Chapter #164

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

+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1994 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:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Arnold        11th level human warrior               (NG) +
+   Belphanior    12th/14th/14th level high elven w/m/t  (CN) +
+      small immaterial wispy thing                           +
+   Ged           14th/14th level grey elven priest/mage (NG) +
+   Mongo         16th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+      Gorin       6th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                  (N) +
+      Bosco       7th level halfling thief              (CN) +
+   Rillen        16th level human warrior                (N) +
+   Date:    10/8/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   the Griff Mountains                              +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+   "Two leaps per chasm is fatal."                           +
+                                     - Chinese proverb       +

                 CLXIV.  Tricks Galore

  The adventurers are currently riding through the Griff
Mountains, having completed Ged's quest to recharge his

Ged:  Bah.  I could have done that all by myself.  I don't
  even know why I had to drag all of you into it...
Peldor:  Our charming personalities?
Ged:  Bah.
Rillen:  It would seem that only Belphanior's quest and my
  own remain.
Belphanior:  How time flies when we're having fun.
Mongo:  Hmm, what _are_ you guys going to want to do?
Ged:  This ought to be good...
Rillen:  I prefer to wait, for now.  I don't have the ideal
  mission laid out.  Yet.
Belphanior:  (thinking hard)  Hmm.  I have an idea, but if
  I'm right, most of you aren't going to like it.
Ged:  Figures.
Gorin:  Uh-oh.
Mongo:  Well...?

  Just then, the conversation was interrupted by a shrill
screeching sound from all quarters...

Belphanior:  Whoa.  (turns to face all directions)  Souls,
  hundreds of them...
Peldor:  (sights a jermaline on a ledge high above)  Aha!
  It's one of those puny critters from yesterday.
Ged:  Hmm.  It seems that our little friends weren't content
  to leave with their tails between their legs.
Arnold:  But...they dibn't have tails.
Ged:  No matter.  The point is, they're here.  (he points
  the Sueloise fire wand in the air)  I dare them to show
Mongo:  (feels the ground tremble)  Uh-oh!
Ged:  What?
Gorin:  They're trying to make an avalanche!
Mongo:  Trying?
Ged:  (looks up, seeing various rocks fall toward the party)
  By Boccob, you're right!  (begins spellcasting)  Cover me!
Mongo:  Uh...right.  (he hurls his hammer at a small boulder
  that is falling, shattering it into smaller bits that fall
  harmlessly around the party)  Close one.  (he uses his
  shield to cover Ged)  Hurry it up!
Ged:  (still spellcasting)  Right.
Rillen:  These creatures have actually conspired to drop a
  mountainside upon us?!?
Belphanior:  Smart little suckers, aren't they.  (he dodges
  some falling bits of rock)
Peldor:  I'm surprised that they attacked us again.  (he
  uses his ring of telekinesis to deflect a large falling
  rock)  Whoa.
Belphanior:  Yeah, they're gluttons for punishment, aren't
wispy thing:  (perched on Belphanior's shoulder, it watches
  the falling rubble with interest)
Bosco:  (looks upward)  Oh geez!  Look!

  The halfling was pointing at a loose wall of rocks, dirt,
and rubble, a wall which had just been loosened far above
and was falling toward the party, blocking out the sky.

Ged:  Ah!  (a translucent sphere of force, about fifteen
  feet in radius, surrounds the party)

  Ged's wall went up just in time, for the avalanche, now
in full swing, continued for an entire minute.  When it was
over, the pass that the party had been riding through lay
filled with perhaps fifty feet of rubble.  Of the eight
adventurers, there was no sign.

jermaline:  Good.  Now we can go home.
other jermaline:  Boss'll be happy.
third jermaline:  Yep.

  The hundreds of jermaline, with their pointed lever-sticks
and other avalanche gear, quickly departed, heading back in
the direction the party had come from.
  Meanwhile, in a nearby place, all was dark...

Peldor:  (pulls his magical green torch out of his pack, and
  all is green)  <cough>
Gorin:  We're alive!
Ged:  Of course!  Boccob cares for his servants.  And their
  erstwhile friends...(regards Peldor)
Peldor:  (grins)
Mongo:  (looking around)  Hmm.  (he squints at the darkened
  rubble on the other side of the translucent sphere of
  force)  We're buried, and good.
Arnold:  Aaa.  (he shakes dirt out of his hair)
Ged:  Looks like I got the spell up before any really big
  rocks hit us...
Belphanior:  It's kind of cramped in here.
various horses:  (whining in irritation)
Peldor:  Hey, they're right.  We've got to get out of here
  before our air runs out.
Rillen:  Agreed.
Belphanior:  Hmm.  (rubbing his chin)
Bosco:  (to Gorin)  Time for wizard talk.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Ged:  Hmm.  Well, I could drop the whole sphere, but I doubt
  that would do us any good.
Belphanior:  Dimension door?
Ged:  Yea, I could use that...but only I would be affected.
  Of course, I could then use Dig to tunnel you out...maybe.
  It would depend on the depth we're at.
Belphanior:  Mongo?  Any ideas?
Mongo:  Hmm...I'd guess forty feet, give or take ten, but
  I'm not too sure.
Ged:  Oh.  Well, I could Teleport us out-
Belphanior:  But not all of us.
Ged:  Right.  Hmm, the Dimension Door seems like the best
Rillen:  What if the attackers still lurk above?
Ged:  Uh...I'd blast them?
Peldor:  Sounds good to me.
Ged:  Me too.
Belphanior:  I think you should go for it.

  Ged began casting his spell, and shortly, he blinked out
of existence.

Belphanior:  I hope he can handle whatever might still be
  up there...
wispy thing:  (flies into the force-sphere and vanishes)
Belphanior:  Hey!

  Meanwhile, above...

Ged:  (materializes in midair, above the rubble)  Uh-oh.
  (he falls ten feet, landing amid the rocks and dirt)

  The elf looked around, then stood up, his bruised body
aching from the fall.

Ged:  Hmm.  (he casts a minor spell of healing upon himself
  to eliminate his slight wounds)  Ah, being a high priest
  certainly has its for those others...
  (he prepares to cast Dig upon the rubble directly beneath
wispy thing:  (spurts out of the rubble and orbits Ged's
  head)  whsss.
Ged:  Hey!  I didn't know you could do that!
wispy thing:  (grins)  ssss.
Ged:  Away, you.  I've spells to cast.

  Shortly, he was excavating a narrow hole, perhaps five
feet wide.  Once, his work collapsed, and he had to start

Ged:  Boccob damn it!  (he stares angrily at the dirt)
wispy thing:  sffft.

  However, his second attempt proved more successful, and
within ten minutes, he had unearthed a green glow below.

Peldor:  (waving to Ged)  Look, the sky!
Gorin:  All right!  (he and Bosco exchange high-fives)
Belphanior:  (muttering to himself)  Wait a's
  he going to get us out of here without collapsing all of
  this rock on top of us?
Mongo:  Uh-oh.

  Above, Ged had just realized this dilemma himself.

Ged:  Damn!  (he kicks a rock)  Hmm.  (he uses his spell
  to widen the hole he has made, with some success; then
  the spell expires)  Now if I cancel the force-sphere...
  Hmm, they'd still be in trouble.

  Below, Rillen arrived at an answer.

Rillen:  ...take some rope and tie us all together.  The
  horses too.  Then, if one of us gets out, all the others
  can be pulled out too.
Gorin:  Yeah, but still, we'd be buried.
Rillen:  Still, it can hardly hurt for us all to be roped
Peldor:  (he and Arnold get some rope out and begin tying
  everyone together)  Bah.  This is all Ged's fault.
Arnold:  Nod so.
Mongo:  Hey, look!  Ged's signalling to us!  (as the force-
  sphere is soundproof, neither side can hear the other's
Ged:  (grinning, he gives the others a thumbs-up)
Belphanior:  He must have figured something out.

  Above, Ged danced in glee.

Ged:  I can't believe I didn't think of this earlier!  It
  should have been obvious, and most of the rubble is only
  dirt.  (he gets his Sueloise wand out and aims it down
  the shaft his spell made)  By Boccob, here we go!
Belphanior:  (below, inside the force-sphere, mouths an
  "oh shit")
Ged:  Ndrek!

  As a huge wall of flames issued forth from the wand, the
elf leaped back from the hole, yet still managed to singe
his eyebrows and clothes.  As for the fire-wall, it blazed
down into the pit, as expected, and stopped at the sphere
of force, also as expected.  The excess flames, trapped in
the hole, burned away rock and earth, and quite a bit of
fire, and dust billowed skyward as well.  About ten seconds
later, the wall had burned itself out of existence, leaving
an enlarged, steam-filled hole.
  After the ground had cooled, Ged strolled over to the
hole, pleased with himself.

Ged:  Aha!  Just as I suspected.  I'm a supra-genius!

  Below, the hole had been significantly enlarged, and was
now perhaps fifteen feet wide.  Its sides had been fused
into melted, glassy slag - a substance much harder, and
stronger, than its previous form.  Within the exposed
portion of the force-sphere were the others, looking up,

Gorin:  Argh!  That's _twice_ in two days that someone's
  done that to me!


Ged:  Now...(he cancels his earlier Wall of Force spell)

  Though some loose earth, and dirt, poured into the open
space that the sphere had been covering, those below merely
got dirty, instead of getting buried.  The melted sides of
the shaft formed a secure tunnel for rescue, one that was
in no danger of collapsing.

Mongo:  (yelling up)  You did it!
Ged:  Of course.
Belphanior:  (unties the rope around his waist and casts
  a Fly spell upon himself)  Ah.  (he grabs Bosco and sails
Ged:  Welcome back.
Belphanior:  Yeah, you too.  Slick job there.  (he lowers
  a 50' rope to the others)  Hey, down there!  Send a light
  person next!
Ged:  Remember, I've got my gauntlets...(he and Belphanior
  proceed to pull up Peldor)
Peldor:  Ah, Peldor is free at last.  And I didn't even
  have to use my flying powers.
Ged:  Quiet, fool.  (they all pull up Rillen, who is fairly
  light because he wears no armor and carries little)

  Shortly, all the adventurers were out of the pit.  The
rescue of the horses was a more serious matter, since they
were inherently unable to climb.  Belphanior had the bright
idea to fly down with the ends of several ropes, and then
loop them around the horses' bodies (several ropes, used on
one horse at a time) and have the others pull them up.
  This idea, while arduous and time-consuming, was the best
one they could come up with, and over an hour later, all
of the mounts were out of the pit.

Ged:  (muttering something about someday inventing a spell
  to levitate mass quantities of things)

  Tired, disheveled, and dirty, they rode onward.

Belphanior:  If I see _one more_ little sub-humanoid, I
  swear I'm going to rip its head off.
Ged:  I'm with you.  They've really made me mad this time.
Belphanior:  Uh...soul ahead!

  Just then, lo and behold, a lone jermaline walked around
the corner ahead, at a distance of perhaps fifty paces.

lone jermaline:  (looks up at the party)
Belphanior:  Grr...
lone jermaline:  (appears to be mumbling to itself and
  reading a map of some kind)
Mongo:  Huh?
wispy thing:  (goes bonkers, diving and dipping and orbiting
  about madly)  pffzzzsss!
Belphanior:  I wonder-
Ged:  Boccob!  That little varmint is casting a-

  There was a bright flash, and the entire party, horses
and all, vanished from the spot.

lone jermaline:  (tosses the empty scroll away)  Just goes
  to show you - if you want something done right, you've
  got to do it yourself.
other jermaline:  (several of them, they emerge from their
  distant hiding places and approach the first one)
first jermaline:  (glares at the others with fiery red eyes)
second jermaline:  Where'd they go, boss?
third jermaline:  Yeah, did you destroy them?
first jermaline:  No, I've invented all kinds of spells, but
  none that can do that.
second jermaline:  So where'd they go?
third jermaline:  What'd you do with 'em?
first jermaline:  I did to them what they once did to me - I
  teleported them far away.  FAR away...heh a place
  where they'll have their hands full...heh heh...(he begins
  laughing uncontrollably, and reverts to his true form)
second jermaline:  Heh heh.  Far away...
Cynder:  (leaps into the air, and flies away)  YOU USELESS

next time :  the Adventurers' destination

ftp site  : in /pub/frp/stories/adventurers

notes     :  Nada.

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