Authors: Joe Dever
Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Lone Wolf, #Magnamund
You do not have to wait very long for the riders to appear. As soon as they think you have gone, they emerge in single file from the back of a derelict cottage and draw themselves into a circle in the middle of the village. Although they are out of earshot, you can tell by their frantic movements and gestures that they are having a heated argument. Suddenly, they break the circle and ride towards you. Cyrilus, still lying unconscious across his horse, is in tow behind the last rider.
If you have a Bow and want to ambush them as they ride past your hiding place,
turn to 20
If you wish to attack the last rider and try to recapture Cyrilus,
turn to 203
If you wish to let them pass and then follow them,
turn to 227
A deafening roar of rage and pain fills your ears. The monster staggers back, its face transformed into a bloody scarlet mask as the Arrow pierces its eye. It shudders and sways before keeling over onto its back, writhing for a brief moment in the mud and debris of the chapel floor.
It is customary for the proprietor of the Inn of the Crossed Swords to throw out anyone who cannot pay his board and lodging. This makes your position difficult as the curfew bell was rung nearly an hour ago and anyone found in the streets an hour after its sounding is liable to be imprisoned by the city watch.
Rather than face imprisonment and the possible failure of your quest, you can sell some of your equipment in order to raise cash. The fat-bellied mercenary who took your bets will pay the following prices for these (but only these) items:
You will need a minimum of 2 Gold Crowns in order to stay the night at the Inn of the Crossed Swords.
If you wish to keep your equipment, or if you do not have items of interest to the mercenary, you must take your chances with the city watch and
turn to 138
Leaping over the dead bodies, you fight your way across the deck to where the captain is in combat with five pirates. While he attacks with a longsword in his right hand, he parries enemy cutlasses with a bronze sleeve-shield that encases his left forearm. He fights with cool determination, making light work of the battle-clumsy pirates. Then a war-horn heralds the arrival of a new and formidable wave of attackers. You anticipate the captain's danger and rush to protect his back from the snarling, mad-eyed pirate berserkers.
Due to their state of battle-frenzy, the pirate berserkers are immune to Mindblast, but not Psi-surge.
If you win the combat,
turn to 297
You prepare yourself for combat and leap to the defence of the helpless old man just in time to turn aside the lordling's sword.
‘Curse you, scum!’ he cries. ‘I am Roark, highborn of Amory. How dare you interfere with my sport.’
He feints withdrawal but you are not taken in by his street-brawl tactics. As his sword cuts the air in a vicious backhanded slash, you are ready to parry the blow. The tavern crowd cheer in anticipation of a good fight.
If you reduce Roark's
to 11 points or less, do not continue the combat but
turn instead to 180
You pass many soldiers of different races and nationalities, lolling in open doorways or squatting against the red brick walls. They are mercenaries, drawn to Varetta by the news of war in the north. They come in search of employment, for the chance to sell their skills to any buyer, indifferent to the justness of his cause.
Beneath a black iron lantern, you notice a group of men throwing dice against the side of a wall.
If you wish to stop and ask them the way to Brass Street,
turn to 291
If you wish to continue on your way,
turn to 307
The flame illuminates a deep circular pit where the floor of the chamber should be. Lying at the bottom are a myriad of human skulls and bones, their surfaces strangely smooth and yellow as if corroded by some powerful acid. The faintest of sounds makes you glance over your shoulder — you are frozen with terror by the sight that meets your eyes. A huge lumbering monster fills the tunnel, over ten feet tall with thick, twisted limbs and eight-fingered hands tipped with razor-sharp talons that are poised to rip your flesh. Baleful, monstrous eyes protrude from yellow slits in its glistening head, and a long reptilian tail whips behind it.
It strikes before you can react, knocking you back into the pit. A peculiar and hideous sound fills the chamber as it claws a lever in the wall, causing a rain of yellow fluid to pour from the ceiling. As the acid eats through your cloak and sears your flesh, the last thing you hear is the hideous laughter of the Dakomyd.
Your quest and your life end here in the sewers of Tekaro.
Arrows scream past on all sides. One shaft gouges a furrow of skin from the horse's rump, causing him to twist and buck; you shorten the reins and urge him forward. Your quick thinking helps you regain control of the frightened animal, and soon you are well out of range of the deadly arrows.
The hold of the riverboat is full of horses: not the slow carthorses favoured by merchants but strong and sturdy mounts that carry many scars of battle upon their muscular flanks. You unsaddle your mare, load her manger with feed, and then make your way back on deck.
As you emerge from the hold, a voice calls out to you and you raise your weary eyes. It is the captain — the mercenary leader you ran across at the Inn of the Crossed Swords.
‘Well met, my friend,’ he cries and slaps you enthusiastically on the shoulder. ‘So you changed your mind! You have come to join my band of fearless fighters.’ Before you have a chance to answer, the captain and his men, who are all considerably the worse for drink, stumble past on a quest of the utmost importance — the search for the wine store. You are far too tired and weary to follow — the thought of your cabin bed and a good night's sleep is all that interests you.
The old man narrows his mousy eyes and looks at you with a cautious stare. ‘It is but a legend. Some say it contained great power; others say its power existed only in the minds of those who craved to own it. Whatever the truth is, the Lorestone has been lost for hundreds of years.’
You sense that the old magician is not telling you all he knows about the Lorestone.
If you wish to identify yourself and tell him the nature of your quest,
turn to 119
If you choose not to reveal your identity, bid him goodnight and
turn to 239
The taxidermist points to a vat in the corner of the room that contains a noxious blue fluid, which is obviously the source of the unpleasant smell.
‘My special preservative,’ he says proudly. ‘It has taken me many years to perfect the formula, but my experiments are now complete. All I require is a specimen worthy of the immortality it can provide.’
The man's voice is beginning to sound faint and distant, as if he were falling away from you into a deep, dark pit. Your eyelids feel heavy, and you are having difficulty in concentrating on what he says. Suddenly, you realize that you have been drugged; the wine contained a powerful draught of gallowbrush, although you did not detect it at the time. You fight to remain awake, but it is a battle you cannot win, for the enemy is in your very blood. The taxidermist has at last found a specimen worthy of his special preservative — the last of the Kai Lords of Sommerlund.
Your quest and your life end here.
As you hear the
of the crossbow trigger, you throw yourself to the ground to avoid the deadly missile. The bolt grazes your scalp (lose 2
points), and embeds itself in the side of the log hut. A moment later you are back on your feet. The warrior discards his empty weapon and reins his horse about in order to follow the others across the bridge.
If you have a Bow,
turn to 178
If you do not have a Bow, you must mount your horse and give chase.
Turn to 39
Prising the pouch from the thief's hand, you return it to the pocket of the unconscious soldier. Many of the wounded men witness what you have done, and from that moment you become a hero in their eyes. Your use of the Magnakai Discipline of Curing to heal many of their wounds strengthens their esteem and devotion, and they pledge themselves to help you in any way they can.
If you wish to ask them if there is any way of getting into Tekaro undetected,
turn to 109
If you do not wish to ask them anything and would rather leave,
turn to 70
The town watch rush forward to avenge their sergeant's death, but in their haste they leave the gap between the two wagons unprotected. You are quick to notice this opportunity for escape and spur your mount straight for the running guards. These fresh-faced young men have no battle-skill — their attack is clumsy and hesitant. You break through them in a matter of seconds and have soon left them far behind as you gallop along the street beyond the wagons.
Your speedy dispatch of the robbers has earned you 5 Gold Crowns, which you find in the pockets of the dead men, and the respectful glances of several mercenary captains. One in particular is so impressed by your fighting prowess that he approaches you and offers to buy you a drink. You sense that it is a honest gesture of friendship without any hidden threat and gratefully accept his offer.
‘Esmond, you old rascal, show yourself — it's Cyrilus, your brother. I've someone with me I want you to meet,’ cries the wizard as he raps on the gate with his oaken staff. There is no reply. He smiles and shrugs his bony shoulders before shouting: ‘Wake up you old fool, I know you're in there,’ but still there is no reply.
If you have the Magnakai Discipline of Divination,
turn to 7
If you do not possess this skill,
turn to 258