Level 7

Translator's Note:
The Prince is not the only one faced with a choice here. Unfortunately, the ancient texts and translations that have survived are divided almost evenly between two equally convincing tales. In one, the Prince chooses the western door. In the other, he chooses the door to the east. I will, therefore, present both versions and let you decide which one you prefer.

The West Exit

1. I was in a room that, by the standards of this fortress, was not large. An iron gate barred my way to the east and a high wall blocked the western path. As usual, the door closed behind me. (How I wished, Hamza, that I could jam these doors open, if only out of sheer spite.)

I tested the floor and found a loose tile. Jumping up and down caused it to fall and I climbed down into the gap it left.

2. I landed easily on a high alcove whose original purpose I could not fathom, then jumped acros to a middle ledge. I spotted a serpent below me, but it seemed to slither into the eastern wall. I jumped past it and ran to the west, lowering myself into a gap I had spotted in the floor.

3. Another goblin head attacked me on the high ledge. With my poor, ineffective blade, I had to hit the creature many times before it died, and it took a gouge out of my arm with its slavering mouth. But I defeated it and continued onward, first knocking down some loose floor tiles, then lowering myself to the ground level of this room. A healing potion rested on middle ledge, and I drank before continuing to the east.

4. Another goblin head attacked me almost immediately, but my timing was improving. Once I had the fiendish creature s rhythm, I struck it repeatedly with my blade.

When the creature vanished, I noticed some dust on the floor just to the east, and jumping up, dislodged a ceiling plate. A small, secret alcove hid a healing potion, which 1 drank.

Then, testing the ceiling of this alcove, I found another loose ceiling, but just lowered myself out of the way before it could crash onto my head.

5. I climbed into a large, empty room. On the eastern wall was a small niche set halfway up the wall, and in the niche was a Life Enhancement Potion. I spent no time in celebration however, because another goblin head attacked me, I hit it a few times and the creature floated sulkily back toward the eastern wall. I didn't know what to do about it, so I started toward it to finish it off. It suddenly came out of its daze and turned to attack me again. I was in a bad position and it began taking great chunks of flesh from my arms and chest before I was able, finally, to dispatch it. I climbed painfully up onto the niche and drank the potion there. As usual, it healed my wounds and I felt better than before. Seeing no other exit, I lowered myself into the gap again.

4. I ran east along the bottom path again, and heard the sound of metal grinding as I stepped on a pressure plate next to a half wall. I climbed up and continued my running.

6. After a brief exploration, I discovered another healing potion, but had no need of healing. Then I decided to explore a small gap in the ceiling that I had discovered. I climbed up through it as the gate behind me clattered shut.

7. As I climbed, I felt the ledge move a little. It was a pressure plate, and I heard a gate opening to the west.

The East Exit

18. I was in a moderately large hallway with the familiar square columns stretching up to the ceiling. I started out to the west.

19. As I passed a set of columns, I stepped upon a pressure plate, which opened a gate on the second landing to the west. However, I also noticed a wide crevice in the wall ahead of me which turned out to open into a narrow tunnel.

20. I crawled through the tunnel and came out in an enclosed hallway with no exits. Some careful investigation, however, revealed some loose floor tiles. I jumped once and two of them fell. I lowered myself into the area below.

21. Immediately, a goblin head screamed and came at me. I drew my sword and slew the creature with six quick, well-timed strokes. Then, carefully, I jumped across to the west.

22. Again a goblin head attacked me, but once again I drew my weapon and, striking just as it set itself for the attack, destroyed it with four quick strokes. And my reward? Another Life Enhancement Potion!

Refreshed, healed, and strong, I returned the way I had come findmg no other way out of this dark, narrow hallway. Carefully, I walked to the edge of the first gap to the east.

21. I jumped across to the east and holsted myself up again.

20. I crawled back through the tunnel...

19. ...ran to the pressure plate that opened the upper gate, then ran to the west.

20. I spotted a blade trap in the wall and crawled under it.

I could hear a strange sound coming from nearby to the west. It was a sort of gasping moan, almost a tune. I had no idea what was making the sound, but I resolved to be careful. I stepped carefully into the next area.

23. It was another of the ghastly heads moaning to itself. I drew my sword and stepped back in preparation for its charge. The tip of my blade was just short of the edge of a broken column. I remember because I had worried that the column might interfere with my stroke.

My timing was good, however, and I delivered six unanswered blows to vanquish the floating monstrosity I jumped to the lower floor and ran east, past a pile of bones and a large serpent sign.

6. I came across a welcome healing potion and closed gate. I could find no way to open the gate, but a gap in the ceiling led upward. I climbed that way.

7. As I climbed, I felt the ledge move a little. It was a pressure plate, and I heard a gate opening to the west.

Translator's Note:
From this point on, most common translations agree.

The Final Section

8. I ran, and, just as I came through the gate, launched myself into the air, vaulting a wide gap and catching on to the ledge on the other side. I pulled myself up. I climbed onto a higher landing and kept running west.

9. I reached a healing potion at the end of a hallway. After drinking the potion, I noticed dust on the floor. I moved directly between two columns where they supported the ceiling and jumped. The ceiling tiles on either side of me crashed to the floor and I continued west, climbing onto a middle landing.

10. As I entered the next room, I saw two serpents headed directly at me. I took a quick step and then leaped over them. They seemed to have even less interest in me than I had in them, and continued slithering to the west. However, I wasn't out of trouble yet. I spotted a straight, regular slit in the wall - a slicer! I crawled under the slicer after checking once again to see that the serpents did not turn around and come after me.

11. Far below, I saw two more snakes disappear, heading west. A healing potion lay on the floor to the east. I had no need of it, so I examined the ceiling and found a way leading up. I climbed.

12. I was pulling myself up along the western wall when I heard the banshee scream of a goblin head. Without turning, I drew my sword, then whirled about to meet the attack. I took one step backward to make room, then struck. I kept striking each time the head set itself for a charge, and after six solid hits, it was gone.

This last goblin head had been very fast and very aggressive. I took a moment to catch my breath. I had been scratched, and welcomed the healing potion I found to the west.

After drinking down the potion, I realized the only way to go was farther up, so I returned to the western wall and climbed the ledges there. I saw daylight above me.

13. I had reached the roofless top of this part of the fortress and a dusky evening sky greeted me. In the dimming light, I realized that I could not make any progress if I tried to go east, so I climbed to the highest landing and headed west.

14. A screaming goblin head attacked me almost immediately, but I stood my ground and killed it with four quick strokes. I continued west.

15. Ahead of me was a closed gate. I saw no pressure plate, but I did discover that the floor just in front of the gate was loose. I made it fall by jumping, then I peered into the hole. I saw below me the dim outlines of a doorway and decided to drop, though the fall would almost certainly hurt. But I was in good health and decided to try to reach this doorway without delay.

16. I was right about the door (and about the fall being painful) but I saw no way to open it. On a hunch, I headed east.

17. I found a pressure plate, but only after crawling under a nasty blade trap.

16. I returned the way I had come and found the door open and a stairway leading upward. I climbed.

Continue to Chapter 5: The Shadow & the Flame (Level 8)
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