Chapter #945

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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        +
+   Elgon          8th/9th/11th level deep gnome priest/illusionist/thief +
+   Jenna          9th level human female priestess of Istus              +
+   Neera          11th level human female sage/astrologer                +
+   Otto           10th/13th level dwarven fighter/thief                  +
+   Skektek        13th level human wizard                                +
+   wispy thing    strange, intangible sentient being                     +
+   Ys             14th level reptilian fighter                           +
+                                                                         +
+   Mongo          19th level dwarven warrior                             +
+                                                                         +
+   Parekh         18th level human female wizard                         +
+   Date:          10/22/580 C.Y. (Common Year)                           +
+   Time:          early evening                                          +
+   Place:         Parekh's home (exact location unknown)                 +
+   Climate:       cool                                                   +
+   "The price one pays for pursuing a profession is an intimate          +
+    knowledge of its ugly side."                                         +
+                                              - James Arthur Baldwin     +

                   CMXLV.  A New Initiative

  After a change in plan, the group has ventured to Parekh's mysterious

Belphanior:  I'm still not quite sure how you were able to bring the
  skyship here.
Parekh:  (shrugs)  That's why I'm an archmage.
Mongo:  (looking around at the strange complex of buildings within the
  cloudy surroundings)  This is something else.
Parekh:  Peaceful, that's what it is.
Belphanior:  And we'll be out of here as soon as Neera can determine
  whether her idea will work.
Parekh:  Oh, we're going to make it work, rest assured of that.

  Neera's "fourth option" had been yet another example of unconventional

  Neera:  Then might I suggest...option four?
  Belphanior:  Sure.  What great, new solution do you have in mind?
  Neera:  Easy - we disappear.
  Mongo:  Huh?
  Neera:  We find a way to render ourselves immune to scrying, and then
    we drop off the map...or at least out of danger of being scried or
    otherwise located by magical means.
  Skektek:  (somewhat dubiously)  You're talking about non-detection of
    the highest degree!  For that, we'd need...well, we'd need something
    that hasn't been invented, a spell that masks multiple people from
    all detection, permanently.
  Neera:  You're right, such a spell doesn't exist.  To make one, or an
    item that duplicates that effect, we'd need-
  Belphanior:  An existing artifact with the same properties, which we
    can then reverse-engineer to get what we want.  (he taps the amulet
    which Peldor loaned him)  Brilliant.

  After this discussion, Belphanior had immediately canceled his previous
plans and made new ones...and now here he was, at Parekh's sanctuary with
his companions.  The reclusive, brown-skinned archmagess had an amazing
amount of knowledge, raw material, and laboratory equipment.  With these
resources, plus Parekh's help, Belphanior was confident that he and Neera
could carry out her plan.  There were, of course, other issues that had
to be worked out.  Even if magical location/detection was impossible,
the group would still be visible to the naked eye, meaning that anywhere
they went and anything they did would be subject to the accounts of any
witnesses.  With that in mind, Belphanior wasn't sure whether he wanted
to stage a fake death for the group - Ganarec would have been an ideal
place for that - or simply appear to vanish from the face of Oerth.  They
definitely had multiple covert means of travel at their disposal, between
the skyship and the gateways, so it was conceivable that numerous other
missions could be completed without anyone in any civilized city seeing
or hearing the group.
  These were, of course, concerns for Belphanior to worry about only
_after_ he and the other magi had succeeded in their research.  Given
that Parekh was something of an authority on detection magic, the elf
was confident about these efforts.  Unfortunately for the others, this
left them with very little to do...

Mongo:  -and not only am I bored, but I'm feeling sick again.  (he turns
  to Parekh)  This place isn't on solid land, is it?
Parekh:  It's not.
Mongo:  Great.  (to Belphanior)  Isn't there some little side mission
  that we can go do, while you wizard-types are nose-deep in your books
  and stuff?  I have to get out of here.
Belphanior:  (thinking)  Well, actually, there is something that needs
  to be done.  Do you really feel like running an errand?
Mongo:  Sure.
Otto:  Count me in too.  What is it?
Belphanior:  When Razor Charlie left, I paid him out his full share of
  all our money - which was a significant amount.  However, when I was
  last cleaning out the portable hole, and organizing its contents, I
  found some more funds that I'd forgotten about.
Mongo:  (nods)  I know how it is.  I lose stuff in my portable hole all
  the time.  It's crazy, really.
Otto:  So Charlie has some more money coming, eh?
Belphanior:  (nods)  Basically, I want you to deliver about ten thousand
  gold pieces to him.
Skektek:  He'll like that.
Belphanior:  I'm guessing he will.
Mongo:  But how will we find him?  I thought you left him in Greyhawk,
  though I doubt he stayed there.
Otto:  Yeah, Charlie didn't seem like the Greyhawk type.
Belphanior:  Finding him will be easy.  With Parekh's help, we can track
  anybody down.
Mongo:  Sounds like fun.
Otto:  It'll be good to catch up with Charlie again.
wispy thing:  (somehow excited about this)  spaaa!

  Soon, it was finalized:  Otto, Mongo, and Elgon would go and deliver
this money to Razor Charlie.

Parekh:  I've used my crystal ball to pinpoint his location as of just
  now.  He's in a small town in northern Bissel.
Otto:  Heh.  I told you he'd never stay in Greyhawk.
Parekh:  It looks like a quiet place, very normal.
Ys:  Then I need not go...there is no reason to disturb our friend's
  newfound tranquility with bizarre-looking visitors such as myself.
Elgon:  (to Ys)  I could use an illusion to disguise your appearance...
Ys:  There's no need for that.  I'm just as content to remain here as to
  venture to some small town.
Otto:  (grousing to himself)  Fine, but that's not stopping _me_ from
  getting out of here.

  The dwarf wasn't sure why, but he'd never quite felt comfortable in
Parekh's mysterious abode.  It might have been the fact that the place
was so isolated - the dwarf liked to be around lots of people - or it
might have been the fact that he'd never trusted Parekh.  In any event,
a trip to a small town, no matter how boring it promised to be, was a
welcome alternative to remaining here for days (or perhaps weeks) while
the wizard-types did their research and experiments.
  Skektek opted out of the trip, as he secretly harbored a desire to get
in on the research efforts.  Belphanior himself, and Neera of course,
would also need to stay for the same reason; Jenna expressed a need to
rest and pray to Istus.

Otto:  Suit yourselves.
Mongo:  This should be fun.
Elgon:  Well, I doubt that.  I've never even heard of Bissel.  Then
  again, I know very little of the surface world.
Parekh:  Bissel is one of the western kingdoms, near the mountains in
  that region.  I can open a portal to send you there, and also provide
  you with a means to contact us when you're ready to come back.
Belphanior:  Let's do that tomorrow.
Otto:  Yeah, no need to arrive at night - we might as well get a good
  night's sleep and be fresh for this little trip.  We can also pick up
  whatever supplies anyone wants, while we're there - just let me know.
Belphanior:  Bissel, eh?  That's an odd place for Charlie to end up.
Skektek:  Knowing him, he's just passing through.  He strikes me as the
  sort who'll have a hard time deciding where to settle down.
Otto:  Whatever the case, we'll get some answers tomorrow.

next:       catching up with Razor Charlie
released:   11/10/06
notes:      I already know what Razor Charlie's been up to for the past
  five weeks, but I guess it's time you found out, too.  And a new feature
  has been added to the website:  check out
  and either tell what you think of it or discuss it
  in the "General Board" topic in the forum.

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