Chapter #492

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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:        6/23/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        afternoon                                           +
+  Place:       a barbarian village on the Isle of the Ape          +
+  Climate:     hot and humid                                       +
+  "Well me, I kinda like it when things get weird, y'know?         +
+   I like it when all the cards are on the table."                 +
+                                 - the Comedian, from _Watchmen_   +

                      XDII.  A Plan of Action

  Mongo has finally been rejoined by his erstwhile companions, and
they are now gathered in a primitive village.

Mongo:  So, lemme get this right:  you guys have spells that will
  let you and Baldy here talk normally?
Ged:  Yea.
Alindyar:  'Tis a simple spell, really.
big savage warriors:  (eyeing Alindyar with awe, they mutter to
Mongo:  Huh, well, I'll be damned.
Baldy:  (shaking a hide-and-bone rattle, he grins)  Feetla hek.
Mongo:  Just hold your horses.  We'll get this sorted out.
Ged:  I'm guessing that your old bald friend here can tell us more -
  a lot more - about this island, and how to escape it.
Alindyar:  I shall just cast the spell, and-
Ged:  No, I'll cast it.
Alindyar:  And why is that?
Ged:  Because...(he and the drow begin debating)
Mongo:  Sheesh.

  Outside the great hut...

Gorin:  Bosco, what are you doing?
Bosco:  What's it look like?  (he rolls a die again)  Look at 'er go!
savages:  (watching the cube spin about)  Ngor anok!
Gorin:  Feeling better, are we?
Bosco:  Yep, I sure am.  (he watches the die fall)  Hah!
Gorin:  Bosco, you can't teach them gambling.  They're not from the
  same sort of culture.
Bosco:  Sure I can.  I mean, sure, they can.  Learn, that is.  (he
  eyes one of the heavy, substantial gold ornaments around one of
  the mens' necks)
Gorin:  I wish Mongo and the others would hurry up and make their
  deal or whatever.  I'm getting bored out here.
Bosco:  (trying to explain to the savages that they just lost the
  game, and owe him money)  Okay, so you see?  (he regards their
  blank stares)  Oh, heck.

  Elsewhere in the village...

Songa:  (hefts a native spear, its tip a chiseled stone point of
  superior quality, for stone anyway)  Yes..this will do nicely.  All
  of them will.  (she puts the spear back on the ground with the
  two others, and begins pondering the problem of how to carry the
  heavy weapons)
Lyra:  (approaches)  New spears, I see.  Where did you find those?
other savages:  (following the drow woman, though at a distance, they
  gesture and comment to themselves in low voices)
Songa:  I got them from one of these native warriors, in exchange for
  an old dagger I had.
savage warrior:  (nearby, he grins and hoots and makes passes in the
  air with his new weapon)
Lyra:  Not exactly an equal trade, if you ask me.
Songa:  (laughs)  Of course it's not a fair deal.  Three spears for a
  single knife...I hated to cheat him like that, but he can make more
  spears later.
Lyra:  Actually, I meant that the dagger - being forged steel and all
  that - was a better item than the spears.
Songa:  Not at all.  Those spears have better range, not to mention
  killing power.  I'll need them if I'm to help in battle here.
Lyra:  Oh.
Songa:  Where's that man of yours?
Lyra:  With Ged and Mongo and that witch doctor.  They're trying to
  find some clues about how we can best proceed from here.
Songa:  I suppose that would help.  Wandering through this island's
  jungles without rhyme or reason could be a complete waste of time.
Lyra:  Not to mention dangerous.
Songa:  True...(she hefts one of her new spears again)  Though a
  little less dangerous, now...

  Somewhere nearby, those who were hungriest (and hardiest) ate a
hot meal with some savages...

Arnold:  (tears a hunk of dinosaur meat from the spit)  It can't be
  that bad.  (he bites into the sizzling meat)  Aaa.
Rillen:  What?
Arnold:  Tadstes like chicken.
Rillen:  Hmm.  (he eyes the roasting meat, which is now approaching
  the 'well-done' stage)
savage:  Nga grok.  (he tears a smaller piece off and holds it out
  to Rillen, as if sensing the warrior's hesitancy)  Oreida.
Rillen:  Uh...thanks.  (not wanting to offend the fellow, he bites
  into the meat, slowly, finding it to be rather tasty)  Mmm.  (he
  holds the chunk of meat up)
savage:  (pleased that the big warrior took the offering, he confers
  with his companions in their native language)
Arnold:  I think they like you.  (he shrugs)  Your sgin being the
  same color, I mean.
Rillen:  (nods)  That makes me wonder where I am really from.
Arnold:  Aaa.  You don't know?
Rillen:  No.  I never have.  I was left at the monastery when I was
  a baby.
Arnold:  A tiny tod.
Rillen:  Right.  I wouldn't be surprised if my ancestors roamed the
  same lands as these people, actually.
Arnold:  It could be.
Otto:  (strolls up, along with Tanya)  What's cooking?
Rillen:  Roasted dinosaur.  You should try it, it's quite good.
Tanya:  (makes a face)  Gross.
Arnold:  Don't be afraid, Tanga.  It tastes like ch-
Tanya:  It smells like carrion.
Otto:  Well, what do you expect?  It's been roaming the jungle for
  months, probably, without a bath.  (he tears a piece of the hot
  meat from the spit)  May have never had a bath...(he bites into
  the flesh)
Tanya:  Ugh.  (she walks away, having decided that Lyra would be
  better company than these guys)
Rillen:  What's her problem?
Arnold:  (shrugs)  Who knows?

  In another part of the village...

Belphanior:  (resting in a hammock he made out from an old sheet
  and some rope)
Peldor:  (walks by)  Tired?
Belphanior:  What does it look like?
Peldor:  Well, you _did_ get stepped on by a huge dinosaur.
Belphanior:  Just a fluke.  He got lucky.
Peldor:  Hey, listen, there's something I've been meaning to talk
  to you about.
Belphanior:  Oh?
Peldor:  (holds out a scroll)  This was left for you, at the Green
Belphanior: (takes the thing, which is sealed with a thin strand of
  mithril wire)  How'd you get it?  I thought you were away from
Peldor:  I was.  Bosco received it, though he doesn't remember how
  or by who.
Belphanior:  (as wide-eyed as he can be, with one eye)  And he didn't
  open it?
Peldor:  I'm sure he did, but it's blank to him.  And to me.
Belphanior:  (eyes the old parchment as if to verify this)
Peldor:  I think it's only for you to read.
Belphanior:  Odd.
Peldor:  Isn't it, though?
Belphanior:  It might have dangerous glyphs or runes...I'd prefer to
  open it in the safety of laboratory conditions.
Peldor:  But Bosco and I opened it without incident.
Belphanior:  Like you said, it may be only for me to read.
Peldor:  Ah.
Belphanior:  Besides, we'll be home soon.  Before the thing can rot,
  anyway.  I can just feel it.

  As if on cue, Lyra came flying by just then.

Lyra:  To the central hut!  Ged and Alindyar have some important news!
  (she flies away)
Belphanior:  (yawns, and gets out of his hammock)
wispy thing:  (flies by, chirping)  Spaaa!
Peldor:  What is he so happy about?
Belphanior:  No telling.  C'mon, let's see what those geniuses have

  Shortly, in the shaman's hut...

Ged:  We know where to go.
Alindyar:  No, we _think_ we know.
Ged:  Quiet, fool.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  He is rather upset because my tongues
  spell proved more useful than his own comprehend languages.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Ah.  Good going.
Ged:  We - well, Alindyar, actually - talked to this shaman, and he
  told us of five apes-
Mongo:  Yeah, yeah, old news.
Ged:  -and another ape.  A much bigger ape.
Mongo:  (still not impressed)
Alindyar:  This great ape, called 'Oonga' by the local denizens,
  makes its lair on the southeastern end of the isle.
Ged:  That's a good day's march from here.
Belphanior:  So?  What does the biggest ape have to do with our
Ged:  Consider:  Zagyg made this island.  The biggest and most
  powerful beast here is that ape.  It only makes sense that any
  great treasure - and any exit - would be near, or within, that
  beast's lair.
Alindyar:  I have pondered the possibilities, and I agree with Ged.
  Visiting the home of Oonga should be our next move.
Belphanior:  (thinking about this)  Hmm, I think you two are on to
  something here.
Rillen:  (to Songa)  Sounds like a guess to me.
Songa:  Right.
Peldor:  (to Tanya)  What do you think?
Tanya:  One plan's as good as any other.  I'm pretty sure that you
  and I can't escape this place on our own power, so we'd better
  listen to the wizards.
Lyra:  (lays a comforting hand on Tanya's shoulder)  Don't worry.  If
  those two can agree on something, we've got a pretty good chance.
Tanya:  (smiles)  Thanks.
Gorin:  (to Mongo)  Another big fight.
Mongo:  Hey, if it'll get the job done, I'm for it.  (he frowns)
  But this time I'll try not to end up getting eaten.
Otto:  Good advice, says I.
Arnold:  Yah.
wispy thing:  (flies into a torch)  Pfsss.
Bosco:  So what you're saying is, we have to find the big guy's
  lair in order to get out of here?
Ged:  You're pretty sharp there, Bosco.
Alindyar:  Aye, the lair...our best plan would be to wait until
  tomorrow morning, and set out.
Belphanior:  True.  It's getting late - dusk is a few hours away.
  Another half a day of rest would do us all good.
Lyra:  These people don't mind?
Ged:  Not at all.  In fact, they seem rather...taken with you and
  Alindyar here, and Rillen.
Otto:  Gee, I wonder why.
Mongo:  I knew Baldy was a good guy.  I just knew it.
Peldor:  How will we assault the ape's home when we find it?
Ged:  I figured we'd cross that bridge when we came to it.
Belphanior:  Or burn it.
Mongo:  Heh.

next:      to Oonga's lair!
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     I need to go see that new Star Trek movie.  But I'm
  gonna wait until the people in uniform have all already seen it.

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