The Cloud Castle – Page 12


Perilous Jack eyes the Ogre Mage a moment longer, and then unslings the Dragon Scale Shield from his arm.

He leaves it lying on the bleeding corpse of a Winter Wolf and backs away to the next TowaShroom. Ghal-lul leaps forward and lands near the shield, taking the little thing up in his huge fingers. How the Ogre expects to use it Jack cannot guess – it would not even make much of a buckler on the Ogre’s hugely muscled arm. Nevertheless, the Ogre eyes the workmanship with deep appreciation, and then tucks it away into his sack. From a pouch at his belt, he withdraws a curiously shaped Silver Key, which he displays to Jack.

The Ogre Mage explains, “Not far inside my master’s castle you will encounter a large Green Pipe, which contains a whirling metal fan. This device is a Tornado Shaft; the turning of the blades generates a powerful living whirlwind – an Air Elemental. Slay the Elemental if you can, and if you are strong enough to withstand the terrific wind created by the whirling blades, you will notice a small slot in the center of the fan. Insert this Key into the slot, and the fan will stop turning. You must do this quickly – once the Elemental is slain, it is a matter of minutes only before the fan creates a new one. When the fan has stopped, you will notice that the Green Pipe continues down, deep into the foundation of the castle, into a small hidden chamber.”

“And what does this chamber contain?” asks Perilous Jack.

“A prisoner. A slave of my master,” the Ogre Mage replies. “Doubtless you will be surprised at his condition, but do not be afraid, and have no doubt – what he says will be of great interest to you, and well worth the price of a shield, even a fine one like this.”

With this, the Ogre Mage bows ironically to Jack. “Farewell, warrior. Perhaps we shall meet again – and perhaps you will have the courage to try yourself against the greater of the brothers of Clan Ghal.”

The Ogre gestures and speaks as he did when first they met not far from Jack’s castle. Again, the black wings emerge from the Ogre’s back, and again Ghal-lul takes to the air, swiftly fading from Jack’s sight.

Jack pauses only long enough to skin one of the Winter Wolves, and then climbs the great steel staircase up into – The Castle of the Cloud Giant.

Add the following entry to Jack’s Journal:

I have received a Silver Key from the Ogre Mage. There is a certain Green Pipe containing a fan, which this key will disable. Beyond lies a prisoner of the Ogre Mage’s ‘master’, who he claims has valuable information for me.

Remove the Dragon Scale Shield from Jack’s left hand slot and add the Silver Key and a Winter Wolf Pelt to the Pouch of Ghrul.

Turn to 70.