Chapter #507

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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 1991-7 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  (14th)^3 level elven warrior/wizard/thief       (CN) +
+    Otto        8th/10th level dwarven warrior/thief          (CN) +
+    the wispy thing                                                +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human warrior/thief      (N) +
+    Bosco      12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Date:        8/12/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        nighttime                                           +
+  Place:       the city of Innspa, in the Prelacy of Almor         +
+  Climate:     mild                                                +
+  "Once you remove the absurdity from human existence, there       +
+   isn't much left."                                               +
+                                           - Alexis A. Gilliland   +

                      DVII.  Innspa-ration

  The weary, grimy companions just arrived in the Almorean city of
Innspa.  After securing stable-space for their horses, they split up
in order to attend to various business before supper.  The agreed-
upon plan was to regroup outside the stables in an hour, then find
  In a private room within the bathhouse across the street from the

Peldor:  (leans back in the steaming water of the tub)  Ahhhhhh.
Tanya:  We needed that.  (she snuggles against him, sending tiny
  wavelets of water splashing over the edge of the tub)
Peldor:  (blows a soap-bubble off of his fingertip, sending it lazily
  into the air)  Hey, I'm kinda hungry.
Tanya:  Me too.  Of course, I'm always hungry after-
Peldor:  (scrubs her back with a long-handled brush)
Tanya:  Ooh, that feels good.
Peldor:  (grins)  No problem.  (he stretches his neck)  You know, maybe
  a grand feast is in order.  It's not like we don't have the money.
Tanya:  What about Belphanior and the others?
Peldor:  What about them?
Tanya:  No, be nice.  We shouldn't just ditch the others.  We've been
  on the road for more than a month - we ought to share our company
  with our riding-companions.
Peldor:  (nods, tossing the brush aside as he hunts for a sponge)  I
  guess we've had our time alone, and we'll have more.
Tanya:  Good, because before long I'll regain my energy.
Peldor:  (smirks)  Uh-oh.

  Elsewhere, after he'd cleaned the grit of the road from his face and
hands with a wet cloth and some cold water, Bosco was hard at work in
a dark and smoky den of mischief...

Bosco:  Okay, I call.
Willie:  (slaps his cards down onto the table)  Flush.
Albie:  Shit.  All I got's two pair.
Smilin' Bob:  Two pair?  Well, I got three of a kind, but that ain't
  gonna beat Willie's hand there.
Jacko:  (tosses his cards down in disgust)  Damned if tonight's the
  worst luck I've had in ages...
Bosco:  Well, guys, I hate to do this to you, but...(he lays his cards
  face-up on the table)
Willie:  A full house?!?
Albie:  Shit.  (he slaps the table)  Shit, shit, shit.  Ow.
Smilin' Bob:  How's he do it?
Jacko:  (shaking his head)  Don't ask me, friend.
Bosco:  (rakes in the small pile of silver and copper coins)  It's
  all in the fates, guys, all in the fates.  (he offhandedly grabs
  a passing wench)  Another round, m'dear, on me.
Willie:  (grins)  Y'know, Albie, it could be worse.
Albie:  Yeah, we ain't losing a fortune to the little guy, exactly.
  And he keeps buying us beer.
Bosco:  (chuckles to himself)
Bosco's knapsack:  (beneath the table, it wriggles and twitches as
  those inside try in vain to escape)  Chrp!

  Still elsewhere, Belphanior was seeing about some necessary supplies...

Belphanior:  (dunks his head in a large vat of water)
alchemist:  Err, that was my cooking-pot.
Belphanior:  Don't fret over it.  (he grabs a clean cloth rag from a
  nearby pile and wipes his face)  Much better.  (he turns to the man)
  Now, to business.
alchemist:  Uh...right.
Belphanior:  I need a couple of snakes' tongues...a chunk of honeycomb...
  let's see here.  (he checks a small scrap of parchment)  Hmm, also get
  me some bronze discs and iron rods.  And I'll also be needing a few
  small cones of glass, if you've got any.
alchemist:  I have all of that...or most of that, anyway.
Belphanior:  A few bats' wings might also come in handy, now that I
  think about it.
alchemist:  (begins checking various containers while muttering to
wispy thing:  (appears from within a corked vase of ancient stone that
  rests right next to the man)  Fssss!
alchemist:  Yie!  (he nearly drops the stack of bronze discs in his hand)
Belphanior:  Oh, it's okay - he's with me.
alchemist:  R- right.
wispy thing:  (nods as it grins at the man)  Spaaa!

  Shortly, on the street outside the alchemist's shop...

Belphanior:  (cracks his knuckles)   Ah!  Time for a good, hot meal
wispy thing:  (orbits the elf's head)  Grrmb.
Belphanior:  Did you have to go and scare that poor man like that?
wispy thing:  (frowns)  Fspaa.
Belphanior:  Just curious, is all.  I thought it was pretty damned
wispy thing:  (grins)  Yrrrp!

  The elf and his bizarre companion walked down the street in the
direction of the stables, for it was time to meet their companions.
Halfway there, they were joined by a certain grungy-looking dwarf.

Otto:  (muttering to himself angrily)  Damned if you do, damned if
  you don't...
wispy thing:  (regards the dwarf)  Aaarp?
Belphanior:  Where have you been, anyway?
Otto:  (frowns sourly)  Was off looking for whores, but this city
  doesn't seem to have any.
Belphanior:  Hmm, that makes sense, given what I've heard about this
  Prelacy of Almor in general.  (he grins)  Guess you'll have to
  find a slut instead.
Otto:  I mean, can you believe that?!?  Not a single house of ill
  repute!  I ask you:  what are the chances of that happening?
Tanya:  (approaches)  Of what happening?
Peldor:  (hops spryly down, off the railing of the stables)  I see
  we're all on time tonight.  (he stretches and grins)
Otto:  What the hell are you so happy about?
Peldor:  I feel clean...refreshed.
Belphanior:  (eyes Tanya, who bites her lip to keep from smiling)
Otto:  Bah.  There's no justice, says I.  (he resumes his muttering)
Tanya:  Where's Bosco?  I don't see him here, and he's usually not
  late to supper...
Bosco:  (trots around a corner, from a side street)  Did someone
  say supper?  (he rubs his belly)  Mmm, I'm kinda hungry.  Supper
  would really hit the spot right about now.
Belphanior:  Well, let's get to it then.  Did anyone see someplace
  that looked halfway decent?
Peldor:  Several of them, actually.  The closest one's down that
  way.  (he jerks a thumb to his left)  Shall we?
Bosco:  Say no more.  (he waddles in that direction)

  Soon, they stood before a loud, fairly busy-looking tavern called
the Fox and Hound.

Otto:  This looks like as good a place as any.
Bosco:  And yet, better than some.
Otto:  (frowns)
Tanya:  Fine by me.
Peldor:  Me, too.
Belphanior:  (strides up the tavern's front steps)  Let's go, then.
  I'd hate for Bosco to starve.
Bosco:  Not as much as I would.  (he darts between the elf's legs
  and into the establishment)  Aha!

  The place wasn't just busy, it was rollicking.  Minstrels played
their flutes, drums, and other instruments with wild mirth.  Guards,
priests, and commoners alike ate, drank, and made merry.  All this
was glimpsed over Bosco's short form, by the others who stood outside
the tavern.

Belphanior:  (walks through the double doors, causing them to swing
  back and forth behind him)  Hah.  I always wanted to do that.
Peldor:  (holds one door open for Tanya)  Age before beauty.
Tanya:  (smirks)  You're just jealous because I'm older.
Peldor:  And wiser.
Tanya:  True, but who's keeping track of these things?
Otto:  (pushes through the swinging doors and scopes out the place)
  Not bad...not bad.
Bosco:  (sniffs the air, savoring the various aromas of food and
  drink)  How can it be bad?

  Though they would have preferred to sit in the corner (old habits
die hard) there were no such tables open right now.  Instead, they
settled for one fairly near the bar, which of course had its own

wench:  (appears at tableside)  What'll it be, boys?  (she spies
  Tanya)  And milady?
Peldor:  A pitcher of the darkest, richest beer you have, please.
Otto:  Better make it two pitchers.  (he slips a golden coin into the
  woman's bodice)
wench:  Right away!  (she scurries over to the bar and calls to the
Tanya:  You might attract attention flashing money around like that.
Otto:  I doubt it, not in a busy place like this.  (he shrugs)  And
  so what if someone sees?  Fuck 'em.  What, are they gonna try and
  rob me or something?
Belphanior:  Heh.  Did you ever hear the one about the guys who tried
  to rob the High Tower Tavern, in Greyhawk?
Peldor:  (grins)
Tanya:  What?  (to Belphanior)  That's a pretty spiffy place - what
Belphanior:  Well, a small gang of foreign ne'er-do-wells decided to
  rob the place one evening.  They showed up with loaded crossbows and
  told the bartender to hand over the day's wages or they'd start
  shooting.  (he smiles)
Bosco:  That wasn't very nice.
Otto:  So what happened?
Belphanior:  (chuckling)  Heh.  Turns out it was the Circle of Eight's
  weekly card-and-beer night...and the High Tower's where they always
  went for that.
Peldor:  Ha ha, ha ha ha.  (he begins coughing)  Heh heh.
Belphanior:  Those would-be-robbers were screwed six ways to Godsday
  before they had even realized what was going on.
Otto:  Ho, ho.  Serves 'em right.
Tanya:  I'll say.
Bosco:  Hey, I wonder if the Circle'd let me join in on one of their
  card games.
Peldor:  Don't count on it, Bosco.  Wizards who can level cities with
  a gesture don't tend to have a lot of patience with con-men.
Tanya:  Or even con-halflings.
Bosco:  But-

  The small one's complaints were silenced by the arrival of the twin
pitchers of beer.  As the waitress set them down on the table, Bosco
took the opportunity to sneak a glance down her bodice.

Bosco:  Peekaboo!
wench:  Watch it, shrimp.
Bosco:  (grabs one of the pitchers and prepares to upend it into his
Tanya:  Bosco!
Bosco:  Eh?
Tanya:  Wait 'til it's poured, would you?  (to the serving wench)
  Can't take him anywhere.
Bosco:  (sits there pouting)
wench:  I can only imagine, honey.  (as she begins filling mugs from
  the pitchers, she speaks to the table at large)  You people look
  like a hungry lot.
Bosco:  (springs back to life)  You bet!
Otto:  (grabs a mug and drains it, while watching the diminishing
  pitchers and the filling of the glasses)  I think another pitcher
  or two would be in order, too.
wench:  Not a problem.  Maxwell just opened this stuff today, and
  it's been a big hit.
Peldor:  (takes a big swig of his own beer)  Mmm, I can see why.
Tanya:  (sips from her mug)  Not bad.  (to Peldor)  I don't see how
  you favor this dark stuff like you do.
Peldor:  It's easy.  (he drains another third of his beer)  See?  (he
  raises his eyebrows)  Urp.
Bosco:  Hey, that's my line.
Peldor:  Not for much longer.
Belphanior:  (sips his beer, watching the others in amusement and
  more than a little happiness)
wench:  I'll bring you more beer...what about supper?
Bosco:  Bring me four whole chickens.
Belphanior:  And some dry white toast.
Peldor:  Huh?
wench:  (taken aback, she suddenly finds herself being hailed by a
  nearby table)  I'll be right back, just hold on.  (she heads to
  the other table)
Otto:  (watches her rear end wiggle as he refills his mug)  Ya-ho,
  ya-ho...see how she runs...
Belphanior:  Careful, don't spill that.
Otto:  Whoa.
Tanya:  (smiles to Peldor)
wispy thing:  (emerges from Bosco's knapsack)  Pffft.
Bosco:  (chokes on his beer)  Hey!
Belphanior:  What's wrong?
Bosco:  He was in my pack!  He might upset the ferr-  uh.
Peldor:  Ferrets, Bosco?
Bosco:  Er, yeah.
Tanya:  You brought those guys along?
Bosco:  Sure!  I mean, they didn't get to share in the excitement
  of the Isle and the Abyss, so I figured they were due for some
Belphanior:  Ferrets?  Here?  I'd be careful if I were you, my
  small friend.  If they get loose in this place, you'd be lucky
  to see them again.
Bosco:  I know, that's why I had a special knapsack made before we
  left.  It's got a bunch of ties on the outside, arranged in such
  a way as to make escape from the inside impossible.  Yet they
  have room in there, and they can get air just fine.
Otto:  Hmm.  I knew you had them on this trip, but inside a tavern?
Bosco:  (shrugs)  Didn't have an inn-room to leave them in.

  As the time went on, the empty pitchers stacked up (Bosco proved
particularly adept at this task.)  Various and sundry food was
ordered, brought, and eaten.  Stories were exchanged, tales were
told, old friends were toasted; in general, the dark veil that had
pervaded recent weeks was lifted and thrown to the wind.  Some time

wispy thing:  (nowhere to be found)
Bosco:  Errrrp!
Peldor:  'Scuse me, but I gotta go take a leak...
Tanya:  Thanks for sharing.  That's a little more than I needed to
  know, but you go on and enjoy yourself.
Peldor:  (stands shakily)  Thanks, don't mind if I do...(he grabs a
  chair for support)  Whoa...
Otto:  I think I'll go too.  Damn dark beer...(they head off to the
  chamberpot chamber)
Bosco:  (waddles after them)  Make way!  Make way!
Belphanior:  I swear, that guy's got the world's smallest bladder.
Tanya:  Well, think about it.

  Just then, a hulking, unshaven man swaggered over to their table.

brute:  (to Tanya)  Hey, girl, ready fer a real man?
Tanya:  (sets her mug down and wipes her mouth)  Always, but you're
  obviously not gonna fit the bill.
brute:  Huh?
Belphanior:  (he clears his throat)
Tanya:  (to the elf)  Don't.  I can handle this.
brute:  Handle...yeah, I betchu can "handle" me...heh...
Tanya:  Not interested, ugly, so go find yourself a chicken or some-
brute:  Hey, how'd you know about...hey!  No one talks ta me like dat.
  No one...(he turns to Belphanior)  This yer man?  This skinny runt?
Tanya:  I'm telling you for the last time, you louse-infested pile
  of hair-
brute:  (with surprising speed, he kicks Belphanior's chair out from
  under him, dumping the elf on the floor, then turns back to Tanya)
  He ain't around anymore, so now let's you an' me talk...
Tanya:  (puts her head in her hands)  Oh, dear.

next:      the biggest barfight since episode #013!
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     Every once in a while, there has to be some mindless
  drinking, sex, and violence.  This is one of those times.

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