Read The Kingdoms of Terror Online

Authors: Joe Dever

Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Lone Wolf, #Magnamund

The Kingdoms of Terror (9 page)

BOOK: The Kingdoms of Terror
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90

The faintest of sounds makes you glance over your shoulder. You are frozen with abject terror by the sight that greets you. A huge, lumbering monster fills the tunnel, over ten feet high 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.

Before you can react, it strikes, knocking you back into a pit. A peculiar and hideous sound fills the vault, and you feel a hot sticky fluid raining down on your head. As it 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.

91

Your curiosity is drawn to a game of cards that is taking place in the centre of the hall. Six ruddy-faced men are gambling against a croupier on the turn of the cards. You are quick to spot that the deck he is using is marked. When a seat is vacated by one of the men, you take his place. The first round is on the house — you need not place a stake.

Needless to say, knowing how the game has been rigged, you win the first round and continue to win several more. Pick a number from the
Random Number Table
and add 5 to it. This equals the number of Gold Crowns that you win before the dealer suspects something is wrong and ends the game.

Now that you have some gold in your pouch once more, if you wish to approach the bar and ask about a room for the night,
turn to 232
.

If you wish to take a seat and order some food,
turn to 172
.

92

The man shrieks his battle-cry and lashes out with a heavy-bladed cutlass.

Deldenian River Pirate:
COMBAT SKILL
 17   
ENDURANCE
 23

If you wish to evade combat at any time,
turn to 286
.

If you win and combat lasts 3 rounds or less,
turn to 77
.

If combat lasts longer than 3 rounds,
turn to 215
.

93

Taking hold of the man's shoulder, you shake him to try to wake him from his drunken slumber, but he keels over and slumps to the floor. The back of his shirt is covered with a huge bloodstain spreading from the handle of a dagger that is buried deep in his spine. As you recoil in horror, you hear a faint cry for help. It is Cyrilus — he is in trouble.

Turn to 317
.

94

Ripping aside the curtain, you rush into a small room full of storage cupboards and work tables. You cast your eyes around the workshop annex, but there is no sign of the man: he has vanished.

If you have the Magnakai Discipline of Divination or Huntmastery,
turn to 208
.

If you do not possess either of these skills,
turn to 37
.

95

The ghastly sound of the creature's hungry cry chills your blood. It is barely a few feet away when you let loose your Arrow.

Pick a number from the
Random Number Table
. If you have the Magnakai Discipline of Weaponmastery with Bow, add 3 to the number you have picked.

If your total is now 0–3,
turn to 155
.

If it is 4–12,
turn to 12
.

96

An hour after sunset you arrive at the gates of Amory. Beneath the deepening shadow of its watchful guard tower, you fight back your fatigue and wait as the gate creaks open. A soldier wearing a hauberk of black and gold chainmail strides forward and demands to see a Cess.

If you possess a Cess,
turn to 49
.

If you do not possess this Special Item,
turn to 221
.

97

The ambush is so sudden and so swift that only luck can save you now. Pick a number from the
Random Number Table
.

If the number you have chosen is 0–3,
turn to 174
.

If the number is 4–6,
turn to 313
.

If the number is 7–9,
turn to 57
.

98

The smell of dust and rusty metal wafts in your face as you enter the cluttered weapons shop. All manner of arms are stacked in racks that rise precariously to the ceiling. Their prices are chalked on a circular slate that hangs above the counter.

  • BROADSWORDS — 7 Gold Crowns
  • DAGGERS — 2 Gold Crowns
  • SHORT SWORDS — 3 Gold Crowns
  • WARHAMMERS — 6 Gold Crowns
  • SPEARS — 5 Gold Crowns
  • MACES — 4 Gold Crowns
  • AXES — 3 Gold Crowns
  • BOWS — 7 Gold Crowns
  • QUARTERSTAVES — 3 Gold Crowns
  • SWORDS — 4 Gold Crowns
  • ARROWS — 2 for 1 Gold Crown

You may purchase any of the above weapons if you have enough money to do so. The shop owner will also buy any weapons that you may already have for 1 Gold Crown less than the price shown on the slate.
5
Mark any changes on your
Action Chart
before you leave.

Turn to 275
.

[5] The shop owner will buy 4 Arrows for 1 Gold Crown.

99

You feel a numbing shock, and then the damp warmth of blood begins to soak your tunic. You fight for breath, but your strength is sapped by the terrible wounds made by the pike heads. You swoon and fall to the ground through loss of blood, unconscious of the sword blade that is poised to end your life.

Your quest and your life have come to an early and tragic end here.

100

It is late afternoon when you catch your first breath-taking glimpse of Varetta. Built on a massive plateau, this city has stood since time immemorial. The walls and buildings are immense, constructed from blood-red rock and crowded together in complicated splendour. Great stone dragons writhe along the battlements, their coiled tails entangling the gatehouses and portals of the outer wall, and spirals of smoke rise from the mouths of angry-faced gargoyles, crouching like spies on top of the roofs and towers that fill the sky.

Illustration VII
—The ancient city of Varetta.

The sun has set by the time you reach the east gate. The red-coated guards offer no challenge, and you pass into the wide streets of this magnificent city, to arrive eventually at a quadrangle. A pillar of red stone indicates the names of the streets that lead away from the square.

If you wish to go north into Helin Way,
turn to 79
.

If you wish to go west into Coachcourse,
turn to 135
.

If you wish to go south into Flute Street,
turn to 147
.

If you decide to go east, along the street down which you have just ridden,
turn to 238
.

101

You make a noose at one end of the rope and lower it carefully through the hole in the floor. If you can slip the noose around the head of the hammer, it should tighten as you pull on the rope and draw the hammer upwards.

Pick a number from the
Random Number Table
. If you have the Magnakai Discipline of Huntmastery, add 3 to the number you have chosen.

If your total is now 0–4,
turn to 348
.

If it is 5 or higher,
turn to 207
.

102

Night has fallen by the time you reach the river town of Soren, and the sky is clear and full of stars that sparkle with icy splendour. You ride the main street towards the quay where a score of river ships lie docked at the town. Their signal lamps, shimmering red and green from the mast-tops, reflect upon the cold, dark waters of the River Storn.

A board standing beside the gangplank to a large transport caravel catches your eye. On it are chalked the prices of passage to three destinations.

  • LUYEN — 10 Gold Crowns
  • RHEM — 15 Gold Crowns
  • EULA — 20 Gold Crowns

A fourth destination — Tekaro — has been crossed out and scribbled beside it is: ‘Cancelled due to war’.

If you wish to buy a ticket to one of the destinations,
turn to 10
.

If you do not wish to buy a ticket — or cannot afford to —
turn to 68
.

103

Unfortunately, your score is too low to qualify for the next round of the contest and you are politely asked to leave the field. If you have been using a borrowed bow, you must return it to the tent before making your way back to Cyrilus.

Turn to 33
.

104

Your thoughts return to your quest and to Cyrilus' dying words. The man he was taking you to meet lives in Brass Street, but in a city the size of Varetta it could take you days to find the right street. You decide to try to find out where it is from someone in the tavern and look around the massive hall in search of a likely source of information.

If you wish to approach a merchant who sits alone at a nearby table,
turn to 240
.

If you wish to ask a distinguished-looking man who stands at the bar,
turn to 53
.

If you wish to ask the tavern-keeper,
turn to 312
.

105

A few hundred yards along the street is the east gate through which you entered the city. Two streets lead away from the gatehouse; one heading north, the other south.

If you wish to go north,
turn to 79
.

If you wish to go south,
turn to 147
.

106

Painfully, you drag yourself from beneath the dead monster. Several of your ribs are cracked, and you have a nasty gash on the back of your head, but at least you are still alive.

You stagger up the stairs and back to the chapel where you fill your glass jar with Taunor Water. (The healing spa water will restore 6
ENDURANCE
points.) You may drink the Water now or place the glass jar in your Backpack for future use. If you keep the Taunor Water, mark it on your
Action Chart
as a Backpack Item.

If you wish to search the chapel,
turn to 24
.

If you decide to return to Cyrilus,
turn to 338
.

107

The trapdoor is heavy and stiff, but gradually its seal of rust cracks and loosens under the pressure. Inch by inch you force it open to reveal at last the cobblestoned city square. Across the square, directly ahead, is the cathedral of Tekaro. As the square is teeming with guards, you are forced to close the hatch quickly to avoid being detected.

You estimate that the cathedral is approximately two hundred yards due east. As you descend the steps and continue through the passage, you pray that the sewer will give access to the crypt.

Turn to 120
.

108

You prepare to defend yourself against a sudden attack while trying to give the impression that you are, in fact, relaxing your guard. There is a long pause before the leader turns his back on you and addresses his followers in a loud, self-righteous tone.

‘Witness the power of Vashna, my brothers — his spirit is alive. Even this ignorant and unworthy stranger acknowledges his presence.’

A doleful lament rises from the procession in praise of their leader. As the ghastly chanting builds up to a fevered climax, you slip into the shadows of an alley and spur your horse away from the sinister worshippers.

Turn to 332
.

109

Some of the men laugh and look at you as though you are crazy, but one man calls you over to his side and hands you a leather tube.

‘It's a Map of Tekaro,’ he whispers, painfully. ‘I … I don't know how you can enter the city, but if you do find a way this map may be of use.’

You thank the injured man and leave the tent. Unless you already possess a Map of Tekaro, you may keep this Map. Mark it on your
Action Chart
as a Backpack Item.

Turn to 70
.

110

‘None passin' by 'ere,’ she says, her voice heavy with a highland accent. ‘Track go t' top o' Beacon 'ill an' no mor'n that.’ You sense that the old woman is telling the truth: the riders have not come this way and the track leads nowhere — it is a dead end. You thank her and bid her farewell before turning around and descending the track.

Turn to 330
.

111

A yellow velvet pouch hanging from a dead pirate's belt catches your eye. You cut it free and discover that it contains some Potion of Laumspur, a herb with well-known healing properties. This pouch contains enough of the herb to restore 4 lost
ENDURANCE
points. You may either swallow the Laumspur now or place it in your Backpack for future use.

Turn to 77
.

BOOK: The Kingdoms of Terror
13.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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