Chapter #862

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                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                         +                       +
                           +       Epic V      +
                             +               +
                               +           +
                                 +       +
                                   +   +
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+     Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and other     +
+   terms used in these stories are the property of Wizards of the Coast  +
+   which has in no way endorsed or authorized their use.  Any such       +
+   property contained within these stories are not representative of     +
+   Wizards of the Coast in any fashion.                                  +
+     The player characters depicted in these stories are copyright       +
+   1991-2004 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!                                          +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Alindyar        18th level drow wizard                                +
+   Bosco           13th level halfling thief                             +
+   Lyra            14th level female drow wizard                         +
+   Mongo           18th level dwarven warrior                            +
+                                                                         +
+   summoned allies:                                                      +
+                                                                         +
+   Host of Kaloth (only those summoned, not the complete set)            +
+     white bishop  tall, grey-haired high priest                         +
+     black bishop  gaunt, bearded high priest                            +
+     white knight  noble centaur with longbow                            +
+     black knight  jet-black horse with sharp hooves and fire-breath     +
+     white rook    10' ivory golem with shortsword                       +
+     black rook    8' ebony golem with spiked fists                      +
+     2 white pawns white-armored warriors with longswords                +
+     2 black pawns black-armored warriors with spiked maces              +
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+   Date:           1/4/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:           indeterminate, probably late morning                  +
+   Place:          the depths of the vacant fortress of Greyspire        +
+   Climate:        cold                                                  +
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+   "We can handle it."                                                   +
+   "Not without casualties, you can't."                                  +
+                                           - from _Messenger of Death_   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                  DCCCLXII.  Deep Dark Secrets





  The explorers have come upon a hellish scene:  a gigantic arena-like
pit, inhabited by hundreds of demons and their hulking leader...

huge demon:  I AM N'GASAI.  WELCOME TO MY HOME-IN-EXILE.  STAY A WHILE...
  STAY FOREVER!
Bosco:  Err...no thanks.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  You don't suppose that's his one true name?
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  Not a chance.
N'Gasai:  (stands there, a feral grin on his canine face)

  The demon lord was pleased for these new distractions.  Actually,
N'Gasai wasn't a true demon lord, but rather something of a lordling.
He was serving the final years of an ordained exile from the Abyss...
many long years, during which he'd been stuck on this backwater material
plane, cut off from his true power and allies.  This turn of events had
come about after he'd offended a powerful demon prince; that one had a
wicked sense of humor, and deemed the exile a fitting punishment (not
to mention a chance to spread chaos to another world.)  Thus it was that
N'Gasai had been banished from his home plane and everything he knew.
  The exile was to last for only a few hundred years, as mortals reckon
the passing of time.  The first decade of that had been a skulking,
cautious existence...for the demon had found it necessary to slowly
regain his strength, and find a safe place to do so.  After a great deal
of aimless wandering, he'd ended up in the depths of the remote and
dangerous Riftcanyon.  After some initial conflicts (all of them short
and bloody) he had used bullying and violence to organize a gang of
servants, both humanoid and otherwise.  Over time, he'd realized that
the sturdy spire of rock at the canyon's edge would make a good home.
At the time, or course, it had been occupied by a gang of bandits, but
they'd stood no chance against the demon's horde.  In one dark, bloody
night, N'Gasai and his forces stormed the fortress, slew all within, and
took it for their own.
  The next decade had been a good one:  the demon lord gathered more
servants (some would say slaves) to himself, and eventually regained
enough power to gate in demonic minions from the Abyss.  These summoned
troops were seldom pleased about this, but complaining meant being torn
limb from limb by the brutal N'Gasai, as most of the demons learned by
watching.  Over time, the stone spire's new occupants did some creative
renovations, building many strange chambers and carving out many new
passages.  Many from the lands outside tried to explore or invade the
fortress, but none ever succeeded; in time, it became the subject of
local horror stories, and was avoided by all.
  However, all good things come to an end, and in the case of N'Gasai
and his forces, the end came on wings of gold...belonging to a mighty
gold dragon who came to the fortress one chilly spring day.  This wyrm
and its retinue quickly confronted the demons, and in the end, the dragon
triumphed.  N'Gasai's forces were wiped out, and while the demon lord
himself was too powerful for the dragon to slay easily, imprisonment was
was a much more feasible option.  N'Gasai found himself banished to the
deepest vaults of Greyspire, sealed there by powerful magical barriers.
The combination of the battle and the confinement had sapped his strength
and rendered him almost completely helpless, and if he couldn't thrive,
he could at least survive.  Thus it was that N'Gasai slept for centuries,
slumbering through his exile-within-exile in the guts of the Riftcanyon.
As he rested, he slowly regained his strength, while the outside world
forgot all about demons in the fortress that had come to be known as
Greyspire.
  The irony was that the demon would still be sleeping, had his prison
not been invaded by explorers from the current inhabitants of Greyspire,
a mere two days ago.  Ever since then, the demons had run rampant.

N'Gasai:  (takes another step forward, studying the intruders)
white bishop:  (quietly, to Bosco)  This might be a good time to summon
  some more of the Host.
Bosco:  I was just thinking that.
Mongo:  (muttering)  You'll need a distraction.  (he steps forward)  Hey,
  you!
N'Gasai:  (regards the dwarf)  TREAD CAREFULLY, SMALL ONE.  THIS IS MY
  DOMAIN, AND YOU ARE NOT WELCOME.
Bosco:  (trying to figure out how to get to the chess set without being
  obvious about it, he freezes in place as the huge demon glares in the
  party's direction)
Mongo:  (steps forward, summons his best loud voice, and glares at the
  huge demon, his courage bolstered by the enchanted armor he wears and
  the powerful hammer he wields)  I have come here in search of the army
  of Greyspire.
N'Gasai:  (shakes his head, roaring with hideous laughter which inspires
  the other assembled demons to laugh as well)  WELL, THEN...YOU SHALL
  HAVE THEM!  (he gestures at the scores of demons who line one side of
  the huge tiered pit, and they slither, scamper, or fly out of the way,
  revealing a gruesome scene)
Bosco:  Yikes!
Mongo:  By the gods...

  The adventurers were looking upon the host of Greyspire...or what was
left of it, at least.  Hundreds of corpses littered the steps; most of
them were human or dwarven.  Some were mere skeletons, the meat picked
off the bones, while others were partially-eaten.  Blood and gore were
everywhere, along with bits of armor, pieces of weapons, and so on.  It
was one of the most gruesome things Mongo or the others had ever been
forced to see.

N'Gasai:  (spreading his clawed hands)  BEHOLD...THE INHABITANTS OF
  GREYSPIRE.
Mongo:  They...they're dead...
N'Gasai:  OF COURSE THEY ARE.  WE WERE HUNGRY.
Bosco:  (to Mongo, matter-of-factly)  I don't see the giant.  Wasn't
  there a giant?  And a gargoyle?  And an ogre mage-
Mongo:  Bosco...be quiet.  (he slowly turns to face N'Gasai, his jaw set,
  his knuckles white as he clenches his warhammer)

  N'Gasai feared no mortal, but the look in the dwarf's eyes gave even
the demon lordling pause.

Mongo:  You will die for this.
N'Gasai:  YOU MEAN TO SLAY ALL OF US?  YOU, WHO NUMBER A HANDFUL OF
  WARRIORS, PRIESTS, DARK ELVES, MAGICAL CREATURES, GOLEMS, A HALFLING-
Mongo:  You will die, and I'll be the one who kills you.
N'Gasai:  I, WHO HAVE WALKED THE DEATH-SEAS OF THE ABYSS, BATTLED THE
  HORDES OF BLOOD, AND EATEN THE FLESH OF TITANS...I AM DESTINED TO BE
  SLAIN BY A _DWARF_ WITH A _WARHAMMER_?  YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS.





next:      Mongo gets serious
ftp:       ftp.peldor.com
www:       http://www.peldor.com/download.html
homepage:  http://www.peldor.com/
email:     tmiller@peldor.com
released:  3/4/05
notes:     Whee.
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