Chapter #914

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                                   +   +
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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!                                          +
+   Daffodil        11th level human druidess of Obad-Hai                 +
+   Halbarad        15th level human ranger of Ehlonna                    +
+   Peyote          12th/12th level half-elven fighter/druid of Obad-Hai  +
+   Rillen          18th level human warrior monk                         +
+   Songa           13th level human huntress                             +
+                                                                         +
+   Eyer            13th/16th level wood elven fighter/acrobat            +
+   Leila           12th/12th level female grey elven warrior/mage        +
+   Kiel Morgan     14th level human warrior                              +
+   Og              16th level dwarven warrior                            +
+   Relmar          18th level human high priest of Pelor                 +
+   Thorlok         11th level human war-mage                             +
+   Validor         11th level human wizard (sage/astrologer)             +
+   Date:           7/5/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:           morning                                               +
+   Place:          the unknown eastern reaches of the Solnor Ocean       +
+   Climate:        cool                                                  +
+   "It's not good, but it's the best we've got."                         +
+                                             - from _Damnation Alley_    +

                    CMXIV.  Starting Over

  The better part of a day has passed since the _Odyssey_ crashed and
broke up on the sandy shores of some lost landmass in the uncharted
eastern region of the Solnor Ocean.

Kiel Morgan:  Let's summarize the situation...everything we know about
  what's happened.

  The captain was speaking to his chosen audience of eleven people, all
of whom were gathered in a makeshift tent as far away from the beach as
possible without actually entering the jungle.  This group consisted of
five adventurers from one group (Halbarad, Rillen and Songa, Peyote and
Daffodil) and two from another (Eyer and Relmar) plus the four highest-
ranking crew members from the ruined ship (Leila, Validor, Thorlok, and

Kiel:  We're shipwrecked on an island - or perhaps a continent, though
  we don't yet know - which seems to lie completely within a mild but
  effective anti-magic barrier.
Thorlok:  (muttering)  "Mild" is not the word I'd use...
Peyote:  I hear you, man.
Kiel:  Additionally, we've learned that any wood that comes in contact
  with the ocean water within this barrier begins to disintegrate, such
  that it's soft and weak within minutes, and eaten away entirely in a
  matter of hours.  This effect isn't "contagious" - it doesn't spread
  from "bad" wood to "good" wood.  Tests have shown that it's simply a
  side-effect of physical contact with the ocean water.  Thus, we have
  quite a bit of scrap wood salvaged from the _Odyssey_, which we can
  use to build shelter and fortifications.  That process is now in the
  early stages, with the goal of having a defensible shelter up within
  a week.  As for other "plant-derived" material such as boots, pants,
  cloth, and the like...they do _not_ appear to suffer this effect from
  the ocean water here.  It's only the wood we have to worry about.
Peyote:  Heh heh.
Kiel:  We were able to unload all of the ship's supplies - everything
  we had - and this is one bit of really good news.  With a slight bit
  of rationing, we should be able to feed the several hundred people
  who are now under our care.
Rillen:  What about the long-term issues?  We'll have to hunt new food,
  for one thing.
Leila:  Or grow it.
Peyote:  (pales)  That's almost...cannibalism!
Halbarad:  Water will be a major concern, too.
Kiel:  (puts his hands up)  Yes, yes.  I've thought about all of this,
  and come up with a master plan which contains three general phases.
  The first priority should be the short-term things:  building shelter,
  setting up defenses, taking stock of supplies.  We're well on our way
  with these sorts of things.  The second priority involves the longer-
  term issues such as establishing a real, replenishable food supply,
  exploring and mapping the nearby jungle, and building a functional new
  society here.  The third priority includes the "optional" things, like
  charting the entire landmass we're on to determine its true size and
Halbarad:  That's not optional.
Kiel:  (nods)  Perhaps not, but it does rank second to securing the
  overall safety of the men, women, and children who comprise our group
  of settlers.
Halbarad:  Very well.
Kiel:  Also in the third phase would be tasks like determining exactly
  what that anti-magical barrier is and who put it there, and why...a
  more solid understanding of what's in the ocean water and why/how it
  eats wood...and possible options for escaping this place.
Relmar:  None of this will be easy, especially given the fact that all
  of us priests cannot communicate with our deities at all.
Validor:  And we wizards can't use any of our spells.
Kiel:  I understand.  We'll have to do the best we can.  I'm proposing
  that we split ourselves - the twelve of us, as well as the overall
  crew and colonists - into smaller groups, each with specific tasks.
Halbarad:  Such as...?
Kiel:  You, Halbarad, will be tasked with determining the best way to
  explore the surrounding area.  Then, you'll organize the rangers and
  begin those explorations.  Your team will report its findings to the
  cartographers, who will gradually construct a master map.  Naturally,
  you'll need assistance out in the jungles, which I think would be a
  job well-matched to the skills of Rillen and Songa.
Halbarad:  (nods to Songa, who nods back)
Kiel:  You'll have the secondary mission of finding fresh water, which
  we'll need pretty quickly, and hunting live game, which we can use to
  augment our existing food supply.  We don't know when or if we'll see
  a winter here, but it's best to get whatever food we can, while we can.
Halbarad:  That makes sense.
Kiel:  Relmar, you'll assemble the dozen priests we have, while Leila
  will co-ordinate the efforts of the dozen magi present.  The focus
  of this group will be to try and solve the problems inherent in our
  environment here:  the anti-magic barrier and the wood-consuming ocean
  water.  Even without spells, these two groups should have a detailed
  set of skills and knowledge to apply toward these problems.  Validor,
  you'll also be assigned to this team, as your skills with astrology
  and all things waterborne can surely aid them.  Round up the pair of
  alchemists who came on this voyage and coordinate their efforts.
Validor:  (nods)
Relmar:  It shall be done.
Leila:  Yes...if these mysteries can be solved, we'll solve them.
Kiel:  Og, you'll be in charge of all security and defense issues, and
  Eyer will assist you.  Your mission will be to build fortifications
  and assess our weapons, including all the catapults and ballistae we
  salvaged from the _Odyssey_.  In addition to commanding the hundred
  warriors we had on board, you'll also use the skilled laborers, such
  as stonemasons and carpenters, as needed for the fortification of our
Og:  Aye.
Eyer:  (wondering how many of the warriors can be counted as truly
  skilled archers, and how long it will take him to train some people
  to fashion bows and arrows)
Kiel:  Thorlok, you may be without magic at the moment, but you have
  extensive knowledge of warfare, so I want you to split your time
  between Og's tasks and Leila's group of wizards.
Thorlok:  No problem.
Kiel:  Peyote and Daffodil, you'll be in charge of all things having to
  do with plants and plant life.  Your main charge is to start planting
  gardens and train some people, so that we have that additional source
  of food.  Your second charge is to begin cataloging the flora on this
  island.  We have several herbalists and gardeners on this voyage, so
  they'll report to you.
Peyote:  You can count on me, captain-dude.
Daffodil:  (already eager to get out into the jungle and see what sort
  of plant life grows there)
Kiel:  As for me...much as I'd like to explore the jungle too, my value
  lies here, in camp.  I'll remain here, overseeing the laborers and
  smiths as they survey the terrain, choose a location, clear land, and
  start building whatever sorts of structures are feasible given the
  terrain, climate, etc.  I'll also have to deal with the assignments
  for the tanners, tailors, cooks, and so well as coming up
  with work for the unskilled, such as some wives and all children.
Peyote:  (to Daffodil)  Intense, huh?
Kiel:  Overall, we _are_ in a bad situation - but this is a group of
  colonists, mostly, who got on that ship with the intention of going
  to a new land and colonizing it.  We're not doing that on the most
  ideal of terms, but the basic mission remains the same - and we've
  got the right people, the right supplies, and the right motivation
  to meet the challenges them, and triumph over them!

next:      implementation
released:  4/7/06
notes:     It's actually quite refreshing to deal with a different sort
  of adventure, after all the complicated chaos and politics of the last
  major arc.  It's safe to say that we'll be with this group through at
  least April and May 2006.

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