Chapter #545

previous chapter (#544)                                                                  next chapter (#546)

                                +   +
                              +       +
                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      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 1991-8 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/10th level dwarven fighter/thief          (CN) +
+    the wispy thing                                            (N) +
+    Aja         9th level human priestess of Wee Jas           (N) +
+    Jutokai     7th level human archer                        (LN) +
+    Kinichi     7th level human tracker                        (N) +
+    Ys         13th level reptilian fighter                   (LN) +
+  Bosco        12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Date:        1/3/577 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        nighttime                                           +
+  Place:       the City of the Gods, within the Land of Black Ice  +
+  Climate:     moderate                                            +
+  "You look as if this place suits you very well...but if you      +
+   go on like this, you will soon be here permanently."            +
+                       - from _The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly_    +

                     DXLV.  Beyond the Known

  After entering the City of the Gods and exploring a bit, the party
has just entered the huge central tower...

wispy thing:  (zips into the tower's interior)  *****
Aja:  Amazing...
Kinichi:  (awed by the vast chamber within the tower)
Jutokai:  Big place.
Bosco:  (wanders into the cavernous open area)  Big enough for all
  of us.

  Just like before (after all, why would anything change?) the huge
tower's interior was a single huge chamber, cylindrical and about a
thousand feet in diameter.  The ceiling loomed, two hundred feet
overhead; suspended from it were eight pairs of smaller, hundred-
foot cylinders in an eight-pointed star pattern, radiating out from
the vast chamber's center.  These pairs of upside-down towers almost
touched the main chamber's floor, stopping about twenty feet above
it.  Each of the hanging cylinders was transparent, and each was
embedded with disks along its entire length; these shimmered with
dim, changing colors.

          _________               _
         /         \             |     ~100'
        /     O     \             O    inverted tower
       /  O       O  \            (    entry doorway
      |     O O O     |
      (  O O     O O  |
      |     O O O     |
       \  O       O  /
        \     O     /

  At the massive chamber's center was an opaque column of some glassy
substance, about fifteen feet in diameter.

Belphanior:  Last time, that thing was immaterial.
wispy thing:  Yrrrp!  (it flies around, investigating various aspects
  of the chamber)
Belphanior:  ...and by walking into it, one was levitated upward.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Lyra:  I trust you also recall that?  (she gestures at one of the
  inverted cylinders closest to the central column)
Belphanior:  Indeed I do...hell of a shock, that was.
Aja:  What's that?
Bosco:  Last time, he flew up and touched that column - see there,
  the one that's glowing a little brighter than the others - and
  got the shit zapped out of him.
Belphanior:  (smirks)  Well-summed-up, Bosco.

  As before, the inverted columns protruding down from the ceiling
emitted a magical aura.  In the case of the single column whose glow
was brighter, this magical aura was stronger.  Also as before, this
one column repelled any metal that came near it.

Bosco:  (flying up toward the column, he hesitates as his sword and
  other metallic items threaten to break free and fall to the ground)
Belphanior:  (to Alindyar)  Makes sense...why would anything change
  since the last time we were here?
Alindyar:  Why indeed?

  Fortunately for Bosco, he stopped before he got hurt; the adventurers
opted to explore the central column instead.

Lyra:  It's not really a column.
Ys:  (touches the column, finding it immaterial just as Belphanior
  said)  How odd.
Kinichi:  (to Jutokai)  I get the distinct feeling that we don't belong
Jutokai:  (nods)  I know what you mean, my friend.
Aja:  Whether we belong or not, it's pretty much too late now.
Otto:  (gazes about)  If something doesn't challenge us soon, I'm
  going to be worried.
Bosco:  (walking toward the strange central pillar)

  The translucent column went all the way up, two hundred feet, merging
with the ceiling.  From past experience, some of the party knew that
the odd shaft led up into a large hemispherical chamber.  It was there
that they and others had fought an evil little demon, years ago, that
battle's end result being that the party ended up in another world.

Bosco:  (circling the shimmering central column)  Uh...
Belphanior:  (alert as always)  What?
Bosco:  Last time, there was a big metal man here.
Aja:  I don't see any big metal man there now.
Bosco:  My point exactly.
Otto:  (readies his crossbow)  Uh, how big exactly was this "metal
  man" again?
Bosco:  Oh, he was big!  (he jerks a thumb in Ys' direction)  Bigger
  than him.
Ys:  (almost looks insulted)
Otto:  (to Lyra)  Was it a golem of some kind?
Lyra:  Probably.
Belphanior:  Okay, here's the deal.  There's more upstairs than we
  explored last time, but first I want to make sure we don't miss
  anything down here.  So...everyone fan out in teams of two, and
  check this room.  Alindyar and Lyra...Kinichi and Jutokai...Aja
  and and Otto.  Ys, you wait here.
Ys:  I am fully capable of-
Belphanior:  You're wounded and you could use some rest.  Besides,
  we're not leaving this chamber.  Everyone meet back here in ten
  minutes or so.
Bosco:  (eyeing the curves of Aja's body)  Good plan!

  They split up and searched the room, taking extra care not to
disturb the inverted columns that hung from the ceiling.  However,
there were no extra portals - or anything else - to be found, and
shortly, they regrouped around the central column of translucence
and prepared to ascend.

Kinichi:  You're telling me that if I just walk into that thing,
  I'll float upward?
Belphanior:  That's right.
Kinichi:  (shaking his head)
Bosco:  Here, I'll go first.  (he does so, stepping in)

  The halfling floated upward, fairly rapidly, and was soon
followed by the others.  They ascended smoothly for about a
minute, finally passing right through the chamber's ceiling.
This deposited them in a large hemispherical chamber whose
diameter spanned a hundred feet.  The floor and ceiling here
were a dull grey, the metal scorched and sooty from some
long-past burst of fire or electricity.

Belphanior:  I bet I know exactly when it happened.
Alindyar:  Previously, this chamber was alive with energy -
  a power source unto itself.  But now...
Lyra:  Now it looks dead.  That business with the Rune and
  the small red demon must have shut things down.
Bosco:  Well, we just need to shut them back up.  (he struts
  around, checking the periphery of the chamber)
Belphanior:  (scanning the room with his magical eye)  He's
  right - there are other rooms up here.
Aja:  Where?
Belphanior:  (points)  There.
Bosco:  (homing in on the specified area of wall)  Hey, how'd
  you know?  (he begins tapping the curved wall with the butt
  of his dagger)

  The halfling's efforts knocked hardened soot from the dome,
exposing part of the seam of a sealed doorway.  Otto moved to
assist Bosco, and shortly, they were looking at an oval door.

Otto:  No knob...
Lyra:  Maybe a spell will open it.
Bosco:  (listening at the door, he achieves nothing besides
  getting dark soot on his ear)
Aja:  (chuckles)
Ys:  (impatient with this delay and lack of action)  Why not
  just kick it down?
Kinichi:  Good idea.
Belphanior:  (scrutinizing the door with his sparkling eye)  I
  don't sense any traps, let's give it a push.

  The elf pushed, then leaned into it...and the portal budged,
ever so slightly.

Belphanior:  I doesn't swing out, or in - it slides
  to the side, into the wall.  Someone give me a hand here.
Otto:  (does so)

  Grabbing the door's edge, they pushed it sideways, forcing it
into its slot within the surrounding section of wall.  Bosco
darted like a monkey into the passage beyond.

       / .___ \
      / /    \ \       . and :    = doors
     : |      | |
     | |      | :
      \ \____/ /

  They were now in a circular passageway that totally ringed the
dome-chamber.  This passage was more than three hundred feet all
the way around, and had four new doors equally-spaced along its
length.  After checking the nearest of these (the northern door)
for traps, they prepared to open it...

Otto: doesn't have a doorknob or anything.
Bosco:  (jams a dagger into the crack on one side)  We'll just
  force it open.
Otto:  That's a good way to break a blade.
Alindyar:  (spellcasting)  Aside.  (he uses a Knock on the door,
  which slides open with much squeaking)  Ah.
Ys:  (to Aja)  It's a good thing that worked.  I was about to
  put my fist through the door.
Aja:  (regards the big guy)  I don't doubt it.

  They passed through the portal and into the room beyond - a
round chamber of equal size to the area encompassed by the
round corridor.

       /      \
      /        \
     |          |
     |          |
      \        /
       / .___ \
      / /    \ \       . and :    = doors
     : |      | |
     | |      | :
      \ \____/ /

wispy thing:  (flies in)  Spaaa!
Bosco:  (prances after the wisp)  Spaaa-  whoa.

  In the chamber's approximate center was a somewhat-familiar
sight:  the construct encountered during their last visit!
Fully twenty feet tall and ten feet wide, the metal man was
massively thick and powerfully-built.  Its detail was simple,
far less elaborate than typical golems or statues.  Its facial
features consisted of two narrow, rectangular eye-slits above
a mouth-grille of metal mesh.

Lyra:  I hate to ask this, but how the hell did that thing get
  from down there to up here?
Belphanior:  And why?
Bosco:  Well, it isn't moving.
Otto:  That's always a good sign.

  The construct was standing on its feet but otherwise appeared
to be inactive.  Its thick arms hung limp at its sides, and its
neckless head was bowed slightly.

Otto:  (moves in cautiously, crossbow ready)
Jutokai:  No offense, but I seriously doubt that your crossbow
  could have any effect on that thing.
Otto:  Hmm, good point.
Bosco:  (eyeing the construct)  Still can't penetrate its skin
  with my x-ray vision.
Belphanior:  (scanning it himself as well)  And it's giving off
  very vague traces of magic.
Ys:  An odd one, this.
Kinichi:  I don't trust it.
Aja:  You don't trust anything.
Kinichi:  (rubs his chin)  True...
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Perhaps the thing moved itself up here.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Either that, or someone moved it.  I
  can't say I like either possibility.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Agreed.
Belphanior:  (still eyeing the construct, as they surround it)  Uh,
  something's happening...
Otto:  What you you mean?!?
Belphanior:  (draws his sword)  I mean its magical aura just got
  _really_ strong!

  With only a slight creak, and the whining of gears, the thing
suddenly stood erect!

construct:  (turns to face Ys, pointing one arm at him)
Ys:  Wh-
construct:  (with a "whoosh" and a puff of gases, it launches its
  fist at the reptilian)
Ys:  (caught in the stomach, he is knocked back about thirty feet,
  slamming into the bulkhead with enough force to dent it)  Ungh!
Bosco:  This is _not_ good.

next:      a mighty battle...and back in Helgate, the seekers arrive
ftp: in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     I have seen Godzilla.  You can read my review at:



previous chapter (#544)                                                                  next chapter (#546)