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?
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
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