Return to the forest
Aldo of the Brilliantly Coloured Robe was nervous. He carried a magical spear which he had found in the mysterious forest to the south. Unfortunately the spirit who had given him the spear had also given him a Quest. Or a curse. Or perhaps both. The spirit had told he must kill the evil Duke Darrian within a week, or die himself! And after a few days of feasting and such after dealing with Ned the Hobgoblin, the end of the week — and possibly the end of Aldo’s life — was that much closer.
The miserable village had little but good cheer for the heroes as they set off to put paid to the hated Duke. Zagro did persuade the blacksmith to repair his spear (which had been bitten by a magical fountain in the woods).
The high road and the low
There was one quick way to the Duke’s mountain castle — a mysterious black carriage led by black horses which the Duke sent to a certain clearing in the woods. Zagro, Aldo and Sir Grimble had seen it before. This time Aldo and Nameless jumped inside. Zagro and Sir Grimble decided to ride alongside. The carriage lurched off, and the two followed at an easy pace until an unseasonable storm blew up in the mountains. Snow flurries almost blinded the riders and they lost sight of the carriage.
The black carriage
Inside the carriage it seemed to Aldo and Nameless X that it was lurching along at a furious pace, bumping and bouncing along the mountain path. Before too long it lurched on to a cobbled path and into the gates of a mountain fortress. It came to rest in a torchlit courtyard. Arrows began to fly from the slit windows above! Also and Nameless X dodged and weaved, and found their way through a kitchen doorway. Traversing a few more doors and they were attacked some of the Duke’s mechanical armoured guards. Aldo and Nameless beat them off and retreated upwards through a trap door to one of the outer towers of the castle. This area seemed quieter and more defensible than the rest of the fortress, so they decided to rest a while.
In the snowstorm Zagro and Sir Grimble encountered a monstrous Yeti, which slashed the warlock with its powerful claws. Zagro impaled it with his spear and the monster retreated into the snow. Sir Grimble spotted a light through the flurries and they made their way to a fire in front of a cave. A serene-looking man sat there, dressed in white robes but not apparently feeling the cold. He invited the pair to share his fire. The man told a tale of petitioning the Duke, only to have the tyrant unleash his dogs upon him. Sir Grimble became particularly sleepy, but Zagro stayed awake. To his surprise the white-robed man vanished. Sir Grimble slept soundly. In the grey light of morning they searched the cave and found a skeleton dressed in tattered white robes and a small chest of potions.
Zagro and Sir Grimble followed the mountain path to a narrow bridge. Something about that bridge seemed odd to Zagro — he realised it was an illusion covering a deep abyss. Not far away were carriage tracks which seemed to lead directly toward a chasm, but with a step of faith Zagro and Sir Grimble realised the invisible bridge was solid. They continued on their way as a cry of rage emanated from the chasm.
Nameless X spotted Sir Grimble and Zagro approaching the keep. He and Aldo waved to them. Zagro used his sorcery to levitate Sir Grimble’s rope across the moat which divided the tower from the path. Then they clambered up, leaving their black steeds behind.