Shadow on the Sand

Shadow on the Sand – Background


A new adventure!

[And by ‘new’, I mean that, yet again, I get summoned by King Ulnar to save the kingdom from itself]

Deja vu, anyone?

In any event, and presumably after being suitably feted for saving Ruanon from raiders (and the world from undead zombie warriors) I am resting comfortably in the Kai monastery.

While being in the midst of a M.U.L.E. (look it up) marathon, a messenger struggles through the mid-winter snows to (*sigh*) again bring an urgent message from the capital requesting my assistance.  In summary :

  • The ruling ‘Zakhan’ of Vassagonia, a desert kingdom to the east, has sent an envoy seeking peace between the two countries.
  • I am being ‘requested’ (yeah, right) to accompany the Sommerlund diplomatic envoy to Vassagonia and sign the proffered treaty of peace on behalf of our country.
  • My assistance is needed because Barraka (remember him?) was actually a renegade noble of Vassagonia (remember all those mysterious ‘Vassagonian’ warriors in book 4?), and the ‘Zakhan’ wants to emphasise that he was not a party to Barraka’s ‘foul treachery’ and wants to restore good relations between our two countries.

Aside : The obvious question is how conciliatory the Zakhan would have been if my mission in Book 4 had been a failure, and an army of resurrected skeletons were now rampaging over Sommerlund?  I guess we’ll never know…but certain guesses can be made.

  • King Ulnar, as we stand in the throne room together, can barely contain his distate for the ‘fawning envoy’, and beckons me to a ‘private room’.
  • Before the fan-fiction writers can get too interested in what is about to occur, the  King confirms that he has little time for Vassagonia, but even less time for the prospect of war.
  • FORESHADOWING ALERT – the King confirms that the Zakhan is ‘old and frail’ and that numerous nobles (of whom Barraka was one) are hovering for the chance at power if the Zakhan should fall.
  • Well – that won’t come up, again, surely??
  • Even if the treaty is signed, our King considers there is a high likelihood of war within the year.

On that cheery note, I make ready to travel.

Firstly, I have the chance to select another Kai Discipline.  My choice is between Mindshield and Weaponskill.  As stated before, due to the 60% of Weaponskill being unhelpful, I opt for Mindshield, in case any psychic nasties await me on my (no doubt uneventful) journey.

I further get enough Gold Crowns to take my money tally to the maximum amount of 50.

I can choose four items from an available list of Weapons and other knick-knacks to take with me.  Looking at my Backpack list, I discard my (doubtless spoiled) 2 Meals and take two ‘fresh’ ones.  I discard the Key, Tinderbox, Torch and Rope, and take another Laumspur potion, to add to the one I continue to carry.

Purely for the sake of reducing redundancy, I discard obviously ‘book-specific’ Special Items such as the prophecy regarding the Maakengorge.  There is no way that I forego the Dagger of Vashna, because you just know that something with such a cool name is going to come in handy at some point!

Perhaps most importantly, (and pleasingly to a young Fenrir), I confirm that I have now attained the Kai rank of ‘Savant’, with all that this entails (!)

Base Stats : CS : 17, E : 20, GC 50

Final Stats : CS : 29, E : 26

Weapons : Sommerswerd (+8 CS), Sword

Backpack : 2 Meals, 2 Laumspur potions (+4E),

Special Items : Map, Crystal Star, Shield (+2 CS), Sommerswerd, Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), Chainmail Waistcoat (+4 E) Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, Diamond, Ornate Silver Key, Dagger of Vashna

Kai Rank : Journeyman

Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter, Mindblast (+2CS), Mindshield

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5 thoughts on “Shadow on the Sand – Background

  1. From Book 6 onward, it is explicitly stated that you can store excess Gold Crowns in Safekeeping, so I think you should be able to do so here as well. I always carried a few “dummy” Special Items (like the scroll) to use as bribes or satisfy the “discard a Special Item of your choice”-type instructions.

    Good luck with the end of the Kai series.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My first comment is “AAARRRGGGHHH!!!, I’m getting so late at replying!”.

    My second comment is “Aww Shucks! You remembered 🙂 ” Yes, I was so thrilled to be a Savant, even if I didn’t know what it meant (and it made my parents laugh which is a plus). Unimportantly (I don’t know how many of these games you’ll recognise) I didn’t become Fenrir until “The Hound of Shadows” came out in 1989, our character then needed both a first name as well as a last name, (I was already Commodore Wolfganger from StarFleet 1: The War Begins which came out on the Atari ST in 1986, if you played the game then yes, I only reached Commodore rank, but from then on I was a Wolfganger). While I was looking at the computer and asking my dad what would be a good first name for Wolfganger my sister smiled sweetly and said “Fenrir”, adding to out puzzled expressions “He’s a Wolf God”.

    When I later found the truth and challenged my sister about her selection she just smiled and said “Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”. Thinking back my Dad’s puzzled expression was probably fake, he was just joining my sister in seeing how long before I twigged, he liked that sort of thing. However Shadow on the Sand came out before all of these in 1985. I do remember that I bought this as a christmas present for my sister and was carefully hiding it when The Kingdoms of Terror came out the exact same year. I learned from that lesson that if you buy someone a present you might as well give it to them. I apologise for taking a minute of your life that you may never get back 😦

    As for being feted for saving the world from the undead, despite the fact that the modern world seems to fall to the undead every second week without a Kai Lord to save it I feel it was made quite clear at the end of The Chasm of Doom that the only reward you got was the sense of satisfaction you get from seeing the Baron gratefully hugging his daughter (who according to the books then kills herself, so much for sense of accomplishment!!!) And you’re not so much saving the Kingdom from itself this time as saving it from being completely unprepared militarily for an invasion from the South East. Given that the entire nation was trampled into the mud two or maybe three years ago this is understandable.

    … You are playing M.U.L.E, you tell me to look it up, I follow directions, … you were talking about a 30 year old game and I followed up by talking about a 30 year old game except I didn’t realize that’s what you were doing until this point… I’m serious, that’s freaky coincidence!!! Wow! BTW, I admit I’m interested in trying out that game on my tablet, it looks good … mind you my delay time in commenting suggests I may not have time for that. Still amazed at the coincidence though, its possibly all the old game book playing contributing to this.

    I’m sorry, you make great comments etc as usual and I’d love to comment more but this is the second time that I’ve had to stop because the truth has just become more surreal than anything I could possible come up with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You sound more versed in many computer games than myself, as I just had a lousy Apple II+ compatible back in the mid-late 80s…

      MULE was an awesome game in that it was one of the few genuine computer ‘multi-player’ games that wasn’t just shooting at each other. Anywhere from 1-4 could play, as you competed with each other to colonise a planet, with auctions at the end of each round to buy / sell the resources you needed / had accumulated. And don’t worry about the timing of your comments – I always read and enjoy them, whenever they are posted. This web-page has a free online version of MULE –

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the link, I will use it … sometime before the end of the year (Off-licence in Ireland coming up to Christmas, do I need to say anything else). My father fell in love with computers early on, as well as electronics in general ( in the early seventies he built the sound speakers that we used for the ballet school and folk dance club, they still stand in the living room). So when the first computers you could use at home came out he immediately got one even though he had to put it together himself (and the games in those days came on lots of sheets of paper that you had to type in). From there it was Atari ST and then he was forced by the lack of games to the PC but in rebellion against Bill Gates he prefered to use Linux. One advantage of the Game books was that it was something my sister and I could both rave about, and the advantage of computer games was that it was something my sister, dad and I could all rave about, my mum hated them. Although I trained and worked as a computer programmer I entered the job market in 1990 and that was when the first recession to hit the programming industry happened. Such is life.


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