Chapter #285

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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.                                             +
+    The player characters contained in these writings are copy-    +
+  right 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                    +
+                          +
+  Alindyar     16th level dark elven mage                     (N)  +
+  Lyra         12th level female dark elven mage              (N)  +
+  Peldor       19th level human thief                         (N)  +
+  Tanya        5th/11th level female human warrior/thief     (LN)  +
+  Date:        2/2/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        dusk                                                +
+  Place:       the Free City of Dyvers                             +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
+  "To deny what I was is to deny what I am."                       +
+        - Darius, from the Highlander episode _Brothers In Arms_   +

                        CCLXXXV.  Dyvers

  Peldor and Tanya, along with Alindyar and Lyra, have set out on a
week-long vacation, riding to the nearby city of Dyvers.  Night is
falling, and they now enter the sprawling city.

Peldor:  (nods at the guard as the four ride in)  Good night to you.
guard:  Thanks.
Tanya:  (smiles, alluringly, at the man)
guard:  (tips his hat)
other guard:  (stares at Tanya as she rides away)
Alindyar:  (using the power of illusion, he appears as a slender
  human, perhaps a wizard; he nods to the guards)
Lyra:  (similarly appears as a striking elven lass, who smiles at
  the guards)

guard#1:  (to guard#2)  There go two fine women, yesiree...
guard#2:  You get to see all kinds, that's one nice thing about this

  As the guards' thoughts turned to the hours they had remaining in
their shift, and doubtless the fun they would have afterward, Peldor
and his three companions rode along Dyvers' central street, a wide
avenue called the Road of Kings.

Peldor:  Appropriately named.
Lyra:  Hah.
Alindyar:  What manner of city is this?
Peldor:  Dyvers is a major trading center, and a significant port
  as well.  It became an independent city several decades back, no
  doubt following the example of Greyhawk, set long ago.
Alindyar:  How long ago?
Peldor:  Hmm, let's see...almost a century, officially.
Alindyar:  (thinking back to where he was at that time)
Tanya:  (points to a large inn on the right)  Maybe we could stay
Peldor:  Nah, that place looks too sleazy.
Lyra:  (raises an eyebrow)
Tanya:  Ah, don't mind him.  His years as a tavern-owner have given
  him strange notions about certain things.
Peldor:  Nonsense.  (he spies another inn)  That one's okay with me,
  if it's okay with the rest of you.
Lyra:  The Gold Crown Inn, eh?
Tanya:  It looks nice.
Peldor:  Don't worry, it is.
Alindyar:  You have been in Dyvers before.
Peldor:  Yep.
Tanya:  Your sordid past, eh?
Peldor:  Not me.  Come on, let's see if they have any rooms.

  Of course, the inn did; this was no commoners' inn, but rather a
sprawling, grand establishment, the oldest and most expensive inn
in Dyvers.

Tanya:  (entering the large room they just rented for the week)
  Wow.  This is...splendid.
Peldor:  (shrugs)  We're not exactly hurting for money.
Tanya:  Ah, how often I forget that.  Old habits die hard.
Alindyar:  (raises an eyebrow inquisitively)
Peldor:  (to the drow)  Your room is next door - it'll be the same
  size and layout.
Lyra:  (looking around)  Nice place.
Peldor:  Yep.  Each room has a fireplace...a huge bed...private baths
  ...the finest rugs and tapestries and decorations.  You'll not find
  a finer inn anywhere in this city.
Alindyar:  (feels a silken bedsheet)  I am beginning to agree with
  you.  (to Lyra)  Perhaps we should redecorate our room, back in
Lyra:  Maybe...but we don't need to worry about that now.  Let's go
  have a look at our room here.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Peldor:  (turns to the drow as they leave)  Hey, how about dinner,
  in, say, an hour?  I know this cozy little place that serves fresh
  seafood, fresh from the depths of the Nyr Dyv...
Alindyar:  Wh-
Lyra:  Deal.  (she leads her mate out of the room)
Tanya:  Well, they seem to be enjoying themselves.
Peldor:  Yeah.  (he frowns)  Hmm, I sure hope they like seafood.

  As it turned out, they did, though Alindyar had numerous questions
about the nature of the various appetizers and dishes.  Fortunately,
Peldor and Tanya were both well-versed in the lore of small, edible
sea creatures, and this made for an interesting dinner conversation.
  After the lengthy meal, they retired to their rooms, for it had
been a long day.  The next day, they roamed the markets of Dyvers,
buying pretty much anything that suited their fancy.  The shops and
wagons featured goods from all lands:  fine paintings, carpets,
vases; jewelry, gems, and trinkets; finely-crafted items of wood,
stone, and metal; rare spices, foods, wines, ales...the list just
went on and on and on.  Never had they seen the equal of Dyvers'
marketplaces, except for Peldor, who had of course been here in the
past.  The foursome had lunch at a small shoppe that specialized in
fowl, be it fried, roasted, baked, sauteed, whatever.

Alindyar:  No foul fowl here.
Peldor:  Nope.  Heck, this place - this city - has even more neat
  stuff than I remembered...though if I actually lived here, I guess
  I could conceivably get bored of it.
Lyra:  Imagine that.
Tanya:  Heh.  It'll never happen.
Peldor:  I should hope not.  I can't picture the Green Dragon Inn
  under Bosco's control.
Tanya:  Look at the bright side:  it would become the most popular
  casino in all of Greyhawk.
Peldor:  And probably the richest.
Lyra:  Crazy little Bosco...
Alindyar:  Where is the diminutive irritant, anyway?
Peldor:  Oh, he headed westward with Mongo, to pursue some long-lost
  treasure that Mongo wanted.
Tanya:  With smaller, supporting treasures for Bosco, of course.
Lyra:  Naturally.
Alindyar:  Hmm.
Peldor:  But don't let Bosco fool you.  That's why he's so good at
  what he does - people fall for the "innocent, harmless halfling"
Tanya:  ...and the next day, their money lines Bosco's pockets.
Alindyar:  We know.  The small one once challenged us to a game of
Lyra:  We gracefully bowed out after the first hundred golden crowns
  had switched hands.
Alindyar:  Lucky for Bosco that I am not inclined to use my illusions
  in games of chance.
Lyra:  Well, he did make you an offer.  What did he call it..."The
  Bosco and Alindyar Travelling Magic Casino?"
Alindyar:  (winces)  I believe that was it.
Peldor:  That Bosco!

  After finishing their lunch, they headed off, to explore new and
interesting sections of Dyvers...and the bags of holding grew more
and more full.  That evening, they had another fine dinner, eating
at an odd restaurant where oddly-garbed acrobats and clowns performed
for the guests, on a stage that nearly surrounded the dining area.
Dessert was the real specialty of the house, featuring baked apple
pie far better than any they had tasted before.  Even the normally
conservative Alindyar had a second piece.

Alindyar:  Mmm.

  The entire week went by in this manner.  The four visited markets,
ate at the finest taverns and restaurants, chatted with elves and
dwarves from faraway lands, and even took a day-long cruise on the
Nyr Dyv.  Sometimes the two couples stayed together, while other
times they split up, to have some time to themselves.  Once, even,
Tanya and Lyra went off on their own, to do one of the few things
neither of their men could stand:  heavy-duty clothes shopping.

Peldor:  Don't sweat it.  Even the most practical women do this
Alindyar:  (still pretty much an unbeliever)  Hmm.
Peldor:  (looking around town)  In the old days, I would have taken
  you to one of the brothels.
Alindyar:  They have those here?  I haven't seen any...
Peldor:  Every city - except maybe for Hardby - has brothels.  But
  as I was saying, those were the old days.  I don't do that stuff
Alindyar:  I never did.
Peldor:  (shrugs)  Life has a way of catching up to us, doesn't it,
  my friend?
Alindyar:  I suppose.
Peldor:  Well, let's go see what we can see.  How much trouble could
  we possibly get into?
Alindyar:  Enough, but not too much, I hope.

  A while later...

Peldor:  (standing before the fine - and well-guarded - exhibit of
  ancient jewelry, housed within a small building in one of the
  finer sections of the city)  This must be what Lyra was talking
  about the other day.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Peldor:  How does she find out about these things, anyway?
Alindyar:  (shrugs)  I know not.
Peldor:  Hmm.  (he eyes the display cases)  I'd say it was worth
  the price of admission, just to see these treasures.
Alindyar:  Verily.

  The exhibit was basically a series of glass-covered tables which
showcased a wide variety of gems and jewelry from many lands.  The
artistic value of the pieces was surpassed only by their monetary
value.  The assembled riches belonged to several dozen collectors
who had teamed together to bring the show to Dyvers.  Of course,
their collected guards kept a watchful eye on the goods, for one
really never knew when a potential thief lurked nearby.

Peldor:  (looking at one particularly impressive piece, a gem-
  encrusted crown of worked gold)  Wow, that one's worth the most,
  in my opinion.
jewelry dealer:  (also looking over the crown, and other items)  A
  bit of an expert, are we?
Peldor:  I've been known to dabble.
jewelry dealer:  That crown dates back to the Crowning of the first
  Overking of Aerdy, some five hundred years ago.
Peldor:  Actually, it was five hundred and seventy-four years ago,
  to be exact.  The sage Epicurus first declared the Twelve Lairs
  of the Zodiac, among the stars.  The kingdom of Voll began its
  fight for independence, eventually becoming what we now know as
  Veluna.  And Ivid I had just been named the first Overking, in
  Rauxes, as the Great Kingdom's edges reached all the way to Grey-
  hawk City.  (he sighs)  How far things have fallen since then...
jewelry dealer:  (frowns)  How do you know all that?
Peldor:  (looks confused)  Huh?
jewelry dealer:  (walks away, shaking his head)
Alindyar:  (staring at Peldor intently)  What was that all about?
Peldor:  (shrugs)  Beats me...I think that guy was demented, probably
  planning on stealing these valuables.
Alindyar:  How far can this display of valuables travel, I wonder?
Peldor:  Farther than they think...

  Actually, chances were that the exhibit wouldn't be shown very
widely beyond the Dyvers-Greyhawk-Furyondy-Veluna area, for the risk
of marauders outside the more civilized lands was too great, no
matter what the security measures.

Peldor:  (in a hushed voice)  Hey, see that crown, there?
Alindyar:  Indeed I do.  'Tis very nice.
Peldor:  Can you use your magic to make a replica of it?
Alindyar:  Mere child's play-  wait.  What are you suggesting?
Peldor:  Only that you make me an identical crown, by tonight.
Alindyar:  Why?
Peldor:  Believe me, the less you know, the better.
Alindyar:  I shall not be party to your trickery.
Peldor:  You owe me, remember?
Alindyar:  <sigh>  (memorizes the appearance of the jewelled crown,
  a feat his mind has no trouble accomplishing)  Very well, I can
  do this.  (holds up a finger)  But this is the last.  Now we are
Peldor:  Okay.  C'mon, c'mon, let's go.
Alindyar:  Gladly.  (they leave the area of the exhibit)

  After they had walked out of sight of the guards, Alindyar began
his questioning...

Alindyar:  Why?  Why must you have a second crown?
Peldor:  Can't tell you.  A true Peldor never reveals his plan.
Alindyar:  Plan?  Bah!  You'll never get the real crown.  The thing
  is far too well-guarded...
Peldor:  I agree.
Alindyar:  You do?
Peldor:  Sure!  It's perfectly safe.  It's just not perfectly safe
  from me.
Alindyar:  (rubs his aching temples, mumbling something about false

  Later that evening, they had rejoined the women and been forced to
look at their assortment of new clothes.  This actually wasn't such
an unpleasant thing, for both ladies were in excellent shape.  After
a few hours, which included dinner, Peldor took Tanya into their room.

Tanya:  Why were you in such a hurry to get away from them?
Peldor:  Not from them.  Look there, on the dresser.
Tanya:  (turns)  Oh!  What's this?  (she picks up the heavy golden
  crown, with its plentiful gems)  Celestian's eyes!  This thing must
  be worth a fortune!  (she looks at him squarely)  Where'd you steal
  it from?
Peldor:  Nowhere, not yet.  It's just a worthless replica, or it will
  be when it evaporates.  Of course, by then we'll have the real one.
Tanya:  Uh-oh.  You've got that look in your eye.
Peldor:  Yep!
Tanya:  I knew it!  (she frowns)  How challenging?
Peldor:  Nearly impossible.
Tanya:  How risky?
Peldor:  Possible execution, I suppose.
Tanya:  When do we move?
Peldor:  Later tonight.

next:   the heist
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  Heh.  Bet you weren't expecting _this_.

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