Chapter #366

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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:       the dungeons beneath Maure Castle                   +
+  Climate:     dry and musty                                       +
+  "It is one thing to get up quickly and another thing never to    +
+   fall down."                                                     +
+                                                 - St. Augustine   +

                CCCLXVI.  Mazes, But No Monsters

  The party has just opened a pair of double doors and entered a
dungeon.  Three possible paths now present themselves...

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

Eyer:  (scans the vicinity)  Hmm.  (to Mongo)  So...right or left?
Mongo:  What?
Eyer:  You know, right or left.  Surely you've been in enough dungeons
  to have a favorite direction?
Mongo:  Oh.  Oh, yeah.
Gorin:  What about straight ahead?
Eyer:  I've always had bad luck with straight ahead.
Baltek:  The right passage seems a good choice.
Arnold:  Why's thaat?
Baltek:  (points to the left)  Because it's not a wide open space like
Drexel:  (looking around impatiently)  It matters not.  Let the quest
  begin!  (he heads to the right)
Mongo:  Dammit...(he trundles off after the paladin)

  The passage quickly ended in a "T", with both new passages veering
around and out of sight.  Eyer had somehow moved in front of Drexel,
reassuming his place at the front of the party; he led the group down
the right-hand passage.  So far, all of the corridors in this place
were identical:  old, worn granite, ten feet wide and twenty feet
high.  A thin layer of dust coated the floors, and the air was dry
and stale.
  The passage veered to the northeast, then to the north, and ended
at a metal-bound oaken door.  Besides being unusually wide (roughly
seven feet, by all estimates) the door was quite thick.

Eyer:  (after listening at the door, he taps it lightly)  That's odd.
Ged:  Why's that?
Eyer:  This thing's several inches least five or six.  No
  one builds doors like that.
Baltek:  Not anymore, anyway.
Drexel:  Perhaps this place was once a prison, meant to hold scum
  and villainy.
Arnold:  Maybe it still is.
Gorin:  (hefts his axe)  What about that door?
Eyer:  It's unlocked...(he slowly pushes the door open)

  Beyond was a tiny, round room, no more than twenty feet across.  At
the edge of the chamber were spaced nine equidistant holes, each two
feet wide.

Ged:  (feels a strange buzz in the back of his head)  Boccob...

  Whatever the sensation was, all of the others were experiencing it
too.  Some party members did more than just stand in place, though.

Arnold:  (begins walking toward the holes)
Ged:  What are you doing?
Gorin:  (also heads toward the edge of the room)
Mongo:  (looks at Drexel)  What the fuck?!?
Drexel:  (shrugs)
Eyer:  The tingling's passed...
Baltek:  (watching Arnold and Gorin)  Now what in the hell are _they_
Ged:  Arnold?
Arnold:  (holds his sword over one of the holes, then suddenly drops
Eyer:  (leaps forth, catching the gigantic sword before it can fall
  into the hole)
Mongo:  (tackles Gorin, before he can similarly drop his axe into
  a second hole)
Gorin:  (hits the ground, and is pinned)  Whoulff!  (his axe slides
  across the floor, hitting Drexel in the foot)
Drexel:  Ow!
Arnold:  (having unsheathed his dagger, he prepares to drop it into
  the hole)
Ged:  Stop!  (he forcibly pulls Arnold back, away from the holes, a
  feat made possible by his girdle of giant strength)
Gorin:  (blinks, and looks up at Mongo, who has him pinned to the
  floor)  Hey!  What's going on?
Mongo:  You should be telling me that!
Arnold:  (recovers as well, and looks around, then at the dagger in
  his hand)  Aaa?  Where's my sword?
Eyer:  I've got it.  (although lithe and strong, he struggles to lift
  the six-foot weapon)  Ungh.
Arnold:  Thanks.  (he sheathes both blades)
Ged:  What in Boccob's name came over you two?
Gorin:  Beats the hell out of me.
Eyer:  (rubbing his chin as he examines the nine holes)  I've got a

  Pulling a flask of oil from his pack, the elf dropped it into one
of the holes, where it shattered.

Mongo:  Well, _that_ explains everything.
Eyer:  I thought-

  Suddenly, the hole contracted, lightning-fast, and the dull sound
of crunching glass marked the passing of the flask within.  Of the
hole, there was no sign.

Ged:  Boccob!
Mongo:  It ATE it!
Eyer:  And would have...eaten anything else thrown in, I'd wager.
Drexel:  How insidious!
Arnold:  Yah, I agree.
Chaosbane:  (to Drexel)  A good thing your will was strong.  Being
  crushed is no way to end one's existence.
Drexel:  Fear not.
Lightbringer:  (to Ged)  Let's get out of this room, shall we?
Gorin:  Will the hole ever open back-

  Just then, as instantaneously as it had closed, the hole opened
back up.  Of the oil flask, there was no sign.

Mongo:  (to Ged)  Good thing Rob's not here...
Ged:  (nodding)  Yea.

  They checked the room, carefully sidestepping the holes, but there
was nothing else of interest.

Drexel:  I wouldn't even say the holes were of interest.
Baltek:  You've got that right.
Mongo:  Let's check out the other end of the passage.

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

  Before heading southward, they stopped to check a suspicious 20x10'
"dead spot" between the passages.  Eyer figured that it might be a
secret room, and wanted to check the walls.  However, after examining
the stone thoroughly, he concluded that there were no secret doors to
be found.

Ged:  (remembers something)  Wait...(to Eyer)  I thought you said
  that your sword detected secret doors?
Eyer:  Ah...yes.  But not _concealed_ doors.  There is a subtle but
  important difference.
Ged:  Oh.
Eyer:  Besides, sometimes there's a hidden room with no doors.  I was
  merely curious.
Ged:  One can never be too curious...
Baltek:  I agree wholeheartedly.

  Next, they entered and explored a small room, but quickly found it
empty.  Baltek, who was mapping their trek when he had the chance,
noted that the two doors they hadn't gone through yet probably led
into the same chamber.

Mongo:  I betcha that means there's something important in there.
Arnold:  (grasps his sword)  Good.  I'm getting bored.

  As it turned out, Baltek was right; the next room (whose door was
unlocked like the last one) was an intersection between their current
position and a previously-discovered door.  Thirty feet across, the
chamber had four doors, spaced at equal intervals around its edge.
It also contained a few odd things.  Right inside each door, a small
candle burned on the floor.  On the insides of the doors were painted
bright frescoes, depicting fierce-looking armored warriors.

                | |
                | |
         / \    | |
         \./    | |
         | |    | |
         | |    | |
         / /    | |
       / /      | |
     / /        | |
    | |         | |    |                                N
    | |_________| |____|                              W + E
    |  ____                                             S
    | |____|____   __________
    |____  |    | |          |               ...  double entry doors
    |    { |    |.|          |                .   door
    |____| |__ /   \                          {   door
         |____{     {

Eyer:  What could these candles be all about?
Ged:  (eyeing the things)  They're slightly magical...
Eyer:  I know.
Ged:  Oh.  Let me guess...the sword?
Eyer:  Yep.
Drexel:  (picks up one of the candles)  Hmm, I think you're right.
Eyer:  Of course I'm right.
Ged:  No, I'm right.  I saw the aura first.
Mongo:  Can't you both just be right?
Drexel:  Odd.  (with an armored finger, he snuffs the candle out)
Baltek:  What'd you do that for?
Drexel:  (shrugs)  I don't really-

  Suddenly, from the door corresponding to the extinguished candle,
a brightly-garbed fighter leaped out, his sword swinging as he ran
for Drexel.

Drexel:  I say, my good man, what are-  (looking up at the charging
  warrior)  Wait, we mean you no harm!
warrior:  (brings his sword down on the paladin's chestplate, denting
Drexel:  Argh!  (he reels)
Eyer:  Well, I'll be damned...
Mongo:  The fucking painting came to life!

next:      battle!
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
mail:   (preferred)
notes:     While I wrote this, I watched "The Beast" - a TV movie
  based on a Peter Benchley novel.  Benchley's the guy who wrote
  "Jaws" back in the early 1970s.  Good thing I bought a Sunday
  paper and actually opened the TV guide.  Sometimes I forget that
  there's more on cable TV than baseball and Beavis.

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