Chapter #139

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                              +   +
                            +       +
                          +           +
                        +               +
                      +                   +
                    +                       +
                  +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                    +                       +
                      +      Epic II      +
                        +               +
                          +           +
                            +       +
                              +   +

+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1993 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                    +
+                        +
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      15th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra       12th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior    12th/13th/13th level high elf w/m/t  (CN)   +
+   Ged           13th/13th level grey elf priest/mage (NG)   +
+      Arnold     11th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+        ?             grey cat (familiar)             (NG)   +
+   Mongo         15th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+      Flint      11th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen        15th level human warrior              (N)   +
+                                                             +
+   WITH SPECIAL GUEST STARS:                                 +
+                                                             +
+   Belphanior-2  15th level elven ranger              (LN)   +
+      Sparky          extremely large wolf             (N)   +
+   Peldor-2      18th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen-2      13th level human ninja                (N)   +
+   Date:    several days after arrival                       +
+   Time:    midday                                           +
+   Place:   the fortress of the evil Ged, in an alternate    +
+              dimension                                      +
+   Climate: warm indoors, cold outside                       +
+   "If I am to die, it will be with steel in my hand, not    +
+    whimpering like some damned cur!"                        +
+                                      - Conan of Cimmeria    +

            CXXXIX.  The Battle With The Fiery Ones

  The adventurers and guests have split into two groups, and
one of those groups is in a wee bit of trouble right at the

fire giants:  (kicking open the door to the chamber, they
  barge in, leading hell hounds by leashes)  Arg!
Ged:  (feebleminded from the last battle, he grins as a glob
  of drool falls from his mouth)  Duuuuuuh.
Belphanior-2:  Great!  He picked a hell of a time to lose
  his mind on us.
Belphanior:  I doubt he had much choice in the matter...
fire giant leader:  What's all dis commotion about?  (he
  glances at the party, then at the dead magi and monster,
  then back at the party)  You is dead, boys.
fire giants:  (three more of them, each with a hell hound,
  enter the room, weapons at the ready)  Heh, heh.
hell hounds:  (snarling in expectation, they drool fire)
Rillen:  Ged is out of it, we are tired and wounded, and
  now giants show up.  It can only get better.
Arnold:  Aaa.  (he draws his sword)
Sparky:  Grrr...(bares his fangs)
Belphanior:  Well, what are we waiting for?  Let's show
  these wimps that we won't go without one hell of a fight!
  (using his sword, he hastes himself)  Die, you big, ugly,
  blue-skinned freaks!  (he charges the giants)
Arnold:  YAH!  (he lumbers after the elf)
Belphanior-2:  Sparky!  Kill!  (he, too, leaps into the
  fray, sword and dagger ready)
Sparky:  GrowrRRR!  (he backs up, then springs, pouncing
  onto one of the hell hounds before it can blink)
Rillen:  (nocks an arrow)  They shall pay in blood, that
  is for certain.
Belphanior:  (slashes the fire giant leader, wounding him
  in the arm)  Hah!
fire giant leader:  Bah.  A scratch like that not stop me.
  (he swings his 12' long sword, but misses as the elf
  darts to one side)  Huh?
Sparky:  (tears into the hell hound, ripping huge chunks
  of flesh from its haunch)  Rarrgh!
hell hound #1:  (tries to breathe its flame at the wolf,
  but misses, torching a lab table)  Snarl!
Rillen:  (buries two arrows in one of the charging giants)
  What a prick.
fire giant #2:  Aargh!  (he stares at the two arrows that
  are buried in his shoulder)
Belphanior:  Good shot.  (he stabs the leader, driving his
  sword between armor plates and drawing more blood)  Why
  don't you just stand there and bleed awhile?
fire giant leader:  Graargh!
Belphanior:  On second thought, never mind.  (he leaps to
  one side, then slashes again)
fire giant leader:  (hit yet again, reels)  You hurt me!
Belphanior:  No.  I _kill_ you!  (he presses his attack)
hell hound #1:  (bites Sparky, wounding him)  Chomp!
Sparky:  (howls in pain)  Howl!
fire giant #2:  (slashes at Arnold, but only nicks him)
Arnold:  Aaa!
Rillen:  (hits the second giant with two more arrows)
fire giant #2:  Ow!  Agh!
Rillen:  Becoming a regular pincushion, are you?
Arnold:  Pincushdion!  (he hacks at the giant, and buries
  his sword in its leg, nearly severing the limb, such is
  the force of the blow)  Ah-nold!
fire giant #2:  AARGH!
Belphanior-2:  (slashes at fire giant #3)  No giant will
  ever get the better of me, of that I assure you!
fire giant #3:  (cut)  Yargh!  (he wallops the offending elf
  with his huge mace)  Smash you!
Belphanior-2:  (knocked back)  Ugh!
hell hound #2:  (breathes fire at Arnold, then bounds toward
Arnold:  (only burned slightly, due to his heavy armor)  Ow.
  (he raises an armored arm, fending off the hound's bite
hell hound #2:  (snarls in frustration)
fire giant #4:  (picks up the burning table, which of course
  can't hurt him, and hurls it toward Ged)  Chew that, elf!

  The burning table shattered near the elf, spraying him
with fiery bits of wood!

Ged:  (mindlessly brushes the flaming wood slivers off of
  himself, as his cloak starts to catch fire)  Uuuuuhhhh.
Belphanior-2:  Uh-oh.
Belphanior:  (slices the leader a fourth time, driving the
  giant back)  Boy, that energy I absorbed is sure coming
  in handy.  I feel _great_!
Arnold:  (whacks fire giant #2, opening another wound on
  his arm)  Ah-nold!
fire giant #2:  Argh!
hell hound #3:  (breathes at Belphanior, but its flame
  misses the elf)
hell hound #4:  (breathes at Ged, but is too far away, and
  the flames sputter out just short of the mindless elf)
Belphanior-2:  (gets back up, and looks around)  We're not
  doing too badly, eh?  For a band without a functional

Belphanior:  Nope!  (uses his magical eye to cast a Hold
  Monster upon the four giants)  Ged's not the only one
  who can pull magical stunts...
fire giant leader:  (resists the magic)  Huh?
fire giant #2:  (held fast)  Wha-  ?
fire giant #3:  (resists the magic)  Wuzzat?
fire giant #4:  (held fast)  This not good.
Arnold:  (hacks fire giant #2, landing a mighty blow and
  slaying the foe!)  Yah!  Ah-nold!  (he kicks the body
  aside and charges for one of the hell hounds)
Rillen:  (not missing a beat, he shifts his aim to the
  right, and feathers fire giant #3 with two shafts)
fire giant #3:  Argh!
Belphanior-2:  (looks at the held giant, #4, who he is
  closest to)  I will not attack one who is helpless.
  (he runs over and stabs hell hound #1, right as Sparky
  claws and bites it)
hell hound #1:  (dies)  Yip...
fire giant leader:  (slashes Belphanior, drawing blood
  even though he barely nicked the elf)  Hah!
Belphanior:  (staring steadfastly at the giant with his
  evil eye)
fire giant leader:  (notices the glowing red eyeball)
  Huh?  What's your game, redeye?
Belphanior:  Death.  (he moves in, his bloody sword at
  the ready)
Arnold:  (hacks at hell hound #2, but misses)  Wha?
hell hound #2:  (breathes on Arnold, but like before, the
  warrior's armor shields him from the brunt of the blast)
Arnold:  Agh!  Gedding hot in here...
Rillen:  (fires two more arrows at giant #3, hitting yet
fire giant #3:  Urgh!  Argh!
Belphanior-2:  How did you gain such skill with that bow?
Rillen:  Practice.  Years and years of diligent practice.
  Plus a fine bow, and a fine bow arm.  (grins, a rarity
  for the big warrior)
Belphanior-2:  I see.
Ged:  (sits down on the stone floor and begins picking his
  nose, heedless of the small fires on his person)
Belphanior:  (vaguely hoping in the back of his mind that
  Ged licks his fingers soon)
hell hounds #3 and #4:  (join hell hound #2 in swarming
  upon Arnold)  Snarl!
Arnold:  Aaa.  (he is overborne, and falls, with several
  new wounds)
fire giant #4:  (held fast, he fumes in rage)  Kill 'em,

Sparky:  (tears into fire giant #3)  Graaargh!
Belphanior-2:  (stabs at the same foe with both weapons,
  and hits with both)
fire giant #3:  Urgh!  Argh!  Yaieee!
Rillen:  (lands two more arrows in the giant)
fire giant #3:  Arglk!  (perishes)
Belphanior-2:  (to his wolf)  Good boy!  Good work!
Sparky:  Yip!  (licks his bloody fangs)
Belphanior:  (slashes the fire giant leader, staggering
  him)  I told you you'd die...
fire giant leader:  Never!  (he lashes out, hitting the
  elf hard)  You die first!
Belphanior:  (gets back up)
fire giant leader:  Why you always get right back up?!?
Belphanior:  Well, my sword gave me the life force of one
  of those dead magi there...ahh, forget it.  You'd never
fire giant leader:  You right.  Me don't understand.
Belphanior:  (slashes the giant again, drawing more blood
  and knocking the big humanoid to his knees)  Hah!
fire giant leader:  Ugh.
hell hound #4:  (diverts itself from Arnold and pounces
  upon Belphanior)  Snarl!  (it claws and bites the elf)
Belphanior:  Argh!  Ugh!  Get the hell off of me!
hell hounds #2 and #3:  (tearing at Arnold)  Grr...
Arnold:  Aaa.  (he manages to get to his feet, and hurls
  one hound off with a blow of his sword)  Yah!
hell hound #3:  (flies into a table, smashing numerous
  glass items)  Grargh!
Rillen:  (hits hell hound #4 with two arrows)  Belphanior!
Belphanior:  (uses this distraction to stab the hound)
hell hound #4:  Rarg!  (reels)
Belphanior:  (slashes the monster again, slaying it)  Bad

Rillen:  (puts down his bow, readies his staff, and leaps
  into the melee)
Belphanior:  (stabs the fire giant leader in the throat,
  killing him)  Ahhhhh.  (he absorbs the considerable life
  energy of the giant)
Arnold:  (covered with blood, both his own and his foes',
  he hacks hell hound #2, driving it back)  Ah-nold!
Rillen:  (bashes the monster, slaying it)
Belphanior-2:  (stabs and slashes hell hound #3, wounding
  it badly)
hell hound #3:  (blasts the elf with its fiery breath)
Belphanior-2:  Argh!  (he is aflame in three places)
Rillen:  (hits hound #2, staggering it)  Be still.
Sparky:  (rips into the hound, quickly slaying it)  Grf!
Belphanior:  (having snuck behind the held fire giant #4,
  he backstabs the unfortunate giant, slaying it with one
  blow)  Ahhhhh.  Now I'm PUMPED!!!  (looks around)  Hey,
  they're all dead.
Arnold:  How aboud that?
Belphanior-2:  Victory is ours!
Rillen:  And without the magic of Ged, either.  Amazing.
Belphanior:  Hmm.  (wondering if the party really needs
  Ged after all)
Arnold:  Aaa, he's nod such a bad guy.  Give him a break.
Ged:  (sticks his finger in his ear and grins)  Euhhh.
Sparky:  Rowf?

  Almost all of the six companions were wounded - only
Belphanior and Rillen had suffered no fresh damage.  With
Rillen's magical green ointment and Belphanior-2's jug
of healing elixir, they managed to recover, to some extent.
Still, much hurried binding of wounds was necessary, and
the group now had to deal with the possibility of others
knowing of their presence in the fortress.

Rillen:  I would suggest that we get going.
Belphanior:  Right-o.  I have one thing to do first.  (he
  fiddles with the dead fire giant leader, and his ring
  glows darkly)
fire giant corpse:  (slowly stands up, staring blankly)
Belphanior-2:  What the hell?!?
Arnold:  He's still bleedink.
Belphanior:  Nonsense.  Dead people don't bleed.  I've
  simply animated him as a zombie.
Sparky:  Rrrr...
Rillen:  What would Ged think?
Ged:  (chewing his fingers)  Duuuh.
Belphanior:  Well, that's not really a factor right now,
  is it?  Come on, we'd better find a safer place to chat.
  One with fewer dead bodies and battle remnants.

  They quickly left the room, closing both doors behind
them, and took the first flight of stairs they found.
These led shortly to a huge metal door, slightly curved
and hot to the touch.

Belphanior-2:  This makes sense.  Those fire giants had
  to come from somewhere.
Belphanior:  Yeah.  (he prepares to open the door)

next time :  back to the others

notes     :  Out of the frying pan, into the fire.  As usual.

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