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+ THE ADVENTURERS +
+ Epic V +
+ Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and other +
+ terms used in these stories are the property of Wizards of the Coast +
+ which has in no way endorsed or authorized their use. Any such +
+ property contained within these stories are not representative of +
+ Wizards of the Coast in any fashion. +
+ The player characters depicted in these stories are copyright +
+ 1991-2004 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! +
+ Belphanior 15th/15th/15th level elven fighter/wizard/thief +
+ Elgon 8th/9th/11th level deep gnome priest/illusionist/thief +
+ Jenna 9th level human female priestess of Istus +
+ Otto 10th/12th level dwarven fighter/thief +
+ Razor Charlie 10th level human fighter +
+ Skektek 13th level human wizard +
+ wispy thing strange, intangible sentient being +
+ Ys 14th level reptilian fighter +
+ Date: 5/22/580 C.Y. (Common Year) +
+ Time: unknown, presumably evening +
+ Place: unknown +
+ Climate: cold +
+ "Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." +
+ - Wernher Von Braun +
DCCCXXVI. New Environs
After a brief stay in the Sea of Dust, courtesy of the mummy king
Al-arakara, the adventurers fled through the gateway...
Belphanior: (appears from the mists, joining the others who are waiting
expectantly) Whew! (he turns, watching as the mists swirl and then
fade out) Just in time...we cut that too close for my liking. (he
flexes his arms, wincing from the pain suffered while he was attacking
Al-arakara just minutes before)
Skektek: He should be finding my little surprise any time now. But...
Belphanior: (turns back around) But what...hmm.
Otto: (gestures all around the group) This isn't the gateway we first
And it wasn't. The first functioning gateway, in Drusilla's hidden
base within the Pelisso Swamp, had been constructed of light green rock,
as well as having a particular layout which the adventurers had already
seen more than once. This was a new place. The arch that made up this
gateway's frame was fashioned of white stone, and was contained within a
small domed chamber twenty feet across. A single small door appeared to
be the only exit. Also, it was quite cold here.
Skektek: (shivering) Brr.
Ys: (philosophically) We are not where we were...nor where we thought
we would be.
Belphanior: How did this happen?
Skektek: When we used the metal dial on the last gateway, we didn't know
which rune corresponded to the first gateway, in the Pelisso Swamp.
Otto: This is something we're going to have to start thinking about...in
each gateway we've seen, there's nothing to show what rune on any other
gateway's dial matches the one we're in.
Skektek: That's why I've been taking notes, and why I wanted to take a
few more back in that mummy-king's domain.
Belphanior: (glares at the wizard)
Elgon: (helpfully tries to break the tension) What do you think became
of that foe?
Skektek: Uh...well, mummies generally don't like fire, and they burn
easily. My delayed fireball should have cooked the whole gateway room
and everyone in it.
Otto: I wonder if it melted the gateway too?
Belphanior: (rubbing his chin thoughtfully, recalling the melted gateway
beneath Baron Albert's manor) The fireball might not have destroyed
it - Drusilla said that was hard to do - but it's probably damaged.
Ys: Should we be ready for Al-arakara to follow us here?
Belphanior: It wouldn't hurt. You and Charlie stand guard, watch this
gateway. If he lives, and if he's coming through, I'd guess he'll do
it now, or very soon. Otto, Elgon - check this room for other exits,
and that door for traps. I don't see any with my crystal eye, but it
might not pick up everything. Jenna, see about some magic that will
either block or trap the gateway, or at least warn us if it gets used
after we leave here. Skektek, let's figure out what we know about the
gateway destinations so far.
Skektek: And make some notes on this gateway.
Belphanior: Of course.
wispy thing: (flies off to have a look at the exit door) fssss.
In short order, everything was accomplished...
Otto: No other exits, no traps. The door is locked but we're pretty
sure we can pick it.
Elgon: In the meantime, I've worked a spell to reduce the cold in this
room, at least for a time. Though if you have any warm clothing, now
is a good time to put it on. We're guessing it's a lot colder on the
other side of that door.
Ys: (looks at the gateway) Nothing is happening here.
Razor Charlie: (grunts his agreement)
Jenna: I have put a warning spell on this gateway; if it gets used at
all in the next few hours, I will know - no matter how far we wander
away from it.
Belphanior: Good work, all. As for the gateways themselves and their
individual attributes, here's what Skektek and I have deduced from his
notes, our memory, and recent experiences.
The elf opened a rolled parchment, upon which various notes had been
LOCATION COLOR OF STONE ARCH RUNE STATUS
Blackmoor dark brown ? destroyed
Fortress black ? destroyed
Pelisso light green muck functional
Sea of Dust pale yellow dust unknown
(current) white ice functional
Skektek: This leaves fourteen that we haven't visited, including six
whose locations Drusilla gave us. We don't think this is one of those
Ys: How did you know what color the gateway within the Fortress of the
Belphanior: We remembered what color the melted stone was.
Skektek: Same deal for the destroyed gateway underneath Baron Albert's
mansion in Blackmoor.
Belphanior: Skektek did remember that the dial on Al-arakara's gateway
was identical to the Pelisso one...hmm, or this one.
Skektek: I'm guessing that every gateway has all nineteen dial settings.
After all, anything else would be stupid.
Belphanior: Xusia's logic was known only to him.
Otto: We can try to figure it out as we go, though.
Skektek: As for this one...the Sueloise rune we picked at random wasn't
complex and it stuck in my mind. (he consults his notes, shuffling the
papers until he finds what he wants) Aha. It means "ice."
Razor Charlie: Hmph.
Belphanior: Thus, we're most likely somewhere far to the north, and very
Otto: And we can't figure out exactly where?
Skektek: I don't have a spell for that.
Jenna: I might be able to divine our location, but not without some
Otto: This is getting complicated.
Elgon: It's simple, really, if you look at it from the right standpoint.
The lich wanted outposts in many places...here, there, anywhere. What
we've inherited here is a simple way to move between them. All we're
missing is a geographical map showing where they are.
Razor Charlie: Still seems complicated.
Belphanior: So that's where we stand: an unknown place, probably cold
as anything, with many unknown gateways and a few known ones as our
Otto: Or the Sea of Dust gateway, if it still works.
Skektek: And we lost the lightning rod, too. Damn that Al-arakara and
damn the Sea of Dust!
wispy thing: (hovering nearby, it frowns)
Belphanior: (realizes something) You...we first found you about ten
years ago, in the dungeon under the Sea of Dust. I wonder...
wispy thing: sprrr.
Jenna: Tell me why, again, we can't just teleport out of here with our
Belphanior: Drusilla said something about the other gateways being
shielded somehow, against detection and magical intrusion. Still, it
wouldn't hurt to try, would it?
Skektek: Definitely not.
Belphanior: Very well. Everyone gather around.
The elf worked a spell of teleportation, concentrating as he chanted
the words of power, and then the final one that executed the magic and
initiated the teleportation. However, nothing happened.
Skektek: (sighs) Well, that settles that.
Belphanior: Hmm. (curious, he walks around the edge of the domed room,
eyeing the walls closely)
Otto: What is it?
Belphanior: Just like that last one...there's a lot of lead and other
heavy metals mixed in with the stone here. Undoubtedly this was the
intention, to block intrustion.
Ys: Unfortunately, it also blocks escape.
Belphanior: That may be. Or, we may be able to get out of the shielded
area and teleport safely. (he points to the small exit door) We won't
know until we go through that door.
next: icy conditions
notes: This is the real power of this storyline: I can send them
anywhere, even places not on the map or that no one knows exist. And
waiting for them could be anyone or anything.
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