Chapter #493

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                                +   +
                              +       +
                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                      +                       +
                        +      Epic III     +
                          +               +
                            +           +
                              +       +
                                +   +

+    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                    +
+                           +
+  Alindyar     17th level drow mage                            (N) +
+    Lyra       13th level female drow mage                     (N) +
+  Belphanior  (14th)^3 level elven fighter/wizard/thief       (CN) +
+    Otto        8th/9th level dwarven fighter/thief           (CN) +
+    the wispy thing                                                +
+  Ged          15th/14th level grey elven priest/mage         (NG) +
+    Arnold     13th level human barbarian warrior             (NG) +
+  Mongo        18th level dwarven fighter                     (CG) +
+    Gorin      10th level dwarven fighter                     (NG) +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human fighter/thief      (N) +
+    Bosco      11th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Rillen       17th level human monk                           (N) +
+    Songa      13th level human huntress                       (N) +
+  Date:        6/24/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        morning                                             +
+  Place:       a barbarian village on the Isle of the Ape          +
+  Climate:     hot and humid                                       +
+  "When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when      +
+   a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity."              +
+                                           - George Bernard Shaw   +

                      XDIII.  The Final Leg

  After some harrowing - and often interesting - adventures on the
strange Isle of the Ape, the adventurers have formulated a plan of
action.  Now, as the sun rises to herald a new day, the party makes
ready to move out.

Ged:  To the east we'll go...and find that Oonga.
Peldor:  And his treasure.
Belphanior:  And the wand.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Rary and Tenser didn't tell us what to
  _do_ with the wand once we got it, did they?
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  I think not.  I suppose we shall simply
  bring it back with us.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  We'd better watch Belphanior closely.
  He may have other ideas.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Worry not about that one.
Rillen:  Oonga...this will doubtless be quite an adventure.
Songa:  Hasn't it been already?
Tanya:  Me, I just want to get home and get back to business.
Gorin:  What business is that?  I thought you two weren't involved
  with Greyhawk any more.
Peldor:  Not now...but who knows what the future may hold?
Tanya:  I wonder how the inn is doing, anyway...(she turns to Bosco)
Bosco:  Huh?
Peldor:  Yes, how _is_ the inn doing, Bosco?  Turning a profit, I
Bosco:  Of course, of course.
Tanya:  Uh...who's running the place now that you're here with us?
Bosco:  That would be Vinnie.
Peldor:  I see.
Tanya:  Could be worse.
Bosco:  Actually, guys...I was hoping that you'd come back, after
  this present business is all wrapped up.  I don't really think
  I'm innkeeper material, y'know?
Peldor:  It's getting to you, eh?
Bosco:  Yeah...between that and the thieves' guild, I don't-
Peldor:  Thieves' guild?  What's this now?
Bosco:  They were trying to tax me- us.  I've been getting a lot of
  heat from them.
Peldor:  (slaps a fist into a palm)  That damned Sharyn Messandier!
  She's out to get me...I knew it!
Tanya:  She's probably still mad about Tomas Ratek.
Bosco:  (confused and unable to follow)  Huh?
Peldor:  It's a little-known secret that Sharyn was maneuvering to
  help get Tomas into the Guildmaster position.  She wasn't too
  happy when I...dealt with him.
Tanya:  In addition to which, she's a fanatic - a priestess of Kurell
  who aspires to convert all of Greyhawk's thieves.
Peldor:  (nods in agreement)  She scares me.  She really does.
Tanya:  A dangerous woman, no doubt about it.  And too ambitious for
  her own good.
Peldor:  Or ours.
Bosco:  Gee, I didn't know any of that.  (he frowns)  Well, not most
  of it.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Sounds like they could use some of our
  help, sometime.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Aye.  We can worry about that once we
  safely return, though.
Otto:  (watching Peldor, Tanya, and Bosco talk, he turns to Belphanior)
  They obviously don't have the kind of total control that we exercise.
Belphanior:  What do you expect?  Greyhawk's an entirely different
  kind of beast than Helgate.
Otto:  (nods, thoughtfully)  Gives me ideas, though...
Belphanior:  If I were Peldor, I'd just assassinate this Sharyn
  woman, and be done with it.
Ged:  (eavesdropping as he prepares to move out)  You would, and you'd
  have half the Greyhawk guards on your trail.  Again.

  Much as they enjoyed talking, the adventurers had to be on their
way.  Baldy and scores of other savages watched in awe as the
thirteen companions left the village.

wispy thing:  (floats over the party's heads, doing flips in the air)
Baldy:  (appearing concerned, he points at Mongo)  Mon-go.  Oonga.
Mongo:  Don't worry, we'll be fine.
Alindyar:  (by way of explanation)  The spell of tongues expired
  some time ago.
Ged:  It's okay, we didn't need it anyway.
Arnold:  (to Songa)  These guys are much like our own people.
Songa:  That they are, my friend.  That they are.
Rillen:  I suppose any culture will call any other 'savages'...
Arnold:  Yaa.  Too bad.
Baldy:  (he and his gold-ornamented, grass-skirted people wave to
  the departing foreigners)
Gorin:  Hey, just a little question here:  how come they didn't give
  us any scouts, to guide us to where we're going?
Alindyar:  They - indeed, all of the tribes on this island - fear
  that region like no other.
Ged:  I understand that there's not even a direct path through the
  jungle, to our destination?
Alindyar:  No.  We can use footpaths most of the time, but there may
  be virgin jungle ahead.
Otto:  Then we'll just have to devirginate it.
Belphanior:  Too bad we don't have that sky balloon.
Ged:  You're telling me.
Mongo:  So we hoof it...
Alindyar:  (to Lyra)  We must remember later to investigate some
  sort of mass flying spell.

  They set out into the jungle.  The heat and humidity were, as
usual, intolerable.  In addition, the conditions on this island
were taking their toll on the equipment and supplies.  All opened
foodstuffs and skins were molding now; many of the straps and ropes
and similar items were already rotting.  In addition, some of their
metal items, even armor and weapons, were beginning to rust.

Belphanior:  If I didn't know better, I'd say this was a magical
  form of deterioration...
Ged:  Bah.  There is no such thing.
Lyra:  Don't be so sure.
Mongo:  Well, at least I can still produce food with my cornucopia.
  That stuff's not been spoiled.
Rillen:  I think we'd better get off of this isle, and fast.
Gorin:  At some point, even our magical armor will probably be in
  bad shape.
Mongo:  (wondering how invulnerable his invulnerable coat really is)

  They made good time, despite the conditions, for they now had a
tangible and fixed goal.  Although they saw small creatures - snakes,
birds, spiders, even monkeys at one point - no larger predators made
an appearance.

Songa:  It may be that the dinosaurs stay to the wide paths, and
  since we're moving through the jungle on smaller trails...
Ged:  So there _is_ some advantage to all this hacking and tripping
  over roots and all that.
Lyra:  Maybe you'd just like to fly away and leave those who have
  to walk?
Ged:  (irritated)  Maybe.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  That little snot's beginning to bother
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Try and bear with him.  I understand
  that he recently had a death in the family.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Oh.  I didn't know that.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Neither did I...Arnold told me.

  Thanks to Songa, they were able to make good time, and avoid some
of the pitfalls and obstacles that otherwise would have hindered
their progress.  Yet, midday found them hot, drenched in sweat, and
exhausted as they stopped for lunch.  Not long into the meal...

Songa:  (stops in mid-bite and looks around, into the surrounding
Rillen:  What is it?
Songa:  Something's out there.
Ged:  What?!?  (he eyes the jungle)  You've got to be crazy.
Belphanior:  No, she's not.  I sense it too.
Otto:  (wondering how)
wispy thing:  Sprrd...
Mongo:  (hefts his metal club in one hand while eating a loaf of
  bread from his other)  Where?
Songa:  I don't know...
Lyra:  (pondering the chances of spellcasting)
Rillen:  (suddenly points to one section of jungle)  I saw it!  A
  flash of..something.  It moved by!
Gorin:  (squinting as he peers into the foliage)  I don't see any-
Belphanior:  That doesn't mean it's not out there.
wispy thing:  (sails into the jungle)  Fssss!
Arnold:  Aaa.
Otto:  (calmly sets his meal down on a nearby log and nocks a bolt
  in his crossbow)

  Suddenly, the ambush was sprung!  From several flanks, foes sprung
to the attack.  At first, the adventurers mistook them for skinny
men; however, they were actually small dinosaurs.  About six feet
in height and wiry, the reptiles had long, thin tails.  Viciously
hooked talons tipped their scaled hands, while larger claws curved
from their powerful feet.  Rows of sharp teeth filled their snout-
like maws; in their beady little eyes gleamed cunning and savagery.
  Screaming like frenzied birds, the things tore into the party!

next:      the dangerous trail continues
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     Thanksgiving 1996 approaches.  I should hit episode #500
  well before Christmas.

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