It probably goes without saying that as I begin Part 3, despite the Snow Witch killed and my treasure awaiting, the adventure wasn’t yet over. Hacking away at the frozen wall encasing an ornate trunk of jewels and gold the first piece I freed was a golden idol, which on my touch grew and became a life-size version of itself, a Sentinel intent on preventing me from getting to the rest of the treasure.
Yet another reasonably tough battle he was too at 9/9, but I was soon sifting through the chest which I eventually hauled out from within the ice. Within I found 600gp and for every 50gp I took along with me, I would have to abandon an item. Unsure how much the gold would be of use to me I chose to take 100 and deposited my trusty warhammer and…. something else I forget as I’ve lost my notes, but I’m sure it was something of no use anyway. Before I could attempt to decide my next move, the sound of running footsteps preceded the entrance into the chamber of a dwarf and an elf, these ex-slaves apparently delighted that I’d killed the Snow Witch. They told me that I’d have no chance of getting out the way I got in as the Snow Witch’s followers were waiting for me and showed off their inside knowledge by leaving the cavern through a door hidden by illusion, much like the entrance to the caves found by the trapper in Part One. A narrow, torch-lit passage forced us to walk single-file until we hit a T-junction at which we took a right turn.
My companions revealed their names, the Elf was Redswift and the Dwarf, Stubb. Redswift was from the Moonstone Hills and Stubb from Stonebridge, near a certain forest. We planned to get the hell out of here and head to Stonebridge, but before we could move onto discussing what we’d be having for dinner a 20m stretch of footprints were seen out in front of us. Two sets ran in parallel, one white, one black. I decided to try and walk down the corridor without treading on either set. While I tip-toed through, Stubb thought it would be a good idea to let out a bloody big sneeze, rolling a 5 on a D6 meant that I was able to avoid stumbling and continued along the path without further incident. Sparkling in the dim light was a small circular metal disc, don’t know what it’s for, but it has to be for something, so I took it along with me.
Turning a corner revealed an iron casket in the left wall of the tunnel with a large brass handle in the shape of a serpent, of course we had to open it, so drawing lots it was decided that Redswift would be the one to do the honours. Good job too as his elven senses alerted him to a a hidden trap which he was able to disengage before any harm came to us. Inside the casket was a pair of grey elven boots. Redswift was very excited by this and said that they would render their wearers footsteps inaudible to those around him. Now as he pulled them out and is actually an elf, it seemed to me like he should get them, but again we drew lots and who came up trumps? Me! Some nice new boots, an additional point of Luck and a couple of jealous companions were now mine.
Turning another corner and a brief piece of combat with a Cave-man followed. I could see a theme forming too as from his remains I pulled a star-shaped metal disc to go with the circular one I found earlier… Redswift and Stubb had gone ahead and as I followed, the only way forward was through a large wooden door. On the other side, I was greeted by a fairly awful sight.
Whether you call it a Mind-flayer or a Lovecraftian nightmare, this was the Fighting Fantasy version of a tentacled thing that messes with your mind and the Brain Slayer before me was using its hypnotic powers on my comrades. Unfortunately, as I didn’t have an Amulet of Courage, I was next up and one of its tentacles wrapped around my head I lost not only my consciousness, but 2 Skill and 6 Stamina! It seemed the worst was over though as I came to on the floor alongside Redswift and Stubb, they too arose shortly after and said they had been drawn into the cavern, powerless to resist. The Brain Slayer appeared to have buggered off though, all that remained in the room were two recesses in the walls, one containing a red pot, one a grey pot. Inside the the red pot was a square metal disc – do I have them all yet Mr. Livingstone? Inside the grey was a scroll, sealed with wax. On breaking the seal and unrolling it, the words on the scroll began to fade, but a quickly passed Skill test meant I was able to quickly read the words ‘Gul Sang Abi Daar’, which was apparently a spell to protect against an attack from an Air Elemental. But you probably knew that, I know I did.
I led on, Redwift and Stubb following through the corridor until we met another doorway, this one with a dagger stuck into it. Realising it’s probably just another trap and what the hell am I gonna need a dagger for anyway, I left it there. On the other side was a good spot for a break so I shared out some of my provisions (3 rations!) and half an hour later, we walked further down to a T-junction at which I took a left. A dead-end was what greeted me, but there was a shield hanging on the wall which i decided to nab. The inevitable consequence was a whirlwind flying down the corridor towards me, a good job that I had my trusty anti-air elemental spell to hand and so I was able to avoid the attack and obtain a brand new shield to restore one of my lost Skill points.
Soon enough, our path was blocked by another door, and on that door was a piece of parchment with a message written in a language I could not understand. I asked Redswift if he could translate it and the horrified look on his face as he read it suggested that he could, he tore it into tiny pieces and refused to tell me what it had said. Moving on through the door, yet another narrow tunnel greeted us, this one slowly widening into an area of stalactites and dripping water. I used my shield to stay dry and threw it back to the others so they could do the same, lord knows what the consequences here would have been without it!
Eventually, the tunnel opened out into a large chamber which contained the scene presented upon the books cover. A large glass globe sat on an icy plinth, in which the Snow Witch’s face appeared, an orc entering the room at the same time. The image of her face spoke, gleefully telling me that we had only killed her body and that her spirit lives on, and to prove her power, she choked the orc to death, Vadar-style. Before she could turn her attention fully to me, I pulled out my trusty sling-shot and fired off an iron ball which cracked the globe, sending out a flash of white energy which luckily missed me and slammed into the wall behind me. Still she sat there though, preparing her next move. She now moved her strangle-hold to Redswift and Stubb, but quickly let go and only then did I appreciate what her next move was as it shuffled into the room.
It was indeed zombie replicas of my travelling partners. As soon as I defeated them the next challenge was presented, a game of ‘discs’. Yep, this is where those little metal discs I’d been finding around the place came into play. I had managed to find all three and they were to be used in what was basically rock-paper-scissors, but with shaped pieces of metal. Square beats circle, circle beats star and star beats square. I chose square… she chose circle! She shrieked as she realised what had happened and her image in the globe was replaced by white smoke. As is the case when any big bad-guy dies, her demise seemed to trigger the destruction of her lair as the place started shaking, rumbling and cracking up. A large piece of ice smacked me on the head, costing 4 Stamina, but the three of us managed to escape before we were trapped. We set out for Stonebridge as agreed.
Two days of walking later, we came to the River Kok and paid 10gp for a boat-man to take us across. Shortly after beginning the journey across the Pagan Plain to Stonebridge we could see dust rising on the horizon, Redswift dropped his head to the ground and listened, reasoning that the source of the dust was centaurs. Looking to avoid conflict, we hid in the scrub and managed to avoid their patrol.
Further across the plain, a figure came towards us, an old man who offered us information at the price of 2gp. Being flush, I indulged him. He told us that the nearby watering hole was poisoned and that a group of trolls have been gathering to the Northern side of Stonebridge. This one seemingly doesn’t end does it?
The next random thing to try and kill me came from the skies, a fluttering of feathers and claws that belonged to a very powerful Bird-man! Oddly almost as powerful as the dragon from earlier, with stats of 12/8, he died, but after the conflict I was practically dead. Things not looking good.
Seeing the watering-hole mentioned by the old man, I passed it by despite my crippling thirst, costing 1 Stamina point. The dead, face-down ogre in the water suggested this was a fair trade-off. Now only a day from Stonebridge, we continued and Stubb made a terrible discovery as we came across the body of a dead dwarf. A dwarf he identified as Morri the ironsmith from Stonebridge, we had a drink of his water for 1 Stamina, buried him and made for Stonebridge at double-speed to warn the town.
Despite the new-found urgency, we took the time for a thankfully uneventful overnight camp and set off again in the morning. As we reached the outskirts of Stonebridge we could see wisps of smoke rising from the settlement, but also a party of six hill trolls overlooking the area. Taking two each, we slayed the would-be invaders, Stubbs leaving us little choice to though as he went charging in before us, like a certain Mr. Jenkins.
On entering the town, Stubbs took us to speak to his friend, Bigleg. The people were terrified that they were being laid siege to by the trolls, but it also transpires that as we discovered in Forest of Doom, an eagle had taken King Gillibran’s famous warhammer and dropped it somewhere over Darkwood Forest. Stubb stated his desire to find it, Redswift and I decided it would be best to get the hell out of Dodge and so set off for the Moonstone Hills.
One we were clear of Stonebridge and the trolls, Redswift sat me down. He told me to think back and remember the parchment that he didn’t want to speak of back in the Snow Witch’s caverns. It was a Death Spell and having read it, both him and me were doomed. Our only chance was to find a healer that lived in the hills. The text asked me if I had drunk a health potion that belonged to a Dark Elf. As you know, I had not, and so the inevitable came about, the spells grip began to tighten and we both slowly began to lose consciousness. The Snow Witch had her posthumous revenge on us.
At this point, I was willing to concede defeat, my adventure was over.