Chapter #112

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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      13th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra       10th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior     9th/11th/11th level high elf w/m/t  (CN)   +
+   Ged           10th/12th level grey elf priest/mage (NG)   +
+      Arnold      9th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+   Mongo         12th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+      Flint       9th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        15th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen        12th level human warrior              (N)   +
+   Date:    2/23/572 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    noon                                             +
+   Place:   the extreme western edge of the Yeomanry         +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+   "That's one of the remarkable things about life.          +
+    It's never so bad that it can't get worse."              +
+                                             - Calvin        +

                    CXII.  Stranded!

  The adventurers have sailed a great distance in Ged's
new magical sky balloon, and are now poised to travel
through (over) the mighty Hellfurnace Mountains.

Ged:  Uh, I think we're going to have to gain a little
  altitude here.  (he grabs the wall-mounted lever and
  pushes it upward)
Mongo:  Shit...(the cabin tilts slightly as the balloon
Rillen:  This is crazy.

  The ship rose steadily as it sailed toward the range
of mountains.  At first, things looked bad, since the
peaks loomed rather close, but the balloon proved able
to move over the small peaks and around the larger ones.

Belphanior:  Now _this_ is exciting!
Mongo:  Ugh...I think I'm gonna be airsick.
Ged:  Aren't these the Hellfurnaces?  I see snow atop
  the mountains...
Mongo:  Actually, this is mostly the Crystalmist range
  we're in now.  They're not as hot, 'cause they're not
  volcanic, like the Hellfurnaces.  Also it's winter.
Ged:  You sure know your mountaineering, pal.
Peldor:  Hey, look out for that peak there!
Ged:  Boccob!  (he wheels the balloon hard to the left,
  moving it away from the impending collision)  It's
  this damned fog - I can't see too far ahead!
Peldor:  (grabs one of the sidebars in the cabin)  I'll
  lend my sharp eyes to the task of navigation.  You
  just steer, I'll watch for mountains.
Ged:  Okay.
Belphanior:  (holds out his magical compass)  Time to
  calibrate again.  Go _that_ way.  (points)
Ged:  (steers the wheel a bit to the left)
Lyra:  (looks at Alindyar)  Why do I get the feeling
  that we're going to slam into the side of a mountain
  and die?
Alindyar:  (shrugs)  Who can say?
Belphanior:  (sticks his head out of a window)  Wheee!

  They moved on safely for about two hours, but then
their luck suddenly ran out, as the fog grew thicker,
the wind picked up considerably, and the balloon had
to be pushed harder and harder to gain altitude.

Peldor:  (peering through the dense fog, spots an animal
  to port)  Hey, what's a yak doing in this cloudbank?
Ged:  Huh?
Peldor:  Peak ahead!  Peak ahead!  Holy shit!  (the fog
  is just now moving aside, revealing a high snow-capped
  mountain directly in front of the balloon)
Ged:  Damn!!!  By Boccob-  (wheels the balloon hard to
  starboard and yanks the speed lever, turning the ship
  nearly horizontal)  Whooo-  (he grasps the wheel firmly
  as things and people begin flying around)
Peldor:  Hah!  I have feather falling powers, and cannot
  possibly be hurt by all of this-  (he sails backward,
  into Rillen, and both hit the wall rather hard)  Ow!
Rillen:  (groping for a rail)  Whai! (grabs a rail)
Peldor:  (rolls away into another wall)  Ouch!
Belphanior:  (near a window, holds a windowframe as he
  tries to avoid falling out of the balloon)  Yie!
Mongo:  Fuck!  (he locks his arm around a rail and hangs
  on)  What the hell?
Flint:  (rolls along a wall that is currently the floor)
Arnold:  Aaaa.  (grabs the table, which is fortunately
  fixed to the floor)
Lyra:  (sails by)  Whieee...
Arnold:  (reaches out and grabs the drow with one thickly-
  muscled arm)  I've god you.
Lyra:  (holds onto Arnold for dear life)  Thanks!
Alindyar:  (falls back into a cabin wall)
Ged:  (having stabilized the craft, he is now trying to
  stop its forward momentum using the levers)  Hey, this
  is a bad time to notice that there's no "reverse" in
  this thing...
Mongo:  A real bad time.
Ged:  (lashes himself to the wheel with his belt)  That
  mountain's dead ahead...shit!  There's no stopping
  now!  Hold on, everybody, we're about to crash!

  Somehow, Ged managed to kill more speed as the balloon
spun its way toward the mountain, but the ship still hit
the peak hard, crashing into some scattered trees on the
mountainside.  There was a terrible wrenching sound, and
the cabin spun around as the balloon rolled through the
trees and into the stone of the mountain.  Adventurers
were thrown all over the place before the balloon finally
stopped moving.

  Some time later (minutes?  hours?), people began to
stir.  Slowly.

Mongo:  Uhh.  (sits up, and realizes that he's sitting
  on the cabin's open door, half-buried in snow, with
  his feet dangling over a chasm)  Hey!
Rillen:  (hanging onto a nearby tree limb, rubs his
  neck)  Ouch.
Mongo:  (slowly, ever so slowly, he backs up into the
  cabin)  Whew.  (he spots crumpled bodies scattered
  around the cabin)  Better get everyone out of here.
  There's no telling if this thing'll fall or not.
Rillen:  (climbs out of the tree and begins gathering
  those possessions of his that fell from his pack)
Mongo:  (drags Ged out into the snow)
Arnold:  Aaa.  (wakes up)  Hey, Mondo, where are you
  takingk all of dhem?
Mongo:  Out of this damned balloon-thing.  Give me a
  hand, would you?
Arnold:  Sure.  (they drag Flint, and then the two
  drow, out of the crashed ship)
Belphanior:  (claws his way out of a window and into
  the snow)  Ugh...

Soon, the adventurers were wandering around in the
snow, nursing various wounds.  Alindyar was banged up
pretty badly, and required serious healing just to
stop the bleeding.  Flint, Lyra, and Rillen were all
seriosuly wounded; Mongo, Ged, and Arnold were hurt,
but not too badly.

Mongo:  Hey, where's Peldor?!?

  There was a muffled groan from a nearby snowbank,
and those who were conscious turned to see a pair of
booted legs sticking up out of the snow.

Arnold:  Dhere he is.  (walks over and grabs Peldor's
  legs, pulling him out of the snow)
Peldor:  Wha-  what happened?
Arnold:  (cheerfully)  We cradshed.
Peldor:  Oh. (checks himself for wounds or broken
  bones)  Whew.
Rillen:  Are you unhurt, thief?
Peldor:  (brushes himself off)  Yeah, I guess.  But
  there _is_ snow in my pants...
Ged:  (looking at his sideways-crashed magic balloon
  sadly)  ...
Lyra:  (bandaging Alindyar's cuts)
Mongo:  (looks around)  Well, here we are.
Belphanior: (munching on a piece of meat)  Yup.  How
  high do you figure we are?
Mongo:  Oh, a good ways up.  Without climbing gear,
  we'll have to search for a trail down the mountain.
Rillen:  At least we will go on foot from now on.
Lyra:  (to Ged)  How is the balloon?
Ged:  (speaks the command word, and the thing shrinks
  into its small sphere form, and plops down into the
  snow, where Ged retrieves it)  It's cracked now.  I
  don't know if it will work anymore or not.  (speaks
  the command word, but nothing happens)  Damn.
Flint:  (looks down the cliff)  It's quite a ways down
  from here.  Could take days.
Mongo:  Yeah.  I think we were through the bulk of the
  mountain range.  If we can get down a ways, and find
  a pass, we might get out of this okay.
Rillen:  (breathing the crisp mountain air)  Now _this_
  is an adventure worthy of bards' tales!
Peldor:  Huh?
Mongo:  Well, it's time to hunt for a way down.  Since
  we don't have any snowshoes, we'll need to rope our-
  selves together.
Peldor:  Why?
Mongo:  'Cause if someone falls into a snow-covered
  chasm, that someone will have a hell of a lot better
  chance to survive with a few hundred pounds of weight
  as an anchor.
Peldor:  Hey, sounds good to me.  (he and a few others
  get some rope and begin tying it as necessary)  Yep.

  They roped themselves together in ten-foot increments,
Mongo leading the way, followed by Flint, Belphanior,
Rillen, Ged, Alindyar, Lyra, Arnold, and Peldor, in that

Arnold:  Why am I ad the back of the groub?
Mongo:  To distribute the weight more evenly.  Again in
  case someone falls.  We can't have all the big guys
  at the front.
Arnold:  (happily)  Okay!
Peldor:  (muttering to himself)  What am I, an elf?  A
  lightweight?  A _halfling_?!?  (realizes that the
  snow in his pants is melting, and throws his hands up
  in the air)  Phhhft.

  The brave adventurers set out, hoping to make some
progress and better their situation by nightfall, some
five to six hours from now.  They marched carefully
along the slopes and snowy forests, guided by Mongo,
who led them downward whenever feasible.

Mongo:  This way.  (they cross a snowdrift)
Belphanior:  Showshoes would sure come in handy.  When
  we get back to civilization, I'll get some, and keep
  them in my pack.  After all, you never know...
Rillen:  And it pays to be prepared.
Belphanior:  Yup.
Ged:  What's thaaaaaaaaaa...  (falls in a narrow chasm
  under the snow)
Alindyar:  Whaa-  (he was pulled in with Ged,
  since he was roped next to him)
Rillen:  (flails and digs into the ground with his staff,
  struggling to avoid being pulled in as well)  Hold on!
Mongo:  There you go!  Good job - you stopped the others
  from sliding down.  Lyra, hold on for a second.
Lyra:  (pulling at Alindyar, with Arnold's help)  I'm not
  going anywhere.
Ged:  (hanging in the chasm by a rope, two really, he
  looks down)  Shit!
Mongo:  Don't look down!
Alindyar:  (looks up)
Rillen:  (pulls Ged up, slowly)
Belphanior:  (pulls Rillen)  Come on, you can make it.
Flint:  (pulls Belphanior)
Mongo:  (pulls Flint)  Okay, everyone else, jump over!
Lyra:  (hops over the chasm, and grabs onto Rillen)
Peldor:  (amazed that the female mage made such a jump
  easily)  I must be getting old.
Arnold:  Id's nod that wide of a chadsm.
Peldor:  I guess not.  Let's go.
Arnold:  (he and Peldor follow Lyra, leaping across the
  chasm)  Aaa.
Peldor:  (lands, and helps the others pull Alindyar and
  Ged out of the chasm)  Ugh.
Ged:  Whew.  (looks back into the deep crevice)  I never
  even knew it was there.
Mongo:  That's how these things are.  Everyone just be
  on your toes.

  They went on, making slow but steady progress.  Several
hours later, after some more close calls, the night was
falling, and they began to look for a place to make camp.
As if to hasten things further, a heavy snow began to fall
on the mountains.

Alindyar:  (looking up in wonder)  I have never witnessed
  falling snow before.
Lyra:  It's nice, isn't it?
Mongo:  We need a safe campsite.  Somewhere away from the
  wind and snow.
Belphanior:  Like a cave?
Mongo:  A cave would be perfect.
Peldor:  Could _that_ be a cave entrance over yonder?

  A short time later, they found a small cave, and went
inside.  Cold, shivering, soaking wet in most places, and
exhausted from the day of strenuous marching, they made a
fire as quickly as they could.  After that, Mongo showed
everyone how to hang up their wet clothes to dry.

Mongo:  It's never good to wear wet clothes.
Alindyar:  Hypothermia.
Mongo:  Whatever.
Rillen:  (looking around, wrapped in blankets)  We should
  secure this cavern.

next time :  the party meets some denizens of the Hellfurnaces

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

notes     :  Thanks to Gary Larson for the yak scene.
          Thanks to Lance Dooly and Dave Pope for enabling
          this episode and the last one to be written and
          posted in a timely fashion, since my car is still
          out of commission.

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