Emerging from the sewer depths with a quite vile straggle of hag hair, possibly the worst kind of hair to take from a drain, I followed Stable Street round a sharp left turn only to find three men with red star tattoos on their foreheads blocking my path and apparently intending to rob me. Chucking a throwing knife at them I spectacularly missed and had to engage all three in battle, but at around 7/5 each, they fell easily, but only giving up a prize of 1gp. Oh well, I’ll be on my way then.
Walking through a section of street made of terraced houses, one stood out, being white in colour and having a large serpent carved into the door. Clearly nothing bad could be inside, so I opened up the door and had a look. Through silk curtains I heard a woman ask who it was, to which I replied I was delivering flowers from Lord Azzur. The woman then revealed herself to be a strange serpent/woman combo, like a horrible mermaid gone wrong, a snakes head on a womans body, but she seemed quite interested in the flowers Lord Azzur had sent her. Of course, this is where my ruse was ended as I didn’t have any flowers to give. So, she had to die. I left her abode 12gp richer for my troubles.
A little further up Stable Street, I came across the titular stable in question and went over to have a peep inside to find a large, grubby, bear-chested blacksmith beating a piece of metal. For 20gp he agreed to make me a fine chainmail suit, being rather flush at the moment, I took him up on his offer and earned myself 2 Skill points! Or I would have if I weren’t already at my initial Skill value of 11… Waste of money! Walking along the street I was rapidly approached by a desperate looking man, disheveled and in chains, he begged me to cut him loose, saying he had been imprisoned for not paying Lord Azzurs taxes as he was robbed, but had just escaped! I tried to release his chains, but couldn’t break them with my sword and before I knew it, we were surrounded by guards. I took pity on the guy and despite their warnings that he was a murderer I bribed them with my unopened Stamina potion, but they would only agree to let me go. Sucks to be you, chained-guy!
‘Public Gardens: Entry Fee 1gp’ read a nearby sign… now gardens sometimes have flowers in them… ‘perhaps this might be where I can find the lotus I need’, thought I. So I stumped up my 1gp and got all botanical. Surrounded by animal topiary in the center of the garden was a large stone plinth which had a stone bowl full of lotus flowers on top! I’m a genius. Despite the ‘Do Not Pick the Flowers’ sign, I snatched one up, which of course caused the animal topiary to come to life and attack me as a giant bunch of leaves. As difficult an opponent as that sounds, at 6/6, I killed those… leaves… without much difficulty and went on my merry way with a lovely lotus flower.
At this point, I was on the look out for one last piece of my Zanbar Bone killing kit, the tattoo. And so, on leaving Stable Street and walking onto Mill Street, I happened upon an side alley. Being a man with a few tattoos, this sounded like a good place for a tattoo parlour to be found, and my god, you know I was right? ‘Jimmy Quicktint: The best tattooist in town’ stated the sign hanging outside the shop, a fat, tattooed man answered the door and for a bargain 10gp, gave me my glorious forehead tattoo. This had better be worth it.
Not quite believing it, I had managed to accumulate all the items I needed to kill Zanbar Bone! Quite genuinely excited that I might be onto a good ending here, I headed back down Mill Street only to be accosted again about a bloody merchant pass by two of Lord Azzurs guards. Still not having obtained one, I drew my sword and fought them one by one. Sourbelly and Fatnose were their names and bloody tough they were too, being 10/11 and 9/10 respectfully, and they managed to get me down to 7 Stamina before they fell.
By now, I’d managed to gain quite a crowd of on-lookers and having just killed what were apparently two well-known guards, I got the hell out of there before more could show up. Despite this, the sound of shouting and footsteps came from behind me as town guards gave chase. To my aid came a young boy who told me to follow him, we ran towards a man on a horse and cart. ‘Uncle! This brave person killed Sourbelly!’ the boy shouted, his uncle urged me to hide under the hay in the cart. Giving it a bit of Ezio, I dived into the hay and stayed there until the guards were long gone. In fact, by the time I left the cart, so was Port Blacksand as I emerged from the hay to find we’d left town and were on the edge of a nearby wood.
Following Nicodemus’s map, I made my way into the woods toward the guarded tower of Zanbar Bone. As light faded, I spent the night under an elm tree, my belly full of stewed rabbit and mushrooms, equating to 2 Stamina restored. When morning came, a nearby yew tree provided the wood I needed to make a bow for my silver arrow, but my practice with the bow was interrupted by a dove carrying a note from Nicodemus.
Oh, you tit.
I had to make my decision here and now while I was undisturbed, so my basic logic was that black pearls are black and the night is also black and so the NIGHT Prince might be ok with having them rubbed into his eyes? So, lotus flower and hags hair it was. Suddenly, a random encounter appeared and a D6 roll dictated that I must kill a Giant Snake.
Marching north towards the tower, night began to fall and before I could open the doors to Zanbar Bones lair, I was set upon by two of his fabled Moon Dogs, which were damn hard at 9/10 and 11/9, but my immense Skill of 11 saw me through. Oddly, no illustration of these beasts was in the book given that they’re pretty central to the plot and just about everything else has an illustration! Predictably though, the front door to the tower was locked, but those with a keen memory will remember my astute purchase of a Skeleton key back at the very start of my adventure and that bad-boy let me right in, no fuss. The first thing I found in the entrance way were two shields, one featuring a unicorn crest, one with a tower crest. Given my unicorn tattoo, I figured that would be a good choice and so it was too, a shield once owned by ‘goodly knight’ was now mine and earned me +1 Skill, or it would if I wasn’t already at my Skill cap!
Ascending a staircase I found a pleasant looking bedroom and was given the option to have a rest. Sounding like an absurdly bad idea, I declined the option and plowed on up to the second floor. Another door presented itself and behind it was what was clearly a vampire chick, an inevitable eventuality given that I picked up a clove of garlic in part two of this read-through! Recoiling in horror at the tasty ingredient to any meal, the vampire chick lost her chance and I snatched the key and locked the door from the outside.
Up to the next floor and another door led me to a pitch black room… unable to light it, I knew better than to try and explore it and again climbed the stairs to the next floor. Here things got interesting, ‘Oh foolish adventurer!’ cried a hidden Zanbar Bone, ‘I am following your every move, but you do not know where I am!’. Indeed I didn’t, Zanbar, but I had three options, a black door, a white door and yet more stairs. I took to the idea of the white door and inside found a very cold room containing a sarcophagus. Zanbar Bone seemingly trying to collect all the big movie monsters under one roof, a mummy came wandering out once I opened the sarcophagus and it was soon staggering around in flames as I had a lantern in my pack I could throw at the creature. Inside the sarcophagus lay the Ring of the Golden Eye, which supposedly allows its wearer to see through illusions and have excellent four-player death matches on Temple with grenade-launchers.
Behind the black door lay a black room, full of macabre objects and paintings, a black cat, a black cloth, black candles, it was all really black is what I’m saying. On a table sat a chest, but as I approached it, my brand new Ring of the Golden Eye kicked in and told me it was all an illusion! In-fact, the black cat I walked past was in-fact Zanbar Bone! Before I could notch my bow, he pulled three of his teeth and cast them to the floor, creating three skeletons for me to do battle with and of course, utterly destroy.
Zanbar Bone walked towards me, reaching out in an attempt to touch me and kill me with his outstretched hand, I rolled a Luck test and let fly my silver arrow!
Boom! A successful hit to the chest paralysed Mr. Bone and so came my chance to rub my hag hair and lotus flower concoction into his eyes… ‘Congratulations – you have killed Zanbar Bone’, read the text and I was instructed to Turn to 400! Oh yes, I’m brilliant at Fighting Fantasy.
A hero’s welcome was awaiting me back in Silverton; battle weary and hungry, a feast was arranged with music and drinking in the streets. Owen Carralif made a speech, which I assume was about me and how I’m great, and then gave me a gold orb worth hundreds of gold pieces. The people of Silverton are joyous once again. Now, how do I get this bloody stupid tattoo off my forehead?
My adventure was over.