Chapter #39

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*  The 8 player characters contained in these writings are copyright
*  1992 by Thomas Miller...copying and distribution of these stories
*  is permissible only under the condition that no part of them will
*  be used or sold for profit.  In that case, I hope you enjoy them.


Alindyar, 7th level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 5th/5rd/6th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 6th/6th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Halbarad, 7th level human ranger (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 7th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Peldor, 8th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 6th/7th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
Rob, 7th level human priest of Trithereon (LG)
Date:   6/12/570 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   early morning
Place:  Havenhill, in the Principality of Ulek

                     XXXIX.  Oh, no!  Not Again!

  The party just spent several weeks training, spending money, and
in general living it up as a result of their recent activities.
One fine morning, they were awakened in their guest bedrooms in
the king's castle by a royal messenger boy.

boy:  Excuse me.  Excuse me!
Belphanior:  (instantly awakens and bolts out of his bed, sword
  drawn)  Huh?!?!  What the hell?
boy:  I SAID, excuse me!
Mongo:  (rubbing his eyes)  This had better be good...(the others
  are all waking up now)
Ged:  <yawn>
boy:  I am a messenger from the Baron Trevor!
Ged:  Oh, yes.  He was the one whose kidnapped daughter we had
  inadvertently rescued from that fortress.
Mongo:  Hey, that was a lot of fun.
Belphanior:  You don't say.
Alindyar:  Ah, yes.  The fireball...
Rob:  (tangled up in his covers)
Peyote:  It's way too early for this, man.
Halbarad:  So, what brings you here this morning, friend?
Belphanior:  Yeah.  What the hell do you want?
boy:  The Baron requests your company.  The matter is urgent, for
  his daughter has been kidnapped once more!
Mongo:  Say WHAT?!?
Halbarad:  It cannot be!
boy:  But it is!
Ged:  How in Boccob's name did that happen?
Belphanior:  Oh boy, oh boy!  Someone to kill...
boy:  On the eve of her wedding night, which as all know was to
  be tonight-
Rob:  Hey, _I_ didn't know that.
boy:  -our dearest princess was taken from her bedchamber by a
  winged monstrosity!
Peyote:  No way!
boy:  Way.  The Baron is heartbroken.
Mongo:  Hm.  Lemme guess, he wants US to go and find her?
boy:  That is correct.  As you are now the premier heroes in the
  land, your party is the only sensible choice in the matter.
Rob:  Sensible?  Yes.  Up to the task?  Perhaps not.
Peldor:  (to Rob)  Good going, priest.  We need to hold out until
  he offers us the most money.
Rob:  ...
Ged:  Of course we will help.
Alindyar:  Shall we?
Halbarad:  Of course we shall!
Belphanior:  Well, there is the small matter of...compensation.
Peldor:  For out time, trouble, and risk of death, you see.
boy:  Of course.  Follow me to the Baron's manor and he shall
  discuss terms with you.
Mongo:  (grumbling)  He'd better have a hot breakfast waiting,
  then!  I'm not ready to get up yet.
Halbarad:  Go forth, boy.  We know where the good baron's house
  is.  We will be along presently.
boy:  Ah.  (scurries off)
Ged:  Here we go again...

  Soon, they were talking matters over with Trevor himself, over
a plentiful breakfast.

Trevor:  ...and so that's about all we know.  This strange, evil
  winged demon flew in and seized my daughter.  First a daylight
  kidnapping by bandits, now this!  What is going on?!
Belphanior:  At the rate you're going, the next time it will be
  a Duke of Hell himself who takes the girl.
Ged:  Hush.  You're not helping any.
Trevor:  Fortunately, the king's court wizards have been of much
  help.  They have scried for her, and found that she is within
  a fortress just inside the Pomarj.
Mongo:  Pomarj?
Belphanior:  Pomarj!
Ged:  There and back again...
Trevor:  But that was all they could do, before their spells of
  scrying were blocked or shattered.  They have also provided
  me with an enchanted arrow, which points to the princess at
  all times of the day or night.  See?  (holds up an arrow by a
  string - it points toward the east)
Rob:  Neat.
Trevor:  We have received no ransom demands, no messages, not
  one damned thing.
Mongo:  Maybe whoever took her is holding out for a while.
Trevor:  I cannot wait for that!  I must have her back!  Won't
  you help me?
Peldor:  What is our salary to be for this task?
Belphanior:  Yes, what?
Peldor:  Come on, spit it out.
Trevor:  Well, my coffers are not very full right now.  I can
  only offer you ten thousand coins of gold.
Belphanior:  Ten thousand?!  Is that it?
Peldor:  Hmm, I have a lot of work to do here in town.  Could
  take weeks...
Ged:  Oh come now.  Monetary gain should not be our only form
  of motivation.  What of the doing of a good deed?
Peyote:  What of rescuing an innocent maiden from certain doom?
Alindyar:  What of the countless magical items and spells that
  such an evil winged demon, or the sorcerer who controls it,
  is certain to possess?
Mongo:  Don't forget the great battles that we're sure to have!
Belphanior:  Items of magic...?  I had forgotten about those...
Peldor:  Hmm.
Trevor:  Well, I can try to locate something else of value to
  add on to that sum.  Something like magical items, weapons,
  armor, scrolls, potions...Hmm.  It could happen.
Peyote:  And monkeys-  oh, never mind.
Halbarad:  We accept your generous offer.
Peldor:  We do?!?
Ged:  And we shall leave today!
Peldor:  We shall?!?
Belphanior:  Oh, come on!  It will be great fun!
Peldor:  It will?!?
Trevor:  I cannot express my relief enough.
Belphanior:  Just have our reward waiting for us when we bring
  her back.
Peldor:  Umm...yeah.

  And so, the noble and self-sacrificing band prepared themselves
for another mission.  The Baron was able to pull a few strings
with a local church, and procured ten flasks of powerful healing
potions for the party to take.  They bought new horses, stocked
up on supplies and rations, and left before noon.

Alindyar:  This ensorcelled arrow guides our way well.
Ged:  Yea...I sure hope that these holy healing potions were
  blessed by a god of Good.
Belphanior:  I sure hope that the baron has a decent reward for
  us when we return.  Otherwise, I'll have to keep his daughter
  and ransom her myself.
Halbarad:  You most certainly will not!
Belphanior:  Will too!
Ged:  Will not!
Belphanior:  Will too!
Mongo:  Hey guys, stuff it, okay?  Let's get where we're going
  and save our wrath for the kidnappers.
Rob:  (talking to his horse)
Ged:  I can see that this is going to be almost as much fun as
  last time.
Halbarad:  Let us ride.  (they do)
Belphanior:  Hey, wait!  Who are those?

  An armed contingent of Ulek's finest accompanied the party as
far as the border (the southern branch of the Jewel River) where
they paid some peasant to use his boat to ferry them across.  At
this point, the troops wished the party good luck and rode back
to the west.
  The group rode for five days through the now-familiar stubby
grasslands that were the Pomarj.  One night, they were beset by
gigantic wolves (much to the wolves' eventual woe).  Another
night, a force of goblins attacked, and was summarily eliminated.
Such encounters were becoming trivial at best for this party by
now, especially with such mighty spells as fear, confusion, and
lightning bolt at their disposal.
  Finally, the arrow was pointing in the same direction without
any deviation; they knew that they were getting close.  They
entered a range of largish hills, and before too long, the dark,
hulking form of a massive hill, almost a mountain, was visible.
Cut from the very rock of this land formation was a pair of tall
towers.  There was a large, drawbridge-type door between them at
ground level; it looked about ten feet wide and twice as high.
The towers rose about fifty feet above the party, while the peak
itself rose over three hundred feet.  Some vague figures manned
the tower tops.  There was a single barred window about halfway
up in each tower.  The rock faces around the towers and the door
were rough and sheer.  The enchanted arrow was unmoving as it
pointed steadily toward this place.

Halbarad:  We shall stay here for a time.  It would not do well
  for us to be spotted by yonder guards.
Mongo:  Fuck 'em!  I wonder if I could hit them from here, with
  my hammer.
Peyote:  In case you haven't noticed, dude, it's getting dark
  out here.  I say we go in when it's _totally_ dark.
Peldor:  Yah.  Good plan.
Belphanior:  Suits me.
Alindyar:  And I as well.
Mongo:  I bet I _could_ hit them up there.
Ged:  I could try to open the drawbridge magically.
Alindyar:  I am wondering if those guards have seen us down here.
Halbarad:  Ged, I will cover you while you work on getting that
  door open.  Shall we wait, say, thirty more minutes?
Ged:  Okay.  (digs out his spellbook)  Just let me know.
Mongo:  This waiting business is too much!  I want action and I
  want it now!
Peyote:  Quiet, dude.  You'll ruin everything.


Ged:  (creeping up to the drawbridge)
Halbarad:  (with the elf, watching all around)
others:  (just watching from their cover about a hundred feet back)
Ged:  (whispering)  shh.  we're at the drawbridge now.  i'll see
  what i can do.  (begins casting his spell quietly)
Halbarad:  check.
Ged:  (concentrating on the portal)  ...

  The massive drawbridge creaked as its chains began to unreel...

Ged:  this is almost too easy.
Halbarad:  i agree.  that bridge is too loud.  someone should have
  oiled it properly.

  The drawbridge suddenly moved faster, as the Knock spell simply
displaced the teeth that held the coiled chains in place, but
failed to make any provision for the bridge to open softly.  The
massive, wooden, iron-bound slab fell to the ground with a loud
<THUMP> as dust and dirt billowed about!

Ged:  oh shit.
Halbarad:  however could we have been so stupid?
Ged:  why are we whispering?
Halbarad:  i don't know.

  Suddenly, a cloaked figure appeared at the ten-foot wide, twenty
foot high opening revealed by the fallen drawbridge.

mage:  You were foolish to come here!  Now pay the price!  (points
  at the pair, and a cloud of noxious gas came into existence all
  around them)  Such is the fate of all who dare to challenge us!
Ged:  <cough>  (reeling in nauseation)
Halbarad:  <gag>  (likewise)


Belphanior:  Oh shit!  There's a mage, and he just gassed them!
  (stands up)  Death!
Mongo:  Hold on!  (grabs the elf and hurls him out of the way)
  Stay out of my way!  (hurls his hammer at the figure, but
  misses, possibly because of the long range involved)  Fuck!
  I never miss!
Peyote:  Well, you've missed now, dude.
Belphanior:  Don't do that again.  (moves out of the rocky
  outcropping they've been hiding behind)  Uh-oh!  Incoming!

  With that warning, the elf leaped to one side as a forked
bolt of lightning rocketed toward the group...

next time:  The party suffers the ill effects of high voltage,
  but lives to fight a mage and his ogres

ANONYMOUS FTP SITE: (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
NOTES:  I am sorry that this episode is so short.  Times are tough.
  The survey results will appear at the end of the next posting, that
is, part 40.  They are interesting to say the least.

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