Fighting Fantasy – The Warlock of Firetop Mountain Part 2

Last time…

The adventurer caroused about a town for a couple of days gathering information and supplies before leaving for Firetop Mountain.  Once inside I snuck past a guard, killed an orc chieftain and his servant finding a black glove.  This caused me to wonder if perhaps the Warlock isn’t already dead.  I ventured further exploring more of the dungeon.  I saved a prisoner who gave me not only advice but important information on how to proceed.  I then found a couple of goblins torturing a dwarf who sadly died before I could do more than kill his captors.  I then came upon a portcullis separating this area of the dungeon with further exploration, thanks to the prisoner I saved I knew the way past.

If you didn't read the first post and would like to go back, check it out here:

Now we continue…

A little meta before we get to the story.  After debating on going backwards in the dungeon to finish exploring the areas and doorways that I did not on my way through I decide against it.  Honestly, I’m not 100% certain I’m intended to.  I think you are only supposed to choose one of the options given to you in each paragraph, so I decided that doing this might be against the rules and ruin the story, so I decided to move on.
I use the lever on the right to lift the portcullis and continue my explorations.  I followed many T-intersections always trying to move north and west.  In one of these tunnels the path continued to get smaller until I was hunched, then stooping and finally crawling on my hands and knees until finally I could go no further as I was too large to fit.  I backed out of the tunnel to the sounds of echoing and ominous laughter.  Perhaps the warlock is indeed still alive and whether this shrinking tunnel was magic or natural I’ll never know.  Hopefully this doesn’t become a frequent occurrence.
Now I’m moving consistently north and west at every opportunity because north and west worked for me earlier.  I think perhaps this was planned in the dungeons construction for at one point the floor gave way to a large pit.  My luck held though, and I managed to avoid taking the tumble.  Perhaps they felt convincing intruders to head north and west would inevitably bring them to their death here in a pit.  Backtracking I found a black wooden door with silver trim covered in strange runes and lettering in language that I cannot read.  Feeling like this is almost certainly a trap I pass on.

Not far beyond this room I find another plain door which I enter.  The floor is covered in tiles patterned in alternating layout.  The pattern is that of an open hand and stars.  I assume this is a puzzle of some kind and that a wrong step will kill me.  I choose to stand on the open palm assuming you can touch that space because it is a hand whereas if you touch a star perhaps that represents falling into space.  I am wrong.  As soon as I step onto the first tile a ghostly hand reaches up from the floor grasping my ankle in a vicelike grip.  At the same time, other hands reach up from all of the other hand tiles grasping for anything nearby.  I hack the hand apart to free myself and the others disappear with it as though they were never there at all.  Wonderful.  I cross using the stars and make my way through to the door on the other side of the room and exit northwards.

Feeling somewhat luckier after that encounter I press on.  My wanderings eventually take me to another T-Junction.  There is an arrow carved into the rock and I end up going that direction (which to me is a poor choice because it didn’t say what direction it pointed!).  After following that hall for a bit though, I figure it out and adjust my map accordingly.  As I continue to follow passageways north the air becomes cool and I can hear water as I enter a spacious cavern with a river flowing from the west.  It looks strong and is quite wide.  Faced with the choice of resting or swimming I decide to take a respite hoping perhaps an answer will appear, like maybe a ghostly ferryman.

No answer comes to me, however a large sandworm does.  I feel the ground tremble before it bursts from the rocky soil with its mouth agape attempting to bite me with its sharp needle like teeth.  I fight the worm valiantly and slay it.  Exhausted form the tussle I finish my meal and decide that swimming is the only option.  I wade into the river but don’t make it very far across before the current drags me down river to the east through a hole in the wall.  After an uncertain distance I manage to drag myself back up onto a piece of shoreline on the south side of the river which is sadly the same side I started on, though the cavern I am now in is new to me.  Taking stock of my surroundings, I decide that this is apparently where I want to be as I’m presented with a number of new things in my surroundings.  There is a sign post with a rusty bell on it that says I should ring for the ferry and it will cost two gold.  There is an old raft with a long stick I could use to punt myself across the river and there is an even older looking bridge that crosses the river.

The ferryman?  I guess I might have misunderstood the preamble of the story and didn’t cross the river before making it to the cave, perhaps this is the river I should cross.  Remembering the story from town about the ferryman but unwilling to try the two even less safe looking options I ring the bell.  An old bent man comes out from a wooden door in the rock on the north side of the river.  He un-moors a small boat and rows over to me.  He states that he will row me across at the cost of three gold.  I point out that the sign says two and he mumbles something about inflation.  The villagers said he liked to haggle but I really just don’t have it in my right now.  I’ve got money and it wasn’t mine to start with so I pay the fee.  He rows me back to his side of the river and after tying off the boat wanders back from whence he came.  I am faced with three choices.  I can follow him into the tunnel he went to (I assume his home) northwest.  I can go through a door in the rock wall to the north or I can follow the riverbank east.

This seems like an excellent point to take a short break.