|Standing among the shattered remains of a Carrion Creeper, Perilous Jack faces an open door.|
Beyond is a room entirely dominated by an enormous Iron Golem, which stands with a huge curved blade in its hand. The Golem is covered with spider webs and the joints appear to be rusted shut. Several Giant Spiders the size of large dogs dwell in the webs shrouding the Golem; they rush at Jack as soon as he enters the room.
The hero slays the Spiders quickly, relying on the Dancing Dagger to contend with the smaller ones and dispatching the rest with his Long Sword, and returns to his examination of the Golem. The construct is ancient beyond imagining, perhaps even a relic of one of the early Aeons, when the technology of the Emerald Dynasty was still fresh enough to be reproduced, however crudely, by the successors of the First Men. The machine does not move as Jack examines it, and finally he notices that a panel hangs open in its chest. With the tip of the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar, he carefully probes within the space behind the open panel. He discovers loose wires and hoses, an empty socket, a vaguely spherical void – obviously, some essential piece of machinery has been removed from the place where a human heart would be.
He climbs down from the Golem and searches the room. He discovers a small niche cut from the far wall near the ceiling, which supports two treasure chests. One contains thirty silver coins and a collection of tools and bottles of lubricant clearly intended for maintaining the Golem. The other is locked beyond Jack’s ability to open. At the base of the wall, he finds a narrow passage, nearly invisible in the gloom, which leads to a small chamber within the wall. A shelf overhead holds two more treasure chests containing an additional thirty silver coins, a Ruby, a finely wrought Falchion, and a Potion of Haste. Above them, a GreenShaft containing a Warp Portal projects from the ceiling. The Warp Portal is dull and opaque; clearly, some password or token is needed to utilize it.
Jack leaps to the shelf and examines the contents of the treasure chests. Among variously sized gears and pistons, he discovers a piece of machinery roughly the size and shape of his head – the Golem’s Heart – and in the other, an ivory tube containing an ancient scroll of parchment.
Jack hesitates before touching the Scroll, for he is well aware of the danger. In Maim, his homeland, the old wives whisper of the Witch Writing, a secret necromantic alphabet used by the witches of Mahorela for secret communications, and to write the terms of the contracts they make with demonic powers. It is said that any non-witch who reads the Witch Writing will be blasted with terrible curses.
Add sixty Silver, one Ruby, the Falchion, and the Potion of Haste to the Pouch of Ghrul.
If you think Perilous Jack should read the Parchment Scroll, turn to 22.
If you think he should attempt to insert the Golem’s Heart, turn to 28.