Lost Chapter #6

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                      *    THE ADVENTURERS    *
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                      *     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 1991-7 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                    *
*                                  tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu   *
*  Mongo           17th level dwarven fighter                  (CG) *
*    Gorin          9th level dwarven fighter                  (NG) *
*    Bosco         11th level halfling thief                   (CN) *
*                                                                   *
*  Yod Ironbeard   19th level dwarven fighter and king         (CG) *
*  Date:        11/11/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                        *
*  Time:        midday                                              *
*  Place:       Thunderdelve Mountain, in the northern Lortmils     *
*  Climate:     temperate, within the mountain                      *
*  "Whatever advice you give, be short."                            *
*                                         - Horace, _Ars Poetica_   *

                     VI.  Friendly Advice

  Several months have passed since the abduction of the primary
adventuring party and their subsequent rescue by their henchmen
and other friends.  Each of the adventurers has gone to pursue
his or her own ends, and in the case of Mongo, his travels have
taken him to Thunderdelve Mountain.  In this vast, ancient dwarven
fortress, Mongo (along with his right-hand dwarf Gorin and the
irrepressible halfling Bosco) has remained a guest of the king,
Yod Ironbeard.

Yod:  (eyes Bosco, who is busy climbing up a carven pillar within
  this great hall)  I thought you said you were never gonna bring
  him back here.
Mongo:  Err...
Yod:  (laughs)  Not to worry.  He's irritating at worst, hilarious
  at best, and comical most of the other time.  Remember the other
  night, when he flipped over the roasted pig and fell right off
  the table-
Mongo:  -only to land on a chair and slide down to the table with
  the pies?  Hah!  Who could forget?
Yod:  I guess he's a good one to have around.
Bosco:  (in the background, he slides down the pillar, complaining
  loudly to himself)
Mongo:  Usually.  Sometimes he pisses people off, but there's just
  something about him...hell, it's like he's surrounded by good
Yod:  I'd have thought he's surrounded by chaos.
Mongo:  That too.
Yod:  (looking around)  Where's that Gorin kid?
Mongo:  He's in your training halls, practicing with the moving
  stone blocks.
Yod:  Ah, yes.  The blocks.
Mongo:  They're tough, but they're nothing like real foes...orcs,
  goblins, giants.  (he looks away wistfully)  Dammit.
Yod:  What's the problem?
Mongo:  No problem...
Yod:  I don't believe that.  Let me guess:  you miss the fighting?
Mongo:  Fighting who?  Sometimes it seems like that's all I ever do.
Yod:  It's the way of things...the way of dwarves.  It's the way
  things have always been.
Mongo:  Yeah, yeah, I know.  We proved that in the lower Deeps,
  right here in Thunderdelve.  But is that all there _is_?
Yod:  Well, let me ask you this:  are you ready to find a wife and
  settle down to a quiet, peaceful family life?
Mongo:  No way.  (he rubs his beard)  Though, I've got to say, that
  very thing seems to be the way all my friends are going.
Yod:  How's that now?
Mongo:  Peldor and Tanya...Alindyar and Lyra...Rillen and Songa...
  even Belphanior and whats-her-name.  They're all married - or
  might as well be - and settling down.
Yod:  But not you?
Mongo:  (shakes his head)  But not me.  And you know what?  I don't
  _want_ to.
Yod:  Hmm.  The question then becomes, what _do_ you want to do?
Mongo:  (shrugs)  Hard to say.  I've been thinking long and hard
  about it, and I think I'd like to go to battle with others.
Yod:  Huh?  You always have to fight someone.
Mongo:  (frowns)  Bad choice of words on my part.  What I mean is,
  I want to _lead_ others into battle.
Yod:  You want to be a general?
Mongo:  Someday.  But for now, I just need to be a part of something
  bigger.  These random dungeon crawls aren't any fun anymore, and
  someday, one of us is gonna get killed.  That won't be any fun at
Yod:  It never is, my friend.
Mongo:  I mean, I left Greyhawk after that Necros business and the
  rescue because there was nothing going on there.  Some of us can
  only stay cooped up in a city for so long, you know.
Yod:  Oh, believe me, I know.
Mongo:  No, there's got to be something better out there - out here,
  somewhere.  And I'm not gonna rest until I find it.
Yod:  Whatever it is.
Mongo:  Whatever it is.  (he grins)  Hey, thanks for listening.  I
  guess I needed a good noggin to bounce this stuff off of.
Yod:  No problem.  In fact, I might have just the thing for you.
Mongo:  Working here, in Thunderdelve?  No thanks.  I've already
  thought it through, and I'm not sure it'd be the answer I'm looking
  for.  The last thing I'd want is for you to be counting on me and
  me not want to hang around for the long haul.
Yod:  Actually, I'm not talking about you staying in Thunderdelve.
Mongo:  (surprised)  You're not?
Yod:  No.  I know someone else, though, who might be able to help
  you with your search for fulfillment.
Mongo:  Fulfillment?
Yod:  Or whatever you want to call it.  Ever heard of Greyspire?
Mongo:  No.  Who the heck is Greyspire?
Yod:  No, no, no.  Greyspire's not a person, it's a place.  A huge
  fortress, actually.
Mongo:  Like this one?
Yod:  Not like this one.  Greyspire is a broad, high splinter of
  rock amidst the Riftcanyon.
Mongo:  But the Riftcanyon's in the middle of the Bandit Kingdoms,
  and filled with monsters besides.
Yod:  Indeed it is.
Mongo:  Anyone who'd hang around in the middle of all that would
  have to be crazy.
Yod:  (nods)  A special kind of crazy.  Greyspire's filled with an
  army...the toughest kind of army.
Mongo:  Huh?
Yod:  It's a private army, owing allegiance to no kingdom.  They
  hire themselves out to whoever'll pay their price.
Mongo:  (makes a disgusted face)  Mercenaries?
Yod:  And worth every copper.  Greyspire's forces count amongst
  their number not only warriors, but dwarves, flying infantry,
  wizards, priests, and even stranger troops.
Mongo:  Why would I want to hang around with them?
Yod:  I'd have figured you'd know already.  Think...the Greyspire
  force has all the advantages of a "real" army - which, make no
  mistake about it, it is.  Top-notch training, high-quality
  weapons, veteran officers and troops, an independent home.  On
  the other hand, they have none of the DISadvantages of any
  typical kingdom-run army.  No idiot kings and nobles to muck
  up the chain of command and give dumb orders.  No relying on
  the fiefs and lands around for support.  No peacetime lulls
  and problems.
Mongo:  Hmm.
Yod:  It's the best of both worlds, and the Greyspire contingent
  rivals Perrenland for having the best overall troops on this
Mongo:  I've gotta admit, it sounds good.
Yod:  The commander of Greyspire, Lord Marcus, is a good friend
  of mine.  If you're ever in the area - I'll get you a map -
  make sure to stop by and see him.  I'll recommend you to him
  next time I talk with him.  I've no doubt that you'd do well
  there - and he'd be glad to have you on board.
Mongo:  I'll definitely think about it.  That kind of work might
  be just what I need.
Yod:  (nods)  Ex-soldiers, re-organized and trained to operate
  more efficiently than they ever could before.  A lot of kingdoms
  seek the army of Greyspire when trouble arises.
Mongo:  Not the evil kingdoms, I'd hope?
Yod:  No.  Marcus doesn't deal with causes that involve looting,
  raping, pillaging, that sort of thing.  He's got his own idea
  of right and wrong, and it's fairly close to yours or mine.
Mongo:  Maybe I'll give it a try.  It sounds like the best deal
  around, and it sure would take my mind off of all the recent crap
  that's happened.  We'll see.  Only time will tell...
Yod:  Take a while, think about it.  There's no big hurry or
  anything.  Marcus will still be there, years from now.  Barring
  a Flanaess-wide war, anyway.
Mongo:  (stands, stretching)  Well, I do thank you for the advice.
Yod:  I'm glad we had this talk.
Bosco:  (appears from somewhere)  Hey, anybody up for lunch?

next:      Arnold, before Ged came along
ftp:       ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
           ftp.nol.net in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
www:       http://www.access.digex.net/~dpm
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:     This tale occurs between episodes 325 and 346.  I know
  that some of you were probably expecting a dungeon crawl of some
  sort, but bear in mind that I probably can't top the previous
  Thunderdelve series.  Anyway, this was Mongo's story, and its
  goal was to show the developing friendship between him and Yod.
  Bosco was only incidental, which will probably please some and
  disappoint others.  Such is, of course, the way of Bosco.

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