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+ THE ADVENTURERS +
+ Epic IV +
+ Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and other +
+ terms used in these stories are the property of TSR, Inc. However, +
+ TSR has in no way endorsed or authorized their use, and any such +
+ items contained within these stories are not representative of TSR +
+ in any fashion. +
+ The player characters depicted in these stories are copyright +
+ 1991-2001 by Thomas A. Miller. Any resemblance to any persons +
+ or characters either real or fictional is utterly coincidental. +
+ Copying and/or distribution of these stories is permissible under +
+ the sole condition that no money is made in the process. In that +
+ case, I hope you enjoy them! +
+ Thomas A. Miller +
+ Belphanior 14th/14th/14th level elven fighter/wizard/thief +
+ Jutokai 8th level human archer +
+ Otto 8th/11th level dwarven fighter/thief +
+ Razor Charlie 9th level human fighter +
+ Skektek 12th level human wizard +
+ Ys 13th level reptilian fighter +
+ Zhao 8th level human swordsman +
+ Bosco 12th level halfling thief +
+ Mongo 18th level dwarven fighter +
+ Gorgo 9th level dwarven berserker +
+ Boltar high priest of Pholtus +
+ Drak barbarian warrior +
+ Parekh dark-skinned female wizard +
+ Neera female human sage/astrologer +
+ Date: the week between 3/579 and 4/579 C.Y. (Common Year) +
+ Time: midday +
+ Place: a cavern within an isle amidst the Solnor Ocean +
+ Climate: cold +
+ "He who can destroy a thing controls that thing." +
+ - from _Dune_ +
DCCXXII. Three Heads Are Better Than One
After some battle with a gigantic three-headed hound, the party finds
itself in a less-than-ideal position, many of its members stunned or
Otto: (looking around) Hey, where's Belphanior?
Suddenly, the hound's middle head jerked convulsively, a dark blade
jutting out beneath its chin. Belphanior became visible, his hands atop
the sword's pommel, having driven it in all the way to the hilt.
Belphanior: Die, damn you! Die!
The elf had been flying and invisible; rather than hovering above the
beast and waiting for an ideal moment - and risking the thing picking
up his scent - he'd flown straight downward, taking his chances, and
come out ahead. Now, he straddled the neck behind the hound's central
head, gripping his sword's hilt.
Belphanior: (gets a "what the hell do I do NOW" look on his face)
gigantic hound: RRRRRRR! (unable to open that head's jaws at all, it
The monster began bucking and twisting its body, trying to throw the
elf off. At first, Belphanior was able to hang on, but his hands were
slick with blood, and just like that, he found himself sailing through
Belphanior: (lands about twenty feet away) Unf!
Mongo: Charge! Get the thing!
Drak: (collapses suddenly, dropping his mallet) Urgh.
The dwarf hurled Stormcrest once more, smashing the monster in the same
flank where both his and Drak's previous blows had landed. This had the
desired effect: the hound backed up a few steps, howling and obviously
hurting, which paved the way for some other attacks...
Jutokai: (using one of his more powerful magical arrows, he takes
another shot at the hound)
hound's head #1: (the only undamaged one, it snarls as the arrow lodges
in its neck) GRRRARGH!
Jutokai: (pumps his fist in the air) Hah!
Otto: Let's try something new. (he hurls a flask of oil at the monster,
the bottle shattering and dousing the thing in oil) Skektek?
Skektek: (still lying on the floor nearby, shivering)
Otto: Damn, forgot about that. Skektek usually lights the enemy up for
Parekh: I'll handle it. (her hands burst into flames) The beast may
be immune to spells themselves, but I'm betting that the magic will
still ignite oil splashed on it...
A sheet of flames leapt from her hands to the hound, and suddenly, it
gigantic hound: YOWWWWW!
Mongo: Pour it on! (he edges closer, throwing his warhammer again and
actually knocking the beast off its feet)
gigantic hound: OWWWWW! OWOWOWWWWWWWW!
Parekh: (animates a section of the stone floor successfully, causing it
to form into a crude fist that stretches up and pummels the hound) At
last, some real magical help for you warriors.
Mongo: (catches his hammer) Good work...for a wizard!
Parekh: (gives the dwarf an evil look)
Mongo: Hah! (he charges at the hound, determined to finish this before
the thing can regenerate its wounds)
Meanwhile, Boltar had recovered from the choking gas, just enough to
crawl over to Drak. The high priest had his strange healing-rod out,
and he touched the barbarian on the forehead with the item, a soft glow
passing from rod to man. Even Neera made herself useful, trying to
revive Gorgo, who was dazed amd coughing a lot. The noxious gas had
dispersed by now, revealing that Ys and Razor Charlie were alive, if
Ys: (sits up, puking some green bile onto the floor) Ugh.
It fell to Mongo to carry the battle; by the time Parekh's fist of
stone had hit the wounded hound again, Mongo had smashed it twice and
was about to do it a third time.
gigantic hound: (vanishes suddenly, leaving Blackrazor to fall to the
floor with a clatter)
Mongo: Hey! Where'd it go?
Parekh: (looks around, alarmed) Where indeed?
Bosco: I was just about to slay it! (he flies down, intending to pick
Belphanior: (steps in front of the halfling, retrieving his own sword)
Hands off, Bosco.
Belphanior: No. (he hefts the black sword) Nobody but me touches
There was no sign of the huge hound, so they regrouped and took count
of their injuries. Drak lived, almost certainly thanks to Boltar's
efforts. The hound's teeth had dripped with poison, and presumably
only Drak's size and bodyweight had kept him alive long enough for
the venom to be neutralized. Those who had breathed the green gas -
Boltar, Ys, Gorgo, and Razor Charlie - were recovering, the stinging
and blinding effects of that noxious vapor only temporary. Those hit
by the black gas - Skektek and Zhao - were weak and chilled, but they
both seemed to be gaining their strength back, if slowly.
Parekh: Did we kill it?
Mongo: As hard as I was hitting it, and as many times...yeah, I have to
Belphanior: (spots a small statuette of black stone on the floor right
where the beast vanished) Hmm. (he picks it up)
The elf was holding a miniature stone likeness of the monster they'd
just fought! About three inches long, its detail was extraordinary.
Belphanior: (wondering to himself) Hmmm.
Bosco: (checking the area around the stairway for further prizes, he
finds nothing but bits of bone and flakes of long-rotted cloth)
Mongo: (examining the niche beneath the hound's initial location, when
it was but a stone statue) We should get going.
Parekh: Let the wounded and winded rest for a bit.
Mongo: (peering into the stairway longingly) ...okay.
Bosco: I wonder what's down there?
Mongo: Treasure and monsters...what more could anyone ask for?
Ys: A lack of poisonous gas, to start with.
Otto: Are you okay? I've never seen you get sick like that.
Ys: (shrugs) Most things affect me less than they do humans or other
such races. Sometimes, other things affect me more.
Gorgo: (actually wondering why he didn't puke)
Boltar: (feeling a lot better now, he casts a spell of healing upon
Drak: Ahh, thanks.
Parekh: (touching the bloody, crude bandages that were hastily wrapped
around the barbarian's side) Are you sure you're fit to fight?
Drak: Yes. (he pulls the bandages off, revealing freshly-knit skin
and a lot of dried blood) Just another set of scars.
Parekh: Someday, we're going to find you a suit or armor that grows
along with you.
Drak: Good luck. Until then, I'll have to make do.
Mongo: If we're not going down, let's at least send a small team to
Belphanior: (nods) I think we're ready...(he looks around, getting
Mongo: All right! (he, and all of the others, turn their attention
to the stairs that lead down into darkness)
next: some mysteries
notes: That's right, they're not even in the Tomb proper yet! This
was just an antechamber.
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