Shadow on the Sand

Shadow on the Sand – Attempt 2, Part 3

I use my Copper Key and slink through the door, as crossbow bolts ‘thunk’ into the surface of the wood behind me.

I emerge into a secluded garden, and stroll into an area covered with purple phrases from Nicholas Sparks novels such as ‘sculptured pool’ and ‘exotic shrubs’.


You know what I’m talking about.

On a more prosaic level, I know that I can’t linger, so must choose between a flight of steps leading up to a small door in the wall of the palace, or a ‘leafy tunnel’ winding through the trees and shrubs.

Notwithstanding the deep moral considerations which must inevitably go into such a choice, my Tracking Discipline tells me that the winding tunnel leads into the Zakhan’s ‘cathedral of trees’ while the stairs, by contrast, apparently lead to a ‘private chamber’ in the palace.

I can’t see how a private chamber in the palace is on the road to any sort of getaway.  It sounds decidedly more sleazy than that.


Winding tunnel – here I come!

The peaceful garden of trees becomes a de facto jungle, with creepers, low branches and a higher level of humidity.


Just as I started to think that I’d made my way to a comparatively peaceful and idyllic part of the adventure, I spy a group of Drakkarim, led by a ‘figure in red’.

I’m thinking odds are against it being this one :



Indeed, my high Kai rank enables me to recognise the leading creature as a Vordak, an undead warrior in the Darklord’s forces.  The troop is not only searching for me physically, but also searching psychically for my mind.

Of course, if they knew my Year 10 science scores, they’d realise there wasn’t that much to search for.

My R10 check is favourably influenced by my possession of the Mindshield and Camouflage skills.  My R10 check of 2 is juuuuust enough to make the cut-off.  I press myself to the ground an am undetected.

Shades of this near-miss, anyone?

Undetected for the moment, I dash off, partly coloured by regret at the lack of opportunity to strut the latest in Kai fashions before an appreciative audience.

Before I can get used to this humid jungle in the middle of a desert (!), I come across a small domed hut (!!)

So, before I recap my choices, I want to just mention that I’m in front of a small cottage, in the middle of a humid forest / jungle, which is in the middle of a capital city, which is, in turn, in the middle of a desert!

Gamebooks are….[wait for it]


Back to my choice – there’s a walkway ending in a door, which I can access by way of a conveeeenient vine.  The alternative is to search for a ground-level exit.

How can I refuse a chance to swing (ahem, climb) on a vine?!

I sprint through the door, up a handy staircase and hide behind (yet another!) statue, giving thanks that the Zakhan who inspired this statue was apparently wider than he was high, if you know what I’m sayin’.

Hey, the book emphasises this point – what d’you want from me?

Summarising the subsequent flavour dialogue, I emerge onto the roof, clamber over the tiles and make my way to a bell-tower.  Peering out one of the windows from the bell-tower, I can see the pens holding ‘Itikar’, being the trained birds used as mounts for envoys, scouts and messengers of Vassagonia.

Someone clearly read all about the eagles of Lord of the Rings right before this passage, am I right?


Thanks, Maya.

After a rider arrives, and the necessary attendants to his landing leave, there is only one soldier standing guard at the pens.  Since I haven’t added a Blowpipe / Sleep Dart to my pile of loot, I use my skill of Mind over Matter to loosen the strings on the guard’s purse.  While he’s attempting to retrieve his spilled money, I strike him from behind while he is busy picking up his Gold Crowns, killing him instantly.

There’s probably some kind of moral here, but its not like I was a philosophy major or anything.



Well, maybe morals and ethics are different in a world such as Magnamund that actually has functioning deities.

Yep, that’s how I’m playing it.

I speedily search the guard’s body, discovering a Brass Whistle, being a Special Item which is hung around my neck.

Its better than an albatross, you know what I’m saying?

As the Drakkarim speed across to try and intercept me, I jump on the saddle of the Itikar, narrowly avoiding a slash from its talon.

My skill in Animal Kinship temporarily calms this beast, and I unhook the anchor rope and grab the reins.

What could possibly go wrong??



Base Stats : CS : 17, E : 20, GC 50

Modified Stats : CS : 29, E : 26

Weapons : Sword, Sommerswerd (+8 CS)

Backpack : 2 Meals, 2 Laumspur potions (+4E), Prism, Hourglass, Silver Comb, Canteen of Water

Special Items : Gaoler’s Keys, Jewelled Mace, Copper Key, 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, Brass Whistle

Kai Rank : Savant

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

Paragraph : 308

4 thoughts on “Shadow on the Sand – Attempt 2, Part 3

  1. Now you know about the Itikar pens, you should have less bother escaping from the palace if you wind up having to replay this book again (and there’s a 10% chance that you’ll have to regardless of your decisions).

    Would you have understood (and appreciated the hint) if I’d suggested consulting with the oracle of Yazz and the Plastic Population?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. In defence of Joe Dever’s use of romance novels prose, all married men at least glance through their wives reading matter, so yes, we all know where he got his material from.

    And how could you possible think that a sociopathic psychopatic monomaniacal multimillionaire with delusions of grandeur would use a private room in the garden for “sleazy”activity? … You’re either reading too much Nicolas Sparks or too much News, or both.

    I like pictures of Wolves, you’d probably already guessed.

    I’m curious as to the morality/ethics problem. If the sentry see’s you he will try to kill you, not because there’s a declared war between your countries or you’ve committed henious crimes, but because, as your jailors have already shown its known, evil beings want you murdered. If you had the chance (blowpipe) you would have let him live, he would not show you the same courtesy. Its his own choices that led to his death. Even in Stalin’s Gulags some guards would look the other way when they saw prisoners weren’t doing wrong when they broke rules. “Just following orders” has repeatedly been rejected by war crime courts.

    All that said, PETA may give you some credit you for striking down someone involved in the oppression of animals, of course you lost said credit when you oppressively mounted said Itikar.

    Now just keep reminding yourself, you’re more likely to die traveling by land than by air.


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