The Masters of Darkness

The Masters of Darkness – Attempt 1, Part 9

Just to recap – Lone Wolf has just successfully hidden in an alleyway from enemies of the Darklord whose insignia he wears.

Onward!

I’ve now read paragraph 48 several times, and I’m become convinced that Joe Dever wrote the first half, went and had lunch, and then wrote the second half.  The paragraph goes like this:

I wait ‘in silence’ in the alleyway, until I am ‘sure that [I am] not being followed’.

I then continue through the streets of Helgedad, after a while coming across a cul-de-sac which leads to a ‘square tower’.  A creature stands guard at the tower, holding an apparently magical stave which ‘crackles’ with blue fire.

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Now…

All of the sudden the sound of ‘howling screams’ behind me warns me that I am ‘being pursued’?!

Didn’t the book confirm a couple of paragraphs ago that I had waited in hiding until I was sure that I wasn’t being followed?  And how could the mere sound of howling indicate pursuit?  Aren’t unfortunates being attacked and tortured every five minutes in this hellhole?

Oh well.

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I am informed of my decision that, rather than face these pursuers, Lone Wolf will attempt to seek refuge in the guarded tower (!)

I whip out my MEGABOW, and, with an extra bonus given for my high rank of Huntmastery, even an R10 of 3 is high enough to get me the best possible outcome, which is an arrow TO THE FACE of the enemy and entry to the tower.

Quickly searching the body of the guard on the way through, I see a Black Cube and a Black Key.

Aside : I’m strongly reminded of the 1960-1990 period of comic books, when (seemingly) every African American character had to have ‘Black’ as the first word of their name – Black Panther, Black Bolt, Black Vulcan, Black Lightning, Black Eagle, Black Talon….

You get the idea.

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Yeah, yeah Luke Cage – not you.  You were too busy being called ‘Power Man’ and having a catchphrase like ‘Sweet Christmas!’.

………….

Back on track, Lone Wolf.

My skill of Divination helps me identify the Black Cube as an explosive device, which (and this is important) can only be activated by creatures of the Darklands.  That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, so I leave the Cube behind and just take the Black Key.

Again, the internal consistency is lacking.  Finding the first couple of rooms vacant, you would think that if Lone Wolf just wanted to hide from his pursuers, he’d hang out here, waiting for the pursuit to go on by.  But instead, and without any options, I somehow decide that I wish to investigate further this tower in the middle of my enemy’s biggest city!

I descend some stairs to a basement level, and find the room at the bottom deserted.

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I then follow this subterranean tunnel for….

wait for it….

keep going….

an hour!?!

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Apparently this tunnel, beneath a tower which I randomly dashed into, leads to the Imperial Sector of the city, as evidenced by sighting Darklord Gnaag’s symbol at a crossroads of tunnels.

I’ve heard of railroading, but this is more than slightly ridiculous.

In any event, I continue on, seeing that the tunnel ends at a large steel door, guarded by two creatures of dubious repute.

but-wait

There is also a smaller, less obtrusive door in the wall to my left.

Do I have a Black Key?

Why yes!

I unlock the door, and enter something that seems like a cross between a mad scientist’s laboratory and an H.P. Lovecraft short story.

See for yourself

Project Aon link – room in Helgedad

My attention is drawn to an arrow-shaped rod, suspended above a workbench by a field of electrical energy, with such energy emerging from two surrounding plates of metal.

While noting another door at the rear of the room, I first examine the rod more closely.

For some reason (presumably because of my Magnakai skill in Bow) I can now identify the rod as a Zejar-dulaga, a poisoned arrow with magical accuracy!

Project Aon link – Arrow suspended in energy

Do I want to take it??

mrkoz

Rather than go back the way I came, I check out the door at the back of the room.

Jackpot!

It opens into the Imperial Armoury!

Interestingly, I am asked at this point whether I possess that Black Cube, which you may recall I decided was too dangerous to take with me.  I may never know whether that was a good move.

The book doesn’t allow me to take any weapons or other goodies, but rather simply notes that I pass by some of the dark wizards testing torture devices on unfortunate victims.

Lone Wolf appreciates the greater importance of the larger mission and doesn’t intervene.

In another ‘who’da thunk it?’ moment, I emerge from the underground tunnel literally right at the entrance to Gnaag’s headquarters, the Tower of the Damned.

Project Aon link – Tower of the Damned

The Imperial Zlanbeast parked at the top of the tower suggests that Gnaag is inside and I move with resolve towards the entrance…..

[Insert ominous music]

Aside : How I spent Friday night

Second aside : How many pop culture references can you spot in this first trailer for Ready Player One?

Base Stats : CS : 22, E : 28, GC 22 (Kika 28)

Final Stats : CS : 44/44, E : 32/32

Weapons : Sword, Dagger

Weapon-Like Special Items : Silver Bow of Duadon (+3), Sommerswerd (+8 CS), Dagger of Vashna

Backpack : Rope, Lantern, Potion of Laumspur (+4E), Meals (3), Black Key.

Special Items : 1. Sommerswerd (+8 CS) (with Korlinium scabbard) 2. Platinum Amulet / Gold Amulet, 3. Dagger of Vashna 4. Shield (+2 CS),  5. Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), 6. Bronin Vest (+3 CS, +1 E) 7. Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, 8. Psychic Ring 9. Quiver (6 arrows including Zejar-dulaga), 10. Silver Bracers (+2 CS, +1 E) (6), 11. Crystal Explosive 12. Silver Bow of Duadon.

‘Extra-Special item’ – Green Mask

Kai Monastery storage :

  • Backpack Items : Sack of Silver (3)
  • Special Items : Map of Tekaro, Diamonds (2), Boat Ticket, Power Key, Copper Key, Ornate Silver Key, Jewelled Mace, Obsidian Seal, Brass Whistle. Quiver (4 arrows), Pass, Vial of Clear Liquid, Crystal Star Pendant, Receipt, Invitation, Signet Ring

Magnakai Rank : Archmaster

Magnakai Disciplines : Weaponmastery (+4 CS in Sword, Bow, Mace, Dagger, Spear, Quarterstaff, Broadsword, Warhammer, Axe), Pathmanship, Huntmastery, Divination, Invisibility, Nexus, Psi-Screen, Psi-Surge, Curing

Lore-Circles : Fire (+1 CS, +2 E), Solaris (+1 CS, +3 E), Spirit  (+3 CS, +3 E)

Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter, Mindblast (+3CS), Mindshield, Weaponskill (+2 CS in Short Sword)

Current paragraph : 320

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4 thoughts on “The Masters of Darkness – Attempt 1, Part 9

  1. “convinced that Joe Dever wrote the first half, went and had lunch, and then wrote the second half”

    You know, that’s not all that unlikely. I think it was the writer Dornford Yates who once wrote his characters into a hideous trap, went to bed and after breakfast look at what he’d done and hadn’t a clue how they were meant to escape. Call’s of nature come in many forms.

    Yet again I shall engage in a frantic and, ultimately, futile and unneeded defense of Joe Dever and his narrative.

    1) ” Lone Wolf has just successfully hidden in an alleyway from enemies of the Darklord whose insignia he wears.”

    Actual text says that he’s “sure” that he’s not been followed. Now he knows that he was wrong. I could speculate among other things that they wanted to trap him in a cul-de-sac before going for him, but that’s just speculation.

    2) ” how could the mere sound of howling indicate pursuit”

    Different yells and howls do signify different things, whether its people being attacked, people doing the attacking, or people getting their tax demands. Simple contrast you’ll have heard recently was the desolate and hopeless howls of despair from Swans fans clashing pleasingly with the triumphant howls of victory from Hawks fans.

    3) ” you would think that if Lone Wolf just wanted to hide from his pursuers, he’d hang out here, waiting for the pursuit to go on by.”

    A) Cul de sac. Therefore nowhere for the pursuit to go on to.
    B) Fear-inspiring mission in a fear-inspiring city and he still hasn’t found a men’s room, never mind somewhere to lie down for the night.

    4) “Railroading”

    Yeah. Sure. You’re right there But if you didn’t get there in an hour then you’d get there in four or five hours. Part of the author’s job is to get us through the slightly boring bits to the more interesting bits. So, yes, on the last count “Guilty as Charged Your Honour”, but would you be able to get a conviction out of it?

    “enter something that seems like a cross between a mad scientist’s laboratory and an H.P. Lovecraft short story.”

    Looking at the picture I was feeling slightly sick. This may be due to my eating Nutella by the spoonful to stay awake and alert. KIDS: Don’t Try This At Home. (Do it in someone else’s home so they have to clean up the mess).

    “I can now identify the rod as a Zejar-dulaga, a poisoned arrow with magical accuracy”

    It was probably detailed in a recent copy of Jane’s Defense Weekly 😐

    “I am asked at this point whether I possess that Black Cube, which you may recall I decided was too dangerous to take with me. I may never know whether that was a good move”

    You know that just saying that has one’s like me itching desperately to tell you. You’re laughing to yourself at our internal anguish and inner struggle over whether we tell you or not. I hope you are amused at my not being able to get to sleep for some time now over this. … Oh all right it was [CENSORED FOR SPOILERISMS]. /A Lone Despairing Howl Echo’s Chillingly and Amusingly Through the Vast Vaults of the World Wide Web/

    “I pass by some of the dark wizards testing torture devices on unfortunate victims”

    We had the same thing in Shadow on the Sand (if you were captured and escaped and took a certain route). Remembering how Avenger could rescue an entire dungeon from a sadistic (and insomniac) torturer in Avenger or similar scenes in Fighting Fantasy this always bugged me. But if we have to run and hide in one section of the book we can’t suddenly turn into Rambo in another section without a very good reason. 😥

    Aside : The Link you gave us brings me to the Subscribe page for the Herald-Sun. With the Hawks playing I really hope you don’t mean you spent your Friday night trying to subscribe to a newspaper.

    Aside 2: Ready Player One looks Matrix style WOW, but I can’t make a go at the pop references, sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. p.s. Fly to India Monday morning. They have internet on top of the barren mountain we’ll be on so I hope to get your posts but may not get to reply or just make shortened replies, so see you more fully in just over two weeks 🙂 Ciao

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “And how could the mere sound of howling indicate pursuit? Aren’t unfortunates being attacked and tortured every five minutes in this hellhole?”

    This reminds me of the special ability that I’ve heard parents have, where they can ignore the normal shouts and screams of children being children, but they hear something slightly off, and they drop everything and come running. Parents know, and so does Lone Wolf.

    Liked by 2 people

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