Chapter 49

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          Navero, male human cleric, 5th level
          Dania, female 1/2-elf MU, 4th level
          Kortul, male human fighter, 5th level
          Kory, male elf bard, 4th level
          Topash, male elf druid, 4th level
          Serga, male half-ogre fighter, 3rd level
          Lao Tsu, male human monk, 3rd level

The little treasure room was lousy with traps, and it took forever for
Kory and Lao to clear them out.  Navero and Serga waited at the end of
the hall, listening for anyone in dining hall, but no one came.  After
Kory thought it was clear, we retreated into the room to check over
the loot.
     There was a GREAT deal of raw cash, big bags of silver and gold
coin, bagged and stacked in neat, orderly piles, and a chest full of
platinum coins.  There was also a bastard sword, a scimitar, a set of
gauntlets, some scrolls, potions, and a rack of anti-slime unguent.
     With Serga standing in the room entrance, watching over the two
bound, snoring cooks, we very quietly went over the stuff, trying to
decide what to do with it all.

Kory: "Hey Topash, have a magic scimitar."

Topash: "Are you sure it's not cursed?"

Kory: "Why would it be here if it wasn't?"

Topash: "Gee, Kory, do you think they might have laid a trap in their
     treasure pile?"

Lao Tsu: "I do not see why it is so necessaly fol you to have this
     thing.  A tlue warliol spilit does not need the extelnal
     tlappings of wal; the tlue spilit ries within."

Kortul: (Snorts contemptuously.)

Dania: "Never mind.  It checks as magical, just keep it on you.
     Serga, you take this sword; it's as big as yours, anyway."

Serga: "Thanks."

Dania: "Keep your voice down!"

Serga: (Voice like a foghorn) "Sorry, I can't help it."

Navero: "I have the unguents.  Does anyone recognize the potions?
     This one looks like healing."

Dania: "Hunh... maybe.  This one might be Sweetwater."

Topash: "Now, why would the members of a temple of disease and death
     have healing and Sweetwater?"

Navero: "Because their god cannot do those things for them."

Topash: "And what can't your gods do for you?"

Navero: "Nothing, if there is a call.  But there are some things they
     won't do, like bringing death and plague to the land.  It would
     be placing too much power into the hands of the few, and from
     such things corruption inevitably unfolds."

Topash: "Ah, of course.  Your gods are omniscient, but choose not to
     act.  Why is that?"

Navero: "Because we are the ones who must act.  Why?"

Topash: "Nothing. There are many things nature cannot do, such as show
     everyone the folly of the unnatural excesses of humanity.  But
     even if they could, I doubt if most people would pay attention."

Kory: "Can we discuss theology some other time?  We have a temple to
     destroy.  Now, what's on these scrolls?"

Dania: "I looked at them.  Some nice spells there.  There's Web,
     Clairvoyance, and Darkness 15' radius.  The rest are Clerical."

Kory: "And the potions?"

Dania: "I figure healing and some other stuff.  This one might be
     Sweetwater, and this one could be Raise Strength."

Navero: "This scroll has Silence 15' on it.  And this one has Speak
     with the Dead, and Divination.  And here's... oh, Remove Curse!
     There's lots of nice things here!"

Kory: "Nav, you look really cute when you're acquisitive.  As long as
     we got a remove curse,  wanna try out the swords?"

Topash: (shrugs) "Well, there's no time like the present." (Draws
     scimitar, and is able to put it down again.) "It does not appear
     to be cursed.  We're in luck."

Serga: (Smiles at shiny new bastard sword.)

Dania: "Uh huh.  Now, lets get the money loaded up."

Kory: "Dania... I hate to tell you this... I know it's going to break
     your heart, but I think we're going to have to leave the money

Dania: "WHAT!?!"

Topash: "True, very true.  We are in danger, and this may prove too
     much of a load for us to move quickly."

Navero: "Even one of those bags will be awful heavy."

Dania: "But... BUT... look at it!  There's bags and bags of the shit
     all over the fucking place!"

Navero: "It would be nice to take it so we can return it to the
     villagers, but I fear we may not be able to leave if we carry it
     with us."

Dania: (Hastily starts filling her pockets with platinum.) "Nav, this
     did not all come from that shithouse little village.  Get all you
     can, we're gonna need it when we get out."

Kory: "Oh, I have no objections to that." (Finds a single jeweled coin
     in a velvet bag, and quietly pockets it.) "Pocket change we need
     more of, but whole bags of gold is strictly out."

Dania: "Can Serga carry the chest of platinum?"

Serga: (Looks silently at Dania.)

Topash: "Don't you think Serga will have enough to worry about?"

Serga: "And I move slow enough already."

Dania: "Oh, shit. (stares glumly around)  Think there's any chance we
     could come back for it?"

Topash: "Before we think about that, we'd better put together an
     escape plan, don't you think?  I'm sure they've arrived in the
     dining hall by now, and will wonder where their meal is."

Navero: "And the two cooks just woke up."

Dania: "Damn.  OK, how do we get through the dining hall?"

Kory: "Well, the Silence is good for taking out spell casters."

Dania: "But if there's lots of priests out there, Sleep will be our
     best way to get rid of them."

Kory: "Ayep.  So... we cast Sleep, then Silence, then charge."

Topash: "That's exactly what we did the first time we went in there,
     and there will be many more of them now.  Besides, the Silence
     will only cover part of the room.  And there's no way to prevent
     them from running out and warning the high priests."

Lao Tsu: "I am leminded of a stoly.  Once, the gleat mastel of a
     tempre, spalkring with enrightenment, folbade the saying of the
     sutlas.  Then one day his neighbol heald the linging of berrs and
     the lecitation of the sutlas once mole."

Topash: "Thank you.  We are all refreshed and challenged by your
     unique point of view."

Lao Tsu: (Bows head, smiles enigmatically.)

Kortul: "Silence cast on object, right?"

Dania: (Looks up.) "Yes.  You have an idea?"

Kortul: "Silence on two people.  People stay back in corridor.  Cast
     Sleep, then they go in, keep everybody quiet."

Topash: "Navero, would it work like that?"

Navero: "Yes.  But how would we keep anyone from running out and
     warning the rest of the temple?"

Dania: "Sleep spell at the entrance?"

Topash: "It would be better if we had some sort of barrier.  You might
     not be able to cast reliably with Silence spells around."

Navero: "What about the Darkness spell we found?"

Topash: "Hmmm... would that work?"

Dania: "It might."

Kortul: (Taps foot impatiently.)

     Navero cast Silence spells on Kortul's belt and Serga's helmet,
and we all went out into the corridor.  Kory snuck up to the door that
led back to the dining hall to listen, while Serga and Kortul stayed
well back so he could hear.  There were plenty of people out in the
room, and from the sound of it they were all angry.  Occasionally,
someone's voice would rise up enough to be understood.

Voice: "Where are the cooks!?  When I find them, the rotting scourge
     will be the least of their worries!"

(some mumbling)

Voice: "Blood on the floor?  A rot on them!  If any got in the food,
     I'll... no, you idiot, they couldn't have gone upstairs.  Go and
     check for yourself..."

Kory: (Sneaks back.) "Well, someone sounds very, very upset.  But, I
     don't think he quite realizes what's happened."

Dania: "Great.  Where's that Darkness spell?"

Navero: "Here it is.  While you cast it, I'll pray for our success."

Dania: "Thanks, Nav.  Kory, stay in front of me while I read this
     thing.  Topash, get beside him in case anybody come near.  And
     open the door when I tell you."

Topash: "Glad to be of service, madam."

Kortul: (Glares silently from far back in the corridor.)

     Dania slowly read the spell, carefully pronouncing the unfamiliar
passages.  The shouting in the dining hall quieted, and they heard
someone approaching the door just as Dania signaled them to open it.
Topash flung the door open, right into the face of a very surprised
looking cleric, as Dania cast the Darkness spell around the door of
the room.  Topash stabbed the priest as he sprawled, and the far end
of the room went dark.
     Kory leaped into the room, with Topash right behind, spreading
out to the sides of the door.  Dania quickly cast a Sleep spell into
the middle of the room, just before Kortul and Serga came charging up
from the rear and silenced them all.  The room was full of about
thirty clerics in long green robes, all totally surprised.
     Navero just made it into the room as Kortul charged through the
party, shoving Dania into a wall; Lao had managed to sidestep him.
Kory stabbed a skinny kid who couldn't have been more than 18, while
Topash slashed his way towards the kitchen, where an older cleric was
screaming at the top of his lungs for everyone to stop panicking and
remember their training, though it didn't seem to do much good.
     Dania mouthed swear words at Kortul as he went by, then eeeped
and tried to become one with the wall when Serga came through.  Lao
silently watched them both, then slipped out behind and followed Kory,
as Kortul was making a bee line for the kitchen and the head priest,
slicing and bashing anyone who got in his way.  Kory dove over a table
and out of the Silence spell radius, grabbing for his lute.
     Serga finally stomped past Dania and out into the room, charging
after Navero, who was running across the middle of the room through a
pile of snoring clerics to the Darkness spell.  Kory just managed to
unsling his lute when about five clerics pointed at him and said
"Sleep!"  He dropped like a rock.  Kortul stomped his way towards the
kitchen, right behind Topash, finally silencing the head priest.
Dania stood in the doorway and silently waited for Serga to get a
little farther away.
     Lao dashed up to stand over Kory as 3 clerics approached,
mumbling and reaching out to touch him.  Kory woozily looked up and
shook his head, groping for his sword.  Navero ran into the Darkness
sphere and was lost from view, though there was a *thud* ooof! from
inside.  Kortul and Topash elbowed towards the priest, who was
retreating into the kitchen.  Dania silently twiddled her thumbs.
     Two of the priests rushed up and touched Lao; he nimbly stepped
away from one, but the other got him on the leg, sending pain shooting
through him.  Kory scrambled to his feet and sliced at one of the
priests circling around them.  The thumping noises coming from the
Darkness sphere stopped when Serga followed Navero in.  Topash and
Kortul hewed at priests, who swung and flailed at them with chairs and
threw plates, with only middling success.  Dania grinned, and cast
Sleep in the kitchen entrance, in front of Kortul and Topash.
     Kortul smiled as the priests in front of him dropped, and ran
into the kitchen after the head priest, but he seemed to have
disappeared.  Kory and Lao spun around so they were back to back in
the middle of the clerics, who circled them warily.  The Darkness
sphere was still silent.
     Dania cast one final Sleep spell, around Lao and Kory, dropping
most of the clerics around them.  The remaining clerics - a few still
bumbling around in the Darkness sphere, blind and deaf, and a few that
had survived Kortul and Topash's assault on the kitchen, were disposed
of without any further trouble.  The snoring clerics were tied up and
stacked in the kitchen, where we also looked for the head priest, but
he was nowhere to be found.

Kory: "Well, shit.  You don't think he had something like Plane Shift
     or Teleport, did he?"

Topash: "I doubt we'd be alive if he did.  Did you look in the

Kory: "Hey, we thought of hiding there too, remember?  And in the
     oven, and the well.  Damn.  How many did we get?"

Navero: "We have 19 captured.  And twelve are dead.  I'm not sure if
     any of them got out the entrance."

Lao Tsu: "If they did, I am sule that we wourd have been infolmed.
     But now, this dishonloabre one berieves it is time to lecovel oul
     injulies, and pran oul next step."

Dania: "Right.  Anybody need healing?"

Topash: "I think I might.  One of these clerics got me on the head
     with a water jug."

Lao Tsu: "This one must say, he wollies about his hearth since one of
     the pliests touched him, and dislupted his chi."

Navero: "Um... I'll try, but I'm getting awfully tired."

Dania: "So's everybody.  Kory, you haven't been casting recently."

Kory: "Damn, what a time to start running low on spell points." (Sings
     healing song for Lao and Topash.) "What next, kemo sabe?"

Navero: "Kemo what?"

Dania: "Never mind.  I think I got one Sleep spell left in me before I
     gotta sleep."

Topash: "Well, most of the neophyte clerics are in here, so there may
     not be much chance to use it.  Your staff will probably be of
     more help to us.  Kortul, Serga, are either of you hurt?"

Kortul: (Snorts contemptuously.)

Serga: "I'm okay.  There were about 40 beds in that one room, so I
     think just about everyone is here."

Dania: "Uh... okay!  So, it should just be the high priests."

Topash: "Only the high priests.  You say it so casually."

Kortul: "Keep 'em quiet, it'll be a mop-up."

Topash: "But, Kortul.  Navero is tired.  That means, no more Silence
     spells.  Which means we have no way of silencing them."

Kortul: (Raises eyebrow.) "Hmmm..."

Topash: "Yes.  Hmm.  Now, I think we had best go upstairs, and try to
     find them before they find us.  You know what would happen if
     they were to surprise us, instead of the other way around?"

Kory: "It sure wouldn't be much of a song and dance.  So let's get out
     of this rathole and try to find some sunshine, especially before
     Mr. Squid gets back."

Navero: "Mr. Squid?"

Kory: "You remember, tall, pale, and extremely gruesome?  The guy who
     put us in here?"

Navero: "Oh, yes."

Daniel Parsons              "Say, even if we get out of here, won't he                         just track us down again?"
                             "Let's hope we're not worth the trouble."
                               "And we'd better not wait to find out."

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