Chapter #180

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

+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1994 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 (currently missing three members):              +
+                                                             +
+   Arnold        11th level human warrior               (NG) +
+   Belphanior    12th/14th/14th level high elven w/m/t  (CN) +
+      small immaterial wispy thing                           +
+   Mongo         16th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+      Gorin       6th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                  (N) +
+      Bosco       7th level halfling thief              (CN) +
+   Rillen        16th level human warrior                (N) +
+   Date:    11/7/573 C.Y. (Common Year)                      +
+   Time:    morning                                          +
+   Place:   the small town of Safeton (pop. 4600)            +
+   Climate: cold                                             +
+   "He's not talkin' real good anymore.  I killed him."      +
+                           - Cates, from _Another 48 Hours_  +

                CLXXX.  Into the Welkwood

  The party has journeyed to the town of Safeton, in the Wild
Coast.  Having spent the night in an inn, they have set out
early the next morning.

Peldor:  (still half-asleep on his horse)  Yawn.
Mongo:  Which way next?
Belphanior:  We'll go westward, into the Welkwood Forest.
Rillen:  (scanning the surrounding plains intently)
Mongo:  Welkwood?  (his brows furrow in concentration)  We've
  been there before, haven't we?
Belphanior:  Yeah.  Long ago...that was our first adventure.
  Remember that guy, Cassius, who gave us the scroll?
Mongo:  I sure do.  He got killed by those assassins.  That
  was before we could bring people back to life and stuff.
Arnold:  That was before the time of Ah-nold.
Belphanior:  Yup, that too.  Boy, hard to believe it's been
  four years.
Peldor:  Hard to believe it's been _only_ four years.
Rillen:  Four years ago, I was in the monastery.
Bosco:  Four years ago, I was still a wee lad.
Gorin:  You still are.
Bosco:  (staring at Rillen's knee)  Hmm, I guess so.
wispy thing:  (chasing birds in the sky)  pfffft.
birds:  (fleeing in terror)  Squawk!

  They rode westward, and made excellent time, reaching the
eastern edge of the Welkwood before dusk.  This majestic
forest was notable for its huge trees, some of which towered
well over a hundred feet above the forest floor.

Gorin:  Those are Ipt trees.  Deeper in, we might see some
Rillen:  Ipt?  (he looks upward, toward the treetop which
  he can't see)
wispy thing:  ipt.  ipt!
Bosco:  How do you know this stuff, anyway?
Gorin:  Woodworkers tend to be familiar with the various
  species of trees.
Mongo:  Maybe you're an elf at heart.
Gorin:  I doubt it.
Belphanior:  Me too.
Rillen:  Perhaps I shall climb one of these...Ipt trees
  when we make camp.

  They entered the forest, and rode for a few hours before
darkness set in.  Camp was made, supper was had, and watches
were posted.

Belphanior:  There's really no need.  Blackrazor here will
  let me know if anyone approaches.
Mongo:  Says you.  I'd still feel a whole lot safer if we
  had sentries.
Belphanior:  Suit yourself.
Rillen:  (climbing one of the hundred-foot trees)
Peldor:  Hey, I could do that!
Mongo:  Yeah, but it wouldn't have been your idea.
Peldor:  (leaps onto a second tree like a spider, and begins
Bosco:  Whee!  It's a race!
Rillen:  (rather high up by now, he looks down, sees Peldor,
  and grins)  No contest.

  Rillen reached the top of the tree and enjoyed the view
until Peldor arrived at his own treetop.

Rillen:  Oh, it's you.
Peldor:  Betcha can't do this!  (he leaps off the treetop,
  and floats downward slowly, like a feather)
Rillen:  Fah.  (he also leaps off, and floats down)
Peldor:  D'oh!  (he uses his ring of telekinesis to push
  Rillen back upward)
Rillen:  What?!?
Peldor:  Heh heh.

  After they both landed on the forest floor, Peldor was the
recipient of a bit of ridicule from some of the others, but
he took it all in stride.  After everyone had settled down,
they bedded down for the night, and all was quiet until some
time in the middle of the night.

Arnold:  (kicking Mongo)
Mongo:  (wakes up)  Wha-
Arnold:  Shh!  We've got trouble...peoble moving in from
  all sides.
Mongo:  Huh?  (he gets to his feet)  Where's Bosco?
Arnold:  (gestures)  Over there, watching the peoble in the
Rillen:  (already awake)  We need some light.
Belphanior:  (also already awake)  Not a problem.  (he begins
Arnold:  Aaa.  (wondering why a sentry was even needed, if
  everyone woke up so readily)
Mongo:  Well, almost everyone.  (he kicks Peldor's sleeping
  form)  Up, you.
Peldor:  Uhh?  (he wakes up and promptly goes invisible)
Belphanior:  (completes his spell, and one of the trees in
  the center of the party's camp begins glowing brightly)
Arnold:  (mutters a command word, and his helm begins to glow
  with a scintillating light)
Bosco:  Whoa!
Arnold:  Ah-nold is learnbing how to use his magic items.
Mongo:  With Ged's help, no doubt.
Rillen:  Prepare - they are about to charge.

  Suddenly, there were frenzied shouts from all around, as
a dozen attackers stormed the campsite.  These foes were
tall, dog-faced humanoids, wearing dirty armor.

Mongo:  Gnolls!  (he hurls Stormcrest, pulverizing a gnoll's
  head)  Die, scum!
Belphanior:  (muttering to himself)  Good.  Blackrazor was
  getting starved...(he meets a gnoll's charge, slashing
  before the humanoid can swing its own sword)
gnoll:  (gutted, it falls)  Aie!
Belphanior:  (freshly invigorated)  Ahh.  (Blackrazor glows
  and pulses)
Arnold:  Ah-nold!  (he charges two gnolls)
gnolls:  (fall back before the warrior and his dazzling
Arnold:  Come back here.  (he swings his sword, cutting one
  of the gnolls in half, armor and all)
Gorin:  (chops at a gnoll, wounding it)  Take that!
gnoll:  (slashes at Gorin, but the dwarf's armor saves him
  from harm)  Graar!
Rillen:  (foregoing his quarterstaff, he punches out at a
  gnoll, knocking it away with a smashed face)  Hai!
gnoll:  Argh!
Bosco:  (stabs at a gnoll, but misses)  Whoa!
gnoll:  (snickers)
wispy thing:  (orbiting a gnoll's head)  sssss!
gnoll:  Hrnh?  (it bats at the thing, but hits itself in the
  head with its mace)  Ow!
wispy thng:  pffffft.
Mongo:  (swats at a gnoll who has gotten too close)  Get off
  of me!  (his hammer connects, backed with giant strength)
gnoll:  Argh!  (batted away, it crashes into a tree, its
  neck snapped)
Belphanior:  (slashes another gnoll, wounding it)  Hah!
gnoll:  Urgh!  (it staggers)
Rillen:  Hai!  (kicks out at a gnoll, knocking it away, then
  leaps at the gnoll he punched earlier)  Yai!
gnoll:  (spitting out teeth, it curses at Rillen)  Me kill
  you!  (it slashes at the big warrior)  Aaaaaa!
Rillen:  (deftly ducks under the sword, and punches the foe
  in the stomach)  Chai!
gnoll:  Ark!  (it crumples)
Bosco:  What'd you do to him?
Rillen:  The gut punch.  He won't be getting up.
Bosco:  Oh.  (he avoids his own foe's attack by darting
  between its legs)  Whee!
gnoll:  Huh?
Bosco:  Slowpoke!
gnoll leader:  (yelling in crude Common)  Get them!  Kill
  them!  Death!
Peldor:  (invisible, he backstabs the armored leader)  What
  a gift for prophecy you have...
gnoll leader:  (slain instantly by the efficient blow)  Glrk.
Peldor:  Sure, whatever you say.  (now visible, he dashes to
  Bosco's aid)  Hold the fort, Bosco!
Bosco:  (waving his sword at his gnoll)  Right!
Mongo:  (smashes his third gnoll)  Hah!  Another for the
Gorin:  (hacks at his gnoll again, slaying it)  And there's
Arnold:  (cuts a second gnoll down)
three remaining gnolls:  (looking around in surprise, they
  flee back into the darkened forest)  Run away!  Run away!
Belphanior:  (hefts Blackrazor and dashes after the gnolls)
Mongo:  Hey, wait a minute-
Belphanior:  Don't worry, I'll be back before you even miss
  me!  (he vanishes in the direction the gnolls fled in)
Arnold:  He must be really pissed at them.
Mongo:  Somehow, I doubt it.

  They made a pile of the carcasses, and Peldor made a pile
of the attackers' valuables.  A minute or so later, a loud,
piercing scream came from somewhere in the forest.  Another
followed a few moments after the first.  About five minutes
later, Belphanior returned, stained with blood.

Mongo:  You only got two?
Belphanior:  Three.  The third didn't have time to scream.
  (he tosses three severed heads toward the pile of bodies)
Bosco:  Eep.
wispy thing:  (sailing around the campsite)
Rillen:  Will these humanoids and bandits never learn?
Peldor:  Really.  You'd think that by now they'd know not
  to trifle with Peldor.
Rillen:  (scowls at the thief)
Belphanior:  (looking at the piled bodies)  Well, it's a
  dead subject now.  (he opens some rations)  I'm hungry.

  They got the camp back into order; the horses had been
tied to trees and were all still present.  Since dawn was
only a couple of hours away, the adventurers decided to get
an early start today.

Peldor:  Sheesh.  If we keep this up, we'll be traveling by
  night and sleeping by day, before too long...

next time :  fairies

ftp site  : in /pub/frp/stories/adventurers

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