OUR PARTY was forced to remain at the fort of Uusuun-An for two days because of the turmoil along the Great Road. Colonel Ishirti, the commander there, told me that the snake folk were greatly angered because some human had defiled the shrine of their python-god, Szasassa. One of the huge sapphire eyes of the cult image had been stolen and - not yet recovered. When we reached that point in our talk Iubba, the snake men's captive, hurriedly excused himself. He has been complaining of the bellyache and swears something he ate disagreed with him. Hmm ....
This Iubba claims the snake people took him for fresh meat - that is hard to credit for he is all skin and bone, and small with it. Either they like their men stringy or there is another side to the tale. He has asked to join us on our trek. Since the services of a locksmith are always handy I have agreed. He will fit in places I could not.
On the subject of bellies, you will be disturbed to hear that I have damaged my protuberance! In my sleep I rolled over and crushed the bottle that held the fiery Micro-Demon I bought from Zignash the Ectoplasmist. Before it expired from fright beneath my weight, it caused a distinct soreness and redness on my poor flesh. I shall be returning it to Zignash for replacement you may be sure.
|In the fort of Uusuun-An, Gordo dices with weary adventurers|
More travellers arrived to shelter at the fort and there was little to do but talk and dice. Paul of Polesworth passed on news of his stay within the walls of Dun Darach. Here, there are many secret doors which may be found in the blank walls which carry torches.
"First," says Paul, "obtain a book from the shop in King Street. Give it to the Lady Mhor and she will give one in return. That will open the secret door in Myre Street. The shield found hidden here can be offered to the great Goddess Danu. Now, on Old Hill you may get a lyre. Dain, who dwells behind the ever-open secret door in Park Row, will exchange that lyre of a shield sacred to Midir. Offer it to the god and you shall receive a key."
Much money may be made in this sorcerous place. "This is simple, O Large One. Take gold from the Assayers in West Way and sell it to the brokers in Cross Street. There are other means but that is easiest. But beware the thieves they will always take the possession you have placed your star beside. Thus it is safer never to place your star on a valued object - leave it on your stock of Iridi which can be easily replaced."
Despite his knowledge, Paul seeks advice on other problems here. He wishes to know how to remove the Pearl from the Strong Room on the north wall, and he cannot find a way into the Inner Castle from the jail. Share your experience with him and receive help by writing to him.
Grimwood the Exciseman has wandered the paths of the Irish legends too, in Tir Na Nog. Though partially successful he could not find the egg to open the N door. To locate that he should go to Ruads Retreat carrying some sand. Nor could he leave the Row in the Plain of Lies - seek out a secret and invisible door for an exit.
Now this Grimwood has tried to read the second scroll he found in the library. He knows it to be written in Ogham, the ancient Celtic script, but his translation is meaningless. The McKenna of Croydon, a battle weary veteran, told us all that the script is corrupt and should read Crossroad Ten North. Perhaps that means ten paces north from a crossroads?
The McKenna has fulfilled the quests of both Tir Na Nog and Dun Darach. Help he offers if you write, courier prepaid, to Croydon, Surrey. As the night fell and the beer flowed the voices of those Bored of The Rings rose in argument. Dewi Ap Evan of Caerphilly, Hugh Boggit of Newtown Abbey and John the Taylor of Portstewart, all fell upon Thorne of Mansfield in a quarrel over the way to enter the Morona Gate. All know the clue which tells the traveller to use pepper but none could find the spice.
Prising them apart, I cautioned to search carefully at Featherwop Beacon where there is a stone. Examine it, lift it if you will and then be sure to look before you leave. When you have the pepper drop it at the gate. So much discord for a little thing!
When he had recovered, Thorne of Mansfield came over to help me with Alex de Keresley of Coventry. This wanderer had entered Tylon's bedchamber in Kentilla. There stands a chest, inviting plunder but securely locked. Alex could find no key. "Simple", says Thorne, "examine the bedposts well. There's a key there. Before unlocking the chest, strengthen it by dipping it in a precious liquid. All will then be yours."
Richard the Black had found himself in deep water in the same quest. Way out on the perilous Serpent Sea he was, with a leaky boat. If you have a cup or silver chalice handy you can bail the water out and proceed in safety.
A problem of codes beset Gary 006 of Scunthorpe. In the Fourth Protocol he could find no way to decipher or understand the one-time pads. When your code is given to you early in the search write down the numbers. Take the first number and then count horizontally across the letter grids. Thus the first letter of the second line corresponds to 27. The second letter of that same line will be 28 and so on. Count the letters until you reach that which corresponds to the number you have. Now you have the first letter deciphered.
Five Best Shaw of Maidstone, dressed most sweatily in a tracksuit, complained to me that his search for status and wealth in Hampstead had failed. Penniless in Piccadilly he is, and can raise no cash. Before you travel to Waterloo take a well earned rest upon a bench on Hampstead Heath. Examining that spot well may give you access to a flexible friend.
After such an exhausting night sleep came easily to me, though as I dropped off I spied Iubba stealthily creeping behind a barrack block. Close behind him in the shadows were Zul and Zel, peering intently. I have some strange companions indeed. Farewell friends.
|Gordo Greatbelly, Landlord|
|If you have a tale to tell, or are in need of a helping hand, write to the Landlord of the Dancing Ogre c/o Sinclair User, London.|