inside                           *
*  "The path to knowledge is saying 'I do not know'."               *
*                                               - from _Kung Fu_    *

                          XV.  Legacy

  Calvin was bored.  There were just no two ways about it.  He'd
done all of his required chores, ahead of schedule as usual, and
was now left to roam the castle.  Nenya and Deryck were away, gone
for the day to some nearby farmland that had to be cleared and
inhabited.  Or something.  Calvin didn't really understand all the
things that his masters did, even when he tried.
  He did understand boredom, though, and in an effort to relieve
it, he'd been wandering the halls and chambers of the castle for
a while now.  He knew most of the places of interest here, and so
it was with great interest that he found the study door ajar.  An
odd occurrence, this - Nenya had been keeping the place locked,
ever since Ged's passing earlier this year.
  It wasn't locked now, though, and the boy snuck up to the door,
slowly and quietly, as if someone might be watching.  He was alone
here, however, and after a cautious peek, he pushed the door with
his hand.  It creaked open, revealing a huge, dark chamber whose
walls were lined with bookshelves.  Fishing a flint and steel out
of his pocket, Calvin made sparks until he spotted one of the
high candles that Ged had used to favor.  Lighting this, he held
it aloft, scanning the chamber as his candle threw dancing shadows
across the musty shelves and furniture.
  He wasn't sure that Nenya would want him in here, but then again,
this room wasn't explicitly off-limits like the laboratory and the
vault.  This fact, combined with his natural curiosity, led him
deeper into the chamber; a sense of power awed the young lad as he
realized that this room held more knowledge than some cities.  He
walked by first one table, then another, his hands running across
loose tomes that had been left there.  Scrolls rustled with his
passing; the pages of opened books rustled as he touched them.
  Calvin turned to regard one of the bookshelves, compelled by
the same instinct that caused other children to want to see and
touch everything.  He wasn't sure exactly when it happened; all
he knew was that after glancing at the contents of several shelves,
his gaze stopped on a thick, grey hide-bound book.  The thing was
heavy as he pulled it out; he had to set his candle down on a small
endtable in order to retrieve the book.  Its removal caused dust to
blow across the shelf, and he sneezed so hard that he almost dropped
the tome.  He couldn't open it while standing, so he sat down in the
leather-bound chair next to the endtable, and then opened the book.
  It wasn't a spellbook, as he'd first suspected.  Neither was it a
tome of ancient history, or lore on dragons, or a treatise on magic.
It was a diary.
  Calvin didn't have much of an attention span, so the first page
he flipped to, near the book's front, was as random as any other as
he glanced over it.  The letters were weird - high and thin, with
peculiar leanings and markings.  In truth, they were letters of the
old elven language; to Calvin, they were gibberish.
  It was doubly strange, then, when the writing shifted and changed
before his eyes - changed into the simple, blocky letters of Common!
Calvin didn't understand, and he rubbed his eyes in amazement as he
read a passage from the page before him:

  4/27/505 C.Y.

    I'm bored.  Bored, bored, bored.  There has got to be more
  to this great world than Celene, even if nobody around here
  acts like it.  I wonder if I should just leave - take the sum
  of my knowledge and experience and go elsewhere.  That's what
  Aristobulus intends to do when he grows up, though he made me
  swear not to tell Mother and Father.  Talisantia would surely
  be upset if he knew - sometimes I think he intends to stay
  here for his entire life.

  Calvin found this only vaguely interesting, though it did
sort of remind him of his own life right about now.  He
flipped through a fair number of pages, finally stopping at
another random one:

  4/12/516 C.Y.

    Big fight tonight - Aristobulus stole one of Xandaria's
  spellbooks.  Don't know why, since the dolt hasn't had any
  training in spellcraft.  Maybe he intended to sell it to
  those unpleasant friends of his.  Talisantia recommends a
  stay in the city jail, but Father won't have any of it.
  Brilthasan agrees with Tal, but then again, he just mimics
  everything that Tal does anyway.  Leila doesn't seem to
  care, one way or the other.  Even Gilanthar is angry this
  time; she says that he's too dangerous to have around.  It
  occurs to me that this effect may be what Aristobulus wanted
  in the first place.

  Calvin had never been much of a reader, but he found that
flipping through the huge book randomly seemed to keep him
entertained, so that's what he did...

  6/20/519 C.Y.

    Yea!  We're going on a vacation - to the Spindrift Isles,
  far to the east of Celene.  Father says it's an exclusive
  elven community.  I don't care about that - all I care about
  is getting away to somewhere ELSE.  We have cousins there,
  and we shall be staying for a year at least.
    I can't wait.
  8/2/519 C.Y.
    Spindrift Isles

    I believe I have found true happiness, at least for many
  years to come.  These isles - the northern chain, peopled
  by elves only - are quiet, serene places, filled with high
  towers and majestic palaces.  We journeyed here this morning
  via some great spell of teleportation; it was as if reality
  itself opened for us.  One instant we were home in Celene,
  and the next, we were here, hundreds of leagues away.
    I hadn't realized that Father was quite this powerful.
  In any case, more to come later.  I have much exploration
  to undertake now.
  10/17/519 C.Y.
    Spindrift Isles

    The open water that surrounds these islands is simply...
  enthralling.  I never realized that the great oceans could
  hold so much allure.
    Father and Mother have been wondering if I was possessed
  by demons, but I assured them that this is simply a love of
  something I never saw until now.
    I have already made several waterborne journeys in ships,
  though not to the Isles of Lendore.  Those areas, to the
  south, must remain distinct from our own northern isles.
    It appears as if we will be here for several years, which
  is perfectly acceptable to me.
  4/3/522 C.Y.
    Spindrift Isles

    As I sit here, contemplating everything I have learned in
  the past few years, I have every reason to be pleased - for
  although the rest of the family is leaving, I have been
  granted permission to stay!  They seem to understand this;
  I am happier here than I ever was in Celene, and my skill
  with magic has improved by leaps and bounds.  I'm not quite
  sure that our cousins here would want me to stay if I wasn't
  a star pupil.  However, being a prodigy certainly has its
  benefits, as my continued presence here attests.
    I will be granted my own private tower to dwell and work
  in.  I plan to split my time between the study of magic and
  the study of seacraft.  Already, I have learned how to sail,
  steer, raise sails, and other basic seamanship tasks.  By
  the end of my time here, I intend to be fully capable of
  designing and building great ships.  We shall see.

  Calvin paused; he realized that this part would go on for a long
while.  Accordingly, he flipped ahead, skipping a significant chunk
of the book...

  11/11/549 C.Y.
    Spindrift Isles

    My talks with the sea elves continue, and they go well.
  The fine art of diplomacy seems to have been lost among my
  people here on the islands.  However, I have long since
  recognized the history and knowledge to be gained from the
  aquatic members of my race; accordingly, I have visited
  their underwater homes.  In fact, I just returned from one
  such expedition.
    Let me say it now:  the world _beneath_ the water is even
  more amazing than the world above it!  Huge castles of coral
  and brightly-colored fish are commonplace, as are pearls
  the size of my fist.  Simply amazing.  This area is a vastly
  under-explored part of the world.  Perhaps someday, I shall
  have the time and resources to do something about that.

  This part seemed fairly boring to Calvin too, so he skipped ahead
some more...

  3/21/566 C.Y.
    Spindrift Isles

    I have been pursuing my magical studies with new interest,
  for I suspect I have found a way to learn and control even
  more power than I previously thought possible.  By a chance
  encounter, I learned of a deity called BOCCOB.  His domain
  encompasses all things magical, and his priests practice an
  art much like my own.  A useful combination of disciplines,
  and made even better by the fact that Boccob is an uncaring
  god.  He demands little.
    I have never seriously contemplated deities, but in this
  case, Boccob _is_ magic.  It's that simple.
    This matter bears much further investigation.
  10/17/568 C.Y.
    the ocean, en route to the mainland

    Finally.  After decades, I find myself leaving the isles,
  bound for the lands of non-elves.  There, I hope to learn
  their motivations, mysteries, and magics.  I have no plan,
  but I don't need one.  I'm a fully ordained priest of Boccob
  and a skilled wizard as well.  Whatever course of action I
  choose, I anticipate no problems.
    It's rather cold on the ocean, but I like it.

  Calvin realized that he was near the end of the diary -
only a few dozen pages remained.  Nonplussed, he flipped
ahead further...

  3/2/569 C.Y.
    some hovel of a city in Aerdy, the (sic) Great Kingdom

    I find myself in a cesspool of morals and actions, a place
  that typifies the problems I have witnessed in the last few
  months of wanderings.  There's no need to pass judgements as
  simple as good and evil - rather, this world suffers from an
  abundance of stupidity, greed, lack of discipline, and so on.
  It's just like Mother told me when I was a wee elf-lad:  the
  world is filled with stupid people, and you can either keep
  clear of them and the chaos they cause, or you can fall in
  with them.  As for me - my path seems clear.
    However, I can't change the world.  Not right away.  And
  definitely not alone.
    the city of Fax, in the Wild Coast

    In yet another hovel of a city, I may have at last found
  a ray of hope.  Intrigued by a notice on a public board, I
  followed up, and have become involved in a minor quest of
  sorts.  Some dolt named Cassius needs something delivered
  to a nearby city, and thus we are couriers.  The task is
  hardly worthy of note, but my new adventuring companions
  may be.  In them, I see a chance to have the backup I need
  to achieve my goals.
    The most promising of these new companions is a dwarf named
  Mongo Thunderhead.  Though uncouth and wild, he may actually
  have more morals than anyone else in the group.  Excluding
  myself, of course.  I think I could become friends with the
  dwarf, but we shall see - oftentimes, first appearances can
  be deceiving.
    Another good bet is the ranger, Halbarad.  He follows a
  strict code of right and wrong, and I am fairly certain he
  can be counted on to keep things in order.  The man seems a
  bit aloof, but I am not sure why.  Not yet.
    Aloof...a word well-suited for the tracker's friend, a
  rather irritating half-elf who calls himself Peyote.  An odd
  name.  Anyhow, this one is always joking, goofing about; he
  seems competent, but the real question is whether those
  things he's competent _in_ are of any use.
    The last of these new friends whom I won't have to watch
  is the priest of Trithereon, one Rob.  He is naive, foolish,
  yet the power of his god flows in him.  Useful, but in need
  of supervision.
    Those are the four who I can turn my back to, without any
  worry of stabbing or theft.  There are, however, others.
    Belphanior, a tall, wiry elf, appears to be a rogue and a
  warrior.  He also appears to be psychotic and uncontrollable,
  and prone to kill anyone who gets in his way.  This one, I
  fear, will not live to see old age.
    We also have a rogue amongst us, a dolt calling himself
  Peldor.  He seems shady, wily - not to be trusted.  How a
  fool such as this can live a normal life, I will never quite
    At least those two bathe regularly.  Krug, a hairy and
  unwashed brute, smells as bad as his attitude.  I don't know
  why we need him, but he joined the group just as everyone
  else did, and there seems to be nothing I can do about it.
    The final member of the band remains a total mystery.  He
  is garbed in black robes and hood, and speaks little.  Even
  his race remains a mystery to the rest of us, and I know I
  am not alone in distrusting him.  After all, if a fellow
  won't even show his face, how can you trust him?
    Yea indeed - life will be very interesting for a while
  here.  I cannot say how long I will work with these people,
  but it is most definitely an opportunity worth exploring.

  Calvin turned the page, finally intrigued since he'd seen names
he recognized - and the book ended!

Calvin:  Huh?

  The young lad checked the bookshelf, in the dwindling light of
his candle, but could find no companion volume to the one in his
hands.  He looked only briefly before realizing that he'd dawdled
here for too long already - he had things he was supposed to be
  Concluding that there had to be another such diary here, some-
where, the boy decided to save that mission for a rainy day.  He
replaced the book on its shelf, blew out the stub of the candle,
and left the room, leaving the door closed exactly like he'd
found it.
  Shortly, while carrying a load of clean towels to an upstairs
floor, he ran into Nenya...

Nenya:  Oh, there you are, Calvin.
Calvin:  Hi yourself.
Nenya:  (shuffling through some papers in her hand, she talks to
  him nonchalantly)  Did you do anything interesting today?
Calvin:  Sort of...but not really.
Nenya:  Well, that's nice.  (she wanders away)  See you later.
Calvin:  Bye, now.

  As he continued on his way, the lad wondered why it was that
grown-ups thought they knew everything when sometimes they knew
very little indeed.

next:      something I should probably leave alone:  the fate of
ftp:       ftp.myths.com in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
           ftp.nol.net in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
www:       http://www.myths.com/pub/rpg/stories/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:     Unlike all of the lost tales to date, this one doesn't
  happen within a specific timeframe - rather, it incorporates
  slices from various periods of Ged's life.  The idea came to me
  out of the blue, and it took hold, and fiercely.

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