Chapter #561

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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 1991-8 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                    +
+                           +
+  Rillen       18th level human monk                           (N) +
+  Songa        13th level human huntress                       (N) +
+  Date:        4/8/577 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       somewhere in the barbarian lands to the northeast   +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
+  "They wouldn't be sorry to see you stay, you know."              +
+  "They wouldn't be sorry to see us go, either."                   +
+                                  - from _The Magnificent Seven_   +

                  DLXI.  Planning for the Future

  After being visited by brigands and a dragon, all in the same day,
Rillen and Songa have much to discuss.  Now, they sit in their small
cabin, having roasted rabbit for lunch as they ponder recent events.

Songa:  I don't like it.  A dragon...on our mountain.
Rillen:  Or us, on her mountain.
Songa:  I still don't like the idea.
Rillen:  At least she seemed tolerant, if not friendly.
Songa:  Let's hope she doesn't have a change of heart.  (she pats
  her swollen stomach)  Then again, I'm not sure we should take any
Rillen:  Fear not.  Nothing will happen to our child...or us.
Songa:  You can stop a dragon?
Rillen:  I can outwit a dragon.  As long as Araxi believes she has
  nothing to fear from us, she'll leave us alone.
Songa:  But she really _does_ have nothing to fear from us.
Rillen:  Then everything will be okay.
Songa:  You're dealing with this more calmly than I thought you
Rillen:  Changing times call for changing viewpoints.  (he slices
  open a red pepper)  Seasoning?

  They ate in silence for a few moments, before Rillen changed the
topic of conversation...

Rillen:  The stable's almost done.
Songa:  Really?  You only started on it last week.
Rillen:  I work fast.  (he ponders for a moment)  I work fast when
  there are no mad quests to undertake, no foes to fight, no fools'
  laws to govern my life and actions.
Songa:  I hear you.
Rillen:  Anyhow, it's nearly finished, insulation and all.  Sometime
  I'm going to have to venture back to the village to get my horse.
Songa:  I still don't see why you just didn't get it last time.
Rillen:  Last time, my thoughts were entirely focused on you and the
  village midwife.  I simply...forgot.
Songa:  Well, I can see that.
Rillen:  Of course, I'm assuming that my horse is still with the
  stable-master I paid to guard it.
Songa:  What do you mean?
Rillen:  I've gotten a bit of a hostile feeling the last few times
  we were in the village.  I'm not sure I'm welcome there.
Songa:  We've been through this countless times.  You're a foreigner
  and your skin isn't the same color as theirs, and you ended up with
  one of theirs.  My people are a naturally suspicious lot - they've
  had to be, to survive here and win against the foes they've had to
Rillen:  It's unfortunate that a man can be judged by his heritage
  rather than his deeds.  Perception shouldn't overshadow character.
Songa:  I suspect Alindyar knows all about it.
Rillen:  (nods)  In any case, they can think what they want, but I'm
  not going to change for them.  (he sighs)  Are we going to have to
  go to the ends of the Oerth to escape stupidity?
Songa:  There's an idea.
Rillen:  To hell with the fools of the world.  We're going into town
  sometime soon to get my horse, plus some supplies.  Maybe half a
  year's worth of supplies.
Songa:  You might have to get a cart for that.
Rillen:  A cart, donkeys, whatever.  Hell, we might as well get some
  livestock and begin breeding them.
Songa:  A farm?  Not in this hard ground - I don't care how strong
  you think you are.
Rillen:  (calms down)  No, no farming.  It would mean more fresh meat
Songa:  (holds up a strip of juicy rabbit meat)  You're doing fine.
Rillen:  Well, we need to get stocked up so I can focus on the coming
  tournament, in half a year's time.
Songa:  Oh?
Rillen:  That's why I've been working so hard and getting so much
  done.  I want my mind to be clear when I start training.
Songa:  The baby should be here by then.
Rillen:  Good - we'll bring it along.
Songa:  Is that wise?
Rillen:  Unlike previous tournaments, this one will be free of undue
  activities and perils.  I think I speak for most of the world's
  martial artists when I agree with that resolution.
Songa:  Hmm.
Rillen:  Don't worry.  The baby will be fine.
Songa:  I know, I know.  It's just that...well, we're tough, and we
  don't fear as much for our own safety, but the baby isn't so tough.
Rillen:  Not until it's five or six, anyway.
Songa:  Stop calling the baby an "it!"
Rillen:  Sorry.  _He_ won't be tough until _he's_ five or six.
Songa:  He?
Rillen:  (smiles broadly)  Of course.
Songa:  Bah.
Rillen:  Say, before I forget about it:  did you find out where Arnold
  was, while we were in the village last time?
Songa:  No, I sure didn't.  He's gone, and he's been gone since last
  fall.  No one knows where he went, or why.  He didn't seem unhappy,
  from what I've heard.
Rillen:  (frowns)  It's just odd, him venturing away all by himself.
Songa:  People forget that he is his own man - despite his years of
  service to Ged.  He's got a mind of his own, goals of his own, and
  sooner or later he's going to pursue them.  Maybe he's already
Rillen:  Hopefully we'll find out someday...

next:      Bosco goes for the gold
ftp: in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
email:       (preferred)
notes:     The notes I originally had for this section have been
  bumped because of Mark McGwire's 62nd home run.  You see, as I
  make this amendment note right before posting this story as
  scheduled, I am going through 562-568 and pulling all of their
  home run chase commentary.  Why?  Because it's no longer an
  issue and by the time you read those stories, he may have hit
  70.  To give you an idea of how far ahead I am with the stories,
  he hit #50 and 51 when I started 565, and had 55 when I finished
  it.  When I started 566, both McGwire and Sosa had 55; when I
  finished that same episode, they were at 60 and 58.  After I was
  done with 568, McGwire still had 60, but on 9/7/98 (Labor Day)
  he hit #61, and on 9/8/98 he hit #62.  Way to go, man!  The tape
  of this game joins my other such tapes (I have Cal Ripken's
  record-setting game and the 1995 World Series, among other

    Now to the Adventurers-related stuff.

    No, I have nothing against rabbits.  I have never even eaten
  one, and I probably never will.  But I had to pick something for
  Rillen to trap and kill.  I'd have preferred a wildebeest, but
  the terrain and climate are all wrong.  You know, in the nature
  specials the wildebeest _always_ gets it - it seems to be that
  species' lot in life.

    I have recently acquired _Greyhawk:  The Adventure Begins_ by
  Roger Moore and TSR, published 8/98.  It moves the "current" time
  of the official TSR Oerth world to 591 C.Y.  Clearly this puts me
  way behind; while I won't rush to catch the stories up, I also do
  intend to follow at least the basic events outlined in the old
  _Greyhawk Wars_ and _From the Ashes_ supplements.
    I can heartily recommend the supplement, in any case - it is
  well-written and researched.  Its continuity was also checked
  by Erik Mona and Steve Wilson, who have played an important part
  in the Greyhawk world's survival on the internet, during the years
  when it looked like TSR was never going to revive it.  As one who
  was there for those dark ages, and who worked with others on the
  internet to share and create Greyhawk material, I am happy for
  Erik and Steve, who have gotten the chance to work with TSR in an
  official capacity.  The same, by the way, goes for Eric Boyd, who
  has written several excellent books for the _Forgotten Realms_
  world over the last few years.  Eric was one of the first proof-
  readers I had for _The Adventurers_ and I'm glad he was able to
  focus his talents on official works for TSR.
    I've also purchased _Return to the Tomb of Horrors_ and _Return
  of the Eight_.  The former is a complex adventure (or perhaps an
  entire campaign, such is its size) while the latter is focused
  more on Greyhawk, specifically Tenser, Iuz, and Iggwilv.  Roger
  Moore is carrying on in Carl Sargent's wake, just as Sargent
  carried on in Gary Gygax' wake.

    You should bear in mind that I have never even fully read the
  Greyhawk Wars material - I have it all either in shrink-wrap or
  printed from the internet.  I've been saving it all so that it
  won't influence my pre-Wars writings.
    That egg must open soon, however, and what's inside will likely
  push my stories into new and radical directions.

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