Chapter #365

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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 1991-6 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 a fraction of it, anyway):                         +
+                                                                   +
+  Arnold         12th level human barbarian                   (NG) +
+  Ged            14th/14th level grey elven priest/wizard     (NG) +
+  Mongo          17th level dwarven fighter                   (CG) +
+    Gorin         9th level dwarven fighter                   (NG) +
+                                                                   +
+                                                                   +
+  SPECIAL GUEST STARS:                                             +
+                                                                   +
+  Drexel         human paladin                                (LG) +
+  Eyer           wood elven fighter/acrobat                   (NG) +
+    Baltek       high elven archer                            (NG) +
+  Date:        2/2/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        afternoon                                           +
+  Place:       Maure Castle, within the Cairn Hills                +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
+  "We've got them just where they want us."                        +
+                - James T. Kirk, _Star Trek:  The Motion Picture_  +

            CCCLXV.  The Dungeons Beneath Maure Castle

  The party has found a passage at the base of Maure Castle's outer
wall, and is now ready to explore the dungeon said to be beneath
the haunted castle.

Eyer:  (leading the way)  I'll take point.
Mongo:  (hefts his hammer)  Let me - I'm more indestructible than
Eyer:  Probably so, but I can look for traps and other such things.
Mongo:  Hmm.
Eyer:  (grins)  Trust me.
Mongo:  A regular Peldor, aren't you?  Okay, you can go first.
Baltek:  (wondering what a "Peldor" might be)
Gorin:  Mongo and I will go second.
Arnold:  And Ah-nold will go third.
Ged:  With me fourth?
Baltek:  I can't use my bow from way back here...
Mongo:  Hmm.  Maybe you and Ged could be in the third-
Drexel:  (suddenly realizes that he's at the rear of the party)
  Nay, I say!  It's my role to lead!  (he muscles his way past
  the other, until he bumps into Mongo, who doesn't move)
Mongo:  You can march shoulder-to-shoulder with me, but Eyer's
  in the lead.
Drexel:  Eh?
Mongo:  We need a th-  scout.  (points to Eyer)  He's volunteered.
Arnold:  (remembering well the value of a skilled scout)  Yah.
Drexel: (sighs)  Very well.  But, should battle arise...(he pats
  his sword's hilt)  We shall be ready!
Chaosbane:  Aye.
Lightbringer:  Unless, of course, there are legions of the night,
  in which case _I_ shall enter the fray.
Ged:  (looks down at his weapon)
Mongo:  (to Gorin)  Sometimes I'm glad Stormcrest can't talk.
Gorin:  Maybe it can.
Mongo:  (looks alarmed)

  The passage was eight feet wide and only slightly higher, and
sloped downward at a rough thirty-degree angle.  Eyer went first,
with Mongo and Drexel in the second rank.  Baltek and Ged, the
long-distance attackers, were third, with Gorin and Arnold in the
fourth rank to guard the party's rear.  The passage went eastward
for a long, long distance - long enough that the adventurers began
to wonder if some trickery might be afoot.  Uniformly square and
grey throughout its entire length thus far, the tunnel seemed to
go on forever, prompting random discussions...

Mongo:  (looking around)  This is getting boring.
Eyer:  True...will this accursed passage never end?
Drexel:  Who can say?
Eyer:  My old friend Yod would know what to-
Mongo:  Yod?
Eyer:  Yod Ironbeard, of the Lortmils.
Mongo:  (incredulous)  You know Yod?!?
Eyer:  Of course I know him.  (he gestures to Drexel and Baltek)
  And so do they.
Gorin:  How can this be?
Ged:  Who's Yod?
Arnold:  Yah, who's Yob?
Mongo:  _I_ know Yod, too!
Eyer:  Lots of people do.  He is, after all, a general and king.
Mongo:  (excited enough that he's pretty much ignoring the current
  situation)  So where do you know Yod from?
Eyer:  (glancing at the boring stretch of passage ahead, he feels
  no vibrations from his sword, which among other things detects
  traps)  Yod and I go way ten years.  We were part
  of an adventuring band once.
Mongo:  (nodding)
Gorin:  Go on.
Eyer:  And...well, we had adventures.  A lot of them.
Mongo:  Who else was in this group?
Eyer:  Oh, no one you'd know.
Mongo:  Try me.
Eyer:  Besides Yod?  Tarl...Kup Swiftfoot...
Mongo:  Kup Swiftfoot?  The halfling!  I know him too!
Eyer:  Oh, really, now?
Gorin:  He fought with us in the Flinty Hills.
Mongo:  Yeah.  A weird little guy, but we appreciated his help.
Eyer:  Kup's calmed down quite a bit, compared to the old days.  He
  was a real hell-raiser back when we were all young.
Ged:  Another Bosco...
Mongo:  No, I'd guess that Bosco's another Kup.
Drexel:  What exactly is a "Bosco"?
Arnold:  (thoughtfully)  Tarl?  That's a barbarian name, isn't it?
Eyer:  (nods)  Big bastard, too - seven feet if an inch.  He came
  from the far north.
Arnold:  (proudly)  Me, too.
Eyer:  He's the tallest person I know.
Mongo:  Anyone else?
Eyer:  (sticks a thumb in Drexel's general direction)  We met up
  with him, and a few others, later in the game, but he's not really
  one of our core group.
Gorin:  I believe it.
Eyer:  Me, Yod, Kup, Tarl...oh yes, there was also Marcus.
Mongo:  (frowns)  Don't know him.
Gorin:  Me neither.
Eyer:  He's a general, or was the last time I talked to him, anyway.
  Leads a mercenary force on missions-for-hire.
Mongo:  Must be a fun life.
Eyer:  No.  He's seen a lifetime's worth of bloodshed, and had to
  make a lot of tough decisions.  Being a commander is no easy task.
Gorin:  (nods in agreement)
Arnold:  (pointing)  What's that?
Eyer:  (having already seen the intersection in the passage ahead)
  A T-crossing...(he strolls forth confidently, looking right and
  left upon reaching the intersection)

  The passage dead-ended into the "T"; to the left, the new tunnel
ended abruptly after about ten feet.  To the right, it continued for
perhaps a hundred feet, apparently ending in a small room.

Gorin:  (looking leftward)  Secret door, maybe?
Ged:  Who knows?  A simple spell would determine...
Eyer:  That won't be necessary - there's no secret door here.
Mongo:  How can you be sure?
Eyer:  (waves his sword's point at the dead-end passage)  My blade
  has the power to detect such things - and there's nothing there.
Arnold:  Aaa.  (he looks leftward apprehensively)
Ged:  (to Eyer)  A...useful property of your sword.
Eyer:  Indeed it is.
Drexel:  What manner of coward would use secret doors to get from
  one place to another?
Mongo:  Secret passages have many uses, especially if you're a dwarf.
  You should visit Thunderdelve Mountain sometime.
Drexel:  I have.
Mongo:  Oh.
Eyer:  (already heading down the rightward passage)
Gorin:  Hey, wait for us.

  The passage soon opened into a twenty-by-thirty foot room.  In the
center of the far wall were a pair of huge doors.  Stretching almost
to the ten-foot ceiling, the doors were each four feet wide, and
looked thick.  Numerous scratches and marks decorated both the doors
and the floor before them.

Eyer: if many people have tried in vain to open them.
Mongo:  Well, those days of trying in vain are over.  Traps?
Eyer:  None.
Ged:  (to Arnold)  Must be his sword again...Peldor would kill for
  that weapon.
Arnold:  (shakes his head)  Naa.  That would take all the adventure
  out of his life.
Mongo:  Okay, then.  (he hooks Stormcrest on his belt and walks up
  to the doors)  Hmm, that's odd.
Gorin:  (still back in the third rank, he struggles to get a clear
  view)  What?
Mongo:  No handles.
Eyer:  Clever.  (he examines the portals more closely)  No keyholes
  either...or even hinges.
Mongo:  Not that we can see.  Maybe the doors open inward?
Eyer:  It's possible.  (he produces a thin prybar and tries to get
  it into a door-crack)  Ungh.
Mongo:  No good, eh?
Eyer:  Nope.
Mongo:  Here, let me smash the damn things in-
Baltek:  Bad idea - you'd alert whatever's behind the doors.
Eyer:  True.
Ged:  I'll solve this problem with a simple spell.  (he begins spell-
Drexel:  A worthy idea.
Gorin:  Glad you agree.
Eyer:  (backs away, to give Ged room to work)

  Momentarily, the grey elf released his incantation, a spell that
would open bolts, move latches, and unlock locks.  He wasn't the only
one who was surprised to see that the spell didn't have any effect!

Ged:  Boccob!
Mongo:  A spell-proof door...
Eyer:  I've seen the likes of these before.
Ged:  Where?
Eyer:  Usually in forsaken places in the middle of nowhere.
Ged:  (nodding)  Remind me to tell you about the lost Suel city some-
Arnold:  Maybe we should break the doors down, after all...?
Mongo:  That's what I'm thinking.
Baltek:  (runs a hand over the worn doors)  Looks like others have
  tried that, too.  (he frowns for a moment)  I wonder if it worked?
Gorin:  (listening at the doors)  Don't hear any sound from the other
Baltek:  (also listening)  Me either.
Gorin:  What, my ears aren't good enough for you?
Baltek:  They're fine, but not as keen as those of an elf.
Gorin:  (to Ged)  Is this true?
Ged:  (shrugs)  How should I know?
Drexel:  Force, then.  The quest must go on!
Mongo:  (nods)  Now you're talking!  (he readies his hammer)
Eyer:  (sighs)  Let me try one more thing.  (he digs in a pocket, and
  produces a small, simple-looking silver key)
Mongo:  And what the hell is _that_?
Eyer:  It's called the Key of Portals.  I found it some time ago, in
  a temple of Dalt.
Ged:  Dalt, lesser deity of portals and enclosures?
Eyer:  (smiles)  You're an educated fellow.
Gorin:  What does the key do?
Eyer:  It opens doors...and has never failed me in the past.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Ged:  Well, by all means, try it.  Time's short.
Eyer:  Shorter than we think, I'd wager.  (he cautiously touches the
  small key to the doors)

  With almost no noise whatsoever, the twin portals slowly swung
inward!  Beyond was revealed a larger, open area...

                | |
                | |
                | |
                | |
                | |    |                                N
    | |_________| |____|                              W + E
    |  ____      ~                                      S
    | |    |____   __________
                | |          |               ...  double entry doors
                |.|          |                .   door

Eyer:  (peering at the party's various exploration alternatives)
  Well, I'd say we've got our hands full for a while...

next:      the weird, wacky, and wonderful things within the dungeon
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
mail:   (preferred)
notes:     This weekend, we had our annual softball game.  I did
  better than ever before:  5-for-7, 4 runs scored, 5 rbi, a home
  run, and 2 doubles.  I was also 6-for-6 fielding, with no errors,
  and even helped turn a double play.  It was the kind of softball
  day I live for.

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