Master Thief Of Baal-Dur

Our band of heroes find themselves in a strange town -- on a misty night on streets that would be dismal at best, even on a bright day. They are in the town of Baal-Dur, a town which has forgotten what a bright day looks like.

The Dungeon Master appears, nearly frightening all of the slightly edgy band out of their wits. He warns them that thieves can be both honourable and dishonourable, bad and good in this world. He disappears leaving the band disturbed -- and set to take themselves out of town as quickly as possible.

A fast exit is not to be though. A hooded figure beckons them to follow. He knows a place, he says, where they can stay in safety until morning. The band doesn't want to follow -- but the hooded figure convinces them that he is a friend.

He takes them to a tavern where there are just a few individuals huddles over their tables. The dark men pay no attention to the new guests, and the warm fire begins to put our heroes a bit more at ease.

Too much ease, perhaps... No sooner are the weary wanderers dozing than their host slips off his hood -- revealing himself as the arch-devil Dispater. He beckons and the evil thief Fox Fingers silently and skilfully relieves the band of their magical weapons.

The band is suddenly alerted by Uni's nudges and whines -- too late. Their devices are gone and they are surrounded by Dispater's men-at-arms. There is a wild melee as our heroes try to defend themselves with the implements at hand -- pots and pans and the like. They're unsuccessful against the armed men and they are taken captive -- but not before Sheila manages to escape with her magic cloak (the one thing Fox Fingers missed), and not before Presto who hid during the entire scene manages to escape notice of his absence.

Hank and the others are shackled and led off, Dispater's reward for helping Fox Fingers. As for the evil thief himself, he's off to Venger with the magic goods to collect his reward.

Neither Sheila or Presto know the other has escaped. Sheila steals out of the tavern while Presto merely hides until the others have gone. Presto's without his hat, but he could still cast a spell or two, if he knew how.

Presto finally gets up the courage to sneak out of the tavern and into the alley. He's carefully making his way, trying to avoid discovery when he runs into something, someone!

It seems that Presto is caught -- but it's only Sheila. They're overjoyed to find each other and hatch a plan to recover the magic implements.

Sheila knows she's no match for Fox Fingers, and Presto reminds her that there are good thieves, too. They set off to seek a "good" thief.

The rest of our band are being taken farther and farther away -- and farther and farther down into Dispater's realm. The dim region is full of all sorts of horrible shades and zombies. The captives try and escape -- and wind up imprisoned in a box of ice conjured up by Dispater himself.

Sheila and Presto are having somewhat better luck. They learn from an old woman of the Master Thief of Baal-Dur, called simply "the Master". If he's inclined, they're told, he may help them -- and if the reward is great enough.

They find the Master Thief, and he listens to them long enough to become intrigued. He's mildly interested in taking on a protege -- Sheila -- but he's more interested in getting the better of Fox Fingers and stealing his stash of precious gems. He agrees to help them find and outsmart Fox Fingers in return for their help in stealing the evil thief's jewels.

The Master knows a short-cut on the path that Fox Fingers has taken, and it's a short cut, indeed. It takes them right to where Venger is waiting for his mercenary thief to hand over the stolen magic weapons. Master Thief shows them how to evade Venger and set a trap for Fox Fingers.

Dispater is, during this time, setting up the ritual that will irrevocably make the captives his servants. Diana has figured out a way to use her gymnastic ability to get over the wall of ice. She grabs a large hammer and tosses it over with tremendous difficulty. Hank, Bobby and Eric together wield it to break a hole in the ice wall and escape.

The ensuing chase is on-going while...

Fox Fingers is diverted by Sheila using her magic cape. The Master Thief meanwhile steals the magic weapons... and the keys to Fox Fingers treasury. He's got what he wants and fades into the night. Sheila and Presto are on their own. Presto, for a change, pulls out the right stuff -- a race horse to take them swiftly on their way. They head off after their captive friends.

They arrive in Dispater's realm just as their friends are about to be re-captured. With the magic implements back in hand, the band is able to escape the men-at-arms and render Dispater's efforts to stop them useless.

They stop briefly to rest once they're a safe distance from Baal-Dur and the Dispater's realm. They've escaped Venger's evil plot once again -- and Sheila demonstrates a little trick that the Master Thief taught her by pinching Eric's favourite pair of Argyle socks -- the last vestige of his earthly clothing -- right off his feet!

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