Level 11

I had been seeing images of the tree in the garden back at the palace. I knew that it was somehow linked with the fate of my Princess, but I had tried not to think about it. This time, when I saw the vision of the tree, its leaves were nearly gone. I knew I had little time left to complete this mission, whatever it was.

1. I was in a small room lit by wrought iron candelabras. The door closed behind me and I set out to the west, down a low hallway.

2. I stepped on a pressure plate and heard a metal gate clanging above me. Looking up, I could see a huge tower, but the sound of the gate echoed so that I could not tell where it was.

I climbed onto a landing between two giant statues, then climbed again to another landing. A pressure plate on this second landing opened a gate above me.

3. I pulled myself up and walked through the gate.

4. I stepped onto a pressure plate and heard the gate close behind me. Then I climbed onto another landing and walked carefully to avoid the spike trap I had spotted in the western wall, activated another pressure plate, turned, and climbed again.

There was a gate to the east, but it didn't lead anywhere, so I returned to the western part of the small hallway I was in and examined the ceiling. I managed to loosen a tile there and it fell, revealing a gap. I climbed up.

5. I looked to the east and found a gate. It was closed, but I could see that there was nowhere to go past it. I would have to jump across to the other side, where a series of ledges looked favorable. I returned to the gap I had climbed through and noticed a pressure plate on the opposite side. I jumped across, triggered the plate, jumped back across the gap, then ran...

6. ...and jumped from the ledge, flying across the deep chasm...

3. ...and caught myseif on a ledge on the opposite side, several landings down. My arms nearly pulled from their sockets from the force of my fall, but I held on with all my strength. I pulled myself up, not quite able to breathe again.

6. I climbed as high as I could go, then ran to the east.

7. I was at a dead end. There was no other way out, so I explored I the ceiling and managed to loosen a tile. I stood between some sturdy columns, where the falling floor wouldn't hit me. The floor tile smashed onto a pressure plate and above me I heard the sound of a gate opening.

I climbed onto a ledge, but something made me hesitate before the gate. I saw three pressure plates below and had little doubt they were part of some kind of trap. I jumped up and down a few times, and a ceiling tile fell onto the first pressure plate, closing the gate. Now there was no choice. I jumped over to the western wall and climbed.

8. When I reached the highest landmg I decided to investigate the way leading east. I triggered a pressure plate and heard a gate opening far to the west then ducked under a blade trap and continued east.

9. I came to a series of ledges leading downward.

10. The ledges eventually ended in a long drop. It wasn't too long for me, however, and I decided to drop and investigate. There was what looked like a poison ponon at the bottom but I spied somethmg good to the west and headed that way.

7. It was a Life Enhancement Potion I drink it down and felt better.

Climbing onto a low wall, I triggered a pressure plate and saw to my dismay that I was on the opposite side of the gate I had previously skipped. The gate was opening. I saw another pressure plate just in front of me, and decided to jump over it. I climbed up through the gate, certain that I had narrowly averted some extreme and final danger. I climbed up the series of ledges again.

8. This time, I took a quick look to the west, where I had heard the gate opening before. As expected, the path ended at a chasm. I didn't try to go all the way to the edge - one of the floor tiles was loose there. I realized I would have to backtrack, trigger the pressure plate, then jump the small gap, run, and jump again to get across the chasm. It didn't seem like a very good option, but it was the only one I could see.

I stood on the pressure plate and listened as the gate rose in the distance. Taking a deep breath, I ran and jumped over the small gap...

11. ...and almost immediately leaped again. The chasm loomed below me, and for a moment I didn't think I would make it, but I just caught the wall with my hands and held on. Moments later - long moments later - I heard the crash of the loose floor as it hit the bottom of the tower. As quickly as I could, I pulled myself up and ran through the gate before it could close. Another floor tile fell behind me.

12. In my haste, I almost skewered myself on some wall spikes, but I stopped short as another floor tile fell behind me. I climbed up a series of landings.

13. To the west was a closed gate, and beyond it, a potion. A pressure plate lay to the east, and another closed gate. Stepping on the pressure plate did nothing, and I guessed its purpose was to close one or both of these gates.

I had a feeling I was not going to want these gates to close, so I broke a floor tile above the pressure plate and sent it crashing down to jam the device. Then, not seeing any other way to go, I climbed up to the highest ledges.

14. I stood in a short, low hallway and ran carefully east.

15. When I reached the end of the path there was nowhere to go, but I stepped on a pressure plate and heard the sound of a gate opening. I realized that I might not have a lot of time to reach it before it closed, so I lowered myself off the edge and dropped.

16. I landed between the feet of two giant statues and immediately jumped west. The gate was open.

13. I ran and jumped again immediately to pass through the gate, realizing that I had done well to destroy the pressure plate that would certainly have closed the gate across the narrow gap. I had no need of the healing potion and left it where it was, just in case.

17. I had been wondering where all the guards were, and now I found out! The first guard was tough, and I had to fight furiously, even so taking several nasty hits from him. And while I was learning the timing of his attacks and countering him, several more guards appeared from a high ledge to the west. They lined up to take their turns at me. I finally learned to time my attacks to catch him just as he began his attack on me, and to parry when he struck. Once I had the timing down, I was able to catch him again and again. Soon he fell, and the next one took his place. This guard was also skillful, but I thrust again and again, hitting him and killing him quickly. The rest of the guards were slower and fell even more quickly.

13. I was glad I had saved the healing potion. I was severely wounded, and even this potion only partially healed me. I returned to the west after drinking it.

17. Now that I was no longer under attack, I surveyed the room and discovered that the only way to go was up. I climbed a series of ledges along the eastern wall.

18. When I reached the highest ledge, I made a pleasant discovery - another healing potion. I drank it and continued east.

14. As I passed through an open gate, it closed behind me. I climbed into an alcove and knocked a ceiling tile loose, then climbed through the gap.

19. I had found a doorway, but was it the exit? To the west was a closed gate. To the east was an impassable cliff. But there was a pressure plate that way and I triggered it hopefully. It did not open the door, however, but only the western gate. I headed that way, jumping over the small gap in the floor and climbing up to walk carefully through the gate.

20. The guard almost caught me by surprise. The gate slammed shut behind me and I found myself in a fight for my life. I barely got by him. I learned to anticipate his attacks and to counter, but not before receiving a few new wounds. I was in bad shape.

I became very cautious after my last two encounters with guards. I checked out everything, and that's how I discovered the trap door in the floor. It was just past two low columns, and when I jumped on the floor, it spun around. I jumped over it, then climbed onto a ledge, triggering a pressure plate.

There was no apparent place to go, but I was able to break a floor tile next to the western wall. I dropped to a lower landing when it fell so I wouldn't be hit, then climbed back up and into the gap.

21. I stood next to some spike holes, but was careful not to get hit by the spikes. I faced east and jumped over the gap. There was a loose floor tile, but my jump took me over it and it didn't fall.

I crawled under a blade trap, then continued east.

22. I came to a small series of ledges lining both sides of a tall center tower. To the east I could see a closed gate. There was no way to open the gate, so I climbed the eastern series of ledges and broke through the ceiling.

23. I climbed into a hallway and headed east.

24. I jumped over a narrow gap and continued east.

25. There was a ledge above me and a gap leading down. I decided to investigate the gap first.

26. As I dropped into a very small alcove, I heard the sound of a loose floor off to the east. Not really knowing what I was doing, I jumped up and down until I heard it fall. Then I climbed back out of the small, dark place.

25. I climbed onto the upper landing and crossed to its edge. Hanging down, I could make out a room below. I dropped.

26. As soon as I landed, I heard a sickening sound of metal gears and scraping stone. To my horror, I saw a whole section of the wall begin to move rapidly in my direction. If I had not moved like a cat, dropping down through a gap in the Door, I would have been crushed! As it was, I was slightly hurt by the fall, but as I watched through the gap above, the wall drove forward without stopping until I heard it crash with a thud into the opposite wall. I shuddered to think what sound it would have made with me in the middle!

I stepped onto a pressure plate and heard, far away, the sound of sliding stone. I believed I had found the exit plate! Now I just had to find my way back to the exit! I crawled under a blade trap and looked to the west.

27. The gate across the chasm was closed, but I had to hope I could find a way to get it open once I got across, because that was the only way I could see to go now. Looking down, I could no longer see the bottom, which was obscured in a darkening haze.

I got a running start and leaped with all my strength as a loose floor tile gave way. There was a sickening moment in which I imagined myself hurtling into the darkness below, but at the last instant my hands caught the stone ledge and my body jerked to a halt. I held on by my fingernails and began to struggle onto the ledge.

I stood staring at the gate. It was still closed, I stared what for seemed like minutes, Hamza, though it was probably only a few seconds, then there was a distant crash - the floor tile finally smashing to the ground - and the gate miraculously opened. A man could have recited his evening prayers in the time it took the tile to drop, and I thanked Allah once again that it was the stone floor and not this unworthy Prince that fell. I ran through the open gate.

22. I ran through the small tower room...

21. ...then crawled under the blade trap and took one careful step, then jumped over the loose floor tile, and into the gap in the floor I made sure I did not jump too far and activate the spikes in the wall beyond the gap. Nor did I want to hit the remaining loose floor tile. I knew there was a pressure plate below it.

20. I landed on a ledge, then lowered myself onto the pressure plate below. I turned and jumped over the trap door and then jumped over the pressure plate that closed the gate to the east. I went through the gate.

19. The exit door was open! Carefully I jumped over the narrow gap in the floor and ran up the stairs. I think one more death-defying jump and I would have been finished. Would these stairs lead to freedom? To some answers, perhaps? At least they led out of this place...

Continue to Chapter 5: The Shadow & the Flame (Level 12)
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