Chapter #187

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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                           +
+   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) +
+   Rob           15th level human priest                (LG) +
+   Date:    12/5/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    late morning                                     +
+   Place:   Westkeep, within the Hold of the Sea Princes     +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+   "I love it when a plan comes together."                   +
+                 - John "Hannibal" Smith, from _The A-Team_  +

                CLXXXVII.  Chaos in Westkeep

  Within the common room of a certain inn in Westkeep, talk
flies furiously during the late morning hours...

Peldor:  (disguised as a short, oily merchant, he sits in a
  corner and quietly listens, while eating his breakfast)
man:  ...and they say the city treasury was robbed too!
other man:  I can't believe it!  Such things aren't possible!
third man:  (in a hushed voice)  Tell that to the thieves'
  guild - I hear the mayor's leaning on those people _real_
  hard this morning...
serving wench:  (to another woman)  -and THEN we heard about
  the mayor's mansion...they got into his safe, even!
second waitress:  (gasps)  Aie!  What daring!
other wench:  What balls!
Peldor:  (suppresses a grin)
other fellow:  Seems that every place containing valuables
  got hit.
another fellow:  Every place with a _lot_ of valuables...
yet another fellow:  Yes...I still can't believe this could in Westkeep!  What's the world coming to?
first fellow:  What have we ever done to deserve such crime?!?
Peldor:  (finishes his meal, leaves some coins, and departs)

  The disguised thief wandered through the bustling streets,
making his way to another inconspicuous tavern.  Entering
the place, he chose a table which was already occupied, by a
dwarf and an armored warrior.

Peldor:  Morning.
Gorin:  Morning, stranger.  What news?
Peldor:  Some rogues have been about.  It would seem that
  this city is in a state of chaos.
Gorin:  (thinking that there can't truly be chaos until
  Belphanior is involved)
Arnold:  Chaods?  Aaa.  I wonder why that is?
Peldor:  As do I...good thing we've all moved into separate
  taverns, now.
Gorin:  (in a hushed voice)  Yup.  Helps keep things safer.
Peldor:  Indeed it does.  Well, I've got to move on.  (he
  leaves)  You guys know what to do.
Arnold:  Yah.
Gorin:  Time to go update some of the others.  Be seeing you.
  (he leaves as well, heading out another exit)
Arnold:  Later.  (he proceeds to finish his meal)

  Gorin made his way to the marketplace, where he soon found
another dwarf waiting for him...

Mongo:  (coyly watching numerous city guardsmen march by)
  Eh?  What's all this fuss about?
Gorin:  Someone was busy last night...say, a short, greasy
  scumball told me that some distractions have worked, and
  the next phase of the plan should be started...
Mongo:  Fuckin' a...let's go for it.  (they head for the
  auction blocks of Ranulf the slave dealer)

  Elsewhere in the city, Rillen, Arnold, and Rob were busy
conferring at the marketplace, more specifically with agents
of the slave dealer Nobb.

Rillen:  We need a hundred strong ones, and quickly.  Fighting
  experience would be preferred.
Arnold:  Yah.
Rob:  (trying to decide if a spell would hasten negotiations)
slaver:  Well, we've got a hundred strong ones, I'm sure...
  though I don't know if they can all fight.
Rillen:  (shrugs)  Do what you can - we shall pay more for
  better slaves, though, to be sure.  On our journey, oarsmen
  may need to double as warriors...
slaver:  Come along, let's see what we can find for you.

  In a nearby slave house, Mongo and Gorin were up to similar

Mongo:  (walking along the line of chained male slaves, he
  makes his choices based on who appears capable of fighting)
  Him.  (points)  And him.
slaver:  (making notes)  We'll pull 'em out for you when
  you're done.
Gorin:  (points a slave out)  Get him, too - he looks strong.
Mongo:  Right.
other slaver:  (fantasizing about what he could do with the
  commission he's going to make today)
slave:  (fantasizing about smashing the slaver's head to a

  Meanwhile, a certain tall, red-cloaked elf was hard at
work, as always...

Belphanior:  (busily breaking into the back room of a temple
  of Ralishaz, a diety of misfortune, among other things)
  Sorry, Ralishaz old buddy, but Rob pegged your temple as
  one worthy of our attentions...(he gets through the window
  and enters a dusty room)  Hmm, no one's been here in ages.
  Perfect.  (he opens his Book of Beasts and begins reading
  aloud, quietly)  Time to see what we can summon today...
wispy thing:  (floats nearby, looking on with interest)  sss.

  About this time, Peldor and Bosco were making their way
through the city streets, with no apparent destination.

Peldor:  Got the oil flasks?
Bosco:  Yup.  Got the invisibility potions?
Peldor:  Yup.  (he looks around, listening carefully)  No
  trouble yet.
Bosco:  Shouldn't be long now...

  Indeed, before too long, Mongo, Gorin, Rillen, Arnold,
and Rob were watching a group of two hundred assembled
slaves, whom the adventurers had gathered in a huge stable
where their wagons were parked.

stable boy:  (staring in amazement)
Arnold:  (glares at the kid)  Get out.
stable boy:  (flees)
Arnold:  Haa.
Rob:  (goes after the lad)  I'll make sure he doesn't squeal.
Gorin:  Huh?
Rob:  ...a simple spell of charming...
Gorin:  Oh.
Mongo:  (stands up on a bale of hay and addresses the group
  of slaves)  Yo!
slaves:  (all stop wondering why they have been gathered
  like this, and turn their attention to the armored dwarf)
Mongo:  We've come here to free you!
slaves:  (gaping in incomprehension)
Mongo:  Not just you...ALL of you!  All who are in this city!
slaves:  (still rather stunned)
Rillen:  (unlocks a coffle, freeing twenty slaves)  Help me
  with this, would you?
Gorin:  (moves to help, freeing another twenty slaves)
Mongo:  We have swords and axes...if you people will help
  us, we'll go to the market and free those other slaves!
Arnold:  (yanks the covers off of the wagons, exposing the
  weapons bought yesterday)
Mongo:  So, who's with us?
gigantic ex-slave:  (steps forth, and grabs an axe)  I'll
skinny ex-slave:  Me too!
third ex-slave:  (hefts a sword)  Payback time!
Mongo:  (to the mob)  You don't have to help...but if you
  don't, and we fail, you'll probably get killed anyway...

  One by one, the ex-slaves (who had, of course, been picked
specifically for their strength and aggressiveness) stepped
forth, grabbing up weapons and murmuring excitedly.

Rob:  (re-enters the stable)  Hmm, looks like they all need
Mongo:  (addressing the mob)  We've arranged some distractions
  to cover this attack...all you have to do is follow us to
  the marketplace, and then free the other slaves.  Fight
  only those who try to fight you...and we've got more people
  who'll meet us there...
Rillen:  (listening outside the stable doors, he hefts his
  staff)  I hear screaming...the distraction has begun!

  Indeed, there was a tremendous commotion in the temple
district right about this time...

man:  (fleeing)  AIEEEE!
giant slug:  (slithering through the city streets)  Ssssth!
city guardsman:  (trampled by the huge monster)  <splat>
giant slug:  (spits directly in front of itself)
other guardsman:  (hit by the acidic spittle, he begins
  screaming as he dissolves)  AAARGH!
giant slug:  (eats the fellow, in passing)  Sssssth...
everyone:  (fleeing in terror)  Yeaaaaaaaa!
fellow:  Aaa!  Where'd THAT come from?!?
other fellow:  (running alongside)  They say it came from
  the temple of Ralishaz!
third fellow:  Figures...
shambling mound:  (lumbers through the Ralishaz temple's
  wall, spraying several bystanders with large chunks of
  rock)  GRONK!
people:  Aieee!  (flee in fear)
Belphanior:  (flies out of a side alley, invisible, and
  cruises above the city)
umber hulk:  (dashes out of the door to the temple, an
  acolyte clutched under either arm)  Graaaar!
other acolytes:  (scattering before the monster)  Yaaah!
priest:  (standing in the hulk's path, he casts a spell)
umber hulk:  (locks gazes with the fellow)  Grr...
priest:  (loses his senses, and begins wandering around
  aimlessly, his spell lost)
umber hulk:  (tosses the acolytes aside)  Graaargh!
bystander:  (decked by one of the flying bodies)  Oof!
other bystander:  Run!  It's coming this way!  (he flees)
umber hulk:  (charges down a main street, swatting people
  out of its way)  Greeearrgh!
fleeing citizen:  Where are all the city guards?!?
other person:  I don't know!  They should have been here
  by now!

  Across the city...

Peldor:  (standing outside the main city guard station as
  its upper floors burn)  Look there, Bosco.  I'd say the
  whole place will go up before too much longer.
Bosco:  (watching as half-naked city guards run out of the
  building)  Funny how they had time to get out of there...
Peldor:  Funny, indeed...good thing Belphanior wasn't here.
Bosco:  Yeah.  (looks around wearily)  I guess we'd better
  be getting to the slave markets, since that's where the
  others will end up...
Peldor:  Right on.  (they dash in that direction, toward
  the sounds of loud melee)

next time :  the chaos continues, as more slaves are freed

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

notes     :  Let's take a moment to remember George Peppard
           (Hannibal from "The A-Team") - he died today at
           age 65.  Kinda strange, considering that I just
           happened to use his favorite quote the very day I
           wrote this story...and he died the same night...
             Everyone dies, but those who will be remembered
           for something are probably better off than those
           who won't.

Thomas Miller              
Systems Support Specialist II          Georgia Tech Network Services

"What good is being a hammer when you can't find a deserving nail?"

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