Chapter #933

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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!                                          +
+   Alindyar       18th level drow wizard                                 +
+   Lyra           14th level female drow wizard                          +
+                                                                         +
+   Parekh         18th level human female wizard                         +
+   Date:          9/23/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:          evening                                                +
+   Place:         Parekh's home (exact location unknown)                 +
+   Climate:       cool                                                   +
+   "What are you?"                                                       +
+   "Complicated."                                                        +
+         - Dorian Gray, from _The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen_     +

                   CMXXXIII.  Debate of the Archmagi

  Mere hours after their latest dealings with Belphanior, the drow have
paid a visit to one of the most powerful archmagi on Oerth.

Parekh:  Long time, no-
Alindyar:  Let us cease with the small talk.  (he looks around)  What
  have you done to Belphanior?
Parekh:  _I_ didn't do anything.  Whatever do you mean?
Alindyar:  He is...lacking certain bits of memory, specifically those that
  pertain to Monmurg and our "Prince Creon".  I sensed something amiss as
  we made small talk, and a deliberate statement about the matter gained
  me no answer from Belphanior.  (he frowns)  You and I both know that he
  set out to destroy Monmurg and its rulers...yet he failed to complete
  the task.  I recall, clearly, that you and some of the others mentioned
  that Belphanior might need to be stopped from completing his work.  (he
  glares at her)  So...what happened?
Parekh:  (sighs)  Well, this was inevitable.  Have a seat, and I'll tell
  you the whole story.

  And she did.  For reasons of security, Parekh had made sure that the
fewest possible people knew about Rob's spell, worked upon the elf weeks
ago to alter his memory and thus prevent further loss of life.  In fact,
only she, Pallin, and Rob himself were aware of what had been done...
until now.

Parekh:  -and there you have it.  To ensure the future - a much better
  future - for Monmurg and perhaps the entire Hold, Belphanior had to be
  prevented from pursuing further action against the city.
Alindyar:  I...see.
Parekh:  And in the unlikely event that he is captured and interrogated
  by anyone, he won't know any secret truth to tell.  Understand that we
  wouldn't have worried much about that, except that he's probably being
  hunted right now by a number of parties out for revenge.
Alindyar:  The spell of memory masking does makes an extent.
  (he sits back, crossing his arms)  Still...
Lyra:  (to Parekh)  Did it ever occur to you that what you did was-
Parekh:  Wrong?  Perhaps.  Necessary?  Absolutely.  (she shakes her head)
  Both of you had the idea, and provided much of the raw power, to take
  advantage of the real Creon's death to make positive change in Monmurg.
  Yet you have a lot to learn about the way the surface people of Oerth
Alindyar:  I doubt that - I believe I have seen their every bad habit.
Parekh:  Possibly, but rest assured:  without Creon - or should I say a
  Creon - to rule the city, others would have swooped in and taken over.
  Had that happened, Belphanior would have found some way to attack them
  as well.  (she shrugs)  When this entire thing started - when it was
  just an idea the elf had - I supported it.  You did too, even during
  its actual implementation.  But none of us knew how well it would turn
  out, or that it might actually become an opportunity.
Lyra:  We couldn't have made much of the opportunity without Cespedes'
  knowledge of dopplegangers, clones, and the like.
Parekh:  Which is precisely why you should accept our offer and join us.
Alindyar:  I notice that you are looking at both of us- (he nods to Lyra)
  -yet your words are for me.  (he crosses his arms)  If we are to have
  this...alliance, you must understand that there are no secrets between
  Lyra and myself.
Parekh:  No, of course not.  Just understand that there has to be an odd
  number of members in our group, to avoid ties should we ever need to
  vote on something.  Further, no two members can be closely related...
  part of our advantage is that each of us are vastly different than all
  the others, as far as perspective, motivation, and goals.  (she frowns)
  Not to mention the archmage requirement.  Surely you understand.
Lyra:  Surely.
Alindyar:  If you wish there to be five members in your Cabal, all of
  them archmagi, that is fine.  However, I expect Lyra to have the same
  status and participation as, say, your man Drak.
Parekh:  (nods)  Point taken.
Alindyar:  One further thing:  I will not tolerate any secrets being kept
  from me, such as this business with Belphanior and his memory.  Full
  participation must come with full disclosure.
Parekh:  Agreed.  Please, bear in mind that we're still in the early
  stages of this thing.  It's not easy to align five genius-level magi
  toward the same goals.
Lyra:  Then maybe you should have a meeting, to discuss - and define -
  those goals.
Alindyar:  Aye.  (he regards Parekh)  An excellent idea...and in such a
  meeting, I hope to hear something besides the idea that you - we - are
  using Belphanior.
Parekh:  I wouldn't call it "using" him; it's just that he's a formidable
  individual, and often his goals align with ours.  We help him, and he
  helps us, in his own way.  (she glares at the dark elf)  Surely you
  won't deny that Belphanior has used, or tried to use, you and others
  who he knows?
Alindyar:  (thinks of the times he's accompanied Belphanior recently, as
  well as Mongo's recent adventures with the elf and his group)  Nay, I
  shall not deny that.
Parekh:  Well, then.  All we're doing is watching what he does, choosing
  which of his planned actions match our goals, and then doing our best
  to ensure that he succeeds in those goals, while also ensuring that he
Lyra:  It's still...somehow wrong.
Alindyar:  'Tis politics...the politics of people.  (he sets his jaw)  I
  left that sort of thing behind in the Underdark, for good reason.  Let
  us make sure that it does not get out of hand within this Cabal, yes?
Parekh:  I'll do my best.  You have my word.

  Alindyar had certain concerns since the invitation to join the Cabal,
several months ago.  Any group of people, united toward a common goal,
brought with it the dangers of politics.  While the dark elf didn't have
a pressing need to ally himself with anyone, he couldn't deny the great
potential of such a Cabal.  Each member was (or would be, in the dark
elf's case) a master of at least one kind of magic, and brought something
significant to the table.  Parekh specialized in battle spells, things
with practical application, and had mastered the art of creating her own
brand-new spells.  Pallin was the world's foremost expert in the field of
transportation magic, being well-versed in the ways of Celestian and the
intricacies of physical space.  Cespedes had no equal when it came to
harnessing the elements and creating artificial life, such as golems,
constructs, figurines, and the like.  His work with the Nine ended by
the attack on Xusia's fortress, he was easily convinced to join another
alliance - this one with less sinister goals and methods.  Wu, the old
and enigmatic sorcerer from the far western Baklunish lands, had near-
total mastery of shape-changing as well as energy-related magic.  Last
but not least, Alindyar himself, was a master of illusions and related
  These, then, were the five members of the Cabal...and each of them
brought associates or allies of significant power, as well as various
minions and contacts in the outside world.  Alindyar wasn't the only one
who saw great potential in this alliance; if used properly, the power of
these five archmagi could surely make the world a better place.

next:       more from Belphanior
released:   8/18/06
notes:      I hope you enjoyed this little look into the Cabal.  And just
  for the record:  no, you didn't miss Parekh inviting Alindyar to join
  her gang.  Like a lot of what Alindyar's done lately, I didn't show it
  explicitly in the stories; I just mentioned it when I was ready to drop
  a bomb on the audience.  Surprise!

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