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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 +
+ 1991-2005 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/13th level dwarven fighter/thief +
+ Razor Charlie 11th level human fighter +
+ Skektek 13th level human wizard +
+ wispy thing strange, intangible sentient being +
+ Ys 14th level reptilian fighter +
+ Date: 7/5/580 C.Y. (Common Year) +
+ Time: late morning +
+ Place: a dungeon complex, exact location unknown +
+ Climate: cool and dry +
+ "Anybody trying that hard to hide something must really have +
+ something to hide." +
+ - Col. "Hannibal" Smith, from _The A-Team_ episode "Pure-Dee Poison" +
The adventurers have just unlocked two secret rooms, and entered
the first, where they now stand, gaping in awe...
Skektek: Holy shit!
Belphanior: (his eyes alight) Oh, yes.
The long, rectangular chamber had a fifteen-foot ceiling, and it was
immediately obvious why. Both sides of the room were divided into ten-
foot-wide alcoves, twenty in all. Within each of these compartments
stood the huge form of a golem. Some were complete, while others were
still unfinished, lacking arms or heads or other details. All of the
constructs appeared to be inert, as they hadn't made any move at all
since the adventurers had arrived.
Otto: Are these what I think they are?
Belphanior: Golems, and lots of them. Amazing. The raw materials and
spells necessary to fashion the contents of this room would be enough
to buy or build a small kingdom.
Ys: Why aren't the golems attacking us?
Skektek: It doesn't work that way...unless they were given orders to
attack, which obviously isn't the case.
Belphanior: Not to mention that at least half of them aren't complete.
Belphanior: After you get the raw material, enchant it, work the needed
magic, and all that...there's typically one last incantation that has
to be worked, before the thing comes to life. In the case of all the
unfinished ones here, that final step obviously never got reached. As
for the rest...(he eyes various golems in their divided alcoves)...I'm
not quite sure.
Skektek: Maybe they're inert until some condition is met, or some word
of command spoken.
Otto: Or maybe until we all reach the middle of the room, at which point
we'll be attacked by all of the functional ones. (to Belphanior) We
should be most careful here.
Belphanior: Yep. (to Jenna) I need some idea about what's going on
Jenna: (feeling a bit overworked this day) I can try...
While the priestess of Istus worked her divination magic, Belphanior
surveyed the rows of golems, drawing upon his own knowledge of how they
were constructed and controlled. This place was clearly a golem-factory
whose operations had never been fully started. The various alcoves were
littered with scraps of iron, stone, and other material. Chisels, awls,
trowels, and other tools rested on small shelves or hung from nails in
the walls. One alcove, that directly across from the entrance to this
chamber, was even filled with shelves and chests, all of which contained
bits and pieces of magical components. From his previous dabblings with
golem-making, Belphanior recognized these components as magical, or at
least rare, necessities for the process of constructing various golems.
Jenna: (sighs, rubbing her temples) There is no danger here. Although
some of these automatons are "finished", none will take a single step
until commanded to do so by the wielder of their control device.
Belphanior: What control device?
Jenna: Its exact form and location elude me, but it is nearby, perhaps
in that other chamber, or somewhere else we haven't yet found or
Skektek: What about the gateway-talisman that we used in the other room-
Jenna: No, I thought of that already. Whatever the controlling device
might be, it isn't the talisman.
Skektek: Oh. (he frowns) Damn.
Belphanior: Rest easy - we'll find it, sooner or later. (he turns his
attention to the various golems, in their various states of completion,
that fill this room) For now, let's take inventory of what we've got
Xusia hadn't wasted much time with the "weaker" golem types - there
were no flesh or clay golems to be found here. Fully half of the golems,
ten all told, were constructed of stone; six of these had been completed,
while the other four still needed some work. There were also six iron
golems, of which three were finished. It was noted that all members of
each golem type (stone or iron) were identical, as if the same person had
created and designed them all. The stone golems were nine feet tall, and
carved in the shape of gigantic, fully-armored humans. The iron golems
were similar, but just larger, at twelve feet in height. In both cases,
the "armor" of the golems was sinister in appearance and function, with
numerous sharp spikes and ridges. The stone golems were all weaponless,
relying on their huge fists to crush foes; the iron golems each wielded
a huge sword or axe which was part of that hand. The stone golems'
bodies were a light gray in hue, while the iron golems' forms were a
The remaining four golems were types that none of the explorers had
ever seen before. One was fashioned of bones...thousands of bones, from
all sorts of creatures. Its central body and limbs were thick amalgams
of bone, all fused together. From this main body jutted other, smaller
bones, many of them sharp and dangerous-looking. The construct's head
was a huge skull, perhaps that of a giant, around which protruded a ring
of smaller bones like some horrific upturned collar.
Nearby was another strange golem, this one composed of a soft, rocky-
looking substance that turned out to be coal. The construct was about
eight feet tall, with a wide body and stubby limbs that made it only
barely humanoid in shape. The third of the special golems appeared to
be composed entirely of glass - opaque, hard glass. It was about nine
feet tall, its body like a powerfully-muscled human, except made of
glass. Neither of these golems had weapons of any kind.
The fourth unusual golem resembled an iron golem, except that it wasn't
iron. Its metallic body was a dull black hue; fully fifteen feet tall,
it had been forged in the shape of an armored warrior. It resembled the
iron golems, but was also clearly different. One of its hands held a
gigantic hammer, which like all golems' weapons was actually just an
extension of the construct's arm itself, rather than a separate piece
that could be gripped or dropped.
All in all, the contents of the room were enough to make jaws drop and
minds race with ideas.
Elgon: This is a lot of golems...I'm actually standing here wondering
if there's any possible use for this many golems.
Belphanior: Are you fucking kidding me? With this army of golems, we'd
be unstoppable! (he looks around, wild-eyed) I can say with some
certainty that we're not leaving this place without whatever device
controls these golems.
Skektek: Coal? Glass? What kinds of golems are there?
Belphanior: Once, Parekh mentioned to me an idea about wanting to invent
a golem made of rubber. Seeing no practical combat application, I just
asked her "why?" Her answer was "because I can."
Otto: Well, maybe we'll luck out and find the control item at the end
of one of those other passages.
Belphanior: Let's get to it. (he looks back at the rows of golems, his
face split in a triumphant smile) Hell, yes.
| | | | | | | | | | | |
__| |__ _| = 10'
__| | $ = gateway arch
$__ * | * = pedestal
Belphanior: (leading the party back into the central room with the
pedestal) I'm actually not sensing any magic from the eastern exit,
so let's try the southern one next.
next: the rest of Xusia's armory
notes: I know that it runs against all AD&D common sense to let them
find a trove such as this, without any challenge beforehand...but it's
best to remember that they've already dealt with their share of tough
challenges, as well as finding numerous gateway-complexes that didn't
really contain anything of value. One like this was due, sooner or
later - and such a haul is _exactly_ why these adventurers are risking
their lives with every gateway jump.
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next chapter (#887)