A DANK and fetid mist hung over the swamps as we left Urdnal's road-fort. We rode warily southwards with a small group of other travellers, amongst them a fat merchant, his beard plaited with gold wire, and his daughter clad in ring-mail and red cloak.
Our uneasiness grew as we proceeded. Zul and Zel snuffed at the air with suspicion and jabbered excitedly to each other in their halfling tongue. We rounded a reed-shrouded bend in the road ... and out from the ditches sprang 10 or 12 scaly green creatures, hissing and snarling. Snake men! And one of them dragged a human on a leash.
The merchant howled in terror and covered his head - but his daughter reached behind her and drew forth a glittering scimitar. Straight at them she rode and they swarmed around her, flint knives hacking. This was enough for me. "Gnaa-Ithukk" roared I and flung my club. Three bog-dwellers fell. The lady with a dainty sword took two as fast as a blink. Zul and Zel grinned wickedly and cast their throwing knives. Four more. The rest fled, gibbering and clicking.
I seized the captive on the leash and hauled him up behind me. The horses were half-dead when we reached the cavalry fort at Uusuun-An, set on the only firm ground for leagues. The name is Maruvian for High Point ... all of twenty feet at best.
There we were told the road to Urtutin was in turmoil. So we camped early within the walls along with other unfortunate travellers.
|Gordo's war cry brings comfort to travellers in the bogs of Urunnar|
Few could sleep and there was much talk around the fires. Old Thumb of West Byfleet told a tale of shrinking when, as the Microman in Project X he had combat with a massive maddened mole in an underground tunnel. Though armed with a needle as rapier he could not defeat it. Many of us told Thumb he was on the right track - but he needs a shield as well as sword. When so small, a button would serve well for that purpose. Examine fields and foliage well.
A hard drinking group, most oddly garbed in false beards, bemoaned their failures down in Ketland - The Final Mission had been their downfall. Trekker Topharn of Huddersfield pressed me for aid. She had encountered a slime thing in the halls of Vran and fought long and uselessly. She should ignore this demon - it serves nothing to stay. But that was not enough for Trekker. What of the cubby hole near the High Ceilinged room? What use for the garlic?
Borrowing her haunch of lamb I told her that the cubby hole is useful as a hiding place. If any of you should encounter a 'splatting' noise in the High room than head west and up to the hole. Wait here six times and you should hear a splintering. You may then find a closed door open. The garlic ... well, all travellers know that to be a specific against the bloodsuckers and flesheaters. The Lady Delphia has just such noisome eating habits. Garlic in a place of death will stave off her attacks.
Baz Bateman of Cornwall sought help with The Hulk, Spiderman and the many treasures of Eureka. He knows Middle Earth well and would help others with that in return.
Eureka baffles many. Ironman Johnston of Cumbria confessed his failure to find the Golden Eagle standard in this quest indeed he could not even enter the legions' camp. Let me know, friends, where this Aquila may be for many others seek this knowledge.
Witchmaster Wood of Uxbridge had been badly stumped by the Lords of Time. A skeleton assailed him - invincible or so it seemed. Now, his joints may be loose so hurl a well-aimed rock. That may discourage the abomination.
Others then with Witchmaster pleaded for advice on the same adventure. Elfstrangler Edwards of Bury found his silver coin would not pay for ale in the Roman town. Think of a landlord's overheads, youngster, for ale is not cheap. A golden nugget should be the asking price - had from a cavewoman in another time. And no, there is no other source of light besides the candle.
Hendrik von Braun of London, stepped up to offer help with Dragon Torc ... slightly foxed he was and incanted thus. "At henges use a Ley Rod all around and blue cubes to make the spirits bound. If snakes you fear then light a torch and be at peace." With that he vanished into the night, muttering to himself.
For those who travel wearily in Tir Na Nog, Steve the Sidhe Slayer offered all his help - so long as they pay the courier's fee for him. He had united the four parts of Calum's Seal and activated it with his hammer. Whip your horses on to Nottingham.
So we came to the serious matter of Sherlock's murder hunt. Wraithbane Ben of Southwick and many others had found that their time runs out at 1.02 am on Tuesday morning.
Know this, all of you ... that time is when the miserable and erroneous Lestrade arrests that opium-eater Major Ffoulkes. So then 'offically' the murder has been solved! As I have said before it is best to prove the Major innocent before any other task. If you do so time will not stop in its tracks. Go to Sidmouth Street on Monday evening and follow the addict, suitably disguised of course. The quest should normally end between 6 and 8pm on the Wednesday but may go on for longer, now and then.
Two others, Gregory de Vauclusle of far Australia and 'Bishop' Colin of London also sought this murderer and looked in a stream for a gun which they are sure was there. They could see no purpose in the hedge. First the hedge - it has as much use as a certain crimson fish. The stream's a different matter ...
First, as before, the major should be proved innocent. Once done, follow Lestrade back to Leatherhead where he too walks beside the stream. Examine all the places thereabouts with care.
As the dawn came up the snake men's captive came to his wits. Iubba of Mazra he said his name was, profession locksmith ... minor thief more like. Farewell then, friends, 'til the next rising of Our Lady Ithukk, bless her pocks.
|Gordo Greatbelly, Landlord|
|If you have a tale to tell, or are in need of a helping hand, write to the Landlord of the Dancing Ogre c/o Sinclair User, London.|