The Cloud Castle – Page 50


As Jack leaps across the final pit, a panel slams shut in his face, trapping him in the chamber.

The pressure in his mind disappears like a bubble bursting, and reality crashes in. An Illithid Wizard stands on a high platform across the room, magic staff glowing. Jack hears the slither of heavy bodies moving in the pits below him and catches a whiff of the stench of Worms. The illusion is broken – there was never a captive Vasilisa or Layla, nor a wounded Illithid in the pits; instead, only horrible death awaited should he have believed the illusions and jumped in.

Knowing what fate he has escaped does not help him now. The Illithid Wizard gestures, and massive muscular tentacles blossom from the stone, seeking to wrap him in their powerful grasp and fling him into a pit to be devoured by Worms. The only way to end this combat is to slay the Illithid – but how? The Sun Shield provides the answer!

Jack focuses on the artifact and pours his will into the stone in the center. The Sun Shield glows with blinding light and blistering heat. As the first tentacle reaches across the gap to grasp at him, Jack shoves the Sun Shield forward, searing off the tip of the tentacle. It recoils, and as each new tentacle grasps for him, he burns it off. In moments, the first knot of tentacles cowers in fear of him and his glowing shield. He leaps to the platform above it and repeats the same performance with the second group of tentacles. The Illithid Wizard, seeing its monstrous spell failing, begins gesturing furiously to cast its next magic. Jack doesn’t give it time to finish; he leaps to the high central platform and flings his hammer, striking the Illithid just hard enough to knock it from its perch – and into the waiting jaws of the Carrion Crawler below! The magical tentacles vanish, and Jack is able to smash his way through the panel and into the next chamber.

Turn to 151.