|Just past the shore of Foldoron Lake, on the very edge of the TowaShroom Forest, Perilous Jack encounters a scene of awe-inspiring magical combat.|
A horde of huge insect-like creatures pour from the depths of the TowaShrooms, and trapped between them and the lake are Serra the True and Dark Simon, who defend themselves with powerful magic.
As Jack emerges, blade in hand, Dark Simon unleashes a powerful ice storm, causing frigid winds, iceballs, and huge piercing icicles to rain down upon the monsters. Meanwhile Serra calls on her less-destructive magic to paralyze the creatures and turn them away. Jack leaps into the fray, slashing away long paralytic tentacles and carving into tough carapaces with his sword.
As soon as the heroes gain a reprieve from the fight, they gather on a high section of levitating architecture, well above the reach of the insect-creatures. When they have regained their breath, Serra turns to Jack.
“I have news! I and the other Sisters of the Glittering Rime have performed a number of divinations, and we believe we have located one of the Shards! You won’t like it,” she concludes on a less exuberant note.
Jack raises an eyebrow.
“Goblin Mountain,” she says.
Jack smiles. “What’s not to like? I know it’s somewhere on the Plateau of the Endless, but no more than that. Any idea how to find it, or how to get inside?”
Serra shakes her head. “I’m afraid not.”
“The Order of the Cloak knows a thing or two about Goblin Mountain,” ventures Dark Simon. “All my sources say that simply walking up to the mountain would be suicide – unless you happen to have a million soldiers behind you. The best way to get inside is through a back door. When the First Men hid themselves from the Old Ones at the collapse of the Emerald Dynasty, they built a labyrinth of underground chambers connected by Warp Portals, which riddle the entire Plateau. Some of them – many of them – are likely to connect to Goblin Mountain.”
“Well, it’s a start,” says Jack.
“Are you bound for the Plateau now?” asks Serra. Jack nods and shows her the bag of Magic Beans.
“All I need now is the location of the Giant’s castle. If I can trust the Fairy Dragon’s dream – and I think I can – then the Pyrohydra has its lair directly below the Giant’s castle. If I can find out where the Pyrohydra lairs, that will point me in the right direction.”
“I’ll take you to the Plateau,” says Dark Simon. “Maybe while I’m there I can scout around in the Underworld and find a likely-looking Warp Portal to take us into the mountain.” Jack shudders a little at the thought of traveling with Dark Simon, for his preferred mode of long-distance travel is to summon the Bridge of Shadows, a technique he learned among the dark wizards of The Cloak. The Bridge is an unsettling experience, and one best left to diabolists.
Add the following to Jack’s Journal: One Shard of the broken Nightcrystal has been located, somewhere in Goblin Mountain. I will have to find a back door into the mountain, perhaps through the Underworld.
“Any more scrolls or other artifacts that may shed some light on these matters?” asks Serra.