In which we ask: Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our bold heroes had won their fortune, but was it too easily won? Laden down with tens of thousands of gold pieces, and dozens of paintings (worth a cool half a million), the Knights of Blackthorn began the trek back home. Despite fears that Disaren’s ambitions might have brought their settlement to ruin while they were unable to defend it, Hydra’s Hollow remained standing, and in the same shape they had left it in, some three months previous.
Although everything appeared fine on the surface, each had nagging suspicions that something wasn’t quite right. At night, they were troubled by strange dreams in which enemies they had faced in Temple Canyon returned babbling nonsensical portents, as if trying to warn them. One phrase remained consistent: “The Monkey Always Lies.”
Caught in landslide, no escape from reality
Our heroes carved out a hiding spot for their haul underneath the stones of their mighty fortress, then began the march north to Ridonport to reunite with Lance Aldan, their very first employer, who had paid them in firearms to secure their loyalty for a future job. The trip to Ridonport proved uneventful, but upon reaching the city, the world began to collapse, and the towers of Ridonport began to shake and topple . . .
Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see
. . . hurling our heroes back to reality. They found themselves standing amongst the bones of fallen adventurers in the “treasure room” where they remembered fighting a sorceress and her cronies for the loot, before being rescued by an angel from certain death. Before them stood a squat monkey idol with fist-sized rubies for eyes, emanating powerful illusion magic. Under assault from both interference from the God of War and the tortured playing of a wounded halfling bard, the Monkey’s insidious illusion had collapsed, releasing the Knights before they suffered the same fate as the corpses around them.
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Convinced now that his entire world was a lie, Glenn attacked the put-upon little bard, who promptly cried. Sir Dread cut the poor man loose of the ropes that had held him fast while the Knights were trapped in the Monkey’s magic, and he immediately took his leave, convinced now the pittance he was earning in pay was not proportionate to the danger he’d found himself in, and the Knights were definitely not his people.
Because I’m easy come, easy go. Little high, little low.
Thorough inspection of the Monkey’s chamber unearthed no treasure beyond what dead men had left behind, especially after Sir Dread destroyed the statue. However, the cave system continued downward, leading to more danger, but possibly a more substantial reward as well . . .
Finally free of the Monkey trap, our heroes fight onward in search of mighty riches! But if the Monkey was merely the first of many such guardians, do our brave and noble Knights have any hope of success? Stay tuned!
Any way the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me. To me . . .