You see a sign with two arrows. One designates the sign-up for those wishing to compete, and the other, points the way to the arena seating. Will you:\n\n[[Fight.|Compete]]\n[[Watch.|Spectate]]
You decide to take Kia's horse and leave the wagon, even though the beast is known to be stubborn and disobedient. You hope she might behave better not having a wagon to bother with.\n\nYou wave goodbye and head out on the road, struggling a little to get the horse to mind, but you are making good time.\n\nNearly two-thirds of the way to your destination, Kia's horse suddenly rears up on its hind legs and throws you to the ground. The crazy animal has been spooked by a stick lying in the path. She bolts off, back in the general direction of Waterfell. You dust yourself off and check yourself over. Other than a few bruises, you are fine; but the horse is nearly out of sight. Will you:\n\n[[Go after the horse.|Chase]]\n[[Continue to Fate's Hand on foot.|Travel On]]
He begs you not to tell anyone, and offers you a cut of the take at the end of the festival.\n\n[[Say you will keep his secret, but tell him you have no interest in his money|Harvest Festival]]\n[[Tell him you will keep his secret, but you expect half the take.|Assasin]]\n[[Tell you will keep his secret and have no interest in the money, but tell the authorities as quick as you can.|Tell]]
You need to find a quick way to get to Landwald. You decide to search for a [[horse]] down by the stables.
An old Gypsy Woman stands beside a box-table, inside are a pair of bone dice. She smiles crookedly at you and speaks:\n\n"Step up deary, and throw the bones. Throw 7 or 11 and you'll be in heaven. Throw boxcars or snake-eyes and I'll take home the prize. Five copper a throw and away we go!\n\nYou pay the copper and she hands you the dice. They rattle and clatter as she sake them to and fro, then you toss them into the box-table and peek at the [[results.]]\n
<<silently>>\n<<set $item = either("[[win by a length]]", "[[lose by a length]]")>>\n<<endsilently>>\nYou burst through the finish line, and <<print $item>>\n
You manage to wiggle into a seat between two very enthusiastic spectators who seem to be arguing animatedly. The more burley of the two is complaining about the new rules discouraging deaths in the ring, while the other is supporting the less cruel version of competition focused on making an opponant yield with as little bloodshed as possible. They quiet as the competitions begin.\n\nYou watch an amazing display of fighting skill unlike anything you've ever seen before. Men and women, trained in both familiar and exotic fighting styles, combat one another with dazzling form and a sense of honor. You leave thinking it would be wonderful to experience that sense of respect and honor yhat the fighters showed one another today, as you head out of the arena and back to the [[Harvest Festival]].
Surprisingly, McGrunt only grins at you even bigger.\n\n"You are a plucky little thing," he says. "You remind me of myself when I was your age. Fine, keep half for yourself, but you better get back to the [[harvest festival|Assasin]] before I chanage my mind.
Everyone congratulates you on a race well run, and you can't help but feel proud. McGrunt smirks at you from the winner's circle, then comes over and takes back his horse. You pat the old boy and thank him for trying so hard. You may have come in second, but to you, it was a wonderfully exciting race you won't soon forget.\n\nYou return to the [[Harvest Festival]].
You look around and find the fighting arena, where many tough warrior types are warming up for competition. What do you do?\n\n[[Have second thoughts|Harvest Festival]]\n[[Enter the arena|Arena]]
Your Final Fate:\n\nYou live a very long, happy, but restless life as a respected village counsel member, using your reward to help your family, friends, and village. You gain the respect you've always wanted, but there are many nights when you can't help but look up to the sky and feel a little bereft for the adventure that might have been. But your children and your children's children never tire of hearing the tale of how one little fishing apprentice managed to save an entire kingdom.
It's early fall, and you wake with the happy realization that today, you do not have to join the other apprentices down at the village beach. Today, the day of your seventeenth birthday, you are free from your normal chores at the fishing nets. \n\nYesterday, the fishing master told you that he would give you the next three days off so that you could travel to the nearby town of Fate's Hand in order to attend your first Harvest Festival. You are thrilled. You have never set foot outside of your little fishing village of Waterfell. And this year, you have heard that the festival will play host to Queen Neumera's elite Cadre of Gryphon-Riders, the greatest the kingdom of Freymere has ever known. You can't wait to see the famous Guardians for yourself.\n\nAs you exit the hut you share with your family, you are greeted warmly by your mother and father and several friends. Your mother gives you a hug and tells you to be careful. Your father gives you a pouch with seventeen years worth of birthday savings, so that you may truly enjoy the festival in style. \n\nYour friend, Kia, offers you her horse to ride to Fate's Hand, but not to be outdone, your friend, Gavin, offers you his wagon to take as well -- in case you want to bring anything back. You thank them both, then choose.\n\n[[Travel By Horse|Horse]]\n[[Travel By Wagon|Wagon]]\n
McGrunt, the owner of Halfing Kicker and a man of questionable ethics, is receptive to the idea. He demands that he get 66% of the winnings, plus, you have to agree to sabotage the competition by taking out Furioius Tempest. \n\n[[Disagree|disagree]]\n[[Agree|Agree]]\n[[Report McGrunt's plan to Lord Stanley|Report]]
The farmer thanks you profusely, and although he will miss his horse dearly, at least he knows the money will help him care for his family while he searches for a new one.\n\nThe crowd cheers your generousity and it is announced that you will be treated to free room and board at the tavern this evening.\n\nYou return to the [[Harvest Festival]] feeling very proud of yourself, greeted by warm smiles and kindess by all who heard of your good deed.
The man grins at you. "Sorry mate.You Lose! But never fear, good fortune could be near. Spin again and let the Fates decide!"\n\n[[Go again.|Wheel of Fortune]]\n[[Watch as someone else plays|Watch]]\n[[Try another game.|Games]]\n[[Do something else.|Harvest Festival]]\n[[Call it a night and head to the tavern.|Tavern]]
The crowd looks at you with disapproval, and you notice people seem a lot less friendly, but no one interferes as you head back to the [[Harvest Festival]].
You find the local constable and tell him what you know. As the con man is lead, cursing, out of the festival, you are greeted by the mayor of Fate's Hand, who rewards you with an invitation to dine with the Gryphon Riders, free of charge, when they arrive at the tavern this evening. In the meantime, she tells you to continue to enjoy the [[Harvest Festival]].
The man grins at you. "Sorry mate.You Lose! But never fear, good fortune could be near. Spin again and let the Fates decide!"\n\n[[Go again.|Wheel of Fortune]]\n[[Watch as someone else plays|Watch]]\n[[Try another game.|Games]]\n[[Do something else.|Harvest Festival]]\n[[Call it a night and head to the tavern.|Tavern]]
The stables lay in burned ruins, the same as the rest of the town, but you steel yourself for what you may find, and enter the [[remains]] of the stable.
You don't want to take the chance of the message not getting to Queen Neumera, and decide to stay with the distraught bard. You sit beside Paleo and begin quietly speaking of your wonderful, if brief time, spent with his sister. You marvel at how brave she was and of how she saved your life. You reveal the gift she gave you for your birthday and speak of how you will treasure it always.\n\nThen you turn to the quietly crying man as he stares at the gryphon ring on your finger and tell him, "What a shame if your sister's brave death was all in vain."\n\nPaleo seems to come back to himself at your words. He climbs up from the floor, straightens his tunic, then pulls a whistle from his pocket. He blows the whistle, but you don't hear it make a sound. Suddenly, you hear the beating of wings coming from outside the Inn. You follow the young bard out as he walks away on surprisingly (for someone who just downed an entire jug of whiskey) steady legs.\n\nOutside, you are greeted by a magnificent, and entirely unexpected sight. Four white gryphons sit regally on the ground -- three bear riders resplendant in the Guardian attire and the fourth is riderless. You gasp, as Paleo leaps upon the creatures back and holds his hand out to you.\n\nThe bard smiles lightly at your hesitant reaction. "I suppose my sister never got around to telling you that her little brother was a Guardian as well as a bard." He stretches his hand out to you once more. "If you like, I will take you with us to the Capital and you can meet the Queen for yoursef. But we must hurry."\n\n[[Thank him but decline the offer, saying you would prefer to go back to your quiet, uneventful village in order to be with you family and loved ones.|Safe and Fulfilling]]\n\n[[Thank him and take his hand, allowing him to place you behind him on the magnificent Gryphon's back|Fly]]
Lord Stanley laughs at you and informs you that he already has a trained jockey and that he never loses. You will have to look some more for a horse to [[Race]], or change your mind and return to the [[Harvest Festival]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $item = either("[[Crowbait alive and well]]", "[[nothing but smoldering remains]]")>>\n<<endsilently>>\nYou make your way into the charred remains of the building, your hand over your nose to block out the stench. You think you see something over in a corner stall, so you make your way over and find <<print $item>>\n
Everything speeds by you in a blur, as the horse surprises you with a quick leap ahead. You encourage him excitedly. You might actually win this! But the other horses quickly make up lost ground and you soon fine yourself in a cluster with several other riders.\n\nYou see the finish line ahead, and make one more desperate spur. Your partner gives it all he's got... but is it [[enough]]?
There is a lot of vying for the lower tier, which puts the viewer much closer to the action. You have to really hustle and move quickly to find a seat in one of the coveted spots, but you manage it just as the competition gets underway.\n\nIt's an exciting match, and you are thrilled to have such a good seat to see all the action. That is, until one of the less skilled fighters loses his grip on his blade, which sails through the air and penetrates your heart. You are dead before you even hit the ground.
You look closer at what the guy is doing, and realize he is cheating by controlling how the wheel lands. Will you:\n\n[[Walk away.|Harvest Festival]]\n[[Confront him about cheating.|Cheating]]
You can't stand the idea of someone hurting an innocent animal just to win a race, so you go to Lord Stanley and report the offer that McGrunt made you.\n\nHe thanks you for the information, and after speaking with some of his men, he offers you a small cash reward; but still refuses to lend you Furious Tempest for the race since you aren't a trained jockey and he plans to win.\n\nYou decide that maybe horse racing just isn't a game for you and you return to the [[Harvest Festival]] with your reward.
Finally, by early evening, you reach the city. It doesn't take long to track down the wearabouts of Paleo the bard, as posters announcing his performances at the Lucky Land Inn, plaster nearly every wall in sight.\n\nYou find the handsome young bard laughing and carousing with some admirers between sets. You rush to him and give him your message, along with Maesteva's medallion. You are surprised by the sudden change in the amiable bard, as he growls and sweeps all the glasses off the bar and onto the floor. \n\nHis admirers scatter as he roars and begins knocking over chairs and tables. He then grabs a large jug of whiskey and, sliding to the floor, downs the entire contents. \n\nOne of the bard's admirers quietly tells you that Maesteva was Paleo's older sister and that the two were very close. She insists he will be alright, but you aren't so sure. Still, you've delivered the message, and your thoughts are of your loved one's and friends at home. You are torn. Do you:\n\n[[Head home in order to look after your friends and family.|cruel]]\n\n[[Stay with Paleo and help sober him up in order to insure the message gets to the Queen.|Success]]
You knew it was unlikely that any of the horses could have survived the flames, but you can't help but feel saddened by the loss of Crowbait. You try searching around some more, but you know time is running out and you will soon [[have to leave.|Leave immediately]]
You ask a local farmer to borrow his old farm horse. He tells you he just used his horse to bring his goods to the festival, and it is his only horse -- one that he raised from a foal. He isn't sure about letting you use his old work horse for racing. You continue to push the idea, until finally you are able to talk him, begrudingly, into lending you the horse.\n\nEveryone laughs as you bring the old nag into the lineup, but you pat its tired head and whisper encouragement into its ear. You tell the old girl that this could be her one last chance for glory, give her one more pat... then hold on for dear life when the bell is sounded and she takes off like the wind.\n\nIt's all you can do to keep from falling as she speeds ahead of the other entries. You can hear the exhalted cheering around the track and realize this may be YOUR one chance for glory.\n\nYou're not sure who is more surprised as she takes the win by two body-lengths -- you, the crowd, or the farmer. The prize money is more than you would make in a year. It is a glorious moment, until the poor girl suddenly drops from exhaustion and expires, leaving a grieving farmer bereft of any means of bringing his wares to market. Do you:\n\n[[Apologize to the farmer, then take your winnings and leave.|Bad Winner]]\n[[Apologize and give the farmer half your winnings and leave.|Okay Winner]]\n[[Apologize and give all your winning to the bereft farmer before taking your leave.|Good Winner]]
You can find no horse left alive after the attack, so you have to leave on foot. You head quickly out of town along the north road, running until too tired to do so, then continuing on, walking. \n\nYou nervously watch the sky for signs of dragons while trying to keep the terrible sights and sounds of the previous night from racing through your mind. You are lucky to come across a wagon travelling to the market in Landwald, and you catch a ride with the farmer. You ask him to go faster, telling him of the attack and that you must reach Landwald as soon as possible, but he doesn't believe you. Do you:\n\n[[continue to try to convince him|convince]]\n[[give him your money to make him go faster|bribe]]\n
You keep trying to convince the farmer of the truth of your tale until the man becomes convined that you are deranged. He promptly stops the wagon and kicks you out, taking off (finally at a run), and leaving you behind.\n\nYou try your best to continue as quickly on foot as you can, but you are exhausted and the day turns into evening and then into morning -- yet you continue doggedly on.\n\nSuddenly, the world around you is cast into dark shadow. Looking up, you see the sky darkened with a never-ending sea of Dragon-Riders. You know you will never deliver the message in time, and your delay has delivered a most cruel fate to the kingdom.\n\nSuddenly, you hear the beating of wings and a terrifying roar. You look behind you just in time to see a Dragon-Rider straffing the road. There is a terrible searing sensation as the Dragon sets your world ablaze, and then... nothing.
The festival is buzzing with activity. All around you people are smiling and laughing and having a grand time. There are wonderful smells and sounds all around you, and you take it all in with wonder.\n\nAs you wander about, you hear many people excitedly talking about the impending arrival of a famous Cadre of Gryphon-Rider Guardians, Queen Neumera's specialized fighting force that protects the kingdom of Freymere from her enemies in the east. Many say that it is the Cadre lead by the famous Guardian, Maesteva Goldheart which is destined to arrive, and that they will be staying the night at the tavern. \n\nYou hope that perhaps you will get a chance to see the famous Guardians this evening, but in the meantime, you have money burning a hole in your pocket. What would you like to do?\n\n\n[[Play a game of chance.|Games]]\n[[Take part in a fighting competition.|Fight]]\n[[Take part in a horse race.|Race]]\n[[Head to the Tavern|Tavern]]
The opportunity is too great to pass up and your sense of adventure takes over. You take the bard's hand and allow yourself to be pulled up on the beautiful creature's back.\nYou hold on tightly to Paleo as the Cadre of Gryphons lift swiftly and gracefully into the air. It is the most exquisite feeling you have ever experienced.\n\nYou fly in an awed daze over parts of Freymere you've only read about in books or seen on maps. The sights are glorious and you are giddy with the experience. But at once, you sober, remembering the terrible nature of the situation. Paleo eases your fear and tells you that as long as they have advanced warning, there is no chance of the Dragon-Riders ever surviving long enough to even reach the Capital city, so great is the power of the Queens army of Gryphon-Riders.\n\nAs the Capital City of Gryphon's Keep comes into sight, you are certain that you will never see anything so magnificent if you should live 200 years. The city glistens and gleams with rainbow-colored gems through which prisms of rainbow light create magical bridges from balcony to balcony. Gryphon-Riders and their mounts glide above, under, and through the many-tiered city -- glittering and gleaming silver, white, and gold under Freymere's twin suns.\n\nPaleo and his Cadre dip downward and glide safely to a large crystal mesa landing to what you are certain must be Queen Neumera's castle. You can't help but feel a little sad when the ride is over, but you accept Paleo's help as he gently drops you down to the mesa floor. He smiles warmly at you and it is easy to see Maesteva's warm smile in his own. "The word has already gone out and I must go join the other Cadres. There is no need to worry. You delievered the message in time. Head to the castle; the queen awaits you." You watch as he and his companions launch into the sky to join the thousands of Cadre's flying overhead, then turn and head into the castle and to the [[Queen]]
<<silently>>\n<<set $item = either("7 you win", "11 you win", "boxcars you lose", "snake-eyes you lose")>>\n<<endsilently>>\nYou roll the dice. <<print $item>>.\n\n[[Go again.|results.]]\n[[Try another game.|Games]]\n[[Do something else.|Harvest Festival]]\n[[Call it a night and head to the tavern.|Tavern]]
You pull up to the starting line, and everyone chuckles at the sad-looking creature you are riding. You pat the beast in encouragement. The Mayor stands at the lineup, a large bell in hand. He raises it high.\n\n"Riders ready... set..."\n\nHe rings the bell loudly, and it's all you can do to hold on as the horse under you shoots [[off]] like an arrow.
A slick looking man in a long overcoat stands before a table. on it are three cards, one of which is the queen of hearts.\n\nHe goes into his patter:\n\n“All right, folks, this is a playing game, not a watching game. Ten will get you twenty and twenty will\nget you forty. I don’t get sore when I lose and I’m glad when you win. Watch me close, see the queen. Now you see her, now you don't. Watch my hands now.”\n\nHe shuffles the three cards quickly, one over the other, back again, and under. You try to keep your eye on the card you know is the queen. When he comes to a stop, you make your choice:\n\n[[Choose the card on the left.|Left]]\n[[Choose the card on the right.|Right]]\n[[Choose the card in the middle.|Middle]]
Kia's horse does not appreciate the burden of the wagon, but never-the-less makes good time toward Fate's Hand. As you reach two-thirds of the way to your destination, there is a sudden jolt as one of the wagon wheels twists in a rut and breaks.\n\nKia's horse fusses in her harness at the pull, as the wagon now sits at an odd angle. You realize there is no way for you to fix the wagon. You contemplate your options, and realize that you can go back to Waterfell and get Gavin's help in retrieving his wagon for repairs, or you can take the horse and continue on to Fate's Hand, with hopes that you can pay someone to help you with the wagon after the festival. You decide to:\n\n[[Unharness the horse and travel all the way back to Waterfell.|Wagon Help]]\n\n[[Unharness the horse and travel the shorter distance to Fate's Hand.|Travel On]]
You can hardly believe it! You are called to the winners circle. Everyone congratulates you on a well-run race, as you make your way to the Mayor, who claps you on the back and tells you what a fine bit of horse racing that was.\n\nThe mayor hands you a pouch full of coins. Fifty silver. You can't believe your luck. You can't help but notice McGrunt watching you. He approaches and demands you give him half of the winnings since it was his horse. Do you:\n\nGive him half the money and head back to the [[Harvest Festival]].\n\nTell him that [[wasn't the deal|Assasin]] and return to the festival.
Although you have little skill in normal fighting techniques, your years of training with nets and fishing spears gives you a surprise edge. You choose to fight with net and spear, and the crowd's laughter suddenly changes to surprised delight, as you best your opponant and force him to yield.\n\nPleased with the praise, you must decide to either quit while you are ahead and return to the [[Harvest Festival]], or go [[another round]].\n
Hours pass as you wait in fearful silence while the battle rages above you. Finally, once all is quiet, the tavern mistress comes to get you. You wander out of the destroyed tavern and are devestated to see Fate's Hand in flame and ruin. Bodies of locals, Guardians, and Dragon-Rider's litter the ground.\n\nMaesteva Goldheart lay crushed beneath her dead mount. She weakly beckons you over. She gives you her medallion and begs you to leave immediately for the city of Landwald, just north of Fate's Hand. There, she says, you must find the bard, Paleo, and give him her medallion in order to warn the Queen of an impending Dragon-Rider attack on the Capital City. With one last, pained breath, she dies. \n\nSaddened as you are, you have no time to mourn. Around you, you can hear the wails and cries for help from those who still remain alive from the attack. Many are trapped and need immediate aid; others lay burned and bleeding in the streets, desperate for some relief. Only a few survivors are unharmed enough to render aid, but not nearly enough to help everyone in time. Will you:\n\n[[Leave immediately]] for Landwald on foot in order to find Paleo?\n\n[[Take time]] to look for a horse before leaving.\n\n[[Delay leaving]] a day in order to help the injured people of Fate's Hand.
The farmer thanks you, but still seems upset and quite sad. Those watching dont seem angry or hostile to you, but they do seem a little disapointed. You return to the [[Harvest Festival]], but some of the enjoyment has gone out of it for you.
<<silently>>\n<<set $item = either("[[win by a nose!]]", "[[lose by a nose]]")>>\n<<endsilently>>\nYou burst through the finish line, and <<print $item>>\n
The Fate's Hand Tavern is a large but cozy affair, with a huge fireplace burning warmly in the corner and a long bar running its length. \n\nYou learn from the Tavern Mistress, Anna, that there is an upstairs level full of rooms for rent and that the kitchen serves a large variaty of meat and vegetable dishes, cheeses, and beverages. The place is already filled to the brim, but you manage to find a nice place by the fire in which to enjoy a meal.\n\nEventually, a quiet, excited rumbling moves through the crowd as the door opens and Maesteva Goldheart and her three Guardian companions enter. They are as magnificent as you imagined they would be, armored in gleaming white and silver. Their large Guardian medallions stand stark and gleaming gold against their chests, which bear the symbol of Queen Neumera: a winged gryphon flying over the Gryphon Keep castle. The Guardians take a seat near you and order a round of ale for the house. Maesteva, notcing your youth, teases that the bar maid should bring you something tamer. The crowd laughs good naturedly in your direction when you announce with pride that it is your birthday and you are no longer a youth.\n\nThe night grows late as the Guardians regale the crowd with tale after tale of their great adventures as Gryphon Riders. It sounds like a dangerous job, but one filled with excitement and respect. You wonder what it would be like to be so well thought of.\n\nYou eventually grow tired, and can't stifle the yawn that escapes you. The tavern mistress coos over you, and tells you to run off to bed for some sleep. Do you:\n\nObey her, say good night to everyone, and [[go to bed]].\n\nDown your drink, declare you are fine, and [[stay up]] in order to spend more time with the wonderful Guardians and the magnificent Maesteva Goldheart.
The farmer happily takes all your money, not caring if you are telling the truth or not, then speeds his horse and wagon at a run. Your [[destination]] is close at hand.\n\n
You tell McGrunt that you aren't willing to resort to sabotage, but you have no problem giving him the money he asks for should you win. You explaine that mostly you just want the thrill of competing.\n\nMcGrunt says that if you are just interested in racing, then he will rent you one of his other horses for five silver. Will you:\n\nThank him, but say that you would rather save your money and return to the [[Harvest Festival]].\n\nPay him five silver and take the reigns of Crowbait, the old wall-eyed, sway-back nag he pulls from his stable, and head to the [[race|lineup 2]].\n\n
An excited crowd chatters loudly, as they fill up the arena. You can hear side bets being taken and arguments over the ability of the various fighters. \n\nThe two-tiered seating is pretty full, but you spot an opening on both the top and bottom rows. Where would you like to sit?\n\n[[Sit in the top row.|Top]]\n[[Sit in the bottom row.|Bottom]]
Your next opponant is a massive Amazon warrior who also wields a net and spear -- and she looks to be even more comfortable with the instruments than you. But high on adrenaline, you charge ahead, battling visciously.\n\nUnfortunately, you remember too late that you are not truly a warrior, but merely a fishing apprentice -- and a very tired one at that. You fumble your attacks and swing your net too wildly. The Amazon easily avoids the trip tactic, but alas, you do not.\n\nYou become tangled in your own net, and suddenly find yourself swiftly falling forward. Your opponant does not realize your fate in time to move her spear, and you become impaled as you continue falling toward the ground.\n\nThe last thing you see is the regret on the Amazon warror's face; and as she craddles you in her arms, you die.
Everyone congratulates you on a race well run, and you can't help but feel proud. McGrunt is not happy, but there isn't much he can do. You pat Halfing Kicker and thank her for trying so hard. You may have come in second, but to you, it was a wonderfully exciting race you won't soon forget.\n\nYou return to the [[Harvest Festival]].
A smarmy man with gold teeth stands beside a spinning wheel made up of black and red squares. He grins disturbingly at you and speaks.\n\n"Step up and challenge the Wheel of Fate. Do you have what it takes? Maybe you win, maybe you lose -- it all depends on how you choose. A fifty-fifty chance to win; step on up and give it a spin!"\n\nYou pay the (rather pricey) fee, grab ahold of the wheel, and give it a good yank to start it spinning. You call out your choice:\n\n[[Red|Red]]\n[[Black|Black]]\n
You see several boothes and tables with all manner of individuals running various games of chance. Only three boothes look to be open at this time: a card game, a game with dice, and a game with a large spinning wheel. What would you like to do.\n\n[[Play 3 Card Monte|3 Card Monte]]\n[[Play Throw the Bones|Throw the Bones]]\n[[Play Wheel of Fortune|Wheel of Fortune]]\n[[Look for something else to do|Harvest Festival]]
The party with the Guardians goes long into the night. At one point, Maesteva takes you aside and gives you a little ring with a gryphon symbol on it that she wears on her little finger. She tells you that she wore it long before she became a Guardian. She wants you to have it as a birthday gift. You take the littel ring reverently and place it upon your little finger. It will be a wonderful keepsake to remember your adventure in Fate's Hand.\n\nSuddenly, there is a terrible blast of heat, as a wall of the tavern bursts into flame. The door opens and the sound of screaming, mixed with the roar of some great beast, fills the room.\n\nThe mayor runs in yelling that Fate's Hand is under attack by Dragon-Riders. The Guardians spring into action, as several others do their best to try to douse the growing flames. Before you can act, Maesteva grabs you and hauls you over to the basement door. She shoves you inside and commands you to stay in the [[basement]] until someone comes for you, then she slams the door and is gone.
The horrible sounds of death and dying rage around you, and the smell and taste of smoke fills your senses. The beating of great wings rumble the walls, and dirt falls through some of the cracks. When you hear the pained bellowing of gryphons joining that of dragons, you fear terribly for the safety of the Guardians. You want so terribly to go out and try to help save the town. You are sure you can hear people crying for help above you. Do you [[obey]] Maesteva's orders and stay where you are, or [[leave the basement]] in order to try to help?
You stumble out into a living hell. Fire surrounds you. A great and terrible battle rages in the sky as Gryphon-Rider and Dragon-Rider meet in arial combat. Chaos ensues and people run in every direction, falling to the maw or the flame of a straffing dragon. \n\nOne by one you see the great Guardians fall from the sky. Even the Paragon warrior, Maesteva Goldheart and her mount, succumb to the onslaught and fall. You know in your heart you are witnessing the end of the world as you know it.\n\nYou run to help, but do not know where to even begin. Suddenly, you hear the beating of wings and feel a powerful rush of air behind you. You slowly turn and a Dragon and its rider hover mere inches from you. \n\nYour last thoughts are of your home and family, right before the beast snaps you between its massive teeth and kills you.
Everyone is greatful for your help. You work tirelessly in your efforts to help those in need, but there seems to be a never-ending line of requests. It is heart-breaking to see so much death and suffering, and you can't help but agree when asked to stay just one more day before leaving. It is a decision which has sealed not only your fate, but the [[fate of the kingdom]] as well.
You agree to try to take Furious Tempest out of the race. You see two possibilities: make him sick with worm [[infested apples]], or run him off by [[scaring]] him.
<<silently>>\n<<set $item = either("win", "lose")>>\n<<endsilently>>\nYou point at the card on the left. You <<print $item>>.\n\n[[Go again.|3 Card Monte]]\n[[Try another game.|Games]]\n[[Do something else.|Harvest Festival]]\n[[Call it a night and head to the tavern.|Tavern]]
You are called to the winners circle. You can hardly believe it! Everyone congratulates you on a well-run race, as you make your way to the Mayor, who claps you on the back and tells you what a fine bit of horse racing that was.\n\nThe mayor hands you a pouch full of coins. Fifty silver. You can't believe your luck. You can't help but notice McGrunt waiting for you with a sickening grin on his face. He approaches and demands his two-thirds. Do you:\n\nGive him the money and return to the [[Harvest Festival]].\nTell him you want [[half]], instead.\n
<<silently>>\n<<set $item = either("win", "lose")>>\n<<endsilently>>\nYou point at the card on the right. You <<print $item>>.\n\n[[Go again.|3 Card Monte]]\n[[Try another game.|Games]]\n[[Do something else.|Harvest Festival]]\n[[Call it a night and head to the tavern.|Tavern]]
Your Final Fate:\n\nYou join the Guardians and work hard to become the best you can be. You eventually become a famous Cadre leader known far and wide for your great deeds. You are respected, and many stand in awe of you. You have many adventures that you are happy to regale your family and old friends with on those rare occassions when you are able to return to Waterfell, but you can't help feel a little regret at the fact that you haven't really time for a family of your own. Still, you have no regrets in earnest; not even when you sacrifice your relatively young life in the final battle that frees Freymere from the threat of Dragon-Riders forever.
The Guardians wish you good night and Maesteva stops you long enough to give you a little ring with a gryphon symbol on it that she wears on her little finger. \n\nShe tells you that she wore the ring long before she became a Guardian. She wants you to have it as a birthday gift. You take the littel ring reverently and place it upon your little finger. It will be a wonderful keepsake to remember your adventure in Fate's Hand. You thank her once more, then head up to bed.\n\nIt takes no time to fall asleep in your tired state, but even your deep slumber can't protect you from the burning pain that invades your senses some hours later. Springing into wakefullness, you only have seconds to understand what has befallen you.\n\nAround you, a raging inferno is spreading and the bed you lay upon is ablaze. The roar of some gigantic creature turns your pained and smoke filled eyes towards the window, and out it you see swarms of dragons being ridden by hodded figures. \n\nWith the sounds of terrified and pained screems filling the air, you rush from your bed toward the door -- your night shirt alight and trailing flames. You try to open the door, but a beam falls across it blocking the way. There is no escape. You turn back toward the window in time to see the maw of one of the flying beasts outside the glass. You see the flame in its throat just before it fills the room. You know no more.
He agrees, but later that night you are grabbed and pulled into the shadows. A voice whispers in your ear:\n\n"You should never make deals with criminals."\n\nYou feel a terrible pain, as your abductor draws a very sharp knife across your throat. You fall to the ground, your life-blood forming a pool under you. \n\nThe last thing you see as you stare unblinking toward the darkening sky, is the magnificent view of a Cadre of Gryphon Riders as they descend toward the tavern. Too bad you won't live long enough to meet them.\n\n\n\n
You sneak in to put the rotten food in Furious Tempest's food bucket, but you didn't count on the beast's violent reaction to strangers. The horse puts up a monstrous fuss when you enter his stall, rearing and kicking -- well, furiously. You just can't get out of the way in time, and the horse tramples you under his hooves. It's a terrible, ignoble way to die.
Everything speeds by you in a blur, as the horse surprises you with a quick leap ahead. You encourage him excitedly. You might actually win this! But the other horses quickly make up lost ground and you soon fine yourself in a cluster with several other riders. Surprisingly, it comes down to Old Crowbait and Halfing Kicker, who are neck and neck. The two horses surge forward, struggling to take first.\n\nYou see the finish line ahead, and make one more desperate spur. Your partner gives it all he's got... but will it [[be enough]]?
The castle is almost blinding in it's beauty, and the only thing that seems to surpass it is the beauty of the Queen herself. As you enter the crytalline structure, she stands waiting -- tall and ethereal, as if she herself were made up of rainbow color light.\n\nShe beckons you over and you draw respectfully near. When she speaks, you could swear her words are made up of musical notes from a flute or perhaps an autumn wind through rustling leaves. She is mesmerizing, and you hang on every word.\n\n"So you are the youth I have to thank for saving our kingdom. Every decision you have made has guided both your fate, and ours. Melol, my advisor and court Seer, and I, watched your approach with Paleo. Melol used her powers to show me your journey and how it has impacted the fate of the kingdom. The dragon attack was shielded from her eyes, but your path was not. You have become part of the history of Freymere through your choices. And now, you have one more choice to make."\n\nShe smiles at you and continues.\n\n"You may [[return]] safely to your village, with our thanks and a large monetary reward, which you may do with as you will; or, you may [[join]] the Guardians as an apprentice Gryphon-Rider, and help to protect Freymere from her enemies. Know that whatever you choose, you forever have the Queen's blessing; but the choice, and your final fate, is yours alone. What will you choose?"
By the time you are able to leave the suffering in Fate's Hand in order to carry out Maesteva's request, two days have passed. On the road to Landwald, the world around you is suddenly cast into dark shadow. Looking up, you see the sky darkened with a never-ending sea of Dragon-Riders. You know you will never deliver the message in time, and your delay has delivered a most cruel fate to the kingdom.\n\nSuddenly, you hear the beating of wings and a terrifying roar. You look behind you just in time to see a Dragon-Rider straffing the road. There is a terrible searing sensation as the Dragon sets your world ablaze, and then... nothing.
You travel on uneventfully, until you reach the bustling town of Fate's Hand. The [[Harvest Festival]] is in full swing.
With some effort, you beat your next opponant as well. The crowd is in an uproar and you are giddy from their enthusiasm. They call for you to fight [[one more round]], but you wonder if you should quit now and return to the [[Harvest Festival]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $item = either("win", "lose")>>\n<<endsilently>>\nYou point at the card in the middle. You <<print $item>>.\n\n[[Go again.|3 Card Monte]]\n[[Try another game.|Games]]\n[[Do something else.|Harvest Festival]]\n[[Call it a night and head to the tavern.|Tavern]]
Several days later grave news comes to your remote little village. Fate's Hand and the captial city of Gryphon's Keep, have fallen to a hoard of attacking Dragon-Riders from the east.\n\nCaught by surprise, Queen Neumera and her brave Gryphon-Rider Guardians were slaughtered. The Dragons continue to lay waste to the kingdom of Freymere, and your little village lay directly in their path.\n\nAs you watch the sky blacken from the approaching dragons and watch your people scramble down to the beach in panic, you realize there will be no escape from the flames. And as you feel the searing pain surround you, you surrender to the darkness as you curse the crulty of fate.
You need to find a horse that actually follows commands enough to race, so you begin asking around. There are three choice: [[Furious Tempest]], the tournament winning prized race horse belonging to a local lord who has won every race it's ever entered; [[Halfing Kicker]], an aging thoroughbred who was never that good in its prime; or an [[old farm horse]] belonging to a local farmer that is more accustomed to pulling sleds, not racing, and has never raced a day in its life.
You manage to sneak unnoticed into the stables and untie Furious Tempest. You are careful not to get too close to the furious beast, but you are able to startle the horse enough to cause it to break free from it's stall and tear-off at a furious run.\n\nThe festival goers all laugh at Lord Stanley and his stablehands as they unsuccessfully try to catch the fastest horse in the county, on foot.\n\nYour ruse works and Furious Tempest is removed from the lineup. McGrunt hands you Halfing Kicker's reigns and tells you to get to the lineup. Do you:\n\nChange your mind and return to the [[Harvest Festival]].\nClimb on to Halfing Kicker and head to the [[lineup]].
By the time you make it back home, get Gavin to follow you back to the wagon, and fix the wheel -- too much time has passed to bother continuing on to the festival. Fate has dealt you a [[cruel]] hand.
Margaret S. E. Smith
Your Final Fate:\n\nYou return home to your friends and family in Waterfell, with a tremendous, if somewhat difficult to believe, tale to tell. You can't help but wonder and worry a bit, unitl news comes to your little village that the Guardian's were warned in time, and the kingdom is safe.\n\nYou become a minor celebrity in your village for a while, but soon the excitement of your adventure dies down and everything goes back to normal.\n\nYou live a hard but fulfilling life as a fisherman, eventually becoming a fishing master training young apprentices in the craft. Every now and then, as the village gathers for various celebrations, someone will ask you to tell the story of your visit to Fate's Hand and your roll in helping to save the kingdom -- and every time they do, the story gets just a bit more elaborate and exciting, until it becomes difficult for even you to separate fact from fantasy.
You pull up to the starting line, and the horse under you shifts its weight in anticipation. The Mayor stands at the lineup, a large bell in hand. He raises it high.\n\n"Riders ready... set..."\n\nHe rings the bell loudly, and [[your off]]!
You can't believe it! You don't know how it is possible, but the beautiful old nag escaped the flames. You hop on her back and head out to Landwald. \n\nCrowbait seems to sense the urgency of your mission, and she all but flys you to your [[destination]].
The horse leads you on a merry chase, wandering back and forth, zigzagging, and changing directions again. At nightfall, you have to stop and make camp for the night. You hope the crazy beast doesn't get too far away, and you hope Kia appreciates your concern for her lunatic animal.\n\nIt takes you nearly all the next day tracking the beast before you finally have her in sight. You break into a run in order to catch her, but it sets her off again. The chase is on once more.\n\nIt is nearly nightfall before you catch up with the runaway horse, and just as you suspected, she has lead you back to Waterfell. Two of your three days off have passed trying to catch an insane horse. It seems you will be missing the festival this year as well. Oh well, at least Kia is happy to have her horse back in one piece -- but at what price?\n\nFate has dealt you a [[cruel]] hand.