You take the lit candle stub to light your way and go into the corridor, looking for a room where you can rest.\n\nThe dry beating of the hard leather soles of your boots on the rough stone floor is the only sound as the darkness outside brings a cool desertic night air inside the keep.\n\nAfter inspecting a few rooms littered with rubble, You find one with a broken straw bed. The stalks chafe your exposed skin on face and hands, there is no protection from the cold and you must fold your knees to accommodate yourself on the broken frame, but it's still better than laying on the dry dirt outside.\n\nDagger in hand, you fall asleep.\n<<if $cursed eq 1>>\n[[Continue|cursed]]\n<<else>>\n[[Continue|dreaming]]\n<<endif>>
You climb the narrow spiral staircase. Arriving on the upper floor, you see the stairs to the next floor are ruined. There are three doors on this floor.\n\n[[Enter the first door, that smells faintly of sulphur|door 1]]\n[[Enter the second door, to a room that is eerily silent|door 2]]\n[[Enter the third door, with trembling orange light shinning through its gap|door 3]]\n[[Return to the lower floor|leave room]]
Without time to think, you get lost on the labyrinth of rooms in the basement. You look through a door to a room you recognize and you remember the way out, but the silhouette of the creature is in the path, running towards you. There is little time to decide what to do.\n\n[[Hide inside a oven, the entrance too small for the creature|hide in oven]]\n[[Hide in a meat closet that reeks of rot and decay|hide in meat room]]
Your knees are stiff, your arms tingle, and the creatures gets ever closer.\n\nHow better is it to hide like a rat than stand as a man if all seems so futile?\n\nLight.\n\nLight bathes the room outside, and with hope you open the cupboard. Framed by orange light, the visage of a frail bearded man silently but vigorously beckons you to go to him.\n\nWith no second thoughts, you climb down the cupboard and follow him outside.\n\n[[Follow the old man|follow host]]
"There is nothing to say about me."\n\n"I worked here as an overseer for all of my life, and was enjoying a quiet retirement when the gloom and the aftermath came"\n\n[[Return|follow host]]\n[[Ask him about just arriving|pressure]]
As you enter the room, your sense of smell is overpowered by the stench of sulfur, acid and burning wood. The place is dominated by a large table filled with bubbling flasks and retorts. You enter and carefully pass through the desk and move to a filled bookshelf next to it. You rummage through the books in hope of finding something of use, when a piercing pain dominates your fingers, moving all the way to your arm.\n\nYour hand hurts with a poisonous burning and you stumble backwards, hitting the table. The sound of breaking glass makes you turn around to see one of the flask shatterred against the floor, leaving a pool of shimmering green and blue sludge on the floor, exuding a bitterly pungent smell.\n\nYou move unsteadily towards the door, avoiding the pool of sludge. With a slushing sound, the sludge raises in a bubble and lunges towards your feet. Burning cold pierces your calfs like daggers of ice, and you grab the wall, screaming, trying to maintain your balance.\n\nTo your horror, all of your leg's flesh is corroded before your eyes, leaving a blackened dry bone that snaps like a twig beneath your weight. As you fall, the sludge soon covers you whole, bringing a painful but quick death.\n\nYour adventure ends here.
<<silently>>\n<<set $inventory = ["dagger","bedroll","roll of rope"]>> test \n<<set $chamber = 0>>\n<<endsilently>>\n\nThe scorching sun burns your face and arms as you squint your eyes, surveying the brown and orange wasteland desert.\n\nYou can barely believe those were green meadows less than a year ago. How dear were the singing of birds, the gold of the corn and the mirth of children. All gone now.\n\nTwo features on the landscape draw your attention:\n\n[[An animal carcass a few minutes walk to the south|carcass1]]\n[[A ruined fortress to the west|way to castle]]\n
Chapter I - The fortress in the wasteland
The creature arrives, sniffing.\n\nIt stands right outside the oven sniffing erratically. It cannot see you.\n\nAfter a moment of tension, the irregular proboscis burst into the oven, and start feeling around. You try to avoid them for as long as you can, but they eventually find you. You try too cut the appendages with your dagger, but they are to tough. They grab you and drag you screaming into the bowels of the creature.\n\nThe ribcage, strong as iron, closes around you, leaving you to a slow and painful digestion.\n\nYour adventure ends here.
Carefully approaching the doorway, you let out a sigh of relief as there is no sign of the creature.\n\nYou kneel down and reach for the rag. You feel the softness of satin in your fingers as you inspect the torn edges of the white fabric.\n\nMidway through the inspection, a wet viscousity makes you drop the rag in disgust. As it falls, you see it's covered in a foul yellow sludge. You quickly wipe your fingers as you fell an acidic burn in them, luckily before the suffer any harm.\n\nYou decide upon leaving the fabric there.\n\n[[Keep exploring|basement exit]]
You cannot bear to face that which hunts you, you must find your way out.\n\nThe key must be here.\n\nThe sniffing grows louder.\n\nUnder piles of iron tools, no key.\n\nThe sniffing grows louder.\n\nBehind wooden planks, no key.\n\nThe sniffing grows louder.\n\nInside metal boxes, no key.\n\nThe sniffling grows louder.\n\nIn bags of rusted nails, your fingers bleed.\n\nNo key, the sniffing grows louder.\n\nThe shadow on the door comes again, but this time it stays. A metallic clank and turn is followed by the creaking of old hinges and the door is open. Framed by orange light, the visage of a frail bearded man silently but vigorously beckons you to go to him.\n\n[[Follow the old man|follow host]]
You make your way into the basement. The key is still there so you unlock and open the door. Without even the few rays of sun to bring a trickle of light into them, the vaults seem even more claustrophobic.\n\nRemembering the dream, you make your way to the place you saw the rune be hidden by your dream-self. At every corner and every doorway you hold your breath and listen, but there is no sign of the sniffing creature.\n\nAfter a few rooms, you find the pile of rubble you dreamed of. You get down and start feeling behind it for the stone. Your fingers soon touched a smooth stone and pull it out. It is the same stone you dreamed of, the rune softly shinning blue. An eerie woman's whisper sounds in your ear.\n\n"This is the source of his power, he cannot harm with magic one who holds it."\n\n"I.. cannot stop."\n\n"Hurry, Run!"\n\nYou hear a soft sniffing behind you.\n\n[[Get up and look behind you|see creature]]
You quietly enter the room.\n\nIt seems empty, so you carefully close the door behind you. Curious, why is there no doorknob on the inside?\n\nThere is little time to think about it. Arms and legs thin as straws but strong as steel grab you from behind, immobilizing your arms. You move around desperately trying to get rid of the strange being, when its head, round and soft as a ripe tomato touches against your cheek. You can feel none of its features, but for a whole in the center of its head that opens to let a long, thick tongue creep out.\n\nYou continue to struggle against the creature, hitting your back against the wall and rolling on the floor, but nothing hinders it. Soon the tongue, covered in a greasy oil, is out of its mouth and coils around your throat, choking and breaking bone and nerves. Your vision goes red and black and you lose your consciousness. Perhaps this is a blessing, so you may not be alive when the creatures mouth dilates obscenely to swallow you whole.\n\nYour adventure ends here.
Inventory: <<set $i = 0>>\n<<if $i lt $inventory.length>> <<display "Item">> <<endif>>\n
The soothing oniric darkness engulfs you.\n\nA dream of stark vividness assails you. You are in the basement below, running with legs that are not your own from something that terrifies you yet you don't know what it is.\n\nWhen you look down, you see you have a slender frame, clad in a flowing dress of white satin. You cannot control your movements, and thus you simply observe in powerless apprehension.\n\nYou stop in one of the rooms. You recognize it; you passed through it when you arrived. There is something in your hands, a square stone with a rune inscribed on it, softly glowing blue. You get down and hide the stone behind a pile of rubble, get up and start running again.\n\nIt seems you are trying to reach the hole to the outside of the fortress, but after turning left through a doorway you are frozen in your steps.\n\nThe old man of the fortress is standing before you, barely recognizable, his eyes glow a bright blue. He grins widely, but his stare speaks only of unthinkable vileness. Your dream-self lets out a blood curling scream and falls to the ground as its strength vanishes.\n\nYou wake suddenly, drenched in sweat.\n\n[[Dismiss it as just a nightmare and go back to sleep|go back to sleep]]\n[[Quietly leave the room|leave room]]
This room is well lit by several burning torches.\n\nIn front of you, the old man stands, with his back turned to you. He is curved upon the abdomen of a man tied to a wooden x. To your horror, the man is missing several patches of his skin on face and arms, while his chest is cracked open, ribcage spread like the wings of some hellish demon. Besides him is a pile of organs, including a lung and a heart. Both are missing from the man's chest, but you cringe when noticing that the remaining lung still breaths!\n\nWhat foul sorcery denies this man the final relief of death?\n\nYou decide to leave before the old man sees you, but as you back away, something bars your way through the doorway. The darkness outside became solid with an absolute darkness, trapping you in.\n\nWhen you face ahead again, the old man is standing right before you, eyes burning a bright blue. Before you can react, he raises his hand and a lightning bolt stuns you.\n\nYou awaken, tied hands and feet on a wooden x. Your torments begins now, but...\n\nYour adventure ends here.
You quickly duck under the bed, a few moments later you see the legs of the creature entering, followed by its arms and lastly the deflated head. The bulging eyes turn to you. You let out a scream as the proboscis grab your arms and drag you from under the bed, throwing you into the crucible of bubbling acid of the creatures torso.\n\nThe ribcage, strong as iron, closes around you, leaving you to a slow and painful digestion.\n\nYour adventure ends here.
You unsheathe your dagger. The old man flinches, his eyes look afraid and not understanding. You hesitate for a moment, how can you kill this frail man who saved you once?\n\nYour hesitation is cut short when you remember the dream and the creature, but it is already too late. With a swift movement, the old man removes a strange wand topped by a black stone spearhead and slashes forward.\n\nThe strike is clumsy and appears harmless, but touching your wrist, the wand cuts forward with no effort, leaving a stump in the end of your arm, your hand falls down, still griping the dagger. There is not a single drop of blood.\n\nYou try to protect yourself, but his next strike is lethal and your life is reaped from you.\n\nYour adventure ends here.
You step outside. Moonlight enters through a few arrow slits in some of the rooms, but even when your eyes are accustomed to the darkness you can barely see anything.\n\nYou hear steps on the upper floor.\n\nYou must decide your next course of action.\n\n[[Descend to the basement and search for the rune stone|go to basement]]\n[[Go up a flight of spiral stairs and further explore the keep|explore upper floor]]\n<<if $chamber eq 0>>\n<<display "chamber option">>\n<<endif>>\n
Aftermath - Fado ou Sina\nGloom - o Temor
How much longer will it be?\n\nThe creature sniffs close.\n\nYou twitch your muscles to feel if they still answer to your mind. Will your legs stand strong, will your hand strike true? Will your blood flow in your veins or spread in the floor?\n\nThe creature sniffs closer.\n\nThe shadow on the door comes again, but this time it stays. The metallic clank and turn is followed by the creaking of old hinges and the door is open. Framed by orange light, the visage of a frail bearded man silently but vigorously beckons you to go to him.\n\nA last loud sniff echoes, and is replaced by the frantic beat of legs on the ground. Too close.\n\nYour legs need no command to dash towards the man and to the light outside.\n\n[[Leave the basement|follow host]]
You pick a spot where the stones seem to have more places to hold on to climb the wall. Without looking down, you start the ascent, step by step.\n\nFeeling the rough stone under your fingers, you skillfully make your way almost to the top, when a loud crack heralds the breaking of the stones. To your horror, the outside masonry has been separated from the rest of the wall as a result of the arcane attacks it suffered. You fall to the unyielding earth as a slab of masonry crumbles under your weight.\n\nWith a wet thump followed by loud cracks, you maintain your consciousness only to feel the ribs on your side splinting and penetrating your lungs. As the red rivers flow inside you, you drown in blood, unable even to move as the agonizing asphyxiation takes your life.\n\nYour adventure ends.
You climb to the top shelf of a large cupboard. The sniffing does not subside.\n\nAs you close the doors with you inside, you hug your knees in the claustrophobic space, hoping the creature won't find you there. The closed wood muffles the sniffing, but it is still there.\n\nIf it finds you, you will be powerless to whatever grim fate it may bestow upon you. The sniffing grows louder.\n\nFor a moment the sound stopped, and in curiosity you open the door, only to hear the sniffing again. Did you just see a shadow cross behind the locked door?\n\n[[Hold still with your heartbeat drumming inside your head, and hope the beast goes away|keep hiding]]\n[[Get out of your hidding place and bang on the door to the sun outside|bang on door]]
Elegy of the Deadscape\nChapter I - The Fortress in the Wasteland\n\nThe world of Deadscape was a world of warriors and mages; peasants and kings; humans, orcs and elves.\n\nUntil the aftermath came.\n\nThe most powerful known kingdoms were ruled by powerful wizards, but their control of the arcane arts was only rivaled by their lust for power and hatred for each other.\n\nWhen the enemities scaled to open war, the arcane powers they unleashed killed the world, ending many lives and leaving the land barren.\n\nMost survivors try to scavange a living any way they can, but as the food left runs out, they know they are only postponing death.\n\nA few, called fools by most, set out and roam the ruins of the world, seeking some glimmer of hope.\n\n__You__ are one of the seekers.\n\nWARNING: There are intense depictions of violence and gore in this interactive fiction, designed to be unsettling to the player. You have been warned. \n\n[[Enter the Deadscape|begin]]
Getting back on your feet, you turn around to be exposed to a sight more horrid than you could ever fathom.\n\nThe creature's four legs reveal themselves to be two arms and two legs, human in origin but horribly bloated and elongated, the arms bend backwards on the elbow so the abomination can stand with its torso facing up.\n\nThe torso.. It was clearly once that of a woman, but is revoltingly swollen to huge proportions, and crossed from neck to waist by a putrid scar, oozing with a yellow slime that smell of rotting flesh.\n\nThe flat tail you saw before had been once the head of she who was turned into the abomination, but now is only a flab of skin, the empty mouth open in a silent scream, the few patches of long straight hair trailing behind it and a pair of bloodshot bulging eye. The eyes, they turn to face you.\n\nYour heart stop for a second and your blood freezes. The scar in the creatures torso slowly opens, exposing the ribs that had been elongated, multiplied and sharpened to mimic a series of fangs. The whole torso is a hollow cavity filled with the yellow sludge at its bottom.\n\nBursting from inside the torso-mouth, rubbery irregular proboscis dart out towards you. Your senses quickly return to you and you dodge the grabbing appendages, running for your life.\n\n[[Run away|flee from creature]]
"Ha, you are lucky beyond your knowing to be ignorant of one of the gloom's most outrageous atrocities against life."\n\n"Once the soul leaves a body, the empty husk left behind is filled with the blasphemous energies of the gloom and starts twitching violently"\n\n"If the body is not destroyed by its spasmodic fit, it will raise in a few hours and wander restlessly, killing anything living it finds. The twitching ones are fearsome foes, they are strong and fast, and may fight even when its limbs are hacked apart. I have heard stories of warriors cleaving the head of a wandering one clean off, only to be surprised and killed after it kept fighting unhindered by the beheading"\n\n"If your path ever crosses that of a twitching ones, run. There is nothing more to be done"\n\n[[Return|ask about fortress]]
It is a desperate solution, but desperate you are. Steadying your heart, you set to rummage through the piles of abandoned rust and dust.\n\nThere is no key to be found, but your hands feel the reassuring weight of a sword grip. The edge is blunted, the tip parted and the blade rusted, but in the darkness you feel it musters back your strength.\n\nIt may not be enough though, as the ominous sniffing reminds you.\n\nWas it a shadow crossing the gap on the door to the outside?\n\n[[Hide somewhere to ambush the creature|ambush]]\n[[Look for a hiding place|hide]]\n[[Lose not hope, keep searching for the key|keep searching]]
A tingly, electrical sensation passes through your body, from should to thigh. This is a common occurrence in the aftermath.\n\nThe gloom it is called. Since the warring magi tore the fabric of reality in their strife, the air, water and earth have been tainted with the noxious arcane energies they once wielded.\n\nYou remember the insanity of the first days of the aftermath. Fertile lands turned to deserts, while few mile away heavy snow storms left a never-ending blanket of white. Where the gloom was stronger, all life, plant, animal or sentient melted into a mucous green matter, leaving a fetid dead swamp behind.\n\nOn flatlands, spires of stone rose to impossible heights, ravines opened to swallow mountains and ocean flowed upwards, flooding the land. Few survived, and those that did are slowly dying, for the gloom left all those left sterile, powerless to witness the last days of their species.\n\nWith such dark memories to keep you company, your trek to the ruin finally ends.\n\n[[You arrive at the fortress|castle1]]
You run through a few rooms, led by despair you find yourself in a dead end, the sniffing quickly closing in behind you.\n\nYou must hide, but where?\n\n[[Hide inside the top doors of a closet|hide in closet]]\n[[Hide under a bed|hide beneath bed]]
"I know nothing about it, save that it lives in the basement."\n\n"I began hearing it a few months ago, probably made its way there through the hole, attracted by the smell of rotten meat."\n\n"I've kept the door there locked ever since."\n<<set $clue4 = 1>>\n[[Return|follow host]]
You enter the room, fear makes you uncaring to the vile stench within or to the sight of the maggot ridden pieces of flesh hanging in hooks from the ceiling.\n\nYou hear the creature entering the room. It sniffs around, but seems unable to catch your trail. You hear it moving forward, and take the opportunity to leave the room and make your way outside.\n\nThe rotting smell is still around you after you leave the meat room, but you do not hear the sniffling stalker after you.\n\nYour legs start trembling, you take a deep breath and resume walking before your luck changes.\n\n[[Leave basement|find host]]
You cannot stay here, this cannot be the end. You bang your hands in the door. Won't anyone have pity on you?\n\nBy the sound of bone and skin on wood, the sniffing stops, and frantic beating of powerful paws on dirt gets closer and closer.\n\nDoes fate have no mercy?\n\nThe shadow on the door comes again, but this time it stays. The metallic clank and turn is followed by the creacking of old hinges and the door is open. Framed by orange light, the visage of a frail bearded man silently but vigorously beckons you to go to him.\n\nBarely believing your luck, you escape the basement and its hidden stalker.\n\n[[Leave the basement|follow host]]
[[Enter the room the old man told you to stay away from|go to master chamber]]
Elegy of the Deadscape
Through a narrow slit you spy outside into the room. The old man enters, and slowly moves towards the trunk. He sits down and opens it, searching for something in its interior. You cannot leave the cabinet without him noticing you, so you must wait until he leaves.\n\nAs you wait in silence, something is on your foot. Tiny legs scramble upon you ankle. If you move, you'll make a noise, you must hold still.\n\nThe tiny legs keep moving upwards, through the folded back of your knee, up your thigh across your waist and into your navel.\n\nA second set of tiny legs, this time long and thin, scutter into your shoulder, crawling under your jaw and to the back of your head. From there it moves into your hair and makes it way into your ear.\n\n[[Breath deep, hold still, make not a sound|stay hidden]]\n[[Leave the cabinet|confront host]]
When you pick the bundle, it opens up to reveal a golden crown inside. It is plain on the outside but the inside is filled with angled designs and unpronounceable names. You heard of such crowns. They allowed rulers to command others, discern lies and know all that happened on the lands. More than that, only a Solaris Magi could wear one and live. Your host is more than he claimed to be.\n<<set $proof = 1>>\n[[Return|hide some more]]
Before you are the awe-inspiring walls of gray stone of a fortress. Its design is old, probably there for many generations, though certainly built when the surrounding land offered some prosperity. On both sides of the gate, two visages are sculpted, men dressed in full armor, their faces featuring prominent brows and square jaws, looking judgingly at you. These must have been the lords who ruled the fortress.\n\nNo moat encircles the foundations, but its solid lines would have posed a challenge to any would-be invader, if it wasn't for the obvious signs of magical attack.\n\nMany stretches of the battlements had their stones melted by powerful spells, forming solid rivers down to the ground like a sand castle with water poured over it. One of the towers is missing its top floor, as if it was cut out with a gigantic sword of unimaginable sharpness.\n\nDespite the damage, it seems impossible to gain entry without siege equipment, and climbing the unstable stones appears to be your only option, but it could be quite likely suicidal.\n\nWhile circling the fortress, you find a hole by the base of the wall, leading to a subterranean gallery, probably the lower levels of the fortress.\n\nYou have no food and little water. You must find a way in.\n<<display "castle actions">>\n[[Climb the wall|climb statue]]\n[[Enter the basement through the hole in the wall|enter basement]]
With all the speed you can muster, you return to the keep to gather all the food you can. You fill your waterskins in the courtyard well and set foot outside the fortress.\n\nYou walk the whole night and morning. By noon you are exhausted, but take only a short rest before resuming your forced march. By sundown you are fully spent, but made a fair distance from the fortress. You set down camp and try to rest.\n\nYour sleep is agitated and you wake up in the middle of the night. You hear an eerie whisper:\n\n"I helped you. I saved you. And you abandoned me. But I abandon you not."\n\nYou hear the sound of sniffing right behind you. Before you can react, rubbery appendages encircle you with crushing strength and throw you into a hollow of flesh and bones to be slowly dissolved by the yellow acid sludge.\n\nYour adventure ends here.
"Yes, most know the cataclysm was caused by the wars of the magi, but few know a single event brought it forth. The specifics of it are unknown to me, but three of the Solaris opened a rift to [[somewhere else]], expecting to unleash a great force to defeat their foes."\n\n"Lust for power had its way though, and one of the Solaris thought he could better benefit from having the power alone and assassinated the other two during the ritual. Alas, he could not complete the ritual alone and now we all suffer from it."\n\n"All life destroyed by a single mistake from a single man. Makes me laugh."\n\n[[Return|ask about fortress]]
"The Solaris were the most powerful magi in all the lands, ruling over vast kingdoms with tyrannical grips."\n\n"This is of course, only a popular name that spread after the [[first of the Solaris]] claimed that if anyone should ever have to choose between stopping him or the rising dawn, the wise ones would elect to challenge the sun."\n\n"The Solaris themselves would never tolerate being called that, it was unthinkable to them to be associated with each other, even of only by beign called the same. A Solaris worst enemy was always another Solaris"\n<<set $clue2 = 1>>\n[[Return|ask about fortress]]
"Ironically, his greatest achievement, beyond naming his caste, was serving as a warning for all to never forget the basic things."\n\n"Despite all his magic, he died of insolation..."\n\n[[Return|Solaris Magi]]
"The realms of the dead? A place of pure energy or a parallel universe? I do not know."\n\n[[Return|opening of the rift]]
No one answers\n\n<<display "castle actions">>\n[[Return|castle1]]
You barely make to the closet in time, closing the door as the first leg of the creature enters the room.\n\nYou hear the creature move around a little, and then the sniffing resumes more vigorously. It is getting to the closet.\n\nJudging the creature to be close enough, you jump from the closet over the atrocious beast, tumbling on the ground behind it, getting up with an agility you didn't know you had. Fueled by adrenaline and fear, you run away.\n\n[[keep running]]
You make your way outside. With the little food you found and your waterskin refiled, you hope to survive on your way until you find somewhere safer to rest.\n\nYou walk through the whole morning, and near midday you set down to rest a little. The mild but welcome relief of a cloud reaches you.\n\nA short glance upwards confuses you. There is not a single cloud on the sky. There is nothing that could cause this shade around you, a shade that stretches as far as your eyes can see. But the sky is strange, as if the blue was being distorted, and the sun does seem to be ever brighter. Not only brighter, but also hotter. You look around as the land around is set in darkness yet you are bathed in searing light.\n\nSoon the heat is too much to endure and you pass out, the sunlight becoming so intense as to burn your flesh.. Your last delirious sight is that of a pair of blue flames staring down at you in darkness. Soon there is nothing left of you but dry bones.\n\nYour adventure ends here.
The old man closes and locks the door behind you with quick agility. He leaves the key on the keyhole and turns around with a short sign indicating you should follow him.\n\nIn silence, you are guided through a small courtyard and into the main keep. By the light of the setting sun, you step upon fallen wooden doors and through an empty archway into a large foyer filled with splintered wood and broken masonry, the rubble is so voluminous that you have trouble walking around.\n\nThrough a claustrophobic spiral staircase and a corridor with no windows, you reach a small room lit by a single flickering candle. A small oven shimmers with dying embers, and on top of it a metal pot is crowned with trembling steam, leaving a watery smell of cooked wheat that makes your hungering stomach ache.\n\nBoth of you seat in silence, eating the steaming porridge, the old man's stone cold eyes stare unflinchingly at you under a prominent brow. His posture is hunched by more years than you can count, but his steady arms and square jaw give him a semblance of strength.\n\nHe finally breaks the silence:\n\n"You may stay here for as long as you want. This place is not mine, I'm just waiting here in peace for death to reach me. But do not enter my room and do not touch my things."\n\nAfter this warning, his shoulders lower a bit and he reclines in the wall behind him. Perhaps you can make him a few questions now.\n<<actions "ask about fortress" "ask about host" "ask about creature">>\n<<if $clue1 + $clue2 + $clue3 + $clue4 eq 4>> <<display "accusation">> <<endif>>\n[[Find somewhere to sleep|retire for the night]]\n
<<print $i+1 + " - " + $inventory[$i]>> \n<<set $i = $i+1>> <<if $i lt $inventory.length>> <<display "Item">> <<endif>>\n
<<actions "yell a greeting" "throw a stone">>
"As you may have guessed, this fortress was attacked during the [[opening of the rift]]. I believe one of the [[Solaris Magi]] ruled here. When I got here but a fortnight ago, I saw it as it was. For once I was glad for the [[twitching ones]], saved me a lot of cleaning effort with the dead rising and removing themselves from the fortress."\n\n"From this day I have been in here, surviving with what little I managed to retrieve from the basement. There is also a well on the courtyard that is unexpectedly still filled with water."\n<<set $clue1=1>>\n[[Return|follow host]]
You approach a pile of bones barely covered with chunks of rotting flesh and tanned hide, reeking from the nauseous stench.\n\nThe creature had four legs and a long head. Possibly a horse, but it's difficult to be sure nowadays... The unseen forces that scourge the landscape don't only destroy the green, but also twists and deforms all life it touches, turning them into horrifying aberrations.\n\nThe bloated abdomen flesh twitches and moves softly.\n\n[[Investigate the carcass|carcass2]]\n[[Go to the ruined structure in the distance|way to castle]]\n\n
[[Accuse him of lying|keep pressuring]]
You return to the basement. You make your way through the damp vaults following a deep instinct, and effortlessly find the abominable beast. It is quiet, laying on the floor, as if awaiting your arrival.\n\nYou wield the shattered wand and focus your mind for a moment. After a brief moment of stillness, the creature opens its horrendous mouth-scar and thrust the pink, rubbery appendages towards you, but the powers of the shattered wand hold true. With a few swipes, the appendages are laying on the floor, twitching harmlessly.\n\nYou approach the creature. It makes a last attempt to bite you, but you are faster, cutting it in half with a single strike of the wand. Both halfs of the creature fall inertly to the floor, black blood flowing alongside the yellow sludge.\n\nSomehow, the gloom feels a little less overpowering in this place now.\n\n[[Leave fortress|epilogue]]
Your waterskins are full, your pack is garnished with food. You step out of the fortress and into the wasteland. To resume your search, though you know not what can be found in this dying land. You just killed the Solaris responsible for the gloom, the cataclysm, and aftermath. You avenged the whole world, but you fell empty. Nothing has changed, perhaps it is true that nothing can ever change again.\n\nOn the first night, you have another vivid dream. You recognize the place you are camping, but trees and grass turn the place into green. In front of you a spectral woman with long brown hair and a white satin dress stands, there are tears on her eyes, but a smile on her face. She bows and fades away, while you hear in the winds a crystalline "thank you".\n\nThe next day arrives. The barren orange of the wastes are a painful sight after remembering the green in your dreams, but you arise with renewed purpose. The world may be dying, but there is still good to be done before you draw your final breath. You walk towards the rising sun, knowing now what it is you search.\n\nYour adventure is only beginning.
The old man still searches his trunk. How much longer could it take?\n\nA sharp pain brings your attention to your navel. You feel warmth and wetness dripping down your abdomen and then a more intense pain as your skin is stretched. The small crawler starts moving upwards, followed by a painful pressure as it makes its way between muscle and skin. The pain of the tiny creature moving inside you is terrifying.\n\nYou must hold still.\n\nThe long creature makes its way inside your ear, a sharp sound rings inside your head accompanied by an excruciating pain as the tiny beast feasts on your tympanum. It starts moving upwards.\n\nMust. Hold. Still.\n\n[[Endure the pain, remain hidden|hide even more]]\n[[Leave the cabinet|confront host]]
Eager to escape from the creature, you pass through the old man.\n\nA strange numbness engulfs your legs. You look down and see a small spear, with a black stone spearhead protruding from your belly. Oddly, it does not bleed. With no control of your legs, you fall down.\n\nYou look up to see the old man approaching, hes eyes glowing blue. He raises the small spear, more a wand than a weapon, and swiftly lowers it towards your head. Suddenly all is black and silent.\n\nYour adventure ends here.
The soothing oniric darkness engulfs you.\n\nHow long passed you don't know, but you wake up drenched in sweat. Your insides feel heavy and you are desperately nauseous. You scramble to your feet and struggle to make your way to the door.\n\nMidway there, you step on something wet. A yellow light enters the room from outside, and you notice you stepped in blood, a trail that led from your bed to where you are.\n\nTouching your face, you feel wetness dripping from your nose. Your legs are weak by the time you reach the doorway. Blood flows from your nose and mouth. You drop to your knees.\n\nAs your liquefied innards lethally flow to the hard stone, you lay down on a pool of your own blood, turning your head to its side to the see a pair of legs standing beside you, as everything slowly fades to black.\n\nYour adventure ends.
You enter the dimly candle-lit room. The place is tidy, with a pile of rags in one corner, some bags of food neatly lined against a wall and, large wooden trunk and a small cabinet. You investigate the cabinet first. There is a pen and inkpot upon it besides a few blank parchment pages. The small door opens to a compact empty space.\n\nYou move towards the trunk when the rhythmic beating of leather on stone sound on the outside, getting closer.\n<<set $chamber = 1>>\n[[Hide inside the cabinet|hide in chamber]]\n[[Stand your ground|confront host]]
The old man remains, still no sign of leaving. Why wont he leave?\n\nThe creature on your abdomen continues to burrow under your skin, through your sternum, over the ribcage and under your nipple. But what is this twitching where it passed already? Is it laying eggs? The tiny wriggling points start moving on their own, marking your chest with a map of a feasting menagerie.\n\nHOLD! Hold. hold...\n\nThe crawler in your eardrum keeps moving, reaching through to your eye. It leaves your head by the inside of your eyelid and scutters in front of your eyes. You can barely make the shape of its diminutive pointy claws as they pinch your cornea. It moves back again to the back of your eye and your vision distorts as it begins eating into your retina.\n\nIf you hols any longer, there won't be much of you left.\n\n[[Remain hidden. Remain|hide some more]]\n[[Leave the cabinet|confront host]]
You barely notice the corner of his mouth contracting upwards, but he remains otherwise unaffected.\n\n"I am but an old man, I meant I worked in another fortress."\n\n"Past and present often get mixed together in the aging mind."\n<<set $clue3 = 1>>\n[[Return|follow host]]
The sheets of parchment are filled with strange scripts and shapes made of angles that hurt your eyes just to follow them. One of the sheets captures your attention. The whole parchment is filled with a single blue rune. The blue rune you saw in your dream. \n\n[[Return|hide some more]]
The old man stares at you and waits for what you have to say.\n\n[[Say nothing and leave the fortress|leave fortress]]\n[[Apologize and return to your room to sleep|go back to sleep]]\n[[Say nothing, go to the upper floor|explore upper floor]]\n[[Say nothing, go to the basement|go to basement]]\n[[Attack him|assault host]]
You pick up the box to further examine it. As you do it, the dried wax breaks and a red mist leaves rapidly from boxe's interior. You hold your breath and move away. The mist reaches you clothes and by the contact with the mist they are set ablaze in a sudden inferno that swiftly engulfs you.\n\nThe heat is intolerable and you move around flaying your arms as the flames scorch your skin, consume your flesh and melt your eyes. Soon all that is left of you is a charred skeleton.\n\nYour adventure ends here.
You eventually return to a dreamless slumber.\n\nYou have no idea how long you were asleep, but you are sure now you are not in the bed you went to sleep in. Laying on your stomach, a single rough granite slab feels uncomfortable under your whole body, bruising your face. When you try to move, you wrists and legs are held immobile by tight metal rings. You see an open door and realize your eyes are level with the doorknob. The sound of metal scraping on metal behind you makes you turn your head.\n\nFrom the corner of your eyes, you see a wooden table, set besides your stone slab. Above it are resting several knifes, saws, picks and hammers, all rusted and bent. The noise is made by a pair of hands you can barely see, sharpening two knifes against each other. You can't see the person's face, but the knifes are bathed in a subtle blue light.\n\nThe person holding the knifes moves behind you, to a position you cannot see. After a few moments both blades touch you softly, on both sides of your column by the neck, and slowly move downwards, without ever breaking skin. When they reach the bottom of your spine, they are both thrust downward, cutting through skin, fat, nerves, blood vessels and muscle, down to the intestines bellow. You scream in pain, but remain fully conscious as both knifes keep cutting upwards in a saw-like motion. Only magic can be responsible for you still being alive and conscious, and there is no limit to how long you will have to endure this until death finally claims you.\n\nYou may be alive for an eternity longer, but...\n\nYour adventure ends here.
<<set $cursed = 1>> You call upon the inconsistencies on the timeline he built, his knowledge too vast for a simple man, and the uncanny similarities between him and the fortress statues.\n\nHe squints his eyes for a moment.\n\n"I am old. You will have to take my words with a grain of salt."\n\n"I will not suffer this kind of ingratitude after I saved you from the creature below. I pray not to find you here by the morning."\n\nWith that, he gets up and leaves.\n\nThere is nothing left for you to do but find someplace to sleep.\n\n[[Leave|retire for the night]]
You know he is a dangerous foe and cannot give him a single chance. You throw yourself against him, hitting your shoulder straight into his chest.\n\nYou both fall down. When you scramble to your feet, you see the old man is already standing, but he grips his chest, clearly in pain.\n\nHe removes from his vest a strange wand, its wooden body has the length of his arm and seems to be broken in several pieces, yet it holds its shape flawlessly. At the end of the wand there is a multifaceted shining black stone spearhead.\n\nYou heard of this wand. Rumors spread around that the aftermath came to be when the wand failed to contain and channel the power brought forth by the magi. It is called the shattered wand.\n\nThe old man raises the wand to strike, his eyes burn with a blue flame. You have no time to think, you dash forward, quickly closing too much for him to hit you with the wand. You hold his raised right arm with your left arm, and with your right hand holding your dagger, reach behind him and make a powerful thrust from his hip upward, piercing his kidney.\n\nThe strength quickly leaves him, and he falls to the ground. You take care to hold the wand as he lets it go. If the rumors are true it can cut flesh effortlessly by just touching it.\n\nHe says "Nothing changes. Nothing can ever change now". His eyes are far away, and his words seem directed not to you but to himself. He takes his last deep breath, the flames on his eyes extinguishing slowly.\n\nYou reach to your pocket. The runestone has stopped shinning and now crumbles to dust.\n\n[[Take any resource you can and leave the fortress|exit fortress]]\n[[Armed with the shattered wand, hunt down the cursed beast|kill beast]]
The dark low passages soon lead you to a large door of hard wood reinforced with metal bars and a darkened iron lock. Sunlight passes through the gaps around the door, but to your dismay it is locked.\n\nThere is little time to gather your thoughts. A chill runs from the base your spine to the back of your neck to the top of your scalp, making every hair stands on its way. You hear that dreadful sniffing again!\n\nIt's still distant, but closing at every drumming heartbeat. The only way out leads directly to its path, so your options are limited.\n\n[[Find somewhere to hide|hide]]\n[[Wait behind the door to try and ambush the creature|ambush]]\n[[Desperatelly search the nearby piles of rubble expecting to find a key|search key]]
A sudden sniffing sound startles you and you quickly scutter to a nearby alcove. In the darkness you can barely see the source of the sound. Through an open doorway you see a silhouette moving on the ground. It has the size of a very large dog, though wider and with an excessively arched back. Its four legs are powerfully thick and raise from the torso before bending down towards the ground, giving it a somewhat spider-like walk.\n\nYou hold your breath as the creature stops for a moment and sniffs around. Whatever it is, it's looking for you! For your luck, it loses your trail and keeps moving. You did not see the creature's head, but as it moves away, you see it has an odd, flat tail that hangs behind it down to the floor, wherein it is dragged.\n\nYou cannot make your way back to the entrance without crossing the creatures path, so you decide to keep looking for an exit inside the fortress. But before you leave your current room, you realize something got stuck in a doorway the creature crossed through. It wasn't there before, so it might give you some clue about the nature of the basement dweller.\n\n[[Move to pick up the stuck object|grab rag]]\n[[Keep exploring|basement exit]]
You move behind a door, the crude leather of your dagger is slightly wet with cold sweat as you grip it firmly on your hand, whiting your knuckles with the pressure.\n\nPerhaps you may have a chance to overpower the creature if you manage to surprise it, but the possibility seems feeble as you remember the terrifiyng movement of its powerful legs.\n\nThe sniffing is getting closer, but there is still a long wait until you face the beast.\n\nWas it a shadow crossing the gap on the door to the outside?\n\n[[Hold your ground and wait for the creature|keep waiting]]\n[[Run to the door and knock on it, trying to call to whoever is outside|bang on door]]
The old man finally closes the trunk, gets up and leaves the room.\n\nYou open the cabinet door and painfully rolls outside. You touch where you felt the creatures, but there is nothing out of place. Both your ears hear the distancing footsteps and your eyesight is clear. Was it all an illusion?\n\nYou walk towards the chest, your legs still trembling from your ordeal. Most of the trunk is filled with clothes, but one of the bundles is [[particularly heavy]]. Still searching, you find a [[stack of parchment]]. On the bottom of the trunk there is a [[small onyx box|small onix box]], ornamented with sculpted demons and sealed with wax.\n\n[[explore upper floor]]\n[[go to basement]]
Reaching the door to the courtyard, you are barred by the figure of the old man. He seem worried and says:\n\n"I heard a noise from here. Come, get out of there before the creature gets you."\n\nHe holds the door and gestures for you to pass.\n<<if $proof eq 1>>\n[[Attack him|kill host]]\n<<else>>\n[[Attack him|attack host]]\n<<endif>>\n[[Quickly get through the door|pass host]]
It hits the wall\n\nNothing happens\n\n<<display "castle actions">>\n[[Return|castle1]]
You touch the creature's abdomen with your feet, only to have it collapse, revealing the crawling horrors that feasted within.\n\nYou see but a flash of frenetic black legs as one of the creatures jump into your face. The many claws grab with a stingy sensation into your skin as you desperately try to remove it, but it easily contorts out of your grip.\n\nYou feel excruciating pain in your right eye and half of your world goes dark. To your horror, you fail a last attempt to grab the creature as it eats its way inside you.\n\nYour thoughts become confused, you forget where you are and even forget the pain, and for a brief moment you are overwhelmed with a sensation of falling and spinning until suddenly all becomes eternally silent.\n\n\nYour adventure ends here.\n
You are unsure why, but the old man is a threat and must not live. You quickly unsheathe your dagger and lunge towards his throat.\n\nA flash of blue, a searing pain, and you are on the floor. The pain is too much and you can barely look up to face the old man. His eyes are burning with blue flames.\n\nThe flames burn brighter, almost to a white, and you feel unseen force ripping the flesh from you bones in large chunks. The pain is intense, but short. You are dead before you hit the ground.\n\nYour adventure ends here.
You make your way through a slight declivity that leads to the inner darkness of the fortress, cautiously stepping on the broken masonry strewn on the path.\n\nA damp cool breeze brings you relief from the castigating heat outside.\n\nRough cold walls of beaten dirt encircle you. The small rooms with ceiling so low you can barely stand are littered with rusted weapons, ruined armor and broken tools.\n\nYou are making your way through a labyrinthine network of small rooms until you find a small cupboard. It's filled with rotten and spoiled food, but in a corner is a thick woolen bag with a loaf of bread inside. It's very hard to the touch and smells faintly of mold, but you take a small bite and although it is stale, it seems edible enough. You quickly put the bread in your bag and resume your search of the basements.\n\n[[Explore further into the darkness|continue exploring]]\n