Well, those who have read the previous chapter (and those that haven’t, why not?) will know that the proverbial jig was up, in that two Ice Barbarians had spotted us and were presumably about to report our illegal immigration.
Luckily, mobile phones hadn’t been invented yet, and I still had the choice of either trying to beat the scouts to Ikaya (some miles away) or attempting to take them out here.
Attack! was the obvious war-cry.
However, even before I can work up a good bout of blood-lust, the Ice Barbarians easily outpace us with their skis.
While I’m swearing at the ease of their escape, Irian earns his pay (that day, at least) by noting the blue regalia flying from their packs, and letting me know that the Barbarians are probably not from Ikaya, but rather scouts from a convoy heading to Ikaya from Ljuk.
The follow-up choice is whether to follow them back to their convoy, or rush on in a race to Ikaya.
For my answer, gaze upon one of the most 70s movie poster OF ALL TIME….
In a brief but brutal paragraph, I am then informed that :
- A blizzard springs up;
- The Barbarians, with their skis are untroubled by this (really? I think a blizzard would trouble almost anyone, skis or no)
- I decide to call off the chase, given that its not great to be caught in the open during an arctic blizzard.
- Juuuusst as I’m reaching the decision and signalling my companions, I fall through the ice.
Aside : Without spoiling too much, I can say that no matter which path you travel and choices you make, you always end up either losing your guides or having them die on you. So hopefully Irian and Fenor make it back to safety.
I’m casually told that I’ve fallen 150 feet (!) into a ‘huge snowdrift’ (conveeeniently) and, more importantly, that I have fallen clear into the caverns of Kalte!
Blah, blah, ancient cavern, predates Sommerlund and the Darklords etc etc. On a practical level, the walls are impossible to climb and my (surviving) guides are leaving me for dead and heading back to the Cardonal.
That could be awkward, if the ship leaves before I return
Did someone in the background say “If you return…..?”
If so, I certainly didn’t hear it.
There are tunnels leading to the north and west. My Sixth Sense, somewhat unhelpfully, tells me that :
- Both tunnels are dangerous;
- The northern tunnel is more dangerous;
- The northern tunnel is the quicker path to Ikaya.
Aside : Not a lot seems to be made of the fortunate discovery that I can actually GET to Ikaya through these tunnels, as you would think it would be highly likely that I would just be forced to sit here in a closed network of caverns till I died of boredom. Anyway.
Given that time is of the essence, I journey along the north tunnel, and dare the danger to do its worst!
I walk for ‘many miles’ (!) which seems remarkably easy for an arctic cave, but never mind.
I jump over a narrow stream, and note a ‘Blue Stone Triangle’ on a neck chain. In such a situation, you just know that such an esoteric item is going to be helpful, so I pick it up and put it around my neck before continuing.
The passageway continues, before leading into a well-lit hall…..
Base Stats : CS : 17, E : 20, GC 14
Modified Stats : CS : 27, E : 22
Weapons : Sommerswerd (+8 CS), Mace
Backpack : Meal (x5), Healing Potion (+3 E), Laumspur Portion (+5 E), Laumspur Potion (+4E)
Special Items : Map, Crystal Star, Shield (+2 CS), Sommerswerd, Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), Blue Stone Triangle Pendant,
Kai Rank : Guardian
Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter
Final paragraph :235