Read The Legacy of Vashna Online

Authors: Joe Dever

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

The Legacy of Vashna (5 page)

BOOK: The Legacy of Vashna
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2

An ugly, one-eyed mongrel is standing in front of the inn, barking defiantly at the first-floor window through which you are observing the Vakovarians. You curse it under your breath and mentally you command it to go away, using your innate Kai skill of Animal Kinship. The hound ceases its infernal yapping and runs off, whimpering pathetically, but its noise has already attracted the unwanted attention of some brigands who are looting the ruins nearby. They surround and enter the ground floor of the inn, eager to discover what it was that made the dog run away so abruptly.

Pick a number from the
Random Number Table
. If have the Grand Master Discipline of Assimilance, add 3 to the number you have picked.

If your total score is now 9 or less,
turn to 329
.

If it is 10 or more,
turn to 211
.

3

The moment you slay the first two of these strange creatures, their bodies dissolve into a swirling cloud of steamy vapour. Now, upon the death of the third beast, the vapours unite and expand with breathtaking speed until the basalt island and the entire fiery plain beyond are engulfed by a thickening grey fog.

You walk through this sea of mist for what seems like an eternity until your senses detect that something is circling high above you. At first you suspect that more of the golden-winged creatures have come hunting for you, but then you detect that it is something completely different. There is only one creature, and you sense that it is using a highly-developed psychic probe in order to seek you out.

If you possess Grand Nexus and have reached the Kai rank of Sun Knight or higher,
turn to 31
.

If you do not possess this skill, or if you have yet to attain this level of Kai Mastery,
turn to 106
.

4

One of the bolts hits your Backpack. The force of the impact lifts you off your feet and sends you tumbling backwards across the floor. (Erase three items from your Backpack List and reduce your
ENDURANCE
by 2 points.)

Turn to 157
.

5

You reach the cover of a dense pine copse and quickly dismount. Having secured Bracer's reins to a tree, you move to the edge of the copse to try to catch a glimpse of your attackers. You have no difficulty seeing them: a dozen brigands, armed with crossbows and swords, are rushing through the undergrowth towards your hiding place.

If you possess a Bow and wish to use it,
turn to 330
.

If you do not,
turn to 136
.

6

The instant you correctly complete the sequence, a deep hum resonates from inside the upper tier, and slowly it opens to reveal a hexagonal crystal plinth with a circular hole at its centre.
4
Your Kai senses inform you that by inserting the tip of the Deathstaff into the hole, you will cause the Shadow Gate beneath the great arch to close.

Trembling with fear and exhilaration, you raise the Deathstaff above your head and bring it down with one mighty thrust, driving it deep into the hole.

Turn to 246
.

[4] This is the correct answer to the crystal dais grid in
Section 164
.

7

You dive over the mounds of charred timbers, aiming to land in the cobblestoned street outside the hut, but the bolt hits the building whilst you are in mid-air and the force of the concussion sends you twisting away in another direction.

Pick a number from the
Random Number Table
. If you possess Grand Huntmastery, add 2 to the number you have picked. If you possess Grand Huntmastery
and
Assimilance, add another 2.

If your total score is now 6 or less,
turn to 299
.

If it is 7 or more,
turn to 266
.

8

You have ridden to within five miles of the hamlet when you are forced to leave the trail and take cover. Ahead, you see a group of Vakovarian bandits encamped on a bridge which carries the trail across a fast-flowing stream. Rather than risk a confrontation, you follow this tributary of the River Storn a mile downstream until you happen upon a shallow bend where the water is fordable on horseback. You cross here, make a wide detour, and then return to the trail a mile beyond the Vakovarian's encampment.

The trail gradually descends towards the burnt and derelict hovels of Vorn, clustered in squalid disarray around a greystone quay. Vakovarian bandits occupy the ruined hamlet and you decide it wise to leave the trail in case they have posted a lookout. A copse of stunted firs offers you a good hiding place for your horse. You tether him here, and then gather some grasses and roots for him to eat while you are away scouting the hamlet.

You have no difficulty entering Vorn unseen. From the first-floor ruins of a burnt-out inn on the outskirts of the hamlet you make a careful observation of the Vakovarians. They seem to be systematically looting the ruins and transporting their ill-gotten booty to a fishing boat which is moored at the quay. You are watching this boat closely when suddenly your concentration is broken by the sound of a yapping dog.

If you possess Animal Mastery,
turn to 281
.

If you do not possess this Discipline,
turn to 2
.

9

With weapon in hand, you climb out of the window. You are expecting the archer to attack you the moment you appear, but the balcony is deserted: he has disappeared. Then your keen eyes catch a glimpse of movement on the roof of a building opposite. It is the archer. He has leapt the narrow street from the rail of the balcony and he is now making his escape across the rooftops of the north quarter.

With the grace of a springing panther, you leap from the balcony and land on the roof opposite. Without breaking your stride, you set off after the fleeing assassin and pursue him to the edge of a flat-topped warehouse at the end of Tavern Lane. Here a plank of wood had been laid down to span the gap of ten yards to the rooftop opposite. The man makes a sure-footed escape across the plank, and then kicks it away to prevent you from following him.

If you are determined to follow him and wish to try to leap across the gap,
turn to 42
.

If you do not wish to make the jump,
turn to 191
.

10

Upon hearing you utter the correct solution to her riddle, Shamath recoils in horror.
5
You have beaten her challenge and the humiliation she feels cuts her as sharply as any sword.

She begins to whimper. Then, quite suddenly, a geyser of flame shoots from the floor and engulfs her wormlike body. You watch with disbelief as the tendrilled flesh blackens and flakes away in a matter of seconds, to leave nothing but a coiled heap of glowing cinders.

Turn to 261
.

[5] This is the correct answer to Shamath's riddle in
Section 189
.

11

Cautiously you approach the circle of boulders, leading your frozen horse by the reins. Through a gap in the boulders you see a pack of eight ridge-backed Jackals feeding on the carcass of a Durncrag Scavenger, a vulture-like bird of prey. They are engrossed with their meal until they suddenly detect the scent of their most favoured food: live horsemeat.

Illustration I
—With a frenzied howl the wild Jackals abandon the feathery carcass and come streaming through the gap in the boulders.

With a frenzied howl the wild Jackals abandon the feathery carcass and come streaming through the gap in the boulders, drawn by the scent of your horse. They seem to know that he is in a weakened state, and this fuels their fury. Your horse takes fright and tries to pull away, his hooves flailing the air perilously close to your skull, and as the first of the Jackals makes its attack, you find yourself struggling to hold on to the reins with one hand and fight them off with the other.

Vorndarol Jackals:
COMBAT SKILL
 42   
ENDURANCE
 38

Unless you possess Grand Weaponmastery and have reached the rank of Sun Knight or higher, you must reduce your
COMBAT SKILL
by 5 for the duration of this combat.

You may evade combat after four rounds by
turning to 222
.

If you win this fight,
turn to 347
.

12

The first light of dawn brings with it a dramatic change in the weather. The storm has ended and the sky is now bright and clear, but on the distant horizon you can still see flashes of lightning and hear thunder rumbling in the mountains.

After drying out your equipment and tending to the minor cuts and abrasions that Bracer sustained last night, you climb into the saddle and set off along the muddy track, most of which you discover has been washed away by the flood. The damp earth is steaming in the unusual heat of the morning sun, and the air crackles with an eerie residue of static electricity.

You continue your ride through the hills without stopping until, shortly after midday, you come to a derelict hovel which stands at the edge of a marshy peat bog. Your Kai senses inform you that there is somebody inside and, spurred on by curiosity, you resolve to find out who they are. You dismount and leave Bracer to feed on the marsh grass while you go forward to investigate the hovel on foot. You are six yards away from its rotting wooden door when suddenly it creaks open and you see an old man standing in the doorway. He is smiling at you.

If you have ever visited the city of Varetta, the city of Tahou, or a hut on the Ruanon Pike in a previous
Lone Wolf
adventure,
turn to 220
.

If you have never visited any of these places,
turn to 53
.

13

The man makes a slow, sure-footed descent to within ten feet of where you are standing, during which time his weapon's sights never leave your chest. You can tell immediately that he is a skilled hunter and, judging by his furs and his beautifully crafted crossbow, he is a successful one too.

Your muscles are tense and coiled like springs, ready to propel you out of the path of his crossbow bolt in case he fires. But then he says something which makes you realize that, maybe, he has no intentions of killing you after all.

Turn to 340
.

BOOK: The Legacy of Vashna
12.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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