Chapter #142

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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: getting warmer                                   +
+   "When in doubt, have two guys come through the door       +
+    with guns."                                              +
+                                    - Raymond Chandler       +

                 CXLII.  Carnage Maximus

  The two halves of the party have finally found one another,
and the circumstances couldn't be more timely - or chaotic.

  Perhaps a diagram is in order.

                                             |            |
                                             |            |
---------------------------------------------    A        |
        #  xx    & &  R          ^     *   *        L     |
            xxx   & &    B      ^        *  *         P   |
     *   #   xx    &   @  s B2   ^      * *      R2    P2 |
              xxx                 a                       |
          #  x x      ~G     M  f                *  *  *  |

THE GOOD               THE BAD              THE UGLY
  A   Alindyar           *   fire giant       &   ghoul
  L   Lyra               #   manticore        x   skeleton
  B   Belphanior                              ^   wight
  @   fire giant zombie                       ~   mummy
  B2  Belphanior-2
  s   Sparky
  G   Ged (feebleminded)
  a   Arnold
  M   Mongo (minus hammer)
  f   Flint
  P   Peldor (now disguised as a naked woman)
  P2  Peldor-2
  R   Rillen
  R2  Rillen-2

Mongo:  (to Flint)  Get the feeling that it's a little too
  crowded in here?
Flint:  Yeah, I sure do.  Too bad your hammer's messed up.
Mongo:  I still can't believe that that fire-thing ate it.
  (he holds up the hammer, which is half-melted)  Geez.
  I'm surprised it even came back.
Peldor:  It didn't just come back, I _made_ it come back.
  (holds up his hand)  With my ring, here.
Peldor-2:  Peldors everywhere are SO underappreciated.
Peldor:  There's no justice, I tell you.
Mongo:  My poor hammer...(looks at the weapon wistfully)
Belphanior:  Forget that!  We've got battle to attend to!
Ged:  (drooling mindlessly as the mummy prepares to grab
  him)  Uuuuy.
mummy:  (grins evilly)
grey cat:  (sticks its head out of Ged's pack, making an
  appearance for the first time in hours)  Meow!
mummy:  (still grins evilly)
grey cat:  (swats Ged's head with a paw)
Lightbringer:  Kill!  Someone kill that mummy!
Mongo:  (looking at his fused hammer)  Fuck.  (he leaps
  forth, grabbing Lightbringer from Ged's belt)  Away, you
Ged:  (his belt snaps, dropping his breeches)
Arnold:  Good think he's wearing leg armor.
grey cat:  (perhaps embarrassed by all of this, it leaps
  out of the backpack and scurries away)
Mongo:  (holds the morningstar up, and charges the mummy)
Lightbringer:  What-  Yes!  The fight carries on!
Mongo:  Fuckin' a!  Let's rock!  (he wallops the mummy,
  smashing its rotted husk)
mummy:  (ignites with holy flame)  Aaaaaaieeeeeee!!!
Lightbringer:  Burn, foul one!
Rillen-2:  (slices at one of the three charred fire giants
  with his katana, wounding it)
fire giant #8:  Argh!
fire giant #9:  (gets up, brushes the ashes off its back,
  and lumbers toward Peldor)  Heh, heh.  Time to play,
Peldor:  (still disguised as a naked woman)  Oh, the things
  you say!  (he draws his sword)
fire giant #10:  (gets up)
Peldor-2:  (goes invisible)
fire giant #10:  Huh?  Where'd he go?
Alindyar:  (spellcasting)  The rogue makes a rather comely
  wench, does he not?
Lyra:  (also spellcasting)  Hmph.  Watch it, buster.
fire giants #1-7:  (turn around and advance on the drow)
fire giant #1:  We stop you black elves, oh yeah.
Flint:  (chops the nearest wight, wounding it badly)
wight #3:  Urgh!  (it turns toward the dwarf)
Arnold:  (teaming up with his fellow henchman, he hacks at
  the undead, lopping off its head)  Ah-nold!
Flint:  Excellent move, big guy.
Arnold:  (beaming)  Thandks.  (he kicks the severed head,
  sending it flying)
Belphanior:  (points at the other two wights)  You!  Come
  and get me!
wight #1:  (claws at Belphanior, hitting)  Life force...
Belphanior:  (loses a bit of the extra life energy he had
  absorbed earlier)  Urgh.
wight #2:  (also claws at the elf, but fails to make any
  contact)  Uh.
Belphanior:  (slashes wight #1)  Take that!
wight #1:  (wounded, it reels)  Argh!
Belphanior:  (to the fire giant zombie)  You!  Smash those
  ghouls, there.  (points to the five ghouls that are about
  to swarm on Rillen)
fire giant zombie:  Yub.  (it moves to obey)
Belphanior-2:  (slashes at wight #2)  Away, vermin!
wight #2:  (cut, it bleeds all over the floor)  Eyagh!
Sparky:  (helps its master, tearing at wight #2 with wild
  abandon)  Graar!  (realizes how bad undead flesh tastes)
Rillen:  Back, stinking ones!  (he whacks a ghoul in the
  head with his staff, sending an eyeball flying)
ghoul #5:  <POP>
Rillen:  What an eyeful.
ghoul #1:  (claws and bites at the warrior)
ghoul #2:  (likewise)
ghoul #3:  (likewise)
ghoul #4:  (likewise)
Rillen:  (overcome by sheer numbers, he falls, covered by
  grey bodies)  Wha-
fire giant zombie:  (grabs one of the ghouls and rips it in
  half)  Rud.
ghoul #4:  Ghak!  (it dies instantly)
skeletons:  (engaged in battle with the manticores)
manticores:  (unable to fly in this hall, they have found
  themselves surrounded and forced to melee the undead)
fire giant #7:  (the manticore keeper, he helps his pets
  fight the skeletons)  Where the hell did these bonebags
  come from?!?
Mongo:  (shaking Ged)  What's wrong, pal?!?
Ged:  Uhh.  (he stares into space, glassy-eyed)
Arnold:  Someding made his mind go away.  He needs helb.
Mongo:  Yeah...
fire giant #9:  (swats at Peldor with its huge sword)  Me
  smash you, girl!
Peldor:  (dodges the clumsy blow, and changes his disguise
  to look like an orc woman)
fire giant #9:  Boy, you got ugly!
Peldor:  (slashes the giant, wounding it slightly)  You're
  bound to hurt my feelings if you keep this up...
fire giant #10:  (looking for Peldor-2, who had turned
  invisible, it gives up, and bashes Peldor instead)  Hah!
Peldor:  Argh!  (he reels, grazed by the giant mace)
Peldor-2:  (moves behind giant #10, his sword raised)
Lyra:  (casts Slow upon all nine fire giants in her range)
fire giants #1-6 and 8-10:  (some save, others are slowed
  by the spell)  Huh?
Alindyar:  (still occupied with his spell)
fire giant #8:  (pounds at Rillen-2, but misses)  Whoops!
Rillen-2:  (makes a mighty leap into the air, whirls his
  katana in a deadly arc, and lops off the giant's head)
fire giant #8:  (dies instantly)  Glurk.
Rillen-2:  (wondering if he ever bothered to mention that
  his katana was a vorpal weapon)
Peldor-2:  (backstabs fire giant #10, inflicting serious
  damage)  Hah!  (becomes visible)  Yipes!
fire giant #10:  Argh!  (it whirls, facing the thief)
Peldor:  (staggers to his feet, and prepares to get back
  to melee with fire giant #9)
fire giant #9:  (slowed, it hesitates)  Huuuuuuh?
Belphanior:  (stabs wight #1 again, wounding it further)
  Die!  Die!  Die!  (realizes that he can't kill undead
  such as this with Blackrazor, as he'd lose life energy)
Belphanior-2:  (slashes wight #2 again, opening a fresh
  cut in the undead's smelly hide)  Away, dead one!
wight #2:  (gropes at the elf, but fails to hit or drain
  life energy)  Ssss!
Flint:  (seeing that Belphanior needs help, he charges
  in, and lops off the wight's leg)  Hahah!
wight #1:  Argh!  (limps and hops around)
Arnold:  (following Flint, he strikes, slaying the wight)
wight #1:  (perishes messily)
Arnold:  Ah-nold!  (beats his chest)
Mongo:  (notices that Rillen's not moving anymore)  Damn
  it to hell!  The stinkin' things must have paralyzed
Belphanior:  (looks up from the wight corpse)  I'm on it!
  (he screams at the ghouls, and charges toward them)
Ged:  Urb.  (he begins walking, but trips over his fallen
  breeches and falls)  Woo.
Mongo:  (possessed by inspiration, he reaches in his
  backpack)  Maybe my ol' healing rod can help the poor
  guy...nothing to lose...
Lightbringer:  (discarded on the floor)  Hey!  Pick me
  up this instant!  I'm talking to you!
Mongo:  (ignores the weapon)
grey cat:  (hiding in a niche in one wall, it wonders why
  Ged brings it on adventures at all)
Alindyar:  (casts a Prismatic Spray upon the six giants
  who are bearing down on himself and Lyra)  This should
  brighten things up for us.  (multicolored rays shine
  upon the giants, some of whom are slowed from Lyra's
fire giant #1:  (hit by a blue beam, he quickly turns to
fire giant #2:  (hit by an orange beam, he feels a strong
  sense of weakness and fatigue)  Argh!  Urgh!
fire giant #3:  (hit by a green beam, he suffers a bit of
  damage from poison)  Aaaargh!
fire giant #4:  (hit squarely by a violet beam, he suddenly
  vanishes from the battle)
fire giant #5:  (hit by a green beam, he is poisoned, and
  dies)  Blork.
fire giant #6:  (hit by yellow and red beams, he loses so
  much strength that he falls, stunned)
Alindyar:  Excellent.
Arnold:  (heads for the fire giants)
Flint:  (heads for the ghouls and Rillen)
fire giant #2:  (bashes Lyra, wounding her seriously)  Har!
Lyra:  Argh!  (she reels and staggers)
fire giant #3:  (swings at Alindyar, but misses)
fire giant #6:  (stunned, he gapes, but does nothing)
skeletons:  (still fighting the manticores and giant #7,
  they are making quite a racket on their side of the big
manticores:  (finding that their tail spikes aren't too
  useful against the bony bodies of the skeletons)
Mongo:  (holds aloft the magical healing rod)  Aha!  (he
  touches Ged on the forehead with the item, and a flash
  of bright light occurs)
Ged:  (his eyes cross)

                                             |            |
                                             |            |
---------------------------------------------   A         |
       x#x         &   B               +   *      L       |
        x  x      &R&      s^   a f      *                |
     *   #x        & @      B2          . *         P     |
       x x x                                    R2  * *   |
        x # x          GM                        .    P2  |

THE GOOD               THE BAD              THE UGLY
  A   Alindyar           *   fire giant       &   ghoul
  L   Lyra               #   manticore        x   skeleton
  B   Belphanior                              ^   wight
  @   fire giant zombie  +   stoned fire giant
  B2  Belphanior-2       .   fire giant body
  s   Sparky
  G   Ged (feebleminded?)
  a   Arnold
  M   Mongo (minus hammer)
  f   Flint
  P   Peldor
  P2  Peldor-2
  R   Rillen
  R2  Rillen-2

Ged:  (leaps to his feet, looking around wildly)  Boccob!
  Where am I?!?  What's going on?!?  Why are my pants down?!!
Belphanior:  Well, these giants were molesting you, but we
  caught 'em in the act and...well, THEN the ghouls showed
  up, and-
Ged:  What the hell are you talking about?!?  (he sputters
  and fumes)
Belphanior-2:  Look around you!  We're in trouble!
Belphanior:  You should pull your pants up.
Ged:  Enough!  (he dashes toward the ghoul pack, brandishing
  his holy symbol)  Begone, foul ones!
ghouls:  (the remaining four disintegrate instantly)
fire giant zombie:  (also disintegrates)
Belphanior:  No, no, no.  That one was on OUR side!
Ged:  Quit babbling nonsense.  You sound like Peldor.  (he
  hefts Lightbringer)  Why is Rillen just laying there like
  that?  (he pulls his pants up)
Mongo:  He's paralyzed.  Can you help him?
Ged:  Of course.  (he kneels beside the fallen warrior,
  who has some cuts and bruises, but lives)  Hmm...we'll
  need a Remove Paralysis...cover me.  (he begins his
Lightbringer:  Forget healing!  We need to fight undead!
  It is the sacred duty!
Mongo:  (wondering what weapon he can use now, since the
  morningstar is back in Ged's hands)  Hmm, I need a weapon
  to fight with...
Ged:  Here, take Lightbringer off my hands.  It's bothering
  me, and I'm trying to cast a spell.
Mongo:  Right.  (he snatches up the weapon and looks around)
  Wait a minute...why would I want to kill the skeletons,
  since they're busy fighting the spike-tails?
Lightbringer:  Kill!  Smash!  I demand gratification!
Alindyar:  (casts Color Spray, blasting fire giants #2, 3,
  and 6 with a barrage of shimmering colors)
fire giant #2:  (succumbs to the spell, and falls to the
  floor, unconscious)
fire giant #3:  (resists the spell)  Whoa!
fire giant #6:  (resists the spell)  Wow.
wight #2:  (claws Belphanior-2, hitting and draining life
  energy)  Ssss!
Belphanior-2:  Argh!  (he dispatches the wight with a single
  blow)  I feel weak...
Arnold:  (charges fire giant #3)  Ah-nold!
Flint:  (barrels after the big human)  Wait for me!
fire giant #3:  (turns)  Wha-
Arnold:  (hacks the giant, inflicting major damage)  Aaa!
Flint:  (chops at the giant's knees)
fire giant #3:  (staggers, hurt badly)  Argh!  You runts'll
  pay for that!
Sparky:  (leaps upon fire giant #6, tearing and rending)
fire giant #6:  (already badly wounded, it falls, dying, as
  the big wolf rips its stomach open)  Glurk!
Sparky:  (bares his fangs in triumph)  Grr...
Belphanior-2:  (having followed his wolf, he slashes fire
  giant #2)  Fall, evil one!
fire giant #2:  (wounded slightly, he turns)  Shit!
Belphanior-2:  Yes, you are.
Mongo:  (making his way toward fire giant #3, Lightbringer
  swinging in his hand)  <huff puff>
Rillen-2:  (slashes fire giant #9)
fire giant #9:  Argh!  (he clutches his bleeding belly and
  aims a clumsy blow at the ninja)
Rillen-2:  (easily dodges the sword)
Peldor:  (takes advantage of this opportunity, and stabs
  the giant in the thigh)  Hah!  Peldor strikes!
fire giant #9:  Urgh!  (wondering how he ended up getting
  hit by both foes)
Belphanior:  (sprinting toward what's left of the fire
  giant troop, he has his eye on the unconscious giant #2)
Mongo:  (wallops the badly wounded fire giant #3, slaying
  him)  Yeah!
Lightbringer:  HE was not undead.
Mongo:  Nope, just dead.
Ged:  (works his magic on Rillen)  By Boccob, you are well!
Rillen:  (sits up)  Indeed I am.  And thank you.  (stands
  up)  Back.  There is battle to be done.
Ged:  (eyeing the skeletons,
Belphanior:  (slays the prone fire giant #2 with a single
  slash, and gains the foe's life energy)  Ahhhhh...Whoa,
  what a rush!
Lyra:  (casts magic missiles at fire giant #9)
fire giant #9:  Ugh!  Argh!  Org!  Ow!  Rargh!
fire giant #10:  (bashes Peldor-2, knocking him back)  Ha!
Peldor-2:  Urgh!  (he slashes at his opponent, but misses)
Peldor:  Take heart.  A Peldor can't miss TOO often.
Rillen:  (raising his bow, he fires arrows at giant #10,
  hitting with two and missing with two)  Damn.  My arm
  must still be paralyzed.
fire giant #10:  Argh!  Ugh!

                                             |            |
                                             |            |
---------------------------------------------   A         |
        #x                             + f  .B    L       |
       x  x                             a.B2              |
     *x  # x        G                   .M.s        P     |
       x  x                                       R2* *   |
         x# x            R                       .    P2  |

  The warriors quickly surrounded the two fire giants to
the east, and these were slain shortly.  Meanwhile, Ged
watched as the skeletons and manticores continued to have
it out, while the fire giant, towering above that battle,
watched the adventurers, looking worried.

Ged:  Ah, to hell with it.  (he casts a Lightning Bolt at
  everything in the western end of the hall)
sksletons:  (blasted away instantly)
manticores:  (roasted, not so utterly, but still roasted,
  all three die)
fire giant #7:  (wounded seriously, he flees, shouting an
  alarm as he exits through a door to the west)
Ged:  Stop him!  He'll alert everyone!
Rillen:  (buries four arrows in the giant as he runs, but
  that isn't enough to stop him)  Oh well.  It was worth
  a try.
Mongo:  (hands Lightbringer back to Ged)  come on, we'd
  better get going.  The shit's really gonna hit the fan
Belphanior:  Yeah.  (he examines the wooden braces of the
  ceiling, then begins pouring oil on them)
Belphanior-2:  What in the world are you doing?
Belphanior:  It's called arson, I believe.  (he lights
  one rafter, then another)
Rillen-2:  (observing the flames)  Excellent idea.  (he
  produces a vial of red liquid and hurls it at the western
  door, where it explodes in flames)
Flint:  Jeepers!
Ged:  Whoa, this is all getting a little too chaotic for me.
grey cat:  (head-butts Ged's foot)  Meow!
Ged:  Hush now.  (he picks up the cat and puts it back in
  his pack)
grey cat:  (wondering why he gets brought into dungeons in
  the first place)
Arnold:  Aaa.

  They all headed out the eastern doorway, taking a stairway
that the Mongo group had ignored previously.  They dashed
upward as fast as they could go, stopping for nothing, not
yet, anyway.

grey cat:  (pads along ahead of the party, scouting)

next time :  Ged-2 (need I say more?)

notes     :  The number 43 is a magic number to me, and thus
           this otherworldly adventure will conclude with
           episode 143.  Be there!

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