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From TSR, Inc. the producers of the 


_ DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ® cane 








An ENDLESS QUEST® Book #18 
King’s 
Quest 







Ls 


By Tom McGowen 
A DUNGEONS & DRAGONS” Adventure Book 


—— ee ,- ————— a oe = _s eee eee 


SURROUNDED BY GIANT FROGS! 
Your journey to put at rest the troubled spirit 
of the great King Silverhair has brought you 
to a raft in the middle of a mysterious river, 
said to be inhabited by fearsome monsters! 
In the middle of the night, you awake with a 
start. Lining the shore on both sides of the 
raft, mere arm lengths away, gigantic, shad- 
owy creatures stare at you with unblinking 
eyes, their long whiplike tongues snicking in 
and out in anticipation. You realize with a 
shudder that the creatures are giant frogs, 
and they could instantly snap you up like a 
helpless insect! 

What will you do? 
1) If you decide to try to frighten the frogs 
away, turn to page 135. 
2) If you want to lie still and try to drift by 
the frogs, turn to page 50. 


Whichever choice you make, you are sure to 
find adventure as you journey on your 
KING’S QUEST 





















































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An ENDLESS QUEST® Book #18 


KINQG’S 
QUEST 


BY TOM MCGOWEN 


A DONGEONS & DRAGONS” ADVENTURE BOOK 


_ Cover Art by Ben Otero 
Interior Art by Kevin Nichols 














For Carey 


KING’S QUEST 
© Copyright 1984, TSR, Inc. 

All Rights Reserved. 
This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of 
America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or art- 
work contained herein is prohibited without the express written permission 
of TSR, Ine. 
Distributed to the book trade in the United States hy Random House, Inc., 
and in Canada by Random House of Canada, Ltd. 
Distributed in the United Kingdom by TSR (UK) Led, Distributed to the toy 
and hobby trade by regional distributors. 
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and PICK A-PATH TO ADVENTURE are 
trademarks owned by TSK, Inc. 


D&D and ENDLESS QUEST are regiatered trademarks owned by TSR, Inc. 


First printing: July, 1984 

Printed in the United States of America 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: §3-91426 
ISBN: 0-88038-079-9 


S87654421 


All characters in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual per- 
sons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. 


TSR, Ine. TSE (UK), Ltd. 
PO. Box 756 The Mill, Rathmore Road 
Lake Geneva, W] 50147 Cambridge CH1 4AD 


United Kingdom 








ou are about to set off on an adven- 
zi, ture in which YOU will meet many 
(J8||"§ dangers — and face many decisions. 
YOUR choices’ will -eciggamnoee 
how the story turns out. So be careful . 

must choose wisely! 

Do not read this book from beginning to end! 
Instead, as you are faced with a decision, fol- 
low the instructions and keep turning to the 
pages where your choices lead you until you 
come to an end. At any point, YOUR choice 
could bring success — or disaster! 

You can read KING'S QUEST many times, 
with many different results, so if you make an 
unwise choice, go back to the beginning and 
start again! 

Good luck on YOUR adventure! 

In this story, you are Sparrow, a young jug- 
gler who, together with your brother, Jay, tra- 
vels from town to town performing your act at 
inns and fairs in order to scratch out a meager 
existence. It’s a hard life, and nothing exciting 
ever seems to happen to you — until today, 
that is.... 














6 


At your feet lies a dead man! In your hand is 
a square of parchment, upon which is drawn a 
crude map. You can’t believe you have just 
agreed to undertake a quest that, if successful, 
will set free the tormented spirit of a king— 
and reward you with enormous treasure! 

Only minutes ago, you and your brother, 
Jay, were making your way along a narrow 
road that winds through the vast, dim forest 
known as the Elfwood. Jay is seventeen, five 
years older than you. You are orphans, and 
you make a living by juggling at fairs, inns, 
castles—wherever you can. It’s a hard life. 

“We should be out of these tou by sunset, 
Sparrow, Jay remarked. ““There’s an inn near 
the forest's edge. Maybe they'll let us do our 
juggling act in exchange for supper. ’ 

Suddenly you spotted something. “There's a 
man lying up ahead!” you exclaimed. 

You and Jay ran to where the stranger lay 
at the side of the road, beneath a rowan tree. 
Nearby, a horse nibbled grass at the edge of 
the woods. The middle-aged man wore the 
leather jacket of a warrior. You gasped as you 
saw an arrow protruding from his side. 

‘Water,’ he moaned weakly. “Water, I pray!” 

Quickly you pulled out your water flask. He 
drank thirstily, then sank back weakly. 

“I am dying,’ he whispered. “Scarface and 
his evil band are pursuing me. But they must 
not get what they seek! My only hope is to 
entrust it to you. Listen, and I will tell a tale 
that will make your hair stand on end! 








7 


“Long ago, when the great King Farad 
Silverhair died, he was buried in a secret tomb 
with his treasure, as is the custom. One day, 
robbers entered the tomb. They carried away 
the treasure and the king's bones in a bag, for 
there is great magic in kingly bones. They hid 
the bones and treasure in a cave, planning to 
return for it, but they never did. They were 
killed by a band of marauding goblins. The 
bones and the treasure are still there.” 

The stranger paused to regain his breath. 
“Farad Silverhair was my ancestor. His spirit 
cannot rest until his bones are buried again. | 
learned the whereabouts of the cave and was 
going there to bury his bones, but now I can- 
not. If you will swear to put him to rest, I will 
reveal the way. The treasure will make you 
rich, but you must swear to bury King 
Silverhair’s bones. Do you swear?” 

Jay studied your face intently, then nodded 
slowly. ““We—we swear, you breathed. 

The stranger fumbled in his pouch, with- 
drew a parchment, and placed it in your hand. 
“This map will show the way. But beware of 
Scarface and his cutthroats. They'll do any- 
thing to get the map. And when you reach the 
cave, beware...of the...’ His words ended 
in a choking gasp, and he laid still. 

“He's dead!” said Jay in a shocked voice. 

50 now you stand with the map in your 
hand, staring down at the dead man. 

“Where does the map say the cave is, Spar- 
row? asks Jay. 





You study the map. “This must be the road 
were on now,’ Jay says, pointing. The road 
leads to a distant town called Riverbend. 
Beyond the town is a cluster of hills. An arrow 
points to one of them. “That must be where 
the treasure is. Just think, Sparrow—we Il 
never be hungry again.’ 

“First we must bury the king's bones,” you 
remind him firmly. ““And remember, he tried 
to warn us about some kind of dane at the 
cave. | wonder what that could be. . 

You have no tools to bury the dead: man, but 
you re sure the elves who live in the forest will 
find him and bury him. You gently close his 
eyes and fold his hands over his chest. 

“Come on,’ says Jay. “If this road leads to 
that town, all we have to do is stay on it!” 

“Not necessarily,’ you say hesitantly. “The 
stranger said someone was after him. That 
must be who shot him with the arrow! If we 
stay on the road, we may run into them. We'd 
be safer traveling among the trees.” 

“IT don't think so, Sparrow. This forest 
belongs to the elves, and they don’t like hav- 
ing humans in it. People can go through as 
long as they stay on the road, but if we leave it, 


we could get into trouble with the elves! 


L) If you decide to stay on the road, turn to 
page 32. 


2) If you decide to travel through the for- 
est, turn to page 35. 





9 


You awaken to find Rogaldo preparing a 
hearty breakfast for you. After eating, you 
start out, expecting to follow the river until 
you come to a bridge. But to your surprise, 
Rogaldo walks straight down the riverbank to 
the river's edge. “Follow me,” he calls. 

“How will we go over the river?” Jay asks. 

“We won't. We'll go UNDER it!” the wizard 
says with a smile. “I’ve cast a spell to sur- 
round us with a shell of air.’ 

“But what about the creatures?” you ask. 

“They're all far upstream,’ he assures you. 

Crossing the river is like walking through a 
glass tunnel. When you emerge onto the other 
bank, your clothes aren't even damp. 

An hour later, you come to a road and follow 
it until it splits off in two directions. 

“We must make a choice here,’ Rogaldo 
explains. “Both roads meet the main road into 
Riverbend. The right-hand road takes three 
days through a great plain where some dan- 
serous creatures dwell. The other road takes 
over a day through a desert, where many very 
dangerous things live. So the road through the 
plain has less danger but for a longer time. 
The desert offers more danger but for a shorter 
time. Which shall it be?” 


1) If you decide to take the long way 
through the plain, turn to page 106. 


2) If you decide to take the short way 
through the desert, turn to page 118. 


| 








10 


You decide it’s safest to sleep in a tree. You 
find one with thick branches and climb it. 
But you don’t sleep well. It grows so dark 
that you can't see your hand two feet away, 
and the forest is full of frightening sounds. 
When morning comes, you climb down 
ie and ask, “Which way is the road, 
a 3 
- ‘This way, I think,” he says, pointing. But 
after traveling for some time, you both realize 
that you should have reached the road by now. 
“Tm afraid we're lost,’ you say miserably. 
“We've got to find the way out!” he says 
determinedly. ‘“We could starve to death if we 
don't. We just have to keep looking, Sparrow!” 
“Well, well. Lost and starving, eh? That's 
too bad” says a small, high voice. You look 
about quickly. Seated upon a nearby tree 
branch is a little man, no more than two feet 
tall, with gauzy green wings. It’s a pixie! 
“Just follow me, and I promise that your 
worries will soon be over.” it says sincerely. 
You and Jay both know that pixies are most 
untrustworthy. But maybe this one really 
does want to help you. Should you trust the 
pixie, or should you keep looking for the way 
out of the forest yourselves? 


1) If you decide to trust the pixie, turn to 
page 42. 


2) If you decide you can’t trust the pixie, 
turn to page 85. 





ie egg Pape are i 


sie, ri te * 


P| 





12 


Hesitating only a moment, you dash out the 
door. You run until your side aches and you 
gasp for breath. Slowing to a walk, yee _ 
that somehow the red-bearded man manag 
to defeat his three opponents. 

The sound of hooves thunders through the 
night air somewhere | behind you. You turn to 
see three black-clad ires galloping toward 
you! Redbeard must not have survived! 

Desperately you search for somewhere to 
hide, but there is only open meadow. You 
know you can’t outrun the horses, so you sim- 
ply wait for the riders to reach you, trying 
hard not to show how frightened you are. 

The riders rein in their horses, and the scar- 
faced man holds out his hand. “I think you 
have a certain map,’ he says coldly. “Give it to 
me and you can live. Tell me another he and 
ll kill you and find it anyway!” 

Wordlessly you take the map from your 
pouch and hand it to Scarface. He unfolds it, 
gives it a quick glance, then tucks it into his 
belt. With a grunted command, the riders spur 
their horses and gallop on up the road. 

You know now that the spirit of King 
Silverhair may never find rest, and your 
dreams of riches are gone forever. But at least 
you're still alive. With a sigh, you trudge back 
toward the inn. Perhaps Redbeard is still alive 
and you can make up for running away. An 
perhaps Jay will turn up in a day or so. 








aa wna 
r. 


13 


You make your way along the riverbank, 
peering about for any sign of dangerous crea- 


tures. Soon you realize you're in a huge 


marsh, with a forest of cattails and bulrushes 
stretching out on both sides of the river. The 
marsh resounds with strange sounds. 


— Once you think you see the huge scaly shape 


of a dinosaur in the distance. Another time, a 
big shaggy, shambling thing, like a pile of rot- 
ting plants with two legs, stares at you from 
the other side of the river. But when morning 
arrives, the night noises die away, as if all the 
dreadful creatures of the swamp have gone 
into hiding for the day. By midmorning, you 
have left the marsh behind. 

You trudge on all day without seeing a sign 
of life. But when twilight begins to turn into 
night once more, you see lights twinkling 
ahead and know you are nearing Riverbend. 
You reach the town sometime later and find a 
stable to sleep in, with soft hay for a bed. 

The next morning, with the last of your 
money, you buy a spear for each of you and 
start out on the last leg of your quest into the 
desolate hilly country beyond town. 

By late afternoon, you have found the hill, 
and you begin the long climb to the top. Sud- 
denly Jay stops and asks, “Did you hear 
that?” 

You listen for a moment before you hear a 
deep rumbling noise that rises and falls. It 
seems to be coming from the crest of the hill. 

“We'd better not make any noise until we 


14 


find out what that is,’ says Jay in a low voice. 

Carefully you continue up the hillside, the 
noise growing louder all the while. Finally, as 
you make your way around a large boulder, 
you see what is making the sound. 

On the rocky slope, no more than a hundred 
steps away, is a cave. And lying in the 
entrance, its gigantic body half inside and half 
outside, is a huge slumbering dragon! The 
sound you have been hearing is its breathing! 

You stare in dismay. The creature’s jaws are 
as long as your whole body, and it is covered 
with gleaming brownish scales that look as 
hard as a metal shield. From its nostrils, thin 
trickles of pale blue smoke cloud the air. 

You feel Jay pull at your arm, and he jerks 
his head toward the slope behind you. He 
wants to move back down the trail to talk. You 
nod, and as quietly as possible, the two of you 
steal back down the hillside out of earshot. 

“Sparrow, Jay whispers, “we don’t have a 
chance against that dragon! There's only one 
thing we can do—give up!” 

You shake your head firmly. “There are two 
other things we could do, Jay. One 1s to wait to 
see if the dragon leaves. And the other is to try 
to talk to it!” 


1) If you decide to wait to see if the dragon 
leaves, turn to page 21. 


2) If you decide to talk to the dragon, turn 
to page 16 








ld 


Slowly you reach into your pouch, pull out 
the map, and drop it into Redbeard’s hand. 
“Jay has taken care of me since | was little,’ 
you explain, “and he’s usually right. I’ve got 
to do what he thinks is best.” 

Redbeard nods and smiles gently. ‘I under- 
stand, Sparrow, and I think you're lucky to 
have a brother who takes such good care of 
you. I promise to bury King Farad’s bones as 
you would have. And [’ll tell you what...” | 

He pulls off his belt pouch, full of his share of — 
the gold coins you found in the wight’s den, | 
and sets it before you with a thump. “If I 
should get killed going after the treasure, I 
certainly won't be needing this! And if I come 
back with the king's treasure, I won't need it 
either. So if [’m lucky, we'll all be rich 
enough—and King Farad will sleep in peace, 
too.’ 

“I—I hope you find the treasure and come 
back safely, Redbeard;’ you tell him. And 
somehow, you're sure that he will! 


THE END 





16 


“TALK to it?” exclaims Jay, startled. Glanc- 
ing fearfully up toward the top of the hill, he 
drops his voice to a whisper again. “You're 
crazy, Sparrow! What makes you think you 
could talk to that—that thing?” 

“Dragons can talk just like we do, Jay. And 
not all of them are evil. I think that’s a gold 
dragon—one of the good ones.” 

“What would you say?” asks Jay. | | 

“T’'d ask it to let us have the bones of Farad 
Silverhair so we could bury them,’ you tell 
him. “We promised to do that, Jay, and we've 
got to try! If that dragon believes in lawful 
good, it will give us the bones.” 

“And if it’s evil, it'll burn us to a crisp!” Jay 
says grimly. He thinks for a few moments, 
then draws a deep breath. “Well, I can’t let 
you go by yourself, Sparrow. If we’re going to 

ie, we may as well die together. Come on.” 

Leaving your spears behind, you walk back 
up to the crest of the hill. You don’t know 
about Jay, but your legs are shaking so that 
you can hardly walk! You and Jay come to a 
halt about twenty steps from the dragon. 
Fearfully you clear your throat, hoping the 
sound will awaken the creature. 

One of the dragon's eyes snaps open sud- 
denly. It is deep yellow and as big as your 
head! A moment later, the other eyes opens. 
“Now, what in the name of dragondom is 
THIS?” demands the puzzled dragon in a 
deep, rumbling voice. 

5o far, so good, you think. You’re sure that if 








18 


this dragon were evil, you and Jay would be 
dead by now. In a rembiien voice you say, 
“Sir Dragon, may we please talk to you?” 

The dragon stares at you for a few moments 
more. Then it says, “What do you want to talk 
to me about, little one?” | 

You tell the dragon everything, from your — 
meeting with the dying man in the forest right 
up to the present moment. ‘“We—we were hop- 
ing you'd let us have the bones of King Farad 
Silverhair so we could end his spirit’s sorrow 
and keep our promise,’ you finish in a rush. 

“So THAT'S what's causing all that moan- 
ing at night in the cave!” the dragon roars. 
“Young human, | am touched by your sad 
tale—and also by your bravery. I will let you 
take the bones of the king, and you may also 
take one of the treasure chests from the cave.’ 

You and Jay stare at each other in amaze- 
oo This is more than you could have hoped 
ror: 

“Hold out your torch,’ orders the dragon. 
Jay removes the torch from his belt and holds 
it out toward the dragon. With a gentle snort, 
the dragon sets the end of it ablaze, then 
stands aside from the entrance to the cave. 

“You'll find it quite safe in there,’ it says. 
“There was a large spider living in the cave 
when I first came, but a few fiery puffs took 
care of that problem.” 

You hurry into the cave, down a short, rocky 
passage and into a large cavern. By the light 
from the torch, you see a pile of chests and 








19 


bags in one corner. You feel the bags until you 
find one that is filled with bones and pick it 
up. Jay grabs a small chest filled with glitter- 
ing gold coins and sparkling jewels. Then you 
hurry back out of the cave. 

You want the dragon to know that you 
appreciate its kindness and bow deeply. 
“Thank you very, very much, Sir Dragon. You 
are one of the kindest persons—er, dragons—I 
ever met.’ 

“You're welcome, little one,’ says the 
dragon. “Now be off with you, and don’t tell 
any other humans about this! I don’t want 
mobs of them coming up here and bothering 
me. 

It's nearly dusk when you and Jay reach the 
bottom of the hill. Using your spears, you 
quickly dig a grave for the bones of King 
Farad Silverhair. 

“You did it, Sparrow!” exclaims Jay. “If it 
hadn't been for you, I'd have just given up. I'd 
never have dreamed of trying to talk to a 
dragon!” 

“We were lucky, Jay,’ you say happily. 
“We've kept our promise to bury the king, and 
we have enough treasure to make things easy 
for us for the rest of our lives. d say it was a 
pretty successful quest!” 


THE END 








20 


“T think we should get out of here as fast as 
we can, Redbeard,’ you tell him. “Every extra 
moment we spend here, we're in danger!” 

Redbeard sighs. “You're probably right. 
Let's get going, then.” 

You hurry through the darkness for what 
seems like forever. Finally the hills are behind 
you and the sky is turning faintly pink. 
“We're safe now, says Redbeard. His mouth 
stretches into an enormous yawn. “Are you as 
tired as | am? We can sleep awhile if you'd 
like.’ Gratefully you sink down into the soft 
grass. 

You awaken at midday and share a quick 
meal of bread and cheese with Redbeard. 

“Listen, Sparrow,’ says the warrior as he 
eats, “there are two ways we can get to River- 
bend from here. We can go back to the road 
and follow it into town, but Scarface and 
gang may be watching the road. 

“The other way is to keep going straight to 
the river. There's a ford we can cross and then 
goon to Riverbend. The only trouble with that 
plan is that there are tales of a nixie who 
guards the ford and enslaves people who try to 
cross.’ He eyes you for a moment. “Which 
would you rather risk—the road or the ford?” 


1) If you choose to cross at the ford, turn to 
page 73. 


2) If you choose to go back to the road, 
turn to page 8&7. 














21 


“What makes you think the dragon will go 
away?’ whispers Jay. 

“Well, it has to eat sometime,’ you point out. 
“Tt probably hunts deer and other animals. 
While it’s gone, we can get into the cave, get 
King Farad’s bones and some of the treasure, 
and be gone before it comes back.” 

Jay stares at you thoughtfully for a few 
moments, then nods. “All right, Sparrow. 
Let's give it a try. I hate to think of giving up 
when we've come this close.” 

You sneak cautiously back up toward the 
crest of the hill and crouch behind the boulder 
to spy on the dragon. You watch silently as the 
afternoon turns to evening and the surround- 
ing hills become shrouded in twilight. 

Finally the dragon awakens. Its yellow eyes 
flash open, it gives a tremendous yawn, and 
then it heads straight down the hillside and 
vanishes in the gathering darkness. 

“Quick, Jay, ight the torch!” you urge. Jay 
removes the torch from his belt and lights it 
with flint and steel. Then the two of you race 
toward the cave. 

“Lhope there's nothing else in the cave,’ you 
pant. “I'm not convinced this dragon is what 
the dying man was trying to warn us of.’ 

“Tf there was anything, the dragon probably 
got rid of it,” Jay says hopefully. “Anyway, it’s 
no time to worry about it now!” 

You pass through the cave entrance, hurry 
through a short passageway, and enter alarge ~ 
cavern. In the flickering torchlight, you see a 


29 


pile of bags and chests in one corner. Quickly 
you run your hands over the bags until you 
fee] the one that contains King Silverhair’s 
bones. 

“| have the king’s bones,’ you tell Jay. “We 
can bury them as soon as we get far enough 
away. I wish he knew how much trouble we've 
gone to to help him!” 

Jay tucks a small chest under his free arm 
and says, “Come on. Let’s get out of here!” 

You dash back through the passageway and 
out the entrance—only to find yourselves face- 
to-face with the dragon, crouched before the 
cave, its yellow eyes blazing in fury! 

“So!” it roars in a voice that makes the hill 
shudder. “Thieves!"’ , 

Frozen with terror, you stare up at the huge 
creature, knowing it intends to kill you! 

Suddenly a strange, pale vapor begins to 
swirl from the bag you are holding. Swiftly it 
forms into the figure of a tall, elderly man 
with long, pale hair, dressed in armor 
wearing a crown. The figure glows eerily in 
the darkness, and you know you are looking at 
the spirit of King Farad Silverhair! 

“Dragon,’ it says in a voice that is only a 
thin whisper, “in the name of lawful good, I 
call upon you to spare these youngsters!” 

“Why should I spare them, spirit?” demands 
the dragon. “They are merely thieves." 

“They are not truly thieves,’ whispers the 
spirit. “They have braved many dangers to set 
my spirit free so that I may at last rest in 





aaeaicgt jie A BPG a4 
Fe — =a 


Line 





peace. They felt there was no other way but to 
steal into the cave while you were gone. Their 
intentions were honorable, not evil. I pray 
you, let them bury my bones so that my tor- 
ment will be brought to an end!” 

The dragon hesitates a moment, then says, 
“Very well. They may keep your bones and 
their lives, but that is all! No treasure!” 

“No, whispers the spirit. “They shall also 
have my blessing, and that may be worth a 
great deal to them, dragon.” And before your 
eyes, the image fades and is gone. 

Your legs are trembling, but you realize the 
ghost has saved your lives. Jay sets the trea- 
sure chest down, and you hurry away from the 
glaring dragon. At the boulder, you pick up 
your spears and continue on down the hill. 

At the bottom of the hill, you dig a grave 
with your spears and carefully bury the bag 
containing King Farad Silverhair’s bones. At 
long last, you have kept your pledge, and the 
quest is finished. 

“He saved our lives, -J ay, you murmur. “I’m 
glad we could help him.” 

“T'm glad we brought the king peace at last,” 
Jay agrees. “But I wish we could have taken 
some of the treasure. I guess we're just meant 
to be poor all our lives, Sparrow. 

“I don’t know, Jay,’ you say thoughtfully. 
“King Farad's blessing just might turn out to 
be worth a lot more than we realize!” 


THE END 





20 


The sun is well up in the sky and the 
Haunted Vale is far behind when you reach 
the ford that crosses the river. Exhausted, you 
and Redbeard snatch a quick nap, awakening 
around noontime. Redbeard sits on the grassy 
riverbank and pulls off his boots 

“The water is no more than knee- deep at 
this time of year,’ he says. “No use getting 
your shoes soaked, lad. Pull ‘em off and carry 
‘em. 

You remove your shoes as he fucks his boots 
under his arm and marches into the water. 
You follow and give a squeal of shock when 
you step into the cold water, but you quickly 
get used to it. Moving carefully so you won't 
slip and fall, you wade along at Redbeard’s 
side. 

You are in the middle of the broad river 
when Redbeard gives a loud gasp. He stops, 
staring downstream. There, out in the deeper 
part of the river, a figure has suddenly 
appeared and is moving swiftly toward you. It 
looks like a man, but its body is completely 
covered with | pale green fishlike scales. Its 
hands are wonked like the feet of a frog, and 
its eyes are large and staring. A nixie! 

You have heard of these creatures. They live 
at the bottoms of lakes and rivers in beautiful 
palaces, and they keep humans as slaves. Nix- 
ies have the power to enchant humans, rob- 
bing them of their will so they must obey. 
They enchant their captives so that they are 
able to live and breathe underwater. If this 





26 


nixie plans to enchant you and Redbeard, you 
could become its slaves for the rest of your 
lives! 

“We can't escape—it can move faster than 
we can!” groans Redbeard. 

“Can you use your silver dagger?” you ask. 

“That will only work against creatures of 
darkness,’ says Redbeard bleakly. “I fear 
there is no hope.” 

You wait for the nixie’s spell to steal over 
you, but nothing happens. As the creature 
draws nearer, you can see that it seems puz- 
zled. 

“Its magic isn't working for some reason!” 
exclaims Redbeard. He whips out the sword he 
took from the wight’s lair. “Well, then, it’ll 
have to fight me to get me!” 

At the sight of the sword, the nixie stops 
dead in its tracks. Then it gives an enraged 
hiss, plunges into the water, and is gone! 

Redbeard stares after it, then peers at the 
sword. It is glowing faintly, and a loud hum- 
ming sound fills the air. Gradually the glow 
and the hum fade away. 

Redbeard gives a loud whoop. “This must be 
a magic sword, Sparrow. It has power against 
its owner's enemies! Lucky for us we went into 
that wight’s den, or we'd be breathing water 
by now. Come on, let’s get out of this cursed 
river,’ 

You wade to shore and dry your feet in the 
tall grass, warm from the sunshine, and don 
your shoes again. Then you and Redbeari 








at 


strike out toward Riverbend, which you can 
just see far in the distance. 

You reach town late in the afternoon, and 
your spirits soar in anticipation of finding 
your brother here. Jay probably got out of the 
forest long before you did, and when he didn't 
find you at the inn, he must have taken the 
road toward town. He knows the hills beyond 
town are where the cave is. Why, he's probably 
been waiting for you since morning! 

But as you and Redbeard walk up and down 
the streets, peering into inns and courtyards, 
you see no sign of Jay. You hurry to the bridge 
to look for him, but he isn’t there, either. 

“We must have got here ahead of him, Spar- 
row,’ says Redbeard consolingly. “‘He may not 
have gotten out of the forest as soon as you did, 
He may still be behind us.” 

“What if he didn’t get out of the forest at 
all?’ you say, your voice choking. “What if 
he’s still there, or in danger somewhere?” 

“We can wait here for him, Sparrow,’ says 
Redbeard. “Or else, first thing tomorrow, we 
can go find the cave, bury poor Farad’s bones, 
take the treasure, and then look for your 
brother. What do you want to do?” 


1) If you want to wait to see if Jay comes 
before going to look for the treasure, 
turn to page 121. 


2) If you want to finish the quest first, 
then look for Jay, turn to page 152. 





You decide that it’s ‘ust te too dangerous to try 
to help the bear. After all, you have enough 
trouble already, without maybe getting an 
arm or leg chewed up, too! You turn away and 
begin to trudge through the forest, peering 
between the trees for any sight of the road. 

As time goes on, you become more and more 
worried. You begin to fear that you could wan- 
der about in these woods until you die of hun- 
ger and thirst. To make matters worse, the sun 
is setting, and the forest is deepening with 
shadows. It will soon be night. 

Suddenly you realize that some of the 
shadows at the periphery of your vision are 
moving! You stop dead and peer about through 
the trees, a chill of terror gripping you. You 
are surrounded by dark, four-footed shapes 
that stare back at you with gleaming yellow 
eyes. A wolf pack! 

The wolves form a circle around you as you 
stand petrified with fear. Slowly, silently, they 
begin to slink toward you, and you realize 
with a shock that this is... 











30) 


You feel it will be safest to sleep on the 
ground without a fire. When night comes, the 
forest turns black, full of frightening noises. 
However, somehow you manage to fall asleep. 

You’re awakened by a sharp pain in your 
side, as if someone has kicked you. You scram- 
ble to your knees, and in the gray light of 
dawn, you see that you are surrounded by a 
band of squat, misshapen creatures with hid- 
eous faces. They wear raggedy furs and chain 
mail armor, and they are armed with swords, 
spears, axes, and shields. Goblins! 

One of the goblins yells something in a 
strange-sounding language and yanks you to 
your feet. Quickly it ties your hands together 
in front of you, then pushes you and Jay 
among a cluster of slim, pale-haired people 
you recognize as elves. Their hands, too, are 
tied. “What's going on?” you ask one of them. 

“It’s a goblin raiding party,’ the elf says. 
“They'll take us to their caverns to be slaves.” 

One of the goblins orders you to be silent, 
and the band breaks into a trot, pushing their 
captives along with them. As the morning 
goes on, the goblins move steadily through the 
forest. Around noon, you cross a shallow 
stream, and a short while later, you are out of 
the forest, moving across a broad plain. 

Around midafternoon, the goblins begin jab- 
bering excitedly. You become aware of a large 
number of men on horseback galloping across 
the plain toward you, and your heart leaps. 
Perhaps they’re coming to your rescue! 





ol 


The goblins halt and begin to hop up and 
down, waving their weapons at the approach- 
ing horsemen. The mounted warriors smash 
into the goblins, slashing with their curved 
swords. In a few brief moments, the goblins 
are wiped out! 

The warriors dismount and free all of you. 
“We're sure glad to see YOU!” you exclaim. 
‘Who are you? Where did you come from?” 

“This is our land, and we are border 
guards,’ he explains. “It’s lucky for you that 
our scouts spotted that band of goblins, or 
you'd have been slaves for the rest of your 
lives. Who are you? How did they capture 
you?” 

“We're j 2 sree Jay tells him. We stopped 

to sleep and the goblins found us.’ 

“Jugglers, eh?” says the man. “Our king 
loves juggling. Why don’t you come back to 
our city with us and do your act for him? I’m 

sure he'd pay you well.” 

You and Jay look at one another. You both 
know you ought to keep on with your quest, 
but do you dare refuse these men who have 
rescued you? What if they are offended? 


1) If you decide to accept the warrior’s 
invitation and accompany your res- 
cuers to their city, turn to page 145. 


2 Ifyou decide to refuse the invitation and 
continue on with your quest, turn to 
page 59. 








32 


You don’t want to risk trouble with the 
elves. Besides, the dead man’s murderers may 
not be in the forest at all, so you decide to stay 
on the road. You fold up the map, stuff it into 
your belt pouch, and start out. Before you've 
gone a hundred steps, there’s a sudden drum- 
ming of hooves, and half a dozen riders on 
horseback thunder around a curve straight 
toward you! 

Jay dodges to one side of the road and you 
dart to the other, but at a word from their 
leader, they pull their horses to a halt and 
stare down at you. 

As you examine them, you decide they area 
dangerous-looking crew. There are six in all, 
but three aren't even human—two have the 
ugly features of half-ores, and one is a snarl- 
ing, hyena-faced gnoll. All wear hooded black 
cloaks, with long swords hanging from their 
belts and bows slung over their shoulders. 

“Did you pass a rider on the road?” asks the 
leader, flicking his glance from you to Jay. He 
has a black beard, and a puckered white sca 
runs up one cheek. , 

“Someone passed us a ways back,’ you tell 
him, hoping they'll ride on. 

He eyes you silently for a moment, then 
barks, “They're lying! Seize them!” 

“Run for it, Sparrow,’ Jay yells as he darts 
into the woods on his side of the road. You turn 
and scurry into the woods on the opposite side. 
Behind you, you hear shouts and curses. You 
glance back to see that several of them have 




















34 


dismounted from their horses and are crash- 
ing through the underbrush after you. You 
weave in and out among the trees at break- 
neck speed until at last the sounds of pursuit 
grow fainter. Finally you stop, gasping for 
breath. You listen for any sound of your pursu- 
ers, but you hear nothing. 

As you look around, your heart sinks. You 
are deep in the woods, and you have no idea 
where the road is. You're lost! 

You wander among the trees, hoping desper- 
ately that you'll stumble across the road. Sud- 
denly you become aware of a faint whining 
sound, and you peer about to see what's mak- 
ing it. You spot a dead tree lying on the 
pround, and caught beneath it, amid a tangle 
of branches, is a young bear, little more thana 
cub. A gust of wind must have blown the tree 
down and trapped the animal. As you watch, 
the bear scrabbles frantically with its front 
paws but can’t free itself. 

You could easily free the cub. You hate to see 
a helpless, frightened animal. On the other 
hand, if you try to help the bear, it may only 
turn on you. Although it’s fairly small, it could 
still injure you with its sharp teeth. What 
should you do? 


1) If you decide it’s too risky to help the 
bear cub, turn to page 238. 


2) If you decide to ignore the risk and help 
the bear cub, turn to page 130. 














30 





It seems to you as if there's more to be feared 
from the murderers the dying man was fleeing 
than from the stern but fair elves, so you 
decide to leave the road and head into the for- 
est. 

You make your way through the trees until 
you are some distance from the road but can 
still see it. Suddenly you hear the sound of 
hooves. You crouch low and, peering through 
the trees, see half a dozen horsemen ride by. 
They are dressed in black hooded cloaks, with 
swords hanging from their belts and bows 
slung across their shoulders. Three are not 
even human—there are two ugly half-orcs and 
one snarling, hyena-faced gnoll. It looks like a 
dangerous crew! 

“They must be the ones the stranger was 
fleeing from,’ whispers Jay. 

You decide to move on, still keeping the road 
in sight. But after a short time, you hear 
hooves again. Three of the hooded riders come 
into sight, moving slowly, leaning down off 
their horses to peer at the ground and glance 
into the woods. You and Jay both know they 
are looking for you! They must have been able 
to tell from your footprints that someone had 
been with the dying man and now has the 
map. They’re trying to track you! 

Suddenly the men come to a stop and start to 
dismount, as if they are going to come into the 
forest straight toward you! 

Like startled rabbits, you and Jay dash 
deeper into the woods, leaping over logs and 





ducking under low limbs. Finally you come to 
a stop, panting. 

“TI think we're safe,’ Jay says hopefully. 

You look around. You are in a small clearing, 
but all you can see around you is a wall of tree 
trunks. ““Where’s the road, Jay?” 

“Straight back that way, I think,’ says Jay, 
pointing. “Don’t worry. We'll find it. I think 
we d better stay here awhile, though, to make 
sure those guys don't find us.’ 

You look around again. The forest is starting 
to fill with shadows. “It’s going to be dark 
pretty soon, Jay. We can't look for the road in 
the dark. We’re going to have to spend the 
night here. Is it safe?” 

“We can make a fire to scare off any anl- 
mals,’ he says, then frowns. “Of course, those 
bandits might see it.... Maybe we could climb 
a tree and sleep in it.’ 

“We might fall out,” you say dubiously. 

“Well, we could always sleep on the ground 
without a fire and hope nothing dangerous 
comes along,’ says Jay. “You decide, Spar- 
row, 


1) If you decide to sleep on the ground 
with a fire, turn to page 91. 


2) If you decide to sleep in a tree, turn to 
page 10. 


3) If you decide to sleep on the ground 
without a fire, turn to page 30. 











of 





It’s not an easy choice, but you decide you'd 
rather take a chance on ghosts than on mon- 
sters. “‘Let’s try to make it through the 
Haunted Vale,” you tell Redbeard. 

As soon as it is completely dark, you and 
Redbeard sneak away from the campfire, 
cross the road, and make off across the field. 
For a long time, you trudge through the dark- 
ness side by side. Then you begin to see the 
slopes of hills rising, gray in the moonlight, on 
ea of you. You are entering the Haunted 

ale! 

“Stay behind me,’ mutters Redbeard. He 
draws his sword, and his head is in constant 
motion as he darts nervous glances in every 
direction. “Make sure nothing sneaks up 
behind us,’ he tells you. 

You should be sleepy at this time of night, 
but fear and excitement keep you wide awake. 
Clutching the hem of Redbeard’s leather 
tunic, you peer anxiously about, looking for 
some sign of movement on the moonlit hill- 
sides or the inky black patches of shadow that 
mottle the valley floor, all the while praying 
that you won't see anything. 

Out of the darkness comes a hideous, drawn- 
out wail that rises to a shriek, then fades 
away: “ooo OOOAAAaaa .. .” 

“What's that?” you whisper. 

“Let's just hope we never find out!” 
Redbeard whispers back. 

The wail is ore this time nearer: 
“oo0QOOO0A Aaaa . 





he vin 


oy ee | 


om 
aE J 
rn eT 


Poe 2, ie 
” iq" iy | Pa | 
He owes y 














39 





You and Redbeard halt, peering through the 
darkness. Is that something moving toward 
you in the shadows’? Yes! You can make out a 
dim shape lurching swiftly and purposefully 
through the tall grass. It enters a patch of 
moonlight, and you gasp in horror as you see it 
clearly. It looks something like a man, but its 
body is like a skeleton with skin stretched 
tightly over its bones. It is clothed in tattered, 
rotting rags. Stringy white hair hangs lankly 
around its gaunt face, and its eyes burn with 
an eerie red glow! 

“What is THAT?” you squeak. 

“A wight,” Redbeard replies grimly. “Loath- 
some undead creatures that dwell in ancient 
graves and hate all living humans.’ 

“Can you kill it with your sword?” you ask 
hopefully. 

‘No,’ he answers. “Creatures of the living 
dead can’t be destroyed by ordinary weapons.’ 

The thing is nearly upon you now. A horri- 
ble odor, like the smell of rotting meat, meets 
your nostrils, making you gag. You can see 
now its sharp fangs and claws! It gives 
another horrible wail that sends a cold shiver 
down the length of your back. 

Quickly Redbeard reaches down into his 
boot and withdraws a small dagger. Its blade 
fleams bright in the moonlight. 

“What good will a dagger do if a sword can’t 
kill the monster,’ you wonder to yourself, But 
Redbeard holds the dagger perched in midair, 
and with a snap of his wrist, he hurls it 





A4() 





straight into the creature's chest. Suddenly 


the wight simply vanishes! Nothing is left of 
it but a small pile of the foul rags it wore! 

“How—how did you do that?” you ask in 
wonder. 

“My dagger is made of silver,’ Redbeard 
explains, bending over to pick the dagger out 
of the pile of rags. “A long time ago I learned 
that silver or magical weapons are the only 
way that wights, werewolves, and other such 
undead things can be destroyed—and I made 
sure | had the means in case I ever met up 
with one.’ 

Redbeard slips the dagger back into his boot 
and looks around. “Listen, Sparrow, the 
longer we stay in this vale, the more likely we 
are to run into some other dreadful creature, 
but this wight’s lair must be nearby some- 
where, and | think we ought to take the time 
to look for it. A wight’s lair is usually in an 
ancient grave, and there is often treasure in 
such places. What do you say—shall we look 
for the lair, or shall we just get out of here 
before we bump into something else?” 





1) If you decide to search for the wight’s 
lair, turn to page 61. 


2) If you decide against searching for the 
lair so you can get out of this awful 
place sooner, turn to page 20. 











41 


“We can’t risk it—attack!”’ you declare. 
Rogaldo lifts his arms high, and you see a 
bolt of lightning brighter than daylight, fol- 
lowed by an earsplitting burst of thunder. 

Incredibly, the dragon dodges the bolt. With 
a shriek of fury, it swoops toward you, its terr1- 
ble claws outstretched. 

“Run for it!” shouts Rogaldo. “Tl hold it off 
as long as | can.” 

You race into the desert. When you glance 
back, all you see is a thick, yellowish cloud. 

“Poor Rogaldo!” you exclaim. 

“Poor US!” pants Jay. “When that dragon is 
finished with him, 1t’!l come after us!” 

You run until you can run no more. Gasping, 
you throw yourselves down behind a bush. 
The yellow smoke is spreading out over the 
entire desert, obscuring any hint of what is 
happening. Finally the smoke clears, but you 
see no sign of the wizard or the dragon. 

“T guess were back on our own now, Jay 
says, rising to his feet. “Come on, Sparrow. 
Let’s head back to the road.” 

Side by side, you trudge back toward the 
road, Suddenly the ground seems to split open 





- in front of you, and a huge pointed head 


appears, its enormous mouth bristling with 
sharp teeth. You realize with deepening terror 
that it is a bulette—a land shark! Maybe 
Rogaldo could have stopped it with his magic, 
but for the two of you, it looks like . . 


THE END 


42 


You decide you have no choice but to trust 
the pixie. Otherwise you may wander in the 
forest until you die. 

You watch the pixie flit ahead of you, glanc- 
ing back occasionally. You follow it among the 
trees for a long time. “I wonder if we should 
have trusted him,’ mutters Jay. “He may be 
leading us deeper into the woods!” 

But then the pixie points between two trees. 
“Here's the way out,” it calls. 

You hurry between the trees—and find your- 
selves in a tiny glade surrounded by a thick 
wall of brambles. There is absolutely no way 
out except the way you came in. 

You turn to scold the pixie for playing such a 
mean trick, but your blood runs cold at what 
you see. Standing between the two trees is a 
huge, shaggy creature that seems to be a cross 
between a bear and a bird of prey. It glares at 
you with red-rimmed eyes and licks its sharp, 
curved beak with a long pink tongue. 

“Meet my pet owlbear,’ says the pixie froma 
branch high overhead. “J call it ‘Daisy. ”’ 

In rage you shout, “You promised to show us 
the way out!” 

“No, says the pixie. “I promised that if you 
followed me, your troubles would soon be 
over.’ It giggles, ‘“‘And they will be, as soon as 
Daisy has you for a midmorning snack!” 

You begin a scream that is never completed 
as the owlbear lurches toward you. . 


THE END 








ie 

7 a z al a =a = 
ook pe a Fe Fm 

i -. i be Pe 

== tae i et = 
ae Ae ee el oot 
A ata De mi 

call. ia 





~ Sa : 
: Act. a 
=F Pong ta 
a ee 
i re Sk 
l- 7 a la 
iz J 





Without giving Jay a chance to say any- 
thing, you march straight up the stairs and 
knock loudly on the door. 

After a short wait, the door creaks open, and 
you are relieved to see an elderly, harmless- 
looking bearded man dressed in a long robe of 
red velvet. In one hand, he holds a candle, 
which he lifts so that its light falls on the two 
of you. “What can I do for you two young- 
sters?”’ he asks pleasantly as he looks you 
over. 

‘“‘We were hoping we could spend the night 
inside your tower, sir,’ you say. “We'll gladly 
sleep on the floor or anyplace. We just don’t 
want to be outside at night.” 

“A wise decision,’ says the man. “Evil 
things roam at night hereabouts. Come in, by 
all means. I’m glad to have the company. How- 
ever, just on the unlikely chance that you're 
thieves or robbers, I’d better tell you that I’m 
a Wizard. Rogaldo 1 is my name.” 

“Oh, we're not thieves,’ you assure him as 
you enter. ““We’re jugglers!” You pull out the 
three colored balls you carry with you and 
demonstrate your act for a moment. 

“Very good!” he says with a grin. “But what 
are a pair of jugglers doing in an out-of-the- 
way place like this?” 

“We're trying to get across the river,’ says 
Jay. “We're trying to find a town called River- 
bend.” 

“Riverbend? That’s quite a ways from here. 
You’ll have to cross some dangerous territory 

















45 
to get there,’ Rogaldo says thoughtfully. “I 


hope it’s important!” 

“Very important! We promised to bury a 
man’s bones,” you blurt without thinking. 

The wizard studies you both for a few 
moments, almost as if he is reading your faces. 
ot sense that you are on a quest,’ he says at 
last. “If so, I could go with you. Where there's 
a quest, there's usually treasure, and where 
there is treasure, there are often valuable 
magical things—spell books, wands, amulets, 
and the like. I don’t care about the treasure, 
but if 1 used my magic to help you keep out of 
trouble, would you be willing to let me accom- 
pany you and have any magical items that 
might be found with the treasure?” 

You and Jay stare at him, perplexed that he 
has discovered your secret. You have no need 
for any magical items you may find, and it 
would be useful to have a wizard with you— 
but can you trust him? Even though he says 
he doesn't care about treasure, what is to stop 
him from taking it once you've found it? On 
the other hand, if you tell him he can’t come 
with you, he might put you under a spell. 
What should you do? 


1) Ifyou decide you can’t trust the wizard, 
turn to page 49. 


4) If you decide to trust Rogaldo, turn to 
page 9. 


46 


You and Jay decide you'll be better off wait- — 
ing to have Redbeard along to brave the dan- 
gers of the treasure cave. While you wait, you 
earn money by doing your juggling act at inns. 
Sometimes there’s barely enough to keep you 
all fed. But in a month, Redbeard is hale 
again, and following the map, you all set out 
in search of the hidden cave. 

At about noon on the second day of your jour- 
ney, you locate the hill. You climb up to a rocky 
slope, where you discover a dark cave. 

“This must be it,’ says Jay, a bit nervously. 
Redbeard lights the three torches you have 
brought and you each take one. Redbeard 
enters the cave first, torch in one hand and 
sword in the other. You and Jay follow, each 
with a torch and a spear. You go cautiously 
through a narrow, winding passageway. 
Rounding a corner, you come to a large cavern. 

“What's that big net doing here?” you ask. 
There’s a huge net of thick ropes stretched 
across the middle of the cavern. : 

“That doesn’t look like a net,’ says Jay. “It 
looks like— It’s a spiderweb!”’ | 

With an exclamation, Redbeard raises his 
torch. And there, high on the web near the 
cavern roof, is a huge, hairy spider the size of a 
horse! This is what the man who gave you the 
map tried to warn you about! 

The three of you stare aghast at the horrible 
creature. It seems to stare back at you out of 
its six dull, black eyes, but it does not move. 

“T wonder .. 7’ mutters Redbeard. Tucking 








48 


his sword under the arm holding the torch, he © 
bends down and picks up a rock off the floor. . 
“Get ready to use your spears,’ he says, then ~ 
throws the rock with all his might at the spi- — 
der’s head. The rock strikes one of the crea- 
ture’s eyes with a THUNK, but still the spider 
does not move. 

“Luck is with us,’ says Redbeard. “It’s 
dead!” 

Then your eyes fall upon the pile of chests 
and bags behind the web. With your torch, you 
burn an opening in the web, and soon all the 
chests and bags are piled outside the cave. All 
that remains is to bury the bones of King 
Farad as you promised, then carry this trea- 
sure back to Riverbend—and be rich as kings 
for the rest of your lives! 


THE END 

















49 


“We—we'd love to have you come with us, 
sir, but—uh—” you stammer foolishly, trying 
to find a good reason for turning Rogaldo 
down. 

“But you don’t quite trust me, eh?” the wiz- 
ard finishes for you, smiling slightly. “Well, I 
guess | can’t blame you. But allow me to show 
you something.” 

You and Jay follow him sheepishly up a 
flight of stone stairs to a massive wooden door. 
Rogaldo unlocks the door, swings it open, and 
points inside. You peer into the room, and your 
eyes nearly pop with astonishment. The room 
is filled with treasure—mounds of gold and sil- 
ver coins, cups, and dishes; chests of shimmer- 
ing jewels: lumps of jade, ivory, ebony, and 
amber! 

“So you see, I really don't need any more 
treasure, ’ Rogaldo says, closing the door. “I 
have enough to buy anything I want or need 
for the rest of my life, so I have no interest in 
stealing your treasure. But magical items 
would be very useful to me. Now, I ask you 
once more: May I accompany you on your 
quest?” 

“Yes, you and Jay blurt out together. 

“Fine,” Rogaldo says, smiling. “Now then, 
let me take you to a room where you can rest 
from your journey, then bright and early 
tomorrow, we'll set out for Riverbend.’ 





Please turn to page 9. 





50 


You know that frogs usually don't snap at 
anything that isn’t moving, so you decide to 
keep still. 

You stay crouched, trying not to move a mus- 
cle or even breathe too loudly as the raft slides 
painfully slowly past the rows of goggle-eyed 
giants. Just in case, you have your hand on 
the hilt of your knife. Its short blade won't be 
much use against one of the huge creatures, 
but it somehow makes you feel a little safer to 
hold it. 

Suddenly one of the frogs leans forward and 
opens its mouth. Its tongue, as long and thick 
as a boa constrictor, snaps out and wraps 
around yout You yell in fear as you realize 
that you’re stuck to the tongue, like a fly on 
flypaper, and the frog is trying to pull you into 
its mouth! 

Luckily your knife hand is free, and you flail 
out wildly, slashing at the thick snakelike 
tongue. The frog lets out a bellow of pain and 
releases you with such violence that you 
knock Jay off the raft into the water. The air 
seems filled with pale, leaping shapes as the 
frogs, frightened by the commotion, jump off 
in all directions. 

Fortunately you're not far from the bank. 
You wade up onto it, Jay beside you, and 
crouch among the bulrushes and cattails, 
shivering 1 in your wet clothes . 

“That was too close for comfort!” you 
exclaim. “That frog was trying to eat me!” 

“You were lucky to get out of that alive, 











a2 


Sparrow!” Jay says, glancing about. “We'd 
better get out of here fast, Sparrow. If we fol- 
low the river, we'll get to Riverbend sooner or 
later, but we might run into more frogs—or 
something even worse—if we stay by the river- 
bank.” 

He points off to the right. “I’m pretty sure 
the road is off that way, but it may be miles 
from here, and who knows what kind of coun- 
try there is between us and it? What shall we 
do, 3 oa hat liann for the road or stay by the 
river! 


1) If you choose to head toward the road, 
turn to page 129. 


2) If you choose to follow the river, turn to 
page 13. 





53 


“T think we can trust Rogaldo, Jay,’ you say 
slowly. ““‘He probably could have put us under 
a spell and taken the map for himself any time 
he wanted to, but he didn’t. Let’s wait until 
he’s ready to go with us to look for the treasure 
cave. We may need him!” 

The next morning Rogaldo shows up, ready 
to go but complaining of a headache. “I drank 
too much wine talking over old times with my 
friend, the wizard Vuverain,’ he groans. 

Following the map, you head out into the 
hills beyond Riverbend. By late afternoon, 
you are climbing the hill that is marked on the 
map. Near the rocky summit, you find a dark 
opening in the hillside—the treasure cave! 

“Stay close behind me,’ urges Rogaldo. 
“There may be all sorts of deadly dangers in 
there. Let's go!” As the three of you enter the 
cave, you notice that the tip of his wizard's 
staff begins to glow with a bright yellow light. 

You make your way cautiously along a nar- 
row, rocky passage until you come to a corner. 
Rogaldo slides around it slowly, holding his 
staff out in front of him, and you and Jay fol- 
low. You find yourselves in a large chamber. 
Rogaldo moves about cautiously, casting light 
into every corner. You see no tunnel or pas- 
sageway leading out from the chamber, and 
there is no sign of any treasure. 

“There’s nothing here!’’ you exclaim, bit- 
terly disappointed. 

Rogaldo looks about grimly. “Something is 
wrong here,’ he announces. “This place reeks 





54 


of magic—and done recently!” He points toa 
black, sooty smear on the cave floor. “Wizard's 
fire—perhaps used against whatever it was 
that the man who gave you the map tried to 
warn you of. I think someone destroyed it and 
took the treasure!” 

You and Jay stare at each other in shock. 

“Who could have done it? No one knew about 
the treasure but us!” wails Jay. 

I may have the answer,’ Rogaldo says 
slowly, “but I have to get back to town to use 
some things I left in our room.’ 

It’s night by the time you reach Riverbend. 
You and Jay are gloomy and depressed. It 
seems as if your hopes and the promise you 
made to the dying man in the forest have been 
shattered. Silently you crawl into your beds in 
the room at the inn, while Rogaldo goes off 
with some magical tools he brought along. 

It’s still dark out when you are suddenly 
awakened. Rogaldo storms into the room, wild 
with anger. 

“IT found out by using my crystal ball,” he 
snarls. “It was that rogue Vuverain! He got 
me drunk enough to talk about your quest and 
the cave, and somehow he must have man- 
aged to locate the cave magically. I saw him 
clearly, fleeing with the treasure, but he'll 
never get away with it! ll follow him to the 
ends of the earth to pay him back for this!” 

You and Jay leap from your beds and start 
pulling on your clothes. “We'll go with you!” 


you cry. 





D0 


“Wait! It’s not that easy,’ says the wizard 
grimly. “Vuverain is no fool. He took steps to 
guard against our following him. He's created 
an illusion of himself to mislead us.” 

“What do you mean?” you ask, confused. 

“In the crystal ball, I saw two Vuverains, 
one heading north and one heading south,’ 
Rogaldo explains. “The two are exactly alike, 
and there's no way to tell which is the real one. 
If we follow the wrong one, we could lose track 
of the real Vuverain and never be able to find 
him or the treasure!” 

He glances quickly from you to Jay. “Do 
either of you have any ideas? Your guess is as 
good as mine. Do we go north or go south?” 


1) If you decide to go north, turn to page 
153. 


2) If you decide to go south, turn to page 
93. 





You're a good swimmer, and you think you'll 
have a chance in the river—it doesn’t look dan- 
gerous. But if you try to bargain with the scar- 
faced man, offering the map for your life, he 
may just kill you whatever happens. And even 

he doesn't, you'll have lost everything you 
and Redbeard have risked your lives for. You 
decide you have to try to keep the map out of 
scarface’s hands. You'll risk the river! 

Taking a deep breath, you climb up on the 
rail quickly and dive headfirst into the river. 
staying underwater as long as you can, you 
swim in the direction you think will take you 
under the far end of the bridge. When you're 
just about out of breath, you finally come to 
the surface. Perfect! You: re right under the 
bridge, hidden by its shadow, and you're close 
to one of the wooden pilings that supports the 
bridge. You swim over and hide behind it. 

“That cursed kid! I'll cut his nose off when I 
get my hands on him!” you hear Scarface 
howl. 

“Where is he? I haven't seen him come up 
yet, yells one of the men. 

You wait and wait and wait. Finally, when it 
seems as if an hour must surely have gone by, 
you swim to the bank and clamber up along- 
side the bridge. You peer cautiously from 
behind a railing. There's no one on the bridge. 
Scarface and his gang are gone! . 

“Sparrow! Sparrow!” 

You turn toward the voice and see Jay! He 

rushes toward you and hugs you excitedly. 





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58 


“IT saw those men try to grab you,’ he says. “T 
was going to try to help, but then you dived 
into the river. They watched for you to come 
up for a while, and when you didn’t, they 
finally left. But I knew you hadn't drowned. I 
figured you were just hiding somewhere.’ 

“They wounded my friend Redbeard,”’ you 
tell him. ““Let’s go see if we can help him?* 

You rush across the bridge to where 
Redbeard lies. His face is pale, his eyes are 
closed, and his leather jacket is bloodstained, 
but he is still breathing. 

“Help me get him into town, Jay,’ you urge. 
“We've got to get him to a doctor! He saved my 
life earlier! We'll have to wait for him to get 
well so he can help us find the king's bones 
and the treasure.” 

Jay shakes his head. “He's hurt bad, Spar- 
row. He’s going to need a lot of care—and it’s 
going to cost a lot of money. I think you and I 
should go for the treasure ourselves as soon as 
possible. We're going to need it to help pay for 
your friend's care. 

Jay is probably right, you realize, But do 
you dare seek the cave and its unknown dan- 
gers without the brave Redbeard there to 
help? 


1) If you decide you must go without 
Redbeard, turn to page 111. 


2) If you decide to wait until Redbeard is 
well again, turn to page 46. 





og 





You feel sure these warriors will understand 
the importance of your quest and won't be 
offended if you decide not to go see their king. 
You shake your head, and Jay gives a quick 
nod to show he agrees with you. He turns to 
the warrior. “We thank you for your offer,’ he 
tells him, “and we hope you won't be offended, 
but we really think we must refuse. We made 
a promise to bury the bones of a king, and we 
were journeying to do that when the goblins 
captured us. The king's spirit will not be at 
rest until his remains are safely buried,’ 

The warrior nods slowly. “It is indeed an 
important thing you have to do. I agree you 
should resume your journey at once.” He 
points toward a distant ridge. “Head for that 
hill. The river is just beyond it. But don’t swim 
in the river. There are... ‘things’ in the 
water!” 

You thank him for rescuing you and start 
out toward the hill, It’s late afternoon when 
you reach it and nearly evening by the time 
you have climbed it and made your way down 
to the other side. Finally there before you is 
the river, much wider and deeper here than it 
was earlier. 

“How do we get across?” Jay asks. “I don’t 
see any bridge.” 

Just then something among the tall bul- 
rushes lining the riverbank catches your eye. 
You dart down the bank, pushing the plants 
aside, Sure enough, there’s a raft wedged 
among the thick growth! It’s made of young 


60 


saplings lashed together with leather thongs, 
and it’s big enough to hold both of you. 

“Look, Jay!”’ you call excitedly. “It’s a raft! 
We don't have to walk anymore. We can float 
down the river all the way to Riverbend!” 

Jay approaches and looks at the raft. “I 
don’t know, Sparrow. I don’t like the idea of 
taking something that doesn’t belong to us,’ 
he says doubtfully. “That's stealing!” 

“But there’ s not a house in sight, Jay,’ you 
point out. “There’s no one around for it to 
belong to! I think it floated down the river and 
just got stuck here.” 

“You're probably right,’ Jay says dubiously, 
then shakes his head. “I still don’t think it’s a 
good idea. That warrior warned us there was 
something dangerous in this river. I don't 
think we'd be safe on this flimsy raft. I think 
we should just walk along the riverbank until 
we find a bridge.” 


1) If you decide to keep walking and look 
for a bridge, turn to page 140. 


2) If you decide to take the raft down the 
river, turn to page 79. 








61 


You'd like nothing better than to get out of 
the Haunted Vale as quickly as possible, but. 
youre afraid Redbeard might be disappointed 
in you. “‘Let’s look for the lair!” you gulp. 

“Good for you, lad!” says Redbeard. He picks 
up some of the tattered rags, then steps over to 
a nearby bush and hacks off a thick branch. 
“We'll need a torch,’ he says, wrapping the 
rags thickly around the end of the branch. 

“Where should we look?” you ask. 

“Well, the wight came from this way,’ says 
Redbeard, pointing. “Stay close to me, now.” 

He doesn’t have to tell you that. The two of 
you hurry toward the foot of one of the hills 
that form one side of the vale. 

“Look there!” you whisper. “That patch of 
dark shadow—is that a hole in the hillside?” 

“It’s an entrance, all right,’ says Redbeard. 
“Let me light this torch and we'll take a look.” 

After a moment, you hear the sound of flint 
striking steel. You peer about anxiously, mak- 
ing sure no other ghostly creature is trying to 
sneak up on you. When you look back at 
Redbeard, the torch is flaring and emitting 
nasty-smelling smoke from the burning rags. 

“Let's go,’ says Redbeard. “But take care— 
no telling what's in here!’ With the torch held 
high in one hand and his sword gripped in the 
other, he moves into the opening, with you 
pressing at his heels. 

You wind your way through a short tunnel, 
then enter a large chamber. It seems to be 
empty except for several piles of bones. Be- 








62 


side one of the piles is a wooden chest, so old it 
is falling apart—and you can see gleams of 
gold and silver in the torchlight! 

Suddenly you see something scuttle out of 
the shadows in a corner! It looks like a gigan- 
tic caterpillar with tentacles. Its body is a 
sickly, pale green color. The torchlight gleams 
off its bulging, glassy eyes. 

“Move back, Sparrow!” shouts Redbeard. 

You dodge as the creature lunges toward 
you, its tentacles writhing. Redbeard brings 
his sword down in a tremendous slash that 
slices right through the creature’s body. There 
is ashower of green blood, then the two halves 
of the creature lie still. 

“A carrion crawler!” says Redbeard disgust- 
edly. “Good thing you avoided its tentacles. 
Their poison paralyzes their prey. Luckily for 
us, this one wasn't full-grown. Let’s see what's 
in the chest and get out of here!” 

With a kick, he breaks open the wooden 
chest. Two swords, two coats of silvery mail, 
and a mass of gold coins clatter onto the floor. 

“Quick! Slip on a coat of mail, grab a sword, 
fill your pouch with coins, and let's go!” urges 
Redbeard. 

You hasten to do as he says, and in moments 
you are both hurrying back up the tunnel. At 
the entrance, Redbeard turns and pitches the 
torch back inside. As it lies flaring in the tun- 
nel, you can see in the shadows just beyond it 
the eyes of a huge carrion crawler! 

“It won't come out here,’ Redbeard assures 











64 


you as you hurry down the hill. “We were 
lucky, Sparrow—these are magic swords and 
magical coats of mail or I’m a dragon! And 
we've got enough gold coins to make life easy 
for a couple of years!” 

“What do we do now?” you ask. 

“Well, the vale ends not far from here. 
Another mile after that, we'll come to the 
river. There’s a ford there. We cross the ford, 
turn right, and we should be in Riverbend by 
noon tomorrow. On the other hand, if we turn 
to the right now, we could be back on the road 
in a few hours, and we'd be crossing the bridge 
into Riverbend by early morning.” 

He pauses a moment, then continues. ““The 
only thing is, our friend Scarface and his crea- 
tures must have discovered our trick by now, 
and they may have decided to ride to the 
bridge and wait for us there.” 

For a moment, you ponder what to do. The 
ford seems safer, but Jay might be watching 
for you at the bridge. If you go into town by a 
different way, you might miss him, and he 
might start back up the road to search for you. 
Should you take the safer way and risk miss- 
ing Jay, or should you head for the bridge and 
risk meeting Scarface and his crew? 


1) If you decide to cross the ford, turn to 
page 25. 


2) If you decide to head for the bridge, 
turn to page 127. 





65 





You look straight at Rogaldo. “I can’t speak 
for Jay, but I think we ought to accept Vuve- 
rain’s offer. We'll still be able to bury King 
Silverhair’s bones as we promised, and we'll 
have enough treasure to make us rich—you, 
too, Rogaldo, if you decide to take a share after 
all. I think it’s a lot better than fighting that 
duel and maybe having you get killed!” 

“I agree with Sparrow,’ Jay says. “And 
we'll gladly share the treasure with you, 
Rogaldo.” 

Rogaldo smiles. ‘No, I still don't want any of 
your treasure. But I see your point. Why risk 
death for a whole cake when half a cake is 
plenty and won't cost anything? In a way, I 
suppose Vuverain did us a favor—he must 
have had to face whatever danger there was in 
the cave.’ He turns to Vuverain and shouts, 
“All right, Vuverain! We'll accept your offer 
for half the treasure!” 

Vuverain draws a dagger and cuts the ropes 
of two of the horses. “These two are carrying a 
good half,’ he says and points toward one. 
“This one has King Silverhair’s bones.’ Then 
he turns his horse and gallops off, leading his 
remaining two packhorses. 

Rogaldo dismounts and says, “Come on, 
Sparrow, Jay. 'll help you bury the king. Your 
quest is over, and it’s a lot better ending than 
it might have been!” 


THE END 


66 


If the dragon is unfriendly, it will attack — 
anyway. But even if it’s friendly, if Rogaldo — 
tries to blast it, it will also attack, you reason. 
“Wait and see if it’s friendly,’ you urge. 
“That's our best chance!” 

You wait tensely as the gigantic reptile 
draws so close you can see its gleaming eyes 
and brass-colored scales. If it plans to attack 
now, you are doomed. 

You sigh with relief as the dragon comes to a 
landing about thirty paces in front of you. 
“Let us talk,’ it suggests in a surprisingly 
squawky voice. 

Rogaldo does most of the talking for your 
group, although once in a while the dragon 
asks a question directly of you or Jay. The 
dragon reminds you in some ways of a very 
young child—full of questions about all sorts 
of things. 

Finally it seems to have had enough, and it 
spreads its wings and takes off straight over 
your heads. 

“It's a good thing we waited instead of try- 
ing to fight it,’ Rogaldo says. “We've only lost 
an hour of time—a fair price for our lives! Well, 
let’s be of 

Soon you are out of the desert, and you find 
yourself marching across a great plain. Before 
long, the narrow road intersects with a wider 
one, and you turn and follow the wide road. By 
nightfall you are in Riverbend. You and Jay 
rejoice that your quest is nearly over. 

But that night your hopes for a speedy com- 








+f a _ 
u 
J 
. 


67 


: pletion receive a surprising setback. At the 
inn where you have supper, Rogaldo meets an 
old friend, another wizard, named Vuverain. 
After conversing with his friend for some 
time, Rogaldo goes off with him, telling you he 
will see you in a day or so. You can hardly 
believe he would delay your quest with the 
end so near! 

“T don’t want to wait another day or so!”’ Jay 
tells you angrily. He rubs his chin and frowns 
with thought. “I wonder if we should still 
trust Rogaldo, Sparrow, What if he and his 
wizard friend locate the cave and decide to 
split the treasure between themselves? I 
think we should go out first thing in the morn- 
ing and find that cave ourselves!" 

You want to finish the quest right away, too, 
but you wonder if you shouldn't wait until 
Rogaldo is ready to come with you. He has 
been helpful so far, and you may well need his 
help even more when you reach the cave. 
Should you wait for him? Can he be trusted? 


1) If you want to finish the quest by your- 
selves, turn to page 114. 


2) If you want to wait for Rogaldo, turn to 
page 53. 








68 


“Jay, you've always done what you thought 
was best for me, and you've usually been 
right,’ you tell your brother. “But this time I 
want you to do what | think is best. I think we 
should try to finish this quest. We promised 
that dying man that we would!” 


Jay nods. “All right, Sparrow” he ween 


slowly, “if that’s what you want.” 
Next morning, on horses bought with some 


of the wight’s gold, the three of you set out. — 


The map leads you in and out among the wild, 


desolate hilly land beyond Riverbend. Finally 


you come to the hill the map seems to indicate. 

You tie the horses to a tree at the foot of the 
hill and start up the narrow, overgrown trail 
that leads to the hilltop. You and Red 
have your magic swords and Jay carries a 
spear. 


Halfway to the top, Redbeard suddenly stops _ 


dead. “Don't move!” he hisses in a low voice. 


“And don't get excited. Above all, don't act 


like you want to fight.” 

“What's the matter?” exclaims Jay. 

“We're surrounded!” says Redbeard. 

Looking around, you see, half-hidden behind 
bushes and peering out from behind boulders, 
an unknown number of strange-looking men. 
Their forms are short and stocky, with long, 
shaggy hair and broad faces. Armed with 
spears that have points made out of shar 
pieces of stone, they wear no clothes except for 
ragged pieces of animal skin tied around their 
waists. 


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. 
“Who—who are they?” you whisper. : 

“Cavemen, answers Redbeard. “They’re © 
human but very primitive. They usually stay — 
away from our kind, and they aren't danger- 
ous unless you get too close to where they live. 
I'm afraid that’s what we've done.” 

“Uh-oh!” you exclaim. “You think they're 
living 1 in the treasure cave?” 

“IT suspect so,’ Redbeard says, sheathing his 
sword. “Luckily I've had dealing with cave- 
men before. I speak their language a little. Pll 
see if I can find out how things stand. 

Slowly raising his hands to show he has no 
weapons, Redbeard calls out a few words in a 
growly-sounding language. One of the cave- 
men steps out of hiding and answers WA 
short conversation follows. 

Turning back to you and Jay, Redbeard says, 
“They want to know why we have come here, 
and I told them we're seeking a cave that 
holds something that belongs to us. They want 
us to meet with their chief. The cave is their 
home, all right, and they’re afraid we mean it 
harm.’ 

You start up the trail again, this time with 
cavemen on each side of you. ““What do you 
think they'll do to us?” you ask nervously. 

“I don’t Know,’ says Redbeard, “but if 
things look too bad, I can always ¢ challenge 
their chief to combat. If I win, I become chief!” 

“Yes, but what if you lose?” you think. 

Near the crest of the hill, you see a broad, 
rocky ledge and the dark opening of a cave. 








fi 


Grouped before it are all the cave people— 
men, women, and naked little children, star- 
ing at you with wide eyes. One of the men 
steps forward and says something. 

“This is their chief,’ says Redbeard. You cer- 
tainly hope Redbeard DOESN'T have to fight 
him, because he’s just as tall as Redbeard and 
has muscles like a bull! 

The chief and Redbeard speak together for a 
long time. Finally Redbeard turns to you and 
Jay. 

“He says the cave is sacred to them and we 
can't go inside. They had to kill a giant spider 
that was living in the cave before they could 
move in. He says there was also some stuff in 
the cave that they've just left there—bags and 
boxes of shiny, flat round things and sparkly 
stones.” 

“The treasure!” Jay exclaims. 

“What about King Farad’s bones?” you ask 
anxiously. 

Redbeard questions the chief a moment, 
then turns back to you once more. “He says 
there were some old bones in a bag, but they 
buried them so the ghost wouldn’t be troubled 
anymore,’ says Redbeard. 

You're glad that king Farad has been put to 
rest at last, but somehow you wish you and 
Jay could have been the ones to do it. It looks 
as if the quest is going to end without accom- 
plishing any of the things you set out to do. 

The chief says something else to Redbeard. 
_ Redbeard turns to you, and you can see that he 





72 


is struggling to keep from breaking into a 
grin. “The chief says that the children some- 
times play with the shiny stuff in the cave, but 
it isn’t good for anything else. He says if that 
is what we want, he'll trade it to us for some- 
thing useful!” 

Now it’s your turn to struggle to keep from 
prinning. You don’t want to let the chief see 
just how much you want that ‘junk’! 

“But what can we trade them?” asks Jay. 
“We don’t have anything to trade.” 

“They want our weapons,’ says Redbeard. 
“Your spear, Jay, and my and Sparrow's 
swords. THOSE are treasures for these peo- 
ple.’ He takes out his sword and looks at it. 
“This magic sword has come in mighty handy, 
but I have a feeling that with my share of the 
treasure, I can retire and never have to lift a 
sword again. What about you, Sparrow? Are 
you willing to part with your magic sword?” 

“Yes!” you answer emphatically. You feel 
you ve had enough excitement to last a life- 
time. 

That afternoon, the three of you head back 
to Riverbend, your horses loaded with bags 
and boxes of coins and jewels. 

“Td say things turned out pretty well,’ 
booms Redbeard. “King Farad is at rest, all of 
us are as rich as lords, and even the cavemen 
are happy. What more could you ask from a 
quest?” 


THE END 


¢ 





1d 





“Let’s cross the ford, Redbeard,’ you sug- 
gest. “The story about the nixie is probably 
just a rumor. But if we run into Scarface and 
his gang, we'll be in real trouble!” 

You reach the river in less than an hour. You 
both remove your shoes and wade into the 
water. Even at midstream it’s no higher than 
your knees in this part of the river. 

But as you reach the middle of the stream, 
you stop suddenly. Somehow you just don’t 
want to go on. A strange numbness has come 
over you, as if you are dreaming. Hazily you 
notice that Redbeard, too, has stopped. 

You turn, as if obeying a command. Off to 
your right, in deeper water, stands a strange 
figure, like a man but with a pale green scaly 
body, webbed hands, and staring, fishlike 
eyes. It is a nixie— —and though you realize it 
has cast its spell over you, that somehow 
doesn't seem to matter. 

The nixie beckons, and you and Redbeard 
follow it into the deeper part of the river until 
the water closes over your heads. You're not 
even surprised to find you can breathe under- 
water as the creature leads you down to the 
bottom of the river. 

Now begins a strange life. You move about 
in the nixie’s underwater palace, doing the 
creatures bidding without thinking or feel- 
ing. You feel no sensation of days or nights, 
weeks, months, or years. 

Finally, when it seems as if you have lived 
your whole life in this strange place, the nixie 


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75 


apparently grows bored with you. It takes you 
by the hand and leads you up out of the water 
to the riverbank. As you step onto shore, the 
nixie vanishes back into the water. You are 
free! 

Suddenly you remember everything just as 
if it is the day you were captured. You recall 
the quest, Jay, Redbeard, Riverbend. You gasp 
in dismay as you wonder how long you’ve been 
beneath the river. Your clothes seem too tight, 
and your arms and legs look bigger than they 
should be. You reach up to scratch your chin 
and feel a fuzzy beard! You’ve grown up! You 
must have been the nixie’s slave for years! 

Anxiously you fumble at your belt pouch 

and remove the parchment on which the map 
was drawn. It is nothing but a soggy lump, 
without a mark on it! The long soaking in the 
water has washed it clean! 
You know now you will never be able to 
locate the treasure or the bones of King 
Silverhair. You have no idea where Redbeard 
is, or for that matter, Jay either. He probably 
gave you up for dead long ago. 

With a heavy heart, you start trudging 
toward Riverbend. Just MAYBE you'll find 
Jay or Redbeard there, if the nixie has let 
Redbeard go, too. Just MAYBE you'll some- 
how be able to find the treasure, if you can 
remember enough about the map. But maybe 
you won't. ... 


THE END 











76 


In panic, you turn and dash into the heart of 
the marsh. If you can just get away from the 
dinosaur, maybe you'll be able to find your 
way back to the pets later. But even if tyes lose 


ciant beptile’ s belly! You Seebeg you kine 
where Redbeard was, but he’s nowhere in 
sight. You hope he’s all right! 

You flounder through the cattails and bul- 
rushes until you're out of breath. You crouch 
down among the tall plants, panting. When 
you regain your breath eat you decide to 
stay where you are. You feel safe and hidden, 
and you are so tired that, after a time, you 
actually lie down and fall asleep. 

Sometime later, you waken with a start. You 
realize you've been lucky no marsh monsters 
came upon you while you were asleep! Cau- 
tiously you stand up and look around. The 
marsh is one vast sea of tall plant stems, and 
you have no idea which way the road lies. But 
you can’t just stay here—you've got to find the 
way out. 

The sky is slowly turning pink now as the 
sun rises, The sounds of the marsh creatures 
are dying out. Perhaps they sleep during the 
day. If so, that could mean less chance of run- 
ning into a monster—although there's still the 
danger of stepping into quicksand. 

The sun rises higher and you wander on. 
Soon it’s full daylight, and you feel as if you've 
been tramping for hours. You still can’t see 
anything but an endless expanse of tall plants 





77 


on all sides. There MUST be an end to this 
awful place! But you’re beginning to fear that 
you could wander about until you die of hun- 
ger or thirst—or until some monster gets you! 

By midafternoon, you're feeling the effects 
of the sun beating down on you for hours. You 
gaze longingly at some of the shallow pools of 
water you pass, wondering if it would be safe 
to drink from them. But when you peer closely 
into one, you see that it’s full of tiny wriggly 
things. 

On and on you trudge, growing hotter and 
more thirsty every minute. You almost wish 
| you COULD die and get it over with! Then, 
| abruptly, you push your way through a clump 
of tall plants and find yourself looking at a 
river! 

Whooping with joy, you race to the bank and 
fling yourself down to take a long drink. Then 
you splash water over your head to cool off. It 
feels great! 

You know that the dangers of the marsh are 
behind you now, and your spirits start to rise. 
You're pretty sure this must be the river that’s 
on your map. If it is, all you have to do is follow 
it, and you'll eventually get to Riverbend. You 
won't have to worry about being thirsty, and 
you can eat fish, if you're able to catch some. 
You'll survive! 

Rising to your feet, you glance up the river, 
and you freeze with astonishment. Far in the 
distance, there is a small boat coming toward 
you. Maybe you can get a ride to Riverbend! 




















78 


You wait for the boat to come nearer. Soon 
you can make out that it is a raft, with one per- 
son guiding it along with a pole. With growing 
amazement, you stare until the raft is close 
enough for there to be no doubt. Then you let 
out a whoop of joy—the person on the raft is 
your brother Jay! 

day quickly poles the raft to shore and in 
moments the two of you are hugging and 
pounding each other on the back. 

“How did you find the river?” you ask. 

“T was lost 1 in the woods for a long time,’ Jay 
explains. “I just wandered until suddenly I 
came to a river, There were lots of logs and 
vines around, so | built this raft and let the 
river take me out. I’ve been floating down- 
river ever since. How did YOU get here?” 

Eagerly you tell him about your adventures. 
By the time you finish, your stomach is growl- 
ing. “I’m awfully hungry, Jay. [ haven't eaten 
a thing since last night!” 

Jay opens his belt pouch and takes out the 
fish hooks and line he always carries. The two 
of you fish for a while and finally catch a large 
trout, which you cook over a campfire. 

You notice it’s nearly dark again. The 
sounds of the marsh are starting up once 
more. “We don’t dare camp here, Jay,’ you tell 
him. “This is an awfully dangerous place, 
We'd be safer on the raft.” 

“Let’s climb aboard, then,’ Jay says. 


Please turn to page 79. 





: 79 





You push off from shore, and once the raft is 
floating smoothly, you and Jay stretch out side 
by side. As you lie there looking up at a sky 
aglow with stars and a full moon, your eyes 
gradually close, and before long you drift off to 
sleep. 

You are awakened by a pressure on your arm 
and the sound of Jay excitedly whispering 
your name. “Huh? What’s the matter?” you 
mumble, still half asleep. 

“Shh! Don't make any noise. Take a look 
around!” 

Sleepily you glance off to one side, and sud- 
denly your eyes snap wide open. The raft is 
drifting on a narrow part of the stream, with 
the banks no more than several arm lengths 
away on each side. In the bright moonlight, 
you can see clearly that both banks are lined 
with scores of huge, silent, crouching shapes. 
You realize with a shudder that the shapes you 
see are gigantic frogs, nearly three times the 
size of a man! Their bodies are dark green, 
with yellow blotches, and their huge, pale, 
bulging eyes gleam faintly as they stare at 
you. 

“What are we going to do now, Jay?” you 
whisper. 

“I don't know,’ Jay whispers back. ‘““Maybe 
if we just try to lie still, they won't bother us, 
and we can drift on past them. But they might 
attack anyway! Maybe we should yell and see 
if we can scare them away. What do you think, 
Sparrow?” 





1) If you decide to try to frighten the frogs 
away, turn to page 135. 





2) Lf you decide to lie still and try to drift 
by the frogs, turn to page 50. 





82 


Your life has been in almost constant danger 
in the last few days—from wolves in the 
woods, a wight, a carrion crawler, and a nixie. — 
Now you're being asked to risk your life yet 
again against Scarface and his band of cut- 
throats, who outnumber your group two to 
one. It seems as if you've risked your life 
enough! 

But the more you think about it, the angrier 
you get that Scarface has stolen the map and 
ruined your quest after all the risks you've 
taken. Well, you’re not going to let him get 
away with it without a fight! You slam your 
fist down on the table and exclaim, “We're 
going after them!”’ Redbeard grins broadly 
and slaps you on the back. 

Next morning, at sunrise, you and Redbeard 
are lying on the top of a hill that looks down 
upon the road leading out of Riverbend. 
Behind you, out of sight, Jay holds the three 
horses you bought last night. He clutches a 
stout spear. 

“Here they come!”’ whispers Redbeard. 

You squint your eyes and see six horsemen, 
tiny at this distance, riding out of town. You 
watch as they pass beneath you and head off 
into the hills. When they are nearly out of 
sight, they come to a fork in the road and take 
the path to the right. 

“All right, we know which way they're 
headed,’ says Redbeard, scrambling to his 
feet. 

You hurry to the horses, mount, and ride 














83 





down the hillside to the road. In a few min- 
utes, you reach the fork and follow the same 
path Scarface’s band took. All morning you 
trot along, following the prints of horses’ 
hooves in the soft dirt of the road. It’s nearly 
noon when Redbeard pulls up his horse and 
leans down to look carefully at the hoofprints. 

“They turned off the road here,’ he reports. 
“They went up this hill. We'd better dismount 
and walk the horses up to keep the noise 
down.” 

You lead your horses up the hillside as qui- 
etly as you can. The higher you go, the more 
rocky the hill becomes. Near the top, you see 
the dark, yawning mouth of a cave, and teth- 
ered to an old twisted tree stump nearby are 
six horses. There is no sign of the men. 

“Keep the horses out of sight and lie low,’ 
suggests Redbeard. “We'll wait for them to 
come out of the cave, and then we'll rush 
them. You and I have our magic swords, Spar- 
row. That should help even things up!” 

You don’t have to wait long. Scarface and his 
two half-orc followers soon appear, dragging 
some chests and bags. After a time, you real- 
ize that the other three members of the gang 
aren't going to show up—something must 
have happened to them in the cave. 

“Three to three—even up!” whispers 
Redbeard. “That puts things in our favor! I'll 
ane ocartace and you each take an orc. Come 
on!” 

You rush from hiding and sprint toward the 


84 


three bandits. Cursing, Scarface draws his 
sword and advances to meet you, the two half- 
ores right behind him! 

One of the orcs dodges around you and 
thrusts its sword at your chest. But to the orc’s 
amazement—and yours—the blade merely 
bounces off you! Your coat of magic armor has 
saved you! You swing wildly with your sword, 
and the blade bites deep into the orc’s arm. 
With a how], it drops its sword and flees. 

You hurry to help Jay, who is having trouble 
with the other orc. But when the creature sees 
it is outnumbered, it, too, flees. ) 

You turn to see if Redbeard needs help, but. 
he is standing over Scarface's lifeless body. 
The fight is over, and the treasure is yours! 

But first, while Redbeard stands watch to 
see that the three others don’t return, you and 
Jay bury the bag containing the bones of King 
Farad Silverhair. You have finally kept your 
promise to the stranger who gave you the 
map! 

You load the treasure onto the spare horses 
and start back toward Riverbend. “I wonder 
what happened to Scarface’s other three men 
inside the cave?” Jay asks after a time. 

“ld rather not know!”’ you exclaim. “We 
risked our lives enough times on this quest, 
but now the risks are over. We're all as rich as 
princes—and King Farad Silverhair can sleep 
in peace forever!” 


THE END 








85 


You remember hearing people say, “Never 
trust a pixie,’ and decide there must be good 
reason for that advice. 

“No, thank you,’ you tell the pixie. “We'll 
find the way out for ourselves.” | 

“You'll be sorry! I hope you starve to death! I 
hope the wolves get you!” shrieks the pixie 
and vanishes from sight. 

“Let’s go this way,’ suggests Jay, pointing to 
the right. You begin to trudge through the 
trees. You hope you weren't wrong about the 
pixie, but it’s too late now. 

Soon you find yourselves on the bank of a 
sparkling stream. You both fling yourselves 
down for a long, cool drink, then fill your 
water flasks. 

Suddenly Jay exclaims, “This is it, Sparrow! 
All we have to do is follow this stream, and 
it'll lead us out of the woods! In fact, unless I 
miss my guess, it'll lead us right to Riverbend. 
Come on. Let’s go!” 

But the stream has given you an idea, too. 
“Why don’t we build a raft? There are plenty 
of logs and vines around. Then we can FLOAT 
to Riverbend.” 

“Great idea!” Jay exclaims. The two of you 
begin collecting logs and lashing them 
together with vines. It’s noon by the time you 
finish. You step onto the raft and push off from 
shore, using two long poles made from tree 
branches. 

It’s pleasant floating down the stream in the 
shade of the leafy treetops overhead. By late 













































































86 


afternoon, you see that the trees are thinning 
out, and before long you are out of the woods. 
The stream flows lazily through a broad, roll- 
ing plain. 

You and Jay guide the raft to shore and pull 
it up onto the bank. In your travels, you have 
often camped beside rivers, 80 you both have 
fishhooks and line in your belt pouches. You 
spend some time fishing, and Jay finally lands 
a fine trout for supper. 

After you've eaten, Jay says, “I wonder if we 
should spend the night here or get back on the 
raft. We could gain a lot of time floating along 
while we're asleep.” 

“But would it be safe?” you ask. 


1) If you decide to spend the night right 
where you are, turn to page 142. 


2) If you decide to sleep on the raft while 
you float downriver, turn to page 79. 











B7 


After you think about it for a moment, it 
seems to you that the road would be far safer 
than the ford. You certainly have no desire to 
spend the rest of your life at the bottom of the 
river as the underwater slave of a nixie! 
Besides, Scarface and his gang surely must 
have given up watching for you by now. 

“Let’s take the road, Redbeard,’ you decide. 

You travel the rest of the afternoon and 
reach the road late in the day. Just as you get 
to it, you see a large procession of people com- 
ing toward you, headed toward Riverbend. 
Some of them are carrying banners, some are 
singing, and some are chanting. 

“Looks like a procession of pilgrims on their 
way to some religious shrine,’ comments 
Redbeard. “That gives me an idea, Sparrow. If 
Scarface and his crew are still looking for us, 
they won't expect to find us in a crowd. We 
could sort of join in with these pilgrims until 
we get to Riverbend.’ 

As the pilgrims throng past you, Redbeard 
hails one of the men over to the side of the 
road. “Where are you headed, brother?” 

“Why, to visit the shrine of the holy 
Swithian of Blofusk, of course?’ he answers 
cheerfully. 

“Swithian of Blofusk!” cries Redbeard. “Ah, 
what a devout person he was! We'll join you.” 
He tugs you by the arm. “Come on, Sparrow. 
Just smile a lot and don’t say anything.” 

bo here you are, marching along with a 
crowd of people heading for the shrine of 


ats) 


Swithian of Blosfusk, when you don't even 
have the faintest idea who he i is, or was. You'd 
be willing to bet Redbeard doesn’t, either. 
However, no one pays much attention to you, 
and as for Redbeard, he acts right at home pre- 
tending to join in the singing and chanting 
and even holding one of the banners for a 
while! 

Before too long, you see a wooden bridge in 
the distance—the bridge that crosses the river 
into Riverbend! But as you draw near, your 
heart nearly jumps into your throat as you see 
that Redbeard was right—Scarface and his 
henchmen are standing at the near end of the 
bridge! 

Redbeard has seen them, too. He bends 
down and whispers in your ear, “Keep your 
head down and don’t look toward them. If luck 
is with us, they won't even notice us in this 
crowd.”’ Then he folds his arms across his chest 
and covers his beard with one hand as if he is 
pondering some deep thought. 

With your head down and your eyes on your 
feet, you shuffle slowly along, wishing you 
could run instead! ‘You can feel your heart 
pounding. At any moment, you expect to be 
seized by Scarface or one of his henchmen. 
However, you're smaller than most of the peo- 
ple around you, so maybe you won't be seen 
after all. 

Before long you feel your feet thudding on 
the wooden boards of the bridge, and after 
what seems an eternity, you’re walking on 





aS 
ees 
ahh 


Ee ind 
4 
ae toe 
iI 
5 
7 : 
“s ita : 
E 
hae < 

















cobblestones. You're across the bridge and in 
Riverbend! 

Suddenly you feel someone seize you! You 
are pulled roughly out of the procession and 
into a side street, where Redbeard confronts 
you, grinning broadly. “We did it, Sparrow! 
The stupid ruffians never even noticed us! 
Well, now that we’re here, what’s next?” 

“We have to try to find day,’ you tell him. 
“Let's go back and take a quick look from this 
side of the bridge. He may have been watching 
for me and didn’t see me in the crow 

You return to the bridge, staying well back 
in the crowd of spectators who have gathered 
to watch the pilgrims, and cautiously look 
around for Jay. But he’s nowhere to be seen. 

“Let's start asking at the inns,’ suggests 
Redbeard. “He'd have to stay somewhere 
while he was waiting for you to get here.” 

You go to every inn in town, describing Jay 
to every innkeeper, but no one has seen him. 

“It looks as if he’s not here yet,’ says 
Redbeard. “He might still show up today, but 
if he doesn’t, what will we do, Sparrow? Do we 
keep waiting for him, or do we start out tomor- 
row for Farad’s bones and the treasure and get 
it over with?” 





1) If you decide to keep waiting for Jay, 
turn to page 97. 


2) If you decide to finish the quest without 
Jay, turn to page 136. 





18 


91 


You decide you must risk having a fire. Who 
knows what dangerous creatures might be 
lurking in a dark forest? When night comes, 
the forest turns completely black all around 
you. The orange glow of the fire comforts you, 
and after a while you grow sleepy, so you lie 
down beside the crackling fire and close your 
eyes. 

“Wake up!” you hear a voice call. Someone is 
prodding you in the ribs. 

Your eyes snap open. The fire is nearly out, 
but by its dim glow, you see that you are sur- 
rounded by a group of slim, light-haired men 
with pale eyes. They carry longbows and are 
dressed in garments of white and pale green. 
Elves! 

“Humans are not permitted to leave the 
road and enter our forest,’ says one of them 
sternly. “Stand up!” 

“We couldn't help it,’ says Jay as you scram- 
ble to your feet. “Bandits were after us, and 
we—” 

“I do not care to hear your excuses,” snaps 
the leader of the elves. “Search them!” he 
orders. 

The others examine your water flask, peer 
into your food bag, and take the map from 
your belt pouch. The leader looks at it with 
growing interest. “This is a treasure map! 
Where did you get it?” 

“A stranger gave it to us, ‘you tell him. 

“Bah! Why would anyone give away a trea- 
sure map!” he says angrily. “It’s more likely 





92 


you stole it. We shall keep it as a fine for 
breaking our law. Come with us.” 

There is nothing you can do but follow the 
elves through the forest. They take you back 
to the road, and the leader points toward the 
right. “That is the shortest way out of the for- 
est. Be sure you are out of it before morning!” 
Then he and his companions vanish into the 
darkness. 

oe guess we'll never be rich after all,” you 
say sadly. “If the elves go after the treasure, I 
hope they bury poor King Silverhair’s bones.” 

Jay claps you on the shoulder. “Cheer up, 
Sparrow. We're no worse off than we were 
when we started out through the forest. And 
we re still the world’s best jugglers!” 


Together you trudge through the darkness 
toward the end of the forest. “Jay’s right,’ you 
think as you go. “We're no worse off tha 
before. And who knows what might happen 
tomorrow?” 


THE END 














93 


“Which way is south?” you ask suddenly. 
Rogaldo looks puzzled, then points toward the 
window. You glance toward Jay, whose right 
shoulder is facing the same window. “Right 1 is 
right,” you say. “We're going south!”’ 

“When do we start?” Jay asks. 

“The sooner the better,’ the wizard replies. 
“Wuverain is on horseback and has a full day's 
head start on us. We'll have to get some horses 
of our own to keep up with him. If he gets 
much farther ahead, I won't be able to keep an 
eye on him with my ‘erystal ball. He’ll have to 
stop sooner or later, and then we'll have him— 
unless we're following the illusion.” 

You manage to rouse a horse dealer, and 
Rogaldo buys three fast mounts. Then you 
begin a wild ride to catch up with Vuverain! 

You ride steadily until sunrise and on 
through the whole morning. At noon, you stop 
for a quick meal, and Rogaldo consults his 
crystal ball. “We've gained on him,’ he 
announces. “His horses are loaded with stolen 
treasure and can't move very fast. And I don't 
opus he has any idea that we're chasing 

im 

All afternoon you ride on, and well into the 
night. Finally you stop for a faw hours of sleep. 
Checking the crystal ball again, Rogaldo sees 
that Vuverain has also stopped to rest. 

“Well, at least we know he won't gain on us 
during the night,’ observes Jay. 

“Yes, and more important, it also proves 
that we’re following the real Vuverain,’ 





94 


Sere ye with satisfaction. “The illusion 


You’ve been worried that your hunch might 
prove wrong, but now that you know the real 
Vuverain is ahead of you, you begin to feel 
that the quest may turn out all right after all. 

You start off again at dawn. Once more you 
rest only briefly during the day. At nightfall, 
Rogaldo says that you should catch up with 
him tomorrow! 

Morning dawns gray and drizzling. You gal- 
lop on, unmindful of your aching muscles, and 
by noon, you can actually see Vuverain and 
his horses far in the distance. 

Now Vuverain knows you're behind him. He 
tries to speed his horses along, but they are 
loaded too heavily. The distance between you 
gets shorter and shorter. 

Suddenly you see Vuverain bring his horses 
to a halt. He faces you with one hand raised. 

“He wants to talk,” grunts Rogaldo. “I think 
he wants to make some kind of a deal.’ 

You slow down and pull your horses to a stop 
some hundred paces from the enemy wizard. 
You get your first good look at Vuverain, a tall, 
thin man with piercing black eyes, a beaklike 
nose, and a scraggly black beard. — 

“Say what you have to say, Vuverain!” 
Rogaldo calls coldly. 

“Just this,’ comes the reply. ““There’s 
enough treasure here to share. I'll make you 
an offer—the king’s bones and half the trea- 
sure in return for calling off the chase.” 





—— 


F i Sa 
rate Pat f =a i 
s Ss ‘ul 
Ee = 


ee = 


? 
fi 


ie a ae 
i — 
rae 


1 ha ak el k 
Gig ye ee 








96 


“What if we don’t agree to that?’ Rogalde 
calls back. 

“Then I challenge your honor as a wizard to 
fight me in a wizard’s duel, Rogaldo. If I win, I 
get to keep everything for myself?” 

“What's a wizard’s duel?” you ask. 

“A magical combat—to the death!” Rogaldo 
explains. “Each wizard assumes the form of 
any kind of living creature and then tries to 
kill his opponent. The only rules are that you 
must become only living things, and you can't 
into any one thing more than once.” 

“It sounds dangerous!” Jay says. 

“Tt is. You have to know the strengths and 
weaknesses of every living thing. Make one 
wrong fuess and you're dead!” 

You glance at Jay and know he's thinking 
the same thing you are. It might be better to 
settle for King Silverhair’s bones and half the 
treasure than let Rogaldo risk his life. But the 
fierce expression on Rogaldo’s face seems to 
indicate he wants to fight the other wizard. 
Should you try to talk him out of fighting 
Vuverain or let him do it? 


1) If you choose to accept Vuverain’s offer 
of half the treasure and King 
Silverhair’s bones in return for letting 
Vuverain get away, turn to page 65. 


2) If you elect to let Rogaldo fight Vuve- 
rain to the death in a wizard’s duel, 
turn to page 154. 











97 





“T can hardly stand not to go on after the 
treasure when we're so close to it now,’ you 
tell Redbeard, “but I just have to wait for Jay. 
We promised to go on the quest together. Jay 
would be terribly hurt if I went ahead and fin- 
ished it without him. I have to wait for him at 
least a few more days, Redbeard!”’ 

Redbeard says nothing, but you feel that he 
understands. 

By pooling smal! amounts of money you're 
able to take a room at an inn for a few days. 
You go to bed that night hoping Jay will arrive 
tomorrow. 

You awaken to see morning sunlight stream- 
ing in through the window. After a yawn and 
a stretch, you roll out of bed to wash up. Sud- 
denly you notice that Redbeard’s bed is empty. 
As you glance at it, you see there’s a square of 
paper, covered with writing, lying on the pil- 
low. You go to the bed and see that it is a note 
for you, and you read it curiously. 


“Sparrow, 

“| have the map. Please don’t think I’m 
planning to cheat you, because I’m not. 
But your brother may not show up for a 
long time, and I just don’t think we can 
afford to wait. I have gone to find the trea- 
sure, and | promise I'll bring it back. By 
that time, maybe Jay will be there and 
well all be able to celebrate together. 
Please trust me and don’t be angry. 

“Redbeard” 


98 


Quickly you turn toward your clothing, 
which you left piled on a chair last night. It’s 
true—the pouch with the map in it, which was 
tied to your belt, 1s gone! 

You read the note over and over. You can't 
believe that Redbeard intends to cheat you, or 
he would simply have taken the map and not 
left a note. You must trust him, but still you 
are worried as you go to watch for Jay. 

You go to the bridge to watch for Jay. You 
keep back well out of sight, because Scarface 
an his men are still watching on the other 
side. 

The day passes: with no sign of Jay. You 
return to the inn in the evening, hoping des- 
perately that Redbeard will be there, but the 
room is empty. You find it hard to go to sleep 
because you're worried about Jay and 
Redbeard., 

In the morning, you return to the bridge. 
Today you see no sign of Scarface and his 
gang. Apparently they have finally given up. 

All morning you watch hopefully, but Jay 
never appears. It is almost noon when you 
notice, far in the distance, river, what appears 
to be a man on a raft coming down the river 
toward town. You watch as the raft 
approaches. Finally you let out a whoop of 
joy—it’s Jay! You rush down the bank to the 
edge of the river, Waving your arms to attract 
his attention. 

Jay poles the raft to shore, and you hug and 
slap each other on the back. “How did you 














99 





happen to come down the river? Where did 


you get the raft?” you ask excitedly. 

“After we got separated, I got lost awhile in 
the woods,’ he explains. “Then I came to a 
river and realized the river could take me out. 
So I built the raft out of logs and vines, and 
here Iam! But tell me how you got here.” 

Quickly you tell Jay about your adventures 
with Redbeard, and he listens with astonish- 
ment. But when he hears what Redbeard his 
done, his face grows sober. “Sparrow, ['m 
afraid you'll never see him again!” 

“Redbeard wouldn't cheat me,’ you insist. 
“He may even be back at the inn right now.” 

But when you return to the inn, Redbeard is 
not there. Neither of you has any money, and 
this is the last day you can use the room at the 
inn. You explain to the innkeeper that you and 
Jay are jugglers, and he agrees to let you work 
at the inn in return for a room and whatever 
money the customers may give you. 

So you begin to scratch out a meager living 
in Riverbend, and the days pass quickly. 
Finally you must admit to yourself that the 
quest is over and you have failed. You will 
never see Redbeard again. Either he found the 
treasure and decided to cheat you after all, or 
else he met some horrible death from what- 
ever the danger was that the dying man in the 
woods tried to warn you of. But you will never 
know for sure what happened, and for you, 
this looks like... 





THE END 





100 


You can’t just run away and leave the red- 
bearded warrior to fight three enemies by 
himself! You must stay and help him however 
you can. 

Redbeard fends off an attack by Scarface 
and one of the others, but the third attacker, a 
half-orc, circles stealthily around behind him. 
You grab a heavy pitcher from a table and hur! 
it with all your might at the orc’s head. It 
smashes against the side of his face, and he 
staggers back in a daze, dropping his sword. 

Meanwhile, Redbeard has run his sword 
through the arm of Scarface’s other hench- 
man, putting him out of the fight, too. Curs- 
ing, Scarface backs out the door, dragging the 
wounded man with him. The half-ore staggers 
after them. Redbeard, bellowing with laugh- 
ter, gives it a hearty ‘kick in the rump that 
sends the creature sprawling through the 
door. 

“Thanks for your help, lad;’ Redbeard says 
with a wink. “We showed them something, I'd 
say.’ He looks at you curiously. “Why were 
they after you, anyway?” 

You hesitate briefly, then decide to trust this 
big, hearty man. After all, he befriended you 
the moment you entered the inn, then risked 
his life to save you from your enemies. Taking 
a deep breath, you tell him of your quest to 
bury the remains of Farad Silverhair and find 
the treasure. Then you explain why Scarface 
18 pursuing you. 

He whistles and eyes you with concern. 








102 


“You’ re in a bad spot, lad. As long as this Scar- — 
face thinks you have the map, he'll keep after | 
you—and I won't be around to help next time.” 

But his words give you an idea. “Why don’t 
you join me and my brother?” you suggest. 
“We'll give you a third of whatever treasure 
we find. 

He ponders thoughtfully for a moment, then 
grins and holds out his hand. “I accept your 
offer, lad. Braving danger to give rest to a 
troubled spirit is a worthy cause—and besides, 
I'm running a bit short on money. Come on— 
let's have some supper. By the way, call me 
Redbeard.” 

You grin, but you don’t bother to tell him 
that’s what you’ve been calling him all along 
in your thoughts. 

Early next morning you start out together, 
following the road that leads to the distant 
town of Riverbend, where you hope your 
brother Jay may be waiting. From time to 
time, you glance back down the road on the 
chance you might see him coming along 
behind you. Once or twice you think you do see 
a figure or group of figures far in the distance, 
but you're not sure. 

You travel all day. At twilight you stop, 
build a small campfire by the side of the road, 
and have a supper of bread and cheese. 

“Listen, Sparrow,’ Redbeard says in a low 
voice, “I’m certain we're being followed. I sus- 

it’s our sear-faced friend and his gang!” 

“T thought I saw someone behind us today!” 








103 


you exclaim. “T'll bet they plan to wait until 
late at night, when we're asleep, then sneak 
up and kill us!’ A sudden idea pops into your 
mind. “Listen, Redbeard, why don’t we trick 
‘em? When it gets dark we'll leave the fire 
burning as if we're here, but we'll sneak off 
and hide out somewhere 1 in the darkness!”’ 

“A good plan,’ he says with a grin. “We can 
escape from them completely, Sparrow, 
because I know two shortcuts that will take us 
straight to the river we have to cross to get to 
Riverbend. Scarface and his cutthroats won't 
have any idea where we've gone!” 

“Great!” you chuckle. 

“There's something you ought to know first, 
though,’ he says, looking you square in the 
eye. “Neither shortcut is very safe. One goes 
through a marsh that has some very danger- 
ous things in it. The other is through a vale 
that’s said to be haunted. But either way is 
better than staying here and getting our 
throats cut, eh?” 

“Right,” you gulp, beginning to wonder, 

“You make the choice, then,’ he says. 
“Which shall it be—the Haunted ‘Vale or the 
Marsh of Monsters?” 


1) If you choose to take the shortcut 
through the Haunted Vale, turn to page 
of, 


2) If you choose to travel through the 
Marsh of Monsters, turn to page 123. 




















104 


The more you consider your idea to trick the 
giant, the more farfetched it seems. Redbeard 
is probably right. The only way to deal with 
the giant is to rush it while it’s still asleep. You 
may not have another chance. 

“Let's try rushing it,” you whisper. 

Redbeard nods and draws hin ov sword. You 
level your spear. 

“Now!” Redbeard whispers sharply. Due by 
side, you race toward the sl nt 

But you aren't halfway there when its pace 
flash open and glare at you. With an angry 
roar, the giant leaps to its feet and hi lumbers 
toward you. You feel the breeze from its huge 
club as it whistles through the air and 
smashes into Redbeard’s body. The force of the 
blow knocks Redbeard twenty feet, and when 
he strikes the ground, he lies motionless. 

You haven't a chance and you know it. Drop- 

ping the spear, you turn to run. But the giant 
can cover twice as much ground with its huge 
strides as you can. In an instant, you hear its 
panting breath right behind you, and a huge 
shadow looms over you. The last thing you 
hear is the harsh SWISH of its club... . 


THE END 








105 


Suddenly one of Jay’s favorite sayings 
flashes into your mind: ““When you re not sure 
which way to go, right is right!” On the chance 
that Jay will turn right, you swim for the 
right bank. You pull yourself up onto the 
muddy ground and glance fearfully behind 
you, but there’s no sign of the monster now. 

There’s no sign of Jay, either. What if he 
swam to the other side after all? Then you 
hear his voice. “Sparrow! Are you there?” 

“Here!” you answer, and in moments you're 
together again. Jay explains how he headed 
for the right bank, hoping you’d remember 
he'd do that. But when he didn’t find you 
there, he remembered you were facing each 
other on the raft—his right was your left—so 
he swam back across the river. “That was a 
close call, Jay!” you exclaim. 

“We've got to get away from this place fast! 
Let's follow the river and pray we don't meet 
any more monsters!” 

You trudge along for what seems like sev- 
eral hours. You begin to feel awfully tired. 

“IT see something up ahead,” Jay says finally. 
“It looks like a building of some sort.” 

You look up and see it, too—a tall, window- 
less tower about three floors high, made of 
stone. When you reach it, you find a flight of 
stone steps leading up to a small door. 

“T'm going to knock and see if whoever lives 
here will let us spend the night,” you say. 


Please turn to page 44. 





106 


After talking it over, you and Jay decide that 
the longer journey will be worth it if you meet 
up with less danger. 

The plain is an endless expanse of tall 
golden grass. You travel uneventfully for the 
rest of the day. At nightfall, you build a small 
fire and eat, with the sound of wolves howling 
in the distance. “The fire will keep them 
away, says Rogaldo. You hope so! 

The next day you sight a herd of large 
shaggy creatures grazing in the distance. 
“Wild cattle,” says Rogaldo. “They're no dan- 
fer unless they should stampede.” 

Near noon of the third day, you come to a 
wild and desolate stretch. Huge boulders lie 
scattered about, and there are broad patches 
of bare ground. Suddenly, from among a clus- 
ter of boulders, a large round thing, wider 
than a man is tall, begins to float swiftly 
toward you! 

“A beholder!” Rogaldo says fearfully. 

Hardly daring to breathe, you examine the 
weird creature as it approaches. It has a single 
-huge eye in its center and an enormous mouth 
filled with sharp teeth. From its top sprouts a 
cluster of stalks with smaller eves on their 
tips. The thing floats to a stop near you and 
speaks in a strange language. 

Rogaldo answers in the same language, 
then turns to you and Jay. ““We may be in luck. 
These things usually attack on sight, but this 
one will let us pass if we pay it a bribe” 

“Can you use magic on it?” you whisper. 








108 


“It can protect itself against any ma gic, plus 
it can do things that my magic can’t stop,’ 
Rogaldo says grimly. “We must do as it wishes 
or it will destroy us! Quick! Show it every- 
thing you have!” 

You hurriedly open all the bags and dump 
their contents onto the ground. The creature 
watches with its huge eye, then speaks. 

“It wants to see what is in your pouch, Spar- 
row,’ Rogaldo interprets. 

There is nothing in your pouch but the map. 
Trembling, you dump the map on the ground 
and spread it open. The beholder looks ak it for 
a few moments, then speaks once more. 

“It wants the map,’ says Rogaldo. “We have 
no choice. We must give it up or die!” 

He picks up the map and holds it out. The 
beholder takes the parchment in its lips, then 
slowly floats back to its nest of boulders. 

“Quick! Gather up what you can and let’s 
get away from here,’ urges Rogaldo, hurriedly 
scooping things into bags. “We're lucky to still 
be alive!” He lowers his voice, glancing from 
you to Jay. “There's still a chance. You have a 
general idea where the treasure is. Perhaps I 
can locate it with magic before the beholder 
goes after it. At least we can try!” 

Together you hurry off across the desolate 
terrain, wondering what dangers lie ahead 
and whether you'll ever survive long enough 
to complete your quest. .. . 


THE END 








109 


“Don’t be a fool,” you think. “If you dive into 
the river and drown, then you'll be dead, 
Redbeard will probably die, and Jay will 
never know what became of you. But if you at 
least try to bargain with Scarface, you may be 
able to stay alive to help Redbeard and to see 
Jay again.” You decide to bargain. 

You grab your belt pouch and hold it up for 
the scar-faced man to see. “Come a step closer 
and I'll throw this into the river!”’ you shout. 

“Do that and it’s curtains for you!” snarls 
Scarface, but you notice that he and his men 
come to a halt. 

“Look, if I give you the map, will you prom- 
ise not to kill me or Redbeard?” you ask. You 
know his promise probably won't be worth 
anything, but once he has the map, he won't 
have any need to kill you. 

“I don’t care one bit whether you live or die,’ 
Scarface says, “but if you give me the map, I 
won't waste my time bothering to kill you. 

You know that’s as close to a promise as 
you ll ever get from Scarface, Keeping your 
fingers crossed for luck, you toss the pouch to 
him. He pulls it open and glances hurriedly at 
the map. “Come on,’ he says to his men, and 
they set off across the bridge at a run. 

You breathe a sigh of relief, then hurry to 
Redbeard’s side. He has struggled to sit up and 
holds one hand to his side. You see blood seep- 
ing between his fingers. 

“Sorry I... let you down, Sparrow,” he 
CASDS. 


110 


You didn’t, Redbeard,” you insist. “I’m just 
glad you're alive! But I’ve got to get you to a 
doctor!” 

“Sparrow! Sparrow!” you hear a voice call. 
You look up and see your brother Jay running 
across the bridge toward you. 

“Jay!” you shout joyfully. Then you remem- 
ber what has just happened. “I—I’m sorry, Jay. 
I don’t have the map anymore. I had to give it 
up to save our lives.” 

“I know, Sparrow. I saw what happened,’ 
says Jay. “I was afraid they'd kill you. It’s 
okay that you gave them the map. Tt doesn’t 
matter, as long as you're alive.’ 

Together you carry Redbeard across the 
bridge into Riverbend. You're sorry the spirit 
of Farad Silverhair won't be put to rest, and 
you're sorry you'll never be rich. But at least 
you and Jay are together again. And you've 
made a good friend—who now needs your help. 

















111 


“I think you're right, Jay. We've got to go try 
to find the treasure by ourselves,” you tell 
your brother. “Redbeard is badly wounded, 
and it may take him a long time to get well. 
We're going to need a lot of money to take care 
of him and keep us all fed and everything. We 
need that treasure to do it!” 

With the last of your money, you buy two 
spears so that you'll be armed against what- 
ever danger might be in the cave. With a 
branch and some oily rags, you make a torch 
to use inside the cave. You're as well prepared 
as you can be, so the next morning you set out, 
following the map through the hilly country 
outside town. 

Toward afternoon, you find the hill marked 
on the map and follow an old, nearly invisible 
trail up its side. Near the rocky crest, you spot 
a dark opening in the hillside—the treasure 
cave! 

With flint and steel, Jay lights the torch. He 
looks at you and gives a strained grin. “Good 
luck, Sparrow,’ he says. 

“Good luck to you, too, Jay,” you echo. Your 
heart is pounding and your legs are trem- 
bling. Jay leads the way into the cave cau- 
tiously, torch in one hand and spear in the 
other. You're right behind him, clutching your 
spear. Slowly the two of you move down a nar- 
row, rocky passageway. You come to a corner 
and edge around it carefully. 

In the torchlight, you see a large cavern. 
Someone, probably the bandits who hid the 








113 


treasure here, has stretched a net of thick 
ropes across the middle of the cavern. And on 
the other side of the net, in a corner, 1s a pile of 
chests and bags! 

“There it is!” you exclaim excitedly. 

Glancing hurriedly to both sides, the two of 
you move forward to push aside the net and 
get at the treasure. But as your arms and 
hands touch the rope, you discover that it is 
smeared with thick, sticky glue. You both pull 
and tug, but you only get stuck worse. Even 
your spears are stuck. In his efforts to get free, 
Jay drops the torch. 

suddenly, with a shock of terror, you realize 
what is happening—and what the dying man 
ong gave you the map was trying to warn you 
Or. 

“Jay!” you shriek. “This isn’t a net—it’s a 
giant spiderweb!” 

You both raise your eyes to peer upward 
through the gloom in agonized horror. The 
light from the torch flickering on the floor of 
the cave gleams upon six staring eyes of a 
huge, hairy spider, as big as a horse, which is 
slowly creeping down the web toward you. 


THE END 





























114 


“We really don’t know much about Rogaldo, 
Jay,’ you think aloud. “He may have been 
planning with this other magician to cheat us 
all along! I say we should go get the treasure 
ourselves! If we find out Rogaldo’s honest, we 
can always share with him later.’ 

Late the next afternoon, you find the cave 
you are seeking high on a rocky hillside. Jay 
takes out his flint and steel and lights the 
torches you have brought with you. Suddenly 
there is a sharp crack, like a clap of thunder, 
and Rogaldo appears before yout 

“So,” he says, frowning, ‘‘you choose to 
betray me despite my help! Very well! I'll see 
that the king’s bones are buried, and [ll take 
only whatever magical tools I may find—but I 
put upon you the spell of forgetfulness. For 
five years, you will remember nothing of the 
treasure or the meaning of the map you 
carry!’ And with that, Rogaldo vanishes. 

As if awakening from a trance, you blink 
and look around. “What are we doing here, 
anyway, Jay? you ask, puzzled. 

“I—I seem to recall looking for something, 
but I can’t remember what.” He looks worried. 
“Something strange is going on, Sparrow!” 

“It’s getting late. We'd better get back to 
town, Jay. Once we're ere, maybe we can fig- 
ure out what’s going on.’ 

Puzzled, worried, and strangely sad, you 
start back on the road toward Riverbend. 


THE END 








115 


Frozen with fear, you crouch beside 
Redbeard, waiting to see what the giant dino- 
saur will do. Suddenly it sees you, and it 
pauses, as if it is looking you over. Then it sim- 
ply crashes on by through the swamp. 

Redbeard heaves a sigh of relief. “We were 
in luck,” he says. “It’s a plant-eater.’ 

You start off again, trudging over the soggy 
path. From time to time, will-o-the-wisps drift 
alongside you, then suddenly vanish to reap- 
pear in a different place to confuse you and try 
to make you leave the path. But Redbeard 
plods steadily on, and you follow him, ignor- 
ing the eerie floating lights. Weird noises fil] 
the night. Once, a huge batlike shape skims 
across the face of the moon, and another time 
you see a huge glowing shape moving in the 
distance. 

But as the first faint light of dawn creeps 
into the sky, you begin to notice that the 
ground is becoming firmer. Patches of grass 
occasionally appear among the bulrushes and 
cattails. Before long you are out of the marsh. 

‘We're safe now,’ Redbeard says thankfully. 
His mouth stretches ina huge yawn. ““We need 
some sleep, Sparrow. Let’s rest awhile before 
we move on.’ You eagerly agree, and the two of 
you drop onto the soft grass and are soon 
sound asleep. 

You can tell by the sun that it’s nearly noon 
when you awaken. You share a quick meal of 
bread and cheese, then start out once more. 
5oon you come to the road, and before long you 


116 


see the wooden bridge that crosses the river 
into the town of Riverbend, where you hope 
your brother Jay will be waiting. 

But when you reach the bridge, half a dozen 
figures suddenly spring out of hiding from a 
thick cluster of bushes nearby. Your heart 
leaps to your throat as you recognize Scarface 
and his crew! Before Redbeard can even draw 
his sword, one of the orcs stabs him and he 
falls to the ground. Scarface stalks grimly 
toward you, sword in hand! 

Two ideas flash into your mind. You could 
try to bargain with Scarface, offering him the 
map if he'll spare your life. If he agrees, you ll 
survive and you'll be able to help the injured 
Redbeard—but it will mean the end of your 
quest. Your other idea is to dive into the river 
and try to escape. But you don’t know how 
deep or how swift the river is, so you'll be risk- 
ing your life—and you ll be deserting 
Redbeard. You have only seconds to make up 
your mind. What should you do? 


1) If you decide to use the map to bargain 
with Scarface, turn to page 109. 


2) If you decide to dive in the river and try 
to escape, turn to page 56. 









































117 


The left bank seems a bit closer, so you 
strike out frantically in that direction. In a 
_ few moments, you are pulling yourself up over 
the roots of a twisted, gnarled mangrove tree 
onto muddy ground. There is no sign of the 
monster now. 

“Jay, where are you?” you call frantically. 

“Over here, Sparrow!” You follow Jay's 
voice through the bulrushes. Soaked to the 
skin, you crouch beside one another. 

“We're in real danger, Sparrow. We've got to 
get out of here,’ says Jay. “Come on!” 

Following the river, you plod through bul- 
rushes and cattails. Fortunately, dawn comes 
soon, and with it, the noises of the marsh die 
out. By midmorning, you are finally out of the 
marsh. 

“Thank goodness!” you exclaim. You put 
your hand to your belt to give it a hitch, then 
stop dead. The pouch that hung from your 
belt, the pouch in which you carried the map, 
is gone! “Jay! I lost the pouch in the marsh!” 

“Not the pouch with the map in it!” 

You feel as if you're going to burst into tears, 
but then you straighten up and take a deep 
breath. “Maybe it won't matter, Jay. We know 
the treasure is in the hills outside Riverbend. 
We'll search every chance we get. Come on!” 

You march determinedly toward Riverbend, 
your only hope that you'll find the treasure 
and the bones of Farad Silverhair—someday. 


THE END 





118 


“Maybe if we hurry we can get through the 
desert without meeting any of the really dan- 
gerous creatures,’ you suggest. 

“That's logical,’ agrees Rogaldo. “The des- 
ert road it is, then.’ 

The patches of grass beside the road become 
fewer and fewer, and soon you are walking 
through a bleak, parched desert dotted with 
scrubby bushes. All day long you watch fear- 
fully for sight of one of the dangerous crea- 
tures Rogaldo said live in this place, but you 
don’t see anything except a few small lizards. 

When night comes, you build a fire and 
Rogaldo puts a magic barrier around the 
campsite. “It will keep out poisonous snakes 
and other such small things, but some of the 
bigger creatures would be able to get through 
it,’ he explains. 

You have a little trouble falling asleep after 
what Rogaldo said. However, there are no 
problems during the night, and in the morn- 
ing you set out once more. “We should be out of 
the desert and onto the road to Riverbend by 
early afternoon,’ Rogaldo predicts. 

But only moments later, he suddenly halts 
and peers at the sky, shading his eyes with his 
hand. Far ahead, high in the sky, you see a 
tiny speck. As you watch, it grows larger and 
larger. It’s heading straight toward you! 

“Tt’s a brass dragon!” exclaims Rogaldo. 

“Ts it dangerous?” Jay asks anxiously. 

“That depends, says the wizard. “Some- 
times brass dragons merely want to talk. 








120 


Then they're completely harmless. But if this 
one is coming to attack us, we're in serious 
danger!” 

“Can you fight it with magic?” you ask. 

“Only if l attack first. If 1 can catch it by sur- 
prise with a blast of magical energy, I might 
be able to destroy it. We have to decide what to 
do. If we wait to see if it wants to talk and it 
attacks instead, we're doomed, But attacking 
it could be a big mistake.” 

You can see the dragon clearly now as if flies 
swiftly toward you. It is at least thirty feet 
long, with great batlike wings. 

“What shall we do?” asks Rogaldo. ‘Wait to 
see if it only wants to talk, or try to blast it 
first?” 


1) If you decide you must attack the 
dragon before it attacks you, turn to 


page 41. 


2) If you decide to wait and see if the 
dragon wants to talk, turn to page 66. 











121 


You can’t bring yourself to go look for the 


_ treasure without your brother Jay. After all, 


it’s his quest, too! 

You spend the whole next day waiting at the 
bridge that leads into Riverbend. You feel sure 
that’s where Jay will come into the town. 
Many people come up the road and cross the 
bridge, but Jay isn’t one of them. He still 
hasn’t shown up by the end of the day. 

That night, as you and Redbeard are sitting 
at an inn having supper, a black-cloaked fig- 
ure enters the inn and looks around. When he 
sees you, he starts to stalk toward your table. 
You gasp as you see that it’s Scarface! With an 
oath, Redbeard reaches for his sword. 

“Keep your sword sheathed, warrior. I’ve 
come to talk, not to fight,’ growls scarface. “T 
have a feeling this lad is waiting for his 
brother. Well, he’s not going to show up, 
because we have him! If you want him, give 
me the map and I’! release him to you, Other- 
wise I'll cut his throat!” 

“I—I've got to give him the map, Redbeard!”’ 
you tell your friend. “I have no choice!” 

He nods slowly. “Of course you must, lad.” 

“T'll take the map now,’ demands Scarface. 
You take it out of your pouch and hand it to 
him. Scarface grins evilly. “We have your 
brother right outside. I'll bring him in.” He 
hurries from the room. Moments later, he 
returns with two of his gang and your brother. 
Then he and his men hurry from the room. 

“Jay!” you exclaim. “Are you all right?” 


“They haven’t been feeding me very well, 
but otherwise I’m okay. They were waiting at 
the bridge and grabbed me before I saw them.” 

You introduce Jay and Redbeard, then 
quickly tell Jay about your adventures. 

Jay sighs. “I’m sorry you had to give up the 
map for me after all the troubles you've had, 
Sparrow. I’m afraid poor King Farad’s bones 
will never be buried now—and you and I will 
be poor all our lives.” 

Redbeard leans forward and says, “You 
know, we don’t have to give up yet! Scarface 
and his gang will have to wait for sunrise 
before they can start out after the trea 
We can get ourselves some horses tonight, 
camp outside of town, and follow them. We'll 
let him lead us to the cave and then—well, 
we'll just see what happens. It will be danger- 
ous, of course. Well? Do you want to try my 
plan?” 


1) If you decide to follow Scarface and his 
men, turn to page 82. 


2) If you decide it would be too dangerous 
to follow Scarface, turn to page 144. 





123 





It’s not an easy choice, but 1t seems to you 
that it might be easier to deal with monsters 
_ than with ghosts, wights, or any of the other 
sorts of things that might be found in a 
- haunted place. After all, those things were all 
_ DEAD, and how can you fight something 
that’s already dead? But you feel you can 
trust Redbeard and his sword to deal with 
most any live monster you might encounter. 

“Let’s head through the Marsh of Mon- 
sters,’ you announce in a voice that sounds 
braver than you feel. 

As soon it gets dark enough, you and 
tedbeard sneak away from the campfire, leav- 
ing the road behind. For a long time you 
trudge side by side through the moonlight. 
Then you become aware that the ground 
underfoot is turning soft and damp, and the 
meadow grass is giving way to tall cattails 
and other wetlands vegetation. You realize 
with a shiver that you must be entering the 
Marsh of Monsters! : 

“Stay close beside me,’ Redbeard urges. 
“There are some deep pools, plus quicksand 
all about. Stay on this narrow path.’ 

. You should be sleepy at this time of night, 
but fear and excitement keep you wide awake. 

_ Youclutch the hem of Redbeard’s leather tunic 

80 that you won't stray away from him. 

| Suddenly you notice three round glowing 

lights off to one side of the path, seeming to 

float along beside you. Then you see two more 
on the other side. 


| 








rE 


had 


= 
- 





125 


“What—what are those lights?” you wonder 


~ aloud. 











‘““Will-o-the-wisps,’ answers Redbeard. 
“Foul creatures that feed upon death! They'll 
_ try to lead us into deep water or quicksand. 

Don’t watch them.” | 

The marsh is noisy with the buzz and whir of 
insects, but there are many unknown noises, 
too. Off in the distance you hear a loud bellow- 
ing, and in another direction something is 
making a weird wailing sound. Nearby you 
hear a loud rustling as some large creature 
thrashes through the thick forest of tall cat- 
tails. 

With a twinge of terror, you realize that the 
sound is coming straight toward you and 
Redbeard! Moments later, a huge shape looms 
up no more than fifty paces away. Moonlight 
shimmers on its giant scaly body, and its eyes 
glow with a pale green light. It’s a dinosaur! 

You know that some dinosaurs are harm- 
less, but if this one is a flesh-eater, you and 
Redbeard are doomed! If you run, you may 
have a chance of escaping before it sees you— 
but you'll also run the risk of falling into 
quicksand, getting lost forever in the swamp, 
or even running straight into some other 
deadly monster. What should you do? 





1) If you decide to run, turn to page 76. 


2) If you decide to stay and see if the dino- 
saur is harmless, turn to page 115. 


The tower looks dark and forbidding. “Let’s 
keep going, Jay!” you say. | 
Before long, you can see that there are 
indeed lights ahead. In about an hour, you — 
reach the town and find a fair going on—an — 
excellent chance to make some money! 
Quickly you go to where the crowd is thickest — 
and begin your juggling act. Soon you’re sur- 
rounded by applauding people. When your act 
is over, you both pass among the crowd and 

collect four large fistfuls of coins! 

You and Jay divide the money, then decide to 
split up, agreeing to meet later. 

When you meet again, day acts excited. 
“There's a bridge here,” he announces. “We 
can leave tomorrow morning.’ Then his eyes 
widen. “Sparrow! Where is your pouch?” 

You glance down and see that your belt 
pouch, which contained all your money and 
the map, is gone! The two strings that fas- 
tened it to your belt have been cut. You know 
at once what has happened—a pickpocket in 
the crowd has cut your pouch strings with 
sharp scissors. You've been robbed! 

“Tt’s all right, Sparrow,” Jay says bravely. 
“We know the cave is somewhere in the hills 
beyond Riverbend. We'll still find the treasure 
and bury the king’s bones!” 

You nod, but there’s a lump in your throat. 
You know that, without the map, there's little 
chance you'll ever be able to find the cave. 


THE END 











127 


You decide to head for the bridge. That’s 
_ probably where Jay will be waiting if he’s 
_ reached Riverbend. You hope Scarface and his 
gang have given up looking for you by now. 

The sun is low and red by the time you 
arrive at the wooden bridge that crosses the 
river into Riverbend. Suddenly half a dozen 
figures leap out from among the bushes grow- 
ing beside the bridge. Scarface and his crew! 

“Kill ‘em!” snarls Scarface. 

“Do your best, Sparrow!” yells Redbeard. 

Quickly you yank out the sword from the 
wight’s den. Scarface and three of his band 
attack Redbeard, and two more come after 
you. You know you haven't a chance, but you 
decide to go down fighting. Gritting your 
teeth, you aim a blow at your nearest attacker. 

To your amazement, the sword feels as light 
as a twig. It hisses through the air and slices 
into the man’s hand. Howling, he drops his 
sword and clutches his bleeding fingers. 

The second man thrusts his sword at you, 
but the point simply bounces off the chain 
mail shirt you took from the wight’s den. As 
you lunge at him, he backs away quickly—and 
falls off the bridge into the river! 

Astounded, you turn to see if you can help 
Redbeard. Two of his opponents are down, and 
the other two are desperately trying to avoid 
his flashing sword, which is glowing and mak- 
ing a loud humming sound. Looking down at 
your sword, you see the same thing! 

“Magic!” exclaims Searface. “We haven't 


128 


got a chance!” He turns and runs, his band fol- _ 
lowing after him. Redbeard stares hard at his — 


sword and fingers his coat of mail. 


“These swords and coats of armor are magic, | : 


Sparrow!” he exclaims. “Lucky for us that we — 
stopped to explore that wight’s den!”’ 
“Sparrow! Sparrow!” you hear a voice call, 
and you look up to see Jay running across the 
bridge toward you. You run to meet him and 
pound him on the back joyfully. 
That night, with a coin from the wights 


treasure, the three of you have a feast at an — 


inn. You tell Jay about all your adventures. 
He stares at you, shaking his head. “You 


| 


could have been killed, Sparrow! I think we © 


ought to forget this quest!” 


You stare at him, shocked. “But, Jay—we 


promised to put the king’s spirit to rest! And 
what about the treasure?” 

“You've already got plenty of gold from the 
wight’s den,” says Jay. “Look—why not give 
the map to Redbeard and let him complete the 
quest?” He puts a hand on your shoulder. “I 
promised our mother on her deathbed to look 
after you. I don’t want you risking your life 
any more. If you decide to finish the quest, I'll 
go with you—but I wish you'd do as I ask!” 


1) If you decide to let Redbeard continue 
the quest alone, turn to page 15. 


2) But if you decide to continue on with 
the quest, turn to page 68. 





129 


“Well, we won't meet up with any more 
giant frogs on the ROAD, but we may if we 
stay near the river,’ you declare. “Let’s head 
for the road, Jay.” 

But you haven't gone fifty steps before you 
realize that you are entering a huge marsh. 
The ground is soft and squishy underfoot, and 

a forest of high bulrushes and cattails sur- 
foods the two of you, 

The noises coming from all parts of the 
marsh hint of strange creatures inhabiting it. 
In the distance, you hear a loud bellow that 
must come from the throat of some enormous 
monster. Much nearer, you hear a long, wail- 
ing shriek, Nearer still, there is a low, steady 
grunting noise. 

You stop suddenly. “Jay, I don’t think we'd 
better try to get through here after all,” you 
decide. “It's too dangerous. There are all sorts 
of strange things in this marsh, and some of 
them could be a lot worse than those giant 
frogs! I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s quick- 
sand, too. I don’t think we could possibly make 
it all the way to the road.” 

Jay nods as he looks around. “I’m afraid 
you re right, Sparrow. We'd better turn back 
and keep following the riverbank after all.’ 


Please turn to page 13. 





























130 


You can’t just leave the frightened little cub, 
perhaps to die. You've got to help it! 

The cub bares its teeth as you approach. You 
begin tugging on the branches until finally it 
scrambles free. It shakes itself, eyes you for a 
moment, then scurries off. 

You sigh, wishing you knew your way as 
well as the bear does. You trudge along, hoe. 
ing you'll somehow be able to find your way 
out of the forest. But as time goes on, you real- 
ize you could wander through these woods 
until you die of thirst and hunger. Finally you 
sink to the ground, weary and frightened. 

Suddenly you sense you're not alone. You 
look up and see the figure of a huge bear tow- 
ering over you! So quickly that you mistrust 
your eyes, the bear changes into a huge, burly, 
shaggy man. You realize you are facing one of 
the most dreaded of all creatures—a werebear! 

“Fear not,’ the figure says in a deep voice. 
“You helped my little one, and I wish to repay 
you. Follow me.” 

You follow the figure through the trees. Sud- 
denly you notice dark, four-footed shapes all 
around you. A wolf pack! 

“You need not fear them,” the werebear says 
calmly. “They dare not attack with me here.” 

Within a short time, you are out of the woods 
and back on the road. A short distance down 
the road, you see a building with a sign swing- 
ing in the breeze. It must be the inn your 
brother told you about! You turn to thank your 
rescuer, but the werebear has vanished. 








132 


You hurry toward the inn, hoping to find Jay 
there. But when you arrive, the inn is empty 
except for the innkeeper and a brawny, red- 
bearded warrior with a sword at his hip. 

“Please, sir,’ you say to the innkeeper, “I’m 

a juggler. May I perform for your guests 
tonight for some coins to buy supper?” 

“Tll buy your supper if you’re any good 
lad,” booms the red beard. Grinning, you take 
out your colored wooden balls and start your 
act. Redbeard applauds appreciatively. 

Suddenly the door bursts open. You look up 
to see the scar-faced man and two of his band! 

“It's one of those kids!” snarls Scarface as 
his eyes light on you. “Seize him!” 

The other two move toward you, but sud- 
denly the red-bearded warrior thrusts himself 
in front of them, sword drawn. “Hold!” he 
growls. “What do you want with this lad?” 

“Kill this lout!” Scarface orders. The air is 
filled with the ring of blade on blade as the 
innkeeper flees in terror. 

In the confusion, the door has been left 
unguarded. You could run to safety—but the 
red-bearded warrior has risked his life to help 
you. Should you stay and try to help him, or 
should you escape before it’s too late? 


1) If you decide to escape while you can, 
turn to page 12. 


2) If you decide to stay and help the red- 
bearded warrior, turn to page 100. 











133 


“Tf there’s no way to tell for sure, why don't 
we just flip a coin?” you suggest. 

“Why not indeed?” Rogaldo shrugs and 
pulls a coin from his belt pouch. “Heads we go 
north, tails we go south.” He flips the coin into 
the air, catches it, and slaps it on his wrist. 
“Heads. North it is!” 

Daybreak is still hours away, but Rogaldo 
rouses the stable owner and buys three fast 
horses. Soon your steeds are trotting swiftly 
up the north road out of Riverbend. 

“He can’t be more than a day ahead of us,’ 
Rogaldo says grimly, “We'll catch him!” 

You move at a steady pace all morning. Near 
noon, you stop briefly to let the horses rest and 
browse and to eat lunch yourselves. Then you 
press on all afternoon and into the evening, 
stopping only when it is too dark to travel 
safely. As soon as it 1s light, you're off again. 

The second day goes by almost exactly as the 
first. Late in the afternoon on the third day, 
Rogaldo leans forward on his mount and 
points. “There he is!” Far in the distance, you 
see several tiny, indistinct shapes. 

You urge your horses to a gallop. As you 
_ draw closer, the shapes become distinct—a 
robed figure on horseback leading four other 
heavily laden horses. It must be the treasure! 

They don't seem to be moving very fast, per- 
haps because of the heavy loads they carry, 
and you quickly close the distance. The figure 
in the lead doesn’t even seem to notice that 
you're behind him. 


134 


You follow as Rogaldo urges his horse for- 
ward until he is alongside one of the four pack- 
horses. He leans out and stretches a hand 
toward the horse. 

The moment Rogaldo touches it, the horses 
and the man all vanish into thin air! 

Rogaldo reigns his horse to a stop, and you 
and Jay pull up alongside him. “We've been 
following the illusion instead of the real Vuve- 
rain,’ he says bitterly. 

“Can't you locate the real Vuverain with the 
crystal ball?” you plead, hoping against hope. 

Rogaldo shakes his head. “He's far out of 
range now. There's no chance.” 

‘You hang your head, fighting back tears. 
The quest is ended. You've failed. 

Rogaldo sighs. “Well, I guess there's nothing 
for me to do but head back to my tower. What 
about you two?” 

“We may as well go back to Riverbend,’ Jay 
says slowly. “Sparrow and I can probably find 
work entertaining at an inn.” 

“T'll know where to find you if need be, then. 
lintend to continue trying to locate Vuverain. 
And if I ever find out where he is, I'll get in 
touch with you and we'll pay him a visit.” 
Rogaldo grins wickedly and winks. 

You and Jay exchange hopeful glances. With 
the wizard's help, perhaps some day soon the 
quest will be fulfilled after all! 


THE END 





135 


You know that small frogs frighten easily. 
Maybe big ones do, too. Taking a deep breath, 
you begin to yell and wave your arms wildly. 

The air is suddenly filled with frightened 
frogs, leaping off in every direction. 

“It worked!” you sigh. “We'd better stay 
awake to make sure they don’t come back.’ 

The river flows through a marshy area, and 
soon a forest of bulrushes and cattails, Full of 
night sounds, stretches away on all sides. In | 
the distance, you hear loud bellowing. Nearby, 
a huge creature crashes through the bul-— 
rushes. You and Jay crouch in silence, hoping 
you don’t run into any more trouble. 

Trouble does come, however, so swiftly that — 
you are stunned. A huge pair of jaws, ringed 
with spikelike teeth, suddenly erupts out of | 
the water and bites into your raft, splitting it 
in two. You and Jay are flung into the water. 

You come up gasping, aware that you had © 
better get out of the river FAST before those 
huge, toothy jaws chomp on YOU! You have © 
no idea where Jay is or which way he’s swim- 
ming, and you don’t want to wind up on oppo- 
site sides of the river. Both banks of the river 
seem fairly close—but should you swim for the © 
left bank or the right? 


1) If you decide to swim to the left bank, 
turn to page 117. 


2) If you decide to swim to the right bank, | 
turn to page 105. 





136 


You scratch your head as you try to decide 
what to do. You really feel you ought to wait 
for Jay, but you have to face the fact that he 
might not show up for days. Now that you're 
so close to the treasure, wouldn't it be smarter 
to make sure of getting it once and for all? 
Besides, while you’re waiting, someone else 
might accidentally find the treasure! 

“T think we'd better go get the treasure right 
away, Redbeard,”’ you decide. You hope Jay 
won't be angry that you didn't wait for him, 
once you explain your reasons. 

You and Redbeard together have just 
enough money to take a room for the night at 
an inn, to buy a spear for you so that you'll be 
able to help him fight whatever danger you 
might find in the cave, and to get a few provi- 
sions for the journey into the hills—a loaf of 
bread and a large round of soft cheese. 

In the morning, you start out, following the 
map through the hilly country beyond River- 
bend. It’s midafternoon before you find the hill 
on which, according to the map, the treasure 
cave 15 located. You start up the hillside, fol- 
lowing the faint trail indicated on the map. 
You’re better than halfway to the top when 
Redbeard suddenly stops and peers down at a 
patch of ground alongside the trail. “Look 
here, Sparrow,’ he says excitedly. 

The patch of ground is muddy from a recent 
rainstorm, and in the mud there is a clear 
print of a huge, bare human foot! 

“That’s a giant’s footprint or I’m a goblin,” 














137 


mutters Redbeard. “It’s no more than a day or 
two old. If there's a giant living on this hill, it 
may well make its home in the treasure cave, 
Sparrow. That must be the danger the man 
who gave you the map was trying to warn you 


“What kind of giant do you suppose it is?” 
you ask anxiously. You know there are several 
different kinds of giants, and while some are 
harmless—even helpful—to humans, others 
can be extremely dangerous. 

“In this place, probably a hill giant,’ says 
Redbeard, “or possibly a stone giant. But 
whatever ‘kind it 1s, you can bet it’s guarding 
pee treasure, Sparrow, and we'll have to fight 
it!” 

Redbeard shakes his head and looks wor- 
ried. You're worried, too—can the two of you 
overcome a huge, muscular giant? 

“Well, shall we keep going?” asks Redbeard. 
“Pm willing if you are. 

You simply can’t give up without at least 
finding out a little more. Maybe the giant 
doesn't live in the cave after all. Maybe it’s not 
even anywhere on the hill now. “Let’s keep 
going, you say. 

You continue on up the trail, moving much 
more cautiously and quietly now. Near the 
top, you edge around a large boulder and see 
the cave about a hundred paces farther up the 
trail. You also see the giant, who is sitting 
beside the cave entrance, dozing in the sun- 
shine. It is a huge, red-skinned, black-haired 





139 


hill giant. Beside it lies a club the size of a 
small tree! 

“We could try to rush the giant,” whispers 
Redbeard. “We might have a chance if we 
could reach it before it wakes up.’ 

Something you see on the rocky hillside 
gives you an idea. “Redbeard, hill giants 
aren't very smart, are they?” you ask in a 
whisper. 

Redbeard nods his head from side to side. 
“Hill giants aren't much brighter than a four- 
or five-year-old child. Why?” 

“Well, maybe we can trick it,’ you suggest 
and proceed to explain your idea. 

Redbeard listens anxiously. ““You’d be tak- 
ing a terrible risk,’ he whispers when you fin- 
ish, “but it’s your decision, Sparrow!” 


1) If you decide to try Redbeard’s plan to 
attack the giant, turn to page 104. 


2) If you decide instead to try your plan to 
trick the giant, turn to page 147. 

















You feel that Jay is probably right—the raft 
wouldn't be safe. You glance up and down the © 
— ‘Which way shall we go?” you ask ~ 

ay. 

“When you're not sure, right is right,” Jay 
suggests, as you ve heard him say many times 
before in similar situations. So you turn to the 
right and begin walking along the riverbank. 

You haven't gone far when a loud snort anda 
splash from the river startle you. Some huge 
creature has come up to the surface for a 
moment, and you catch a glimpse of a huge 
scaly body, with yellow eyes and a gaping 
mouth full of sharp teeth. [t's a good thing you 
decided not to ride the raft down the river! 

After you've trudged along for a while, Jay 
pauses for a moment, peering through the 
gathering darkness. “I think I see some sort of 
building ahead,’ he says. “Where there’s a 
building by a river, there could be a bridge.” 

You hurry on, and before long you reach the 
building. It 1s a windowless round tower, 
about three floors high and made of rough, 
dark stone. A short flight of stone steps leads 
up to a single closed door. 

There is no sign of a bridge over the river 
here, as you and Jay had hoped. “Maybe we 
ought to ask whoever lives here if we're head- 
ing the right way, you suggest. 

Jay studies the tower, chewing his lip 
thoughtfully. “I don't know, Sparrow. I don’t 
like the looks of this place. Who would want to 
live alone out here in such a dark, gloomy- 





141 


looking building?’’ He peers off into the dis- 
tance. “I think I see lights way over there. 
Maybe it’s a town. If there's a town by the 
river, there must be a bridge. I think we ought 
to keep going and see. 

It’s nearly dark now, and you remember how 
the goblins caught you because you were out 
in the open at night. You think about the huge 
creature you saw in the river—maybe it comes 
up onto the land at night to hunt! It might not 
be a good idea to keep going through the dark- 
ness. Maybe whoever lives in the tower will 
let you spend the night safe inside. Should you 
knock on the door and ask? 


1) If you decide to keep on going toward 
the lights in the distance, turn to page 


126. 


2) If you decide to knock on the tower door, 
turn to page 44. 





























142 


You think you'd be safer on land than float- 
ing on the water on a flimsy raft while you 
sleep, so you decide to stay where you are. 
There’s a bit of a chill in the air, so you build 
up the fire and he down, one on each side of it. 
Before long you’ re asleep. 

Suddenly you're awakened by a crushing 
weight on your chest! Your eyes fly open, and 
with astonishment you see a small burly, 
black-bearded man kneeling on you, holding a 
knife at your throat! It’s a robber dwarf! Out 
of the corner of your eye, you see two other 
dwarfs holding Jay down. 

“Don't move or I'll cut your throat!” the 
dwarf growls. With his free hand, he pulls the 
pouch off your belt. Then he picks up your food 
bag from where you placed it by the fire, and 


in an instant he and the other two robbers 
have vanished into the night. 
“Sparrow! Are you all right?” calls Jay. 
You sit up. “Yes, but they've taken my pouch 


p73 


with the map in it! 

Jay puts his arm around your shoulder and 
tries to comfort you. “Well, there’s nothing we 
can do about it. It looks like the end of our 
quest, but we can still ride the raft to River- 
bend. We'll find work there, at an inn or some- 
place. We'll get along all right. You'll see, 


|?? 


Sparrow! 


THE END 








144 


You look from Redbeard to your brother and 
back to Redbeard again. “I’m sorry,’ you say, 
“but I just don’t want to risk my life, or yours 
either, anymore! [’d have been eaten by 
wolves if I hadn’t been saved by a werebear, 
and then Redbeard saved me from Searface, 
and we were attacked by a Wight and a carrion 
crawler, and then a nixie tried to make us 
slaves. I’ve faced enough danger! I’m satisfied 
with the the treasure I got from the wight’s 
lair. There’s enough to buy us food and lodging 
for a long time, Jay!” 

“But what about the spirit of poor King 
Farad Silverhair?” he asks softly. You put 
your head down and don’t answer. 

Redbeard looks at you for a long time. “I 
didn’t think this would be your answer, Spar- 
row, he says. He gets up and slowly walks out 
the door and into the street. You have a terri- 
ble feeling that you'll never see him again! 

You've lost a good friend, and it looks as if 
-you' ve lost a lot of your brother's respect. You 
feel guilty about not trying harder to help free 
the spirit of Farad Silverhair. You’re begin- 
ning to fear that you may regret this decision 
for the rest of your life. 


THE END 





146 


You decide you can’t risk offending these 
warriors who have saved you, and you agree 
to go meet their king. You and Jay each climb 
up behind a rider, and soon you're galloping 
over the plain. 

After a long ride, you come to a large town 
standing at the foot of a hill. High on the hill 
stands an imposing castle. You are taken up to 
the castle and into a cheerful, sunlit kitchen, 
where you are given a fine meal of cold roast 
chicken, fresh bread, and greens. 

That evening, you do your juggling act for 
the elderly king and his courtiers after their 
dinner. The king smiles at your tricks and 
applauds loudly when you finish your per- 
formance. Then he beckons you toward him. 

“You are fine jugglers,’ he says, sounding 
very pleased. “Would you believe that there 
isn’t another juggler in my whole land? How 
would you like to stay here and serve as my 
Royal Jugglers?” 

The offer would have seemed too good to be 
true a day ago, but now you are committed to 
completing your quest. 

“Your Majesty, you do us great honor, and we 
thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” says 
Jay. “But we are on a quest, and we have 
promised to—”’ 

“I do not care to be refused when I offer an 
act of kindness!”’ the king interrupts. 
“Guards! Let these two cool off in a dungeon 
until they learn some manners!” 

Before you know it, you and Jay are being 





146 


hauled away by burly guards and pushed into 
a damp, dark room deep in the bowels of the 
castle. “When you agree to accept the king's 
request, knock three times,’ says one guard as 
he slams the cell door shut. 

“IT was afraid something like this would 
happen,’ Jay groans. “Well, it looks like we'll 
have to agree to become the king's jugglers, 
Sparrow. But the first chance we get, we'll 
escape and finish the quest!” 

You nod sadly. You are afraid that the king is 
going to have you so closely watched that 
you'll never be able to escape. Someday you 
still may be able to keep your promise to bury 
King Farad Silverhair and gain the treasure, 
but aa know that day is now far, far in the 
future. . 





147 


“T don’t think trying to trick the giant is any 
riskier than attacking it/’ you argue with 
Redbeard. “And if it works, we'll get King 
Farad’s bones and at least half the treasure | 
without having to fight!” 

“All right, Sparrow,” Redbeard agrees — 
reluctantly. “May luck be with you. If you do 
run into trouble, I'll help as best as I can. 

Opening up your bag of provisions, you 
remove the round of cheese and carefully slip 
it under your jacket, grateful that you and 
Redbeard didn’t stop for lunch because your 
whole idea depends on this cheese! With your 
heart pounding, you step out from behind the 
boulder and saunter toward the slumbering 
giant, whistling, trying hard to appear braver 
than you feel. 

Immediately the giant awakens with a 
start. Snarling, it reaches for its club. Then, as 
you continue to approach with no sign of fear, | 
it looks puzzled. So far your plan is working 
just as you hoped. Seeing an unarmed boy, the 
giant doesn t know what to make of things. 

“Me Gorgo! Who YOU? What you do here?” 
it finally bellows in a deep voice. 

“Why, I’m Sparrow, and I’ve come to share 
the treasure in the cave with you, Mr. Gorgo,’ 
you announce with a smile. 

Now the giant is really puzzled, It frowns © 
and scratches its head thoughtfully. “But | 
treasure MINE!” it roars. “Why should Gorgo 
share treasure with YOU?” 

You smile pleasantly and say, “Well, you see, 





148 


Mr. Gorgo, I am the strongest man in the 
world, much stronger than you are. If we were 
to fight, you would surely get hurt. But if we 
share the treasure, we won't have to fight and 
I won't have to hurt you.’ 

The giant frowns as it thinks that over for a 
long time. At last it roars, “YOU stronger 
than GORGO?” 

“Yes indeed,” you tell him. “Allow me to 
show you.” You turn around and walk over toa 
pile of rocks nearby. Squatting down with 
your back toward the giant, you carefully 
slide the cheese out from under your jacket. 
The pale tan lump of soft cheese is almost 
exactly the same color and shape as the rocks. 
When you stand up and turn around holding 
the cheese, it looks as if you've picked up one 
of the rocks. 

“Watch carefully,’ you tell the giant. “I will 
now squeeze water out of this rock!” You 
begin squeezing the soft cheese with both 
hands. The watery whey gushes out of it and 
splashes to the ground. You continue to 
squeeze until the cheese is pressed flat, then 
toss it into a nearby clump of bushes. 

You bend down, pick up a real rock from the 
pile, and toss it to the giant. “Now you try it. 
Then we'll know who is stronger.’ 

Gorgo looks at the rock, then puts it between 
its huge hands and squeezes. The giant grits 
its teeth, and the veins on its neck stand out 
and its red skin begins to turn purple. At last 
Gorgo stops squeezing and looks at the 








150 


oe rock, ‘“Gorgo can’t!” it pants, puz- 

“Of course not,” you say quickly. “And that’s 
why we shouldn’t fight—because I’m so much 
stronger than you that I'd hurt you. So if we 
share the treasure, we can be friends and we 
wont have to fight. Okay?” 

The giant looks confused, then glances once 
more at the rock in its hands and shakes its 
- head. “Okay,” it says finally. 

“Good, you say. “Then you go into the cave 
and bring out the treasure, and I'll take my 
half and leave.” 

You breathe a sigh as the miant turns and 
lumbers into the cave. It returns again and 
again until there is a large pile of bags and 
chests piled on the ground in front of you. 

“I'm going to call my servant to carry my 
share, you explain to the giant. ‘Don’t pay 
any attention to him. He's not strong like I 
am.’ You turn your head and _ call, 
“Redbeard!” 

Redbeard has heard everything and comes 
running to your side. You notice that he has 
removed his sword, so as not to rouse the 
giant’s suspicion. “ Yes, master? What is your 
command?” he asks meekly. 

“Pick up our share of the treasure and carry 
it,’ you say with a lordly air. You spot the bag 
that contains King Farad’s bones and pick it 
up, along with a small bag of coins. Redbeard 
picks up as much as he can carry. 

“Gorgo, we are now friends forever, you say 





151 


to the huge creature. “If you ever need my 
great strength for anything, let me know and | 
will come and help you.” 

“That good. Gorgo thank you,’ it says 
slowly, obviously trying to figure out what has 
happened. You decide you had better leave 
quickly. | 

“Let's get out of here fast, Redbeard!” you 
whisper to the warrior. Resisting the desire to 
run, you trudge quickly down the path past 
the boulder. Once you are out of the giant's 
sight, you do break into arun until you reach 
the bottom of the hill. 

“Sparrow, you did it!” chuckles Redbeard. 
“You flummoxed that poor giant until it didn't 
even know which way was up! You've fulfilled 


the quest good and proper, I’d say—we have 
Farad’s bones and enough treasure to make us 
all rich for life.” 

“T sure hope Jay has reached Riverbend by 
the time we get back,” you say with a grin. 
“What a story I have to tell him!” 


THE END 





152 


You really want to wait for Jay, but it could 
be several days before he shows up. Since 
you re this close to the treasure, it seems fool- 
ish not to get it at once—after all, what if, 
while you were waiting for Jay, someone 
chanced to discover the treasure and took it? 

On horses you purchase with some of the 
wight’s gold, you and Redbeard set out early 
the next morning. The map leads you among 
the hills beyond Riverbend and finally takes 
you up a rocky slope, where you find the 
entrance to a cave. , 

“This must be where the king’s bones and 
the treasure are hidden!” says Redbeard, 
lighting a pair of torches. 

“We've got to be careful,’ you say. “The man 
who gave Jay and me the map tried to warn us 
of something.’ 

You enter the cave, each with a torch in one 
hand and a magical sword in the other. You 
move cautiously through a narrow, winding 
passageway. Rounding a corner, you find that 
the passageway suddenly widens into a large 
chamber. Someone—probably the robbers— 
has hung a huge net of thick ropes from the 
caves celling. On the other side of the net, you 
spot a cluster of chests and bulging bags in the 
torchlight. 

“The treasure!’ you exclaim. Forgetting to 
be careful, you rush forward to push the net 
aside with your arm. But suddenly you find 
that you are stuck—the lengths of rope are 
covered with a thick gluelike substance! 





153 


“Look out, Sparrow!” yells Redbeard, dart- 
ing to your side. Your eyes follow his wide- 
eyed gaze to the cave ceiling. With a shock of 
horror, you realize this isn't a net you re stuck 
to—it’s a giant spiderweb! And there, crouched 
at the top of the web, its six eyes gleaming at 
you in the torchlight, is a huge hairy spider! 

Your sword and Redbeard’s begin to glow 
and hum. Redbeard lifts his blade toward the 
spider, and the creature immediately cowers 
back against the rocky ceiling. 

“Tt’s afraid of the sword’s magic!" says 
Redbeard. “See if you can hack yourself loose 
while I hold the creature at bay.’ 

You drop your torch and take your sword in 
your free left hand. To your relief, the magic - 
sword easily cuts through the thick rope. 
When you are free, you hack a hole in the web 
and crawl through. Hurriedly you begin to tug 
chests and bags through the hole. 

Minutes later, the treasure is piled outside 
the cave. With shovels you brought along, you 
and KRedbeard dig a grave for the bones of 
King Farad Silverhair. You lower the bag of 
bones into the grave, then carefully cover the 
hole so that no one could ever find it. “Sleep 
well, great king,” you murmur, 

Then you and Redbeard load the treasure on 
the horses and head back toward Riverbend. 
You hope you'll find Jay there, but if you don’t, 
you're confident you'll find him somehow. 





THE END 





154 


_ It seems to you that it ought to be up to 


Logaldo whether or not he wants to take on 
Vuverain in a duel to the death! 

“T’'m willing to do whatever you decide;’ you 
tell the wizard. “I'd gladly settle for King 
Silverhair’s bones and half the treasure, but if 
you want to fight Vuverain, we'll stick by 
you—won't we, Jay?” 

“Absolutely!” Jay says emphatically. 

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, lads,’ 
Rogaldo says sincerely. ‘“There’s a lot at stake 
for you, too—I don't think for one moment he'd 
let you get away alive. But I believe I can beat 
this villain, and I owe him something!” 

Rogaldo turns toward Vuverain and shouts 
fiercely, “I accept your challenge to a duel!” — 

Vuverain dismounts slowly and walks 
toward you. Rogaldo also dismounts and 
advances until he is about twenty paces from 
Vuverain. “You tell us when to start, Spar- 
row, Rogaldo calls out. “I’m ready!” 

“Pm ready!’ Vuverain echoes. 

You pause for a moment, then shout, “Go!” 

Instantly Vuverain vanishes, and in his 
place you see a forty-foot blue dragon! Your 
heart sinks as you realize the cunning of his 
choice. Besides being huge, blue dragons can 
shoot powerful bolts of lightning from their 
eyes. Rogaldo had better think fast or he’s a 
goner! But what living thing can withstand a 
bolt of hghtning? 

Suddenly Rogaldo’s form transforms itself 
into a jellylike black shape. For a moment, 





155 


you think he’s made a terrible mistake. Then 
you realize he has become a black pudding, 
which is invulnerable to lightning. And if the 
dragon tries to slash it to pieces, the pieces 
will just flow together and become one again. 

On the attack, black puddings ooze a liquid 
that can dissolve wood, even metal—and cer- 
tainly the scaly skin of a dragon. The dragon 
seems to sense the danger as the black pud- 

ding crawls menacingly toward it. 

“You've got him now, Rogaldo!” you yell 
excitedly. 

Suddenly there is a loud POOF! and the blue 
dragon begins to change color. As you watch 
its scales turn from blue to purple to deep red, 
you gasp—red dragons breathe fire, and fire 
can destroy a black pudding! 

“Change, Rogaldo!”’ Jay yells frantically. 
With a shimmer, the black pudding suddenly 
assumes the form of a ten-foot tower of stone. 
You realize it’s a stone golem—a manlike crea- 
ture made of stone. Its rock-hard exterior is 
oblivious to fire, but the golem’s powerful 
stone fists can batter the dragon to a pulp. 

As the golem begins to advance, the red 
dragon vanishes, and in its place you see a 
bulky grayish-yellow creature with huge, 
powerful claws—an umber hulk! 

But before the umber hulk’s crushing claws 
close on it, the golem transforms itself into a 
huge creature shaped like a giant centipede. 
It’s a remorhaz, capable of swallowing the 
umber hulk in one gulp and burning it to 
























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157 


a crisp inside a body as hot as molten steel! 
As the Remorhaz slithers forward, the hulk 
instantly changes into a small creature like a 
scaly rooster with a long, snakelike tail. For a 
brief moment, you feel Vuverain has surely 
made a fatal mistake. but then you realize 
with a shock that he has become a cockatrice! 
If the remorhaz so much as touches it, the 
remorhaz will be turned instantly to stone! 

You gasp as the cockatrice darts forward. 
What can Rogaldo possibly change into now? 
A stone golem would be perfect, but he’s 
already used that form. 

The remorhaz stops suddenly, then, before 
your startled eyes, seems to melt into a slimy 
green puddle. You take heart as you realize 
that Rogaldo has become a green slime, a 
plantlike creature that feeds by dissolving the 
flesh of animals. The cockatrice can’t stop 
itself and hurtles into the oozy green puddle. 
With a shriek of terror, the cockatrice begins 
to dissolve. In a few short minutes, it is gone. 

Relief floods through you as the true 
Rogaldo appears once more. “‘Well, your quest 
is finally completed,” he says. “You can bury 
King Silverhair’s bones as you promised, you 
have enough treasure to make you rich as 
kings, and | have gained all of Vuverain’s 
magic tools by defeating him. I'd say everyone 
should be happy”’—he grins again—‘‘except, of 
course, Vuverain!” 


LA—_2= I 


ENDLESS QUEST” Books 
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‘li CAPTIVE PLANET 
1718 KING'S QUEST 
| DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and ENDLESS QUEST are | 
§ registered trademarks owned by TSK, Inc. 
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It’s your first romance, 
and YOU must make the decisions! 


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dQ, Pick A Path To Adventure™ 


A DUNGEONS & DRAGONS™ 
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