Chapter #478

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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                    +
+                           +
+  Alindyar     17th level drow mage                            (N) +
+    Lyra       13th level female drow mage                     (N) +
+  Belphanior  (14th)^3 level elven fighter/wizard/thief       (CN) +
+    Otto        8th/9th level dwarven fighter/thief           (CN) +
+    the wispy thing                                                +
+  Ged          15th/14th level grey elven priest/mage         (NG) +
+    Arnold     13th level human barbarian warrior             (NG) +
+  Mongo        18th level dwarven fighter                     (CG) +
+    Gorin      10th level dwarven fighter                     (NG) +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human fighter/thief      (N) +
+    Bosco      11th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Rillen       17th level human monk                           (N) +
+    Songa      13th level human huntress                       (N) +
+  Date:        6/21/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        late evening                                        +
+  Place:       Alindyar and Lyra's mansion, in Greyhawk            +
+  Climate:     temperate                                           +
+  "Are you a dream...?"                                            +
+  "A dream to some...a nightmare to others!"                       +
+                                              - from _Excalibur_   +

              CDLXXVIII.  A Debate Among Friends

  As the adventurers prepare to go to sleep, certain of their number
refuse to be silent.

Ged:  The Isle of the Ape?!?  By wonder he didn't tell
  us at first!
Alindyar:  Obviously you know something that the rest of us do not.
  Kindly share.
Belphanior:  Yeah.

  Rary had already vanished for the night, after telling them that
Tenser would arrive at first light, to take them to their destination.
Ged, for his part, was looking rather exasperated, yet also excited
at the same time.

Ged:  The Isle of the Ape is a creation of Zagyg.
Peldor:  Zagyg the mad wizard?  Founder of Greyhawk?
Alindyar:  Or Zagyg the demi-god, servant of Boccob?
Ged:  (nodding)  One and the same.
Belphanior:  Now _there's_ a surprise.
Ged:  Whatever.  The point is, this isle does exist, and it's not even
  on this world!
Songa:  Now this is getting interesting.
Mongo:  Not on this world?  Then where is it?
Ged:  In addition to the myriad planes of existence, there are other
  planes...smaller planes.  Pocket dimensions, if you will.
Lyra:  (nods in understanding)  Demi-planes.
Ged:  Yea.  The "isle" actually lies within one such demi-plane.
Belphanior:  So what?  What prevents people from teleporting out - or
  even using other means to escape?
Ged:  This is all legend, of course...but I believe it, given the
  star of the story.  Zagyg designed only a single means of egress
  from the place, a single portal.
Tanya:  Why?
Ged:  Who can know the ways of his insane mind?
Gorin:  Sounds like he got off on playing god, if you ask me.
Ged:  (gives the dwarf an irritated look)
Gorin:  (snickers to himself)
Alindyar:  Hmm...a sole escape...the idea being, then, for explorers
  to solve some great riddle or puzzle or something of that nature,
  before successfully escaping?
Ged:  (sighs, nodding)  That's the general legend, anyway.  I wouldn't
  know all of this, mind you, if I wasn't a high priest of Boccob AND
  a powerful wizard.
Belphanior:  Naturally.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Rillen:  (shaking his head)  I don't like it.  A place far-removed
  from our world - if you believe that - and a single means of exit.
Otto:  Not to mention an island full of nasty...nasty...(he turns to
  Ged)  What the hell's on this island, anyway?
Ged:  (shrugs)  That, I cannot tell you.  Some things are unknown,
  even in legend and myth.
Songa:  Well there must at least be many apes if it is named the Isle
  of Apes.
Lyra:  Wonderful.
Alindyar:  I like this quest no more than any of us, yet we must
  agree that it _is_ a worthy mission.
Mongo:  Damn right!
Belphanior:  I agree.  The Wand of-
Ged:  (snaps)  Don't say that name in vain, fool, lest the dreaded
  one appear before you!
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  I doubt we have a chair big enough to
  hold such a houseguest.
Alindyar:  (smiles thinly)
wispy thing:  (appears from the fireplace, coughing)  Hccck!
Belphanior:  (eyes the immaterial one)  What's that all about?
Lyra:  We use magical firewood, thus magical soot in the chimney.  He
  must have breathed it.
Belphanior:  (shaking his head with the wonder of it all)

  They agreed to go on this mighty quest, though each had his or her
own motivations.  Though he could care less what the demons were up
to, in the depths of the Abyss, Alindyar wished to assist the Circle
of Eight, for obvious reasons.  Lyra, of course, followed where he
went.  Ged's reasons were more a matter of principle, though it was
undeniable that he was excited at the destination.  The lost secrets
of Zagyg - and perhaps Boccob - were worth any risk, in his opinion.
For Belphanior, the apparent reason was the repayment of favors to
Drawmij and others of the Circle.  Secretly, though, he yearned for
that dreaded artifact, the Wand of Orcus.  Otto, for his part, didn't
much care about the wand or the demons; he was simply along for the
ride.  Mongo was coming along not just for the thrill of it, but also
out of a sense of loyalty to his friends.  Wherever they went, what-
ever dangers they faced, he would not abandon them.  Gorin, of course,
followed Mongo; however, the idea of an extraplanar adventure thrilled
him to no end.  Peldor didn't care where he went at this time, and an
adventure with his old companions was as good as any other adventure.
Tanya, naturally, would accompany him, though she had her doubts about
this whole affair.  Rillen, alone of all the group, had no desire to
venture to this forsaken isle.  It was only a sense of loyalty to the
others - and the opinion of Songa - that caused him to cast his lot
in with the group.  As for Bosco...well, even now, the halfling was
curled up in a chair, dreaming fitful dreams about ceiling-high heaps
of lost treasure.

  Eventually, they retired for the night, for all of them needed a
good night's sleep.  Warriors rested their tired muscles; wizards
studied arcane formulae; rogues schemed and plotted.  In the morning,
all were fresh and well-rested.

Ged:  (grumbling and rubbing his lower back)  You need to get some
  guest beds for your guest bedrooms...
Lyra:  Oh, so sorry.

  The unseen servants brought food, and plenty of it; everyone ate
heartily, not knowing when their next good meal might be.  During the
final moments of this meal, there was a knock at the door.

Alindyar:  Who could that be?
Belphanior:  It had better not be Rob, or Peyote.
Mongo:  Hah!  That's a good one.
Ged:  Yea, you see me laughing, don't you?
Peldor:  Ah, don't sweat it.  It's probably the milkman.
Lyra:  We don't _have_ a milkman.

  An unseen servant opened the great wooden door, admitting a tall,
regal, blue-robed wizard.

Tenser:  Good morning!
Bosco:  (bows before the wizard)  Good morning to you too...and what a
  fine morning it is!  Do come in, good fellow!
Tenser:  (taken aback, he follows as the halfling tugs his sleeve)
Bosco:  Now you just have a seat, and tell us of the lost treas-
Ged:  That's enough, Bosco.  I'm sure Tenser has more important things
  to do right now.
Otto:  Like taking us to the hellhole island.
Peldor:  (to Tenser)  You'll have to forgive Bosco - he's been having
  gold-filled dreams.
Bosco:  (pouting)  It was platinum!
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  I'd have thought he'd teleport in, rather
  than simply coming to the front door.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Aye...
Rillen:  (clasps hands with the archmage)  Long time, no see.  How is
Tenser:  Doing well, thanks...happily swimming about in the waters of
  the Nyr Dyv.
wispy thing:  (orbits Tenser's head)  Pffft?
Tenser:  What have we here?
Belphanior:  (shrugs)  I wish I knew.
Ged:  So...I take it you're not here to deliver milk?
Tenser:  Are all of you ready to depart?

  They were.  Some had gone at dawn to retrieve their possessions
from inns in the city, while others had already brought the necessary
weapons and items.

Tenser:  Very well, then.  Let's be off.

  The archmage instructed all of them to clasp hands and stand in a
circle.  It was a rather large circle.

Lyra:  Hmm.
Bosco:  (having somehow ended up between Lyra and Songa, he grins and
  bounces up and down, swinging from the females' arms as his feet
  leave the floor)  Let's go, let's go!
Songa:  Settle down, or I'll toss you through a window.
Rillen:  (silently musing to himself about the foolishness of this
  entire endeavor)
Gorin:  (eyes alight at the prospect of a great adventure)  Are we
  ready for this?
Mongo:  (chewing on a last bit of ham from breakfast)  Let's go for it!
Belphanior:  (pondering the legendary powers of a certain evil relic)
wispy thing:  (coiled around Belphanior's shoulder-joint, it grins)
Otto:  (wondering if he brought enough poison, and then wondering how
  Razor Charlie and the rest are faring in Helgate, he frowns)
Peldor:  (to Tanya)  You sure you want to do this?
Tanya:  Yep.  (she squeezes his hand)  Zeif was getting boring.
Peldor:  It was?
Arnold:  (thinking about fighting unknown foes and conquering deadly
  dangers)  Aaa.
Ged:  What's that humming?
Alindyar:  Are we departing, then?
Tenser:  We have an intermediate stop to make first...

  With that, the wizard and his thirteen charges (and one wispy thing)
blinked out of sight, and out of this world.

next:      the city on the edge of forever
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     ...

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