Lost Chapter #19

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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   *
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*  Bosco        the soul of a 5th level halfling thief         (CN) *
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*  Date:        3/8/571 C.Y. (Common Year) by "normal" reckoning    *
*  Time:        indeterminate                                       *
*  Place:       the Elemental Plane of Water                        *
*  Climate:     wet                                                 *
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*  "The question isn't who am I?  The question is, _where_ am I?"   *
*                                                 - from _Scream_   *
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                      XIX.  Reluctant Refugee





  It all happened suddenly, so suddenly that Bosco had no time to
even ponder what was happening.  One moment, he was drawing a card
from the magical deck the party had found.  The next moment, he was
flying through a black void, unable to see anything, unable to do
anything.  His stomach felt like it was falling out, such was the
speed at which he was moving.  And then, abruptly...it ended.
  Everything was blue.  He moved his limbs about, finding that
everything felt weird.  It wasn't because of his "falling" just
now, either - Bosco quickly realized that he was underwater!  His
first reaction was to cough, before he realized that there was no
need.  He wasn't drowning.
  But how could this be?  Clearly he was underwater; he could feel
the liquid all around him.  Come to think of it, there were _fish_
darting to and fro, right before his eyes.  Then he realized it:
he wasn't wet.  He was simply _there_.

Bosco:  Ack!  (he flails about, but only succeeds in turning himself
  upside down)  Whoa.

  This was just too weird.  After he'd gotten over his predicament,
the halfling began to wonder where everyone else was.  It didn't take
him long to figure out that the card he'd drawn might have done this
to him.  After all, hadn't someone said something about "bad cards
too" before they all began drawing from the deck?

Bosco:  This sucks.

  He didn't know why he was able to breathe, but he was.  He thought
about it, and wondered if he was carrying some magical item that
granted him water-breathing powers he didn't know about.  It was then
that he realized another terrible thing:  he didn't _have_ any items!
Whether they'd been ripped from him during his speedy "fall" after
drawing from the deck, or simply not brought along for the ride, he
didn't know.  All he knew was that we was wearing plain clothes and
had no weapons or items.

Bosco:  This really sucks.

  He moped for a short time, then decided to have a look around.  It
seemed that he could move about fairly well (or so he thought) just
by paddling his arms and legs, so he did.  None of the fish wanted
anything to do with him, but before long - in fact, before he grew
tired of swimming - he encountered something else, something that
didn't flee...

weird green scaled humanoid-type thing:  (holding a trident and a
  large, woven net, it eyes the halfling curiously)  Grblll?
Bosco:  I don't want any trouble, you.
weird humanoid:  Blrblll.  (almost casually, it throws its net over
  the halfling)
Bosco:  Hey!  (he struggles to free himself, but in vain - he is held
  fast)
weird humanoid:  (swims away, dragging the trapped Bosco behind)

  This continued for a short time, until a massive object loomed in
the distance...and then grew larger, as they neared it.  The thing
was a gigantic mass of rock and algae, much like an island except
totally immersed in water - an underwater island.

Bosco:  It figures, I guess.

  His captor took him right up to the land-mass, and they entered
via a tunnel, one of many that covered the huge mass's surface.
The tunnel wasn't dark, but rather lit by strange, glowing algae
that spotted its walls.  Other tunnels branched off from it at
random places; Bosco's guide seemed to know exactly where they
were going.

Bosco:  (occasionally being bounced into a tunnel wall)  Ow!  Agh!
  Cut that out!
weird humanoid:  (turns and eyes the halfling for a moment)  Glrbbb.

  Shortly, they stopped in front of a small cavern, and Bosco was
dumped unceremoniously on the cavern floor while his captor opened
up one of several crisscrossed doors.  These were fashioned from
coral-covered metal and looked pretty sturdy.  Bosco had seen enough
cells in his life to realize that he was about to be thrown into one.

Bosco:  No need for-  (he is picked up, removed from the net, and
  thrust into the cell)  Hey, no fair!
weird humanoid:  (leers at him, displaying a row of sharp-looking
  white teeth)
Bosco:  Yipes!
weird humanoid:  (slams the cell door, then turns and leaves)
Bosco:  Hey.  Hey!  (he bangs on the coral-crusted bars, to no avail)
  You can't just leave me here!

  Apparently, that very thing had happened.  Consequently, Bosco did
the only thing he could do:  he fished from his pocket the long, thin
shard of stone he'd picked up while being taken here.  Going to work
on the coral-coated lock of the cell, he called upon all his skill
and knowledge to pick the device.
  It took him a while, but he was able to do it.  The lock clicked,
the door swung open, and Bosco was free.

Bosco:  (eyes the picked lock disdainfully, then has a second thought
  and pushes it closed and re-locks it)  That'll keep 'em guessing.

  Without further ado, the halfling stuck his head out into the hall,
looked both ways, and darted out.  In a normal place, with normal
conditions (rather than these watery ones) Bosco might have made it
a good, long way before being caught.  Here, though, he wasn't in
his element, and the occupants of the huge floating rock were.  Not
long after escaping, the small one found himself seized by opaque
tendrils of pure water.  Seized, held, and dragged.

Bosco:  (literally zooming through the hallway)  Whoa...!

  The captive was taken into a huge cavern, its size such that he
couldn't see its walls.  He was released in the middle of the open
area, floating in place as he tried to figure out what was going on.

  The answer wasn't long in coming.  The very water around Bosco
seemed to tingle - and then it churned madly.  He tried to move,
but could not.  Before him, a dark shape approached - a form so
massive that it blotted out all else - a many-tentacled thing the
likes of which he'd never seen before!

gigantic tentacle-thing:  A ROAMING, LOST SOUL...WHO IN THE HELLS
  ARE YOU?
Bosco:  I'm Bosco!
thing:  HMM.  DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE YOU ARE?
Bosco:  Uh...now that you mention it, no.  No, I sure don't.
thing:  DO YOU KNOW HOW YOU CAME TO BE HERE?
Bosco:  (shakes his head)
thing:  THIS IS THE ELEMENTAL PLANE OF WATER.  I AM SILTHIS, SUPREME
  RULER HERE.
Bosco:  Whoa.  So you're the one I talk to about getting home.
thing:  (laughs)  NO.  OH, NO, I DON'T THINK SO.
Bosco:  Huh?
thing:  THERE _IS_ NO RETURNING TO WHENCE YOU CAME.  I HAVE NO IDEA
  HOW A MORTAL SOUL FOUND ITS WAY TO MY DOMAIN...BUT THERE IS NO
  TURNING BACK.
Bosco:  Soul?  What do you mean?
thing:  YOU ARE NOT A LIVING BEING, SMALL ONE...NOT ANY LONGER.  YOU
  ARE BUT THE ESSENCE OF A LIVING, MORTAL BEING FROM THE MATERIAL
  PLANE.
Bosco:  Uh...what are you saying here?
thing:  YOUR BODY - YOUR TRUE BODY - IS ELSEWHERE, FAR FROM REACH.
  YOUR SOUL - THAT WHICH MAKES YOU, YOU - IS HERE.  AT THIS VERY
  MOMENT, _YOU_ ARE NOTHING BUT A SOUL.
Bosco:  But I feel fine!
thing:  NONSENSE.  YOU ARE BREATHING WATER AND MOVING BY POWER OF
  THOUGHT ALONE.  DID YOU NOT REALIZE THIS?
Bosco:  Well, sort of.
thing:  I SUGGEST YOU ACCEPT IT.  OF COURSE, I AM NOT SURE THERE IS
  ANY REASON TO ALLOW YOU TO SURVIVE.
Bosco:  Uh...sure there is!
thing:  INDULGE ME.
Bosco:  (thinking quickly)  Stories.  Yeah, that's it - I can regale
  you with tales.
thing:  TALL TALES, NO DOUBT.
Bosco:  Stories of adventures great and small...near and far...
thing:  (seriously about to end the soul's existence, he pauses)
  HMM.
Bosco:  'Course, if I'm to be a bard, I'll have to charge bard rates.
thing:  YOUR COMPENSATION IS YOUR ONGOING LIFE.
Bosco:  Eep!

  And so it was that Bosco, wayward soul from another plane, ended up
being the official tale-teller of Silthis' aquatic court.  It wasn't
that bad, comparatively - after all, he had a lot of stories in his
head.  And when they ran out, he just made up new ones.  What Silthis
didn't know wouldn't hurt him.
  Though he would have rather been at home, Bosco definitely had a lot
of new and interesting things to do here in his spare time.  He learned
enough sea-lore to make Ged jealous.  The ways of the water weirds, the
habits of giant sharks, the culture of the mer-men, the mating habits
of giant octopi - were all his to know and love.  Of course, he never
forgot for long that he was essentially a prisoner here...

Bosco:  (wandering toward the fortress' vaults, whistling)
shark-man:  (swims into the halfling's path, huge pole-ax brandished)
  <gurgle gurgle>  (he points angrily in the direction Bosco came from)
Bosco:  All right, all right!  Sheez!  (he turns and heads back)

  Such was life, and even with his eternal optimism and good cheer, it
eventually became difficult for Bosco to hope for any kind of rescue.
He coped with this by laying down plans for all the mischief he would
commit when he finally got back to his home world.  These goals and
schemes, though contained totally within the halfling's head, were
quite complex.



  As things turned out, it took a little over two years for Bosco's
friends to track him down and rescue him.  It took an elaborate ploy
which involved Silthis' basic greed and several tons of fake gold...
a trick which could very well lead to repercussions in the future.





next:      see below
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:     Well, I'm into the 20s in lost tales.  There are six
  more to come, and none of them will star Adventurers or henchmen.
  I plan to do one about the drow city that the tarrasque landed in,
  one about the wispy thing, one about the iron dwarf, one about
  Whisper, and two more that are as yet undetermined.
    After that, the Lost Tales will end at #25, and be collected in
  a book of Lost Tales, and that will be that for them.
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