The Plateau of the Endless – Page 25


Plateau (25)

Jack sets off toward the southwest and for the first hour finds his journey quite peaceful – there are advantages to traveling through the territory of a Dragon.

Then the night begins to fall, after only a few hours of daylight, and the wandering horrors who have given the Plateau its dark reputation begin to emerge.

At first, Jack sees only a trio of staggering Zombies, a small challenge for a warrior of his stature. Then, behind the Zombies, Jack catches a glimpse of another pair of humanoid monsters. These undead horrors have a savage gleam of intellect in their moldering eyes, and long sharp teeth. They are Ghouls – fierce, fast, and intelligent. Jack takes a high position on a staircase of ancient masonry and prepares his Rune Sword.

Suddenly his instincts scream a warning; he glances down and dances backward just in time to avoid the claws of a much more terrible threat. Below him, hiding beneath the staircase like a Troll under a bridge, is a white and withered Geist. This monster is more dangerous than the Zombies and Ghouls together, for its very touch can paralyze a living man.

Jack decides to pursue the course of caution and puts the Rune Sword away. Better to keep these foes at a distance, better still to wield against them the element they hate and fear the most – fire!

Jack pulls a Fire Flower from the Pouch of Ghrul and pops it in his mouth. Seconds later his fingertips dance with flame, and he begins flinging fireballs at the enemies approaching.

The dead utter no screams as they burn and burst and tumble into the deep pits gaping in the earth around them. The Zombies succumb swiftly and even the Ghouls, though they are swift enough to dodge his fireballs once or twice, soon plummet to their eternal doom, lighting the walls of the pits as they fall like torches flung into an abyss.

The Geist is not so easy to slay. On the staircase, just out of reach of the Geist’s claws, Jack is marginally safe, but he cannot get a clear line on the monster to hit it. He has no choice but to leap his way down to the Geist’s level. The act is daring; once he is on the ground there is only a narrow pit between him and the monster. The Geist falls for the bait and leaps across. Now Jack’s nerve is truly tested, for the undead monster is on his level, tensed to spring. The Geist leaps at him and Jack flings fireball after fireball into its chest.

The monster’s leap falls short – barely. With its last dying gesture the Geist flails toward his foot, and Jack shuffles backward just in time to avoid the touch. The magic of the Fire Flower has faded. Jack draws the Rune Sword and uses the tip to gingerly poke at the smoldering corpse. The fireballs have blasted clear through the monster’s shriveled chest. There can be no doubt it is dead.

Of the undead who attacked him, only the Geist and one Ghoul remain; the rest have plunged into the pits. Jack searches among their moldering robes for purses.


The purses of the undead monsters yield 287 Gold! Add this to the Pouch of Ghrul and remove a Fire Flower.


The way is now clear; Jack continues toward the hall of the Dwarves.


Turn to 7.