(PART 8 OF 10)

I headed off to the brewery the next morning. Gwenn said that Ragnar was still at the castle, but that she had to prepare mead for a hunting trip that he was planning shortly.

"I am very busy right now, brewing all of this mead for Ragnar, but I have a book that I meant to take to Granny Torunn's cabin. It's the 'Five Songs of King Wulfharth', and she would really like to have it back." Gwenn looked at me with those big brown eyes and smiled. "Would you be a dear and bring it to her? I would really appreciate it."

Now, I'm a man of adventure, head of the Mage's Guild, and all that, and here I am, delivering a book like a common errand-boy. I'm supposed to be on vacation, right? Sheesh. What was worse is that not one wolf attacked me on the way to her cabin. No excitement at all.

I finally arrived at Granny Torunn's cabin, and gave her the book. "Oh, thank you for bringing this book." she said. "Now, I have something for you." Now, I felt like I was going to get one of her home-made cookies. It would have been worth the walk.

"I have 4 amulets here." she said, handing the items to me. "Two of them are for chameleon, and the other two are for levitation. They were once a gift from Sigrid to Laurenna and Wulfren."

That's nice, but I was really hoping for a cookie.

"Please take these to Laurenna, make sure she keeps them safe. She may need them."

I looked over at the cookies on the table, like a little lost puppy. She noticed me staring, and offered one. "Certainly," I said, "I would love to try one." Definately made the trip worthwhile. Maybe delivering a book isn't so bad after all.

I finally made it back to Laurenna's cabin, and showed her the amulets that Granny had given me. "Oh, thank you." she said, "I'll take these two, but please hold on to Wulfren's for me. I believe they will be safer with you." I agreed to hold on to them for the time being. Laurenna said that she had forgotten how to cast the chameleon spell, and was very happy that Granny Torunn had given these amulets to her.

She also asked me about my conversation with Lisendra at the inn. I told her that I needed to buy her a drink (several, actually) in order to find out where those gauntlets were, and so on. I felt a bit uncomfortable with the question, but explained that it was necessary in order to obtain the information needed to help save her brother. Laurenna smiled, and gave me a hug, and a peck on the cheek. Very nice. I headed back to the inn, and took things easy for a bit.

The next day, I headed back to see Gwenn at the brewery. "Ragnar has just left for his hunting tour!" she said. "Please, run and tell Laurenna! Now is the time!"

I ran back to my room at the inn, made sure I had all the things to fight a mage with, then headed back to Laurenna's cabin to give her the news.

"I'm coming with you this time!" she stated. "Remember: Agnete will only trust me with the key to the master bedroom." I agreed, since she was probably right about that. Besides, she might know a few things about the castle that I woudn't.

We went along the back of the castle, and just before we came to the inn, I told her to use the chameleon amulet. In a flash of green mist, she became almost ghost-like in appearance. One would have to look very hard to see her. I used my own amulet of shadows, and together we entered the castle. As soon as the door closed behind us, one of the guards came around the corner. Luck was on our side, as he hadn't heard the door close. We tip-toed right past him and up a flight of stairs. My chameleon spell wore off, as did hers, but we made it to the castle trophy room without a problem.

Agnete was, at first, elated, then aprehensive upon seeing Laurenna. "You know, Ragnar would be very displeased to see you in 'his' castle." she warned. Laurenna walked over to Agnete and gave her a hug.

"You know I am only here because my mother is being kept prisoner in the castle tower." Agnete cast her eyes to the floor. "I know." she said. "It's terrible what he is doing, but I fear him. I'm not sure what I can do."

Laurenna gave her a stern look, and said "Agnete, we have a plan to save Wulfren's life, and restore him as Chieftain, but we need the key to the master bedroom to do this." Agnete looked at Laurenna, and then at me. "You think the two of you can stand up to him?" she said. "Not just us," I interjected, "but Wulfren will join us once we have broken the spell over him. He IS the white wolf you have heard about this past year. Ragnar's shaman had cast an evil spell over him.  It changed him into a wolf.  I must break that spell."

Agnete looked astonished for a moment, then looked at Laurenna with resolve. "Here is the key. If anyone asks, you didn't receive it from me." "Don't worry." Laurenna replied, "If all goes well, this sad episode will be over soon."

We took the key to the back of the trophy room and went up the stairs. There, we came upon the master bedroom door. This was a very complex lock. It was a good thing we had the key, because it appeared that not even my enchanted "Ring of Keys" would have been able to open it.

Once inside, we checked out the room. I looked behind the bookcase, Laurenna checked under the bed. I noted a battle axe by the door. What a lovely place to hide a secret switch. Well, maybe not. I felt the floorboards under the bearskin rug give a little bit, so I pulled it up off the floor - nothing.

Well, it IS supposed to be a hidden passage, and wouldn't live up to it's name if it was easy to find.

Secret door, Secret DOOR, SECRET DOOR!

I was nearly ready to give up when I noticed something under the hamper near the door we came in. There it was: the secret door!!

We had to really struggle to get the hamper off the door until we found the spring that lifted it up (I guess that would be needed, since anyone coming from below would need it to move out of the way, right??). We made our way down the ladder and into the next chamber. It was very dark, and I was glad that Laurenna brought her travel lantern with her. There were torches here and there, but they didn't really help much.

We went down several flights of stairs. I was nearly dizzy with all the times I turned in a circle. One of the landings didn't have a torch on the wall. I thought that was somewhat odd, then remembered that this was a secret passage - there would be hidden doors here. I had Laurenna hold the lantern near, and pressed against the wall. I could feel it give, then felt a catch snap, and the door pushed open easily.

It was the entrace to the castle throne room, and I could "feel" the evil shaman Kreikan in the room. I backed off from the door.  "You know," I cautioned her, "once we kill him, we'll be needing a way out of here. What do you think?"

Laurenna suggested that we first find a way out, then come back here. I agreed, and we continued down the spiral stairs to the very bottom of the castle's foundation.

We came to a blank wall, but I found it was another hidden door. This place would be dotted with them. I could hear rushing water, but wasn't sure where it was coming from. "Wait here for me." I said to Laurenna. "I want to make sure there are no nasty evil creatures down here first." She agreed and said she would wait right there.

I pushed against the wall, and it opened easily. I took out a glass poison sword I had lifted from one of the raiders near the snowbear cave, and continued down the corridor alone. It was dank, musky-smelling, and even a bit humid. I figured it would be from that water I could hear - must be an underground stream nearby.

I came to another blank wall. I thought about it for a moment, and then used the Amulet of Shadows to become nearly invisible. I figured if there was anything in here, I wanted to see it before it saw me.

Instead, I found a storeroom with a number of miscelanous items in a number of crates. I continued on down the hallway, until I came to another door. This was the door that lead straight up to the tower where Laurenna's mother Sigrid, was being held captive. Very helpful to know. It also had a very strong lock, and no spell seemed to unlock it.

I hurried back to Laurenna to tell her what I had found. I still hadn't found a way out of the castle, so I told her I would try another direction, and she agreed. I went to another wall nearby where she was standing and listened carefully. I could feel a breeze against my face. It had to be yet another hidden door. I was right. I opened the door and came face-to-face with a very wet waterfall. What a place to put a door!

Inside, I saw two figures in the distance. It was dark but I could make out the shape of bones. I turned and cautioned Laurenna to be quiet, activated my Amulet of Shadows, and steped through the door. I found myself on a very thin ledge, and had I not been careful, would have found myself in chest-deep water, with two skeleton warriors coming at me. Instead, I used my belt of levitation and lifted over the area, then used my Ring of Leaches to drain the very life out of the skeletons. It was a very short battle, but I had to use 4 rings to finish them off, since they obviously had very strong souls.

I found yet another skeleton warrior further down the cave, and a summoned daedric battle axe made short work of him. Nearby, I found the skeleton of a warrior that wasn't so lucky. Either that, or he was one of them and was on a break.

I found an exit to the cave and found that it let me out right behind the castle. This is what we needed: an escape route! I hurried back to Laurenna to let her know what I had found. We then headed back up the spiral stairs to deal with Kreikan, once and for all.


I used 5 bottles of the potion "Flin" which increased my strength several times over, set up my spells, activated the Amulet of Shadows, and quietly opened the door to the throne room.

I found myself right behind Kreikan. What I didn't like were the two guards at the front of the throne room. I knew that once I made my position known, they would attack. I set up two walls of fire, one at 20 feet, and a second one at 10 feet distance. They would take a few seconds to activate. Kreikan hadn't noticed me yet. Luck was on my side.

The first wall of fire at 20 feet was starting to ignite. I turned and hit Kreikan with the spell of Medusa's Gaze, freezing him in place. The look on his face cannot be described. My amulet spell wore off and I became visible again. The wall of fire kept the guards off my back for those precious few moments.

I took out my glass poison sword. "Remove the curse you placed on Wulfren, and you might live." The guards were trying to make it through the first wall, and one of them burned to death on it. "You simpleton!" Kreikan shouted from his paralized form, "I will NEVER release the curse on that beast. Who do you think you are to trifle with the likes of me?"

I decided to make it clear just who he was dealing with, and drove my point home with the glass poison sword. "Who am I?" I shouted back at him. "I am Eldorf the Wise, Champion of the Fighter's Guild, Arch-Mage of the Mage's Guild, and Archmagister of the Great House Telvani, former vampire..."

I got up close and personal as he stood there with a sword sticking out of him. I used my fists: "...and I don't..." SMACK! "" PUNCH! "...intolerant..." SMACK! "...people!!!"

With that, Kreikan expired, and so did my last wall of fire. I hit the last of the two guards with a spell of Medusa's Gaze, and the hit him with two more spells: one of shock, and one of God's Fire. The fireball blast nearly hit me in the face. Now, alarms were sounding, and my work here was finished. I quickly searched Kreikan's body and found several items, and more importantly, several keys to doors that I surmised we might need to open later. One of those keys opened the secret door that I had entered through.

I used the key to open the secret door and ducked inside as the other guards entered the throne room. Laurenna was there, waiting for me. "I heard lots of shouting going on there. What happened?" I was very calm about it.

"Oh, well you know how it is when mages get together.  We discuss all kinds of things revolving around the arcane arts, magick scrolls, charmed trinkets, and the like." She looked at me with a look of hope in her eyes.

"Were you able to convince him to remove the spell on my brother?" she asked. I teased her a bit: "Oh, he didn't seem agreeable at first, but I believe he got my point." Laurenna looked puzzled. I tapped on the hilt of my glass poison sword and gave her a grin and a wink. "Very funny." she replied, with a smirk on her face. "Come on," I said, "let's get out of here."

We hurried down the spiral stairs and into the wet part of the cave, then made our way out the secret entrance behind the castle. From there, it was just a short trip up to the ledge, and then to her cabin.

"Now that Kreikan is dead, it's just a matter of time before Wulfren comes here." she said. "Do you think it will be safe to stay here? I mean, we just killed Ragnar's best friend and ticket to the throne." "Did the guards see you?" she asked. "No, the only ones that saw me there are now dead. I doubt they'll know it was me for sure, though some of them will probably suspect."

"Well, we need to wait for Wulfren." she said. "Why not rest on the bed? I'll keep watch for you."

It sounded like a great idea. I figured as long as she was keeping an eye on things, I tumbled into bed for what was supposed to be a nice, quiet nap.