Kingmaker


Dr Hagfish Knockknobble,
Keeling University,
Isarn

Dr Knockknobble,

I hope that this letter finds you in good health and spirits, and that your “Disquisition on Granite” is progressing well. We are all most keen to study what will – I have no doubt whatever – be the final word on the formation, characteristics, mythology, history, uses and inherent value and beauty of igneous rock comprising quartz/feldspar/mica crystals of .5mm or greater diameter.

Kindly be in receipt of these records of my expedition to Cloudarc Monastery and the Well of Stars. I would be most obliged if you could arrange for their publication in the usual journals. I have endeavoured, as always, to provide a popularisation which I hope will be acceptable to “Adventuring Times” in exchange for the usual fee.

Enclosed in the package accompanying this letter are a number of eyestalks from a creature I believe to have been an “eye-tyrant”, or “beholder” (the wizards of the coast have copyrighted the term, so do try to avoid it in any published works). I can think of no-one better able to document and make use of their various properties. If you could mention me in your write-up, I shall again be greatly obliged.

You have to prod him to do the job, and if this doesn’t motivate the greedy old letch, then I’m out of ideas. But it will. It will.

I regret that I am somewhat pressed for time as I compose this message, but I look forward to seeing the next Adventuring Times (and, of course, the receipt of their cheque!) and speaking with you at any length at next season’s faculty ball, to which I intend to bring some few of our most promising young students from the woodlands and nearby. With luck, perhaps even Melanae of the fey will deign to join us for a brief time.

With greatest respect,
Zacharias Jackson
Court of His Grace the Most Martial Duke Jope
Fort Tuskwater, Fredonia


And so, having solved the ancient riddle of the prayer wheels, Zack Jackson led the expedition across the now-revealed bridge of cloudarc, an ancient bridge of simple quartz linking the twin peaks of the mountains, soaring majestically over the clouds beneath. Its surface smooth and slick, no doubt another test for the ancient order of monks who built it, but entwined now with great ropes and cables of the loathsome vine that had strangled the gatehouse.

Science Facts

Kids, did you know that an eye-tyrant’s flying is entirely nonmagical? They float by means of lighter-than-air gasses, and move by expelling gas from various bodily orifices. This has a distinctive sound and smell!

But their crossing was not unnoticed. At the very apogee of the arc, an abberation – an eye tyrant – emerged from the clouds below.

Zack Jackson immediately cast a spell of invisibility on the great archer and general of Fredonia, Rainor, for he could best deal with the flying abberation. The general launced a volley of deadly arrows into it, wounding it. It fled, but not before using its dreadful disintegrate power on the bridge itself. The arc of cloudarc, which had stood for millennia, began to fall.

Lord Jope’s faithful shieldbearer fell, but had the presence of mind to quaff a potion of flying as he did. Then the collapsing bridge caught Zack Jackson himself! He pummeted to an almost certain death, but was saved by Rainen the flying wolf. The shield bearer and Rainen briefly played hide and seek with the eye-tyrant in the cloudbank blow the bridge, avoiding the distinctive sound of its flight. They flew on to the far end of the bridge, rejoining their companions.

Before them, on a small plateau stood a site of myth and wonder – a legend: the Well of Stars. This was the great secret of Cloudarc Monastery, this was the place that the monastery was built to keep secret.


I’m not going to finish this. The beholder retreated to the well of stars, which had some kind of portal to of which the fey vines were growing. Rainor killed it, of course, but just before it died ZJ ran up and stuck his rapier into it.

Rainor found his granddad’s bow, which I have no doubt at all will come in very, very handy.

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