Chapter #132

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                              +   +
                            +       +
                          +           +
                        +               +
                      +                   +
                    +                       +
                  +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                    +                       +
                      +      Epic II      +
                        +               +
                          +           +
                            +       +
                              +   +

+    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      15th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra       12th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior    12th/13th/13th level high elf w/m/t  (CN)   +
+   Ged           13th/13th level grey elf priest/mage (NG)   +
+      Arnold     11th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+        ?             grey cat (familiar)             (NG)   +
+   Mongo         15th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+      Flint      11th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen        15th level human warrior              (N)   +
+   Date:    n/a                                              +
+   Time:    n/a                                              +
+   Place:   some alternate dimension                         +
+   Climate: n/a                                              +
+   "I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old    +
+    friend for dinner."                                      +
+                                Dr. Hannibal Lecter          +

          CXXXII.  Fifteen Heads Are Better Than One

  The adventurers have encountered a gigantic hydra amidst
the Blue Forest...

Peldor:  Ulp.
Mongo:  Ulp?  Don't just stand there gawking!  Attack!
  (unslings his hammer)
Arnold:  Yah!  (being nearest to the hydra, he leaps forth
  and deals its flank a mighty blow)  Ah-nold!
hydra:  RAARGH!
Peldor:  (bravely turns invisible)
Ged:  By Boccob, I'm ready for battle this time!  (casts a
  Fireball at the hydra)  Take _that_!
Arnold:  (looks up)  Whaaaa?
Lyra:  Wait!  We're in a forest-

  There was a tremendous explosion as the fireball hit the
hydra's body, and the thing screamed in pain.


  Also, Arnold screamed in pain, toasted slightly by his
liege's spell.  More noticable, though, were the licks of
flame that flew into random parts of the surrounding woods,
starting small fires.

Rillen:  _Now_ you have done it.  What a hothead.
Belphanior:  Yea, looks like we're in for quite a forest
  fire here...
Ged:  What?  There's no way my fireball could start a
  forest the middle of this forest...awfully
  dry forest, at that...hmm...
Lyra:  Maybe I should lightning bolt the beast.
Belphanior:  Lightning?!?  (he finds his lightning rod, and
  tosses it towards the hydra)  Whew.  Maybe I'll avoid
  getting fried this time.
Lyra:  I was only joking.  (sends another fireball at the
  hydra, hitting it in the back)
hydra:  (flounders, its back aflame)  GRAAARG!
Ged:  Forest fire, bah.  How come it's not dead yet?
Rillen:  Sometimes, if you want something done right...(he
  vaults over the snapping heads of the hydra and wallops
  it in the side twice, with his staff)
hydra:  (several of its heads breathe at party members)
Rillen:  (looking at the four heads that just rotated 180
  degrees to face him)  Ouch, that had to hurt-  Hi-yah!
  (leaps aside as two blasts of fire barely miss him)
  What is it with fire today-  Argh!  (gets nailed by a
  pair of frost blasts)  Brr!
hydra:  (decides that it's on a roll, and uses other heads
  to breathe at Arnold and Mongo)  BLEARGH!
Arnold:  (burned and frozen)  Aaa!  (falls, stunned)
Mongo:  (avoids the brunt of four blasts, and is wounded
  only slightly)  Ugh!  Ow!  Argh!
hydra:  (its remaining heads glare at Ged)  Grrr...
Ged:  Uh-oh.
hydra:  (breathes upon Ged with two flame breaths and one
  frost breath)  BLARGH!
Ged:  Argh!  (reels)
Alindyar:  (blasts the monster's body with several magic
  missiles, to little effect)  What can it be that we are
  doing wrong?  The creature seems to ignore every blow.
Mongo:  Enough of this!  (perhaps divinely inspired, he
  comes up with a new tactic, hurling his hammer at one
  of the hydra's heads)  Chew on that!
hydra:  (the head is splattered into pulp, showering the
  nearby, invisible Belphanior with gore)  RAARGH!
Belphanior:  (curses mentally and continues to move around
  to the rear of the monster)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  Yeah!  Go for the heads!
Flint:  (near the hydra's flank, he chops the thing twice,
  drawing some blood)  Huh?
Arnold:  (now recovered, he swings at a head, but misses)
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer, smashing another head)  Hah!
hydra:  GARGH!
Rillen:  (fumbles and drops his staff)  How odd.

Mongo:  (catches his hammer, then lets it fly immediately,
  pulverizing a third head)  Fuck yeah!  Get some!
hydra:  RARGH!
Rillen:  (picks up his staff)  Yes, odd indeed.
Belphanior:  (attacks invisibly, from the side, and cuts
  a head off)  Aha!  (becomes visible)  Whoa.
hydra:  (two heads snap at the elf, one hitting for minor
  damage)  GRARG.
Belphanior:  Argh!  (stabs a second head, rendering it
  useless)  Payback!
Mongo:  Hey, why are you all bloody?
Belphanior:  Don't even ask.
Arnold:  (now at the hydra's side, due to the chaos of
  battle, he hacks at the monster's body multiple times,
  inflicting horrendous damage and splattering himself
  with blood)  Now Ah-nold does what Ah-nold does best!
Mongo:  Get bloody?
Rillen:  (getting in on the act, he bashes a head with
  his staff, crushing it)  Yai!
hydra:  GRONK!
Mongo:  (right next to the hydra, he gets bitten in the
  arm before reaching out and smashing another head)
Rillen:  (wallops a head with his staff, braining it)
  No wonder this monster is so dumb.  Its heads are
  almost empty!
hydra:  (some heads breathe at Rillen, Belphanior, and
  Mongo, wounding them slightly)  RAARGH!
Mongo:  I think it's getting tired!  Press the attack!
Lyra:  (casts Magic Missile, blasting a head into small
  bits)  There, that's my contribution.
Flint:  (practically under the hydra's front, he twirls
  his battleaxe, and a head sails into the forest)
Peldor:  (backstabs the hydra...and misses!)  What?!?
Ged:  Well, there's certainly something to be said for
Peldor:  Hey, at least _I_ didn't set the forest on fire
  like _some_ people we know!
Ged:  Hmm.  (begins casting a spell to conjure a water
  elemental)  Boccob will assist in this endeavor.
Flint:  (splits a head in two with another masterful
  stroke)  Arr!

hydra:  (now with only four live heads left)  GRARRrrr...
Lyra:  (blasts several heads with more magic missiles,
  killing one and wounding another)  Hmm, I'm outdoing
  you today...
Alindyar:  Quiet, I am busy spellcasting.
Mongo:  (bashes another head, pulping it)  Only a couple
  left!  come on!
Rillen:  (smashes a head with his staff)  This monster
  might have fared better, were there not so many of us.
hydra:  (almost dead)  Rrrrr.
Flint:  (kills the last head with his axe)  Victory!
Mongo:  Yeah!

  The adventurers stood around the huge carcass, most of
them burned, frostbitten, or bloody.  Then, without any
warning, several of the hydra's head-stumps sprouted new
heads - worse still, each stump grew back as _two_ new

Rillen:  Two heads are better than six would be
  better than
Mongo:  Boggles the mind, doesn't it?
Belphanior:  Back off!  (he uses his wand of acidic
  spheres to cover two heads with acid)  Isn't it obvious
  what the hydra's doing?
hydra:  (the two heads hit by acid dissolve)  RARGH!
Alindyar:  New heads!  For each head slain, two take its fascinating...
Mongo:  Yeah, but this is no time to study the thing!
Flint:  (dashes forth and chops at two of the new heads,
  severing both)  Hah!
Belphanior:  What the hell are you doing?!?  Those'll just
  grow back as _four_!
Flint:  Err...yipes.
Peldor:  (behind the hydra, he pours his potion of very
  powerful poison into one of the hydra's gaping body
  wounds)  Maybe that'll stop the thing...
hydra:  (ignores the poison, meaning that it miraculously
  saved...)  GLARGH!  (thrashes about, but doesn't die)
Peldor:  Shit.  What a waste of good poison.
Alindyar:  Everyone get back!  A spell is at hand!
hydra:  (looks around with its current two heads, though
  numerous other ones are starting to grow)  RAAAARGH!
Alindyar:  (casts a Fireball directly upon the heads and
  stumps, cauterizing them all in one fell swoop)
hydra:  (keels over, headless and charred)
Alindyar:  At last - long last, I might add - we have
  succeeded in preventing the beast from growing any more
  new heads.
Mongo:  Proud of yourself, eh?
Alindyar:  Indeed.
Rillen:  Uh...I hate to bring this up, but the forest is
  beginning to blaze.

  Truly, the numerous tiny fires created by Ged's fireball
(and, in all fairness, the two others that followed it)
had blazed into larger fires.  Indeed, the party was all
but ringed by burning forest now.

Ged:  Have no fear, my water elemental shall quell the
  mighty blaze!
Belphanior:  (to Peldor)  Sometimes I think he likes fire
  almost as much as I do.
water elemental:  (appears)
Ged:  You!  Put out that fire!
water elemental:  (sets about on this impossible task)
Alindyar:  What shall we do?
Arnold:  Aaa.
Flint:  We're screwed for sure now.
Lyra:  Truly, we need a miracle!

  Suddenly, the green skies darkened, and thunderheads
boomed above the adventurers.  Momentarily, heavy sheets
of rainfall came down, drenching everyone and putting out
the forest fire.

Peldor:  Hmm, at least this world's rain is like our own
grey cat:  (soaking wet in Ged's pack, it voices its own
  brand of protest)  Meow!
Ged:  Shh, not now.

  Despite the downpour, there were wounds to be healed,
so a crude lean-to was quickly constructed - not that it
mattered, as everyone was thoroughly drenched at this
point.  Peldor rang his magical healing bell, while Ged
began casting spells to cure the wounds of his fellows.
  Later, as the nine adventurers rested and shivered in
their makeshift shelter, a number of wild-looking elves
suddenly surrounded them.

wild elf:  For your sakes, I certainly hope you've a
  jolly good reason for trying to burn our forest down.

next time:  the discovery of another duplicate (really)

notes:  There are few matters that the players and I
      have dissenting opinions on, but the effect of
      fireballs in forests is one of them...

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