Chapter #436

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                                +   +
                              +       +
                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                      +                       +
                        +      Epic III     +
                          +               +
                            +           +
                              +       +
                                +   +

+    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                    +
+                           +
+  Bosco           11th level halfling thief                   (CN) +
+  Halbarad        13th level human ranger                     (NG) +
+  Mongo           18th level dwarven fighter                  (CG) +
+    Gorin          9th level dwarven fighter                  (NG) +
+  Peyote          11th/12th level half-elven warrior/druid     (N) +
+  Rillen          17th level human monk                        (N) +
+    Songa         13th level human huntress                    (N) +
+  Rob             15th level priest of Trithereon             (LG) +
+  Date:        4/18/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        afternoon                                           +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     pleasant                                            +
+  "It's easy to make a friend.  What's hard is to make a           +
+   stranger."                                                      +
+                                                       - unknown   +

             CDXXXVI.  Old Companions And New

  Three days have passed since Peldor's wedding and subsequent
departure.  Various members of the party have been pursuing their
own ends.  Sometimes, though, their ends pursue them...

Mongo:  (sitting in the Braying Donkey tavern, enjoying a quiet meal
  for a change as he contemplates his future)  Hmm.

  To be sure, the dwarf was bored.  Unlike most of his adventuring
companions, he wasn't married or otherwise engaged.  He had nowhere
to call home, nowhere to settle.  Mongo was beginning to think that
Clangeddin had put him on this world for the sole purpose of fighting
evildoers and championing the weak.

Mongo:  (tears a huge bite from a turkey leg)  Rrgnf.
dwarf:  (strolls up to the table)  Uh...Mongo?
Mongo:  Hmph?  (he turns, and nearly chokes on his food)  <kaff>
dwarf:  Sorry about that.
Mongo:  (sputtering)  Darek Halfplow?!?
dwarf:  (looking around)  Shh!  Keep your voice down...
Mongo:  Why?!?  You're dead!
Darek:  (takes a seat)  I never knew it, then.  I've been looking for
  one of you for days now.
Mongo:  How...when...what the hell's going on?
Darek:  I was hoping you could tell me.  The last thing I remember is
  that explosion, during the fight.  Then the ceiling fell...
Mongo:  (nods)  Boy, did it ever.
Darek:  Well, like I said, that was the last thing I remember.  Next
  time I woke up, I was in the upper levels of Greyhawk's sewers.  Some
  sewer-cleaners found me.  (he shrugs)  Weirdest damn thing.
Mongo:  (rubs his beard)

  The warrior was beginning to put the pieces together.  Darek's
smashed corpse had been left in the care of the svirfneblin, the deep
gnomes who lived in a city deep beneath Greyhawk.  Grimlok, their king,
had promised to do whatever he could.  Now it seemed that his high
priest, Slagg, had succeeded.  The deep gnomes had probably taken the
unconscious Darek all the way back up to the sewers - a great risk
indeed, for the svirfneblin had made clear their desire to keep their
presence a secret.  Darek, naturally, hadn't a clue about what had
happened to him, and Mongo couldn't tell him the truth.

Mongo:  Uh, things got kinda strange down there, but I guess you
  made it.
Darek: I said, it's weird, but here I am.  What happened
  to the shapeshifters?
Mongo:  We found their colony, killed a lot of 'em...they got riled up,
  though, and gave us a hard time before it was all over.  But now it
  is, and that's that.
Darek:  (shakes his head)  Strangest damn thing...
Mongo:  Look, a lot of what went down is being covered up, so I'd
  suggest that you don't go hunting for too many answers.
Darek:  (grins)  Ah, the city's bureaucracy hard at work, eh?
Mongo:  Something like that.
Darek:  Mind if I have some of that turkey?  I haven't eaten since
Mongo:  Sure, go ahead.  (he pushes the plate over)

  The two dwarves talked for awhile, discussing the finer points of
Greyhawk's architecture and design.  When Mongo was done, though, he
bid the other farewell - for he had places to be.  Soon, he had
rejoined Gorin and some of the others, in the Green Dragon Inn.

Mongo:  Ready?
Gorin:  Got everything packed.
Peyote:  That's no biggie when you've got a portable hole, dude.
Halbarad:  I, myself, prefer to carry my worldly possessions on my
  back.  Anything else is unnecessary.
Songa:  Now you're talking sense.
Halbarad:  (frowns)  When haven't I?
Rillen:  (to Rob)  You're sure you don't want to accompany us?
Rob:  Yes, I'm sure.  I'd like to, but I have pressing business else-
Bosco:  Hey, what could be more important that clowning around with
  your old drinking buddies?
Rob:  Drinking?  I never...
Bosco:  (to Mongo)  Man, I sure wish I could come with you guys...but
  as the new proprietor of the Green Dragon Inn, I have important things
  to do.  (he holds up a scroll)  Do you have any _idea_ how much the
  city council takes for land taxes?  Why, if I didn't-
Rob:  (trips over a scurrying ferret, and crashes into a stack of
  kegs, toppling some of them)  Oops...
Rillen:  (sighing, he picks up one keg, easily, and re-stacks it atop
  the others)
Bosco:  Harpo!  Get over here.
Harpo:  (climbs up Bosco's proffered arm, quickly taking a perch atop
  the halfling's head)
Gorin:  How are the ferrets doing?
Bosco:  Actually, they've got a sister now - their parents had a new
  litter, though all but one died.  (he shakes his head sadly)  Still,
  one is better than none.
Songa:  (to Rillen)  That's sad.
Halbarad:  (awkwardly breaking up this conversation)  Er...we should
  be going.
Peyote:  (to Bosco)  Fear not, little dude...we'll be back, to wine and
  dine at your fine establishment.
Bosco:  I hope so.  Hey, I'll give you a discount!
Mongo:  That's generous of you, Bosco.
Bosco:  (shrugs)  What can I say?

  Scarcely an hour later, those who were going were on the road:
Mongo, Gorin, Rillen, Songa, Halbarad, and Peyote.

Rillen:  I was surprised to learn that we had a common destination.
Peyote:  Only partially, tall cool dude.  Once we cross the Nyr Dyv,
  we've gotta go northwest, to the Vesve Forest.
Gorin:  Why's that?
Peyote:  It's a druidic thing, man.  And Halbarad's in on it too.
Halbarad:  You're certainly welcome to join us.
Rillen:  Hmm, I don't know...
Songa:  (shakes her head)  Our path lies to the north and east.
Peyote:  (eyeing the woman's amazonian proportions)  That's too bad,
  tall lady.
Mongo:  (to Rillen)  Me and Gorin will probably go with them.  I was
  thinking of heading back toward the Lortmils, and Thunderdelve
  Mountain, anyway.  This'll just be a slight detour, and who knows
  what adventure may wait around the corner?
Rillen:  I understand.  We, too, have business of our own to attend
Halbarad:  (idly examining a snake's trail, along the side of the
  road)  Hmm.
Songa:  (joins him)  A grass snake.
Halbarad:  No, surely it was a spotted rock snake.
Songa:  No, it was a grass snake.  See, they always leave these tiny
  sideways furrows, like this.
Halbarad:  Bah.
Mongo:  (to Peyote)  So what've you guys been up to, all these years?
Peyote:  What we do best, man:  wandering.  Adventures here and there,
  of course.  You remember the rune quest?
Mongo:  (nods)  Yeah.
Peyote:  That was one of our grandest little jaunts.  Well, I guess
  you guys missed out on the end of it, eh?
Mongo:  We sure did.  Whatever happened to those runes?
Peyote:  Well, after you guys zapped yourselves out of this world,
  we hooked up with some other adventurers.  Together, we fought the
  bad guys...basically, they've got some runes, and we've got some
Gorin:  You're not carrying them around, I take it?
Peyote:  No way, dude.  The ones we had were split up and given to
  certain people for safekeeping.  Even we don't know who.  Never
  again will those things be a threat to the world.
Mongo:  (counting off on his fingers)  Earth, Fire, Water, Air...uh.
  Damn, I wish I was better at remembering things like this.
Peyote:  Time, Star.  (he scratches his head)  Now what _was_ that
  seventh one?  Halbarad, what was that seventh one?
Halbarad:  (shrugs)  I don't remember.
Rillen:  Obviously not the rune of Memory.
Songa:  Heh.

next:      Rillen and Songa go their own way, leaving the others to
           journey to the Vesve
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     I'd better say it now:  the Rune storyline will NOT be
  coming back.  I'm just referencing it to try and wrap up loose

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