Chapter #228

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

+    Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells,    +
+  and other terms used in these stories are the property of  +
+  TSR, Inc.  However, this does not mean that TSR in any     +
+  way endorses or authorizes their use, and any such items   +
+  contained within these stories should not be considered    +
+  representative of TSR in any way, shape, or form.          +
+    Due to the nature of the Internet, these stories have    +
+  been widely available since 1991.  I have given them to    +
+  the world freely, and have never intended to market them   +
+  or in any way make money.  However, due to TSR, Inc.'s     +
+  copyright restrictions, old episodes of the Adventurers    +
+  are no longer being archived on any ftp site anywhere.     +
+    The player characters contained in these writings are    +
+  copyright 1995 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 (or more accurately, a fragment of it):         +
+                                                             +
+   Arnold        12th level human warrior               (NG) +
+   Ged           14th/14th level grey elf priest/mage   (NG) +
+   Mongo         17th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+      Gorin       8th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+   Bosco         10th level halfling thief              (CN) +
+   Date:    7/17/574 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    late morning                                     +
+   Place:   the depths of the Suss Forest                    +
+   Climate: mild                                             +
+   "The third time may be the charm, but that doesn't        +
+    make the first and second meaningless."                  +
+                                                 - unknown   +

           CCXXVIII.  Return to the Lost City

  Ged and his caravan have discovered the hidden entrance
to the Lost City, and while the guards and cargo-haulers
unload supplies and set up camp, Ged and his companions
prepare to enter the upper reaches of the dungeon.

Ged:  Remember, now - though we explored all these upper
  floors, years ago, new monsters may have arrived.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Bosco:  (sticks his sword up in the air)  Then we shall
  slay them too!
Mongo:  Yeah, something like that.
Gorin:  Well, what are we waiting for?
Ged:  What indeed?

  They readied their lanterns and weapons, and descended
the staircase, entering the dark confines of the centuries-
old city.  Lightbringer didn't detect any undead in the
nearby vicinity...

Lightbringer:  Surely some of the cursed ones will make
  an appearance, eventually.
Mongo:  They sure did last time.
Ged:  Bah.  No measly undead will keep me from my rightful
Bosco:  Nor mine!  (he charges forth)

  The buried building was laid out exactly as Ged and Mongo
remembered.  The upper floor was made up of five identical,
hemispherical chanbers, one of which was in the center of
the others.  Round corridors of dry, cracked stone connected
the chambers, which were all approximately thirty feet in
radius.  The windows in the rooms were blocked by soil and
roots, naturally, as the whole building was now underground.

Arnold:  (wondering why the city ended up sinking into the
  floor of the forest)  Aaa?
Bosco:  (looking around)  This room's empty.
Ged:  Most of them were...basically.  If memory serves me
  right, the next chamber contains stairs going downward.
Lightbringer:  To the undead?
Ged:  Yea...before I sent them to their hells.
Lightbringer:  Oh.
Mongo:  One of these rooms ought to hold a pile of shitty
Ged:  (nodding)  And another was a kitchen of sorts...the
  oven contained a large gray ooze.
Mongo:  Ah...that thing!  I remember that thing!  Weapons
  were as useless as spells on it!
Ged:  Yea, Belphanior finally melted it, with a blast of
  lightning.  Fearsome monster.
Gorin:  (obviously awed by all this talk)
Mongo:  The other room had the bed...and the mummy who
  was hiding underneath.
Lightbringer:  Mummies?
Ged:  Relax, it was just one.  Boccob and I ignited it
  in the end.  (he smirks proudly)
Mongo:  Don't forget when Rillen kicked it back into the
  pit under the bed.
Ged:  Oh.
Bosco:  Well, I'm ready for any mummies or oozes!  (he
  brandishes his sword boldly, showing true courage as
  he marches along behind Mongo and Gorin)

  They did a cursory check of the upper level, finding
nothing much changed (the kitchen table had rotted
completely, collapsing across the dusty floor) since
the last time they had been here.  With the dwarves
leading the way, the group headed down the spiral stone
staircase, to the next level of the dungeon.  This new
floor had a similar layout to the one above; five hemi-
spherical chambers, these merely fifteen feet in radius,
were arrayed in an "X" pattern.  Musty corridors, their
doors intact and noticeably un-rotted, linked the five
large rooms.  Unlike the level above, whose chambers
were constructed of smallish, crumbling stone bricks,
this floor's rooms were composed of larger, more solid
blocks, each perhaps two feet long and wide.

Mongo:  They sure knew how to build sturdy cities in
  those days...think about it.  This whole place was made
  tough enough to survive _sinking_ into the forest floor
  over centuries, with most of its rooms undamaged!
Ged:  Truly.
Arnold:  (impressed, though he doesn't know exactly why)
Bosco:  (still unfazed by this supposed architectural feat,
  he pokes at an old crate with his sword-point)  Huh.

  This level contained one room with piles of old, broken
crates, their contents long-spoiled and rotten.  Another
chamber held ruined, sagging wooden racks; a third was
mostly blocked by a cave-in.  This chamber, the westernmost
of those on this level, was of particular interest to Ged
and Mongo.

Ged:  This is exactly what I had in mind.  We didn't have
  the manpower to dig through this mess last time, but we
  do now.
Mongo:  Yeah.  We could get those dwarves right to work on
Gorin:  What, and explore deeper, coming back here if the
  miners find any new rooms?
Ged:  Exactly, good Gorin.
Bosco:  Sounds like a plan.  Organized dungeon delving.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Mongo:  (knitting his brow)  Wait a minute...this caved-in
  room was the one that opened to some stairs...going down
  to a lower level...
Ged:  By Boccob, you're right!  We solved some strange
  puzzles and made a stairway open here, next to this pile
  of rubble.  Right here!
Bosco:  (looking around)  I don't see any stairway here.
Arnold:  Me neider.
Mongo:  It must have closed up again, after we left.
Ged:  But do we have to re-trigger it...or find a new way
Gorin:  The answer lies ahead, no doubt.
Mongo:  Yeah.  Let's get to it.

  The remaining room held only a door, which led to a cavern
with numerous side passages.

Ged:  This is where we fought those two umber hulks.
Mongo: fried 'em with lightning, didn't you?
Ged:  Yea...well, actually I've fried a _lot_ of things
  with lightning over the years...

  As before, most of the passages were short dead-ends,
apparently a feature of umber hulk lairs.  Some led for
longer distances before ending, but only one led anywhere
substantial; its terminus dropped into a lower level.

Mongo:  (peering down into the lower level)  I remember
  this, too.  (to Gorin)  We climbed down there, and beat
  some pretty fierce monsters.
Gorin:  (examining a nearby burrowed tunnel)  You know,
  this looks fresh.
Mongo:  Shit, you're right.
Ged:  More umber hulks?  Perhaps the offspring of the ones
  we killed, years ago?
Arnold:  Or brothders, maybe.
Bosco:  Or sisters.
Ged:  (looking downward, into the level below)  Boccob...
  back here at last.  Who would have believed it?
Mongo:  Not me, that's for sure.

  The adventurers could make out a dungeon floor of some
sort, its walls smoothly carved, though dusty.  Their
lanterns and torches barely illuminated the section of
floor, and the odor wafting upward promised things long-
dead and buried.

Ged:  Aha...if memory serves right - and it always does -
  this level contains many things of least
  one more cave-in...the undead tombs...the statue room.
Mongo:  The juggernaut.
Bosco:  Juggernaut?  This sounds like a job for Bosco the
  mighty!  Or, the mighty Bosco if you prefer.
Mongo:  Hmph.  (he fingers his hammer restlessly)
Lightbringer:  (to Ged)  Let us go see those undead tombs.
Ged:  Certainly...those and the other things.  But I think
  we'd better talk with the miners first, to get them set
  up and working.
Mongo:  And the guards, in the forest above.
Ged:  (rubbing his hairless chin thoughtfully)  Yea.

  They returned to the surface, and organized the various
hirelings into the appropriate groups.  The dwarves were
to get to work on the first cave-in, while the guards and
caravan personnel began setting up and fortifying camp.
Meanwhile, Ged, Mongo, and the other adventurers made
ready to re-enter the third level of the lost city.

Ged:  We must be careful - not all of the chambers down
  here were cleared out.
Mongo:  Hell, not all of the chambers down here were even

next time :  the adventurers see what's changed - and what
  hasn't - since their last visit here

notes     :  It's January 4, 1995 as I write this...meaning
  that I took a break of about three weeks.  The holidays
  were enjoyable, and I'm now 25, and life is better than
  ever.  Let's see what 1995 holds for the Adventurers.
    If you want to refresh this dungeon in your mind, look
  back to episodes 57-59.

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