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Chapter 4: Many Returns

Chapter 4: Many Returns

Dintiradan, Wanderer, and the Lurker returned to the General Forum after setting up the machinery in the Blades of Avernum Forum.

"Now act casual," Dintiradan whispered, "Don't do anything to attract attention."

"Sure thing," Wanderer said.

"Of c... course. Achoo!" the Lurker said.

Meanwhile, Archmagus Micael wandered around, looking for Zephyr Tempest.

"Jewels, have you seen Zephyr Tempest lately?"

"No, I haven't. Sorry," Jewels said.

"Oh. Smoo, have you seen Zephyr Tempest recently?"

"No, but I'll help look for him with you," Smoo said, "You continue to look around here, and I'll start checking some of the other forums."

"Thank you!" Archmagus Micael said as Smoo walked towards the Tech Support Forum.

The Lurker approached Ephesos. "Could you... achoo! you... achoo!"

"You want a curing spell, right?" Ephesos asked.

The Lurker nodded.

"Wait, I've got this!" Nioca ran forward and cast a curing spell on the Lurker.

"Well, thanks, Nioca. I think," the Lurker said.

Ephesos was stunned. "You're... you're a priest?" he sputtered.

"Well, I'm not a very good one yet. But soon I will be!" Nioca said.

As Ephesos struggled to find something to say, there was a loud explosion from one of the side rooms.

"Um... I'm really, really ready to go to Room: Spidweb now," Lenar said from the room, "Before the Silent Assassin blows up something else."

Slartucker shut the Encyclopedia Ermariana. "I've done enough for now, so I'm ready. Ephesos?"

"Yes, I'm ready," Ephesos said, "Someone run upstairs and tell Alorael that we're leaving."

"I'll do it!" MagmaDragoon clanked upstairs. A short time later, he clanked back down. "Okay, he knows. You can go now."

"Thank you," Ephesos said. He opened the door. It was still snowing heavily and the snow on the ground was much deeper now. Ephesos stepped outside. "I've never seen this much snow here, not even during the Mountain of Shadows RP. It's not natural."

"Do you know what is causing it?" Lenar asked.

Ephesos shook his head. "I don't, but I'm going to find out. You three go on. I'm going to try and figure it out."

"All right. Don't stay outside too long," Slartucker said.

After Slartucker, Lenar, and the Silent Assassin trudged off, Ephesos pulled his green cloak tighter around him and moved out of range of Alorael's sniper rifle. He closed his eyes and concentrated. If there was evil magic behind this weather, he would sense it.


When Slartucker, Lenar, and the Silent Assassin were about halfway to Room: Spidweb, the snow stopped abruptly. The ground and the sky were completely clear.

"Well, this is interesting," Slartucker said.

"It seems that Ephesos was right when he said it wasn't natural," Lenar said.

They walked in silence until they arrived at a large building with many doors. One of the doors had a small plaque next to it that read Room: Spidweb. Lenar opened the door.

"Hey! It's Lenar, Slartucker, and the Silent Assassin. Welcome!" Tyranicus said.

"So how's it going?" Slartucker asked.

Tyranicus shrugged. "Not so good. It's been pretty quiet this whole time."

"Is Arancaytar asleep?" Slartucker pointed him out, huddled up in the corner and using his coat as a pillow.

Tyranicus sniggered at the sight. "Apparently so."

There was a very long silence.

"Where's Ephesos?" Lazarus finally asked.

"He didn't come," Slartucker said.

"Well, that's not okay. If his crickets aren't going to cover the silence for us, we're going to have to make sure there isn't any silence," Jumpin' Salmon said, "And it's rather silly that we're being so quiet. We can talk about whatever we want here without having to worry about the CoC. We can swear or talk about illegal activities or engage in personal atta..."

"You suck." Terror's Martyr leaned against the door frame with his arms folded across his chest and a sneer on his face.

"TM!" Jumpin' Salmon said, "I didn't see you come in!"

"And I didn't know you were going to be here, or I wouldn't have come, you ********* ***** of a ******* guppy!" Terror's Martyr said.

"Hey, it's TM. How have things been?" Ash Lael said.

Terror's Martyr stepped further into the room. "Fine. Or at least it would be fine if the ******* world wasn't so ******* full of ****** ******** idiots such as yourself."

"Are you going to respond like that to everything we say?" Tyranicus asked.

"What do you ********* think, you ******* moron?"

"Oh my. I'm not really sure I want to be here." Riibu stood at the entrance, debating whether to step inside or not.

"Who's that?" Lazarus asked.

"Riibu! Come on in! Where have you been?" Tyranicus said.

"Oh, look. Another ******* ****** idiot."

"Oh, just away. Is Arancaytar here? I saw that there was a chat going on and decided to check here first before I went all the way to the message boards."

Tyranicus pointed to the corner. "He's over there, but you'll have to wake him up."

"I'll do it." Mysterious Man threw an empty beer can at Arancaytar. It bounced off his head. He sat upright. "Huh? What's going on?"

"Arancaytar, I would like to know what you have planned for NaNoWriMo," Riibu said.

"Oh, sure." Arancaytar checked his watch. "Actually, I have to go check to make sure the statistics are still running. If you come along, I can show you what I have planned."

"Sure," Riibu said.

Riibu and Arancaytar stepped outside and began walking towards the Ermarian Network. Soon, they were back into the snow. A fierce wind blew huge snowflakes into their faces.

"Where's all this snow coming from?" Riibu asked.

"I don't know, but it's getting worse," Arancaytar said.

When they reached the Ermarian Network, they stepped inside gratefully, even though it was only marginally warmer inside than it was outside.

Arancaytar checked the machine the calculated the stats. "Yes, it stopped again. This will be easy to fix, though. Oh, and I've got my outline for my story lying around somewhere. Part of it, anyway."

Riibu looked around for the outline while Arancaytar grabbed some tools and began to repair the machine.

"I can't find it, Arancaytar." Riibu said at last.

Arancaytar put the tools away. "Now that I've fixed the statistics machine, I can look..." Arancaytar stopped speaking, for red light was flashing on the machine.

"What does that light mean?" Riibu asked.

"It means there's been a death. Let me check and see who it is. Give me a moment." Arancaytar quickly scrolled through some lists. "It's Zephyr Tempest. We should go back to the board now and find out what happened," Arancaytar said.


Ephesos hadn't moved. He stood almost knee-deep in the snow with his eyes closed and snow beginning to pile up on his shoulders and head. He sensed something unusual. It was very faint, but it was there. Now, if he could only figure out what it was.


Startled, Ephesos opened his eyes and looked around. "Synergy! You're back!"

"Yes, life finally released me from its clutches so I can hang around for a short while," Synergy said, "Now shouldn't we go inside? I'm cold, and if you stand out here much longer, you'll freeze solid."

Ephesos brushed as much snow as possible off of himself. "Yes, of course. Lead the way. And make sure that Alorael recognizes you if you don't want to be sniped."