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+ THE ADVENTURERS +
+ Epic IV +
+ Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and other +
+ terms used in these stories are the property of TSR, Inc. However, +
+ TSR has in no way endorsed or authorized their use, and any such +
+ items contained within these stories are not representative of TSR +
+ in any fashion. +
+ The player characters depicted in these stories are copyright +
+ 1991-2001 by Thomas A. Miller. Any resemblance to any persons +
+ or characters either real or fictional is utterly coincidental. +
+ Copying and/or distribution of these stories is permissible under +
+ the sole condition that no money is made in the process. In that +
+ case, I hope you enjoy them! +
+ Thomas A. Miller +
+ Alindyar 18th level drow wizard +
+ Daffodil 11th level human female druidess +
+ Deryck 11th level half-elven ranger +
+ Halbarad 15th level human ranger +
+ Lyra 14th level female drow wizard +
+ Nenya 9th/10th level female elven fighter/wizard +
+ Peyote 12th/12th level half-elven fighter/druid +
+ Rob 16th level human priest +
+ Date: 4/20/579 C.Y. (Common Year) +
+ Time: late morning +
+ Place: Rob's temple, outside the city of Gradsul, in Keoland +
+ Climate: warm and pleasant +
+ "You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one +
+ throat and I had my hands around it." +
+ - Rorschach, from _Watchmen_ +
More than two weeks have passed since the battle at the tomb of the
false Kyuss. Rob has relocated the party to his temple of Trithereon,
in Keoland, where powerful magic has restored all health - and in two
cases, life itself.
Deryck: Not a pleasant feeling.
Nenya: It beats the alternative. (she frowns) But I follow your
meaning. I don't ever want that to happen again.
Deryck: My skin's _still_ itching.
The pair had been slain, burned to death by the deadly magic of the
unknown but powerful wizard who they'd met in that fell place. It
was a testament to Rob's favor with his deity that he'd been able to
reclaim their spirits and heal their bodies. They were grateful,
but the entire incident still bothered both of them, and deeply.
Nenya: The only way we're going to avoid this sort of thing - or the
risk of it, at any rate - is to never go out and do anything.
Deryck: I know what you mean. There will always be evil in the world;
if not evil, then at least those who take by force, who trod on the
weak, and so on.
Nenya: Someone has to stand up for what's right.
Rob: (strides into the chamber) Are you two feeling any better this
Nenya: I think we're about up to full strength now.
Rob: Good. By the way, I looked in on your lands near Greyhawk; all
is perfectly well.
Deryck: (nods) You have our thanks. I was somewhat worried that...
Nenya: He's talking about a counterstrike - some effort on the part
of the one we fought, and possibly any allies he might have, to hit
us while we were down.
Deryck: Down and out.
Nenya: You realize that this isn't the end of the matter?
Rob: (shakes his head) No, it most certainly isn't. I've communed
with Trithereon. We're facing foes whose power and influence rivals
any from our past.
Deryck: But something has to be done...whether we like it or not.
Rob: (shrugs) I agree too, and we will. If you're up to it, I've
arranged a sort of...war council, later today.
Halbarad: (enters the room) Is this so we can sit down and decide
when and how to hit these bastards before they hit us again?
Halbarad: (cracks his knuckles) Good.
The ranger had been in a fairly grim mood since the apparent death
of his magical tiger Zephyr. His companions has assured him that it
was probably possible to repair the figurine, but they just weren't
sure _how_ it could be done. Halbarad had kept to himself, largely,
since the group had arrived here. In his eyes burned the fires of
vengeance, and biding his time around here had nearly driven him mad.
Halbarad: We must take action, and soon.
Rob: We will...but there is no sense charging right into our enemies'
Halbarad: (sighs) I know.
Nenya: Peyote and Daffodil will be at this council as well, yes?
Rob: (nods) They're as tied up in this as we are.
At that very moment, the druids were outside the temple, walking
along the shores of the Azure Sea. Rob's temple was a modest one,
but its location was enviable: it stood between the city of Gradsul
and the sea, its view of the deep blue waters unparalleled.
Daffodil: It seems that the rulers of Gradsul are only too happy to
have a high priest of Trithereon on their doorstep.
Peyote: I would be, too. That dude's got some powerful mojo.
Daffodil: He certainly didn't have any problem bringing Nenya and
Deryck back from the dead.
Peyote: It's not as simple as that.
Daffodil: I know, I know. (she looks around) This site would be
ideal for a bigger temple...a cathedral. Rob was saying something
about getting that going, once this Xusia business is done with.
Peyote: Yeah...I've been in touch with your father, the great old
grand druid dude himself. We're not gonna have any problem
finding out where these evildoers are.
Peyote: The forests speak...even the evil ones. It's only a matter
of time before we know where to look.
Daffodil: That last one, the tomb - that was a decoy, a trap.
Peyote: Yeah, I think we all agree on that.
Daffodil: That wizard was testing us...measuring our power.
Peyote: We'll have to play it more carefully next time, and treat
him and any others with more respect.
Daffodil: (angrily) The only respect they'll get out of me is a
Peyote: Easy, babe...all in good time.
As for the drow, they, too, were outside. Over the last ten years,
Alindyar had developed a resistance to the rays of the surface world's
sun. Lyra had been up here long enough to possess almost the same
tolerance. Until recently, they'd both still preferred to wear hooded
cloaks or robes when outdoors in the daytime. Lyra had long ago come
up with a minor spell to shade them from the sunlight, but it was no
longer needed, for Alindyar now did the same thing with even less
effort. With the mastery of illusion he'd recently learned, the dark
elf actually bent the light before it hit them, keeping them in a cool
shade that only they could see or feel. That wasn't all he did, either;
a perpetual illusion masked him and Lyra, causing them to appear as
average people. Only those Alindyar knew and cared about would see his
true form. These spells were only a smattering of the possibilities
opened to Alindyar after his apprenticeship with the Lord of Illusions.
Lyra: (looking up at the shady patch of air above their heads, as it
moves along with them while they walk) Wow.
Alindyar: 'Tis nothing.
Lyra: (sighs) Unlike this business later today...
Alindyar: Agreed. I feel as if we have stumbled onto villains and
plots of dastardly scope and danger. That business back in the tomb
was nothing more than a gauge of our abilities and powers.
Lyra: Mmm...one does have to wonder what's next?
Alindyar: For once, I say we need Belphanior. Not only would his...
approach be ideal here, but his tactics, I daresay, would be optimal
for what needs to be done.
Lyra: I know what you mean. Not all of us are born killers.
Alindyar: Killers are made, not born.
Lyra: True...that was an insensitive thing for me to say.
Alindyar: (shrugs) I doubt Belphanior would mind.
Lyra: I wonder what he's up to right now.
Alindyar: There truly is no telling. Although we could look in on
him with the crystal ball, if we wished.
Lyra: We should just leave him alone. I'm sure he's got something
important to do.
Alindyar: Aye...we shall see.
Lyra: Well, anyway...what do we do next? Go home or throw in our lot
with this crew?
Alindyar: I want to do the former, but need to do the latter.
Lyra: My thoughts, as well. So...we help them track down - really
track down - these evildoers, and then exterminate them before they
cause further harm.
Alindyar: Aye. 'Tis the only way this thing can end.
Lyra: Well, our part at the meeting later today will be short and
next: council of war
notes: The discussion that Nenya and Deryck were having echoes one
long-standing thought of mine: how can you do what's right in life
without making yourself a perpetual target for those who refuse to do
The only way I know is Belphanior's way, which is to kill them all
and not worry about it. That doesn't really scale to real-life
I just got back form Peldor's wedding this weekend. It took place
in the middle of a national park and united families from two vastly
different countries. It also allowed me to get away from it all and
catch up with some old friends from college, including some of the
players of these characters. New pictures may be coming soon!
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next chapter (#742)