Chapter #290

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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                    +
+                          +
+  Belphanior  13th/14th/14th level elven warrior/mage/thief (CN/E) +
+     Otto     6th/8th level dwarven warrior/thief           (CN)   +
+  Date:        2/17/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        midnight                                            +
+  Place:       the town of Helgate, within the Clatspur Mountains  +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
+  "You're a man who makes people afraid...and that's dangerous."   +
+                                     - from _High Plains Drifter_  +

                     CCXC.  A New Friend

  After assuming control of Helgate, and making sure everyone is
clear on current events, Belphanior and Otto have returned to the
Raven's Nest, only to find Otto's new room still inhabited...

Perkins:  The occupant is proving...difficult.
Otto:  (sighs)  What's it gonna take for me to get a decent place
  to sleep around here?
Belphanior:  Not much.  Come on.  (they head upstairs)

  Stopping at the door to the afore-mentioned room, Perkins in tow,
they watched, and waited.  Momentarily, they heard the noises of
small objects being hurled about.

female voice:  You won't get rid of me _that_ easily!  I paid my
  lodgings, and by the gods, you're not evicting me until I'm good
  and ready!
Belphanior:  (stares at Perkins)  A woman?!?
Perkins:  She's _very_ determined, sir.
Otto:  Perkins, go back downstairs.  We'll handle this.
Perkins:  (hastens to obey)
Belphanior:  Should we just stroll in?  What do you think?  I'm
  not much for the subtle approach right now, but it's your room.
Otto:  (tries the door, finding it locked)  Let's try and keep the
  lock intact.  (he pulls out two thin metal wires, and quickly
  picks the room's lock)
female voice:  I hear you out there!  I know you're trying to get
  in!  But you'll never-
Belphanior:  (opens the door, sword in hand)
woman:  (pauses in mid-tirade, a glass vase clutched in one hand)

  Standing amidst the half-wrecked room was a human woman in her
mid-to-late thirties.  She was quite attractive, despite her angry
demeanor; her tight-fitting skirt showed off a generous amount of
tanned, toned leg, and her tighter-fitting bodice enhanced her
ample bosom.  The woman's hair was long and blond, though it was
currently splayed about wildly.  Hazel eyes, a small nose, full
lips, and white teeth completed the picture.

woman:  Who're you?  Where's that rascally innkeeper?
Belphanior:  I'm Belphanior.
woman:  You!  (she hurls her vase)
Belphanior:  (swats the thing with his sword, shattering it into
  millions of fragments before it even comes close)  If you were a
  man, I might have killed you by now for giving me all this shit.
  But since you're not, I-
woman:  Eyaaaagh!  (she charges him, swinging wildly)
Otto:  (chuckling)
Belphanior:  (stops the woman dead in her tracks, his hand around
  one of her wrists)
woman:  Ungh!
Belphanior:  (calmly sheathes his sword, lifting the woman into the
  air with his right arm)  What did you say your name was again?
woman:  I...ungh...didn't.
Belphanior:  (smiling sweetly)  Tell me or I'll rip your arms off.
woman:  Candice.
Belphanior:  Very good.  (he presses his face up to the woman's,
  his eye glowing crimson)  Now I don't want ANY more trouble out
  of you.
Candice:  (nods)
Belphanior:  (lets her go)
Candice:  (falls to the ground)  Ow.
Belphanior:  (looking around the room)  You're alone here.
Candice:  Yeah.  (she regards him)  So you're Belphanior.
Belphanior:  That's what they say.
Candice:  They also say you're dangerous to know.
Belphanior:  They're right.  Afraid of a little danger?
Candice:  Maybe.  Maybe not.
Belphanior:  You probably should be.  (he looks around the room,
  again)  Get your things out of here.
Candice:  No way!  You can-
Belphanior:  (glares at her sternly)
Candice:  Uh, okay.  (she hastily begins moving her possessions into
  the hall)
Belphanior:  (to Otto)  She's learning.
Otto:  About damn time.

  A while later, Otto had moved his own items (what few there were,
though he planned to acquire more soon enough) into his new room.
After getting everything squared away, he took a stroll through the
inn, making mental notes as to its inherent defensibility, its weak
points, and so forth.  When he was done, Otto returned to the fourth
floor, and chatted briefly with Belphanior in the hall.

Otto:  Where is she?
Belphanior:  Pardon?
Otto:  (sniffing the air)  I can still smell her perfume.
Belphanior:  Oh, her.  She's in my room right now.
Otto:  (raises one eyebrow)  Hmm.  What's her story, anyway?
Belphanior:  Well...she's a whore.
Otto:  Ah.
Belphanior:  She's roamed from town to town for awhile, until she
  finally settled here in Helgate, two years ago.  She runs the
  local brothel now.
Otto:  Useful connection, that.
Belphanior:  Maybe.  I guess I could work out free benefits...
Otto:  (rubs his chin)
Belphanior:  I must be rambling.  Anyway, Candice makes enough now
  that she doesn't need to work.
Otto:  For a retired whore, she looks to be in pretty good shape.
Belphanior:  Yeah, well...she is.
Otto:  So she lives in luxury, here at the Raven's Nest Inn, eh?
Belphanior:  Seems that way.
Otto:  (looking concerned)  Hey, you're not...
Belphanior:  What?
Otto:  ...well, you're not falling for her, are you?
Belphanior:  (grins)  Oh, I see!  You shakes
  his head, smiling)  She's just a whore.
Otto:  Agreed.
Belphanior:  A nice, good one, but still just a whore.  She has her
  uses...for the time being, anyway.
Otto:  Okay.  I was just wondering.
Belphanior:  Don't worry.  No woman's going to tame _me_.
Otto:  (yawns)
Belphanior:  Getting late...
Otto:  Yup.  I'm gonna hit the sack.
Belphanior:  (heads for his room)  Me too.

  Later, as Candice slept at his side, Belphanior's mind drifted
away to various matters.  The elf had never been one to sleep much,
and now was no exception.  His thoughts turned to certain recent
events, first and foremost the destruction of the Dark Ring in the
battle with Dagron.
  Ah, yes, the Dark Ring...cloven in twain by the enchanted blade
of Dagron, the once-mighty ring was now just a broken loop of black
metal.  Belphanior figured that he might someday be able to repair
it, but for now, it was ruined, its power over undead gone.  These
memories of the ring's power led the elf to think of the item which
had destroyed it.  Dagron's there was a mystery if he'd
ever seen one.  The weapon bore some enchantment, and a powerful one
at that - but the exact nature of its power remained a mystery.  It
might have been that Dagron knew, but he sure wasn't telling.  Even
magic to speak with the dead wouldn't help, for like all foes slain
by Blackrazor, everything that Dagron had been was lost forever.
  With these happy thoughts, Belphanior finally fell asleep.  Though
he had seen his share of misfortune in recent years, he now had the
feeling that things were shaping up.

next:   more tales of Helgate
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  A few random thoughts...readers have been raving about the
  recent Peldor storyline.  Someone asked me:  if bloody stories
  are indicative of my bad moods, are Bosco and Peldor stories
  indicative of my good moods?
    Interesting question.  I didn't originally intend to do it -
  the plan was to alternate Belphanior/Otto and Rillen stories in
  twos and threes, while basically ignoring everyone else.  Then,
  though, came that lone Arnold story, which gave me the idea to
  do others.  The Peldor trilogy was really easy - heck, you could
  almost say it wrote itself.  After that, Bosco cried to me too,
  insisting that he get his own story.  And THEN...Peldor wasn't
  done yet.  So there you have them:  284-5-6-7-8 - a nifty break
  from all the bloodshed that's pervaded Belphanior, Otto, and
  Rillen's lives lately.
    Of course, now it's their turn again...

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