Chapter #931

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                                   +   +
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                             +               +
                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                         +                       +
                           +       Epic V      +
                             +               +
                               +           +
                                 +       +
                                   +   +

+     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       +
+   1991-2006 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!                                          +
+   Belphanior     15th/15th/15th level elven fighter/wizard/thief        +
+                                                                         +
+   Alindyar       18th level drow wizard                                 +
+   Lyra           14th level female drow wizard                          +
+   Date:          9/16/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:          late morning                                           +
+   Place:         an old, dark mansion in the Free City of Greyhawk      +
+   Climate:       cool                                                   +
+   "I don't want to be a secret weapon.  I want to be an                 +
+    exposed weapon!"                                                     +
+                                  - H. M. Murdock, from _The A-Team_     +

                   CMXXXI.  Arsenal Unveiled

  Belphanior has ventured to Greyhawk to take care of a few things, and
now he is finally ready for the last...

Belphanior:  I need to know everything I can about these magical items.
Alindyar:  Aye.

  This was the first time that Belphanior and Alindyar had crossed paths
since the assault on Monmurg.  Belphanior wasn't quite sure why he'd let
so much time go by without talking to the dark elf; it has kind of just
happened.  Something wasn't quite right about that, but Belphanior found
himself unable to figure out just what, or why.  It didn't matter right
now, as he had a more important task at hand.

Belphanior:  And this deal is okay with you - you scry these items to
  figure out their powers and history, and in return I'll give you some
  of them?  Several of the minor ones, or one of the more powerful ones?
Alindyar:  (nods)  'Tis a fair arrangement for both sides.
Belphanior:  Good.  I can't use all of these things, and besides...well,
  I just feel like I've been relying on Parekh and her crew too much of
  late.  (he frowns)  And I don't like having to depend on anyone.
Alindyar:  A...wise choice.

  The dark elf had his own agendas and secrets, to be sure, but he didn't
mind helping his old acquaintance with the identification of these magic
items.  As prominent magi in Greyhawk, Alindyar and Lyra had access to
vast resources within the Guild of Wizardry and other places.  As the dark
elf wasn't exceedingly busy at the moment, he was happy to help out...and
some of the treasures he scried would end up being his.  It was, as had
been noted, truly a good deal for both sides.

Belphanior:  I guess you'll want to know what I know of each item...such
  as where I got it, or what properties it's exhibited.
Alindyar:  Truly.  (he concentrates, and a pen and parchment appear in
  the air, ready to take notes)
Belphanior:  Whoa.  How do you do that?  (he shakes his head)  Well, not
  how - I know how magic works - but that magic is startlingly efficient
  and fast.
Alindyar:  I have to realize, my friend, that reality is little more than
  a puzzle, a series of pieces that interlock to form various things.
  Once I was able to see that - truly see it clearly - it simply became
  a matter of breaking things down into those pieces...and reassembling
  them as necessary.
Belphanior:  Yeah...right.  I'll have to learn how to do that.
Alindyar:  Not likely.  In addition to being shown the way - no trivial
  matter in and of itself - I understand that perhaps one in a million
  people have the proper aptitude for such magic.
Belphanior:  I see.  (he changes the subject)  So...the items.
Alindyar:  Aye.

  There was an extensive list of magic items, dating back to Belphanior's
time in Helgate and even before.  The elf had taken some time recently to
do a complete inventory of such items, including ones that he had already
learned something about, as well as ones that were already gone.  These
were easily grouped into like categories.
  Belphanior had accumulated a significant quantity of weapons and armor,
most of which had been previously scried by Arvthar the sage:
  - longsword of shocking (belonged to Dagron)
  - bastard sword of wounding (belonged to Torin)
  - longsword of dancing (belonged to Vybool)
  - longsword, nine lives stealer (belonged to Vybool)
  - broadsword, defender (belonged to Omak)
  - cutlass of speed (belonged to Redjack)
  - dagger +2
  - longsword, frost brand (from frozen gateway)
  - spiked mace +3, of wounding (from frozen gateway)
  - spear +4 (from frozen gateway)
  - plate mail of the deep (from underwater gateway)
  - trident of the deep (from underwater gateway)

  Arvthar had taken some other items (a dagger, mace, and robe) as his
payment for identifying the batch of weapons.  He had also studied a
ring that Belphanior had gained somewhere, offering a suggestion that
the thing had some power over portals.  Belphanior had experimented
with the item and learned its purpose:  when the hand wearing the ring
got within ten feet of any lock, latch, etc. on any portal, that device
would unlock, unlatch, whatever.  The ring didn't work on chests and
other non-passable things - only doors, windows, hatches, and the like.

  None of these things required scrying by Alindyar or anyone else; they
were known quantities as far as Belphanior was concerned.  He would use,
sell, or trade them as needed; until then, they would all be stored in
some secure place.

Belphanior:  No, what I'm really looking for here is some help with some
  spellbooks, and then some other assorted things.  But the main thing is
  the spellbooks.
Alindyar:  Spellbooks?
Belphanior:  (opens his portable hole and begins removing arcane tomes,
  stacking them on the table)
Alindyar:  Aie.

  Belphanior had quite a collection.  Klark, Vybool, Sarquay, Xusia,
Drusilla...all of these foes had fallen in one way or another to the
elf and his allies.  The assorted books were quite varied - thick or
thin, bound in dragonhide or simple cloth, pristine or well-used - but
they collectively proved a simple point.

Belphanior:  To the victor went the spoils.
Alindyar:  Aye.  (he blinks)  This is a rather impressive collection of
  power.  I must confess, however, that I do not quite understand why
  you would bring it to me.  You are fully capable of avoiding the wards
  and unlocking the contents of these tomes, given time.
Belphanior:  Ah, but that's just it. not something I have to
  spare.  Two of us can work twice as fast, make twice as few mistakes.
Alindyar:  Lyra can help, as well.  Thrice the intelligence and power...
Belphanior:  And yet the spells need not be split into two or three
  different shares.  (he smiles thinly)
Alindyar:  (nods)  We can each copy everything.  My friend, you have
  yourself a deal.
Belphanior:  I figured you might see it my way.  (he looks around)  When
  do we begin?
Alindyar:  Right now.  (he gestures, and three comfortable chairs slide
  over to the large, round table in the center of the dark elf's study)
  Lyra shall return soon, and then, gods willing, we shall know some new
  spells within the hour.

  They did, but an hour turned into a morning, which turned into a full
day, and then another, and then a third.  All three wizards immersed
themselves fully in the task at hand.  Protections were found and then
bypassed; ciphers were cracked; magical script was copied and lists were
made and notes were taken.  Belphanior hadn't fully utilized this aspect
of his abilities in some time, and he found the work to be enjoyable as
well as challenging.
  Four days passed...four long, busy days.  At the end of that time, the
three magi had a complete inventory of the spells in the five books.

Klark's spellbook:
  (1)  Find Familiar, Friends, Mount, Phantasmal Force, Unseen Servant
  (2)  Improved Phantasmal Force, Spectral Hand, Summon Swarm
  (3)  Monster Summoning I, Phantasmal Steed, Protection From Good,
       Protection From Evil
  (4)  Charm Monster, Monster Summoning II, Phantasmal Killer
  (5)  Conjure Elemental, Hold Monster, Monster Summoning III
  (6)  Dismissal, Ensnarement, Men of Stone *, Monster Summoning IV
  (7)  Banishment, Mirror Summons **

  *    fashions a number of mindless warriors from dirt, rock, and mud
  **   summons the exact same thing just summoned by another caster

Vybool's spellbook
  (1)  Burning Hands, Chill Touch, Color Spray, Magic Missile, Sleep
  (2)  Blind, Flaming Sphere, Melf's Acid Arrow, Stinking Cloud, Web
  (3)  Dispel Magic, Fireball, Flame Arrow, Lightning Bolt
  (4)  Evard's Black Tentacles, Ice Storm, Immolate Self #
  (5)  Cone of Cold, Vybool's Subtle Advantage ##

  #    surrounds caster's body with flames that damage anyone nearby
  ##   combines Confusion on nearby foes with Haste on caster

Sarquay's spellbook
  (1)  Enlarge, Grease, Jump, Magic Missile, Shrink, Sleep
  (2)  Blur, Glitterdust, Spectral Hand, Web
  (3)  Dispel Magic, Hold Person, Tongues, Wind Wall
  (4)  Charm Monster, Emotion, Fear, Ice Storm
  (5)  Cone of Cold, Magic Jar, Wall of Force

Drusilla's spellbook (borrowed from Skektek)
  (1)  Affect Normal Fires, Alarm, Burning Hands, Comprehend Languages,
       Detect Magic, Hold Portal, Identify, Magic Missile, Protection
       from Good, Read Magic, Sleep, Wall of Fog
  (2)  Bind, Darkness 15' Radius, Detect Good, ESP, Flaming Sphere, Fog
       Cloud, Invisibility, Knock, Leomund's Trap, Locate Object, Magic
       Mouth, Mirror Image, Web, Wizard Lock
  (3)  Blink, Dispel Magic, Explosive Runes, Fireball, Flame Arrow,
       Haste, Hold Person, Lightning Bolt, Non-Detection, Slow
  (4)  Confusion, Dimension Door, Evard's Black Tentacles, Ice Storm,
       Leomund's Secret Shelter, Solid Fog, Wall of Ice, Wizard Eye
  (5)  Chaos, Cloudkill, Cone of Cold, Feeblemind, Magic Volley *,
       Teleport, Transmute, Rock to Mud, Wall of Force
  (6)  Anti-Magic Shell, Death Fog, Death Spell, Globe of Invulnerability,
       Guards and Wards, Otiluke's Freezing Sphere, Veil
  (7)  Finger of Death, Limited Wish, Power Word Stun, Reverse Gravity

  *    standard magic missile spell with triple the number of missiles

Xusia's spellbook
  (1)  Alarm, Armor, Burning Hands, Cantrip, Change Self, Charm Person,
       Color Spray, Comprehend Languages, Dancing Lights, Detect Magic,
       Erase, Hold Portal, Identify, Magic Missile, Mending, Message,
       Protection from Good, Read Magic, Shield, Sleep, Tenser's Floating
       Disc, Unseen Servant, Wizard Mark
  (2)  Blindness, Darkness 15' Radius, Deafness, Detect Good, ESP,
       Freezing Sphere *, Forget, Ghoul Glyph **, Knock, Know Alignment,
       Locate Object, Magic Mouth, Mirror Image, Ray of Enfeeblement,
       Shatter, Spectral Hand, Stinking Cloud, Web, Wizard Lock
  (3)  Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, Dispel Magic, Fireball, Flame Arrow,
       Fly, Gust of Wind, Haste, Hold Person, Item, Lightning Bolt,
       Melf's Minute Meteors, Protection From Normal Missiles, Secret
       Page, Slow, Spectral Force, Suggestion, Tongues, Undead Summoning
       I ***, Wind Wall
  (4)  Charm Monster, Confusion, Curse, Dimension Door, Evard's Black
       Tentacles, Extension I, Fear, Ice Storm, Magic Mirror, Massmorph,
       Minor Creation, Polymorph Other, Remove Curse, Stoneskin, Undead
       Summoning II ***, Wall of Fire, Wall of Ice, Wizard Eye
  (5)  Animate Dead, Chaos, Cloudkill, Cone of Cold, Conjure Elemental,
       Domination, Extension II, Feeblemind, Hold Monster, Magic Jar,
       Major Creation, Passwall, Protection From Undead ##, Sending,
       Telekinesis, Teleport, Transmute Rock to Mud, Undead Summoning
       III *** Wall of Force, Wall of Iron, Wall of Stone
  (6)  Anti-Magic Shell, Chain Lightning, Death Fog, Death Spell,
       Disintegrate, Enchant an Item, Extension III, Flesh to Stone,
       Ghost Ward #, Globe of Invulnerability, Legend Lore, Mass
       Suggestion, Otiluke's Freezing Sphere, Stone to Flesh, Transmute
       Water to Dust, Undead Summoning IV ***
  (7)  Control Undead, Finger of Death, Forcecage, Ghost Trap ###,
       Prismatic Spray, Teleport Without Error, Undead Summoning V ***
  (8)  Binding, Incendiary Cloud, Mass Charm, Mind Blank, Permanency,
       Polymorph Any Object, Prismatic Wall, Symbol
  (9)  Energy Drain, Gate, Meteor Swarm, Plague of Undead ####, Power
       Word Kill, Wish

  *    cold version of standard Flaming Sphere spell
  **   wards an area, paralyzes victims
  ***  these are variants of standard Monster Summoning spells
  #    incorporeal creatures cannot pass
  ##   undead cannot approach caster (q.v. Protection From Good/Evil)
  ###  incorporeal creatures turn corporeal
  #### unleashes army of undead

Lyra:  Whew.
Alindyar:  It seems that most of the work involved unlocking the arch-
  lich's spellbook...and surviving to tell of it.
Belphanior:  No surprise there.  He was around for thousands of years.
Lyra:  You do realize that there's no way this one book could contain all
  the spells known by such an individual?
Belphanior:  (nods)  I'm always on the lookout for more of his spellbooks.
  Hell, you could even say I've gone searching for them already.  So far,
  I've had no luck, but the century's still young.
Alindyar:  It is fortunate that you brought that one book to me.  There
  are not many with the powers necessary to identify, analyze, and strip
  away the guards and wards placed on Xusia's spellbook.
Belphanior:  Believe me, I'm grateful...and we're all going to share in
  the magical wealth.
Alindyar:  And what a hoard of wealth it is, with so many contributors.
Lyra:  This "Klark" seemed to be a wizard after your own heart, as far
  as the summoning magic goes.
Belphanior:  He sure was, though I already have some of his spells.
Alindyar:  His selection of illusory magic, however, leaves something
  to be desired.
Lyra:  This "Vybool" fellow must have been a lot like Skektek - his list
  is pretty much offensive or damaging spells.
Belphanior:  Skektek's by far the more skilled wizard, though his being
  alive and Vybool's being dead should prove that.
Lyra:  Who was this "Sarquay" loser?  His spells aren't very impressive.
Belphanior:  Sarquay...Sardeep...Sarnath?  Hell, I honestly can't recall
  anything about the man.
Alindyar:  This "Drusilla"...what sort of mage was she?
Belphanior:  A vampiric one.  She was Xusia's third-in-command.  I've
  got some other items of hers, too, though this was the only spellbook
  we found.
Lyra:  It's impressive, though.
Belphanior:  She was a tough opponent...that's why she's currently being
  held within my iron flask, her memory wiped out.
Alindyar:  You ought to go ahead and get rid of her.  'Tis never good to
  have a vampire about...even one that is supposedly helpless.
Belphanior:  I know, I know.  I just haven't gotten around to it.  Maybe
  Rob can help me with that.
Lyra:  (her gaze quickly, briefly meets Alindyar's)
Alindyar:  Perhaps he can.  (he turns to Belphanior)  Did you not have
  some magical items that needed a bit of identification, as well?
Belphanior:  Ah, yes.

next:       part two - the items
released:   8/4/06
notes:      I think an episode like this, with some work toward actually
  figuring out what weapons he's got in his arsenal, was long overdue.  I
  realize that some of you are going to be upset that I didn't just do the
  spells and items all in one episode, but time is tight for me right now,
  and I want to meet my release schedule, so please be patient.

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