Chapter #243

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

+    Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and      +
+  other terms used in these stories are the property of TSR, Inc.  +
+  However, this does not mean that TSR in any way endorses or      +
+  authorizes their use, and any such items contained within these  +
+  stories should not be considered representative of TSR in any    +
+  way, shape, or form.                                             +
+    Due to the nature of the Internet, these stories have been     +
+  widely available since 1991.  I have given them to the world     +
+  freely, and have never intended to market them or in any way     +
+  make money.  However, due to TSR, Inc.'s copyright restrictions, +
+  old episodes of the Adventurers are no longer being archived on  +
+  any ftp site, anywhere.                                          +
+    The player characters contained in these writings are copy-    +
+  right 1995 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 (or more accurately, a fragment of it):                +
+                                                                   +
+  Alindyar     16th level dark elven mage                     (N)  +
+  Lyra         12th level female dark elven mage              (N)  +
+   Date:    11/28/574 C.Y. (Common Year)                           +
+   Time:    early evening                                          +
+   Place:   a suite within the Green Dragon Inn                    +
+   Climate: cold outside, cozy within the room                     +
+   "Necessity has no law."                                         +
+                                                      - unknown    +

                     CCXLIII.  New Beginnings

  Within one of the Green Dragon Inn's larger rooms, which Peldor
had converted into an office, were gathered the rogue himself, as
well as two guests...

Peldor:  Let me get this straight.  You want to permanently rent one
  of my rooms?
Alindyar:  A suite.  We prefer a suite.
Peldor:  You want to _live_ here?
Lyra:  Why not?
Peldor:  (pacing about the room)  It's not "why not"'s "why".
  I don't get it.
Alindyar:  We have...taken a liking to this city.
Lyra:  (muttering)  At least for the short term.
Peldor:  Yeah, but you want to live here?  Under my roof?
Lyra:  We trust you.
Alindyar:  (cocks an eyebrow)
Lyra:  You trust us.  Our money is good.
Alindyar:  'Twill make any long absences on our part easier.
Peldor:  Why here?  Why not an inn in, say, the High Quarter, or the
  Foreign Quarter perhaps?
Lyra:  (looks hurt)  You don't want us around?
Peldor:  No, no.  It's not that - I'd love to have you here.  I'm
  just curious.  (he leans forward)  Intensely curious.
Alindyar:  We have...much in the way of research to undertake.  Here
  in Greyhawk especially.  We need long-term lodgings that we know
  will be secure.
Peldor:  (spreads his hands)  Hey, who'd rob me?
Lyra:  No telling.  And just think - it couldn't hurt you to have a
  pair of powerful magi living upstairs.
Peldor:  True...hmm, what about the matter of having two dark elves
  constantly coming and going in my inn?  You should know by now
  that _I_ don't care, but my customers...and the city guard?
Alindyar:  Illusions will take care of everything.
Peldor:  Oh.
Lyra:  (to the thief)  You ought to know all about the power of
  illusion, for disguise.
Peldor:  (straightens his hat nervously)  Maybe.
Alindyar:  So you will help us with this matter?
Peldor:  Err...oh, what the hell?  Yeah, sure.
Alindyar:  Excellent.
Lyra:  Well then.  What we're after is an isolated room, preferably
  a corner room.  Large, well-appointed, with a fireplace and a large
  window or two.
Peldor:  (thinking)  Several should be opening up tomorrow.  I think
  I might have one that suits your preferences.  It's a corner room,
  on my top floor - one of the largest, nicest rooms we have here.
Alindyar:  Fireplace?
Peldor:  Yep.  Also a den, separated from the bedroom.  There's also
  a huge closet...not that you two look like you have much to store.
Lyra:  Not yet.
Peldor:  Now, let me say this up front:  I may, from time to time,
  need certain magical...favors from you.
Alindyar:  Nothing illegal, I take it?
Peldor:  Of course not.
Lyra:  I suppose we could help you with spells, upon occasion.
Alindyar:  (frowns)
Peldor:  Okay then.  I'll have the suite prepared.
Alindyar:  When can we see it?  You mentioned something about those
  in the room leaving tomorrow?
Peldor:  Yes, tomorrow morning, unless the current occupants decide
  to go early...quite a room, it is.
Lyra:  Sounds like it.
Peldor:  You know, I didn't always have nice, big rooms like that
  one.  We only added them in the last expansion-
Alindyar:  I did notice that your tavern seems to have grown.
Peldor:  Well, the _last_ expansion added the casino area.  It was
  months ago that I added the third floor.
Lyra:  Business must be booming.
Peldor:  Yeah, but it sure doesn't hurt that I've amassed quite a
  fortune, roaming the world over the last six years with you two
  and the others.  (he cracks his knuckles)  I do believe that I'm
  one of the two or three most wealthy people in Greyhawk.
Lyra:  You've certainly amassed more than any of your travelling
Peldor:  Hey, is it my fault I happen to manage my money better than
  the rest of you?
Alindyar:  And speaking of your moneymaking efforts, how much will
  the room cost us?
Peldor:  Forty gold per week.  (spreads his hands)  Those are friend
Alindyar:  (grimaces, although he and Lyra can easily afford this
  price)  You have a deal.
Peldor:  Excellent.  (he shakes on the deal)  I'll have you notified
  as soon as the room is ready.  Until then...well, until then you'll
  be needing another room, I guess.  Come.

  They followed him to a smaller, yet well-appointed room, which
Peldor opened with a masterkey.

Peldor:  I'll have fresh linen, a basin of water, and so on brought
  up here.
Alindyar:  That sounds excellent.
Peldor:  Okay, then.  (he turns to leave)
Lyra:  Peldor?
Peldor:  Hmm?
Lyra:  Thanks.
Peldor:  No problem.  (he grins, and closes the door, whistling to
  himself as he strolls away)

  As the whistling grew more distant, Alindyar and Lyra began to
discuss various loose ends.

Lyra:  What about Zara?
Alindyar:  She is locked up in a crate at the moment.  We shall have
  to have her carried to our room...though I really have no desire
  for her to stay in our room.  Short-term or otherwise.
Lyra:  Maybe we should figure out what contingencies she has set
  up, and quickly.  Then we can slit her throat and leave her in the
  sewers.  Or something like that.
Alindyar:  I agree, we must not risk her returning, ever again.
Lyra:  Definitely not.  (she begins unpacking the contents of her
Alindyar:  (muttering something about dinner soon)

  Outside the door, Peldor drew his ear back from the wood, and moved
silently down the hall, and down the stairs, ruminating upon what he
now knew.

Peldor:  So they had another run-in with Zara, eh?  That explains a awful lot.

  Over the course of the next week, the drow accomplished much.
First and foremost, they were able to magically discern the location
of another Zara-lair.  Alindyar, having regained his magical mirror,
was able to facilitate teleportation to the place, a sealed crypt in
the heart of the Yatil Mountains.  There, they finally learned Zara's
secret:  she had been using clone-bodies!  Apparently, she had set
permanently-bound unseen servants to the task of caring for the clone
body, in its hidden location.  Though they weren't exactly sure about
the exact procedure, it appeared that, if Zara didn't return to check
on the clone on a regular basis, the servants would eventually bring
it totally to life, where it would then presumably pick up where the
last (real?) Zara had left off.  Even Lyra was amazed at this rather
elaborate setup - it hadn't been apparent until now just how paranoid
(some would say careful) Zara had been.
  Though it seemed fascinating, in a sick sort of way, to see what
might happen if _two_ Zaras (one a helpless vegetable, the other a
clone bent on the destruction of the first) were walking the world
simultaneously, Alindyar and Lyra knew what they had to do.  The
unseen servants were dispelled, and the clone-body was destroyed,
as was the hidden lair.  It is worthy of mention that the drow also
recovered a large cache of gemstones, enough to keep them in Peldor's
inn for a very long time.  Secreted with these treasures was another
of Zara's spellbooks, which they confiscated with great pleasure.
  Their magic told them of no other hidden lairs, and no other Zaras
sleeping out there in the world.  As soon as this realization was
final, they took care of Zara, slitting her throat.  While this might
have seemed cruel and heartless, any who might have thought that had
certainly not known Zara, and the dangers she continued to pose while
among the living.  At this point, the drow realized that they hadn't
quite been prepared to deal with a body - after all, neither of them
had learned the formulae for the spell of disintegration.  Thus, they
called upon one who would surely know what to do...

Peldor:  A favor, you say?  What kind of favor?
Alindyar:  In our room - an excellent accomodation indeed, thank you
  very much - is a bag.  In that bag is a body.
Peldor:  (takes this news calmly)  Oh.
Lyra:  That body must disappear.  Forever.
Peldor:  Hmm.  Who, may I ask, was the body, while alive?
Alindyar:  No one who will be missed.
Peldor:  No one from Greyhawk?
Lyra:  Oh, of course not.
Alindyar:  Can you help us with this?
Peldor:  Of course...but now you owe me another favor.  And I don't
  expect to be disposing of any more bodies for you two.
Lyra:  No more.
Alindyar:  We promise.
Lyra:  Creating bodies is hardly our business.
Alindyar:  Belphanior, on the other hand-
Peldor:  Enough, enough.  I'll send a waterproof sack up to your
  room.  Put the garbage inside it, and I'll have it taken out.

  And so it was.  Zara ended up in the sewers beneath Greyhawk, food
for the worms, rats, and other, much worse, things that lurked down
there.  Whether Peldor himself, or a lackey, had taken the body into
the sewers was unknown, though the drow doubted that Bosco had been
involved; this whole business seemed somehow beneath the halfling.
With Zara out of the way for good, Alindyar and Lyra were able to
concentrate on more productive matters.  They had to keep the golem
in one of Peldor's cellars, for the construct was too heavy to stay
upstairs.  Alindyar theorized that there might be some way to reduce
and enlarge the golem upon command, with the proper enchantments
laid upon it.  They began researching this, but another project
beckoned their attention:  working quickly and efficiently, they
forged a pair of black rings, composed of adamant but containing a
drop of each drow's blood.  With the enchantments placed upon these
twin rings, the drow were able to communicate with one another,
using ESP, to a range of about one mile.  Furthermore, the rings
were unique, meaning that with a simple spell, either of the drow
could quickly and unerringly locate the other ring.  Best of all,
the rings provided a degree of magical protection to their wearers.
  With the successful creation of these rings, the drow were muchly
heartened, and resumed working on their stone golem.  They first
needed to heal the construct, using a spell to change mud to rock;
this spell was cast on their behalf by a mage from the Wizards'
Guild.  Speaking of that organization, somehow the drow were now
held in respect by the magi there.  Apparently Bigby and/or Rary
had been talking, or offering suggestions, or some such business.
It definitely came in handy to have friendly, able magi around to
help, when the need arose.  The golem was healed, and soon after,
the drow (with a bit of help) were able to bind to it an enchantment
of considerable power.  From now on, the golem could be reduced to
a miniature size, with but a command word; it would remain so until
a second word was spoken, returning it to its usual tremendous bulk.

  By the time these two wondrous achievements were finished, the
year was drawing to a close, and the Free City of Greyhawk prepared
for the celebrations to come.  As for the drow...they prepared for
the variety of things that the new year would bring.

Alindyar:  Wonderful.  _Two_ favors that we now owe Peldor.  I think
  I would rather run into Zara again...
Lyra:  Oh, you don't mean that.  Peldor's a decent soul.  Witless,
  yes.  Greedy, certainly.  But other than that not _too_ bad.
Alindyar: would certainly be nice to watch you smash
  Zara's head into the ground again.
Lyra:  Oh, you liked that?
Alindyar:  Who doesn't love a good cat-fight?
Lyra:  (purring like a cat she pushes Alindyar toward their new and
  rather luxurious bed)
Alindyar:  A bed?  Is that a bed?
Lyra:  (growling, she pounces)

next time :  Peldor!

notes     :  This episode is the 100th since Alindyar and Lyra
  apparently died, saving the others from Ged-2 and his evil minions
  on the alternate Oerth.  I've been thinking a lot about Oerth-2
  lately - it seems like there was so much more that I could have
  done with that plotline.  Hmm...
    Also, you're probably wondering about the Green Dragon Inn and
  Peldor - We last saw the rogue in 9/574 and the story you just
  read took place in 11/574 and 12/574.  So, what happened during
  those two months, you ask?  He added a casino?  How?  Where?  Is
  it a big casino?  How much money does it bring in?  What role does
  Bosco play?
    Next episode, we'll jump back in time and find out!

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