The Plateau of the Endless – Page 02


Plateau (2)

Perilous Jack slips away from the combat between the Dwarf warriors and the Giant Lizardmen and dashes down the corridor toward the room described by Colonel Firebrand. 

The hall is empty of Lizardman guards and Saurians, and there are no cells in this direction containing Dwarves who might question his actions. The room is at the end of the hall, just as the Colonel said.

Jack approaches warily, still bearing the huge Mithril broadsword of the Giant Lizardman he slew when he escaped. There are no guards apparent, but as he nears the door of the treasure room, a luminous white fog billows forth, which stops him cold.

Streamers of mist seem to beckon and dance as he approaches, gradually coalescing from chilling fog into a vaguely humanoid shape, which regards him with cold ice-blue eyes. The face is chalk white and distorted with inhuman sorrow. A low, agonized moan escapes the creature’s bloodless lips, which seems to blend with the wisps of fog until the bone-chill and heart-wracking sorrow become one. Jack freezes in place, his heart icy with fear. This is a Ghost, one of the most powerful forms of undead. Unlike most undead, whose bodies are susceptible to mundane weapons, Ghosts are incorporeal. Only powerful magic can compel or damage their kind, of which Jack has none. Although many Ghosts are harmless, lost in the sorrow that trapped them among the living, some can be exceptionally dangerous, capable of possessing living bodies and displacing their rightful souls or inflicting madness and injury.

The Ghost exhales another cloud of chilling fog, which condenses in the air between them. Through the white mist, Jack can see flickering images, a vague dream . . . he peers into the dream-window . . . and begins to sink.

At first only the black wall is visible, against which a roiling ball of flame seems to curl, in and in upon itself, and then flickering out again like serpent tongues . . . . As Jack gazes deeper into the mist, the image becomes clearer, the flickering tongues become dragon-like heads on serpent necks, the ball of flame at the center a huge scaly body glowing with volcano heat. It is the Pyrohydra, perched atop a CacheStone platform in the courtyard of Blackrock Castle. Now tiny figures scurry about, leaping from platform to platform, and as Jack sinks deeper into the dream, he sees Lizardmen of many races battling a few wounded, desperate dwarves . . . .


He thinks he feels the heat upon his face . . . .


Turn to 79.