Chapter #347

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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.                                             +
+    The player characters contained in these writings are copy-    +
+  right 1991-6 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       16th level dark elven wizard                  (N) +
+  Arnold         12th level human barbarian                   (NG) +
+  Ged            14th/14th level grey elven priest/wizard     (NG) +
+  Lyra           13th level female dark elven wizard           (N) +
+  Mongo          17th level dwarven fighter                   (CG) +
+    Gorin         9th level dwarven fighter                   (NG) +
+  Peldor         19th level human thief                        (N) +
+    Bosco        11th level halfling thief                    (CN) +
+    Tanya        5th/11th level female human fighter/thief     (N) +
+                                                                   +
+  Otto           7th/8th level dwarven fighter/thief          (CN) +
+  Razor Charlie  8th level human fighter                      (CN) +
+  Date:        1/9/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        evening                                             +
+  Place:       the Green Dragon Inn, in the Free City of Greyhawk  +
+  Climate:     very cold                                           +
+  "People are complex, from moment to moment they reform and       +
+   become new again, changing shape and color as easily as the     +
+   mythical beasts that symbolize the inner life of man."          +
+                             - _Nature's End_, Streiber & Kunetka  +

                    CCCXLVII.  Grim Gathering

  A number of the adventurers have assembled within the Green Dragon
Inn, around a dinner table.  While eating, they have also been talking
over the current situation with Belphanior...

Lyra:  It seems...unusual to eat while discussing this.
Otto:  Oh?  Whatever do you mean?
Ged:  I think she's right.  Well, sort of.
Bosco:  I don't.  (he crams a heaping forkful of food into his tiny
Mongo:  Yeah - we've gotta eat!
Lyra:  It's just odd, that's all.
Otto:  Well, let me assure you, Belphanior's eaten more finely than
  this while pondering even graver matters.
Alindyar:  I doubt it not.
Arnold:  Aaa.  (he holds a leg of roasted lamb up, eyeing it, then
  chews off a large bite)
Gorin:  (shrugs at Lyra)  If we've got to work, we've got to eat.
Peldor:  Agreed.  And we have so much work to do...
Ged:  (to Otto)  So let me get this straight:  the eye took his mind
  over and made him kill some people?
Otto:  Right.
Tanya:  Sounds like a normal day for Belphanior.
Ged:  (frowns, clearly disapproving)  He does kill a lot of people.
Otto:  Yeah, but they all had it coming.
Ged:  But-
Peldor:  Just a moment! When have you ever known Belphanior to kill
  someone who wasn't attacking or hadn't attacked him, just for fun?
  That's not the Belphanior we know!  Come on!
Ged:  Err...
Mongo:  (angrily)  ANYway...
Otto:  Anyway, this is above and beyond normal behavior.  He attacked
  me, and let me tell you, he was completely insane.  Might've killed
  me too if it wasn't for Razor Charlie there.  (he pokes a thumb at
  the mercenary, who sits at one corner of the table, his feet propped
  up on the wooden surface)
Alindyar:  Hmm.  This does sound distressing.
Peldor:  And after the fight, he left?
Otto:  (nods)  Vanished into thin air.  Teleportation, I'd guess.
Ged:  Good guess.
Mongo:  Well, much as I think the elf's crazy, I guess we owe it to
  him to try and help him.
Peldor:  Absolutely.  Although he sounds possessed, remember how
  Bosco acted, when he wasn't himself?
Bosco:  Hey, I don't remember that.
Otto:  Well, Belphanior definitely isn't himself right now.
Tanya:  (looks bothered)
Ged:  Do we?  I mean, he's always dug his own graves...just managed
  to avoid falling into them.
Peldor:  Your opinion is noted, but-
Ged:  Hold on!  I'm not done.  For years - years! - Belphanior's
  collected evil artifacts, killed whoever he wanted to, and made
  more enemies than probably the rest of us put together.  And now
  he's flipped out completely!  There's no telling what he's done,
  and what he might do, especially if we show up and confront him.
Lyra:  (sighs)  We'd be wise to consider that going after him might
   well lead to some of us dying...
Bosco:  (gulps)
Otto:  And let me remind you that if he kills you with Blackrazor,
  you'll stay dead.  (he slices a finger across his throat)  No
Tanya:  (looks at Peldor, extremely worried, for she knows that he
  won't hesitate to go after Belphanior)
Peldor:  (looks at Ged, his mouth dropped in shock)
Ged:  ...and now, having said all that, I offer my assistance and
  powers, should the majority of you decide to find and stop him.
Otto:  (muttering)  Well, that's noble of you...
Peldor:  Risk?  Since when have we let a little risk stop us?
Bosco:  Since never?
Otto:  Actually, Ged's points are good ones.  This isn't a cakewalk
  we're going on, and it'll be dangerous.  Maybe fatal, with bad
  preparation or bad luck.  I'm not asking you to come along if you
  don't want to - and neither would Belphanior, if he was in my
  place right now.  But if you're his friends, you'll try and help
  me help him.
Mongo:  (raises his hammer)  He's right!  No more talk of leaving
  the elf to his fate!  He may be a maniac, but he's _our_ maniac!
Gorin:  (nods)
Arnold:  (slams his mug on the table)  Yah!  You can count Ah-nold
Peldor:  Ditto for Peldor.
Bosco:  (slams his own mug down, making barely a sound or shock)
  And Bosco!
Otto:  (eyeing the drow)  And you?
Alindyar:  We...(he looks at Lyra, and they briefly engage in ESP)
  ...shall assist.  But only for a couple of days.
Lyra:  We have duties in the city, three days hence.  It's a good
  thing you showed up during the students' study period.
Mongo:  Students?
Otto:  All right.  (to Ged)  What about you, goldenhair?
Ged:  (shrugs)  I'll go with you.  Who knows, you may need my magic.
Alindyar:  (smirks)
Lyra:  (kicks her mate in the leg, lightly)
Mongo:  (counting heads)  Ten, then.
Peldor:  (nods)
Tanya:  What about me?
Otto:  What _about_ you?
Tanya:  (to Peldor)  Now look here - you're not leaving me behind.
Peldor:  (lays a hand on her shoulder)  Shh-
Tanya:  (slaps his hand away)  Don't "shh" me!  I may not care for
  Belphanior's company, but damn it, your problems are my problems,
  and your fights are my fights.  I'm going, and that's final!
Peldor:  (looking vaguely embarrassed)  Uh, okay, if you say so.
Bosco:  (absorbed in his meal, he does his best to ignore this whole
  line of discussion)
Otto:  (looks amused)
Razor Charlie:  (doesn't look amused, but then again, he _never_ looks
Lyra:  (smiling at Tanya, she gives the latter a discreet thumbs-up)
Ged:  (to Mongo)  I guess we number eleven, then.
Mongo:  Yeah...(looking around)  Looks like this is one adventure
  Rillen won't be around for.
Alindyar:  No, and we shall not try to get him.  (he surveys those
  gathered at the table)  Besides, if this group cannot stop the
Ged:  Good point.  I'll tell you now, Deryck and Nenya won't be in
  on this one.  Even if they had the time and the desire, I probably
  wouldn't let them.
Bosco:  Why not?
Ged:  Don't worry yourself about it, Bosco.
Arnold:  (to Otto)  Don't worry, Oddo.  We'll help Belphandior.
Gorin:  But first we have to find him.
Otto:  First we have to get a good night's sleep.
Peldor:  Huh?  I thought you were in some great hurry to find him!
  Even moreso than we are...
Otto:  Hey, he's been gone for two weeks.  Another night isn't going
  to make much difference one way or the other.
Lyra:  (nods in agreement, for she is tired from her day's activities)
Ged:  (to Peldor)  I've got to concede him that point - it's late and
  most of us are probably tired.
Tanya:  A good night's sleep couldn't hurt.  (she puts an arm around
Peldor:  (reciprocates, privately pleased that Tanya feels so strongly
  about coming along)  Yep.
Otto:  Besides, I think Belphanior's more evil - and more powerful -
  at night.
Mongo:  Sleep, then.  And tomorrow we go for it?
Alindyar:  Aye.  Leave the finding to me - I shall attend to it first
  thing on the morrow.
Peldor:  (nods)  Sounds like a plan.
Ged:  I'll concentrate on figuring out ways to outmaneuver him - that
  damned eye can kill with a blink.
Otto:  (raises a finger)  Only once every day, though.
Mongo:  Yeah, but still, once a day is once too often, as far as we're
  concerned.  I don't want to become a pile of jelly - I've seen him
  pull that stunt, and it wasn't pretty.
Otto:  Agreed.  And he has other tricks up his sleeve...(to Ged)  I'll
  help you - I'm best qualified to advise on what he can do. Oh, and he
  has some toys he might use, if he's not completely lost his mind...
  things he picked up when you were on some other world?  We tested a
  bunch of them.
Peldor:  (blanches, unnoticed by anyone but Tanya, and mutters)  I need
  to talk with Otto...
Ged:  (to Otto)  Yea.  Come to my castle, and we'll prepare some battle
  plans and strategies to review with everyone tomorrow.  (he begins
  the casting of a teleportation spell)
Otto:  Let's go.  (to Razor Charlie)  C'mon.

  Shortly, Ged, Arnold, Otto, and Razor Charlie were gone to the grey
elf's castle, leaving the others in the Green Dragon Inn.

Lyra:  Time to get to bed early - tomorrow's going to be a long day.
Alindyar:  Aye, indeed it is.
Bosco:  (wanders away, a deck of cards in one hand and a pouch of gold
  in the other)
Gorin:  Not for some...
Peldor:  Ah, he'll be okay.  Sometimes I think Bosco's invincible.
Mongo:  No, that's me.
Tanya:  (watching Bosco disappear from sight, into the casino area)
  Only in his mind...(to Peldor)  We could die tomorrow.  (she looks
  around)  I don't want to die.
Mongo:  It's a little late to think about that...
Peldor:  (to all, particularly Tanya)  Don't worry, we won't die.

next:   the deadly confrontation
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
mail:  (preferred)    (emergency)
notes:  Prepare yourselves for another survey, in episode #350.  I
  may ask the same questions as last time (when WAS last time?) or
  maybe new ones, or maybe a combination.  It's possible that some
  people's most (and least) favorite characters have changed.
    Anyway, whatever the thing ends up looking like, I'll make it
  quick and easy, and attach it to the bottom of #350.

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