Ten of the Snow Witches’ followers stood before me, all worshiping the huge ice effigy of a demon, all of them wearing long, hooded robes of the style that I was already wearing thanks to the defector I had met earlier. My luck held and I was able to walk past the group un-noticed and into the tunnel leading out of the opposite side of the hall. Arriving at a T-junction, a door to my left was my chosen path as I could hear cries for help coming from behind. Behind the door was a dwarf who had apparently slipped into a pit and was clinging onto the edge, ice boulders crashed down onto him from a shaft above, followed by laughter from the same direction. Falling to the bottom of the pit he begged me for help, pointing out that I didn’t have a control collar on, so I had no excuse not to! A little wary that I was about to effectively break my cover, I helped him out to the annoyance of the unseen crowd who had been pelting him. Before leaving me he told me to ‘beware the white rat’ and also gave me a leather bag containing a slingshot and three iron balls.
Returning to the T-junction I took the only remaining path which took me into another large hall, this one with three doors leading out of it, the central one being carved into a giant skull. Out from this central door stepped a man described by the book as being ‘ugly’.
Now, I messed up a bit here as I was offered the option to say I was here to play for the Snow Witch if I was carrying a magical flute. I entirely forgot that I’d picked up the flute earlier and so took the other option – ATTACK! Sneering, ugly man rubbed the prism he was carrying and suddenly there were three of him, all bearing down on me with daggers. His tricksy illusion left me with no option but guesswork and so I swiped out at the one to my left only to see my sword pass straight through him, followed by laughter and then a dagger stabbing into my shoulder out of nowhere for -2 Stamina. Swiping my sword in a huge arc across all of them seemed the only option and a winning Luck test broke the illusion as I managed to make contact, dropping him to the ground. I took the chance to smash the prism he was clutching and the illusionist scrambled away, running down the corridor from which he came. Smoke rose from the fragments of the prism, coming together to form a figure; I had released a Genie! The smokey little guy thanked me and said that he would repay me by allowing me to turn invisible, but on one occasion only, and with that he vanished. I opted to follow the illusionist through the skull door which led me into another large cavern which was occupied by a Frost giant.
Lifting a huge wooden chest onto a high shelf, he was just begging to be taken down and so, testing all I’d learned from David & Goliath, I took my sling and launched an iron ball at his head. He crumpled to the floor like a rag-doll as the ball smacked him on the temple, the chest he carried breaking open on the ground, spilling its contents; three rings and a cracked bottle. The bottle seemed only to have contained perfume, but a gold, silver and copper ring were up for grabs. I went for the gold first and gained 1 Luck as the ring bestowed its wearing with protection from the cold, quite a bonus deep inside a glacier. The copper was my next try and bingo, another 1 Luck point and the ability to summon a warrior to aid me in combat! As before, I decided not to push it and elected not to put on the third, a silver ring.
Arriving at a cross-roads, I was interrupted by an approaching humanoid before I could make any decision as to my progress…
A crystal warrior stood before me, presumably sent by the Snow Witch, and as he was made entirely of quartz I was informed that edged weapons would have no effect on him. Thankfully, the warhammer I had taken from the trappers hut would do the job though. Well, I say thankfully, and I’m sure some of you know what I allude to… but we’ll come back to that one when I write up my Conclusions! Regardless, this guy was frickin’ tough at 11/13 and he took me all the way down to 2 Stamina before I finally smashed him to pieces. As soon as the fight was done, I popped my Stamina potion to get me going again. I decided on the left turn and took the junction into yet another cavernous room with a sarcophagus in the centre. A white rat jumped out of it and began to scurry towards me – a ‘white rat’ I had been warned of by the dwarf I assisted earlier. Uh-oh. Right before he reached me, the rat stopped and started to grow and change shape, the text asked if I had any ground minotaur horn. I did not and so had to watch the rat complete his transformation into a White Dragon.
And yep, this guy was about as tough as they get with 12/14 stats; just what I needed right after the crystal warrior. But hold on! The copper ring I found was able to come into play here as I was offered the option to use it to conjure up some assistance. Praise the sun! Fantastically, I actually got the best option, a Knight, who I can only name Solaire and he brought along stats of 9/10 to the fight. I sent Solaire in first to do whatever he could to soften up the White Dragon before I got stuck in. Useless bastard that he is though, Solaire didn’t manage to land a single hit on the dragon and was utterly destroyed, leaving me to do all the dirty work. Brilliant. My other ring came into play here as well, the dragons icy-breath would have potentially done a load of extra damage to me, but I was able to negate that thanks to the cold protection of the gold ring.Given that I ‘only’ have a Skill of 10 though, this was still another damn hard fight and a few Luck rolls managed to get me through it with only a couple of Stamina left. Provisions would be eaten heartily. It was then that the sarcophagus got my attention, as I approached, a womans eerie laughter filled the cavern and a beautiful woman in white rose from the sarcophagus. It was fairly obvious by this stage that she was a vampire.
It was at this point I realised I was in deep trouble as I possessed little in the way of the Fighting Fantasy staples for offing a vampire – no garlic, nothing made of silver… I was however surprised to be given the option to use the runed stick I had found in the kitchen as a stake to destroy her with. But unfortunately my Skill was deemed too low at 10 and yep, she sunk her teeth into my stupid, scrawny, garlic-less neck and I was to live as her servant forever in the world of the undead. My adventure was over.
At least temporarily.
I had a similar dead-end encounter back in Citadel of Chaos where some lovely chaps known as the Ganjees got in my way, and so like then, I decided to backtrack a little. Looking over the options on my map, the route so far had been relatively linear and only a couple of turns hadn’t been explored at this point. I went back to the T-junction where I faced the crystal warrior and this time took the right turning which took me to a door leading into a store-room which was apparently being maintained by a zombie.
At 6/6 he was a bit of a nothing opponent, especially given the bounty of treasures he guarded. A quick face-palm from me occurred when I read the list of things I could take from the store-room – a jar of ground minotaur horn, a box of teeth, a jar of pickled lizard tails, some garlic and four dragon eggs. I was however only allowed to take three items due to backpack space. So, given my knowledge gained from my failed encounter earlier the ground minotaur horn and garlic were the obvious choices, the budding Khaleesi in me elected to take the dragon eggs as my third and final item.
Heading back to take on the white rat for a second time I was able to avoid the dragon encounter altogether by merely sprinkling a little minotaur horn onto the morphing little swine who promptly turned back into a rat and scurried off into the dark. The Snow Witch was still a bit of a handful however, the garlic was only enough to throw her off-guard and instead of insisting on me having above a Skill of 10 to succeed in thrusting the runed stick into her chest, I was allowed to continue with just a successful Skill test. Two dice thrown and she emitted a piercing death wail and was reduced to a pile of dust on the floor. Frozen into the icy walls of the sarcophagus chamber was a clearly defined shape of a chest and now seemed like a good time to check out my treasure!
And we’ll find out what that was in Part Three I think…