By Luke Sharp
In this book I play a young soldier who finds himself volunteering for something unknown. At first I think I have volunteered for extra cooking duties or something but as that probably would not make a very exciting Fighting Fantasy book I soon find out it is something entirely different. The town is under siege by Ostragoth the Grim because there was a meeting of influential wizards whom he wanted out of the way in order to conquer the land. For some reason they think that sending a young, inexperienced recruit who doesn’t know what he is doing to reignite the dragon fires is the best solution to this problem. Not only that, but I have been fitted with a device that will kill me if all of the Citadel walls are breached. Nice.
I am then shoved down a tunnel under the Citadel and told to get on with it. My first choice is whether to take a tunnel off to the right. I decide to do so and something bites me before I have another choice to make – the left tunnel this time. This tunnel becomes sandy and I am attacked by some tentacles before I find a gem stone (a star crystal) I pick it up and then dig through a mound of sand that is standing between me and fresh air.
As I dig myself out of the sand, I am spotted by some Orcs and decide to blend in by helping them push a catapult out of the sand. The leader then instructs me to head for a tower with some others, so I do that. When I get there, someone recognised me so I silence them with a blow to the head. This seems to go down well with the guards and I am ordered to take some prisoners to the island. I take the left boat but it starts sinking. Thankfully I am able to swim to the other boat and make it to the island. Once there we are ordered to stand in two lines. I pick the right line.
As we line up, a dwarf makes a run for it. One of the guards catches him and is about to chop his head off so I feel I have little option but to kill the Goblin Guard. I hide his body and head back to the group. I then spot a Monk who is motioning me to follow him so I see what he wants. He explains to me that I need to be looking for pictures of cubes and make a note of them and also that I should be looking for people of Xen religion, I will need to mention that if I meet any more of the monks. I then hear a commotion and so run off.
I run through some trees and an arrow narrowly misses me before I head for some rocks but am ambushed by a group of Wolves who jump out of the bushes at me. I get bitten but manage to kill them. I then carry on down a path to the West and arrive at a port. I pick the ship Gurgan-Ran and am assigned work in the hold but the ship starts sinking. Luckily I am able to escape and find a drifting bit of wood but need to fend of a deranged sailor before I can float towards a small settlement.
As I start to relax in the settlement I notice that a small girl has dropped a bag of grain so I help her pick it up. Shortly afterwards I see that her teacher is starting to beat her for being late so I get a bit angry, snap his cane and threaten him to stop (which he does). Turns out that the girl is the ward of a monk who sets me a random test that enables me to get 6 black cubes. Before I leave the village I receive 20 gold for helping a man get rid of two Orcs stealing from their stores.
After leaving the village, I travel through a plain before heading towards a smoking building. I take the right path through the marsh and find it is fairly uneventful before I arrive at a Monastery. When I get there I climb up some stairs and check out a room off a landing but I am immediately attacked by Jinxana. She is the toughest fight yet but I manage to dispatch her. On entering the room, I mention the name of the religion I was told earlier and am rewarded with a load of black cubes – hoorah! I decide to head back out of the room and bump into 4 Orcs – ouch. I kill them off and decide instead to leave the Monastery via the trapdoor in the room.
I land on some soft ground just below the Monastery and start heading off North towards the Mountains. Eventually I become very lost and decide to stop off in a pub for some directions. I get some very helpful direction from the local bar keep and set off North again with a bit more purpose. I soon see a horse galloping towards me dragging a dead Orc with it. I decide that it might help me get to my destination a bit quicker and I climb on to it. At that point the reigns trap me to the horse and it gallops off into a waiting group of Mage Warriors and I am powerless to resist them. That seems a bit unfair…
Here is my map: