Did everyone remember where I was at the end of our last entry?
In summary, I had been stripped of my weapons (yes, that’s right – no MEGASWORD and no MEGABOW) and made to submit to a mock trial while shackled in a faux gladiatorial arena.
So, for Lone Wolf, about a 4 on the 1-10 scale of bad situations.
I am shepherded, by a number of guards with spears, out of the arena and into a foreboding pit. A hologram of ‘Lord Zahda’, complete with judge’s wig, advises that because I ‘came here to kill’, I am sentenced to the Maze of Zagor… (*ahem*)… Zahda.
A dark mist congeals into an entrance to the maze, and a crossbow bolt to my feet gently encourages me to enter the cave / maze.
Jasper, of course, is slightly more intimidating than Lone Wolf.
But, remember, Lone Wolf has a green cloak!
I move forward into a passage before emerging into a ‘circular vault’. Sitting on a block of marble in the middle of the chamber is a steel sword. There are also exits to the left and right.
My Magnakai skill of Divination warns me that, although the sword is unremarkable,the block on which it rests has a ‘strong aura of magic’.
Not to worry, I have my trusty Rope!
The rope was the second item in my backpack, stolen by the pesky webs.
Two Simpsons references in the first 400 words?
I REGRET NOTHING!
Given no other real alternative (as it is assumed I don’t want to mess with the magical altar) I go left, just because.
After a few hundred yards (because Magnamund is one of the few places that still persists in using the archaic Imperial measurement system) a cluster of huge bubbles (!!) starts bouncing towards me.
There’s no way that such a seeming innocuous development isn’t, in actuality, bad news. Given the option of ‘pushing past’ the bubbles, I decide discretion is the better part of stupidity, and retreat to go down the right-hand path.
Trust the Bard, that’s what I say!
Aside : Many people don’t know that Shakespeare had a shotgun marriage! He (when 18) married the 26-year-old Anne Hathaway and had a child six months later. William, you dog!
I stroll down the right-hand-path before it turns sharply and I see a beam of light shining from one side of the corridor to the other. My basic Kai instincts detect a trap of some sort.
The fundamental choice is whether to step over the beam of light or to walk through it.
Given that none of my Magnakai Disciplines are operative here, I sense a counter-intuitive choice is appropriate. I walk directly through the beam of light!
in a complete anti-climax, nothing happens!
[Resists making a cheap joke about the first girlfriends of young Australian men]
The passage, rather, emerges into another chamber with a plinth (look it up) upon which rests a black and decayed human hand. Naturally, being an idiot, I take a closer look.
And, inevitably, because this is a fantasy book, the hand comes to life!
Aside : Speaking of hands coming to life, check out The Body Politic, a bizarre yet fascinating short story by the genius Clive Barker.
In any event, as the hand readies itself for attack, I throw a handy (heh) Fireseed, which causes the area to burst into flames. As I wait for the flames to die down, the hand comes back to ‘life’ and somehow launches itself AT MY HEAD. Using both my skill of Huntmastery and a lucky R10 check, I evade its initial attack, but am now entrenched in a bizarre battle with a sentient hand that seeks to (literally) take charge of my brain!
The creature is, also, immune to Mindblast. I sadly note that my complete lack of weapons is not helping me here.
Aside : My Endurance, after Healing through various paragraphs, is now 27 (including armour)
Lone Wolf – CS : 16, E : 27
Rahkos (aka magical hand) – CS : 18, E : 30
I defeat this abomination, but not before he (she? it?) reduces my Endurance (through strangling, I assume) to 14
The hand lies motionless on the ground, and the text specifically mentions that it shows ‘no sign’ of having gone through a horrific fight with a bare-handed Kai Lord.
I am given the option of moving on (with the worrying indication that I will be ‘turning my back’ on the hand) or taking a closer look.
I don’t like turning my back on an enemy unless I’m sure that they are dead, so I tempt fate by taking a closer look.
The bad news is that the hand once more comes to life and flies AT MY FACE. The good news is that I throw it to one side and it disintegrates when it enters an apparent field of energy between the two green pillars at the other end of the room.
Kai Lord : 1, Magical Severed Hand : 0.
Bring it on, Zahda!
Base Stats : CS : 18, E : 22 [28 with armour], GC 31
Final Stats : CS : 18, E : 16
Weapons : None [Confiscated : Spear, Broadsword]
Weapon-like Special Items : None [Confiscated : Sommerswerd (+8 CS), Dagger of Vashna, Silver Bow of Duadon (+3)]
Backpack : Potion of Laumspur (+4E), Meal, Red Robe, Alether Berries (3) (+2 CS), Lantern
Special Items : Brass Whistle, Copper Key, Map, Crystal Star, Shield (+2 CS), Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), Chainmail Waistcoat (+4 E) Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, Diamond, Ornate Silver Key, Quiver (6 arrows), Boat Ticket, Power Key, Fireseeds (2)
Kai Monastery storage : Map of Tekaro, Potion of Laumspur (+4E)
Magnakai Rank : Primate
Magnakai Disciplines : Weaponmastery (+3 CS in Sword, Bow, Mace, Dagger), Pathmanship, Huntmastery, Divination
Lore-Circles : Fire (+1 CS, +2 E)
Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter, Mindblast (+2CS), Mindshield, Weaponskill (+2 CS in Short Sword)
Paragraph : 215