Glaivas and I decide to take shelter for the night. I use my trusty garotte on one of the slave overseers (given the occupation, my conscience isn’t unduly troubled by his / her death) and we slip under one of the canvas awnings.
While here, Glaivas tells me of the Spectral Company, servants of the Fleshless King, being human generals who were cast down with the Fleshless King’s magic and made into his servants.
Gosh, that sounds a lot like another well-known fantasy novel. There’d better not be nine of them….
“They are nine” says Glaivas (dammit!) and he tells me that apparently they can suck a man’s life from him with a touch.
The authors really need to stop referencing my ex-girlfriends.
As we listen to the cry of an imprisoned Sylph (!) Glaivas gives me a bottle of holy water, to be thrown at need, and not simply drunk after a tiring tennis match. We then both see a child of around 12 squirming away from the awning, and breaking into tears. She is clearly oblivious to our presence.
We could leave, abandoning her, or, more humanely, speak to her.
No hero has any difficulty making the right choice in this situation. As I quietly draw her attention, she asks who I am. I can either tell the truth, or pretend to be a guard from the “Purple (!) Cathedral of Death”.
Aside : Its the ‘purple’ adjective that sets this apart. As if the mere name of “Cathedral of Death” wouldn’t be intimidating enough….
Since I’m hardly going to identify with her captors, I tell the young girl the truth about who I am.
She creeps closer to us and tells us her name, Grizell. She mentions that her sisters have been taken away for human sacrifice, and begs that we take her with us.
Aside : Seriously, the emotional dice are so loaded in favour of taking this poor girl with us, I’m half-convinced that doing so will lead to our DOOOMMM. Nevertheless, I don’t feel like I have any choice.
Glaivas ‘groans’ but I ignore such cynicism, as Grizell’s surprise and hope at my decision is obvious.
She gifts me a locket, which she claims contains the hair of a saint, and states that she doesn’t need it anymore, not that she has me ‘to protect her’.
Ouch, right in the feels.
We all agree to turn north, away from the city.
I carry Grizell when she can run no further, and we realise the four horses, carrying members of the Spectral Company, are quickly pursuing us. We decide to make a stand, picturing with understandable dread the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
As four spectral figures approach, Grizell faints and rolls down the hillside towards the Spectres. No worries, I’m sure she’ll be fine. Glaivas starts casting a spell from a scroll he is carrying, and I watch with horror as one of the Spectres leans over Grizell, draining the life from her with his touch.
As two of the four Spectres advance menacingly towards me, I can either use my martial arts or another form of attack.
Remembering the bottle of holy water, I channel visions of Hammer Horror films and cast it at the nearest Spectre.
This is one of the unfairest points on the adventure. The player must roll 6 or more on two dice (to ‘hit’ with the holy water) or Avenger will automatically die.
I rolled a four, and was so offended by this that I promptly started again in order to surmount this hurdle. Although the next post won’t go up till later, I can tell you that I immediately started again to make sure that no 1980s gamebook would get the best of me.
Although I suppose that’s why they sold so many copies, isn’t it?