Lone Wolf has reached the walls of Holmgard. You would think this arrival at friendly territory would mean that he was home free, right?
My officer friends dashes with me down the tunnel at the base of the wall, and we stop at the base of the inner gatehouse.
Ummm – Thanks, I think?
As crowds dash back and forth, I try to avoid meeting the gaze of various autograph hunters, and now have the option of (semi-deliberately) losing my guide, or rather continuing to place my trust in this random soldier.
I stick with the devil I know, and he leads me into a long hall, with various functionaries dashing back and forth with scrolls of messages and commands.
A ‘haggard and scar-faced’ man appears and offers to guide me to the citadel of the King. My soldier guide has conveeeeniently disappeared.
Alright, wait a second. Who the heck is this guy, where did he come from and why should he be trusted?
I again have the opportunity of trying to make my own way in the city streets, or placing my faith in this shady character. He has not introduced himself, shown any identification or indicated that he has any knowledge of the importance of my message.
Again, I err on the side of clinging to someone who knows what he is doing, even while he leads me to a small library, and presses a catch which opens a hidden, dark, creepy passage in one of the walls.
Library? Secret passage?
Am I about to be killed by Colonel Mustard with the lead pipe?
Noting the fact that my Sixth Sense (which, admittedly, has a spotty record of performance) is quiet, I screw my courage to the metaphorical sticking place and follow the gentleman (!) into the dark corridor.
After walking (in silence) along a dark and winding corridor, I am led to a well-appointed bedroom where I’m encouraged to bathe before meeting with the King (!) I’m sure they said it very politely, rather than being so gauche as to hold their collective noses.
I bathe, blow some bubbles, drink some red wine, and then change into some white robes which have been laid by the bath.
Humph. Hang on a second. If I’m not wearing green, how will anyone ever be able to tell that I’m with the Kai monks?
Aside : This sequence is actually a really good inversion of expectations. Anyone who has played gamebooks before will be naturally suspicious of the ‘easy’ path, and will note the repeated attempts to give the player a chance to ‘back out’ and make their own way to the palace and the King. Many players will assume these various functonaries are in fact traitors, leading Lone Wolf to his doom. However, following the soldier / functionary is actually, as my readers will have seen, the best and quickest way to get to your destination.
Well played, Mr Dever. Well played.
Anyway, I’m led into the throne room, where King Ulnar is meeting with his advisers.
As a dramatic silence fills the hall (save for the quietly inspiring music on the soundtrack) I tell the story of the death of my comrades, and the retention of the green cloak which makes everyone trust me (seemingly).
The King ‘takes my hand’ and praises me for my efforts, as I blush all over my ‘young face’.
Sequel hook! Remember how the Prince said I would have to seek some magic item from the country of Durenor? Well, the King concurs, stating that I must journey to Durenor to obtain the Sommerswerd, the ‘Sword of the Sun’.
Coming up – First a summary of Book 1, and then Book 2 – Fire on the Water!
Final stats : CS : 17, E : 20, GC 26
Weapons : Dagger, Sword
Backpack : Meal
Special Items : Map, Crystal Star
Final paragraph : 350 (the final para in all (almost all) Lone Wolf books.