The Plateau of the Endless – Page 32


Plateau (32)

Perilous Jack’s journey to Crumbling Peak is relatively painless; the combined presence of the Dragon and the Dwarves serves to keep the wandering menaces away, even beyond the edges of their respective domains. 

A pack of Wolves, a patrol of Goblins, an aimless gang of Ghouls – these are all the menace Jack encounters.

When he arrives at the foot of Crumbling Peak, the sun has just begun to set, painting the sky in deepest blue. The mountain rises in fits and starts, thrusting forth a jagged and broken profile. Small islands of meadow, interspersed with trees, shrubs, and TowaShrooms, cling to the sides of the mountain, creating a natural stairway up to the peak.

Jack arrives to find the mountain occupied. A pair of huge Gray Wolves lopes down the mountainside toward him, followed closely by a lumbering Ogre. Jack draws the Rune Sword and lets some of the tension bleed from his tight shoulders. This is the kind of fight he relishes – strength against strength, no magic, no trickery, and no uncanny supernatural encounters.

The first Wolf is upon him, gleaming teeth snapping for his throat; he thrusts, burying his blade in the creature’s body even as it bears him down with its weight. He rolls as the Wolf collapses on top of him, withdrawing his sword just in time to dodge the fangs of the next. In an instant, he is on his feet. He slashes, laying open the side of the Wolf’s face, dives forward and thrusts as the Wolf staggers back. The Wolf collapses in a heap just as the Ogre arrives, reaching for Jack with powerful overlong arms.

Jack dances back, using the dead body of the first Wolf as a springboard so he can leap up and stab at the Ogre’s face. His blade strikes just shy of true, gouging the monster’s eye and cheek, but not sinking in for the kill. The Ogre, half-blind and enraged by his wound, flails wildly, knocking Jack aside – into the teeth of the still-living second Wolf. Jack wastes no time trying to bring his blade to bear on the Wolf; instead, with the efficiency of desperate haste, he hammers the creature’s skull with the pommel of his sword, knocking it into unconsciousness and eventual death.

The Ogre charges and Jack leaps aside at the last moment, slashing sideways as he does. His blade bites deeply into the Ogre’s knee, and the monster goes down, crashing with earth-shaking force across the body of the second Wolf. Jack dispatches the fallen Ogre with a flourish and raises his head to the mountain. From the deepening twilight, many sets of evil, night-shining eyes glare forth, having witnessed his deed. He hears the bay of other Wolves, the grumble of Ogre-speech. His journey up the mountain to Crumbling Peak will be neither swift nor sure.

Perilous Jack smiles and tightens his grip, raising his bloody sword for the gleaming eyes to see.

“Here I come,” he says, and has no doubt that they hear.


The purse of the Ogre yields 195 Gold! Add this to the Pouch of Ghrul and turn to 93.