House of Hell – Part 3

Last time we had just obtained a pointer in the right direction for how to defeat the Master, I had my eye out for a woman called Mordana, who may or may not be dead, and who apparently resides in the Abaddon room. Moving further around the balcony I quickly found what I was looking for, three doors and a staircase represented my options; an unmarked door, one to the Belial room and one to the Abaddon room. Wanting to explore a little first, I tried the other two rooms first. The Belial room was unoccupied, save for a selection of boxes covered by large white dust-sheets, and so I took the opportunity for a brief rest, gaining 4 Stamina. Soon enough things turned weird though as one of the sheets begain to rise into the air, giving me 1 Fear point. I snatched the sheet from the air to see what was underneath, but instead heard a small snap as I had broken the string it was being lifted into the air by… But lifted by who? Bizarre. The Fear point I had just gained was deducted. Next, I checked the unmarked room. This was a lavish, cosy-looking bedroom, also unoccupied. On the bedside table was an innocent looking snack of tea, jam and bread. Don’t mind if I do. An extra Luck point and 4 Stamina were mine!

So, next up was the Abaddon room where, based on the clue I read in the window earlier, I expected to find Mordana. What I found was a dark, musty room willed with flowers and plants which surrounded a bed, in which lay an old woman. Despite already having been told she was dead, I had to add two Fear points from the horror of discovering her body. I’d have been far happier to accept the Fear points in response to the corpse opening its pupil-less eyes and speaking to me!

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Words came from her, but her lips did not move, ‘Begone, intruder. Leave an old woman to die in peace!‘ I was told. But I wasn’t going anywhere until I found out where to get a Kriss knife. She still wasn’t keen on talking though and two great danes came bounding in through a secret panel which opened as she protested at me staying. Similarly weak to the ones I encountered last time, they represented no real challenge. It was only then as I began to rummage through her room that she showed a weakness, she wanted no harm to come to her flowers. Obviously, I then threatened her flowers and she talked. But before she would answer my questions, she wanted one more thing, for me to tell her her name. The ‘88‘ reference from earlier was my key here and I told her that her name was Mordana by turning to that page. I chose to push her for information on secret passages and chambers in the mansion and she gave up some priceless information on how to find the Masters most carefully hidden chamber, but not the password to enter it. Apparently it had been changed recently and someone named ‘Shekou’ would know it, the room itself however was under the cellar stairs and when in that location I have to deduct 10 from that page reference and turn to that page. And with that her eyes closed and our ‘conversation’ was over.

My only way forward now was down the stairs which took me to the entrance hall. Three doors awaited me, to my right and left as well as the front door. As before, Resident Evil has taught me that leaving through the front door is a bad idea and so I went for the door to my right. In here was a drawing-room, very cosy it was too and I made straight for the decanters of brandy and had a little sip for 3 Stamina points, just like in real life. I stashed a little away in a nearby silver hip-flask to take with me. Above the fire-place in the room was a carriage clock with a bunch of letters stuffed behind it, but whilst checking that out I caught my sleeve on some of the woodwork and noticed that a small carved demon face could be slid back and forth. Checking out the letters first I found one sent to the Earl, the writer tipping off the Earl that his house had just been raided and that the Earl should be careful, suggesting ‘…changing the password on your own cache. I for one know that is Goathead. Why not change it to something that will remind you of the sound advice of a good friend?‘. It was signed by ‘Count Pravemi‘. So there we go, the password was Goathead, as suggested earlier by Mordana it had recently been changed and this letter suggests the password could well be the name of its sender, Pravemi?

Before I could take further action, the fire started to lick itself back into life, slowly but surely the fire grew and two fire sprites leaped from the flames to attack me.

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Deciding the option to throw brandy on them might not help my cause, I backed off and threw a pot plant at them, the soil spilling out all over them and extinguishing their firey little lives without me needing to actually engage them. Ignoring the button for now, I went into the next room which turned out to be a Study. Leather-bound books and a rich smell of mahogany greeted me, probably, and a huge desk sat in the middle, lit by a single candle and presenting a single, black piece of paper. All of a sudden, on the paper, words began to form in a childish handwriting; ‘Find Shekou‘. This was apparently enough to add an extra Fear point. It should be noted that at this point I’d hit my 11 and by the rules of the book, I should be dead. However, screw the rules, I’m carrying on. Who or what Shekou was I still didn’t know, but I already knew I had to find him so you’re wasting your time, ghost-ink.

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Poking around the room revealed some interesting books and I opened up one called ‘Mystical Symbols and Their Part in Magic Rituals‘ and from its hollowed-out pages fell a pentacle, a piece of paper underneath it describing it as having powers over devil worshipers. Seems to be a fairly solid choice of item to be carrying in these parts, so I took it along, being told that I should turn to page 66 if I needed to use it. I left the room and ended up with a choice of two doors or continuing down the corridor. The corridor took me back to the kitchen I got stuck in earlier, the right-hand door led to a room with nothing in it other than a clue that mirrors here doubled up as portals to the reception area and so I was left with the option of the left-hand door. A small flight of stairs saw me descend into a cellar, bats swarmed around me from nowhere, chalking up another Fear point. Hiding under the stairs like a girl I managed to avoid combat with the bats who eventually decided to leave me alone to explore the cellar. Scrambling around the walls I eventually found a loose brick which hid a lever, pulling the lever opened up a hidden door to inky-blackness. I stepped through.

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What I had found was in-fact the devil-worshipers changing room. Gowns and goat head hung together on hooks waiting to be put on by whoever it was I could now hear approaching the room. About forty men entered, chatting and talking, giving someone called Brother Isaacson some friendly abuse about tonight being special for him. I played along and started dressing myself in some vacant robes and followed the men out of the room. It was at this point that I realised what was happening. I was witnessing the sacrifice I had seen before I restarted, but from an entirely new angle. Very cool idea. Unfortunately, this new perspective meant nothing and led me down the same path as before (except revealing that Brother Isaacson was doing the sacrifice and it was his first one), which as you may remember, led me into an insta-death-dead-end.

Back to the drawing board I go. It means relinquishing my pentangle, but let’s rewind to the drawing-room where I dispatched the fire sprites and find out what that button does.

Pressing the button produced a small click and a sliding noise as a panel on the other side of the room opened, wandering over to investigate I failed to notice that I’d been lured over to a trapdoor which sent me plummeting down into a cell below the drawing-room. As luck would have it, I had landed on a small pile of earth and so avoided injury, but I had to add a Fear point for the shock. Probably hearing my fall, someone was coming towards the entrance to the cell, I shot over to the wall and hid behind the door. A short, stocky man entered and seemed puzzled at the seemingly empty room before him, he was unarmed so I decided to say hello. I managed to talk my way out of things somehow, the text is a little unclear, but I think I somehow convinced him I was a friend of the Master and had accidentally fallen through a trap-door!

After he showed me out of the cell, I was given some directions to get me back into the upper floors of the mansion but I chose to ignore them and further explore its lower reaches after he had gone. Beyond an impassible locked door I opened up another into a second area of cells, but these ones were occupied.

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I had no way to release them, so of the current in-mates, I talked to the bald man and told him my intentions. He was sympathetic to my cause and gave me more information about how I would win the final battle here. The detail of the Kris knife I already knew, but apparently the Master must be killed in a red room – symbolising a battle in hell, the dining room would fit that description but it was locked, the key hidden behind a mirror during ceremonies. His suggestion was that I leave the cells immediately and so instead of talking to the others, I followed his advice and went back out to the hallway. Further along, another door was found on the right-hand wall and I went in to investigate, still very aware that I’d yet to find the Kris knife.

What I found was a very well equipped torture chamber… ok… you can torture people with a Kris knife, right? Before I could make a decision on my next move I was approached by a broad-shouldered, powerful looking man wearing an apron and eye-patch. Evidently, the torturer. He clearly had no time for my bullshit and took the stance that I should not be there, even when I pretended to be a friend of the Master, he didn’t believe me and with the help of some assistants he had me strapped to a rack to try and prove whether or not I was telling the truth.

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What followed was actually a very fun section, albeit with a slightly silly, and difficult to implement, rule. I was to be asked a series of questions about the mansion, I would be given a letter and I had to respond with the first word that came into my head related to the mansion. Sort of like Blockbusters in hell. As the reader I had to write down my answers and if I didn’t start writing immediately, I was to deduct 1 Stamina as the rack was tightened – that was the slightly daft bit. Regardless, the game went like so…

Given the letter D, I said ‘Drumer‘,

Given the letter A, I said ‘Abaddon‘,

Given the letter K, I said ‘Kris‘,

Given the letter M, I said ‘Mordana‘,

Given the letter S, I said ‘Sekou‘.

Each answer was given a score and overall I’d managed a score of 23, only Kris wasn’t a top answer (from Blockbusters to Family Fortunes…), for which I should have said Kelnor instead. Regardless, I’d answered well enough to win a set of matching luggage and the apologies of the torturer who was now convinced that me and the Master were best buds and he bid me farewell.

From here, I stopped, looked around and realised this was bat-country. I was back in the cellar. At this point I slapped the book down, looked at my hugely convoluted map and started to wonder if I was ever going to get out of here. And yes, I can hear you screaming at me, dear reader, yes, I’d completley forgotten the advice Mordana had given me and I was reminded by accidentally seeing that page entry as I scanned for my now lost page. Excitedly I rushed under the stairs and deducted 10 from the page entry as that lovely old dead woman had instructed me to and BOOM, my finger-tips managed to locate the outline of a door sunken into the wall. But what was the password?

Big and clever, I knew exactly what that password was, of the options given, I picked ‘Pravemi‘ and of course the rock cracked and crumbled as the door began to open for me. Oddly though, only one half of the door hollow opened up for me and I squeezed inside to find a box sat on top of a table. Inside the box was my prize, a pearl-handled dagger and curiously, a bottle of black liquid as well. As I went to leave the room, the door slammed shut on me, leaving me trapped in this tiny secret room. Oh god… The only thing I could try was the bottle, I could swear I saw eyes within the swirling black liquid, but I opened it up anyway. As soon as it was un-stoppered, black smoke filled the room and then sucked back into the bottle as quickly as it came out, the only problem being that it had sucked me into the bottle with it. What I had actually done was release an evil genie, a Nanka, and it had just ended my adventure.

Ok then… erm. What? Had I not got the password right? My other options were ‘Goathead‘, which I knew was out, then I was left with ‘Murder‘ and ‘Kris‘. Neither made that much sense and so I went with the former and this yielded results, half the door opened (although the text doesn’t say which half) and I was presented with another box and table, only this one contained the real Kris knife!

Wondering exactly how I’d got the password wrong I went back up into the mansion proper and ended up in the reception area, a quick scout around revealed a hidden compartment in the reception desk which contained a small box. Inside was a Golden Key! Ah-ha! Back in part one I discovered the door for this key, I jumped through the nearby mirror which portaled me back to that room and I used the golden key… inside this dusty room I found a set of Iron keys marked with a number 22. All falling into place now as I knew that these keys belonged to a door in the kitchen section I was stuck in earlier.

And what’s next to a kitchen? A dining room.

A sparkling chandelier and red wallpapered walls met me; my body was ready. I rang the butlers bell.

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Franklins the butler came in and I sent him to fetch the Master, the pair returned shortly after, the Master furious that he was being bothered at this time of night. I chose this time to reveal my dastardly plan to end the evil in the house and had to chose who to attack first. If WoW has taught me anything, it’s that I should handle the adds first, so I went for Franklins the butler first. He ran from me like a coward, but I chased him down and attacked, but as my first blow landed, he began screaming. And he didn’t stop. It wasn’t the cry of  man in pain, but something quite different… Steam hissed from the floor around Franklins and his form began to change, the evil in the house was making itself fully apparent now as apparently, the butler did it. He had shown his true form, a Hell Demon.

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As he completed his transformation I had to add three Fear points. By now I’d acquired enough Fear points to kill me twice over, so again, screw that mechanic. Hell Demons are quite tough it seems, 14/12 are fairly formidable stats, but the Kris knife boosted my Skill by 6 for this fight meaning that for me, this was actually quite an easy fight. Much like all the other fights in this book actually. As the demon thrashed in his death throws, a chandelier was knocked from the ceiling and the room was ablaze in no time. The Earl had leaped to the body of the hell demon and was clutching it, he began sobbing at the loss of his precious demon… his… lover? We will never know, I ran from the house and watched it burn.

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A fitting end to a house of hell.

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