Chapter #57

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*  The 8 player characters contained in these writings are copyright
*  1992 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to persons or characters
*  either real or fictional is utterly coincidental.  Copying and/or
*  distribution of these stories is permissible only under the one
*  condition that no part of them will be used or sold for profit.
*  In that case, I hope you enjoy them.

THE PARTY (temporarily split up; this is the "sea" group):

Belphanior, 6th/6th/7th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 7th/7th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 8th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Rillen, 8th level human fighter (N)
Date:   1/7/571 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   late afternoon
Place:  somewhere in the Suss Forest

                  LVII.  The Five Hemispheres

  After following a skeleton that Belphanior took control of,
the sea group had come upon an opening in the forest floor and
descended, warding away some wraiths.  Suddenly, as they reached
the stone floor below, two more of the undead apparitions sailed
toward them...

Ged:  Aaaa!  (brandishes his holy symbol of Boccob and yells at
  the monsters)  Begone, by Boccob!  BEGONE!  (charges the pair
  of wraiths)
wraiths:  ssss... (vanish)
Mongo:  Hey, good going there!
Ged:  Whew.  Yea, my - err, Boccob's - holy power is waxing high
Rillen:  Let us hope it stays that way.
Belphanior:  Bah.  Let the undead come.  I am ready for them!

  They were in a circular chamber, almost totally overgrown with
plants and vines.  Rubble littered the place, and there was much
dust about.  A few puddles of stale black water were visible in
the place too.  The chamber was basically a hemisphere of thirty
foot radius; the ceiling/roof was shattered at the top of the
staircase the party used to enter.  A single open corridor led
away, to the northwest.  There were three window-like openings
spaced equally around the perimeter of the place, but these were
blocked by rubble and vegetation.

Mongo:  Boy, this place is _old_.  I've never seen architecture
  like it!
Rillen:  Me neither.  Then again, I have never come down into a
  dungeon like this one, so I would not know.  (bumps into a wall)
  Oof.  I cannot see a thing here.
Ged:  We need light.  Well, _you_ need light.
Rillen:  This is true.  I cannot see in this place.
Belphanior:  (lights a lantern and hands it to the warrior)  Here.
Rillen:  Thank you.
Mongo:  So, let's explore this place!
Ged:  Very well.  (they move toward the exit)
Mongo:  Look here.  (pokes at some debris with his boot)  This used
  to be a wooden door, but now it's rotted into formless crap.
Rillen:  Hmm.
Ged:  Sort of like Peldor's sense of morality...
Belphanior:  (looking around)  How long has this place been here?

  The corridor led into another room shaped just like the first.
This new chamber had four exits, one of them leading to the entry
room, thus:


        ____                          ____
      /      \          N           /      \
     |        |        W+E         |        |
     |        |         S          |        |
      \ ____   \                  /   ____ /
             \   \              /   /
               \   \          /   /
                 \   \ ____ /   /
                   \          /
                    | SECOND |
                    |  ROOM  |
                   /   ____   \
                 /   /      \   \
               /   /          \   \
        ____ /   /              \   \ ____
      /        /                  \        \
     |        |                    | ENTRY  |
     |        |                    |  ROOM  |
      \ ____ /                      \ ____ /

  The second room was obviously the center of this complex of
five chambers.  There were more weeds and bits of rubble here,
though not as many as in the last room.  A small, spiraling
staircase led downward from the center of this room; its steps
were hewn from the very rock itself, but were cracked in many
places, as if an earthquake had once rocked this place.  Some
of the steps were jutting at odd angles, and dusty chips of
stone littered them all.  The four exit corridors had rotted
door remnants like the last room, too.
  The party elected to save the stairs for later, and instead
check the other three chambers.  They moved into the north-
eastern one next.

Mongo:  (leading the way)  Hey, this looks like a furniture
Rillen:  Is there such a thing?
Belphanior:  Yeah.  (pokes an old, rotted couch)  We're here,
  all right.

  This room was full of rotted furniture, in a lesser state of
decomposition than the doors to these five rooms.  A couch was
propped against a wall, but its cushions sagged deeply, and the
legs were long since broken.  Chairs were strewn about, mostly
fallen over.  A large, heavy table lay collapsed in the center
of the room, its legs splayed out to all sides; it looked for
all the world like a gigantic, squashed spider.

Belphanior:  (steps on one of the upright chairs' seats)  Hmm?
  (the thing collapses with a brittle cracking sound)  Hmm.
Rillen:  They were just not built to last, I guess.
Mongo:  (poking through the furniture)  Nothing of use here.
Ged:  (examining a sagging wine rack on one wall)  What's this?
  Look, some of these bottles are intact!
Belphanior:  (wanders over to the elf)  Let me see that.  (grabs
  a wine bottle)  Hey, no fair.  This one's been opened.  Nothing
  left inside.
Mongo:  (finds a metal key-ring under a rotted couch cushion)
  Look at this, guys!  Keys!  (jangles the ring)
Rillen:  We will not be needing them, if all the doors are gone.
Ged:  Good job, there.  (shakes a wine jug)  Something's rattling
  inside this...
Belphanior:  Pull the stopper off, then.
Ged:  (uncorks the bottle)  There.  (aims the open end at the floor)
  I wonder what's inside here?
Belphanior:  Watch it!  (grabs something shiny that fell out of the
  jug)  Gems!  Turn that right side up before more come out and are
  shattered on the floor.
Ged:  Right.  Here, I'll pour them out onto this empty sack.
Belphanior:  (holding a finely-cut garnet up to the lantern)  Nice.
  (quickly pockets the gem)  Let's have a look at those, now.
Rillen:  (overturning couch cushions with his staff)  What is this?
Mongo:  Huh?
Rillen:  I found a sack.
Mongo:  Oh.  (moves over and grabs the large sack)
Rillen:  No-
Mongo:  (the rotted sack quickly rips apart, and dull coins flow
  out onto the ground)  Oops.
Rillen:  Who is going to pick all of those up now?
Mongo:  (examining a coin)  What the hell...?
Ged:  (he and Belphanior have collected all the gems from the jug)
  What's that?  (they walk over)  Coins?
Mongo:  Look at these.  They're dated wrong.  "2074?"
Ged:  Hmm.  Nah, couldn't be.
Rillen:  What?  What are you thinking about?
Ged:  Well, it's like this.  Certain old empires had...different
  dating schemes than the one commonly used now.  I don't really
  know the specifics, that's more up Peyote's alley.  He's the
  ancient history expert.  Supposedly.
Mongo:  I wonder how he's doing?  Him, and the rest.  Including
  that worthless rat Peldor.
Belphanior:  Who knows?  So, these coins may be older than our
  current civilization, is that what you're saying?
Ged:  Yep.
Belphanior:  Cool.  Let's collect them and get on our way.

  Soon, they were headed into the northwest chamber, which used
to be some kind of bedroom, apparently.  A rotting stench met
the adventurers at the doorway to the room.

Mongo:  Phew!  That smells worse than Krug's feet used to!
Ged:  Yea.  (clutches his holy symbol)
Rillen:  (shining the lantern over their heads, illuminating
  the room)  Nice bed.
Belphanior:  (enters the room with Mongo)  Dresser, table, bed,
  chairs.  Junk - but who can tell what treasures it might hide?
  (begins searching through the dresser)
Ged:  Good guess.  (also searching the dresser)  Look here!  I
  found something.
Mongo:  Where?
Ged:  Umm...looks like the sock drawer.  (holds up a small cube)
Rillen:  That is not a sock...
Belphanior:  Hang on to that, we'll examine it later.
Ged:  Right.
Mongo:  Hey, I bet that bed would collapse if I jumped on it.
Rillen:  Why would you want to jump on it?
Mongo:  Ah, never mind.  (examines the chairs)
Rillen:  (examining the bed)
Ged:  (casts detect evil on himself)  Boccob will show us any of
  the unholy in this forsaken place.
Belphanior:  Come again?
Rillen:  Yaa!!  (leaps back from the bed)
Ged:  Evil!
Mongo:  What the fuck?!?
Rillen:  There is something under the bed!  There!

  The ancient bed creaked, and then was lifted into the air, as
a large, pale form stood upright.  The rotted canopy of the bed
tore as the bed was overturned and fell on its side behind the
creature.  The thing was big, even taller than Rillen, and its
thin form was swathed in grimy white tatters of cloth.  Glowing
eyes riveted on the four companions, the thing shambled forward.

Rillen:  Yaa!  It is the bandage man!  (he, and the others, make
  their saves vs. fear)
Mongo:  (grabs his hammer)  Geez, his eyes are as bright as yours,
Belphanior:  Really?
Ged:  Mummy!  (advances, holy symbol raised high)  By the power of
  Boccob, get back, foul fiend!  Back!
mummy:  Errrr?  (continues onward)  Snr!  Ggh!
Ged:  Uh-oh!  (backs up)  Get him, guys!
Mongo:  Check!  (hurls his hammer at the thing, bashing its rotten
  head; worms and dirt are scattered everywhere)  Yah!
Rillen:  (strides forth and hits the monster with his staff)
mummy:  Yrr!  Rrrrar!
Mongo:  I don't think he felt that...(catches his hammer)
Rillen:  I guess I need to make a better point.  (flips his staff's
  blade out, and points it at the mummy)
Belphanior:  (considering using his last potion of undead control)
  Gah!  Do I, or not?  Decisions, decisions...
Ged:  Bah!  Boccob strikes in more ways than one!  (fires a Burning
  Hands at the mummy)
mummy:  Rrrr?  RARRR!  (bursts into flame instantly)
Mongo:  Yeah!
Ged:  Boccob!
Belphanior:  (covering his eyes)  Whew, that's hot!  He sure burns
Ged:  It's still coming for us!
Rillen:  No, it is not.  (runs forth and delivers the mummy a flying
  kick, sending its fiery form tumbling back - right into the old
  bed, which then promptly blazes up as well)
Mongo:  Cripes!  The whole place'll be up in flames soon!  Let's get
  the hell out of here!
Ged:  Good plan!  (they retreat, as other things start to catch on

  Just outside the chamber, in the corridor, they paused, and looked
back, but foul smoke rolled their way, and they opted to keep going.
Ged cast a spell and created a large puddle of water in a convenient
depression in the floor outside the flaming room.  Somewhat content,
he rejoined the others in the central chamber.

Belphanior:  Enough of this shit.  (casts Detect Undead on himself)
  No more undead sneaking up on _me_!
Ged:  I guess not.  Let's check the last room.  (they enter the
  corridor leading to the southwestern chamber)

  The last of the five chambers appeared to have once been a kitchen
and dining area.  A large brick oven was built into one wall, and
rotted cabinets decorated other walls.  A large table stood in the
center of the room, looking as if it might collapse at any minute,
and eight chairs circled it, some of them fallen.

Belphanior:  I wonder what's in _here_?  (grabs a cabinet door and
  pulls it open, but the door comes off in his hand)
Rillen:  Hmm.  (peers inside some exposed cabinets)  Nothing is in
  these but a lot of dead bugs.
Belphanior:  (searching other cabinets, finds nothing)  Damn.
Mongo:  Nice oven.  I've never seen one like it.  (opens the oven,
  hammer raised)  Yaaa!  (leaps back, as something inside lunges
  at him)  Shit!  (slams the oven door)  Help!
Ged:  (rushes over to the dwarf, who is now holding the oven door
  closed as whatever is inside slams against it from within)  I'll
  get a spell ready!  Just hold it for a few more moments!
Mongo:  Hey, it stopped.
Belphanior:  (approaches, spell at the ready)  Look!  At the door's

  A grayish, oozing mass was squirting through the door's edges on
all sides.  Mongo took one look at it and leaped back, even as the
thing threatened to touch his hands.

Mongo:  Yah!  It's coming out!  (raises his hammer, ready to throw)

  The oven door opened slowly, and a pulsing mass of ooze flowed
over the edge and onto the floor.

Belphanior:  I'll blast it!  (launches a Flaming Sphere at the
  thing)  Burn, blob, burn!
ooze:  (flows out of the burning sphere, apparently unaffected)
Ged:  Hah!  It will take my mighty magics to prevail here!  (casts
  a barrage of four magic missiles at the glob)
ooze:  (continues onward as the missiles hit it)
Ged:  Wha-?
Belphanior:  Heh heh.
Rillen:  (drops his staff and draws his longbow)  Maybe weapons
  will hurt it.
Belphanior:  I'm not gonna charge at that thing!  Fuck that!
Rillen:  Me neither.  (fires an arrow at the ooze)
ooze:  (slows for a moment as the arrow hits it, but then moves
  forward again)
Mongo:  (thinking about the welfare of his hammer)  Aaaa!  What
  can stop the thing?!?  (grabs a brick and hurls it at the ooze)
ooze:  (absorbs the brick)
Rillen:  (hits the ooze with another arrow)  Stick around, slime.
  I have a lot more points to make.
Belphanior:  (sheaths his sword and hunts for his wand)
Ged:  (preparing another spell)

Rillen:  (fires a third arrow at the blob, hitting again)
Mongo:  (picks up a huge boulder, hefting it over his head with
  some difficulty)  Hey, you!  Globbo!  (throws the rock onto the
  thing, causing a splattering sound)
Rillen:  No good.  It is flowing around the rock.
Belphanior:  (pointing his wand at the ooze)  Let's see how it
  reacts to lightning.  (blasts the monster)
ooze:  (melted into a gray smear as ozone fills the room)
Rillen:  (coughing)  Electrifying.
Mongo:  Hey, it worked!
Ged:  Good job there.  Now I don't have to cast another spell.
Belphanior:  Let's search the place and split.

  They found nothing of interest in the chamber, and moved back
to the central room.  After resting for a bit, the foursome made
ready to descend the spiral stone staircase.

next time:  The party moves deeper into the lost city...

FTP SITE: (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
NOTES:  I wish I could spare more time to write these, but I have
three design projects and a final paper to do in the next 2.5 weeks
and am keeping busy.  About the second week of September, I'll be
out of classes for three weeks - and you all know what that means.
Okay, maybe not.  That means 3-4 episodes per week...

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