By Stephen Hand
Things start with me moping around my home town getting bored until a group of farmers inform me that they are being terrorised by the return of the so called Shadow Warriors. I decide on the spot to help them and prepare myself before leaving town. In the inn, just after I was approached by the farmers, a professional gambler enters and challenges me to a game of dice. 50/50 chance of winning so I gamble a small amount of gold. If I roll a 4-6 then I win. Strangely after I roll a 6, the dice jumps back to a 1. I accuse him of cheating (obviously) and luckily someone in the audience also sees what happened. The man is forced to give me my money back, plus 6 more gold and I take his loaded dice for good measure! I decide to waste no more time and look for some supplies.
First I head for the Western side of town and pick up a Chameleon Cloak, some Fire Crackers and a bargain Mirror. On my way to the Eastern side of town I am intercepted by some guards as I apparently have a warrant for my arrest out on me. I decide to let the guards arrest me. In the cells I manage to trick the guard into letting me out and I make good my escape. I need to leave town quickly and head for the East Gate. I jump onto a rubbish cart, which seems to be a good move as the guards are waiting for me at the gate. Thankfully as I am covered in rubbish, they don’t see me and I am able to get out of town.
On my way out of town, I sadly bump into the Shadow Warriors themselves. They hack down the farmers and knock me to the ground. I decide my best chance is to play dead. Luckily I am able not to react when they get down and stab me on the floor. They ride off to the south. Getting up, I shortly come to a junction and decide to head East to look for a hermit who might have some information to help me with the Shadow Warriors. On the way I see a Wizard’s well and decide to drink from it. As I attempt to do this, a Highwayman tried to hold me up. He is not pleased with the amount of gold I offer him so I slay him. Afterwards I drink from the well and gain a few stamina points. I then head off to find the hermit.
When I get to the Hermit’s place he offers me a meal and tells me a bit of back story about the Shadow Warriors. At this point there is a knocking on the door from someone claiming to be the Hermit’s dead son. I manage to restrain the hermit and stop him opening the door. I think this probably saves his life and in return he tells me that if I kill a Shadow Warrior I need to rip its mask off to stop it coming back from the dead. I feel this is very important information… I leave the next morning and head South.
As I am heading South, the ground starts moving and opens up into a huge mouth. I don’t hang around and head for a copse of trees. The copse isn’t all that safe, though, as it contains a tree monster type thing. It puts up a good fight but I kill it and carry on South. I am coming towards a town called Hustings but before I get there I talk to some sort of face in the grass… I decide to help him and he tells me to say a secret word if I feel that I have helped Hustings. With this in mind I head towards the town. Before I get there, though, I see some scarecrow type men emerging from the fields. They have pumpkin heads and are depicted on the front cover of the book. I put on my chameleon cloak and sneak past but the one near the road that has spotted me.
I head towards a suspicious looking tower near the town and am promptly ambushed by a number of Haggworts who take me up to witch who is their leader. I decide to decline her dubious offer of food and instead ask her to prove she has the power over the Haggwort by setting them free. Amazingly she agrees and she is promptly pushed into the fire. I take the iron band she was using to control them and remember the word that Jack in the Green told me to say. I get transported to the Cauldren Ring and get given the Spear of Doom, which is a damn useful bit of kit!
I travel south towards Cumbleside but before I get there I see another tower. I decide to investigate this too. I ring the bell and am greeted by a young woman who invites me in and offers me some food. There is something I don’t like about her so I leave it alone. I talk to her and it seems she has been experimenting and has created a creature out of bits of other people. Nice. She is now after my brain so I have to kill her monster before the whole place goes up in flames. I grab a lantern before I escape.
I decide to head back to the junction and go towards Shattuck. After a while I am caught up in an Orc hunting party. Just at this point, however, I spot a cave and decide to hide out in that. The cave contains an Ogre, but it is probably preferable to a whole troop of Orcs so I kill it and remain in the cave. I light my lantern and head on into the cave – it goes back a long way and seems to be a viable way South. After some time I encounter a rather nasty looking chap called, errr, Smegg. I don’t like the cut of his jib so decide not to let him help me onwards. When I refuse his help, he stabs me in the back and I am forced to kill him. Probably a good thing I didn’t trust my life to him then! I step over his body and enter a nightmarish maze which doesn’t seem to make sense.
I stumble around the maze for ages before being put to sleep by the true gate keeper! Ah well…