Chapter 7

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     The following morning, we all assembled in the official's office.
There was a great deal of yelling and screaming, but the end result of
it all was that we didn't get to see his Lordship, we didn't get any
public acknowledgement, and we got only half the reward, as the Chief
and the dragon were still alive.  Much grumbling followed.

     The GM then said that Navero, Dania, Rourk, and Kortul had gained
enough experience to go to second level, if we could find the requisite
training.  The warriors had it easy - training facilities were readily
available in the form of a few small self-defense schools; they usually
catered to the sons of the local rich merchants, but made exceptions for
anyone who could pay.  The requisite training went quickly and easily,
although Rourk did complain about the mercantile aspects of the schools.
There wasn't a temple of the Unalterable Way in town, but the DM kindly
ruled that, in this one case, Navero could go up by praying by himself,
and talking with the local priests for about a month; broadening his
horizons, as it were.  In time, the Lords looked down on their servant,
and he grew in their sight.

     However, Dania would have to find someone to supervise her
studies in the arcane arts, and in a town this small, the chances of
finding a mage who would apprentice her, and put up with her
adventuring, seemed to be pretty dismal.  Mages tended to be a bit
tight with their secrets in this day and age, and often disapproved of
mages who wandered around and used their power martially.  First, of
course, she had to find a mage who would apprentice her; perhaps if
she didn't tell him she would be leaving to go adventuring, she could
get what she needed and scram.  With this in mind, she asked a
townsperson for directions.

Dania: (To Joe Townsperson) "Excuse me, is there a mage or wizard
     living around here, with whom I might speak?"

Joe: "Well, there's the wizards on High street..."

Dania: "There's several of them?  In a town this size?"

Joe: "Yep, they all hang around together.  Don't know why you'd want
     to talk to them, though.  They're weird."

Dania: "I've got my reasons.  Thank you and good day."

     Dania walked to High street.  The street was fairly ordinary, but
one section caught her attention by the arresting appearance of all
the houses.  They were very tall, yet cheerful looking, and seemed to
lean back from the street.  They had big glass windows, big round
doors, were painted lots of bright colors, and had big gardens in
front with lots of big bright colorful flowers.  Violets and purples
seemed to be a general favorite.  Fairly certain that this must be the
place, Dania went up to a random house and knocked.  A tall wizardly-
type man with a long white beard answered; surprisingly, he was not at
all annoyed by the intrusion (as wizards often are,) but seemed to
positively beam good tidings from his beetling little brows.  He was,
by the way, dressed in a very loud purple robe, with lots of polka-

Dania: "Um...  Hello, master Wizard?  I am Dania Couliari; I have come
     seeking an apprenticeship."

Wizard: "You have?  Splendid!!!  I love apprentices!  Especially small
     cute ones with pointy ears!  (Poof.  Flowers appear in his hand.)
     Have some flowers!  Have some more! (Poof)  Have whole bunches of
     them!  (Poof)(Poof)(Poof)(Poof)(Poof)(Poof)(Poof)  Aren't flowers
     nice?  I like this kind best.  Do you like flowers, young lady?"

Dania: "Actually, I have hay fever.  Good day, sorry to have troubled

Wizard: "No, no!  I can't have you going away like that!  You aren't

Dania: "Excuse me?"

Wizard: "We cannot have unhappy people in our midst... For we are THE
     PURPLE POLKA-DOT WIZARDS!!!  We ALL want to make the whole world

(Doors and windows up and down the street all of a sudden burst open,
and about a dozen mages in loud, purple, polka-dotted clothing leap
out into the street.)

PPW's: "YES!!  HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!!"  (They all jump about and begin
     dancing up and down the street in joyous abandonment.  Frivolous
     music starts up somewhere.)

Dania: (stares)

PPW 1: "We want everyone in the world to be just as happy as we are!"

All PPW's: "YES!!" (Some are doing cartwheels)

Dania: (STARES)

PPW 2: "We want the world to be a joyful place!  With bright colors
     and flowers and singing and effervescence and glee!"

All PPW's: "YES!!  ALL THAT!!" (They make a giant pyramid, which falls
     down, but they don't mind.)

Dania: (*STARES*)

PPW 1: "I just love apprentices; don't you love apprentices?"

PPW 2: "How dare you grab this one up so fast!  How dare you, sir!
     Why, I'd horsewhip you if I had a horse!"

Dania: (*STARES*  Jaw drops, hits ground with audible thud.)

PPW 3: "Actually, I'd much rather _she_ did that to me!"

PPW 2: "Oh?  Whips and chains, dear Xinjanthropus?"

PPW 3: "Chains, you say?  Your remark leaves me fit to be TIED!"

PPW 1: "Eww!  We all CLASP in dismay at your tastelessness!"

PPW 2: "I am BOUND to strike you for that!"

PPW 1: "Lets have no disCORD!"

PPW 4: "Yes!  WIRE we arguing?"

PPW 2: "All this over a deLINKuent!"

PPW 5: "She may KNOT be!"

PPW 3: "But she looks like a FAST 'UN!"

PPW 4: "And youth is the SPLICE of life!"

PPW 1: "You have a filthy mind!  At least, not a TIE-dy one!"

PPW 5: "This LINE leaves me at the end of my rope!"

Dania: "Uh, do you do this all the time, uh, great wizards?"

(All PPW's gaze upon her, with glee in their beady little eyes.)


PPW 2: "Restraint!  He saw her first!"

PPW 1: "I'll fight you for her!  Do your worst!"

PPW 5: "RIGHT!  Lets have at it, then!!"

(They do "rock, scissors, paper" in a furious huff.  Both get rock,
then both scissors, then both paper.)

PPW 1: "All right then, two out of three!"

PPW 3: "Wait a moment, she's leaving.  Come back!"

PPW 1: "Don't leave!  Can't you see I'm trying to tell you I love you?
     Because you remind me of you!  Your eyes, your lips your hair...
     everything about you reminds me of you!  Except you.  How do you
     account for that?"

Dania: "Sorry,gottago,kidsonthestove,bye!" (Flees)

PPW 4: "Rats."

PPW 5: "Do you think we sent her away unhappy?"

PPW 1: "No, not at all.  Look!  She seems _much_ happier already."

     (A few notes on the Purple Polka-dot Wizards: (This is AD&Dv1.)  They
cast Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter as a 1st level spell, and
Otto's Irresistible Dance as a 4th level spell.  They are of Chaotic Good
alignment, except for a few rare birds who are Chaotic Evil.  The latter can
be surprisingly nasty.  When summoning familiars, if they get a special
familiar, it will be a Faery Dragon.)

     Dania went to find Joe Townsperson again.

Joe: "Oh, hello."

Dania: "You sick little <censored> bastard.  Why didn't you tell me
     they were all a bunch of lunatics?!"

Joe: "Well... you didn't ask."

Dania: "Well, now I AM asking you: are there any wizards in this whole
     godamned town who AREN'T insane?"

Joe: "Well, one..."

Dania: "Where?  And is there anything I should know about him?"

Joe: "Nobody much goes near his place, ma'am.  He only gets visitors
     late at night.  It's the big dark house on Kings road, can't miss
     it.  He isn't a very good neighbor, ma'am, but I can say he ain't
     any loopier than any other wizard, and less than some."

Dania: "Good.  Good-day."

     Dania trekked up to Kings road.  The house was indeed quite
unmistakable, in its eerie glowering eldritch hugeness, an abomination
suspended in a small polite white-housed neighborhood like a cancer.
All of the other dwellings shied away from its vast and improbable
obesity; it dwelled in malformed solitude, prodigious and arrogant,
shrouded under an ineffable weight of gloom and despair.  The house
had no visible doors, although many windows which seemed to gaze into
your cringing soul were scattered about the walls in awful patterns
that the mind refused to acknowledge.  The obscene, malignant carvings
decorating the cornices seemed to swim into different, even more vile
shapes when the eye was not upon them.

(Dania looks for a door, but a disembodied voice stops her.)

Voice: "I am aware of your presence.  And your desires..."

(A door existed where surely one had never been before.)

Voice: "Enter freely, and of your own will."

     Dania entered.  Beyond, there was a hallway, thin but impossibly
high, whose claustrophobic walls were a uniform shade of dark grey;
they seemed to be shifting slightly at the edge of vision, but never
were seen to move.  The hall was longer than it looked; it took a long
time to reach the end; when she looked back, the door was no longer
visible.  She reached the end of the hall, and stepped into a small
black room.  An unknown force moved her to another place, seemingly
beyond the limits of space itself, and there, Dania met what had to be
the master of the house.  Nearly seven feet tall, dressed in a loose
robe like a sundered piece of space, and with huge hands which seemed
to flow into many more fingers than was acceptable.  His cadaverous
features were a study in fascinating ugliness, riveting and commanding
in their grotesquery.

Master: "An apprenticeship.  How amusing.  How presumptuous.  I
     haven't dealt with an apprentice since....  Ah.  So your former
     master was Galvolin."

Dania: "Uh, yes.  He kicked me out when my parents did."

Master: "For having sex with a Drow?  Very close-minded people.  You are
     well to be rid of them.  I see some small potential in you, though.
     Interesting flares and prominences.  Very well, apprentice."

Dania: "Sure, thanks.  Glad to be here."

Master: "Of course you are.  Your first task..."

(A wild gesture.  Space and time scream.  They appear in a room.)

Master: "Clean all this glassware.  And I want to see my face in it!
     After that, set the dining room table.  I am expecting an
     important guest.  Put 7 forks and 12 knives at his place."

Dania: "There's enough glassware here to fill my old bedroom..."

Master: "It seems that would be rather uncomfortable to sleep on.  But
     some might find it very interesting...  To work.  Now!"

Dania: "Yes!  Very good, o my master!  Chop, chop!  Oh, uh..."

Master: "Of course.  I am perfectly aware of your other career.  You
     may continue on in your destructive little ways."

Dania: "Ok.  No problems."

Master: "For your studies, you may peruse the library on the first
     floor.  NONE of the others.  And, after you finish work."

     Dania managed to complete the requisite studies, and was able to
rejoin us periodically for a drink.  In fact, although that library
was a mages dream, she took every possible opportunity to get out of
the house.  If she seemed any more morbid than usual, no one noticed.
The training period passed uneventfully, leaving us rested and ready
to continue in our explorations in the Orc caverns.

Daniel Parsons      "Your hands look scaly.  Is that from lots of washing?"
                    "Lord, I hope so."

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