There were five of us..... all brave adventurers. Well, to be
honest, all but one of us were brave, but more of our cowardly dwarf
The strongest amongst us was a Ranger who went by the name of
Lone. Tall he was, and fast in battle. Our cleric was a fellow called
Clarence, He worshipped the god Illo. Illo is the god of life so we
knew Clarence's ability to return the dead to life (when his god heard
his prayers) would come in handy in our quest. You'd think that
Clarence would be a man of peace because of his god's distaste for
battle but, don't you believe it. I was surprised to see how often he
threw himself into the front ranks of some our biggest battles. What
can I say about the next member of our band? Fidget is a dwarf. He's
quite strong, moderately fast, certainly not stupid - and the biggest
coward in Ymros. But his skill at disarming traps would be useful so
we put up with his whingeing. Apart from anything else, he made a good
Our wizard was a canny fellow called Izzy. Izzy is a dark elf,
skilled in item lore and learned in fire runes. And me? I'm Zeke, the
leader. I may not be the fastest or strongest but I'm the smartest and
when you're hunting big game, brains can be very useful.
We met up by the ruined village of Ildryn. Clarence bowed his
head at the sight of the ruins but the rest of us (except Fidget) were
itching to get our hands on some weapons and bash some heads! So our
first stop was the nearby town of Seaside. I bought myself a short
sword and Lone grabbed a mace while the other three settled for
knives. A quick stop in camp outside town and we were equipped and
ready for a scrap.
While we were in Seaside, we heard a useful rumour in the tavern.
Evidently, an evil priest, name of Jesric, had gone off on a quest for
a powerful crystal. He was working for someone called Eregore.
Clarence said we should remember those names in case we met up with
them in the future.
Our next stop was the College of Hunting where Lone learnt to
hunt. We knew it would save a lot of gold if he could supply our
provisions rather than us stocking up at the tavern and paying their
exorbitant prices. For the same reason, we agreed to camp out whenever
possible rather than staying in inns. The sooner we got a decent
amount of gold behind us, the sooner we could hire a ship and set sail
for more adventures. Even Izzy seemed quite excited at the prospect of
a bit of sea-travel.
The town of Elborat was our next stopping place. And there,
things started to get interesting. In the tavern, an old woman told us
how her house had been burnt to the ground by kobolds. Their camp was
to the south and their leader was a brute called Uffspgot. I saw a
gleam in Lone's eye and we grinned at each other. "Come on", I said,
and, as one, we turned and left Elborat, heading south.
The kobold camp wasn't far and inside were several camp fires and
tents. We prowled round cautiously. Several tents were empty but
others contained living quarters for the kobolds. In another, a woman
was being harassed by some of the foul creatures. None of the groups
of kobolds lasted long! The woman thanked us and rushed out of the
tent - who could blame her?!
One tent contained maps which showed that towns other than Ildryn
had been attacked. In another, Clarence spotted something; a scroll
half-burnt in a fire. He read it out to us. "It's hard to make out the
words" he said "It's very badly charred. Ah, hang on, .... cult
worships Xeres .... catacombs under the Temple of Gamur" he looked
questioningly at us, but none of us had heard of it either. "Here's
another useful bit" he added, "ermm .... codeword -x-". Izzy gave one
of his rare smiles and said "better look for this temple then".
Continuing round the camp, we finally found Uffspgot's tent. He had 2
kobolds and 2 orcs with him - no problem. Before we attacked, we heard
him say to one of the kobolds, "we do not attack again till my master
Xeres commands it". By the time we had finished with him, his master
would have to shout very, very loud for Uffspgot to hear him. By now,
we were feeling pretty good. I celebrated by learning the mace at the
College in Akistu. Izzy suggested we head for the Guild in New Gleon
to see if we were ready for advancement. We were! On our way back
across the island, we stopped at the College of Potion Lore for Izzy
to do some studying. I won't bore you with our minor battles, though
some were quite spectacular - and lucrative. Just let me say that we
found plenty to occupy our sword-arms and we NEVER ran away, not even
Fidget, though he tried to keep out of the action as much as he could.
Travelling north again, we found a tunnel leading under the sea
to an island. We walked warily through it. In one side room full of
mist, an old man met us. He warned that the one we were seeking was
just a puppet. He added that the puppeteer was eternal and his talons
far-reaching. Leaving him, we continued onwards. At the end of the
tunnel, we saw a message painted in blood. Fidget read it out and
blanched. "Beyond this point lies the temple of the Death Lord, not a
place for those who cherish their lives". Lone just managed to grab
the back of Fidget's trousers before the cowardly dwarf headed back
for the mainland!
Inside the temple, we gave the codeword and were shown to a
stairway at the back. Lone pushed Fidget to the front to check for
traps. I must admit that considering how much his hands were shaking,
he didn't miss one.
Down the south corridor, we found the words "gloriosus victime"
carved on a wall. In a room further down, Izzy found a scroll and we
moved a bookcase to find another exit. Through this doorway was a
morgue of sorts. A man lay in a glass case in suspended animation.
"Leave him till later" suggested Izzy so we went back to the corridor
and turned left. In a laboratory, a cage of rats caught Fidget's eye
(he must have been hungry) but Clarence picked up two vials of serum,
one red and one blue which he handed to Izzy.
Back to the stairway and north. Past another trap and into a
guardroom. A quick scrap, then on to the next fight with a group of
Xeres' followers in another room. Then we retraced our steps to the
other branch of this northern corridor. In one room, I noticed a trail
of footprints leading to a wall and stopping dead. Closer
investigation showed us a secret tunnel.
It was hard to map and several times we got lost. But eventually
we came to the end of the tunnel and a Skull Room. Three passages led
off. Two of them split, each leading to an armoury. In each one, a
piece of weaponry or armour lay begging to be taken. But hovering
round them in each case were some glowing spheres. Should we try to
take them? While we hesitated in the first room which contained a
special mace, Izzy solved the problem and grabbed the mace. At once,
he was surrounded by will 'o wisps. But they were easy to defeat and
soon all four items were ours.
In another room, we found the words "forward 3 and right 1 will
get you out of a crush" carved into the floor. We had no idea what it
referred to but I felt we'd missed something so we returned to the
main passages. Back in the lab, Clarence (bless his bald pate) found a
secret passage. We found a food storage area and a workshop with,
among other things, a mallet. At the end of the corridor was a temple.
Moving the altar, we discovered yet another secret passage and
cautiously proceeded down it.
Part way along, I heard the whirring of massive machinery. "This
is it, guys", I said, "remember the carving .... forward 3 and right
1" and dashed forward following this pattern, the others hard on my
heels. A bit further and we came upon a black doorway carved with gold
runes. Listening, we could hear chanting coming from behind it. A
hobgoblin stood between us and the door, but not for long, and with
him dead on the ground, we hurtled through the doorway, past the body
of the dead hobgoblin, and found ourselves in a black room. In front
of us was a ghostly, white figure, Remondadin. Lone led the attack,
and the five of us, working together as never before, finally defeated
him. With Remondadin dead, the black room was strangely silent.
On our explorations under the Temple of Gamur, we had already
noticed a group of wizards praying in the underground temple, but not
to Gamur - they were praying to the evil Xeres. Clearly, these
catacombs were only part of a small cult that worshipped Xeres, the
demon who had destroyed Ildryn. It was also clear to us that we must
find Xeres himself before he found us.
We left the black room through a doorway to the south and found
ourselves back in the main Temple. However, Clarence reminded us about
the man in the glass case and pointed at the mallet that Fidget was
carrying. So we returned to the morgue.
With one swing of the mallet, the case was shattered and we could
see the man more clearly but he still didn't respond. Izzy looked
closer. "He's in a deep trance ...... I wonder ...." and reaching into
his pocket he pulled out the two vials of serum that Clarence had
found in the laboratory and given to him. He examined the man, who
stared vacantly into space. "I'll have to risk it" he said, and gave
him a mouthful of the blue serum.
Suddenly, the man sat up., a wild expression on his face.
"Qoorik!, I've seen it!" he cried and grabbed at Izzy's shoulders in a
frenzy. "They tried to shut me up, but I've seen it! Its entrance is
hidden in the forest to the north-west of Idlewood." As if his body
had given up the last of its strength, he slumped back onto the slab.
Izzy shook his head and sighed. "He is still alive but only barely; we
will get no more help from him. Leave him in peace" and, with sadness,
we left the room, vowing to avenge the poor wretch who lay within,
bereft of his senses.
No-one tried to stop us as we left the Temple. We headed towards
the south-east of the island where, on our previous explorations, we
had noticed another tunnel heading out under the southern sea.
Not far inside, we found ourselves in a large cavern, filled with
the sound of rushing water. A message carved in the floor read
'Pirates' Cove - enter at your own risk'. "Them's fighting words" said
Lone and Fidget went a sickly shade of green.
Passages led off north, south and west. Along both north and
south passages, Fidget found and disarmed traps and soon after, in
each case, we were attacked by thieves who we quickly slew. A College
was at the end of each tunnel, Disarm Traps in one and Detect Traps in
the other. Having no need for either, as long as young Fidget was with
us, we retraced our steps to the main cavern.
At the end of the western tunnel, over a stretch of water, we
found the town of Pirates' Cove. Surprisingly, despite the warning at
the entrance and our rough reception in the other tunnels, we were
completely ignored. But, in the pub, an old man was telling the tale
of Malifon, so we paused a moment to listen, though we had heard the
tale before, many times. "....and Malifon made the Earth his home",
said the old man, "but soon the Ancients became angry at him and, in a
great battle, banished him inside a volcano to live till the end of
time". He finished his tale and picked up his tankard to take a
draught. Lone tapped my arm. "Sometimes, my friend, with all the
things we see and hear, I get the feeling the end of time isn't too
far away". Somehow, I had to agree with him. Malifon's volcano might
be the last thing any of us saw.
We left the Cove and tried to decide where to go next. While we
were deciding, we visited two of the Colleges. Fidget had died and
been resurrected twice during recent battles, so the small man decided
to improve his skills and took a course in fighting with the mace.
Lone learnt beserking, which he felt might give him the edge in a
tight scrap. At a nearby town, Fidget purchased a morningstar then we
took another trip to the Guild at New Gleon and found we had advanced
enough to gain another few levels. Hereafter, we visited Guilds
whenever we came across them, to check on our progress.
We bought a ship in the docks and set out to sea. I had also
learnt hunting skills, so between us, Lone and I kept the five of us
well supplied with fish on our long sea voyage. We travelled to
various islands along the coast, but never straying too far from the
main island where we had started our travels. We also investigated the
small islands in the inlets along the coast.
Lone enrolled at the College of Armoured Skin which Fidget said
sounded disgusting. However, this skill gave him even more protection
in battle. At Dragontooth, we heard a rumour in the pub that someone
had found the Shard of Spring a few months back. The Shard had
disappeared 200 years ago and no-one had seen it since. It is said
that if anything happens to it, we will all be destroyed by the winter
that will follow. While we were in Dragontooth, Clarence enrolled at
the College of Mace and later at the College of Persuasiveness at
Chandris. It would help us get a better deal when we purchased new
equipment. All this time, Izzy had been using a +1 crystal dagger that
we had collected earlier. Our other fights had gained us some more
useful equipment and I had a mace, constant speed +2. We also had some
other weapons that we had collected and since our ship now needed
considerable repairs, pirates and sea monsters having taken their
toll, we sold our spare weapons at a local marketplace. We had also
gained two cursed axes which we got rid of as soon as possible!
To the south, we found two islands, and on the furthest south of
these, the town of Idlewood, mentioned by our friend in the glass
case. We bought a lantern in the marketplace and visited the inn where
we learned that deep within the ancient demon city of Qoorik, there is
a place called the Amber Vault where one can seek guidance in the
flaming runes. The dungeon entrance, invisible till one stepped into
it, lay a short distance away.
We descended into the depths, Fidget checking for traps once we
reached the bottom of the staircase. To the west, we found a great,
black archway covered in runes and south of that, more passages and
rooms led off.
In one room to the far east, we entered a room where three slaver
demons attacked us. The fight was long and hard but when it was over,
Fidget spotted something in a far corner. It was a black metal wand.
"I'll take that" said Clarence as he reached past the thief and tucked
the wand into his robes.
We returned to the corridor and travelled south, then west. A
doorway beckoned; Lone moved to the front and shouldered the door
open. It was a blacksmith's shop. Inside, the blacksmith - an old
troll, his face disfigured so that one eye was permanently closed -
gasped as we entered. Then he seemed to compose himself, smiled and
spoke. He said he had been working on a new weapon, designed for the
ones who wish to kill Xeres. Lone stepped forward, thanked the troll
and took it. It was a jewel-encrusted broadsword. However, I cautioned
him not to use it until we had identified it properly. My caution was
well justified; it turned out to be cursed!
Heading back towards the stairs we had entered by, we went
through a doorway and found ourselves in a stately mansion with three
doors leading off the main hall. In a bedroom, which looked as though
it hadn't been used for a long time, Fidget investigated a bed with a
straw mattress and emerged grasping a pair of spectacles. He perched
them on his nose and said "these make me feel smart". Lone laughed.
"They must be magic if they make YOU intelligent" he said. The dwarf
made a face, pulled off the specs and passed them to the wizard, who
patted Fidget's shoulder to try to cheer up the small man.
We also collected a blank piece of papyrus and in a library, we
came across a tome, the only book that was left. Izzy tried to read it
but failed till he wore the spectacles. Then he told us that it was
about some gods called the Ancients who created everything but died
out many eons before man ever walked the Earth.
In the corner of the library was a bookcase. Lone and I moved it
and behind was another room. Black runes were carved on the walls and
at a desk, a skeleton, its skull shattered but its hand still
clutching a quill pen, caught our attention. I saw a piece of paper on
the desk which read - Ymros is mine! - and pointed out to the others
that the arrangement of the runes matched the number of letters on the
paper; five runes, a space, two runes, space, then four more. "I'll
memorize the runes" said Clarence, with a glazed look in his eyes.
Two doorways back on the main floor had so far been barred to us.
One, a tunnel from which the stench of death blew out, turned out to
be, apparently, a dead end. The other, the entrance to a dark temple
of red stone, was also impossible to enter; the sense of evil
permeating from it and an unseen force both combined to push us back.
"There must be another way in" murmured Izzy. "Clarence? Do you think
the wand might help?" The cleric shook his head. "There's nothing here
to operate it on" he said "but perhaps, the arch we saw when we
entered? That was black and covered in runes...."
We retraced our steps to the arch. Clarence took a deep breath (I
think we all did) and used the wand. The next thing, we were
transported to a small room. A door lead south. Quietly, Fidget pushed
it open and we crept through. A corridor on the other side was the
entrance to the Demon's temple. The entrance was not unguarded though
- in front of us stood a level 6 mage, a level 8 fighter and an evil
Manoeuvering into position, we quickly dealt with our assailants
and then investigated the surrounding rooms. In one, a staircase led
downwards so we took it.
At the bottom of the stairs, we entered the third level of the
dungeon. A room to the right contained an empty bag which Clarence
took. A corridor lead north and a small, elegant room to the left
housed a level 14 mage, a priest of Xeres. "A human!" cried Lone "How
can he ally himself with that fiend?" and the lanky ranger raced
forwards, oblivious to the imps who obviously acted as servants to the
priest. A short but vicious fight ended in our victory and a prize - a
skeleton key - which Izzy took.
In another room to the top left, an apprentice's room (the only
inhabitant a level 10 mage who quickly gave up the ghost), Clarence
spied a pile of red dust which he collected in the bag. To the right
was an altar room complete with skulls on the blood-splattered walls
and drawing of demons. "Love the decor" muttered Fidget as he examine
the altar which had demonic references to the demon Xeres. Lone and I
pushed the altar aside to reveal a short passage into another small
Clarence took a pile of small black coins from one corner and
then investigated a censer in the room. Noticing a residue of red
stuff inside it, he quickly poured the red dust into it. A demon
appeared and said "the father of demons sees all. Only those who
possess the Demon Crystal can escape his sight" and then vanished. "I
wonder where that can be?" said Izzy. "Oh well, no doubt we'll find
out - sooner..." "...or later" added Fidget.
As we walked towards the northern doorway from the altar room,
Clarence had a closer look at the coins and passed some across to me.
They were ominous black objects with a picture of a scythe on them.
Through the north door, we found a large area with several rooms
around it. There were some corridors that transported us to other
parts of the dungeon too which made life very confusing. In one room
at the south end, Clarence collected two more items, two phials of
liquid, one a greenish ooze of goblin blood and one a transparent
silver fluid which he told us was unicorn blood. In the same room was
a microscope but we were unable to move it.
At the north of this level, we entered a room with a stairway
guarded by two gargoyles. After we slew the creatures, we stepped
warily downwards into the darkness of the fourth level. This level was
somewhat smaller but interesting to explore. In one room was a magic
circle though it seemed to serve no purpose. Another area was a small
graveyard which had a large tomb with a magical stone door at its west
Walking cautiously south, we came upon a wall of silver bricks.
Izzy pointed into the distance to draw our attention to a fabulous
silver palace visible above it. However, there was no doorway in the
wall. Around the corner at the end of this passage, we surprised two
slavers who were attacking an old man. After we had dispatched his
assailants, the old man thanked us and explained that he was the
groundskeeper of the palace. He went on to tell us that there was a
secret entrance into the palace through the silver wall we had just
passed. As he slowly trudged off down the alley, we retraced our steps
and Fidget walked along the wall, suddenly turning and disappearing
from our sight as he walked straight through it!
We followed the dwarf and found ourselves in a beautiful garden
with trees and grassy walkways. In the centre was a healing pool but
fortunately we were in no need of it - yet! A door led out of the
western end of the garden and we passed through it into a hallway
guarded by a large silver snake. I thought we were in for trouble but
luckily the bigger they are, the harder they fall and with all of us
working together to defeat him, even a huge serpent didn't survive.
Two rooms led off; one was empty, the other provided us with a jade
torch which burnt with a magical blue flame.
I took it and led the others back to the main room where I had
previously noticed a pillar shaped like a serpent with an open mouth
full of oil. Using the torch on the pillar opened a secret passage
leading west. Luckily Fidget was checking for traps as we walked down
it as he discovered and disarmed a trap which could have caused us
The study at the end was small but lit by an unknown source. It
looked empty too but Izzy's eagle eyes spotted a silver pen in one
corner and he passed it to our cleric who filled it with the silver
The pen began to glow and Lone gave the piece of papyrus he had
collected earlier to Clarence. The pen seemed to move with a life of
its own and we watched spellbound as it wrote a message on the papyrus
that Asaht is the Holy City of the Ancients.
In the same room, tucked away and so we almost missed it (it's
lucky Fidget has good eyesight) was a tiny scroll. The dwarf picked it
up but the writing on it was far too small for even him to read. We
walked back up to the room where we had found the microscope. Fidget
put the scroll under it and said "this could be useful. It gives the
location of the Ice Temple of the Ancients - it says it's in the
tundra far to the north." "Perhaps we'd better head that way once
we've dealt with Xeres" said Lone.
At Clarence's suggestion, we returned to level four and entered
the graveyard. The cleric tried the skeleton key on the tomb door and
the door shimmered and changed from solid stone to a curtain of blue
light. I led the way as we stepped through and found ourselves in a
larger graveyard with tombstones stretching far into the distance.
The graveyard was full of mist and our footsteps were strangely
dulled as we slowly traced a path between the stones. The stones got
closer together and gradually we found our path being blocked by them.
But at one point, Izzy stepped forward and the tombstones shifted in
front of us. We found several other places in the maze that did the
same thing and by manoeuvering carefully, we found we could clear a
path through the whitened blocks.
On the other side were more stones, though dotted sparsely about
on the damp earth. Ahead of us, way to the north, Lone pointed out a
large mound so we headed that way. But soon, a river crossed our path
and we were forced to travel along the bank, hoping for a place to
cross. Instead, we were startled when a shadowy figure appeared out of
the mist - a ferryman. He said nothing, just held out a skeletal hand
and waited silently but expectantly. Izzy hissed at Clarence, "pay
him", and the cleric cautiously held out the black coins. The bony
fingers closed over the coins and the deal was made; we had our
transportation over the river, though it wasn't what we had expected.
"Not more graves" muttered Fidget as we disembarked from the
ferry and we saw yet more gravestones stretching into the far
distance. There was a passage between some stones to the far west
temptingly labelled "exit" and the dwarf would have taken it if we'd
let him but Lone led us through the stones to the mound we had noticed
from the other side of the river.
The path we took led to an entrance, but it was guarded .... by
the Gravekeeper and his entourage; an evil spirit, a ghoul, a skeleton
mage, a ghost, a zombie and a skeleton. The Gravekeeper advanced
towards us through the fire and mist, his skeletal form striking
terror into all our hearts, but I knew we were equal to the challenge.
Lone, Fidget and I laid about us with our weapons while Izzy
blasted away with spells gleaned from his knowledge of fire runes and
Clarence tried turning the undead creatures. The fight was hard but we
succeeded in destroying our enemies. The Gravekeeper, the last to be
overcome, dissolved into grey ooze which turned into smoke and floated
away with the mist. Before us, a dark, ominous tunnel lead into the
mound and we knew an important confrontation awaited us down in those
The lowest level was strange in shape, a central maze of tunnels
and my heart started to race as we went to enter it. A stone archway
framed the entrance and a huge fire blazed in front of us. A ruby eyed
snake - a salamander - barred the way. As it died, a voice rang out,
echoing round the whole area. It was Xeres! "Woe the mortal who stands
in my way" he cried "for Death shall follow swift my hand." But there
was no choice, we could only go forward.
So, we walked deeper into the tunnel, Fidget checking for traps
but finding none. The path wove round and round with several dead ends
but finally, we came to the centre of the maze and Xeres himself stood
before us. He looked down at us and said "so you have found me.
Killing me will not end the destruction." His eyes passed over all of
us in turn and he continued "There is something bigger here than your
mortal minds can understand. If you kill me, all of Ymros will go down
Xeres was flanked by two salamanders, a gargoyle and a slaver.
Izzy discharged the biggest column-of-fire spell I had ever seen him
use straight at Xeres (like the rest of us, I think he panicked a bit)
but it did the trick and the demon was obliterated. His minions fell
swiftly though not without cost to ourselves. With them all dead, we
looked through the archway ahead of us and saw the town of Idlewood,
looking far more peaceful now, but as we passed through the arch, we
all felt we had missed something.
Izzy slapped his hand to his brow in exasperation. "The Amber
Vault, remember? We heard about it in Idlewood but I didn't see it.
Come on, we have to go back and find it. It must hold some useful
information for us." A quick trip back through the dungeon and we were
back at the lowest level. To the south of the area, the normal fabric
of the dungeon was replaced by a length of brickwork. This difference
gave us hope that we had found the location of the Vault and we walked
along the wall till we found a secret passage.
Inside was the Vault. Flaming runes covered the floor and
skeletons of demons hung on the walls. The heat almost drove us back
but Clarence examined the runes closely. "I can translate some of it"
he said "using the runes we found earlier that said 'Ymros is mine'."
He frowned. "That gives 'se-re- en-r-n-e ...'." Izzy interrupted him
"that's got to be 'secret entrance' surely?" "You're right" said
Clarence, "and that gives us a few more letters and means it's easy to
translate the rest of the message.
'Secret entrance to Ice Cathedral leads to Demon Crystal'." Lone
grinned and reminded us of the message we had got earlier (it seemed a
lifetime ago) when Clarence had burnt the red dust in the censer. At
least now we had a new location to aim for - if only we could find it.
We started our search for the Ice Cathedral, travelling by boat
from island to island, looking and searching, avoiding ghost ships,
fighting pirates and sea monsters until we began to doubt that we
would ever find it. On our way north, we found the College of Fire
Runes on one southerly island. But we pressed on, going ever north.
Landing on one northern island, we spotted a dungeon entrance.
Lone led the way as we entered a twisting passage. In a large room, we
came upon the biggest ice dragon we had ever seen - alright, I'll be
honest, none of us had seen one before .... but he WAS big! Izzy
prepared to cast a column of fire at the creature but before he could
do anything, the dragon moved forward, his blue scales glinting in the
dim light, and breathed a spell at the wizard who was immediately
frozen in ice.
Lone and I rushed at the dragon, weapons at the ready, trapped
the beast in a corner and slew him before he could do more damage to
our party. Clarence and Fidget didn't get a chance to strike a blow.
We collected our poor, frozen wizard and explored the lair and
surrounding tunnels. Despite the attentions of mountain giants and an
ogre, we completed our explorations quickly, finding the College of
Ice Runes in a northern passage and, in a small room to the south, an
icicle which Lone took.
A quick trip to the healers restored our friend to full health,
though it cost us quite a bit of gold, and we continued our search for
the Ice Cathedral.
"Land ho!" shouted Fidget, rousing us all from our slumbers and
we leant over the rail to see an island to the west. Was this the one
we had searched for all these weeks? Yes! On the island, we found a
temple made from blocks of ice. "This must be the Temple of the
Ancients" said Izzy. We could tell that once it had been beautiful but
the blocks of ice were tumbled and cracked so that the once-proud
edifice now lay in ruins. Inside, we found the entrance to the Ice
Cathedral but the scattered blocks that had formed the entrance many
centuries ago had fallen to block the way in. We knew from our
discoveries in the Amber Vault that there was a secret way in - but
where? Lone led the way again as we started to search for it.
We found it at last, a secret passage through a wall. The Ice
Cathedral was still beautiful, despite the great damage that had
occurred. At one end was an octagonal pedestal of blue ice on which
was a dark violet crystal. "The Demon Crystal" whispered Clarence.
Dark mist swirled between us and the crystal and I could see strange
shapes forming in it and then dissolving again. For a moment, I felt
it seemed to examine us, then it cleared to reveal the crystal in all
its horrifying glory. Clarence stepped slowly forward and took it.
Then we left the Cathedral as quickly as we could.
Back outside, in the main body of the Temple, a library in the
north-west corner had been ransacked, just a few scrolls littering the
floor. Clarence pushed the scraps of parchment aside to uncover a
prayer scroll which he took. A passage east looked a likely route to
take but a noise alerted us. Rounding a corner, who should we come
across but Jesric of the High Temple of Malifon!
He turned to us and said "Until I find the Demon Crystal, I claim
these ancient ruins to be mine!" His tone told us he would take no
argument on the subject but, unfortunately for Jesric, we had other
Despite his sword and armour, we defeated him fairly easily.
Fidget noticed a medallion around the dead priest's neck. "It shows
he's Malifon's High Priest" said the dwarf, taking the heavy amulet
and passing it to Lone. "It might come in useful then" said the lanky
ranger, tucking it into his pocket.
A doorway nearby led into a corridor. The air was chilly and
instinctively, I drew my cloak tighter round me but it made little
difference. A squeak from behind me made me turn, to see Fidget, mouth
open, pointing a little distance down the corridor. What the small man
had noticed but the rest of us had missed was - a pair of ghosts! One
was an evil-looking man, the other a kind-looking priest. They seemed
to be arguing and, to our amazement, we could hear what they were
One voice said "You are a fool! Your god is dying and still you
pray." The other responded "He is still strong. Find me a god who can
break these walls and I shall worship him instead." As we walked into
the next corridor, the voices followed us. "Long have I quested, and
at a volcano a spirit conquered my mind. It is a spirit as old as
time. It once was strong, but was defeated and rests now, regaining
power ....... behold its power ....." We all gasped as images of fire
and pain engulfed our senses.
Faint heartbeats echoed in our minds as the ghost said "Oh Dark
One, whose power is so great - I cannot worship thee. Instead I offer
to you as sacrifice an old fool who cannot see a candle in the
shadows." We all got the impression of a blade and pain, then the
heartbeats ceased. I realised we had witnessed a murder from long ago.
Returning to the main body of the Temple, we found a door made of
ice, and, noticing a hole in the door, Lone inserted the icicle.
Suddenly we found ourselves transported to the other side of the door
in an Altar Room with an altar of blue ice against the south wall.
Clarence put the prayer scroll on the altar and as the last of the
foreign words from it left his lips, the Temple was flooded with
light. A powerful voice spoke to us.
The voice spoke to us, not aloud but through our minds. It told
us how the White Knights had created an Orb of great power, capable of
acting as a catalyst between the Ancients and Mortals. The voice
continued to explain that it was the last of the Ancients who Malifon
believed were dead and that, with help, Malifon had broken through the
Imprison spell that had trapped him. Ymros was doomed unless he could
be bound again. Finally, the voice said "Through the Orb, I can give
you the power to renew his binding. It lies in the Vault of the White
Knights, northeast of the desert, guarded by Kalek-Zin, the greatest
of the Knights. He can surely be persuaded to give the Orb to you.
When you have it, return to me and I will give you the powers of the
Gods. The Ancient has spoken." The light faded and the voice was gone.
Reverently, we left the Temple of the Ancients and sailed east,
passing a few islands, until we came to a small one that was
mountainous in the centre but had an inlet that could be entered from
the south coast. We landed on a beach and to the north, found the
entrance to the Vault of the White Knights. Appropriately, the walls
inside were painted white and Izzy pointed out the Knights' names
carved on them. "This whole Vault is a memorial to the Warriors of
old" he explained. An octagonal pool sparkled in the centre and
Clarence identified it as a healing pool. I realised this pool might
come in useful as I expected some challenge awaited us inside; there
seemed little chance we could just go in and take the Orb. A secret
passage in the north wall led into the Fire Chamber of Kalek-Zin.
Though a wall of fire ahead of us filled the room with light, no
heat emanated from it. "Karek-Zin's burial chamber," whispered
Clarence. "The greatest of all the Knights." An alcove in the flames
became apparent and we edged towards it. Inside we could see a glowing
Orb and I sensed great power coming from it. We moved into the alcove.
A pure white spirit weaved in and out of the flames, guarding the Orb
whose colours changed as we watched it. Clarence reached towards the
Orb to take it from its pedestal but the spirit intervened. "The Orb
of Evertime is the greatest artifact of the White Knights" it said.
"If used unwisely, it could endanger all of Ymros but since I sense
Ymros is already in great peril, I will release it to you if you can
show you are worthy of it. Pass the tests within the Vault and the Orb
Exploring the Vault, we found two secret passages, one on either
side of the Vault. We found that these linked with each other, also
passing through a room adorned with paintings of the ancient Warriors.
Leading off this maze of passages we found a series of rooms, one for
every class of adventurer, not only our own but also visionary,
scholar and others. We entered each room in turn. Each was a proving
room where we would be called upon to show our worth, each according
to his own class specialities. In rooms that did not apply to one of
us a voice told us we were free to leave. Lone had to fight a cave
bear, Fidget to disarm a trap; gradually we all completed our own
Leaving the final room we returned to the alcove. This time the
spirit allowed us to take the Orb and Clarence reverently picked it
up. Even Fidget seemed somewhat subdued as we turned and retraced our
steps to our ship and from there, sailed west to return to the Altar
Room in the Temple of the Ancients as we had been instructed. On the
way, night fell and as we slept on the ship we all heard the same
voice speak to us. It said, "The Orb of Evertime now is yours, but
your quest remains in vain. I was alive before mortals touched the
Earth and no mortal there can touch me. It is true that with the Demon
Crystal I can lay neither tooth or claw on you. But I can make you
wish you were never born." "Let these words of Malifon be heard - The
sky shall flare the Earth shall bleed. All that is dark shall rise up
in Glory, and all that is Light shall be trampled underfoot."
It was very hard to go to sleep the next night in case the voice
returned. It didn't .... but instead we experienced visions. Dark and
gloomy forests and rivers of blood ... great battles and a black force
with power beyond our comprehension. One by one, we saw the gods
killed - the Eagle, the Swan, the Raven, the Woman of Colours, the
Tiger. One by one they were defeated and fell into the flaming waters
below. We saw clerics all over Ymros wake up to a new day with the
feeling that something had been torn from their souls. Great
thunderbolts fell from the skies and each temple was turned to ruin.
We woke, stunned. Clarence put into words what we all suspected.
"They're dead," he said, his voice quavering. "The gods are dead. What
can we do? Who will help us now?" "I have a feeling that will be
answered when we get back to the altar room," said Izzy, laying his
hand on the cleric's shoulder - though he was no longer a cleric in
truth, his god having been destroyed with the rest.
"Come," continued the wizard. "Let us see what the Ancient One
has to say." We returned to the altar room, using the icicle to enter,
and once again Clarence used the prayer scroll on the altar and the
Ancient One spoke. "You have done well. With the Orb, I may now
transfer some of my power to one of you. I offer to make one of you a
God. The Power of the Ancient Ones lies in the God Runes. Two spells
it allows you to cast in camp are Uncurse and Imprison." The voice
went on to explain. "To keep Malifon from communicating mentally with
the natives near the volcano, we put a curse on the land round it.
This is done through the three crimson glyphs. Each glyph sustains the
curse on the land round it and any mortal who walks there will rot
with every step. You must destroy each glyph using the Uncurse spell
while camping on the same space as the glyph. Until all three glyphs
are destroyed, you will not be able to use the Dark Chapel to go back
in time to the Dawn of Man."
The voice paused, then continued. "Only in the Chapel of the Past
will you find the entrance to Malifon's volcano. Imprison is used to
seal off a passageway and the room it leads to so no creature can
pass. This is what you must do to defeat Malifon as it would be
impossible to kill him in combat. Even all the Ancients could not kill
him. His power is so great that even the Demon Crystal will shatter if
you come too close to him. Cast the Imprison spell when the Demon
Crystal glows white, it costs 100 spell points." There was another
pause and then the voice said, "One will be given enough experience to
gain the wisdom you need and 200 spell points with which to cast the
God Runes. Go to my holy city and convert to my faith for, in the time
to come, the new gods shall falter and die. Good luck."
We sensed we were being scrutinised and then the voice asked us
who wished to become a God? I looked at Lone, he looked at Clarence,
Clarence at Fidget and Fidget at Izzy. Izzy didn't look at anyone. He
just stepped slowly forward and said "I do." We expected some sign
that our friend had been elevated to such a rank but, no. He turned
back to us, looking no different, but calmly reminded us that we must
travel to Ancient's holy city. We had previously learned at Qoorik
that Asaht was the holy city of the Ancients, so it was to there that
we set sail. Entering the oddly-shaped temple at Asaht, Izzy converted
to the faith of Ancient. A trip to the Guild confirmed that he had
indeed gained several levels of experience, and we were once again
ready to continue on our quest. "Where to?" asked Fidget as we
returned to the ship. "East", replied our divine companion, his eyes
fixed on the distant horizon.
Directly east of Jacanth we found a small, mountainous island
with an inlet containing a healing pool. We sailed back out of the
inlet and continued east where we found another larger island.
Anchoring the boat on the shoreline, we started to explore. We walked
into the mountains and through onto a sandy beach with buildings
around it. To the northwest was one containing a small room full of
maps showing a volcano south of the island and the Dark Chapel that
the Ancient One had mentioned to us on an island to the south of that.
Back outside and along the beach to the south, a ship lay at anchor on
the inland sea. Guarding it were two mountain giants and a Titan - a
huge figure wielding a huge, shining sword. Lone gave a battle cry, at
least that's what I think it was, and we attacked. Within a short
space of time, the ship was ours.
We sailed back towards the entrance and, leaving the ship, walked
along the beach to the east. A short bridge led over the water to a
small island and a bell tower. Just inside the entrance was a short
corridor. Two rooms led off, one north, one south. In the north room
was a skeleton mage called the Bellkeeper; a powerful assassin, he had
been hired by Eregore to keep watch over the bell tower. He screamed
threats at us and attacked. Lone and I killed him and as he breathed
his last, we felt a cold force fly past us, followed by the ringing of
a massive bell to the west. In the south room was a dog, obviously the
Bellkeeper's pet, but at the end of the corridor was something far
more important - a huge bell. On the wall above the bell were some
runes and, squinting at them slightly, Clarence translated them.
"'Ring bell at midnight'" he said. "But how?" asked Fidget. "We're
always asleep at that time - it seems impossible to stay awake that
long." Confused, we returned to the outside of the dungeon.
To the east of the island a small path led into the mountains,
and at the end of it we found a small hut. Inside, an old peasant
woman greeted us. Smiling, she waved her hand to encompass the
interior of the hut with its sweet-smelling herbs. "Please stay. If
you wish, you may sleep here in comfort" she offered. Izzy smiled at
her. "I accept, on behalf of myself and my companions" he said. We
settled down and were soon sound asleep. But suddenly, we woke to the
screeching of an owl outside. Everything was still and quiet, the moon
seeming suspended in the heavens with a magical feeling to the air.
But there was no sign of the old woman. Collecting our weapons, we
walked outside into the darkness. Fidget looked up at the sky and
gasped. "It's the middle of the night. Quick, let's go to the bell and
ring it!" We hurried down to the bell tower and rang the bell. The
sound of angels crying opened up from the heavens, then everything
went quiet again. Lone frowned. "Now what?" he said. "Nothing's
happened!" Despondently, we walked back outside, having no idea what
to do next.
Boarding the ship, Clarence suggested we set sail to the south as
we hadn't yet explored in that direction. Leaving the ship on yet
another small, sandy beach, we had walked just a few steps when we
noticed a gate, standing open, inviting us to enter. With a chuckle,
Izzy said, "I bet this was shut before we rang that bell!" and, with
Lone leading the way, we entered. A short way down the corridor, a
voice from nowhere spoke. "Only those who worship Malifon may enter
this temple. What is thy name?". Quick as can be, Izzy replied
"Jesric". "You may enter," said the disembodied voice. The corridor
led deep into the mountains into a small room which was completely
bare. "This is strange," said Izzy. "Where's the temple?" We explored
every inch of the room, then returned to the corridor. To our
surprise, where there had previously been a bend in the passageway
there was now a crossroads. To the east was a healing pool but south
another passage beckoned us deeper into the mountain.
Soon we came to a small, square, sand-filled room with its walls
painted to depict a desert landscape. Two huge salamanders leapt out
of the sand! Defeating them, we walked to the south end of the room
and a passage suddenly opened in the east wall as the doorway, through
which we had just entered, vanished. Through the new exit a bridge led
over a small stretch of water and split, one piece going north, one
south. As we explored the area, we discovered that the whole place was
a series of transporter rooms, each with its own climatic
characteristics. After the desert room, we found one with walls of
fire, twenty feet high, guarded by a fire elemental; another was
bitterly cold as magical snow fell onto us and an ice demon surveyed
us with its cold, blue eyes before attacking. Soon we had mapped the
area, apart from one section. In one seemingly normal room, a purple
haze filled the north wall. I tried to walk through it but failed and
none of the others had any better luck. But on the side wall was a
crystal eye. Lone pointed out the carving above it. "'Only high
priests allowed past this point, show identification'", he read. "I
wonder...." and reaching into his tunic, he drew out the heavy amulet
we had taken from Jesric after he died and held it in front of the
eye. Then he smiled at us as the mist slowly dispersed and we saw a
corridor leading north.
Thus we entered the main part of the High Temple, with its high,
engraved ceiling and wide hallways. The size of the building dwarfed
us (with apologies to Fidget) and made me feel very vulnerable and
helpless. To the left, a doorway led into a room of dreams and to the
far southeast was a beautiful cathedral, guarded by three orange
spellbinders - giant snakes which moved hypnotically before us. But
the octagonal room to the north, with its crystal floor decorated with
geometric designs and inscribed 'Only the right path will bring
rewards' seemed more promising. We discovered that the north, west and
east walls were not solid, though they appeared to be at a cursory
glance and, remembering the inscription on the floor, we went east ...
right. Once through the "wall", we found a corridor going north with
two doorways. The first one led into a room inhabited by a demon lord,
selected by Malifon to watch over Eregore and make sure he did his
job. Killing the demon lord and his two attendant hounds, we entered a
second room whose cracked walls still bore evidence of a complex spell
which had once been carved there. It appeared to be the God Rune for
breaking a binding and Izzy pointed out the places where the
apprentices would have stood to cast the spell.
The second doorway from the main corridor led into a room
containing a large crystal ball. To my amazement, the voice of the
Ancient One issued from the crystal, assuring us that we were doing
well but that we must go on, for Malifon had gained control of the
Shard of Spring and was planning to destroy it. All of us knew that if
that happened the world would be plunged into deepest winter!
Hurrying, we had just rounded the corner of the next corridor when a
voice rang out - it was Eregore! "So, you have found me," he cried
from the northern end of the room we were about to enter as his
followers, a collection of highwaymen, thieves, fighters and mages,
watched with evil eyes glinting. He pointed at us. "Destroy the
infidels!" he shrieked, and the motley crew advanced towards us.
Eregore's followers attacked us and the fight was long and hard
but eventually we were victorious though none of us escaped unscathed.
Eregore stood at the north end of the room in front of a large black
mirror and a look of horror came over his face as he realised we had
triumphed. I led the way as we walked towards him. As we got closer we
could feel evil emanating from the black mirror but to the other side
of Eregore I noticed a beautiful, round, multi-faceted mirror which
hung by a thread from the ceiling. Eregore spoke. "You fools - you
believe you are so powerful. You have no idea what true power is.
Malifon, my master, is the supreme power ... you're lucky he let you
live so long." "He cannot harm us as long as we hold the Demon Crystal
of Kalek-Zin," replied Izzy, in his usual calm voice.
Eregore looked questioningly at the mirror, then said, "Who is
this Kalek-Zin?" "He was the greatest of the White Knights, but, alas,
has been dead for centuries," responded Izzy. Eregore looked even more
worried and we realised he was but the tool of a greater power. He
looked to the mirror for more guidance and said, "All the White
Knights are dead. There is no-one to stop me taking over Ymros.
Malifon will help me take power and make me ruler of these lands." I
was amazed when Fidget stepped forward and said, hesitantly, "If he
plans to help you, then why has he stolen the Shard of Spring?"
"That's not true!" screamed Eregore, turning to the mirror. He stared
at it and asked "Do you have the Shard of Spring?" A powerful voice
spoke from the mirror and replied "Yes." Eregore shook with fear like
a child. "If you destroy the Shard, a bitter winter will strike the
land." Then he thought and added "Of course, you will spare your loyal
followers....." The voice spoke firmly "Your purpose was to free me.
Now you have done that, I have no need of you." "Why?" asked Eregore.
Malifon replied, "My winter shall cleanse the land of mortal souls and
once again silence shall embrace the Wind and Gods shall walk the
I almost (but not quite) felt sorry for Eregore as I saw his face
change as realisation dawned. Suddenly he saw what he had done and how
he had been used by Malifon. Taking a curved dagger, he calmly killed
himself before any of us could stop him. Malifon's voice spoke once
more: "Your meddling has become a thorn in my side. Eregore died a
fool's death, your deaths shall be worse. For now I shall shatter your
precious Shard and my Winter shall begin. Do not believe you have felt
the last of my wrath, Your pain is my sustenance, your blood my drink.
I do not intend to starve." We heard a shattering sound that shook the
bowels of the earth. The black mirror shattered but the faceted mirror
remained whole. Swiftly, Lone rushed forward and took it, then we left
Outside, a grim sight met our eyes. As predicted, the land was in
the grip of a bitter winter and all the towns were in ruins. We were
on our own. "We have to continue," said Izzy. "We've gone too far to
turn back now." So we returned to our ship and sailed south, avoiding
battles with pirates, monsters and ghost ships now there was no way we
could get our ship repaired. Fairly quickly we came to the island with
Malifon's volcano and found the glyphs the Ancient One had mentioned.
Anchoring the ship off-shore, we walked to the first glyph, each of us
losing one hit point with each step. Arriving at the glyph, we set up
camp and Izzy cast the Uncurse Spell. Lightning flashed and the glyph
was gone. The land was now safe to walk on in this section of the
island so, once we had rested and regained our strength, we carried
out the same procedure at the other two glyphs.
Each spell cost Izzy 50 spell points. In a bay to the south of
the large island, we found a smaller one on which was the Dark Chapel.
On the floor in the centre of the building was a large, round circle
of glass from which a never-ending stream of blinding, yellow light
poured out. Lone held out the facet mirror over the circle of light.
Powerful beams of light burst off its facets, blinding us, while I
felt my head reel. We felt ourselves being sent back in time and when
everything eventually slowed down, we found ourselves in the Dark
Chapel as it had been ten thousand years ago. The shifting walls had
solidified into white stone and the Chapel was filled with the
spectral forms of grossly-disfigured men - haunting images from the
dawn of Man, their heads bowed in prayer.
At four alcoves round the edge of the Chapel were circular
carvings with runic inscriptions. One showed a lightning bolt, one
wind being sucked up into blackness, another the creation of the
universe and the fourth some kind of ghostly apparition. Clarence
translated the runes: "Power, Void, Divinity and Spirit." Soon, we
found their significance as a spectral priest at the north end of the
room chanted "Power, Divinity, Spirit...." and paused. "Void" replied
Izzy. Without warning, a huge, blue fireball burst into the mountain,
melting the rock and opening a passage from which stale air flowed.
The passage led deep into the mountain, to a room with an ancient
stone staircase which was covered with runes and cracked by time. A
huge stone statue dominated the room but, as we entered, it came to
life -a guardian was attempting to stop us continuing.
It had reckoned without Izzy's column of fire spell. Luckily he
had enough spell points spare to blast the statue and, defeated, it
turned back to stone. Sulphurous mist flowed round our ankles as we
ascended the staircase to emerge in an icy waste at the top of
Malifon's volcano. Another pit led down to our left and we descended
yet again, this time into the heart of the volcano. The Demon Crystal
glowed violet as we explored the caverns. At the far east end we fell
down a shaft, even deeper into the volcano and in this section we
found a golden bridge spanning a lake of fire. It was not unguarded
but once the two dragons and the demon commanding them had been
destroyed (our hardest fight yet) we crossed. The crystal was glowing
red as we entered a hall full of purple mist.
The mist swayed as though it was alive and as I looked into the
mist, I saw faces of people we had known and places we had seen on our
travels. As we stepped into the mist, we travelled through our
memories - the tent at the Kobold Camp - the octagon room - the old
woman's hut - and the icy tundra of the northlands by the ice dragon's
cave. During all this time, the crystal had glowed violet, red and
orange but as Lone stepped forward to enter the cave Fidget shouted
"Stop! Look at the Crystal!" and I saw it was glowing pure white.
Quickly, we set up camp just outside the cave and Izzy cast the
Imprison Spell. Light flashed and a resounding primaeval scream was
heard from the depths of the volcano. The walls shook and began to
crumble around us. As the Imprison Spell took effect, the sounds of
Malifon's agony were quickly stifled but the walls of the mountain
continued to shake.
Just as I felt the walls were about to collapse about us, a
strange combination of darkness and light surrounded us and the
Ancient One spoke: "You have done well. As long as the spell holds,
Malifon's evil is contained in the volcano. Many adventurers set out
to destroy the root of this evil. Many died along the way and many
gave up the quest when they could not find the courage to continue.
You alone have succeeded, time and again ... to destroy Xeres, acquire
the Orb of Evertime, destroy Malifon's High Temple and eventually
imprison Malifon himself." "Although Malifon's evil has been
contained, the effects of his evil are still being felt on Ymros. With
the Shard gone, the land still lies in Winter and though Malifon's
Corruption is now ended, many towns have been turned to ruins. Perhaps
worst of all, the Gods that the people of Ymros relied on for
centuries are dead and the people have lost hope." "I do not say the
work is yours for you have done more good that the land can ever
For this reason, I can offer to reward you by making you immortal
and you shall rule by my side for the rest of eternity." I couldn't
see my companions but I felt their agreement when I said "We must
decline. There is too much work to be done here on Ymros". "You are
indeed noble," said the Ancient One. "If mortality is your wish then
it shall be granted. I will make sure the rest of your lives are
visited by good fortune and prosperity." And so it was. Lone went back
to the town of Woodhaven and was instrumental in its reconstruction.
After rebuilding the city, he settled down there and lived to a
ripe old age. Clarence became the first in two millennia to take up
the title of High Priest of the Ancient One. With his accumulated
wealth, he built an enormous temple to The Ancients and spread word of
the new God. Fidget heard in the tavern of untold wealth in lands to
the north and went in search of the fortune. He gathered a party and
explored many dungeons, eventually retiring in luxury. Izzy went on a
great quest for the Lifestone in order to build a new Shard of Spring.
While he did not live to see its completion, the new Shard was named
in honour of him and still protects Ymros. What happened to me? Well,
that's another story!