Chapter #494

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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:        6/24/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        morning                                             +
+  Place:       one of the countless jungles on the Isle of the Ape +
+  Climate:     hot and humid                                       +
+  "Natural selection, as it has operated in human history,         +
+   favors not only the clever but the murderous."                  +
+                                           - Barbara Ehrenreich    +

                      XDIV.  Vicious Denizens

  En route to the lair of the great ape Oonga, the party has been
set upon by small but exceedingly ferocious dinosaurs...

raptor#1:  Scree!  (it bowls Arnold over, tearing and biting at him)
Arnold:  (fairly well-encased in his plate mail, he struggles to
  reach his sword)
raptor#2:  Grrr!  (it pounces at Mongo)
Mongo:  (ignores rending attacks to his chest, bringing his club,
  which is never far from his side, to bear)  How now!  (he wallops
  the savage foe aside the head)
raptor#2:  (dazed, it yet continues to attack, the talons on its feet
  now coming into play)  Screaa!
raptor#3:  Scrrrrr...(it leaps toward Otto)
Otto:  (whirls and fires, his bolt hitting the thing in the throat)
raptor#3:  (seemingly ignoring this terrible wound, from which blood
  spurts profusely, it slashes at the dwarf)  Scraa!
Otto:  Fuck!  (he tries to block the attacks with his crossbow)
raptor#4:  Scraaaaie!  (it rakes at Belphanior with its deadly claws)
Belphanior:  Damn-  (he swings Blackrazor, shearing off the thing's
  claw even as it collides with him, screaming)
raptor#5:  Scraa!  (it tears into Alindyar, and blood flies every-
Lyra:  Alindyar!  (she feels the ESP recoil of her mate's pain, and
  falls to the jungle floor, dazed)
raptor#6:  (sailing toward Rillen)  Screee-
Rillen:  (meets the foe with the end of his staff, ramming it into
  the toothy maw)  Chew on that, ugly.
raptor#6:  (choking, it tears at the staff which keeps it held at
  bay from its target)

  The entire attack had taken only a few moments.  Now, the battle
was joined!

Otto:  (deftly kicks out, knocking his foe back)
raptor#3:  (quickly regains its footing, swiping at its bleeding neck
  with one clawed hand)  Graaar...(it prepares to pounce once more)
Songa:  Yaaaaah!  (she casts one of her new spears)
raptor#3:  (its head pierced by the powerful shaft, it falls, raking
  at the air with its talons)
Otto:  Good gods, woman!  Hell of a shot!
Songa:  (smiles grimly, and hefts another spear)
Mongo:  (shoves his metal club into his opponent's mouth, and pushes
  the thing back)
raptor#2:  (strong and agile as it is, it quickly finds itself
  overpowered by the tremendous strength of this small prey)  Scraa!
  (it tries a new tactic, kicking at Mongo's less-protected legs with
  its clawed toes)
Mongo:  (suffers several cuts in the space of a moment)  Aaargh!  You
  fucking thing...!
Ged:  For Boccob!  (he swings Lightbringer with all of his amplified
  strength, and brains the lizard atop Arnold)
raptor#1:  Raaar!  (its head split open, it lashes about)
Arnold:  (blocking attacks with his plate-clad arms, he quickly
  seizes this opportunity to bring his sword into play)
raptor#1:  (dodges, but not quite fast enough, as the barbarian's
  gigantic sword impales it through the belly)  Scrrrargh!  (it yet
  continues to slash and bite, even in dying)
Ged:  (knocked back by a claw to the arm, he falls)  Argh!  (he
  checks the wound, and his hand comes away bloody)  Damned scum!
Arnold:  (tugs on his sword, opening a rather large gash in the
  dying reptile's stomach)
raptor#1:  (its intestines spill out onto the foliage of the jungle
  floor, and finally, its movements slow)  Scraaa...
Otto:  Wow, now _that's_ intestinal fortitude for you.
Bosco:  (wide-eyed, he turns and vomits)
Gorin:  Oh, geez.  (he charges, hacking at Mongo's foe)
raptor#2:  (turns to face this new foe, causing what would have been
  a killing blow to merely shear off a chunk of its face)  Raaargh!
Gorin:  Uh-oh.  I think I just pissed it off.
Peldor:  (backstabs the monster, his sword slicing almost totally
  through its neck, and then becomes visible)  Who are you talking
Gorin:  You, of course.
Peldor:  As befits a Peldor.
Mongo:  (stands shakily, waving his club about)  Where'd he go?
raptor#4:  (sinks its teeth into Belphanior's shoulder, biting
  through clothing and muscle alike)  Sssss!
Belphanior:  AAAAARGH!  (with a colossal effort of will, he brings
  his sword around, slicing across the thing's face even as it gnaws
  on him)
raptor#4:  (both eyes slashed open, it rears back, screaming in rage
  and waving its stump madly, the wrist still spurting blood about)
Belphanior:  (astutely rolls to the side, almost passing out as his
  weight lands on his wounded shoulder)  Uh...
raptor#4:  (tears at the ground where the elf just lay)  Scraaa!
Tanya:  (having snuck around and waited, she strikes, hamstringing
  the monster with a swift strike)
raptor#4:  (falls, screaming even more madly)
Tanya:  (having seen what these things can do, even wounded or dying,
  she quickly steps back)
raptor#5:  (as Alindyar has stopped moving, it stands, seeking to
  kill other foes before enjoying its meal)  Scrrr?
Bosco:  (wiping chunks from his mouth, he finds himself facing the
  frenzied dinosaur)  Uh...
raptor#5:  Graaar!  (it pounces at the halfling)
raptor#6:  (finally frees itself from Rillen's staff, blood and
  teeth spilling from its mouth)  Rrrrggggraaa!  (it leaps at the
Rillen:  (deftly sidesteps, assisted by his magical boots, and hits
  the foe in the neck)  Yai!
raptor#6:  (tumbles to the ground in a heap, wheezing and coughing
  inhumanly)  <ghaak>
Rillen:  (backs up a few steps, twirling his staff into a ready
  position once more)  Hai!
raptor#4:  (writhing about on the jungle floor, one-handed, blind,
  and crippled)  Graaargh!
Lyra:  (still sitting on the ground, she pelts the thing's face with
  a barrage of magic missiles)
raptor#4:  (croaks in pain as it bleeds to death)  Scraagh...
Belphanior:  Nifty move, Lyra.  Thanks.
Lyra:  (stone-faced)  Shut up and kill them, you fool.
Tanya:  Are you okay...?
Lyra:  Far from it.  (she stands and begins another spell)
raptor#5:  (swiping at the air angrily)  Scraaa!  Graargh!
Bosco:  (still ascending, he flies just feet above the creature)
  Hah!  Gotcha that time-
raptor#5:  (suddenly leaps upward, catching the halfling in the seat
  of his pants with one hooked claw)  Scraaa!  (it quickly pulls him
  down to earth)
Bosco:  Oh, crap!
raptor#5:  (it holds the halfling in its hands, unsure what to do
  with such a tiny morsel, and finally opens its maw right next to
  Bosco's head)
Bosco:  Eep!?
Mongo:  (brings his club up and around, smashing into the lizard's
  face with bone-shattering force)  Get away from him!
raptor#5:  (its jaw and half the other bones in its face pulverized,
  it staggers back, hissing)  Scrssss...
Songa:  (charges from the beast's rear, driving her spear into its
  back)  Die, monster!
raptor#5:  (whirls about, tearing the weapon from the huntress' grip)
  Graaaar!  (it walks toward her)
Mongo:  Dammit, don't you ever learn?!?  (he belts the thing in the
  side, breaking ribs and crushing guts)
raptor#5:  (falls, squeaking pitifully)
Bosco:  (covering his ears)  Eww...
Belphanior:  (slashes at the fallen foe, decapitating it with a
  single stroke)  No time for pity.
raptor#6:  (having regained its feet, it charges at Rillen)  Raargh!
Rillen:  (stands confidently, his staff held at the ready)
Lyra:  (from the side, she sends a thin white ray into the beast's
raptor#6:  (suddenly turns white, instantly coated with frost and
  ice, and falls, unmoving)
Rillen:  Wha- ?
Lyra:  Now they're all dead.  (she turns to attend to Alindyar)

  As the others bound their wounds, Lyra found that her mate was in
bad shape.  Fortunately, Ged was already working a powerful spell of
healing upon the fallen mage.

Lyra:  Oh, gods...look at his stomach.
Ged:  Don't worry, I can pull him through.  (he frowns)  I think.
Lyra:  (tears welling in her eyes)  He has to make it.  (to Alindyar)
  You have to...(she holds his hand)

  Nearby, Arnold and Songa were spearheading the effort to make sure
the dead monsters were really dead...

Arnold:  (severing each corpse's head as he goes)  That'll do it.
Songa:  (poking the bodies with her spear, before Arnold does his
  part, just in case)  It sure will.
Belphanior:  (watching, amused)
Bosco:  (walking around queasily)  Urk.
Mongo:  Maybe now you can add another name to your list, Bosco...
  'Bosco, battle puker'?
Otto:  Nah.  Bosco, chunk-blower.
Peldor:  Hey, don't talk about it - that makes it happen again.
Mongo:  You would know.
Bosco:  (somewhat mortified)  Hey, what can I say?  I was still sick
  from the other day.  Darned bananas...I knew I should have stopped
  after the first bunch...
Gorin:  You should have at least puked on the enemies, though.
Bosco:  (shrugs)
Songa:  Let's just count ourselves lucky that we're alive and well.
Tanya:  Smart advice.  (she regards the scattered corpses)  Where do
  things like that get born anyway?
Bosco:  Maybe they were hatched.
Belphanior:  Why do you say that?
Bosco:  Dunno.  (he pats his stomach)  I'm gonna rest for awhile.
wispy thing:  (flies out of the jungle, grinning)  Yrrrp!
Belphanior:  Where the hell have _you_ been?  We could have used you
  in the fight...well, okay, maybe not.
wispy thing:  (smirks)  Nrp, nrp.
Belphanior:  (walks away, shaking his head)
Ged:  (stands)  Okay, people.
Belphanior:  (turns back around)
Mongo:  Huh?
wispy thing:  Aaarp?
Ged:  (eyes the intangible being, if only for a moment)  Alindyar's
  going to live - _if_ we don't try to move him.
Lyra:  (almost tangibly sags with relief)
Belphanior:  But we'll lose time.  Can't we take him along on a
  floating disc or something?
Ged:  I wouldn't advise it.
Otto:  More of those things could attack...
Belphanior:  (nods)  And what about-
Lyra:  (furious)  If Ged says we don't move him, then he's not moving.
  I don't care if I have to stay with him it?
Belphanior:  Err, sure thing.
Otto:  No problem.
Tanya:  (firmly)  If you stay, you won't have to stay alone, Lyra.
Lyra:  Thanks.
Gorin:  That's it, then.  We're camping here.
Lyra:  (lays her magical blanket over Alindyar)
Ged:  (trying to comfort her)  Come, let's set up some wards.
Rillen:  We should get rid of these corpses.
Mongo:  (tosses one over his shoulder)  Hand me that one too.
Otto:  (looking at Belphanior bandage his shoulder)  Why didn't you
  cast a stoneskin spell?
Belphanior:  (gingerly testing the wound)  I lost my diamond dust when
  the damn boat capsized.
Otto:  Oh yeah.
Belphanior:  (grumbling profanely to himself)
Songa:  (to the elf, quietly)  Instead of complaining, why don't you
  help?  (to everyone)  Since we have hours of daylight left, we can
  use it a perimeter, set a lot of traps, even scout
Otto:  (claps a hand on Belphanior's shoulder)  She's making sense.
Belphanior:  Ow.

  So it was that they made camp for the night, in the afternoon.

next:      on the move again
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     Surely you didn't think they were gonna get off this
  island without raptors making an appearance, did you?

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