Read The Curse of Naar Online

Authors: Joe Dever

Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Lone Wolf, #Magnamund

The Curse of Naar (24 page)

236

Immediately the swarm of insects falls silent and you sense that your psychic attack has had a devastating effect upon their rudimentary minds (in this instance, you need only reduce your
ENDURANCE
score by 2 for using this form of attack).

For a few moments the insects are rendered motionless; then suddenly they re-animate and stream out of the hollow in all directions in a chaotic rush to escape. You watch as the last few disappear into the encroaching curtain of acidic rain and, when you are sure that the hollow beneath the stones is now empty of insects, you squeeze yourself through a gap and take shelter.

As you wait for the rain to abate, you inspect the inside of the hollow and the pendulous insect hive. Despite the seemingly haphazard lie of the stone slabs, the rain does not penetrate into the interior, and the inside of the hollow stays remarkably dry. On the ground lies a thick carpet of soft leathery leaves. They are spattered with a yellow, honey-like substance which is oozing from the base of the hive. It smells sweet but your Kai senses warn you not to taste any; it is poisonous. (If you wish to take some of this, record it on your
Action Chart
as Muntaag Honey. You can wrap it in a leaf and store it as a Backpack Item.)

You are busy cleaning the acidic rain from your equipment with a handful of leaves when suddenly your Sixth Sense warns you of approaching danger. You peer out through a crack in the stones and catch sight of a flock of bat-winged creatures. They are swooping down from out of the rainy sky towards your hiding place.

If you have ever been to the Ruins of Maaken in a previous
Lone Wolf
adventure,
turn to 107
.

If you have never visited this place,
turn to 252
.

237

You do not have long to wait for the threat to materialize. Bursting from out of the smoky wall of the chamber comes Naar's fearsome champion, Kekataag the Avenger. He is attired in battle armour that glimmers like slime-dulled gold, and beneath his helmet there is a hollow skull-face from which emerges a sickly stench that permeates even the foul air of this hall. The skulls and bones of humans bedeck his armoured hide and in his mighty hands he carries a great two-handed axe, its blade stained black with the blood of his countless victims.

This terrifying warrior mesmerizes you with his glowing eyes and you feel waves of powerful psychic energy buffet your mind.

If you possess the Sommerswerd,
turn to 121
.

If you possess Skarn-Ska,
turn to 211
.

If you do not possess either of these Special Items,
turn to 282
.

238

You draw on your Grand Mastery to summon a fog from the surrounding mire. Instantly a bank of impenetrable mist arises from the stagnant slime and engulfs your body, obscuring you from the sight of the attacking swarm. You hear them buzzing angrily in frustration but then their noise gradually fades as they trail away in confusion across the swamp.

You move forwards and emerge from the fog to find yourself standing beside the mound of stone slabs. The hollow beneath the stones is now empty of insects and so you squeeze yourself through a gap and take shelter here from the rain.

Turn to 112
.

239

A closer look at the raised stonework surrounding the trapdoor reveals an unbroken line of engravings that flow around a number of square indentations in the scorched basalt. You focus on these and your Kai senses reveal them to be part of a combination lock which activates the spell that protects this hatch. If you press the correct number of hollows in the correct order, you will cause the shielding spell to vanish.

Carefully you study the engravings and decipher a series of clues within their shapes which help you to deduce the correct number of hollows, and the order in which they must be pressed. This secret sequence is equal to exactly half the value of the runic number inscribed on the inner band of the Künae Ring.

If you think you know what this secret number is,
turn now to the entry
that is the same as your answer.
11

If you do not know the answer,
turn to 172
.

[11] The section corresponding to the correct answer will have a footnote confirming that it is indeed correct.

240

You attempt to use your improved Kai Discipline to alter your weight and free yourself from the cloying mud before the sinister arachnids close in for the kill.

Pick a number from the
Random Number Table
. If your current
ENDURANCE
points score is 12 or less, deduct 2 from the number you have picked.

If your total score is now 4 or lower,
turn to 94
.

If it is 5 or higher,
turn to 120
.

241

You are halfway across the bridge when you are spotted by a Lavas passing high overhead. Immediately it signals to two of its companions and all three creatures swoop down to block your exit. Their cries of alarm attract more than two dozen of their kin, and also alert a party of reptilians at the chasm's edge. At a given command they close in and attack you mercilessly with their spears and tridents. You fight them with stunning bravery, dispatching more than ten Lavas and seven reptilians before eventually you succumb to their sheer weight of numbers.

Sadly, your life and your quest end here on the Huan'zhor Chasm Bridge.

242

You use your advanced ability to form a shield around your mind as a defence against a possible psychic assault. This precaution proves to be a wise one for as the net hits the ground, the Dentaag unleash a violent psychic attack in an attempt to weaken and subdue you.

Turn to 82
.

243

In unison, the robed figures levitate several paces from the floor so that they are able to rest the pillow and phial upon the surface of the great marble table. Then silently they lower themselves back to the ground where they wait patiently for the Demoness to stir from her slumber. After several minutes she raises her head and you are shocked to see that her womanly face is hideously scarred and disfigured.

Illustration XV
—You are shocked to see the Demoness's hideously scarred and disfigured face.

‘Ah, my lieutenants,’ she says, yawning and stretching her arms wide, ‘I see your work is complete. By Naar, I hunger for revenge upon Avarvae! I trust your elixir will make her pay for the torment she has wrought me.’

‘All is ready, supreme mistress,’ reply the robed ones, sycophantically. Clearly their answer pleases the Demoness. Her ruined face twists into the semblance of a smile as she picks up the phial and examines it closely. The glass bottle looks especially fragile and tiny as she holds it between her gigantic index finger and thumb.

‘Excellent!’ she murmurs. ‘Soon she shall pay for what she did to me.’

The Demoness Shamath rises from her throne and turns towards the seething pool of black fluid which is set into the floor close by. The shimmering waters grow calm and you see her scarred reflection in the pool. Then the fluids seethe afresh and her image swirls and changes. When it reforms you see, to your horror, that the reflection is no longer that of the Demoness. The face staring back from the surface of the pool is yours!

‘Ayeeeeeee!’ howls Shamath. ‘It is Lone Wolf! The Kai Lord is here!’

If you have ever encountered Demoness Shamath in a previous
Lone Wolf
adventure,
turn to 22
.

If you have never encountered this being before,
turn to 227
.

244

You insert the point of the Arrow into the slot and instantly you are blinded by a flash of brilliant white light. A searing pain runs down the length of your arm and you are thrown backwards by this sudden release of energy: lose 4
ENDURANCE
points.

The Arrow has been reduced to cinders by the sudden flash (erase this from your Quiver), but at least it has served its purpose. As the crackling noise of the electrical discharge gradually fades, you hear another sound, a grating squeal. Anxiously you watch as the great portal slowly swings open.

Turn to 343
.

245

You speak the words of the Brotherhood Spell
Teleport
and focus your eyes upon the distant volcano. At once you feel yourself rising up from the uncertain soil, and then you soar like an eagle through the acrid burning air towards the distant crater.

The use of this Brotherhood Spell costs you 2
ENDURANCE
points, yet it saves you from a difficult and perilous trek across dangerous terrain.

To continue,
turn to 86
.

246

Drawing once again upon your knowledge of Brotherhood magic, you utter the words of the spell
Teleport
and will yourself to move through the air towards a place on the far side of the clearing, close to the jungle perimeter. At first the arachnids come scurrying onto the shore to follow your line of flight, but you quickly outdistance them and they lose interest and return to the muddy river. As you descend to make your landing you see that, in frustration, they have turned their attention to your grounded canoe which they rip apart with their powerful jaws.

The moment your feet touch the ground, you rush into the jungle and take cover in the dense undergrowth where you happen upon the remnants of a track. You follow this overgrown trail for nearly a mile until you come to the edge of another clearing. This expanse of level ground is devoid of foliage yet it is littered with strange fruits that resemble gigantic grey pineapples. Beyond these curious fruits you can see the ruins of a settlement partially overgrown with moss. Warily you leave the jungle, making your way around the fruits, and hurry across the clearing towards a statue which is crouching among the ruins. It is constructed of a smooth, lustrous black mineral and is fashioned in the likeness of some evil beast of prey. It reminds you of a hyena, but one with a massive lower jaw set with a pair of sabre-toothed fangs. Between its forelegs is a flight of rubble-strewn steps leading down to an open door. You detect waves of power emanating from somewhere beyond this darkened doorway, but you are unable to determine just how deep below the ground the source of this energy is located.

If you possess Telegnosis and wish to use this skill to spirit-walk through the doorway to investigate what lies beyond,
turn to 76
.

If you do not possess this skill, or choose not to use it,
turn to 177
.

247

You concentrate upon the insect hive and direct a powerful Kai-blast at its core.

Pick a number from the
Random Number Table
. For every level of rank you have attained above that of Kai Grand Guardian, add 1 to the number you have picked.

If your total score is now 6 or less,
turn to 167
.

If your score is 7 or higher,
turn to 236
.

248

Beyond the Bridge of the Damned, you enter the vast forest of fire that encircles the perimeter of Naar's realm. You sense that your Platinum Amulet is keeping you safe from the hellish heat of this region, and your Kai ability to spirit-walk is propelling you on a swift and steady course towards the central crater.

Upon reaching the lip of this crater, the forest of fire comes to an abrupt end and you get your first clear view of the desolation which surrounds the stronghold of Dazganon. Cosmic winds blow across this barren plain, moaning like tortured souls. Now and then you hear cries of pain, bursts of mocking laughter, and haunting alien howls that chill your blood. Then you see swirling gossamer shapes that grow and multiply as your psychic senses become attuned to their presence. Millions of evil souls are swirling around the crater which encompasses Naar's stronghold, and as you watch their endless passage with a sense of awe and disbelief, you realize that this is the Plain of Despair detailed upon the last page of the Tome of Darkness. You stare at the ceaseless torment of these evil souls and you are deeply shocked by the visage of one spirit which rises out of the howling mass.

If you have ever visited the Isle of Khor in a previous
Lone Wolf
adventure,
turn to 79
.

If you have never visited this place,
turn to 207
.

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