Chapter #515

previous chapter (#514)                                                                  next chapter (#516)

                                +   +
                              +       +
                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      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                    +
+                           +
+  Arnold       13th level human barbarian warrior             (NG) +
+  Rillen       18th level human monk                           (N) +
+    Songa      13th level human huntress                       (N) +
+  Date:        8/22/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        late morning                                        +
+  Place:       the Fruzti (Frost Barbarian) lands in the far north +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
+  "You're going to be the 11th commandment.  Thou shalt not        +
+   get away with it."                                              +
+                                                 - Remo Williams   +

                   DXV.  The Blue Tower

  The three adventurers returned to the Frost Barbarian village, only
to find it under the influence of a recently-arrived evil wizard.  In
a bold stroke of derring-do that only true adventurers could even
think about making, the trio ventured to the west to end the menace
once and for all.  They now approached on foot, the obsidian obelisk
looming before them like the sorcerous tower that it was.

Rillen:  Doors...doors would be nice.
Arnold:  Bah.  If the wizard has no doors, we'll make one.
Songa:  We'd better be careful - these wizards are a tricky lot.
Rillen:  Not always.  In my time, I've seen some who were fairly
  predictable.  After all, they're only human.
Arnold:  Most of the time.
Songa:  Human or not, this one's soon to face the wrath.

  As they neared the tower, they could make out a short, rickety
wooden fence.  A path led up to a gate (also rickety) which was built
into this fence.  Despite the fact that the fence was barely two feet
high, someone had sharpened each and every post.  Atop the two posts
on each side of the gate were set human skulls, their deaths-head
visages grinning as only bleached skulls could do.  A sign was nailed
onto the gate; crimson paint across this board spelled out a simple
message:  KEEP OUT.

Rillen:  It must be some kind of joke.  I mean, look at this fence.
  It wouldn't even keep Bosco out.
Songa:  It may look simple, but it's doubtless some magical trick.
Rillen:  Maybe, but-
Arnold:  (kicks the gate open, and strolls down the path, headed for
  a metallic door of black metal, this latter set flush with the
  stone walls of the tower)  Enough.
Rillen:  (looks at Songa)
Songa:  (shrugs)  Then again, maybe the wizard's vile enchantments
  lie elsewhere.

  However, as the trio made their way to the strange portal, they
were startled by the clickety-clack sound of wood banging on wood.
Whirling with weapons ready, they beheld a bizarre spectacle.  The
fence was twisting, rearing had become some kind of giant,
wooden golem!

wood golem:  <clickety-clack>  (it teeters toward the adventurers)
Arnold:  Ah-nold!  (he charges the thing, sword held high)
Rillen:  (draws his bow, nocking an arrow)  Well, if it's a fight
  this wizard wants, it's a fight he'll get!
Songa:  That's the spirit.  (she hefts a spear)

  Arnold, as expected, struck the first blow, his huge sword smashing
into the foe's fleshless stomach.  Boards splintered and went flying,
and the thing staggered.

wood golem:  <clickety-clack>  (it points both "arms" at Arnold)

  With a plethora of tiny wrenching sounds, dozens of tiny nails
tore themselves free from the thing's wooden body, zipping straight
for Arnold!  The barbarian's sturdy plate mail saved him from all
but superficial harm, as a couple of the tiny darts lodged in flesh
at the joints of the armor.

Arnold:  Aaagh!  Ow!
Rillen:  (sends a shaft speeding for the foe, and the arrow becomes
  two in mid-flight)
wood golem:  (hit in a shoulder-level slat, it barely seems fazed)
Rillen:  Trouble - the thing has no vital organs or areas to strike
Songa:  Let's try a heavier missile, then.  (with a mighty hurl, she
  casts her spear)

  The sharp, thick weapon tore all the way through the weird foe,
shattering parts of two boards in the process.  The fence-thing only
teetered for a moment, then turned and lumbered toward Rillen and

Rillen:  Well, that certainly got its attention.
Songa:  (grins with battle-inspired mirth)  You're welcome.

  If the foe thought it was done with Arnold, it was sorely mistaken.
However, the barbarian wasn't charging with sword held high; no, he
had a rope grasped in his thick hands.

Rillen:  (backing up as he nocks another arrow)  What in the hell is
  he up to?
Songa:  Don't ask me.

  Arnold had tied a heavy iron spike to one end of the rope, and now
he ran alongside and slightly behind the wood-monster.  Twirling the
weighted rope-end in one hand, he waited for the right moment - and
then threw the thing, looping it around the foe's rickety legs!

wood golem:  <clickety-clack>  (it looks down as the makeshift snare
  spins around its legs, the spike catching between two loops)
Arnold:  Yah!  (he runs around in circles, tightening his trap)  I
  could use some helb here!

  The wooden construct was losing its balance, but as it staggered
along, it dragged Arnold with it, foot by foot.  Rillen dove, catching
a trailing end of the rope and adding his weight to that of Arnold.

Rillen:  Ungh!
Arnold:  We've got him now!
wood golem:  <clack>

  Hard-pressed to move its legs, its arms teetering wildly, the thing
went down with a bang.  As its body struck the ground, it flew apart
into dozens of pieces of wood, these bouncing and spinning until they
came to rest.

Songa:  Sorcery!
Arnold:  (eyes the boards dubiously)  We didn't hit him thad hard.
Rillen:  Hell, we didn't really hit him at all.
Songa:  (shakes her brown mane, bewildered)
Arnold:  (picks up a board, examining it closely before discarding it)
  Guess he just went to pieces.
Rillen:  Look there - I didn't notice that before.
Songa:  What?
Rillen:  The "keep out" sign became its chest-plate.
Songa:  How strange.

  With the menace of the animated fence-thing out of the way, they
were free to approach and examine the smooth metallic door on the
tower's front face.  This portal appeared both sturdy and seamless,
but before they could wonder how to make it open, it swung outward
of its own accord!

Arnold:  Aaa.
Songa:  Well, so much for a sneak attack.
Rillen:  It seems we're expected...or at least invited.
Arnold:  (draws his sword once more)  Let's go in and find out who
  lives there.
Songa:  But be careful.
Arnold:  Of courdse.  Ah-nold is always careful.
Rillen:  (glances into the doorway)

  Beyond the metal portal was a featureless square chamber, perhaps
fifteen feet to a side and about the same height.  Neither doors
nor windows adorned this room; it was lit by a soft blue glow that
emanated from nowhere...and everywhere.  They were considering
turning around and leaving the place - it seemed too much like a
potential death-chamber - but then the outer door swung shut without
a sound.

Songa:  I don't like this.  The room could fill with gas or water
Rillen:  True...look at it this way:  whatever happened to the
  warriors Thurnock sent, we'll soon know as well.
Arnold:  But do we _want_ to know?

  Their conversation was interrupted by a strange shifting of the
surrounding walls and ceiling.  Said barriers simply vanished,
exposing a much larger space around them, shrouded in bluish mist.
Wherever they were now, it was neither the interior of the tower
nor the surrounding plain.  The ground was soft and spongy, the
climate dry and cool.
  They'd barely had time to react to this strange turn of events,
when several glowing blue balls of light flew toward them from
all sides!

Rillen:  (whips out his staff, holding its far tip between him and
  the nearest of the things)  Beware!
Songa:  Don't worry on my account.  (she hefts a spear, ready to
  stab at anything that attacks her)
Arnold:  Aaa...what are these blue things?  (he realizes that all
  of the things they've seen within the tower have been various
  shades of blue)  Aaa.

  The blue light-things, whatever they were, hovered around the
adventurers, occasionally darting in as if to attack, then feinting
back out of reach of the humans' reach.  This continued until the
quarterstaff of Rillen, aided by its owner's skill and boots of
speed, whipped forth and made contact with one of the blue balls!

blue ball of light:  <zzzax>  (it flickers intermittently, and the
  smell of ozone fills the air)

  Rillen, however, did not appear to be shocked, or even injured.
He leaped forth, swatting at the thing again, and this time his
staff was limned by a blue glow as it hit the floating ball of

blue ball of light:  (vanishes)
other blue balls of light:  (definitely backing away now)
Songa:  (puzzled, she yet keeps her weapon ready while turning to
  regard Rillen)  What did you do?
Rillen:  (shrugs)  Just hit it, that's all...
Arnold:  Maybe it was your sdaff that scared them away.  It got
  bridhter when you hit the thing.
Rillen:  (stares at the staff, as a tiny arc of blue electricity
  crackles along its surface)  Could it be...?
Songa:  Watch out - the others are still there.
Rillen:  Perhaps...and perhaps not for long.  (he takes a step in
  their direction, waving his staff at them)
blue balls of light:  (immediately fly away, rapidly)
Arnold:  Hey, Ah-nold was ridht!
Rillen:  The staff...that old guy always said it had other powers...
Songa:  What old guy?
Rillen:  Never mind that now.  We've got to get our bearings and
  move on.

  Indeed, while the mist-filled space hadn't changed, a section of
the vapors had parted, offering a corridor of sorts.  Having no
better options at this time, the three adventurers began walking
through the artificial passage.  They only had to go twenty feet
or so before a gigantic, glowing blue eye materialized in the air
ahead.  A soft humming accompanied the waves of scintillating
light that emanated from the thing.
  The strange eye stared at them, unblinking, for several long
moments before a voice issued forth from its general direction.

eye-thing:  HALT, INTRUDERS!
Arnold:  (raises his sword)
Songa:  (regards the eye with a mix of apprehension and revulsion)
Rillen:  Offhand, I'd say we're about to meet the master of this

next:      all mysteries are revealed
ftp: in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     Originally, this story arc was going to run through
  514 and 515, but it kinda grew and now will include 516.  All
  other stories will be bumped back one number.

    Please note that the web site
    has changed to:

    Thanks to Kal Shobaki for doing a great job on this site.  Hey,
  for that matter, thanks to all the people who maintain sites that
  archive my stories.  Without them, I'd be seriously limited in
  what I could offer the readers.

previous chapter (#514)                                                                  next chapter (#516)