Chapter 35

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Dania was unable to find a spellcaster who would give her the training
she needed to reach 5th level.  It was becoming obvious that something
would have to be done about it, but we were having problems
establishing any kind of permanent ties anywhere.

                Navero, male human cleric, 5th level
                Dania, female 1/2-elf MU, 4th level
                Kortul, male human fighter, 5th level
                Razuli, male human fighter, 5th level
                Kory, male elf bard, 4th level
                Topash, male elf druid, 4th level
                Meth, male ? thief, 3rd level

     Navero went back into the inner city.  The guards at the gate
didn't seem to recognize him; they remained uniformly bored, and
Navero got in and went to his temples, where he bathed and spent a few
hours praying and reading the holy words.  He also replenished his
stock of holy water, and got a couple more healing potions.  The
priest he had conversed with earlier found him, and they had a short

Priest: (Sees Navero praying before main altar) "Oh, hello, I do
     believe I recognize you."

Navero: "Yes, father!  I'm acolyte Navero, I was here 3 weeks ago."

Priest: "Ah, yes, acolyte Navero.  You were under Luminot, weren't
     you?  Yes.  Well, when we last met, I believe you were telling me
     about some adventures you had been on with those strange friends
     of yours."

Navero: "Yes, father.  We went out and had some more.  We went west to
     find out what all the clouds were, but there were Undead all
     over, so we fled into a castle called Methigor, where Duke Desmod

Priest: "Desmod the Dark, you mean?  My soul, I'm glad to see you
     alive, my young friend!  Whatever possessed you to enter his

Navero: "He set up illusions, and told us he was trying to fight off
     all the undead.  I'm afraid I was fooled, father.  We went out
     and got this thing called a Bloodstone, and..."

Priest: "Oh!  You didn't give it to him, did you?  Of course you
     didn't; you're still here, and so am I.  Well, hmmm..."

Navero: "Do you believe me?"

Priest: "Oh, I believe you, I believe you.  The alternative, of
     course, is to believe that Bentwick killed Desmod; that, of
     course, is quite impossible.  Naturally, you'll have to tell me
     all about it later; the important thing, my young friend, is that
     you did it!  Somehow or other, you did it!  Now, are you sure
     Desmod is dead?"

Navero: "Well, no."

Priest: "All right.  Did you destroy the Bloodstone, then?"

Navero: "Well... no."

Priest: "Well... do you know where it is?"

Navero: "Well..."

Priest: "I see...  what, exactly, did happen?"

Navero: "Well, Desmod revealed what he was, and then we called for
     Those Who Are More Than 2 And Less Than 4 and they came and..."

Priest: (Suddenly turns white as a Sheet Phantom.) "Do... do you
     mean...  The Paladins, Scourge of All Evil and Embarrassment of
     All Good?"

Navero: "Uh, yes.  They..."

Priest: "oh..." (thud)

Navero: "Father?"

     Meanwhile, Dania went looking to see if there were any magic-
users in low-town who could recharge her staff; there were none.  She
braved the gates, and although the guards were a little suspicious,
none openly voiced objections, and she quickly made her way to the
magic shop.

Shopkeeper: (snif!) "May I HELP you, ma'am?"

Dania: "Yeah; do you know where I can get a Staff of Thunder and
     Lightning recharged?"

Shopkeeper: "Your staff needs a bit of reCHARGing, ma'am?"

Dania: "Yeah.  It fizzled."

Shopkeeper: "It... FIZZled, you say?  I SEE.  George?"

George: (From the back) "Yes?"

Shopkeeper: "Do we get any COMMISSIONS for recommending SPELL-casters,

George: "Yes; from Lielerionti the Holy, Al the Stubborn, Alphor the
     Affluent, and That Other Mage Who Lives Down The Block."

Dania: "Don't you know his name?"

Shopkeeper: "That IS HER name.  She is JUST a TAD eccentric.  PerHAPS
     you would not be INTerested in such.  I think that AL would be
     your BEST opportinity.  He IS rather comBATive, and very
     interested in ITEMS, use and upkeep.  He can usually be found at
     his workshop at 236 Flamebreath Road."

Dania: "Sure, thanks.  Bye, George!"

George: "Bye, come again!"

(Walks to Flamebreath Road, past a smithy, a leatherworker, and a very
large stable, to a big open building with furnaces and things.
Several people are occupied in glassblowing, heating, etc.  A tall fat
man seems to be supervising it all.)

Dania: (To large man) "Hello, do you know where I can find Al the

Foreman: "Al the Wizard?  I think the master might be found somewhere.
     And who wants to know, darlin?"

Dania: "Me.  I'm Dania Couliari, I'm looking for someone who can
     recharge a Staff of Thunder & Lightning."

Foreman: "Well, well, well.  You need a staff with some juice in it,
     do ya, little lady?  Ha, ha!  MORGAN!!  See if he's in.
     Meanwhile, care to have a look around, lass?"

Dania: "Sure, thanks.  Big set-up you got here."

Foreman: "We have been very successful working here, missy.  We
     specialize in glassware for the local laboratories, but there's
     also good demand for it among the wealthy.  So very much more
     attractive than clay or stone, eh?  O' course, it doesn't change
     what's on the inside, but if they're willin' to pay for it all,
     we're willin to supply."

Dania: "Yeah, right.  Does Al usually recharge items?"

Foreman: "Sure, he ain't proud, like some.  This the item, then?
     Looks fairly standard, shouldn't be too much trouble at all.  How
     much you got to pay for it, then?"

Dania: "Enough, I think, mister."

Foreman: "Here now, no need to get unfriendly, my diminutive miss!  Al
     will set the price himself, o' course, no help from me.  I just
     want to know if I should chase you off the lot before you waste
     any of the master's time."

Dania: "I'll discuss it with him, if you don't mind.  Where is this
     guy, anyway?"

Foreman: "He's standin' in front of ya!  Now how much you got, elf?"

Dania: "Err...  How much is standard?"

Foreman: "Depends on the customer's attitude and my mood.  Which is
     getting worse by the minute."

Dania: "I got 650.  And silver."

Foreman: "650?  Jesus.  That, and two of those gems in your pocket you
     failed to mention, and we got a deal.  And I want no argument."

Dania: (*Sigh.*) "Done.  Here.  When do I get it back?"

Foreman: "Call tomorrow, and not during mealtimes!  I'll see you then
     and not before.  Good day!"

     Meth Crystal also went into the main city, but as he was new
there, he had no trouble getting in through the gates.  He took the
opportunity to inspect the set-up, then wandered in his own way to an
open-air market.  The merchants were slow-eyed and mostly kept their
wares out in the open, so it was obvious that there weren't many
thieves in the city.  Nontheless, if they were anywhere they would be
here, so he walked around, looking like a dupe, until he felt a light
touch at his belt.

Meth: (Whips around and grabs urchin.) "Well, hello!"

Urchin: "I didn't do anythin, mistah!  I brushed agains' ya!  I'm
     tellin tha truth, honest bless my soul I didn't never do anythin'

Meth: "Well, of course!  I wouldn't care to finger you for anything
     like lighting, scraper!  But here! (gives urchin 2 coppers)
     Surely such an enterprising little mouse will know where to find
     rats, hah?"

Urchin: (Crafty look creeps onto filthy face) "I dunno sir.  Rats have
     lots o' holes, sir.  Go everywhere, they do."

Meth: "I see, I see...  You know, rats and mice just don't go together
     well, because the rats are so much bigger."

Urchin: "Naw, they go just fine, mistah.  Mice can run!" (Attempts to

Meth: "NOT so fast, there... I suggest that you not run away from me,
     as rats can run too, but they don't like chasing mice and it can
     make them quite angry.  (starts rubbing a copper and a silver
     together between his fingers)  Now... the education of the young
     is very important, I fully realize, but I was hoping that this
     once you could educate me."

Urchin: "Next to 887 Ridge Way, under the lid.  Say 'Bentwick is a fairy.'"

Meth: "But we already knew that.  Well, I had better be running along,
     and so had you." (gives copper)

Urchin: "Hey!"

Meth: "I don't throw good silver to untalkative runts, my good fellow.
     Now do you want me to call the watch to get a cutpurse?"

Urchin: "Fuck you and your bleedin' silvah!" (runs)

     Meth wandered about the market a bit more, purloining himself a
new belt buckle, and then made his way over to Ridge Way.  The address
was a small building in a grungy area of town; it smelled like strong
perfume and other, more repugnant odors.  The door was locked and
barred from within.  In an alley beside the house, behind a fence,
there was a sewer entrance under a heavy steel plate; rungs set in the
walls allowed easy descent.  Meth went down the ladder, and when he
reached the bottom, a crossbow bolt whizzed past his ear and clanked
into the wall.

Meth: (Ducks) "Hey, is that Bentwick?  You, sir, are a fairy."

Dark Brooding Figure: "Who tha fuck are you?"

Meth: "I are Meth Crystal, and I are peeved with you."

Figure: "Shut yer mouth.  Where'd you get the password?"

Meth: "From somebody who knew it themselves.  And where did you get
     such a big crossbow?"

Figure: "Mum gave it to me for me birthday, for bein' such a good boy.
     Alright, I guess you pass."

(Meth walks past the person, who is a smallish man with a big
crossbow.  The sewer tunnel goes on for a few more yards, then enters
some kind of basement or undercity chamber.  Inside, there are about 6
urchins and an older man.)

Meth: "Greetings, honored elder!  May a hardbat never come across your
     tommyknockers!  I wonder, dear memsi, what a dreamer like myself
     would do if pressing a hold with his edge so fine?  I realize
     your ground may not grow grass, but surely your mind is fertile."

Fagin: "Huh?"

Meth: "Where's your guildmaster?"

Fagin: "Don't have a guild.  Got smashed.  Driven out of the old home,
     all executed by his Lordship."

Meth: "Ho!  How did that happen?"

Fagin: "Lieutenant Jeryson, or JELLY'S SON if you prefer.  Damn
     fanatic, and one with half a brain in his head.  Would his
     thrice-godamned father jerked off that night instead."

Meth: "I think I met this person once.  Dark, flaming eyes, looks like
     he got a buttplug stuck in him somewhere?"

Fagin: "Aye.  No guild.  I'm trying to find a way to prevent these
     poor lost souls from falling into disorganization and infamy, but
     the gods know it's hard on an old man."

Meth: "I see, yes.  Would you mind, then, if I were to do business in
     your city, old master?"

Fagin: "Naw.  What's your business?"

Meth: "I sell recreational herbs and other pharmaceuticals, of high
     quality and worth.  Care for a wholesale deal?"

Fagin: "Naw.  And none to my boys, they'll lose their edge.  The
     future of this city lies in their hands."

Meth: "Then perhaps they'd best wash them sometime.  Be seeing you!"

Daniel Parsons          "City adventures are fun.  They don't threaten
                                     your life so much as your purse."

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