The night in Braemar started off like any other, it was dark, a wind rustled in the air and there was a strange smell, kind of like potatoes. I sat with Barry, musing over the leaflet that had been left on my door. It spoke of a new attraction called, The Tower of the Shuttered Eye and it detailed chills, thrills, puzzles, adventure and treasures to boggle the mind.

“We should go there Barry! It sounds like fun!”

Barry eyed me over the steak sandwich I had prepared for him and shook his head.

“Why not? It’ll be great! Action! Adventure! There is even talk of prizes for those that make it up to the top! It sounds like worthy of our talents!”

Barry supped quietly and ignored my enthusiasm.

“Come on now, don’t be like that. We went to the jamboree you wanted to go see, which was pretty neat by the way. And we took that side trip to the honey festival you were so keen on; I can still see some of it in your fur. And what could be more fun than a fun house? I mean it has the word fun right in the name! You can’t beat that!”

Barry was unmoved.

“I bet there will be all sorts of great things to do. And there will be ale and mead and I bet they have a place where you can play and frolic! You might even be able to wrestle a crocodile.”

Barry is a hard one to rattle as he sat undeterred, licking the plate.

“Fear not! I’ll pack a picnic basket!”

This finally seemed to strike the right chord and with a hearty nod of the head, Barry had agreed to visit the amusement park and partake of the bemusements that surely awaited us. I made preparations and the requested picnic basket and we set off for Novia.

We took the short ferry ride over and once again I was encouraged not to pay the ferry man. I don’t understand why this keeps coming up. Sure, he is a bit of sullen chap and looks a little gloomy dressed in that dark cloak of his, but I don’t see the problem, we always make it to the other side. And he’s probably just got a chill from the sea air. Nothing to worry about.

And with that we followed the directions and soon saw the tower looming high in the distance. I must admit, I was quite excited over this outing. It stood large with long spires reaching high into the clouds. I can’t commend the owner on his choice of locale though. Who puts an amusement park in the middle of the swamp? Not going to get much foot traffic with this sort of thing going on. Hopefully the swamp is temporary or perhaps they have plans to make it a feature attraction. I’m not usually up for a swamp boat ride, but you never know when the mood might strike.

With picnic basket in hand we made our way through the gate. The Tower was a grand spectacle, a massive structure that came out of nowhere and reached for the stars.

“Oh Barry! This is gonna be great! Just think of the view from the top! From the observation platform we’ll be able to see for days!”

Barry didn’t latch onto my excitement as he was rummaging in the picnic basket. But my excitement grew as performers came out to greet us to get the show underway. There were fire throwing mages and plague spitting zombies as part of the first act. Their job was to herd us to the main gate so we didn’t linger to long or get lost. I have to say, that fire packed quite a zing, and the plague felt quite genuine as I thought I was going to get sick and die there for a few minutes.

After running from the undead, we waited in the antechamber for the doors to open. And when they did we were ushered into a mighty hall full of statues and old tomes of arcane knowledge. It all looked so real! There were even cries of tortured souls to add to the effect. I almost tripped over a member of the theater troupe who was pretending to lay in a pool of blood. Quite realistic that.

He even had a sinister note tucked away that I took and read. It spoke of all sorts of pain and suffering with tales of diabolical deeds attributed to the gods who were represented as statues.

“Barry! Barry! It’s a haunted house! I love these kinds of things! This is even better than I thought!”

Barry shook his head and refused to come up the stairs with me. He made it as far as the first landing, but said no to going all the way to the top.

“What’s the matter? You don’t have a fear of heights do you? I know you’re not afraid of skeletons, I’ve seen you gnawing on their bones you naughty devil.”

Barry chose to ignore me and wandered back down to the lobby. I chose to continue on and made my way to the first level. I was greeted by an animated skeleton. I explained I wanted to go to the top, but didn’t see where to buy a ticket. He thrust himself upon me, sword drawn, eyes gleaming. The sword thrust to the gullet took me completely by surprise.

Interactive dinner theater?! Spectacular!

I draw my trusty sword and threw myself into character. The sound of his bones shattering and crumbling to dust seemed so realistic!

“You’re going to miss all the fun Barry!” But he would have none of it. I rushed up the stairs to see what other thrills awaited. Battling the slime was a great deal of fun, although those little devils can split in two and run away like nobody’s business. To add to the realism, the fire throwing mage were using real fire. I got singed a bit, but I suppose that is all part of the experience.

When the Lich came out though, I had to stop and admire the work. What manner of hulking beast did they get to play this character? I was on the point of breaking out of character to show my appreciation for his work when he delivered a bone crushing blow to the sternum. It knocked the wind right out me and sent me sprawling to the floor.

Quite right, we must carry one with the show or it’ll spoil the fun! He brought in several zealous confederates to play the role of the undead minions. They were a feisty lot and truly got into character. I can see why this attraction isn’t for the feint of heart.

But I gave as good as I got and they were forced to submit. Hopefully, I didn’t do too much damage to them. This has to be rough work. I wonder how many times a day they jump out and scare people like that?

To the top I went and found there was another mage throwing fireballs in every direction. Sadly, I did catch a couple with my face as he clearly had the element of surprise. I got my bearing though and I was all over him. That fireball throwing gag works better outside as there isn’t much room to work at the top and I soon had him on the floor.

With that out of the way, I looked for the observation room. I didn’t see that kind of entrance, but I did notice the supposedly locked door full of treasure chests.

“My prizes for making it all the way to the top!”

I popped open the chests and rifled through the sacks. Garlic Cheese Bread? Mandrake Root? What sort of prizes are these? Where are the festive toys and games? Where are the faux spiders, terrifying eyeballs and ghoulish gags? Where are the disembodied hands? Bread? Who comes to the top of a tower for a loaf of bread?”

But then it hit me, decoy prizes! The tower of thrills had turned into a treasure hunt. Oh goody! More fun to be had! I began to search each of the rooms looking for toys and souvenirs to take home with me.

It was grand fun searching high and low, checking to see which chests and bags would open. Many contained nothing, some contained bread and a few had milk stashed away. Milk? In a sack? Who does that? Ah, but some sneaky type left a few mugs of ale around the place which I greatly appreciated. Playing with those theater types made me quite thirsty.

But try as I might, I wasn’t able to find the fun trinkets they had advertised. There were some nuggets of ore and all this bread laying around, but that wasn’t fun. I suppose one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Plus no observation deck. How the devil do you get to the outside to have a look around? Perhaps there was another entrance and I missed it.

When I got back down to the lobby, I found Barry sitting amongst the books, eating the last of the goodies I had packed for us.

“You missed all the fun Barry old boy. There were skeletons and mages and slime and archers and even a great big, nasty, Lich that tried to pop my head like a grape! It was spectacular! It all felt so real! Even getting shot in the hind section by the archer. Damn good shot from that one. But you know, I can’t seem to find the observation deck! We came all this way, it has to be somewhere.”

I couldn’t tell if Barry was laughing or nodding, but I was undeterred. Then a new idea came to mind. “Perhaps they put it outside so as not to interfere with this part of the show. That must be it. I bet those zombies know. If they’re willing to tell me.”

As I stood outside, admiring the craftsmanship of the tower and looking for a hidden staircase or ladder, I was set upon by none other than Alley Oop. She must have heard I was out and about with Barry and had some to check out the attraction herself.

After explaining that I thought the inside was quite an experience and that I was now looking for some way to reach the observation deck, Alley gave me the real details. You have to get to the upper deck from the outside. And instead of the safety of stairs, they added an element of excitement by offering the ability to free climb to the top. Oh my, they had thought of everything.

Alley gave me a quick demonstration of how to make my way to the top. I reminded her that climbing wasn’t at the top of my list of strengths. With a reassuring chuck on the shoulder she said not to worry and she would get me a rope. No sooner had she said that, she was scaling the very building itself. Within mere moments she was out of view at the first landing. As promised, she drew the rope and I was soon making my way up.

Safe and secure on my perch, she ventured forth again, bounding from side to side, step to step and reached the next level. I joined her presently and the reality of the height hit me like a bad bowl of Kingsport fish stew. The view was astounding, but it made me light headed and giddy.

Alley pressed on and was soon at the observation platform. I steadied my nerves and cautiously worked my way up to join her. It was truly dizzying! The entire landscape spread out before us. It was stunning.

Had I known where Barry was, I would have chided him over missing the grand view from this perch. I’m sure we was off having a good time play fighting with the zombies or the skeletons or perhaps making friends with some of the other bears that dotted the landscape. At least I think they were bears. It’s quite hard to make out detail from this distance.

While we took in the view, Alley asked what I had thought of my adventure to the top. I said it had been quite grand and that even though I didn’t think the Garlic Cheese Bread was a good prize for the effort, I was going to take it anyway. Barry would eat it. He never turns his nose up at such things. It would have been better if they made some sort of cloth chestpiece that let people know I had been here. That would be most amusing to show off to people. Perhaps some sort of cloth helm with a snappy and pithy statement on it would be a fun prize to take home.

I have to say it was well worth the effort. The play acting was definitely realistic, the costumes were amazing and the decorations made it look like a real chamber of horrors. They may have gone a touch overboard with the blood effects, but that’s just being picky. I’ll have to come back here again, I quite enjoyed myself.

And as the sun began to sink toward the horizon, the clouds tinged with subtle hues of orange and purple, the wind whispering along the edge of the stone tower, I asked, “So how do we get down?”



There it is Barry! Fun an amusement awaits! To the top!


Oh, these are very realistic decorations. I wonder what hidden in the sacks?


Gadzooks! Worst lodging experience ever!!


Oh my goodness! That was good fun indeed! The sound of bones cracking sounded so realistic!


Oh, what a rather unique set of props. And those fireballs, they sting a little!


Why are there ships wheels on the walls?


Hmm, what goes in there? And for what?


Oh my, a strange an archaic symbol! What could this mean?!


Oh, so this is how you get to the observation deck.


A grand view indeed! They might want to put up some sort of barrier.


Oh dear. Was this poor chap so besotted with the view he forgot to return home for sustenance?


Yes, quite lovely.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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