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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 +
+ email@example.com +
+ THE PARTY: +
+ Arnold 12th level human barbarian (NG) +
+ Ged 14th/14th level grey elven priest/wizard (NG) +
+ Nenya 8th/9th level female elven fighter/wizard (NG) +
+ Date: 1/18/576 C.Y. (Common Year) +
+ Time: midday +
+ Place: Ged's castle, west of Greyhawk +
+ Climate: cold +
+ "Life IS pain, highness! Anyone who says differently is +
+ selling something." +
+ - from _The Princess Bride_ +
CCCLIV. Dark Reflections
Ged sighed as he returned yet another magical component to its
proper place. He was in his laboratory, within his castle, trying
to restore some order to the place.
Nenya: (enters) Holy smokes! What _happened_ here?
Ged: (shrugs) I was...experimenting with the natural forces of
fire. Something went wrong.
Nenya: Wrong? Impossible - I've never known you to make a mistake.
Ged: That doesn't mean I haven't. (he sweeps up some broken bits
Ged: What's on your mind?
Nenya: Actually, I came to ask you what was on yours.
Ged: (surprised) Pardon?
Nenya: Ever since Deryck and I told you of our engagement, you've
seemed distant...as if the whole thing wasn't to your liking.
Nenya: See what I mean?
Ged: (rubs his golden hair) Yea, I guess so.
Nenya: Well, talk to me. I know you've been under a lot of stress
lately...the kidnappings, then the business with Belphanior, then
the fight with the demons...(her eyes roll) Ah, if only I'd been
Ged: (scowls as an angry look flares behind his eyes) No! (he
faces his pupil, staring her down)
Ged: Listen, and listen closely! I know you're adept - no, quite
skilled - with blade and spell. By Boccob, I've seen you fight,
and I've been proud, both of what I taught you and what you knew
before. But there is _no_ glory in fighting senseless battles
Nenya: Wh- what are you saying?
Ged: What I'm saying is that there's no need to look for trouble.
I've spent many years doing just that with Mongo, Alindyar, and
the others...long years, filled with quest upon quest, battle upon
battle, foe upon foe. (he sighs) Adventure upon adventure.
Nenya: But look where it got you! You've gained so much knowledge
and wisdom in those years-
Ged: And also enemies, long-lasting ones who survive, and then come
back when we least expect it. Hell, right now I could name five
Nenya: Please don't.
Ged: (stops, his fingers held up) Uh...okay.
Nenya: So you're telling me that I shouldn't go out into the world
and _do_ anything?!?
Ged: I'm telling you to live, but not to die. You've found someone
with whom you want to share the rest of...his life - not many can
do that in our line of work.
Nenya: (ponders these words)
Ged: You're lucky - both of you are. Don't push that luck, or one
day it'll get you killed.
Nenya: You sound almost...regretful.
Ged: For some things, yes. Perhaps I settled down before it was
time...now I'm shackled with responsibilities...
Nenya: So? These people look up to you, as an example.
Ged: That's fine and dandy, but I'm not always going to be around
to provide that example. Finally, after all these years, I see
why my father tires of rulership.
Nenya: Father? Rulership? You've never mentioned these things
Ged: And I won't go into them now, either. It's not the time.
Nenya: Your father is a king, then?
Ged: Not quite - but he wields a lot of power, and responsibility,
and I've long been aware that he tires of it.
Nenya: It sounds like you miss him.
Ged: (rubs his chin) Perhaps.
Nenya: So even in the elven courts, time spawns ennui.
Ged: It truly does. (he looks up) Have you considered the fact
that you'll outlive Deryck? You ignored my reference to it
Nenya: (her eyes drop) Of course. We've even discussed it. But
we don't care, right now.
Ged: Hmm...just wanted to make sure that you knew what you were in
Nenya: You wouldn't happen to be prejudiced, would you?
Ged: Boccob, no! My best friends in the whole world are of varied
races, most of them non-elven. Still...when I think of my - our -
lifespan, and then hold it next to the flicker that is theirs...
(he looks away, sadly)
Nenya: The drow...Belphanior...all is not lost.
Ged: No, but the others will be, and when they are, we elves won't
have even reached middle age.
Ged: First to go will be the humans...Peldor, Rillen, Tanya...and
Arnold. Bosco may make it a few decades beyond that, if he's
lucky. Then, a few centuries later, it'll be Mongo and Gorin's
turn to meet the gods.
Nenya: You forgot Deryck.
Ged: (smiles grimly) I didn't want to upset you.
Ged: Belphanior will be the first of the elves to go, followed by-
(he pauses) -you.
Nenya: And what of you?
Ged: Me? Oh, I'll outlive them all. Except maybe the drow. But
after the passage of many centuries, even the longest-lived of us
shall perish and move on.
Nenya: (suddenly realizes the direction in which Ged has managed
to take this conversation) Why?!?
Ged: (spreads his hands) Why do we die? It's the will of the
Nenya: No, I mean why are you talking like this? Where did this
annihilistic mindset come from?
Ged: (leans back) I...don't know.
Nenya: Oh, I feel _so_ much better now.
Ged: Sometimes, I just start thinking about these things.
Ged: Sorry. I didn't mean to become fatalistic. I just wanted you
to see how important life is, while you have it.
Nenya: Well, I think I get the point.
Ged: Look...all I'm trying to get across is that there's no future
in all this conflict. Sure, if someone attacks, then we defend -
that's why we're called "heroes." But seeking out trouble from one
end of the world to the other...getting involved in random quests
for random people...(he shakes his head) It's not worth it. Don't
learn the hard way, like I did.
Nenya: (stands) You really _are_ sick of it all!
Ged: Perhaps. Or perhaps my troubles will pass. In any case, I'd
be a poor teacher if I didn't try and convince you of this.
Ged: If you ever forget, just think of someone like Belphanior.
Nenya: (shudders involuntarily)
Ged: Exactly. Chaos...war...blood...steel...he thrives on these
things. Even now...but I claim to follow a better way.
Nenya: Hmm. Your words bear much wisdom...even if it is tempered
by the harsh experience of life.
Ged: It always is.
Nenya: (pacing) Well, this conversation certainly took a different
course that I had expected.
Ged: Oh? (he, too, stands) What _did_ you expect?
Nenya: Hmm...(she paces again)
Ged: You should stop pacing and sit down.
Nenya: Probably so. (she sits back down) Well, after talking about
it, Deryck and I...got the impression that you might be...
Ged: (appears surprised) Jealous?!? Me?
Nenya: (shrugs) Just an impression.
Ged: Hah. Not to worry, my dear student.
Nenya: Whew. Well, that's a relief.
Ged: (kisses her hand) Fear not: I shall give the two of you my
blessings at your wedding.
Nenya: Thank you! (she leaps forth and hugs her mentor)
With that, she left the laboratory, the heavy door closing with a
muffled clicking sound. Only Ged knew for sure whether he had spoken
the complete truth or not, but one thing was certain: he felt a lot
happier now than before.
Elsewhere in the castle, Nenya met Arnold, and together they walked
toward one of the castle's exits.
Arnold: How did it go?
Nenya: Okay...bizarre, but okay.
Arnold: (not really following) Aaa. What do you mean?
Nenya: I just think...Ged needs some time alone, to do some thinking.
Arnold: You think so?
Nenya: I'm fairly certain.
Arnold: (nodding) Geb hasn't been himself lately. I think the
fight with Belphandior upset him.
Nenya: Hmm, interesting. That's what I thought, too.
Arnold: I hope he's okay.
Nenya: Me too...but then again, he's so supernaturally smart and
wise...who knows how he thinks? What depresses someone like that?
What makes him happy?
Arnold: Good question.
They left the castle, and were greeted by a sunny, if cold, winter
day. Whatever problems Ged might have, their resolution would have
to wait for another day and time.
next: someone we haven't seen in a while
ftp: ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred)
notes: For the record, Ashley and I decided years ago that
appearance-wise, Nenya looked suspiciously like Uma Thurman.
This episode was written while I watched the 1996 Academy Awards.
I was pleased to see Kevin Spacey win Best Supporting Actor for
"The Usual Suspects" (one of my favorite movies of 1995) and, as
usual, Robin Williams was hilarious. And another mighty battle
movie - Braveheart - captured Best Picture and Best Director. I
am muchly pleased.
On a related note...I decided this was as good a time as any
for another survey. This time, I decided to stay away from
questions about the readers, and rather focus on the stories
Still, if you are reading this, PLEASE return the survey right
away! In addition to collecting opinions, this will let me get
a better count of how many readers are out there, and how many
are/aren't on the mailing list. Thanks. And now, without
It's that time again. This year, we've got Adventurer Oscars.
You are the Academy. Please vote. The categories include the
entire saga, from #1 to #350 and beyond.
Best Plotline: Self-explanatory, though there can be only one.
Best Adventurer: This would have to be a major character: Alindyar,
Ged, Mongo, Peldor, etc.
Best Supporting Adventurer: Minor characters...Otto, Bosco, and so
Best (non-Adventurer) Guest-Star: Anyone not officially in the party.
Most Improved Adventurer: From boring to cool - several might have
gone this route.
...and so on...
I've given rough guidelines, but you can write in any candidate
you want. Please send the ballot below back to me.
Best Plotline: _______________
Best Adventurer: _______________
Best Supporting Adventurer: _______________
Best (non-Adventurer) Guest-Star: _______________
Best Villain: _______________
Best Supporting Villain: _______________
Best Battle Scene: _______________
Best Setting: _______________
Best Weapon: _______________
Best One-on-One Fight: _______________
Best Use of a Spell: _______________
Most Improved Adventurer: _______________
Most Surprising Plot Twist: _______________
Most Humorous Plotline: _______________
Best Non-Weapon Magic Item: _______________
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next chapter (#355)