Chapter #95

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                              +   +
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                          +           +
                        +               +
                      +                   +
                    +                       +
                  +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                    +                       +
                      +                   +
                        +               +
                          +           +
                            +       +
                              +   +

+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1993 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                    +
+                        +
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      11th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra        7th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior     8th/8th/9th level high elf w/m/t    (CN)   +
+   Ged            9th/9th level grey elf priest/mage  (NG)   +
+      Arnold      7th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+   Mongo          9th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        12th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen         9th level human warrior              (N)   +
*   Flint Firelips (guest)   dwarven warrior                  +
+   Date:    7/27/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    night                                            +
+   Place:   unknown hostile wilderness near Blackmoor        +
+   Climate: increasingly chilly                              +
+   "Ah, peaceful and quiet, amigo."                          +
+   "Like a graveyard, for instance?"                         +
+                            Tuco & the Man With No Name      +

                    XCV.  Calm Before the Storm

  The party is in big trouble.  Most of the adventurers
have been taken prisoner by a vampire lord after a great
battle.  Only Ged, Peldor, and Lyra escaped, casting a
spell to get away before they, too, could be captured...

  Somewhere in the dark, all was silent.  Then, with
neither warning nor witness, three figures blinked into
existence, at a height of ten feet or so above the rough

Ged:  Wha-  Yikes!  (he falls to the ground rather
  unceremoniously)  Whoulf!
Peldor:  (likewise, though he tries to land on his feet
  and almost succeeds)  Oof!
Lyra:  (also falls to the ground)  Whoa...
Ged:  (looks around)  Hmm.  No sign of the undead mob.
  Or that vampiric leader of theirs.  My teleport was
Peldor:  Yeah...if you call successful being dumped on
  our butts on hard ground.
Ged:  Damn it all!  We were lucky enough to get away
  before that freak nailed us with some weird spell,
  like he did the others.  Maybe I should have tried
  to turn him.
Lightbringer:  (pipes up)  There was a strong aura of
  evil and power about that one.  I doubt that he can
  BE turned.
Peldor:  Say, where's Flint Firelips?  I thought he was
  coming with us too.
Ged:  My teleport spell can only move a certain amount
  of weight.  Either Flint was the heaviest of us four,
  or the most distant from me, the caster of the spell.
  Either way, he didn't make the teleport with us.
Lyra:  The others...they are all gone...slain...
Ged:  Not so.  The vampire clearly told his minions to
  take everyone alive.  I heard him.
Peldor:  Yeah, you're right.  Though I doubt they'll
  stay alive for long.  A rescue is in order!
Lyra:  (perks up)  Rescue?
Ged:  I wonder where the hell we are?  Since it was a
  totally blind teleport (we're actually lucky to have
  made it in one piece), there can be no sure way of
  knowing how far away we moved.  Or where we are.  I
  simply thought of dark, evil-looking plains like those
  we have been seeing since we entered this cursed land.
Peldor:  Let that not daunt us!  We should move out in
  a random direction until we find something.
Ged:  To hell with that.  I shall cast a divination and
  seek guidance from the mighty Boccob.  (prepares his
Peldor:  Oh, wonderful.  (begins cleaning gunk from his
  sword)  Boccob this, Boccob that.  Will there never
  be an end to it?
Ged:  Quiet, fool, I must concentrate.  (casts his spell
  momentarily)  O great Boccob!  Your most humble servant
  seeks an answer to his dilemma.  (pauses)
Lyra:  (watching in fascination)
Peldor:  (wondering if Boccob is even awake at this hour)

  Suddenly, a huge pair of purple glowing lips appeared
in the air in front of the priest.

Ged:  The lips of Boccob!  (bows in reverence)
Peldor:  (watches in amazement)
Ged:  Er...Will we find anyone if we travel westward?
lips of Boccob:  NO.
Ged:  Shall we find anyone if we travel eastward?
lips of Boccob:  PERHAPS.
Ged:  What about northward?  We seek our lost companions.
Ged:  Hmm.  Will there be danger?
Ged:  But-
lips of Boccob:  (vanish)
Peldor:  Well, _that_ was interesting.
Lyra:  To the northwest we go, then.
Ged:  Yea.

  They traveled silently through the darkness, each one
keeping to his or her own thoughts.  Amazingly, it was
no more than ten minutes before they came upon a small
town.  The weary trio approached the gate.

night watchman:  Ho, there!
Ged:  Ho, yourself.  We seek a place to rest and eat.
night watchman:  We of Ren do not make a habit of
  letting strangers in after midnight.  You would be
  best advised to seek shelter elsewhere.
Lyra:  (casts Charm Person on the watchman)
night watchman:  (his eyes glaze over briefly)
Ged:  Eh?
Lyra:  (to watchman)  You should make an exception to
  your rule tonight.
night watchman:  I should make an exception to my
  rule tonight.
Lyra:  You will let us into the town.
night watchman:  I will let you into the town.
Lyra:  You won't give us any trouble, either.
night watchman:  I wouldn't dream of it.
Lyra:  You won't remember this conversation five minutes
  from now.
night watchman:  What conversation?
Lyra:  Good.  (they pass by)
night watchman:  Excellent.
Peldor:  (last to go by)  Hmm.  (to watchman)  You will
  empty your purse-
Ged:  (grabs Peldor by the collar)  Come on, you.
Peldor:  Wha-  But I think he was falling for it!
Lyra:  That's not the point.  (they approach an inn)
  I think it best if we get a room and then some rest.
  Though I hate to admit it, we can't accomplish much
  of anything at night.
Ged:  No, you're right.  Don't worry about it.  Let's get
  some rest, and work on memorizing new spells.
Peldor:  Rest?
Lyra:  (scanning the deserted streets)  What a nice, quiet
  little town this is.
Ged:  Almost _too_ quiet.

  Shortly, they had purchased a room for the night, and
were inside it, preparing for tomorrow's work.

Peldor:  (after making sure that the door and window are
  secure, he lies down on the floor)  Whew!  I'm beat.
Lyra:  (memorizing spells from her spellbook)
Ged:  (likewise working from his own book)
Peldor:  (dreams up a notion of going on an "excursion"
  but, fortunately, falls asleep first)  Zzzzzzz.
Ged:  As we seem to have gotten a room with only one bed,
  and Peldor's on the floor there, I shall also take the
  floor.  (unrolls his bedroll)
Lyra:  But-
Ged:  No buts.  Us priests of Boccob are gentlemen as
  well as scholars, you know.
Lyra:  (goes back to her spell memorization)

  And so it was that the trio of adventurers passed the
night in the small town of Ren, in the southwestern edge
of Blackmoor.
  Meanwhile, somewhere out in the dark plains, a lone wolf
howled as the full moon shone upon the land.  Somewhere, no
doubt, evil was being done.

  When morning arrived, the three were already up and about,
preparing to seek their companions.

Ged:  (to barkeep)  I don't suppose you know anything at
  all about an evil lord in these parts?  (drops a thick
  coin of gold on the bartop)  A _really_ evil lord?
barkeep:  Begging your pardon, sir, but actually I do.  A
  fine town this used to be, until that foul ruler arrived
  in this land.
Lyra:  Fine town?
Peldor:  (to Lyra)  I got the impression that this whole
  land was foul...
barkeep:  Of course, there was already the usual quota of
  murder and mayhem, but that lord...why, he commands much
  in the way of evil power!  He showed up in town and made
  it known that he was raising a castle in the wilds to the
  north.  Ever since that day, people have been turning up
  lost, if you take my meaning.
Ged:  Interesting.  Go on.
barkeep:  Sometimes, it is whispered, certain townspeople
  fall under his evil spell.  There is really no reckoning
  how much of this town is already in his control.
Ged:  You spoke of a castle...where is this castle?  How
  far northward?
barkeep:  No one knows for sure.  Why, do you intend to go
  there?  (leans forward)  Because that is suicide, no two
  ways about it!
Ged:  Could be.  Boccob thanks you for your help.  (he goes
  back to the table that Peldor and Lyra are sitting at)
  Well, that guy says that we need to search to the north
  for the evil lord and his servants...
Lyra:  I have heard enough.  Let us be off.
Peldor:  Yeah.  (they leave)
barkeep:  (intently watches the three exit his inn, and
  then turns to face some hooded men in a corner booth)

  They gathered their supplies and prepared to depart the
small town of Ren.  From all sides, the townspeople were
staring at them, with glances that hinted at malicious
intent.  Peldor went to the supply store to buy (?) the
few supplies and provisions that they were low on.

Ged:  (looking at the townspeople uneasily)  Why are they
  looking at us like that?
Lyra:  Maybe they have never seen a drow elf.
Ged:  No, I don't think that's it.  I hope these people
  don't get any ideas.  Like robbing us or something.
Peldor:  (appears, loaded with bags and other things)
  What's this about robbing?
Lyra:  Nothing.
Peldor:  Good.  I'd hate to think that this town contained
  people who would steal from others.  (begins thinking
  about all the items he just shoplifted from the supply
  store)  Anyway, here's the stuff we needed.  Boy, am I
  glad to be out of there!  They were quite unfriendly...
Ged:  To hell with this town.  I have bought these fine
  mounts (holds up the reins of three ragged horses) from
  the stable here.  These were the best that the stable-
  master would sell me.
Lyra:  (pets one of the horses)  They're not that bad.
Peldor:  Yeah, well, let's get out of here.
Ged:  Yea.

  With that, the dauntless trio left the town of Ren, a
town typical of those found in the violent, chaotic (and
often downright evil) land of Blackmoor.

next time :  life in a prison different than any other, as
           we see what the rest of the party is up to...

ftp site  :, in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers

notes     :  It's now Wed. 3/24 and I'm taking a short break
           before my new employment begins...I won't be back
           for a week...the above is as good a cliffhanger as

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