Shadow on the Sand

Shadow on the Sand – Attempt 1, Part 6

When we left our intrepid hero, he had paused in the gardens of the tyrant’s palace to enjoy a relaxed meal.

As you do.

After scoffing my no-doubt stale provisions, I sneak up to the door of the trophy room, note that is is locked from the inside, and then promptly nip in through an insecured window above the door.

Aside : And to be fair, the book does specifically mention that I am able to do this ‘in spite of’ my injured arm.

After noting that the ‘trophies’ of this Zakhan consist of the heads of hunting kills, including various wildlife, and also human heads (!) I nip out of the room before I’m sick at the very sight of this carnage.

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I dash through a large hall, evading guards and courtiers by hiding behind statues (!) before reaching another corridor with a choice of two paths leading to two doors.  One bears a symbol reminiscent of a library, while the other, with a mortar and pestle, appears indicative of a herbalist.

Given my current needs, I don’t waste too much time before I dash down to the herb symbol.

I note that the door is (surprisingly) unlocked and unguarded, without then drawing the obvious conclusions of what this might mean.

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Sure enough, just as I start searching the apothecary for loot, a scary ‘cat-like’ creature known as an Elix makes its presence felt.

Sixth Sense, you’ve just fallen down on the job.

And when I say the beast ‘makes its presence felt’ I mean ‘tries its best to kill me’.

Here we go.

Lone Wolf : CS : 24, E : 26

Elix : CS 17, E : 32

In slightly surprising (but yet pleasing) result, I manage to take kitty-cat down for the mere loss of 1 Endurance.

Around the neck (!) of the Elix, I discover a Gold Key which, as luck would have it, opens the secure door at the other end of the apothecary.

Aside : I can only assume this creature is well-trained, because otherwise I wouldn’t want to be the functionary who gets casually requested to grab some seasoning from the secure room….

Inside the secure sanctum, I quickly manage to snaffle a box containing the Oede.  A single application restores my wounded arm, and I am also able to secure a further dose for future use which restores 10 (!) Endurance at a single time!

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As if over-compensating for the dimwittery which caused me to trip and fall in the middle of the sewer, I now use my keen Kai abilities to notice another, smaller, door in the rear of the storeroom.  My Golden Key serves to open it, and I nip off down a corridor which, to all appearances, seems to be part of a secret passageway originally designed to lead TO the herb storeroom.

I reach a small bronze door at the other end of the corridor.  My Golden Key once more does its work for me, opening the door, although once I have scarpered through, the door ‘softly’ closes behind me.

There is then some well-done ‘flavour’ dialogue, which confirms that I have reached the private enclave of the Zakhan.  Amidst gold, amethyst and other trappings, I walk through an arboretum, which contains numerous examples of flora and fauna.  The expense of keeping such a room is obvious, and makes a clear contrast to the difficult circumstances endured by the majority of the citizenry.

Aside : This appears to be a clear ‘homage’ to the similiar room in Frank Herbert’s classic novel Dune, where a wet-weather conservatory is kept by the oppressive ruling house in the middle of their palace on a desert planet.

Ignoring a quarterstaff which is propped against one of the walls, I hurry through a maze of corridors and passageway, before reaching the top of a broad staircase.  Concealing myself at the top of same, I see something which ‘freezes my blood with terror’.

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No, something else.

On a raised platform in what appears to be the throne room sits the Zakhan.  He is a man of obvious cruelty, and he holds a mysterious small globe of pure black.  Intimidating as he obviously is, his companion is something to behold.

Although he wears a helm as ‘black as death’, his stench and voice betray his identity as one of the Darklords.

Aside : Given the description, I’m getting a strong Governor Tarkin / Darth Vader vibe from these two – true for anyone else?

star-wars-tarkin-vader

In any event, the conversation between the two villains is more a series of demands, where it becomes clear that the Zakhan has promised to hand me over to the Darklord in exchange for the magical item which the Zakhan now holds – apparently called the ‘Orb of Death’.

I guess ‘Orb of Kittens and Rainbows’ was already taken.

Since the Zakhan is clearly experiencing difficulty with producing me, he is trying to buy time, promising to fulfil his part of the deal by sunset.

The Zakhan then attempts (not very subtly) to change the subject by asking why the Darklord’s minions are scouring a historical site called the ‘Tomb of the Majhan’.

The Darklord reveals that his minions are seeking the ‘Book of the Magnakai’

!!!

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Apparently this book, thought lost for generations, is the repository of all Kai knowledge. With it, I can myself become a Kai Grandmaster and, more importantly, can use the contents to train a new generation of Kai Masters.

Self high-five, anyone?

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It is on that cliffhanger that the book segues into Part 2, and I also take my leave of my LEGIONS of fans.  The next update won’t be until after Christmas.

Please everyone stay safe in this festive season, as I remember IMHO the definitive description of what this holiday is about :

“Christmas is about the wish of someone for another person to be happy.”

Base Stats : CS : 17, E : 20, GC 48

Current Stats : CS : 29, E : 26

Weapons : Sommerswerd (+8 CS), Sword

Backpack : 1 Meal, 2 Laumspur potions (+4E), Rope, Tinderbox, Towel (2 spaces), Oede (+10E)

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, Black Sash

Kai Rank : Savant

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

Paragraph : 200

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5 thoughts on “Shadow on the Sand – Attempt 1, Part 6

  1. Eating a meal in the Zakhan’s garden makes me think of “Dinner at Deviants Palace” (the title especially, but its a great book) but you have to admit, for sheer coolness it will be a great anecdote, assuming you survive…

    And bearing in mind Lone Wolf has seen at least three battles, not to mention the Saadi-tas-Ouda, it only says you consider the trophy room an “eerie collection” with “gruesome battle honours”, not that its going to make you sick (so a bit like watching The Walking Dead I suppose. .. apart from episodes with Neegan that is).

    Hmmm, you’re repeating yourself again. In Redeemer Attempt 2 Part 14 you tried hiding behind a suit of armour. Of course in Avenger you used wannabe Brienne of Tarth Shieldmaidens who, being mere women, couldn’t avoid noticing your piercing Green eyes and “subdued’ you wheras the Vassagonians use level headed men who … don’t bother to look behind statues. Insanity has been defined as thinking that if you do the same thing the same way you’ll get a different result but reasearch scientist (and now you) know that you CAN get different results.

    Re the Elix. As Tweety Bird says “Aww, the poor little puddy cat”. I just like the image of a battered filthy Mauok and his equally battered, filthy and probably diseased Sharnazasim returning to the Palace and going to the Imperial Apothecary to get emergency treatment only to find you’ld filched all the supplies. Revenge should always be profitable.

    Trump is more terrifying than a Darklord, but thats just because he’s in our world. However IMHO Grand Moff Tarkin could call Lord Vader “my friend”, noone calls Darklord Haakon “friend”.

    Finally Joey’s reaction was the perfect reaction to Haakon’s name drop. May we all enjoy time with our families over the next couple of days. Ciao

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Insanity has been defined as thinking that if you do the same thing the same way you’ll get a different result

      I’m guessing that whoever came up with that definition never learned to ride a bicycle.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The choice between the library and the apothecary is one of those tiresome counter-intuitive decisions you sometimes get in gamebooks. Going to the library first would provide you with one or two useful items, rather than, say, delaying you just long enough for the Limbdeath to do lasting or fatal damage.

    I’m pretty sure that a combination of Disciplines held and clutter retained from past adventures should enable you to cope with lacking what you could have got in the library, but it’s still annoying that the book rewards not making the sensible decision.

    Liked by 2 people

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