Last time we met up, I was dead, killed by some flowers. But we won’t be letting that get in our way across the hills, oh no. The crown of kings must be rescued and the next step to achieving that is to go back to page 67 just outside of Birritanti and head west instead of east. Travelling up and down a valley, the path took me and my little companion Jann through until noon, I was given the chance to eat some provisions but they had of course all been eaten by a squirrel earlier in my adventure. But then, it became apparent that we were being watched. Progressing slowly through a wooded area, a black figure stepped out from behind a tree.
So far I’ve managed to avoid combat for the most part, a good job too as the reader may remember that as well as losing all my food, I also lost my sword and am reduced to a Skill of 6. A quick look at Out of the Pit tells me that this means I have a combat ability marginally superior to that of a Pixie. I tried to open a dialogue with the man, but he simply drew his scimitar and the fight began. Thankfully, at 8/6, he wasn’t as tough as he looked. There were options to use a spell, but there was also the intriguing option of sparing his life if I could reduce his Stamina to 3. With my high Luck, all I needed was one hit and I’d be there so I took that chance. About 5 rounds of combat passed before I landed a lucky unarmed blow and forced him to submit, I’m gonna guess I got in a ball shot. It appears I’d made a very astute choice as the man begged for mercy and told me he was a thief picking on wanderers for combat practice whilst he travelled to Khare. He didn’t think I’d put up such a fight… an unarmed man accompanied by a Minimite… you can see his point. Flanker was his name and he promised to remain my friend and would assist me once I reached Khare myself. The text told me to turn to page 79 when I read the next book to see how he would assist. Maybe he’ll buy me a sword?
Moving on, it seemed that my Minimite friend Jann was becoming something of an annoyance, his constant chattering becoming completely annoying to the hero of this adventure. Possibly though, help was at hand as at the side of the path was an old woman sitting outside a hut who called me over to her. Going into her hut left Jann slightly suspicious, but he is about 3 inches tall so he had no option.
Our host offered us tea and glared with obvious disgust aimed at Jann, but did still give him a tiny cup of tea. I opted not to try and switch the tea she gave me with her own. My beverage was tasty and refreshing, restoring a point of Stamina and also a point of Luck as apparently the woman had assumed I would try and switch the mugs and had ended up poisoning herself. She covered this up as best she could though and snuck off to presumably take an antidote. Conversation continued and my travels were a point of interest to her, especially when she asked if I had met an old man on my way… the man in the tree sprang to mind. She asked if I took a page of a spell book from him, on showing her the page she snatched it from me with an expression of glee. She explained that the old man was the victim of an aging spell she had cast upon what was actually a young rogue who had attempted to steal her spell book. For the page, she promised to rid me of Jann, who unbeknownst to me was actually blocking my use of magic! I hadn’t cast any since he joined me, so I hadn’t realised, but this couldn’t continue and so I agreed. With a squeal, Jann vanished and I bid the lady farewell.
Now late afternoon, I passed over the brow of a hill to discover the village of Torrepani. Earlier I had been warned that the aggressive half-orc race that inhabited this place, the Svinns, had been suffering some problems of late and so I assumed this was about to make life difficult for me too. An air of depression hung over the village and so I approached a group to see if I could find out just exactly what was going on here. Listening in on their conversation, it was revealled that the village chiefs daughter had been kidnapped and was to be sacrificed to a powerful cave demon, she was the chiefs only offspring and if his family lined ends, prophecy states that the village will fall. On informing them of my adventures so far, they jumped me and marched me off to a nearby hut. The swines then locked me in and left me there overnight, I took the opportunity to get some sleep, but was again unable to eat thanks to that damn squirrel.
When morning broke I was visited by Proseus, the village chief himself, he made a small offering of some bread and milk and asked me if I would go rescue his daughter. These people need to work on their social skills. It seemed I had little choice though and so before I knew it I was in a basket being lowered into a pit like so much lotion. Submerged into pitch black surroundings at the bottom of the cave the Svinns decided to help me and threw down some flint and tinder so I could light my way. They could have thrown me a bloody sword.
Off we go then into the black and I took a left at a T-junction which took a downward slope to another T-junction, again I turned left. Unbelievably, what awaited me around this turn was a whimpering Svinn girl! Is this all that stood in the way of the people of Torrepani? Those losers. They could have done this themselves and saved some bread and milk. Still, I comforted the girl and she clinged to me for safety as I guided her back to the basket.
Behind me though, a roaring sound grew and shook the walls of the cave, crashing down rocks and sealing off my escape route. Before I had time to react, the source of the roaring was revealed; a Manticore.
I was offered the option to fight him, but decided some spells would be the better choice. For 2 Stamina points I cast the DOZ spell, which slows an opponents reactions, the creature shaking its head and pauses from swinging its barbed tail at me. Following this up with an attacking spell, I opted for HOT, which for 4 Stamina points launched a fireball at the Manticore, slamming into its side causing the beast to roar out in pain. At this point I was down to only 4 Stamina points. It was as good a time as any to call upon Libra to restore my stats to their initial values! I debated over restoring my Skill score and decided that Libra wasn’t going to be able to deliver a sword to the bottom of a cave and that I should play fair and leave it at 6. Of the remaining spells available to me, the only one I recognised was WAL, an invisible shield, so I cast that one. My luck was in as the manticore leaped at me just as I conjured up the shield, the awful thing slammed into the invisible wall I had created and I was able to hold it at bay as I made my escape with the Svinn girl.
Job well done, the Svinn were delighted and I was given the freedom of the village whilst I recuperated from my battle with the manticore. I was tended to by the village healing-priest and was told I could restore all my stats to their initial values… can I say this means they gave me a sword? Yes, I think I’m going to say that. The chief gave me 10 gold and a key to Khare as a reward, apparently a traveller had passed through once before and said this key would open the gates and allow entrance without being noticed. As a final bonus, my pleasant encounter with these people was enough to increase my Initial Luck by 1.
The path out of Torrepani led me down the remaining descent of the Shamutanti Hills, across rice fields and towards the walled city of Khare…
My adventure will continue in book two soon!