After taking my leave of Gus, I followed his general, albeit slightly vague directions, winding along paths where bandits attempted to divert me off my course, until I spied what looked to be a rise in the distance. It was the only thing that looked like a pyramid rather than a hill or mountain.

I approached and made my way up the many stairs only to realize my only recourse was to come down the other side. It was a lovely view of the area, but as there was no form of entry it proved disappointing.

As I sat and pondered how to gain access, a throng of skeletons came to do me harm. They received liberal use of the flaming sword and were all reduced to cinder.

After picking through their charred remains and pocketing goods that might be worth a few coins, I was stuck with an idea.

Where were these boney minions coming from? They weren’t coming up the path. They weren’t sneaking out from behind the trees. They weren’t rising up out of a the graveyard, because no graveyard existed. Was there some secretive entrance that eluded me?

I sat and waiting for them to reveal their concealed hiding place. I even expedited the process with liberal taunts in their general directions.

Before crushing them to powder, I traced the path they chose to come annihilate me. Rounding the side of the structure, I found what looked to be an entrance, or at least something not an impassible stone wall.

However, there was no knocker and I was at a loss as to how I should announce my presence and desire for admittance.

A few well placed kicks only served to mangle my boots and fill the air with words I am embarrassed to repeat.

I then tried to bellow my adventurous intentions to the keeper who might be inside, but clearly the thickness of the walls prevented him from hearing my clarion call.

But all was not lost. As I threw myself down in utter dejection and exasperation, I discovered there was a lever nestled in the roots and vines. Always one to pull at a random lever, I gave it a try.

To my great delight, the door rolled to the side revealing an entryway. It was dank, and foreboding, but this is exactly the type of place someone would hide a Hood of Truth, so I entered with reckless abandon.

I twisted and turned my way through the narrow corridors and met with the caretaker. I can only assume he was not in the same fit state as when Gus last made conversation. He was a corrupted and infected soul with flesh peeling away from his body. It was a horrid sight!

Further, he ignored my greeting and salutation from Gus. Instead, he came at me with arms flailing and spitting a fetid slime at my feet.

The confines of the passageway were too close for combat so I made a retreat to a more open area. Leading this malcontent to his doom, I struck first with a barrage of blows. I gave him no quarter and felt it best to simply put him out of his misery rather than listen to him ramble on about he became such a miserable soul.

While a hideous creature, he was not a formidable one. With a little Thrust here and Double Slash there, he was down without laying a single decayed hand upon my person.

I listened to hear if he might have a confederate ready to spring upon me as soon as I rounded the next corner. Hearing nothing, I charged ahead and found a storage room of exciting treasure.

I also noted it was the final resting place of some poor saps who tried to abscond with my Hood of Truth. Serves them right for ending face down in their failed attempt to take what was mine.

As I looted the chest and smashed the vases merely because they were there, I realized there was an automaton monkey. This caretaker was indeed a terrible wretch. What sort of person steals another man’s monkey? The audacity!

I scooped up the little fellow, tossed him in my bag and retreated back to Gus.

“Outlander!” he said excitedly. “I didn’t expect you so soon. Allow me to cut some cheese for you.”

“That is most kind of you,” I said. “I have bad news, some good news and some good news. First, I found the caretaker. He had been turned into the undead and made off with your monkey. But fear not! I have retrieved the little fellow and have him right here.” At this, I handed over the automaton monkey I found in the chamber.

“That terrible man made off with my monkey and held him captive? Oh the horror of it all,” he said cradling his lost child.

“Sadly, he was not the same chap you knew before. That is unless you partake of the company of the undead.”

“The undead? Oh dear me no,” he replied. “He has indeed changed and taken a turn for the worse. I regret your encounter Outlander, I apologize for that.”

“Not your fault at all. Now, since that was both the bad and good news, I have more good news. I believe this is the fragment you sent me out to find.” I produced the cloth and held it out for inspection.

“Outlander, you never cease to amaze,” he said taking the helm and disappearing into his alcove.

“Why thank you. I get that a lot. But it’s usually after a table has been knocked over or someone has taken a tumble down the stairs.”

Moments later, he returned with an extremely fashionable Hood of Truth. The only one of it’s kind I might add.

“There you are Outlander. Wear it with pride. I dare say you will look quite fetching in it,” Gus said.

“You are indeed a generous sort and quite a hand at hat making. I certainly appreciate your efforts,” I replied. “I see I once again had to risk my life to obtain it, but that is how our relationship will be.”

I had a bite of the delicious cheese Gus offered then headed back into the night. I needed to pay a visit to the blacksmith at the Elven camp and I was still working on getting a fitting for one their stylish robes. I was hopeful another bottle of the Elven wine might get things moving in the right direction.

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Good evening! I say, is there anyone about? Your door knocker seems to be nonexistent and I believe you have a Hood of Truth inside with my name on it.

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Treasure! And scoundrels that tried to steal my Hood. And a monkey! But let’s not forget, treasure!

I’m quite sure I won’t be able to get that vase into the pocket of my leggings.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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