Chapter #781

previous chapter (#780)                                                                  next chapter (#782)

                                   +   +
                                 +       +
                               +           +
                             +               +
                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      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                         +
+   Mongo           18th level dwarven fighter                            +
+   Nenya            9th/10th level female elven fighter/wizard           +
+   Peyote          12th/12th level half-elven fighter/druid              +
+   Rob             16th level human priest                               +
+                                                                         +
+   Derider Fanshaen           female human priestess of Pelor            +
+   Sir Drexel                 human paladin of Heironeous                +
+     Limbor                   elven wizard/priest                        +
+     Baltek                   elven archer                               +
+   Pallin                     grey elven wizard                          +
+   St. Wilhelm                human fighter/priest of St. Cuthbert       +
+                                                                         +
+                                                                         +
+                                                                         +
+   CASUALTIES:                                                           +
+     Boltar, human priest of Pholtus (slain by death ray)                +
+     Eyer, wood elven fighter/acrobat (turned to stone)                  +
+     Jerome Kasinskaia, human priest of Rao (turned to stone)            +
+     Reptar, lizardman fighter (disintegrated)                           +
+     Socrates, large albino hound (fallen in battle)                     +
+     Zephyr, large tiger (forced back into figurine form)                +
+   Date:           4/27/579 C.Y. (Common Year)                           +
+   Time:           late afternoon                                        +
+   Place:          the Fortress of the Nine                              +
+   Climate:        cold                                                  +
+   "Being on the tightrope is living; everything else is waiting."       +
+                                                       - Karl Wallenda   +

                       DCCLXXXI.  War Party

  Only moments have passed since the battle begun, yet much has happened.
Rob has stunned all of the evil foes (and banished the demons) with a
Holy Word, and is facing Xusia even now.  Mongo has killed or driven away
all of the lesser undead, thanks to the holy torch; with the demons gone,
his way to Xusia had been clear - until the sudden appearance of the iron
dwarf, thanks to Cespedes.

iron dwarf:  RAAARGH!
Cespedes:  (wielding a small rod of adamant, he points at Mongo as he
  commands the iron dwarf)  Get him.
iron dwarf:  (recognizing Mongo anyway, it is only too glad to have to
  obey this order, and makes a single mighty leap, landing ten feet in
  front of the other)  RRRRRR...
Mongo:  (puts the torch away, hefting Stormcrest)  Alrighty then.

  As the two armored dwarves collided in furious battle, the floor shook
and those nearby found their teeth rattled, though all were locked in
struggles of their own...

Halbarad:  (finds yet another of his strikes ineffective, due to the hard
  metal body of the great hound he faces)
mithril mastiff:  (locks its jaws around Halbarad's axe-arm)
Halbarad:  Aaaargh!  (he stabs with his dagger to no avail, unable to
  break the foe's grip)
Baltek:  (hits the metal foe with a magical arrow, only making a minute
  dent in its body)
monk in white robes:  (headed for the spellcasters, he comes up against
  Deryck first)
Deryck:  (slashes out with his enchanted longsword, an excellent strike)
monk:  (deflects the blow with one of his twin rods)
Deryck:  (barely has time to gape as his sword shatters, right before the
  foe's other weapon strikes him in the chest, shattering ribs)  Aaaargh!
  (he sails back as if sledgehammered)
monk:  (calmly advances on the downed foe, his intentions clear)
Peyote:  (muttering under his breath)  No way, man.  (he hurls his last
  magical javelin from afar)
monk:  (looks up just in time, knocking the javelin out of the air with
  a lightning-fast strike, causing it to shatter on the floor)
Peyote:  Damn, he's fast.
Lyra:  (having observed both Halbarad's plight and the monk's abilities,
  she thinks quickly and casts a spell from her staff of magi)
monk:  (fast and strong, neither avail him much as magical telekinesis
  rips the twin rods from his hands and sends them hurtling right at the
  mithril mastiff which is mauling Halbarad)
mithril mastiff:  (hit by both rods, it vanishes)
Halbarad:  (cradling his mangled arm to his side, he staggers about,
  bleeding and dazed)
monk:  (momentarily taken aback, he is a prime target for the volley of
  magical missiles launched by Limbor, and falls under the barrage)
Baltek:  (nails the monk in the head with a magical arrow, just to make
monk:  (lies unmoving within a spreading pool of blood)
Ythuus:  (attempts a mental attack on Mongo, but his efforts have no
  effect on the dwarf due to the latter's magical armor)
Sir Drexel:  (charging toward Xusia, he becomes the first to have to
  face the golem of adamant)  Out of my way!  (he swings his sword, but
  having never faced this golem, he can only be amazed when his weapon
  bounces off without leaving even a scratch)
Talos:  (swings his own sword, knocking the paladin away, hard, with a
  dented breastplate and a ringing head)
Sir Drexel:  (hits a wall, landing in a heap)  Urgh.
Talos:  (advances toward Mongo and the iron dwarf)
Cespedes:  No, attack those other...sigh.  (having trouble controlling
  both the golem and the dwarf at once, despite his considerable mental
  faculties, he gives up on Talos for the moment)
Halbarad:  (near where Sir Drexel landed, he stands, his axe glowing as
  it uses its healing power to rejuvenate the ranger)
Rob:  (facing Xusia, mace ready)  Now-
Xusia:  (launches a sheet of black flame, burning the priest with dark
Rob:  Aaargh...(staggering, he suddenly invokes another power of his
  armor, blasting the lich - and Skorvus behind him - with a dazzling
  ray of holy sunlight)
Xusia:  (only momentarily distracted by this attack, thanks to a mighty
  unholy robe which he wears, he still has to shield his eyes)  Aie!
Baltek:  (fires an arrow, but it only nicks the lich due to the great
  range involved)
Skorvus:  (nearby, and more stunned than Xusia from Rob's earlier spell
  as well as the sunray, he is knocked back as St. Wilhelm connects with
  his cudgel)  Aaaargh!
St. Wilhelm:  (glowing, as saints are wont to do)
Skorvus:  (in desperation, he grabs the other's wrist, but his rotting
  touch, a foul power bestowed by Orcus, has no effect)  What?!?
St. Wilhelm:  Your evil magic will avail you naught, scum.  (he strikes
  again, knocking the lich's jawbone away and igniting his robes)  By
  the power of St. Cuthbert...DIE!

  A nimbus of pure light radiated out from the saint, enveloping the
undead foe.

Skorvus:  (ignites)  AaaaaaaAAAAAARGH!  (he burns fiercely)
Xusia:  (distracted by this, he suffers another hit from Rob, depleting
  more of the power of his protective spell)  Argh!
Rob:  (closes in for the kill)
Xusia:  (works a quick spell, not caring about what power level it has,
  and blasts the foe point-blank with a forked bolt of magical energy)
Rob:  (buffeted, he is knocked back ten feet, his armor smoking)  AARGH!
Xusia:  (working a new spell as Rob staggers to his feet)

  Meanwhile, the remainder of the champions were dealing with the problem
of the newly-arrived drow...

Alindyar:  (creates a gigantic white spider, which immediately crawls forth
  to engage the one brought by the drow)
Nenya:  Is that real?
Alindyar:  As real as it needs to be.
drow #3:  (launches a lightning bolt at the invading magi, but it dies out
  upon hitting Limbor's globe of invulnerability)
drow #6:  (drops a cluster of Evard's tentacles on the adventurers, though
  only some people are hit)
Derider:  (finds her next spell interrupted as an ebon tentacle suddenly
  coils around her waist)  Argh!
Peyote:  (finds one of the tentacles on his leg, promptly chops the thing
  apart, and moves to help Derider)  Hang on there, sister!
Limbor:  (works a spell of his own as four other tentacles dissolve at the
  outer edge of his globe of invulnerability)
Baltek:  (fires an arrow, missing his drow target due to some unknown
  protection)  Damn.
drow #9:  (hits Pallin with a crossbow bolt, ruining the comet-related
  spell the elf was casting)
Pallin:  (his aim thrown off, he launches the flaming balls of rock at one
  vacant corner of the huge hall, demolishing it)
drow #10:  (drops a cloak of darkness in front of the entire group of drow,
  to help keep them from being easy targets)
Nenya:  (hits the ceiling above the drow with a rock-to-mud spell, causing
  a large volume of mud to fall on the dark elves, ruining all their other
  spells in progress)
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  By the gods, that was brilliant!  Why did we
  never think of that?
Fenris:  (the invisible human thief who has been roaming about, dodging all
  manner of spells and combatants for a while now, he finally closes in on
  worthwhile prey)
Peyote:  (helping Derider free herself from the ebon tentacle, he is quite
  an easy victim)

  The half-elf arched his back suddenly, as the invisible blade thrust by
the invisible foe pierced his hide armor and his heart, causing blood to
spew everywhere.

Peyote:  Glurk!  (he sinks to his knees)
Fenris:  (remains invisible, though a few stray drops of blood stick to him
  as he pulls his sword free)
Peyote:  (just as with the blood-drops, he inadvertently helps by virtue of
  his ribs catching the sword's blade for an extra moment)  Aurrrgh...

  That was all that Daffodil needed as she rushed in to defend her man.  The
quarterstaff Thornbolt whizzed to the attack, and even the invisible thief
with all his speed couldn't fully dodge it.  An arc of electricity blasted
him too, as the staff made contact, and the rogue was knocked away, though
still invisible.

Daffodil:  (rushes to Peyote)  Oh, no...
Peyote:  (spits up a copious amount of blood)  Urg.
Daffodil:  (to the cluster of magi)  Can you cover me-
Limbor:  Done.  (he works a quick spell, dropping a web over the area all
  around where Fenris was last seen)
Fenris:  (snagged at one edge of the webbing as he moves away, he curses

  The five warriors summoned by Deryck's horn couldn't follow their orders
to the letter and still fight anyone, but fortunately three ghasts who had
somehow survived this long got the berserkers' attention, and they quickly
ringed the unfortunate undead, making rotten mincemeat out of them.

  To one side, the paladin Sir Drexel got to his feet, shaking the cobwebs
out of his head.  Suddenly, a piercing pain shot through his head, as he
sensed the presence of one who was the polar opposite of himself.

Sir Drexel:  (whirls, sword raised and glowing)  What?!?
Ulrich:  (strides into the hall)  You!
Sir Drexel:  (tightens his grip on his holy sword)  It's been a long time,
Ulrich:  Not long enough.  (he points his unholy sword at the paladin)
  My dragon may be dead, and this fortress is surely compromised, but
  by the dark heart of Nerull, I'll yet win one victory this day!  (he
  stalks toward his counterpart)
Sir Drexel:  This will be the last time we meet.  (he charges the other)

  Meanwhile, the mightiest head-to-head battle of all these was still
raging, as unstoppable force met immovable object...Mongo and the iron
dwarf.  Both wore armor that was virtually indestructible.  Both had the
might of a giant.  Both had the stamina of a bull.  Both had weapons that
could level small buildings.
  Both were bleeding and bruised, but neither would give up.  Every blow
landed by either one caused ears to ring and floor to tremble...yet neither
would fall.

Mongo:  (pounds the iron dwarf across the head with Stormcrest, causing a
  shower of sparks)  Fall, dammit!  Fall!
iron dwarf:  (lands an axe-blow squarely on Mongo's breastplate, causing
  the latter to stagger)  RAAARGH!

  Such was the state of things when Belphanior and his four companions
(as well as two freed prisoners from a level below) came upon this room
and this battle from a passage to the west.

Belphanior:  Well, now it's a party.

next:      more of the same
released:  12/17/01
notes:     Whew.

previous chapter (#780)                                                                  next chapter (#782)