Lost Chapter #7

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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   *
*  Ged           9th/8th level grey elf priest/mage            (NG) *
*  Arnold        6th level human warrior                       (NG) *
*  Date:        3/11/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                         *
*  Time:        dusk                                                *
*  Place:       the fields outside the Free City of Greyhawk        *
*  Climate:     cold                                                *
*  "The true test of civilization is not the census, not size of    *
*   cities, but the kind of man that the country turns out."        *
*                                            - Ralph Waldo Emerson  *

                    VII.  Civilization Calling

  The walls and towers of the huge, sprawling city loomed before
the weary traveler, and he sighed at the unfamiliar sight.  In a
similar fashion, the farmers in the fields nearby, finishing up
the day's work, stared at the strange foreigner.  The man was not
only unnaturally tall - a full head over the average fellow - but
he was unusually broad as well.  Powerful shoulders and thick arms
were ill-concealed beneath the worn leather jerkin that covered
his massive torso.  Despite the cold, the stranger rode on, his
bulk saddled astride a massive, thick-coated horse.
  Though none of the essentially ordinary peasants could have
known it, the rider was a native of a land hundreds of leagues
to the north - a land where this weather was considered warm, and
where the typical adult easily topped six feet.
  The barbarian ignored the gawking farmers, both because he couldn't
care less what they thought and because he had other things on his
mind at the moment.  He was called Arnold - an unusual name for
one of his land.  While heavy with child, his mother had had a vision
wherein the gods had designs on her unborn child.  Being of a
people who held great stock in the supernatural, the parents opted
to appease the gods.  Thus, this gigantic, shaggy-maned barbarian
bore the appellation "Arnold."
  At the moment, Arnold wasn't a happy man.  He had little reason
to be, for it was unheard of for a war chief of the Fruzti (Frost
Barbarians, to hear the civilized folk talk) to lose his entire
scouting party.  And yet, Arnold had done just that.  While roaming
the snow-capped peaks in search of the elusive mountain elk, the
war party had been ambushed by a huge, ravenous bear.  The beast
had been driven by forces unnatural, even demonic, for it ripped
through two of the hunters before the others could even raise arms
against the thing.  Despite a spear in its shoulder and an axe-
blade across its back, the bear had proceeded to dismember a third
barbarian.  The fourth victim met his end between the animal's
foaming jaws, even as he drove a long knife into its chest.  Narl,
the sub-chief of the party and Arnold's childhood friend, had made
his stand as Arnold recovered from the bear's initial attack.  The
barbarian could only watch as his tribesman and longtime friend
was torn in two by the great claws of the bear.
  It was then that Arnold, shaken by rage and driven by fury, had
leaped upon the beast's hairy back, stabbing it repeatedly about
the head and neck.  By then, it had been weakened; Arnold's knife
drove deep and true, and before he knew it, the huge animal lay
dead.  Arnold himself had suffered little more than a few shallow
scratches - and yet, his five companions were scattered about,
dead and bloody!  The knowledge that his attacks on the beast had
only finished a job begun by his slain tribesmen only added to the
young barbarian's grief.
  Never before had he experienced such shame and grief, not even
when his casual advances to a certain young, single huntress had
gone completely unnoticed.  By the time he'd buried his companions,
Arnold had already decided that he couldn't remain in his village,
among his tribespeople.  They might understand and forgive him, but
he wouldn't.  He did return to the small, remote dwelling, to get
the few possessions that he would need for a long journey.  It was
also necessary to tell the others what had happened.  Civilized
people might have wondered why he didn't bring the corpses back
to the village; such people would not have understood the barbarian
way.  There was also the matter of the bodies' condition, the gory
damage done by the claws and teeth of the bear.
  Arnold did have the animal's great furry hide, as well as a large
quantity of meat and blubber.  This was, after all, the practical
thing to do; the village wasn't exactly teeming with excess food
and provisions.  He had made a brief, embarrassed explanation to
the village's chief, but now he couldn't even recall his words.
All he had wanted to do was get away from the place, and within
hours of his return, he was gone.  For weeks and months he had
wandered, making camp in the wilderness, living off the land.  At
first he had avoided towns and cities, giving them a wide berth.
People in the lands the barbarians raided were generally uneasy
around the marauders; the threat of violence lurked in the air on
both sides.
  As he ventured further southward, however, Arnold began to
tentatively explore the wonders of civilization.  Fine food...weak
liquor...soft women...hot baths.  Some of these appealed to the
wayward barbarian, while others didn't.  It was a cultural shock
for him, though, and as the days passed and the leagues added up,
he found himself learning - learning, and even growing.
  After a brief time in Urnst, he had set out again, intent on
seeing the great city that he kept hearing about.  This so-called
"gem of the Flanaess" sounded too good to be true; in any case,
the road there was hard, passing right through the Cairn Hills.
The northerner had found it necessary to fight both bandits and
beasts to preserve his life.  Fortunately, fighting was pretty
much his forte, and he gave a good accounting of himself when
pushed into battle.
  And now, his travels had taken him here:  the Free City of
Greyhawk, a place unique in the lands.  Grunting as he spurred
his horse toward the southern gate, Arnold wondered what sights
the city held on the inside.  He had a number of things that he
wanted to see or do while stopped over in Greyhawk.
  First, however, he found it necessary to deal with the city
guardsmen at the gate he rode through.  A number of different
and complicated issues got in his way:  registering as a visitor
to the city, a weapons check, a contraband check (he didn't know
what contraband was, but he decided not to let them know that)
and some kind of "adventurer tax."  The entire round of questions
and checks left Arnold several coins poorer - and a good deal
more agitated - than before.  He suspected he had been milked
for more money just because he was an outsider and ignorant of
the laws.  Still, he endured, because there was no other choice;
that was the barbarian way.
  Riding into the Free City, Arnold beheld the sights and sounds
of the sprawling metropolis.  Buildings both old and new mixed,
somehow, perfectly.  Nobles and peasants chatted with merchants
and warriors in the streets and marketplaces.  Although night
was upon the city, it yet teemed with activity.  Desirous of a
cold drink and a hot meal, Arnold began searching for a suitable
tavern.  Within moments, he had spied not one but three, all in
a stone's throw from each other.  Choosing one at random (for he
was unable to read or write) the barbarian tied his horse and
climbed the steps to the establishment's front door.
  Before he got there, however, he was surprised as a short and
rather skinny elf bumped into him.  Arnold had seen elves before,
but they were uncommon in his corner of the world.  The elf who
now stood before him was exceptionally uncommon; he had a mane
of golden hair and the most piercing green eyes that Arnold had
ever seen.

elf:  Well, excuse you!
Arnold:  I thing nod.
elf:  You'd do well to apologize after bumping into people, you
Arnold:  I am nod a loud, and you bumbed into ME.  (he towers
  over the elf)
elf:  Beware, heathen, or I shall exercise Boccob's power and
  turn you into a bird.
Arnold:  Aaa.  (he begins thinking about birds...cooked birds,
  to be exact)
elf:  (suddenly possessed by an idea)  Hey, wait a m-  Can you
Arnold:  Fidht?  Of course I can fidht.
elf:  Is your sword for hire then?
Arnold:  Hire?
elf:  (extends a hand)  I'm Ged, one of a group of mighty adventurers
  who constantly roam the land seeking evil to slay and gold to gain.
  I'm in need of a henchman.

  Arnold wasn't quite sure what a henchman was supposed to be, but
the idea of adventure, of life on the road and monsters to fight and
vast treasures to be had, appealed to him almost instantly.

Arnold:  I am called Ah-nold.
Ged:  Arnold...as good a name as any, I suppose.  Have you any
  experience in the ways of henchlingdom, Arnold?
Arnold:  What woulbd I have to do?
Ged:  Cannon fod-  err, just protect the frontal flanks while the
  spellcasters do their thing.  Here, come inside and let me tell
  you the details over supper.

  It was the best offer Arnold had had all month, and so it was that
he met his future employer and friend.  Though neither of them could
know it yet, in two weeks they would regroup with a reunited party
and set out on another great quest...and for the first (but hardly
the last) time, Arnold would accompany them.

next:      Felicia and Eduardo's summer vacation
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:     This tale takes place sometime between episode 060
  (1/26/571) and episode 069 (3/25/571.)  I didn't focus much on
  the relationship between Ged and Arnold at this point, because
  when Arnie first appeared in episode 069, he was pretty much a
  generic mindless warrior with a bad accent.  Only as the years
  passed (and I kept writing) did he develop a personality.  This
  lost tale should lay some of the groundwork for that personality.
    Credit for some of the ideas behind this episode goes to Matt
  Hurd and Vince Gray.

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